Episodes 1-3 - Kaina of the Great Snow Sea


Timber are wild. There are particular person bushes which have lived for five,000 years. Big sequoias qualify as the most important dwelling organism on the planet. Redwoods can develop over 100 meters tall. Baobabs have trunks large sufficient to host a fairly sized wine cellar of their hole. And in lots of circumstances, you may stroll up and contact this stuff. Now, I am not right here to stun you with tree trivia I’ve acquired over many a sleepless evening on Wikipedia. I am right here to put in writing about anime. Nevertheless, if there is a single unifying artistic impetus to Kaina of the Nice Snow Sea, it’s a fascination and affection for these titanic pillars of respiration wooden.

It is no shock both, contemplating the pedigree of the collection’ creator, Tsutomu Nihei. The mangaka behind Blame! and Knights of Sidonia always grapples with bodily scales that dwarf his characters. In Kaina, this manifests as stratosphere-scraping orbital bushes with unusual translucent canopies that wrap across the planet like a protecting bubble. It is a putting picture, and it is sensible of the anime to guide with it. In a winter season suffused with fantasy collection that every one drink from the identical tepid medieval European pond, Kaina‘s alien post-apocalyptic panorama smacks your senses awake like a snowball to the face.

Nevertheless, there are caveats to cowl earlier than I’m going fawning over the present’s aesthetic. This is not a Knights of Sidonia scenario, the place Nihei penned a manga that was then picked up for adaptation. As a substitute, Nihei appears to have explicitly made Kaina for Polygon Footage to animate. A manga adaptation additionally started final yr, however Itoe Takemoto, not Nihei, is drawing it. So whereas there are many Nihei-esque hallmarks, like the dimensions of the setting or the awful industrial design of the Valghia warship, Kaina appears to be extra of a collaborative effort—and Polygon Footage being a kind of collaborators is certain to rankle some viewers.

Personally, I do not thoughts Polygon’s contributions to the CG anime scene as a lot as I as soon as did, and I believe they’ve come a good distance for the reason that first season of Knights of Sidonia. To me, a present like final yr’s closely underrated Estab Life exhibits the studio branching into extra cartoonish and adventurous avenues. Kaina‘s animations nonetheless look stiff in spots, however you may belief me as somebody who’s needed to watch a whole lot of their middling Netflix-original output: it could possibly get lots worse. They’re making an attempt! Actually, ANN simply revealed a surprisingly candid interview with Polygon’s president that I extremely suggest studying. Whereas it could possibly’t compete with Studio Orange‘s tackle Trigun this season, Kaina seems to be nice when the whole lot clicks collectively. The backgrounds particularly are painterly and beautiful. Some breathtaking vistas listed below are price trying out, even should you’re a licensed CG anime hater.

I am additionally bullish on the general setting. Every episode introduces incidental particulars that invite us to piece collectively an image of what occurred to the planet and its folks. As an illustration, I like the village elder who teaches writing through numerous steel road indicators which have continued into the apocalypse. It is a intelligent means of exhibiting how far eliminated Kaina’s clan is from the society we all know. Like all good post-apocalyptic tales, Kaina’s scenario is a mirrored image and extrapolation of our present lot. Folks nonetheless combat one another for dwindling assets. An more and more geriatric inhabitants is getting ready to go away the youthful era behind with much less hope than they began. However I’d be OK with buying and selling locations with Kaina when he goes searching bugs. Standing on that cover, perched on a skinny movie separating the earth from the firmament—that has to take your breath away (fairly actually too, because of the altitude).

Whereas the setting is the promoting level, Kaina‘s plot and characters are thinner than I would like. The narrative nonetheless has time to ramp up, so I am not as frightened about that. As of now, there are many inquiries to reply about how the world is and the way it acquired there, which ought to imply the collection has room to develop extra advanced. It is also fairly evident that Kaina of the Nice Snow Sea is taking its fair proportion of cues from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, so I am to see the way it makes use of and subverts that affect. Character-wise, although, Kaina and Ririha are each fairly flat. They’ve had just a few cute moments collectively, however I am unable to say I really feel a lot chemistry between or inside them. As a substitute, they’re most attention-grabbing once we see them work together with their world, as their complementary areas of experience and naivete drive each of them to completely different conclusions and actions. As we watch each of them crawl like bugs on the bark of their orbital tree whereas they observe one other orbital tree being felled within the distance, we start to understand the colossal magnitude of what they should overcome. That is Kaina at its finest.

General, I would say Kaina‘s a neat present to date! It is an unique fantasy anime that steers away from most trendy fantasy anime tropes, and as such, I would be inclined to keep it up even when I weren’t reviewing it. On the very least, I must see how bizarre Nihei’s tackle Nausicaä can get.


Kaina of the Nice Snow Sea is at present streaming on

Steve is on Twitter whereas it lasts. Whereas he enjoys writing about cartoons, he’s at present wanting into turning into a post-apocalyptic bug hunter. You can too catch him chatting about trash and treasure alike on This Week in Anime.