Manga Mini Review: Knights of Sidonia 1 & Black Butler, Vol. 1

Title: Knights of Sidonia 1
Author: Tsutomu Nihei
SeriesKnights of Sidonia #1
Publisher: Vertical, Inc., distributed by Random House
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 192
Format/Source: Paperback Manga/Library  
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction


Outer space, the far future.

A lone seed ship, the Sidonia, plies the void, ten centuries since the obliteration of the solar system. The massive, nearly indestructible, yet barely sentient alien life forms that destroyed humanity’s home world continue to pose an existential threat.

Nagate Tanikaze has only known life in the vessel’s bowels deep below the sparkling strata where humans have achieved photosynthesis and new genders. Not long after he emerges from the Underground, however, the youth is bequeathed a treasured legacy by the spaceship’s coolheaded female captain.

Meticulously drawn, peppered with clipped humor, but also unusually attentive to plot and structure for the international cult favorite, Knights of Sidonia may be Tsutomu Nihei’s most accessible work to date even as it hits notes of tragic grandeur as a hopeless struggle for survival unfolds. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

I didn’t have many notes for either of these mangas, so I’m just going to write mini reviews of each, where I share what I liked and didn’t like about each.

What I Liked:

  • Pretty cool premise.
  • I really like the artwork!
  • Some really crazy parts. In a good way.

What I Didn’t Like So Much:

  • A lot of this story was confusing. Cool, but confusing.
  • Some crazy and pretty unrealistic parts. I mean, it’s sci-fi so obvs you have to suspend your disbelief but some parts just seemed a bit too convenient.

My rating for Knights of Sidonia 1 by Tsutomu Nihei:

4 stars. I was confused a lot but the premise was really cool. I love sci-fi so it really appealed to me.

Title: Black Butler, Vol. 1
Author: Yana Toboso
SeriesBlack Butler #1
Publisher: Yen Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 192
Format/Source: Paperback Manga/Library 

Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy, Supernatural

In the Victorian ages of London The Earl of the Phantomhive house, Ciel Phantomhive, needs to get his revenge on those who had humiliated him and destroyed what he loved. Not being able to do it alone he sells his soul to a demon he names Sebastian Michaelis. Now working as his butler, Sebastian must help the Earl Phantomhive in this suspenseful, exciting, thriller manga. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

What I Liked:

  • Bonus Points for characters playing pool! (50,000 points)
  • It definitely got more interesting as it went on. The first couple of chapters (or whatever it is divided by–I can’t remember) were very boring, IMO.
  • Good artwork, although Ciel looks like a girl at times. Which is fine, just confusing at times.

What I Didn’t Like So Much:

  • Slow pacing at the beginning.
  • Very cutesy. I don’t mind a bit of cutesy-ness but this seems like too much.
  • Kind of weird before you realize what’s going on. And after I realized what was going on, I’m not sure there was enough to get me to pick up more volumes.

My rating for Black Butler, Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso:

3 stars. I don’t know if I’ll pick up the other volumes, but it did get more interesting towards the end of this volume.
Find Knights of Sidonia 1:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Random House
Find Black Butler, Vol. 1:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Hachette
Disclaimer:  I borrowed a copy of both of these books from my library.  I was in no way compensated for this review.


  1. Micheline D

    April 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I've heard a lot of good things about Black Butler so I'm thinking it might get better as the series moves forward but I can neither confirm nor deny since I haven't read it yet. Loved reading your thoughts though^^ I've been meaning to start reading more Manga :)

  2. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    April 2, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I went to Oklahoma to visit friends and family and spent $90 bucks at The Silver Bullet on graphic novels. I have read a few Mangas, but I prefer graphic novels so far. Although, I really do want to read the Battle Royale Mangas someday!

  3. Kami

    April 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I really like the Black Butler Anime, and I want to read the manga sometime. Ciel does look like a girl at times. I LOVE Sebastian though!

  4. Rajdip

    October 15, 2019 at 5:30 am

    Thank you, for posting this good informative article about the review of Knights of Sidonia. like the way of your Review and its easy to understand with simple words. thanks again for providing this article. Please post more articles like this.

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