4 out of 5
Sneaky upskirts. Shower perviness. I wish these weren’t seemingly requisite aspects of most manga, and although Tsutomu Nihei works the stuff in moderately well – by this point, the upskirts aren’t necessarily blatant, and the shower stuff is almost so ribald in its execution that it feels like Nihei just throwing up his hands and saying – “You want naked girls and tentacles? Fine.” – and then managing to link it to the story moderately well to boot.
Add to this a precious harem-esque love triangle / quadrangle with apparently-every-girl and Tanikaze, and I should really rank this lower. …Except, dammit, the core plot is still so fascinating, and while Nihei keeps tossing at least one extraneous girl into the mix with Tanikaze (here it’s Yuhata), he has actually developed the friend-zoned bond he and Izana have so that it’s admittedly cute seeing them baffled around one another, and penis-monster Tsumugi is, admittedly, a fun and weird component of that as well, since they both have attachments to “her.” So the last whole chapter’s runaround, in which Izana’s grandmother essentially sets her granddaughter and Tanikaze up on a date, while Yuhata and Tsumugi conspire to spy on them, is endearing instead of being grating, which is all kinds of ridiculous when buried in what’s sometimes kinda mostly a hard sci-fi manga with robots and tendril-aliens.
Storywise, this section – like in the last tankobon’s chapters – serves as a balance to the insanity that precedes it, in which the Sidonia becomes intimate with an unexpected gauna, and the second hybrid goes absolutely haywire, and retroactive spoilers, except it’s still shocking how much damage occurs in this section.
In other words: this book is still cooking.
With the extra clear-lined detail Nihei has started to employ, his line becomes more steady here, leading the way to his very direct style on Aposimz.