Suisei no Gargantia – 10

Amy

Ledo returns to base, and Pinion’s crew starts bringing up ancient treasure. Pininon sends a wide-range communique to other fleets announcing the annihilation of the whalesquid nest and their discovery, and warning them to stay away. The word reaches Gargantia, where Ridgett, Bellows, Saya and Amy express their disappointment and distress. Pirates attack Pinion’s fleet but surrender when they fire the ancient weapon, and Pinion gets the idea to expand the fleet. Ledo can’t celebrate with the others, as he struggles with guilt over slaughtering the Hideauze. He doubts the cause he always fought for, but Chamber assures him from independent analysis that mankind and the Hideauze have fundamentally opposing survival strategies, and their conflict will always be zero-sum. While discussing this, Chamber detects an allied mech which Ledo identifies as Commander Kugel’s.

While last week was all about putting a human face on the Hideauze, this week balances the issue, by showing that there are no easy answers in the conflict between humans and Hideauze. Both groups are extremes locked in an existential fight. Humans embrace civilization and build tools and machines to exceed the limits of their individual bodies; Chamber considers himself the “crystallization of human intellect”, something essential to fight the Hideauze in their current state. Part of humanity broke off into Hideauze, the group began to abandon civilization, and one could argue they returned to being animals, concerned only with survival and reproduction. If humanity threaten either, they must be fought and destroyed.

Ledo, Chamber

In this regard, Chamber dispenses with Alliance propaganda and simply looks at the facts and the history laid out in front of him, and his conclusions make a lot of sense. Except when you realize that the Hideauze were the result of civilization advancing so far, they could escape their human bodies altogether. Humanity is in just as “extreme” a situation in that they developed a subset of themselves that threatens their own existence. One would not exist without the advancement of the other, so to fight to preserve the level of civilization Chamber and Ledo came from, is to preserve that self-destructive endgame. Compare this to the world of Gargantia before Ledo and Chamber arrived. Because humans lack the technology to obliterate the whalesquid, they simply keep their distance.

It’s a steady truce that must have worked for centuries; a truce Ledo breaks with his reckless pursuit of duty, perhaps to the doom of all. One could argue that the primitive level of civilization mankind endure is a waste of the human potential, but when we know that potential led to the creation of their existential enemy, a maritime steampunk world with a few pirates doesn’t sound too bad. This is the world Amy loves, the world where somehow, humanity and its self-made nemesis co-exist. It’s not perfect, but it’s not constantly the apocalypse. It’s the ultimate expression of “be happy with what you have,” and Pinion apparently never will be. Will Ledo ignore Chamber’s insistence that war is inevitable and come round to Amy’s thinking?

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Want to really drive home the point that a character is incredibly lonely and depressed? Have her say and do virtually nothing for two whole episodes, which is what this series has done with Amy, and effectively. She even snaps at Saya! Who snaps at Saya?
  • We were waiting to see Ledo throw up, as throwing up in situations like that always makes you feel better. If he does it, it isn’t shown on-camera. But throwing up is a decision, and his failure to overtly do so mirrors the ethical/philosophical crossroads he finds himself on.
  • Pinion’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric, but not unrealistic. After all, he’s gotten results and found success in every venture he’s undertaken, and he’s made the fleet into a formidable power.
  • The episode made good use of Melty in showing us that Flange decries Pinion’s ruthless methods. He’d rather share their bounty with others, but Pinion prefers to make enemies, and soon he’ll have enough that they’ll unite against him and then he’ll be sorry!
  • We particularly liked how Chamber made it clear he wasn’t just a mindless Alliance mouthpiece, but lacking emotion, he still isn’t capable of understanding that fighting the Hideauze is pointless. Ledo has, he just doesn’t know what to do with that realization.
  • The power output of Pinion’s new EM weapons is ~76 times greater than the whole fleet, but only 1/50th the output of Chamber. That means, boys and girls, that Chamber’s power output is a cool 3800 times greater than the fleet. That’s some serious…civilization.
  • Lightbugs are humanity’s primary source of electricity. Hideauze skin is made from lightbugs. That’s what you call a symbiotic relationship. You don’t destroy your own symbiont…ask any Trill.
  • Kugel? Holy shit, that guy’s back? He was badass. Ledo may not have the luxury of making his own choice anymore, unless he resigns his commission. Chamber will certainly follow Kugel’s orders over Ledo’s.
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Aku no Hana – 10

Nakamura Sawa, Kasuga Takao, Saeki Nanako

Kasuga and Nakamura ride his bike into the mountains, but he gets tired and it starts to rain, they stop by the side of the road to rest. Saeki excuses herself from dinner and goes after them, and finds someone who saw where they went. As they lie down to sleep, Saeki finds them. She asks Kasuga why she can’t understand The Flowers of Evil and why he likes it so much. Nakamura tells her about all the deviant things he did and even strips him down in front of her, but Saeki doesn’t care, as long as he loves her.

Nakamura gets on Kasuga’s bike and starts off. Kasuga runs after her but Saeki yells at him and he stops. Nakamura tells him to make his choice, but he tells them he is empty inside: he can never love like a normal person for Saeki, and he can’t be the deviant Nakamura wants him to be; he doesn’t deserve to choose either of them. Saeki drops the book in resignation, and a teary Nakamura stomps on it. The police pick the three up and they share a ride home.

Kasuga and Nakamura wanted to weigh anchor and shove off without any trouble. They were both sick of the city and the people in it, had no good reason to stay, and finally wanted to see what lay beyond the hill. Unfortunately, they allowed themselves to be seen by one too many witnesses, and the mountain proved too much for the un-athletic Kasuga, especially having Nakamura in tow. Their great deviant adventure stalls in its infancy, and isn’t allowed to start back up. Nakamura muses that over that hill could be the end of the world, and until they actually get there, for all intents and purposes, it is.

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This week Saeki showed what she was made of by not allowing Kasuga to run away so easily. Other girls may have given up on him after all he’d done to and kept from her, but she loves him, and to her none of that matters as long as she gets to be with Kasuga and understand who he is. Only Kasuga doesn’t understand who he is either. In his climactic speech where he refuses to choose either, he speaks of hiding behind Baudelaire & Co., trying to convince himself he wasn’t normal by pretending to understand literature. It isn’t until he’s between the two girls, faced with the choice of one, that he completely tears himself down in an effort to make himself undesirable to both.

This desperate attempt to snap them out of their obsession with him looks like might’ve worked, on at least a superficial level: Saeki says “Fine, forget it”; Nakamura, shockingly, starts to cry, finally betraying genuine emotion to him. Then the cops arrive, shine a blinding light on the emotional spectacle (record scratch, anyone?), and stick Kasuga between two girls who were stripping him down and pulling his arms out of their sockets a few minutes ago, but now they won’t even look in his general direction, as he’s rejected them both. But lengthy and devastating monologues aside, it’s likely far from over between these three. Fortunately for us!


Rating: 10 (Masterpiece)

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