Suisei no Gargantia – 09

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Pinion prepares a salvage operation at an ancient facility, as Ledo leads the attack to drive the Hideauze away. He enters a massive underwater facility that is a Hideauze nest, and commences destroying every enemy he sees, until he finds ancient data storage discs, which reveal that the Hideauze were created from and by humans back when Earth in the midst of an ice age and plans for humans to abandon earth were accelerated. Chamber tells Ledo not to believe the data, and then proceeds to destroy a human-like Hideauze that swims by.

This week Ledo dives deep into the realm of Earth Hideauze, and further into his ingrained vendetta towards them. Even when Chamber warns him they’re running low on energy, Ledo presses the attack. And he ends up in so deep, he discovers something that turns his whole situation on its head. The conveniently-edited, informative video paints the Hidauze as derived from humans who underwent biotechnological experiments, and what’s more, Earth was split into two factions: those who were for this “evolving”, and powers like the Continental Union who weren’t. It could be that Ledo was fighting an extension of that war, however many years in the future.

The video of a world steadily being buried in snow is chilling (no pun intended) and shows that desperate humans will take desperate measures to ensure their safety, including the ability to live and breath in the ocean and in the vacuum of space. It’s also pretty chilling that this info was classified and kept from grunts like Ledo (though his successful effort to order Chamber to de-classify it was a nice bit of work.) Citing protocol isn’t the only card Chamber plays: unlike Ledo, he’s devoid of emotion, and the enemy is the enemy even if they’re not the mindless low-level lifeforms Ledo believed them to be until now. Prior to the revelation the episode was not shy showing Ledo and Chamber annihilating them with extreme prejudice. Now he must feel like a mass murderer.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Pinion is motivated by the guilt of not being able to save his older brother in a similar mission years ago. 
  • We’re interested to see how Ledo handles this. If he stops killing Hideauze, that will throw a wrench in Pinion’s – and by extention Flange fleet’s big plans.
  • Amy only appears in the last minute, walking into her house and hearing Bevel play the flute Ledo made, which brings her to tears.
  • Bevel got some good reverb going on that thing.
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Suisei no Gargantia – 02

Amy, Red

Red gives up Amy but hides behind Chamber, and remains in a stalemate as the fleet leaders decide how to proceed. Amy volunteers to commence dialogue, and shares a roasted fish with Red in a ritual of welcome to Gargantia, a floating city. Red shows her there’s no one inside Chamber, and Amy tells him about her world’s history and how they harness energy from the ocean. When pirates attack Bellows’ salvage fleet, Amy begs Red to help them. Red and Chamber proceed to destroy all pirate ships and vaporize all pirates, leaving Bellows’ ship and crew unscathed.

You know how first episodes can mislead you by being extremely pretty and well-animated, only for the episodes that follow to reveal the budget limitations of that series? Well, didn’t happen here. While about half of last week was space battle porn, this week was all verderous steampunk porn. If anything, it was more beautiful, and we found ourselves pausing the action often to gaze at the staggering stills. This has the look of a Ghibli film, and it keeps up this quality – and we have no reason to think it won’t – this could end up being one of the best-looking series we’ve ever watched. But like a Ghibli film, it’s not just about the eye candy. It has heart, too.

Amy, Red, Chamber

We loved watching brave, peace-loving Amy make steady progress with Red and Chamber (voiced by the voice of Kyon and Switch!), and we learn with Red about this gorgeous world. Red’s ancestors left earth when an irregularity in the sun caused the entire planet to freeze over. Presumably, they never went back, because if they had, they would have discovered the ice melted, making it a waterworld, and the humans who remained survived by lashing together anything that floated, and harnessing electricity from “lightbugs” that absorb lightning in the sea in “galaxy currents.”

Therefore despite its comparably primitive level of technology, Amy’s world is most likely Red’s future, not his past. The Galactic Alliance he swore allegiance to may still be out there somewhere, or it may have crumbled centuries ago. We just don’t know, and the mystery is most intriguing. But as we said, look past all these huge fleets and huge ships and huge ideas, and there’s the message that as long as people keep talking, peace can be achieved, good things can happen, and unlikely friendships and new alliances can be formed. Of course, in the end when asked to assist against pirates, Red may have frightened his new friends by not holding back.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • The fish sharing scene was perhaps the highlight of highlights. Aside from the warmth and comedy of the exchange, that fish looked delicious, and the sunset backdrop was achingly gorgeous.
  • First ep not Ghibli enough for you? This week Amy shows us how they use gliders to fly from ship to ship, and even the pirates use power-assisted kites. Pure awesomesauce.
  • In Ika Musume, Kanemoto Hisako voices the weird alien. Now she’s the normal human. But both like fish!
  • The upside to Red eliminating all the pirates is that rumors of “Gargantia’s new superweapon” won’t spread so quickly. But it will still spread, and the fleet’s leadership will see Red as a double-edged sword.

Suisei no Gargantia – 01

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While retreating from a failed all-out attack on an alien enemy’s base Galactic Alliance pilot Lt. Red (Ledo) and his mobile weapon Chamber are swallowed up into a space-time distortion. He wakes up after six months of hibernation to witness several humans trying to open his hatch. Hungry for answers, when they leave Chamber alone for the night he gets out to explore, but he is discovered by locals Amy and Pinion. He grabs Amy as a hostage and runs, but he ends up outside, where Chamber ascertains that they’re on a giant seagoing ship on Earth, a world mentioned only in legend.

Not that it was hard, but this series kicks Majestic Prince out of the water for pure space battle porn, starting with a battle to end all battles that not surprisingly goes pear-shaped for the humans. We went into this episode with high expectations. The director helmed and drew several episodes of the original Eureka Seven. It’s produced by Prod I.G., which usually does top-notch work. And the series comp and script were penned by Urobuchi Gen, who we know is capable of excellent stuff, having also written Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Requiem for the Phantom.

Amy, Red

Throw in some great female seiyus (including the voices of Kotoura, Sasami, Koko, Mei, and Erza), and what looks like a huge budget, and you have all the ingredients for success. And succeed it does. The opening battle is a tour de force of sci-fi mayhem, with a lot of different weapons and formations and tactics flying around the screen. After that thrilling and auspicious start, the episode slows down and takes its time; we go from a fantastic hi-tech world to somewhere that wouldn’t be out of place in a Miyazaki film, only with battleships that float rather than fly. We can be lucky to see one of these worlds in a series; this one has both.

The rolling-out of characters is also kept to a minimum, allowing us to get a feel for what we’re in for. Red is a fish-of-out-water, but he’s not alone; his trusty mecha Chamber is there to help him, and it won’t be long before he can communicate with the natives, the vast majority of whom are quite attractive. Swift, fire-haired Amy in particular is a great contrast to silver-haired, cool, calculating Red. They’re ideal stand-ins for their respective worlds, and it should be fun to learn more about this new world Red finds himself in, and  what he does with the adventure fate has handed him.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Nothing says “implacable foe” like when an attack that massive and well-coordinated still fails.
  • We liked what Colonel Kugel said before heading to his death. He’s not about to let Red die for him before his time.
  • This episode flowed very well throughout, and we loved the shift from the breakneck space battle to the slower and more casual pace of the second half on Earth.