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?

9_superior
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.

Suisei no Gargantia – 07

Amy, Ensign Ledo

Word spreads around Gargantua that Ledo has killed a “whalesquid”, a grave taboo, as they are sacred, fierce creatures who only attack if provoked. Ledo is unapologetic, and bioanalysis confirms the whalesquid are genetically identical to his sworn enemy, the Hideauze. Before Fearlock can make a decision, an enormous sea galaxy appears with a huge pod of whalesquid. Amy and Ridgett stop Ledo before he can attack, and the squid pass harmlessly under the fleet. Pinion and Flange, a major ship owner, propose breaking off from Gargantia and using Ledo and Chamber to get to treasure protected by whalesquid. Fearlock is about to refuse, but suffers an apparent heart attack.

It’s trouble in sexy belly-dancing, creepy octopus paradise, as Ledo’s brainwashing (for lack of a better word) supersedes everything he has learned about society on Earth. As long as Hideauze exist, he will fight them until one of them (or both of them) are dead. It’s the only reason he exists, as far as he’s concerned. Chamber doesn’t help matters, as his programming is just as ingrained as Ledo’s: no matter what he may have learned about earth’s philosophy of co-existence, there are procedures to follow when a Hideauze is spotted that renders such educational dalliances null and void.

Chamber is Ledo’s servant and tool, but Ledo is the Alliance’s servant and tool. But is that all he is? Is that conditioning as impermeable as it seems to be here, as Ledo decides that he must abandon Amy, Bevel, and all of Gargantia in order to complete his mission? We will see, but before this new conflict is resolved, it seems inevitable that Ledo will have to leave Gargantia for a time…and Pinion is ready and willing to help make that happen in exchange for Ledo’s cooperation in relieving promising treasure sites of their whalesquid sentries.

8_great
Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • That plan-view map of Gargantia is pretty slick…we wouldn’t mind something like that on our living room wall!
  • Pinion isn’t just on Ledo’s side for greed and pride…but to avenge a brother.
  • Fearlock is full of great lines. We wish we could watch more of him and Dr. Oldham shooting the breeze, but first he has to live another day!
  • We’re thinking more and more that Ledo is in the distant future, long after the war between Hideauze and Human has ceased, and the two essentially share Earth together. We believe this because a lot of that underwater treasure is likely tech from Ledo’s time, which the whalesquid would naturally not want humanity to get its hands on, lest the cycle repeat.
  • On that note, perhaps the Hideazue/whalesquid are “aliens” at all, but a naturally-evolved check against human development, in order to save it from itself? Think the toxic jungle of Nausicaa.
  • The show is doing a good job showing that brainwashing aside, both sides have reasonable arguments for why they’re acting as they are. The only thing tripping up Ledo is the fact that he’s trying to start a war where one shouldn’t exist, and obeying orders of what could well be a long-extinct Alliance.

No matter what the reality of the situation is, accepting it is a privilege for those of us who are alive.