Suisei no Gargantia – 06

Ledo (Red), Amy

Ledo ponders the value of the money he was given in exchange for his services, and Amy promises to show him how to spend it on things other than food at the upcoming festival. He volunteers to pilot a Yunboro in order to catch fish, but he cannot swim, and fails. Amy, Melty, and Saya perform a belly dance while Pinion and Bellows try to recruit Ledo. When an octopus is brought out as a main course, he thinks it’s a Hideauze. Amy later performs her dance just for him during Veils of Light. He goes with Bellows to the sea floor, where they encounter a giant iridescent squid that he and Chamber are convinced is another Hideauze.

Between the calm day and the festival day, Ledo is steadily learning that Gargantia is a far more easygoing society than the one he came from, if you can even call what he came from a society at all. On two occasions this week, he reacts reflexively in the presence of creatures he believes to be Hideauze. Such is his conditioning, the annihilation of that enemy overrides all other considerations: even a steamy belly dance by his three female admirers. He’s also learned that the money he receives for his work isn’t just a means to an end or a means for buying food. That’s only part of it; it’s also a symbol of the support he contributed to others.

The girls belly dance may have been a  bit fanservicey, but it was also another symbol of the difference in priorities between Gargantia’s culture and Ledo’s. Eliminating the enemy doesn’t come first, because there’s rarely an enemy to eliminate. Survival isn’t a constant struggle, because there’s plentiful manpower, fresh water, fish, energy and oxygen. Therefore Amy and her friends aren’t just surviving. They’re enjoying life, something Ledo was never taught to do. He may not even be aware of the concept of sex either, but he’s at least open to experiences that would have been irrelevant or wasteful in his universe…like watching a cute girl dance for you with a gorgeous natural phenomenon as the backdrop.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Chamber and Ledo don’t do to well on their own this week, but once they’re working together as pilot and robot, they do just fine.
  • Chamber fails by whipping up a huge batch of ‘Lil Lisa’s Patented Animal Slurry. We should just be thankful he didn’t accidentally hurt any humans…
  • The men seemed to like the girls’ dance very much, but we’d feel a lot better if there were a couple bouncers to keep some of the drunker and therefore friskier gents away from the talent…
  • We like tako sashimi, but that enormous octopus didn’t look very appetizing. Maybe it’s because we prefer small portions
  • Gargantia now shares its Spring lead with the surging Aku no Hana, and interesting (though not intentional), Gargantia’s ratings are now the exact mirror image of Aku no Hana’s.

Suisei no Gargantia – 03

suisei32

After eliminating the pirates, Red is reprimanded by Amy and later Bellows, who explain to him human lifes should not be taken so needlessly. When the famous pirate “Empress Lukkage” and her fleet are spotted heading towards Gargantia, Fleet Commander Fairlock and Ridgett decide to ask for Red’s help once more. He engages the Lukkage fleet, first as a diversion, and then disabling their weapons without causing casualties. When Lukkage herself attacks Gargantia with her eyes on Fairlock, Red plucks her and her two consorts out of the sea and flings them out into the night. The other pirates retreat. Amy meets Red with a basket of fish as thanks; he thanks her back in her own language.

Unsurprisingly, Amy and all of Gargantia aren’t so much upset that Red saved Bellows’ salvage fleet from pirates as they are upset about the means by which he did so. Basically, he went too far. In space, against the Hidauze (or whatever his foe is called), there is no quarter, and no room for error, so Red’s been trained to ruthlessly slaughter all enemies. Utterly. Here on Earth, he can afford to eliminate a threat without killing everyone involved in it. It’s a quickly-learned lesson, and one in which he’s tested shortly thereafter in a fantastic night battle that makes use of fleets of ships, gliders, submarines and yunboroids. There’s a great sense of chaos, and that even with his superior technology, he has his work cut out for him.

Red may be from a completely different culture, but after hearing Amy and Bellows make their case to him about never killing unless it’s necessary, he subscribes to their philosophy, something that to be fair, he hadn’t heard before, which is why he executed such a vicious scorched earth assault on the pirates that led to more pirates taking revenge. But he’ll find there’s also a price for not killing the right people: he didn’t finish Lukkage off when he could have, but instead embarrassed her and her fleet. He protected Gargantia and won the day, but the pirates won’t stop coming until a way can be found to appease them – if there even is one.

9_superior
Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • We assume Lukkage’s two “consorts” serve many roles for the Empress: they have her back in battle, but also sit around looking pretty, providing her with companionship. We wonder if they were once her prisoners.
  • Ridgett’s dad Chevron was the former commander of Gargantia, but he died, so now it’s Fairlock, whom we imagine was his XO. Ridgett, in turn, is his XO, so Gargantia’s command is not hereditary.
  • Bellows gives Red another animal carcass, but eating all this meat doesn’t seem to be bothering him so far.
  • Thanking Amy in her language is a nice way to end the episode. If it wasn’t for Amy and Bellows, thinks might have turned out very differently.
  • The ED is a lovely sequence starting with Amy windsurfing at sunset. Chamber swoop down over her and the camera follows them as the scene changes to a starlit night. It’s a scene full of joy and contentment, and looks damned fun. The music’s just okay, though.

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.

9_superior
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.