Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Alt title: Suisei no Gargantia

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roriconfan's avatar By on Apr 25, 2013

Urobuchi strikes again and as usual the suckers bite it right away. This guy manages to present the dumbest of pretentious ideas as grilled steak. With some assistance from a hentai character designer he has all he needs for an auto-win, no matter how bad the show actually is. And trust me when I say, it is.

The setting is very interesting, as it is in all the stories he writes and never manages to develop in any way past shock effect and superficial philosophy. In my mind it is Xenogears meets Waterworld, populated by hentai people. You get mankind in the far future being in war with space squids. A spaceman takes a wrong turn and is teleported to Earth, which by now is covered with water and the people there are sailors with primitive (to him) technology. The plot is basically him trying to fit in and find a way to return to his fleet.

Here is where the notorious antithesis Urobucher throws in all his works, as he loves to place cute fuzzy girls next to amoral and emotionless monstrosities. On one side you have these silly happy-go-lucky girls who dress and act as if this is a hentai, trying to befriend (and obviously bang) the spaceman who is emotionless and has no clue about morals or the value of human life. Their interaction creates all the conflict in the story, which is basically OMG THAT IS MAKING ME THINK SOOOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT MAKES US HUMAN. And that is all you get since in his typical glory Urobucher only mentions the very basics of the philosophy in the setting, never elaborates or bothers to show more, and then contradicts everything in order to confuse you and make you think it’s all 2deep4u. Examples of the above include:
- The society of mankind in space. You get this infodump in the first 5 minutes of how they breed, fight, and aim to populate the galaxy but don’t really see anything about them.
- The morals of the Earth people. They claim to have respect for life but all you see them doing is killing each other and refusing the spaceman to defeat their enemies before they are all killed by them.
- The intelligence of the Earth people. They all act like they are retards, and not because they are at a lower technological level than the space people. Despite the numerous times the spaceman effortlessly wiped out their enemies, they still think they can overpower him, throw him to the sea, give him to their enemies as an apology, or believe there is anything on the planet that can overpower him.
- The abilities of the spaceman’s mecha. They are completely different in each episode; especially when it comes to radars.
• On episode 1 it requires from the pilot to walk around so the robot can map the area.
• On episode 2 it can map a huge area around it with perfect precision and no help from the pilot.
• On episode 3 it again has a problem to scan a few meters away from it.
• On episode 4 it can easily see what lies behind thick steel walls but not what swims a few meters in the sea.
• On episode 7 it magically can scan underwater just fine.
• It accepts to reveal top secret information to the spaceman just because there is nobody with a higher rank than him around. If it was so damn easy to fool computers, we would have added all classified information of any agency in the world to Wikipedia decades ago.
• Also, the robot seems to not even follow commands anymore as it kills aliens even when the pilot tells it to stop and shovels at your face philosophical revelations that are so obviously inserted poorly by the author just because there is no bloody way for a human to realize all that. We need an emotionless machine to do it for us.

Of course if all you want is fancy visuals, good ideas, and softporn then the show definitely works. There is a lot of shallow entertainment in it, sprinkled with shallow philosophy and fancy action scenes to interest the casuals. The budget is very high, the artwork is very lively, and we get stuff like a masochistic lesbian pirate harem, a beach episode, and a belly dance episode for no bloody reason other than fan service. They pretend those are there so the spaceman can integrade into the world but they are so goofy and full of fan service you just don’t care about all that. I mean as far as humor goes, the interaction between dumb barbarians and super advanced spacemen creates lots of humorous moments. The main objective of the show is not the space war but how a Space Marine tries to fit in Barbieland. You may wish for a lot more than that to happen but sadly nothing of importance really happens.

And yes, not even the revelation of what the aliens really are or the appearance of another spaceman and his own mecha manage to change that since the show has by then wasted a lot of time in belly dancing and just runs through a poorly thrown in final conflict that is resolved in a rushed and anticlimactic way. Instead of offering a couple of episodes for the spaceman to come to terms with the horrible (to him only of course; I find nothing tragic about it) revelation, Uobutcher just throws in his evil counterpart out of literally nowhere, just for the sake of offering a cheap resolve to whatever moral dilemmas the themes may have suggested up until that point.

Jeez, I wonder if my life was wrong up until now. Oh, my evil counterpart has formed a cult full of retards and is killing innocent people in a sea covered in creepy mist. Well, no reason to ponder about the meaning of life anymore; the answer is clear.

If that is not lazy writing, I don’t know what is. If you are fans of heavy titles such as Haibane Renmei or Ghost in the Shell, then this will seem to be nothing more than an ephemeral parody of science fiction. Plus belly dancing.

Just like all Urobucher shows, characterization is paper thin. Just to imagine how uninsteresting the characters were and how unexisting their presense is, think of this. The only one everybody got to like in the end is THE ROBOT which is not even alive and talks without any emotion. Yet pretty much does EVERYTHING in the show, from winning in all the battles with plain firepower, to offering moral monologues and self sacrificing because it was programmed to do so (aka the author said so). The spaceman inside the robot didn’t really do anything during the whole show aside from gasping and asking questions. Every other Earth character is like that too, only they are ten times dumber and the females amongst them are there just for fan service. The only one who gets actual development is the female pirate leader, and even her became a completely different character out of screen and with no real explanation.

In all, it is just another pop corn show you will like for its presentation but will forget soon after it is over.

"OMG I killed people!"
So what, you killed dozens of pirates in the first episodes.
"That doesn't count, I wasn't feeling like a human back then."
And now that you do, do you care?
"To hell with real humans, I only feel compassion for these evolved monsters which have no emotions or individuality."
They are technically not even people you know. They are now a different species, like we are to apes.
"We are still cousins!"
I am not sure if it means anything at this point but do you know Hideause look like fish?
"Yes I do."
What have you been eating all this time on Earth?
"OMG!"
*TROLLFACE* UROBUCHI *TROLLFACE*

And now for some excused scorings.

ART SECTION: 9/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks very nice)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic hentai bimbos)
Backgrounds 2/2 (detailed)
Animation 2/2 (smooth for the most part)
Visual Effects 2/2 (flashy and cool)

SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (seems complicating but plays out quite light)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)

CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (cheesy)
Backdrop 2/2 (simplistic but it presents all there is to them)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)

VALUE SECTION: 3/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too loose plot)
Memorability 2/4 (very interesting setting but the rest are mediocre)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10
Art 1/1 (looks great)
Sound 1/2 (sounds ok)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but handled poorly)
Characters 1/4 (they are archetypes without free will)

VERDICT: 5.5/10

5/10 story
9/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
5.5/10 overall
theSentinel's avatar By on Aug 31, 2013

This anime got a 10 from me, but it takes some serious explaination.  So this will be long and in depth.  Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet,  I hurt myself a couple times trying to say it at first.  This anime was pretty good.  so I was writing this while watching the last couple episodes, and sh*t got so real that I had to change everything, so here I go for the second time.

at first I was drawn into the anime, it was fun, kind of funny, cool, ect.  It explored many different themes and, unlike many anime, actually did a good job of explaining things logically for me.  I was impressed.  Normally, I dislike themes about pacifism, it makes me feel less a part of the anime and it seems more like a lecture or some crap.  GotVP had this theme too, but they handled it exremely well.  Here is why:

--they didnt dwell on mistakes involving this theme
--they didnt try to cram it down the viewers throat
--they showed how it can naturally be a part of life, I guess you can say they rationalized it well.

I was very very impressed by how they took something that most animes do poorly and made it look good. 

Now for a little while it seemed like it might be headed in the wrong direction, but it did not. I was worried up until the end, but my worry was unfounded.  There are also several great twists which add even more themes to the series.  They paved the way for some great character developement and some sick truths.  Furthermore everything matched up.  Everything built into the end.  It doesnt seem like it, but trust me it does.  now to the more direct part so you can gain a better understanding.

Story:  
--started with simple themes of life and started building heavier themes up from that, everything fit and made sense, they explained every point very well.  Extremely impressive

--similar to the themes, the conflicts and moods matched.  Started light, but got heavy and weighed on the hearts of the characters, brought out great story development and finished perfectly.

Animation:  Production I.G. made the animations gorgeous

Sound:  the voice actors were very solid and the soundtrack was great, not Attack on Titan great, but still a 9.

Characters:  I came to love the characters, and they had so many unique and great ones.  Even the bad guys were interesting and well placed.  They also focused on the right people.  obviously the main character needed the most building, but they somehow gave every secondary and most minor characters a special place in the anime.  Only the best animes are able to pull this off.   

Overall:  GREAT START, GREAT DEVELOPMENT, GREAT END, what more do you want?! Most people will enjoy the vast array of themes that come out in this anime, and they did it all in 13 awesome episodes.  this gave me the same feeling as Fractale, but Fractale was done by A-1 Studios and they have a tendancy of screwing up, which they did to Fractale.   I HIGHLY RECOMMEND  Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet.

GO CHECK IT OUT!!

10/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
XxZeroeZxX's avatar By on Nov 10, 2013

Gargantia, it has a nice ring to it


Well, another long overdue review at this point lol. I'm not gonna pull too many punches here, Gargantia is one of the best shows of the year straight up. You're initially drawn in by the beautiful scenery and the wonderfully novel concept that builds through the initial few eps. It's just a great person in a strange world sort of story that you really don't see enough of. And the mix of fantasy and plausibility I thought was really expertly done. After this bit of exposition, the story sinks a bit into that comfortable SoL mode where admittedly not too much is really happening plot wise and it's more about building that emersion with the world of Gargantia. It's the sort of thing that as an SoL fan I'm used to, but I know it unnecessarily turns some people off. Everyone wants those shows that never take the foot off the pedal, but a lot of those shows tend to crash and burn. Gargantia starts with a solid foundation, before it hits you with that knockout punch. And almost inexplicably, this apparent SoL gets a plot, and a damn good one at that. It's an incredibly strong 2nd half with surprises in store, and it just gets better and better as it goes along which is what you always want to see. And this is the point where you might be thinking, oh this all sounds very generic yeah you liked to show but so what? Well you want that so what factor, you've got it. This ending is FANTASTIC. I'm not talking best of the season, I'm not talking best of the year, I'm talking one of the best ever. Beautiful. Intense. Memorable. And that is what sets Gargantia apparent from just another good anime. Though, I did do a bit of a disservice to those surprises that are in store. Cause there were moments plural that I genuinely gasped, again not something you see very often. So I guess those are my general thoughts on the story/ plot. I'll go ahead and speak some on the characters. Overall not a big strength, but likable and the leads are pretty well developed. Ledo in particular has nice character development from being this person in a strange world to one of the gang if you will. But at the end of the day, it's Chamber the robot AI that steals the shows... and that's all I'll say about that. Amy is immediately and extremely likable, though she is fairly stagnant I'm afraid. I guess all that's left to say is that the music is very much appropriate to the series so no complaints there (and I like the ED). So yeah, Gargantia is a great show and a nice easy watch so go for it! 8.5 out of 10.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
dekershekers's avatar By on Oct 23, 2013

STORY – 9/10
It’s rare that I find an anime that really seems to stand out from the rest. This one’s technically a Mecha anime by class, but it doesn’t  have the same things that define the other anime. Now, having watched Gundam 00 and Code Geass I thought I’d seen the full extent of different-style Mecha Anime. I was wrong. This story is completely different. The story  follows the psychological journey of Lieutenant Ledo, and at the start of the anime you expect it to be full of action and blowing stuff up in space like your typical Gundam anime. Then, after about seven-to-ten minutes, the story takes a dramatic change. Ledo is thrown into, well, they never really explain where and how he got thrown into something. Anyway, he arrives on a ship with some people who are a lot more primitive in their technology. He then realises that he’s reached a post-apocalyptic earth where the entire planet is covered by water. People now live on fleets of ships held together by cranes (somehow). Ledo then realises that there is no way to return to his space buddies and has to learn to live a new form of life, finding many pleasures that are forbidden in his previous space life (such as spending time at the beach, playing video games, eating proper food, etc.). But then, the conspiracy side begins. It turns out that the aliens he was fighting are actually- well I won’t spoil it for you. Anyway, this anime provides a fantastic story that mirrors that of one Hayao Miyazaki would make. It has its flaws, though, Due to it only being thirteen episodes, there isn’t much time for character development. Still, it’s a damn good story.

ANIMATION – 8.5/10
Another way that this series takes from Miyazaki is in the drawing style. The backgrounds look fantastic, and the ocean (one of the show’s primary features) looks beautiful. Most of the backgrounds look as if they have been painted, and yet they don’t stand out from the characters. Also, the Mecha are awesome. They are done in complete CGI – something that many animators still fail to do in many series. But the style of CGI also fits into the rest of the world. It’s a really magical style, and it fits the part. Still, the characters could be a bit better. Most of the males are drawn fine, but the females are always the same. Their body composition seems too similar from one female to the next. It’s off-putting at times, but all anime has its failures.

SOUND – 8/10
I don’t really like talking about sound in an anime, but in this one something really stands out and makes it unique. In several anime, people wonder why alien planets always end up speaking Japanese. In fact, that’s pretty much a problem of most anime (unless they’re talking English, or Engrish). But this one breaks free from that trope. They openly show that Ledo and the colonists aren’t speaking Japanese at all. What this anime does is show the character they’re focusing on to  be speaking in Japanese, but the others who are speaking in a different language talk gibberish. This switches around, depending on whose perspective you’ve got. It really works well here. Sadly, though, the theme song doesn’t do too well. It doesn’t really fit the style of anime. The soundtrack is okay, but it suffers from the usual ‘use the same songs every episode’ problem. Still, the voice acting’s good. Not too many problems here.

CHARACTERS – 7/10
The characters in this show aren’t too bad either. Getting past the bad female designs, they do the job well enough. Ledo isn’t the type that will make fangirls swoon, which is actually what’s supposed to be in this series. Funnily enough, most of the fangirls swoon over his robot; ‘Chamber’. For a robot, he’s surprisingly funny in the kind of way you’d find Data from Star Trek, or the T1000 from the second Terminator film. He is still trying to grasp the social implications of the world around him, and it’s even funnier because of his large size. In space it would have been great for Gundam-style fight scenes, but down here it creates comedy for getting in the way. The other characters are fine, however many of the people on the fleet of ships seem to have a similar personality; headstrong and sometimes rude. There are a few quiet characters, but there are too few to balance them out. I guess maybe it’s part of the colony’s culture, but it does seem a little off at times.

OVERALL – 9/10
Despite some flaws in this series, I’m really happy with it. It’s what I consider to be ‘an anime that handles its gene perfectly’. Fantastic story and beautiful artwork in the backgrounds is what fully drives this series. The ending is a bit rushed, but it gives you a good feeling when it’s over. But if the makes of this anime are watching this, heed my warning. I have heard many rumours about a second season of this anime. Now, this season was perfect and I think it has nowhere left to go. The OVA that came out proved it for me. But, I am open to surprise. Make this series good, for all our sakes. Make sure you don’t screw it up like Gundam Seed Destiny. Don’t be the killer of this franchise; MAKE IT WORK!

9/10 story
8.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
9/10 overall
ShannonApple's avatar By on Jun 29, 2016

Personal Opinion:
In part, this anime is a cliche "fish out of water” story, however, it does explore some deeper issues for anyone who cares to look beyond the surface. Gargantia is more slice of life, than a mech action, but one shouldn’t be too disappointed by that fact. It is a worthwhile coming of age story of a young man who is basically thrown into a primitive society with no choice but to fit in.

After being sucked into a worm hole, Ensign Ledo finds himself on Earth, the home planet of the human race, long abandoned and believed to be frozen and lifeless. In the space military, humans are born for one purpose only; war. If a person is found to be “defective” they are not allowed to live. In other words, babies with abnormalities are culled. It does poke at some current day controversies. It doesn't explore those too deeply though, just enough to make us think. Only the strong are chosen to fight. If you can’t fight, you have no purpose and therefore a waste of resources. The people of Earth live with modern day values, so he finds it intriguing how an invalid boy was allowed to survive and is cared for by others. He had never seen an old person before either, which leaves us to believe that in his space “society" everyone fights until they die in battle, or are disposed of when they are no longer worth keeping around.

Ledo is experiencing major culture shock in his new surroundings, which is both really awkward for him and amusing for us. Of course, his arrival with Chamber somewhat upsets the balance of power, so he has some learning to do when it comes to fitting in with the primitive Earth people. I absolutely adore Chamber's character by the way. Literally everything that Ledo knew to be true proves to be false, and he has to find his own path in life, opting to work on the floating city and earn his living. Ledo has to learn what it is to be truly human, to have relationships with other people, to experience friendship and love.

I was a little disappointed at how Amy lost some of her presence half way through the series. I thought that there should have been a little more to her as she started as a really strong character. She ended up being just... there.

The anime stuck to one major plot line, exploring questions around what it means to be human, and what if we lost our humanity. Unfortunately, Ledo doesn’t forget his primary objective (killing things) even while on Earth, and that lands him in a bit of hot water with the natives. What they hold sacred, he holds in contempt, due to what he has been engineered to believe. We learn a little bit more about Ledo's personality in this sequence, as he learns about consequence.

This anime is visually beautiful as well, which makes it all the more worthwhile. The backdrops are stunning and the characters are well designed to fit with a post-apocalyptic utopia. The fan service is kept to a minimum. One of the prerequisites I have when I watch an anime is no obvious, embarrassing fan service. There is a beach/party scene, but other than that, we see very little.

Gargantia isn’t the best anime ever, but it’s certainly one of the more enjoyable shows that I've watched. 8/10

If you like this you might also like: Aldnoah.Zero

(This review originally posted on sakugacity.com)

8/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
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