Gargantia is the series that began to make people realize Gen Urobuchi is just a hax who makes up cool ideas, stuffs them with pretentious dialogues he steals from books, and then doesn’t give a damn about making sense about anything since he knows well that the average anime fan considers Naruto to be an amazing show, with anything more thematically complicating or violent than Naruto instantly being labeled as a masterpiece (Akame Ga Kill, Tokyo Ghoul, Future Diary).
Themes and splatter are not enough to mesmerize the masses though; they also need lots of pretty colors so their minds will go blank and be unable to understand the bullshit they are watching. If the animation is bad, they will bitch about every little detail, if it’s good they will magically not find anything bad to say about it (Kimi no Na Wa). Which stands true for this series as well, since it’s very well animated and has lots of cute girls, a contribution of a hentai character designer that is enough to make your average anime fan begin waifu wars instead of booing the endless nonsense in the story.
And it’s not like there isn’t a story and you are just watching a plotless harem. Lots of things are happening and are rich enough in content to write a thousand essays if you analyze it at face value. Because if you don’t, you won’t have much to go on besides saying how untapped the potential is or how nothing really makes sense. Many will rush to defend Urobutchi by claiming he only wrote a few episodes and that the rest are another writer’s fault but such excuses don’t make the final product any better and even prove how he is a lazy hack who doesn’t bother to write full scripts anymore since he sells by his name alone. Because that is what most were saying about the show; it is a masterpiece because his name is mentioned in the production team.
As always, the setting is very interesting (a combo of Xenogears meets Waterworld, populated by hentai people), and just like in all the stories he writes, it is never developed in any way, since he spends all his time in making up plot twists full of shock effect, and having the characters being mouthpieces who spit superficial philosophy every 3 minutes. So the whole concept of mankind in the far future being in war with space squids is just hanging there as background decoration, while we spend the whole show watching cute girls doing cute things, and amoral monstrosities butchering people over ideologies which have no ground on reality.
And guess what; it was more than enough for the majority of anime fans to like this travesty of a show, since it was making them go OMG THAT IS MAKING ME THINK SOOOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT MAKES US HUMAN. Too bad you get no real insight to any of that, since nothing is elaborated or explored, and in many cases is even contradicted 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 show respect for life when all you see them doing is constantly killing each other during pirate attacks.
- The logic of the Earth people. They blame the protagonist for killing their enemies even though they ordered him to do it.
- The intelligence of the Earth people. They blame him again for not appreciating life the way they do, although he has no knowledge about this, since he is from space.
- The perception of the Earth people. Despite the numerous times the spaceman effortlessly wiped out their enemies, they still think they can overpower him with sticks and stones anytime they feel like it.
- 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 can magically 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. Meaning, all the security systems in the universe can be accessed if you simply fly away from your fleet.
• The robot follows commands only when it suits the plot, it keeps attacking even when the pilot tells it to stop, or shovels philosophical revelations down his throat without being ordered to do so.
The excuse of not having enough time to explore the themes, does not stick when half of the episodes are fan service. We get stuff like a masochistic lesbian pirate harem, a beach episode, and a belly dance episode for no bloody reason other than masturbation aid. They are supposed to be there so the spaceman can integrate into the world by experiencing sexuality, but they are so goofy you just can’t take them seriously, much less treat them as thematic exploration.
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 animation is very lively, and as far as comedy goes, the interaction between dumb barbarians and super advanced spacemen creates lots of humorous moments. It’s in fact the best part of the show; it’s a shame they didn’t build on that, and instead opted for poorly inserted philosophies by a robot.
Characterization is paper thin in general, just like it is in all Urobuchi shows, since they are concept based instead of character based. People are always treated as plot devices, unable to behave as normal human beings, since they exist to serve a role instead of being part of the setting.
- Nothing in the protagonist’s shift from emotionless to caring feels natural because he is never allowed to change gradually on his own. Instead of giving the hero some time to ponder if his space culture is worth to go back to, he is instead given horrifying revelations that have him reacting by screaming and the robot lecturing him as if it’s a wise sage. What you are actually getting is a blank self-insert protagonist with no personality so he can be anything we imagine him to be, being bombarded with theories about morality by Urobutcher who speaks through the robot, and then having lots of dim-witted hentai chicks trying to befriend (and obviously bang) him, as if you are playing a porn game.
- The first time the female pirate leader appears, she is a typical bad guy. How did she manage to be a leader? We are never told. She disappears from the story and reappears close to the ending as a completely different character, again with no explanation. Her out of screen change was the result of having completed her first role, and then being given a new one, with no regards to how or if it makes sense. Why is she even wearing the same slutty outfit, if she is supposed to be in a cult full of joyless people? Why do they believe her or what is she even doing there? There is no answer because the scriptwriter doesn’t care.
- The robot ends up acting more realistic than any of the hentai bimbos or the stone faced protagonist. It’s as if there is no bloody way for a human to realize all that; we need an emotionless machine to forcefeed us the answers all people should know about what it means to be human. And even it is not an actual character to begin with, since it’s just Urobuchi in disguise, stealing quotes from other books and using them as his own, in a lazy attempt to show how smart he is at stealing ideas, without knowing what to do with them.
There are several plot twists in the show, and they are all a complete mess.
- One is about the alien enemies being humans once. It makes the protagonist to lose his mind when he finds out he was killing people all this time. But the thing is, those people had altered their DNA to such a ridiculous degree that they were no longer the same species. He wasn’t killing people because they are no longer people. In the meantime, when he was killing hundreds of pirates in the early episodes, he didn’t feel a thing.
- Another is Earth going through an ice age which forces mankind to go to space so it can avoid extinction. Well if that’s true, why have the people that stayed behind survived the ice age and are now having a normal life?
- Another twist is the out of nowhere introduction of an evil robot from his civilization, doing obviously evil things in an evil place with evil people, so we won’t have to wonder if the space people were right to leave the planet. The show itself tells us what to root for, which makes it lazy and contrived since it takes away the dilemma.
Also, the final enemy is an evil counterpart of the protagonist and his robot. This is stuff you expect to see in silly fighting shonen and not in philosophical shows analyzing the meaning of life, like Gargantia does so painfully. There is no sense of seriousness or depth compared to titles such as Haibane Renmei or Ghost in the Shell, it’s a parody of science fiction, with minors twerking on your face to further make it clear. And yet many viewers were still blinded and wrote essays about how mature it is.
"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?
*TROLLFACE* UROBUCHI *TROLLFACE*
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.
--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!!
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.
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!
Right, it's confession time for me. If you have been reading my reviews than you may have noticed that I tend to rip the anime a new one. There is a reason for this though and it has to do with the fact that I can't turn my brain off when watching anime. I can't ignore the stupid shown in the anime and this is a problem as most anime are very stupid indeed.
In this case I'm not talking about a 90 pound girl catching a multi-ton cruise missile and throwing it back. Yes, it is stupid but it is a stupid that I'll allow. It's anime. Things like this are normal here and I'm pretty much fine with it. It annoys me to be sure but I will not rant about it.
So, having explained this lets rip into this anime shall we? Just a heads up: There will most probably be spoilers. The more I hate an anime the more spoilers there will be.
ART: One of the better looking anime I've seen in a while. Although the action is very fast at times it is still easy to follow and characters are very identifiable. The CGI didn't bother me as much this time so there is also that.
SOUND: ..... I got nothing. As I've said many times before this is not a bad thing. Not for me. It means that the music was at least not bad our oustandingly great.
CHARACTERS: Main character is Ledo. Bred for war he has known nothing but fighting. In the face of the enemy he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal: Total annihilation of the Hideauze.
Chamber is the AI of Ledo's mecha and is programmed to help him in any way that she can. She helps him translate the language so that he can communicate.
Amy is a messenger on the Gargantia one of the first people that Ledo meets. She becomes his guide and friend.
STORY: It is many years into the future and mankind has reached the stars. They have also run into the Hideauze, an alien race that closely resembles a whalesquid. For centuries they have been locked into a brutal war with neither side giving an inch. After the latest battle things go bad for Ledo who gets got in a bad warp and finds himself crashing into an unknown planet. After waking up he is surprised to find humans there and that the planet he is on is Earth. Earth is now completely covered with water and people live on massive ships, or rather a collection of ships lashed together. The Gargantia is one such collection of ships. Ledo initially has trouble letting go of the war but eventually starts coming around. Just as he is about to settle down he discovers the whalesquids that live on the planet as well and the striking resemblence they have to the Hideauze.
RANT: I rather liked this anime. Sure it has its problems but I'm willing to overlook them for the most part.
What I liked the most about this anime is that it is surprisingly character driven. You can argue that Ledo's reaction to the whaleaquid is excessive but I disagree. Ledo has been literally bred for war. Since birth he has been trained to fight and kill the Hideauze. It is all he knows and here he is faced with a creature that so closely resembles them that they could be cousins.
There is also the added information that none of the locals dare harm a squid. Every time they did so, even by accident, they retaliated. This means that these squid are intelligent enough to recognise a threat and respond to it.
So the reaction of the people living on board the Gargantia is also very well done. While most are horrified by what Ledo is doing and planning there are others who cheer him on because they have suffered loss by the squids. They, like most people, left the squids alone because they lacked the power to fight the squids. Now, with Ledo, they have the chance to turn the tables and they grab it woth hands.
It is these little details that I greatly appreciate. The world isn't black and white, it is mostly a shade of grey.
I really liked Ledo as a character. The first scenes you see is him fighting the Hideauze in a horrible battle where people die by the hundreds if not thousands. You learn that he has been fighting for many years and he has survived so many battles that he is eligable for civilian duty where he is allowed to have kids.
When he finds himself on the Gargantia he is lost. There are no Hideauze to fight and he is surrounded by peace.... with occasional pirat attack but whose counting. For the first time in his live he has nothing to do and he struggles.
Then, when he finally starts letting his guard down the squid appear and he flips his shit. The fight is back on and he has a purpose again. Nothing will stop him from completing his mission. Just as he was created to do.
Everything he does has a reason and you understand why he does the things he does. There are so few anime who do this nowadays. Characters just start doing shit because of plot and I'm sick and tired of it.
Weakest part of the series was Kugel. This is near the end and you learn that Ledo's CO, Kugel, also crashed on Earth. Where Ledo works with the locals, he started to command them. Using the power of his mecha he gathered many people under him and created a military regime with himself as their absolute leader. Any who oppose will be destroyed.
By this point Ledo is starting to question the military way and Kugel pushes him over the edge. Yes there are Hideauze-like creatures living on Earth but they live in relative peace with the remaining humans. Fighting is no longer the only option. What Kugel is doing is wrong and he must be stopped.
While it closes Ledo's arc I didn't like the Kugel angle it used to do it. There were other ways to do it but it would have meant less action. The Kugel arc could only finish in a big action piece and it did.
The end is very open and I'm very much ok with this. By this time you have leanred a lot about the world, the humans and even the Hideauze. When it ends the story can go in a lot of directions and, for once, I liked it. It means that you can use your imagination on what will happen next.
Or you can find the manga and continue but for once I'm fine with how an anime ends.