This was an anime I wanted to see at KrakenCon, but it either never got shown or shown at a time I was falling asleep in a panel. It was easy enough to hunt down “Suisei no Garugantia” (“Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet”), but it is more like “Waterworld” than anything else.
It is potentially the year 2400 or so (gleaned from numerous vague references). Mankind has taken to the stars and formed the Galactic Alliance of Humankind, as Earth had turned into a gigantic space ice cube and all life had to flee or freeze. The Alliance is engaged in a perpetual war with a tentacled alien species known as the Hideauze, which looks more like a carnivorous flower (with nasty, big, pointy teeth…) Sixteen-year-old Ensign Ledo is a soldier in the Galactic Alliance, piloting a Machine Caliber, a humanoid-shaped battle suit with marvelous AI, which he refers to as “Chamber”. After a failed attempt by the Alliance forces to destroy an enemy super-weapon, Ledo is knocked into a wormhole and loses consciousness.
He wakes up six months later, getting worked on by humans who are curious as to what may be inside this tin can, but the metal is providing great resistance to being forced open. One night, he comes out of Chamber, captures Amy (on his right, who was in the hangar bay with Pinion, a repair guy; he’s that teal shirt at the far right) and generates a stand-off. He then realizes that he is on a ship that is part of a massive fleet of ships, which is more like a gigantic city, which is called…..Gargantia.
The story details how this soldier boy has to contend himself in a world that is not at real war, but he has his war mentality still at the ready, and how he tries to fit in. In one sense, he reminded me of Sousuke Sagara from “Full Metal Panic”, but not as humorous. His actions and consequences have serious repercussions that put everyone in danger. You see, Ledo was born and bred to be a soldier from the get-go. He questions nothing, he does as he is told and he is unafraid to die. His best friend is Chamber, who understands him completely, a real wing man for him.
This show is a series of discovered truths, which makes it hard to review, as you need to discover all of these problems and concerns and what it all means for yourself, much like Ledo. Then, he is asked to do the most abominable thing ever….think for himself! All of a sudden, he discovers the world is a much more complicated place to live, with things like subtlety and nuance and hints, rather than blow ‘em up and mow ‘em down. About two-thirds through the series, it hit me as to what it was: a version of “Wall-E”! Yes, there is a grand ecology lesson to be learned here, but also that those whom you trusted in may not be as trustworthy as you may think, serving their own agendas.
I would recommend it, anyway. It is a grand spectacle, with the early fight scenes and the grand sweeping vistas of this watery world upon which our tale plays out. It is hampered by a bit too pat of an ending, but, the way it was designed, it was the only way it could end. IS there a second season? There could be, as the ending gives us that opportunity to see and be more with this planet.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Some good, strong designs)
Plot 7 (Done well for a cobble job)
Pacing 7 (The small moments get a bit awkward)
Effectiveness 8 (Even with some obvious moments)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 8 (Despite a rather pat ending)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I am a soldier.