One of my responsibilities as a reviewer is to note trends. One trend I have noticed is the ten-episode run of second seasons, and that bothers me to no end. Another is the Movie Conclusion. I first saw it with “Eden of the East”, but a few more are cropping up. It appears a decision has been made by the Parent Company that rather than hoisting another season of a show (even if it is 10 episodes), let’s use a movie or two to close it out or explain things better. Thus is the case with “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” (“Suisei no Garugantia”).
The initial series told the story of Ensign Ledo (right), a soldier in the Galactic Alliance, piloting a Machine Caliber. This is an AI-automated, humanoid-shaped battle suit, 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. When he awakens, he learns from Chamber that he has been in hibernation for six months while his wounds were healing. Ledo also discovers that he and Chamber have been ‘found’ by a rag-tag band of human scavengers.
This is a group of people, living on a water planet, and they try to indoctrinate him into their lives, led by Amy (left) who is a messenger girl. The ‘Gargantia’ is the name of their floating home, made up of lots of ships. Safety in numbers, you know. The movies examine his life with all the new challenges that confront him. The film, “Suisei no Gargantia: Meguru Kouro, Haruka” (“Gargantia of the Verduous Planet: Far Beyond the Voyage”) appear to happen during the run of the series, but I couldn’t find a good spot to place them within the run of the series, save that they should be seen before Episode Seven.
In any case, what most of the people do in these fleets is find sunken ships in salvageable condition or uncover other such pertinent information upon the ship to explain things. When you live on a water planet, any data you can get to help understand what happened in the past is always helpful. On one of these operations, they come across a ship that not only can be raised, but much information to help understand how things got to this condition in retrieved. But a show completely about this (oh boy, another expedition!) would be dull, so we fling in the growing relationship between Ledo and Amy and how love complicates matters.
Remember, Ledo has been born and bred to fight and kill, so peacetime is a difficult concept to grasp and girls are…well…uh…that is…um….yeah, all that and a bag of Green Tea Kit Kat bars. If that wasn’t enough, some of the information recovered from the ships points to a potential caliber-like Chamber that could be constructed or may have actually been constructed.
The biggest drag on this extra movie was the rather careless subtitles. They came across no better than instructions to assemble a bike or something from Ikea (“He return will soundly safe.”). I could puzzle it out, but I shouldn’t have to struggle with the words. It is still a gorgeous-looking show and when we all have a Sun Day on the Deck, you get your daily requirement of fan service. And the conclusion for this leads you into the final installment.
I did wonder how it might have played out if they actually linked it as one full film (just about two hours) than the one-hour each parts, but since you can catch it all together, series and movies PLUS two OVAs, it should move much smoother than it did for me.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Incredible panoramic shots)
Plot 6 (Bit of a fizzle job)
Pacing 8 (That was done well)
Effectiveness 6 (As it was broken up over two segments)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 4 (A similar show would be “Gurren Lagaan”)
Overall 6 (It’s more of a conduit)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. It is nuisance to left me inside.