The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Suisei no Gargantia- Final Impressions

Suisei no Gargantia bought to the table an immensely entertaining story of a soldier who found himself on a foreign world, and eventually coming to appreciate what being human really is about. I was not initially aware of the anime’s background; in the anime community (which I am only a distant, aloof member of), there was much excitement when it was announced that UroGen and Murata Kazya would participate in producing this anime. Admittedly, for me, I’ve never really paid much attention to the actors or producers in a particular TV series or movie, so I don’t keep up with this information. It’s a different story for game developers, of course, but that is neither here nor there. The present matter at hand is that I originally saw a curious piece of speculative fiction that seemed worth watching, and that after completing the series, I would recommend this series for its depiction of the future and portrayal of how societies, rather than the technology, define a civilisation.

  • As with the Puella Magi Madoka Magica reflection, this is a 30-image post. The ever-increasing length of the posts is a trend that seems to be continuing as I have more to say about an anime, although this naturally means I need to spend more time writing the posts.

  • After Ledo torches the pirates from a while back, Lukkage and her Lobster mecha arrive; this time, Ledo opts for non-lethal measures and effortlessly repels the second pirate assault.

  • Feeling without a sense of purpose, Ledo goes job hunting, but finds it to be a remarkably difficult process and that many of the more interesting jobs requires qualifications. Naturally, the less glamorous jobs in the real world require less qualifications, and is necessary for one to build work experience.

  • The entirety of the fanservice in Suisei no Gargantia is concentrated in episodes five and six, although it is not Amy who is depicted in that manner: here, she is teaching Ledo fundamentals about swimming.

  • Before anyone asks, yes, it took quite a while to write this post, and yes, I included specific images for the sole purpose of livening up the page, because images of just mecha and combat would probably be boring.

  • In China this summer, the heatwave has meant that it gets hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk: this expression comes from the fact that some pavements do get hot enough to fry an egg and has been a trend in warmer states, like Arizona. In Suisei no Gargantia, Chamber is used as a surface for grilling meat, giving some insight onto how changed the Earth’s climate is following their ice age.

  • Contrasting many of their Western counterparts, anime places emphasis on the details and as such, renders food very nicely. This image was included solely because I suddenly felt the inclination to discuss the whole deep-fried fish I had on Saturday, which was prepared in such a manner as to deep-fry even the bones. While crazy unhealthy, it was delicious.

  • Ledo initially uses a holographic UI (not unlike what the Google Glass does) that translates in real time the language the Gargantians speak, but as the series progresses, his dependence on it lessens as he becomes more fluent in the older language.

  • There are websites out there that only concern themselves with the more risque things in a given anime episode. One such site that goes into depth about these things doesn’t even offer any insight about the episode, which is more than merely this scene and extends to discuss Ledo’s lack of understanding concerning currency. I view currency as a physical token that denotes where a “favour” is owed: for instance, the steak I ordered may cost 25 dollars (25 favours) and as such, may be turned towards buying something of equal value.

  • Somewhere, someone out there would have turned this scene into an animated .gif. I noted previously that anime seems to have very little sense of age, adding on several years to all of the characters: Saaya is clearly too well-developed to be 15.

  • Chamber’s initial methods of catching fish are unorthodox and reduces said fish to a pump. Later, with Ledo’s coordination, a much more successful harvest is attained.

  • After reacting on instinct and moving to protect Amy from what he perceives as a threat. Ledo realises that he still remains ill-educated about the multi-faceted aspects of human society and asks Amy to teach him more, even requesting a dance from her at one point. I recall one scene from Metro: Last Light that involved a dance: later, I found out that scene was optional, and I could have saved myself both time and coin had I opted out.

  • The Hideazue are also known as “whale-squid”, and guard the many now-sunken relics of the former age. Their concentrated presence around human relics foreshadows their origins, although the Earth-bound Hideazue are far more docile than their space counterparts and co-exist with the Gargantia and other remaining humans.

  • Insights into the rigid military structure of the Galactic Alliance are given where Ledo mentions his purpose as a singular one: to eliminate the Hideazue for human prosperity, contrasting the Earth’s humans and their society. I admit that I haven’t seen such an equivalent to the Galactic

  • After the Gargantia’s Fleet Commander passes on, Ridget takes on the mantle and is faced with a portion of the Gargantia fleet breaking off in their hunt for treasures. This divide will set the stage for the final few episodes.

Long ago, I’ve noted that Ledo’s original appearance on Earth was reminiscent of Fry’s entrance into the year 3000. Lost and confused, both Fry and Ledo become encounter a group of individuals who help them learn about their environment’s concept. For Fry, it is adapting to the future with its whacky technologies and customs, while for Ledo, it is learning that humans can live as a functional society without the strict military structures he grew up around. In both cases, the “fish out of the water” depictions are dropped after the protagonist becomes integrated with society, taking the story in a truly interesting direction: Suisei no Gargantia depicts Ledo’s conflict with his own training: he initially has difficulty understanding what harmony, co-existence and aspects of society (e.g. currency) are. Ledo’s other conflict is with the Hideazue, Flood-like beings with human origins. Admittedly, while the revelation about the Hideazue’s origins was subtly expectable, it nonetheless returns to the thoroughly-debated question of what constitutes as human and whether or not our current trends with genetic engineering will eventually engineer a split in humanity. Of course, this material is better discussed with experts in bioethics. Nontheless, this represents an interesting turning point in Suisei no Gargantia.

  • Amy and Bellows discuss Pinion and Ledo’s departure.

  • I wonder how Halo fans would react if 343 Industries ever had said that the Flood were a human construct designed to combat the Forerunners. Of course, this is not the case: the actual Flood from Halo resulted from the Forerunner-Precursor War. Hunted to near-extinction by the Forerunners, the Precursors assumed a powdered form that could regenerate into their past forms. Over time, this dust became so corrupted that it could only cause horrific diseases. The Precursors saw a chance for revenge and so they purposed the Flood to destroy the Forerunners as a final act of vengeance against them.

  • After Pinion re-appropriates some of the artefacts from the previous civilisation, he uses the technology to announce his fleet’s supremacy and threatens to destroy anyone who stands in his path. Of course, this is a clear stab at the hazards associated with high technology and reflects on the Galactic Alliance’s belief that their high technology gives them a right to pass judgement as to what constitutes as a civilisation and what doesn’t, leading them to war with the Hideazue.

  • I suppose that the “whole point” of Suisei no Gargantia is to suggest that a peaceful coexistance between human civilisation and nature, as well as other civilisations, is possible, and that entertainment, cooperation and tolerance are vital aspects to the human civilisation.

  • These are Kugel’s followers: they consider the Machine Calibres to be god-like beings and have formed a totalitarian, religious society based around them. When Ledo first encounters them, he believes that Kugel is still alive; he remained inside his machine caliber due to a disease that prevents him from leaving, seized control over the fleet that found him, and instated a totalitarian militarist regime in the name of improving its strength and efficiency. However, it is later revealed that Kugel was long dead and Striker was posing as him instead.

  • The X3752 Striker is a robot designed for higher ranked soldiers and was fielded by Kugel. Appropriately, it has superior specifications, and this point will become relevant shortly after: Striker orders an assault on Gargantia, as part of her machinations to bring order to human civilisation. Whereas Chamber and Ledo sought to understand this form of civilisation, Striker strove to subjugate it.

  • Together with the Gargantia’s sages, Ridget decides to mount a counteroffensive against Kugel’s forces, rather than sit idle and wait for subjugation.

  • Pinion is appointed to be chief technician of Kugel’s fleet in charge of developing weapons for it, but he and Lukkage rebel against Kugel’s forces, turning one of their rail cannons against Striker in the final battle.

  • The Gargantia has a superweapon of their own: a mass driver that was once used for hitting targets in orbit from the ground. Age and lack of maintenance mean that the mass driver now only functions as a long range artillery cannon, but it nonetheless is capable of some impressive damage.

  • I’ve seen this way too much: the protagonist activates a system like the NT-D in an attempt to bring about victory at the cost of their own life, but at the last second, their reason to live (i.e. a girl they’re interested in) shows up and gives them resolve to keep on living. In Suisei no Gargantia, Ledo decides to merge his nerve system with Chamber’s interface to increase its capabilites in an effort to defeat the rampant Striker and its overwhelming performance.

  • After the Gargantia’s mass driver sinks the recovered artefacts, Striker prioritises the Gargantia as a primary target. Chamber and Ledo go after it, but its assault has a minimal impact. The final battle between Striker and Chamber is brilliant: whereas traditional mecha battles have the pilots screaming at one another, it was very refreshing and enjoyable to see the two AIs debate morality as casually as if they were talking over crumpets and tea, all the while engaging the other in intense combat.

  • In the last moment, Ledo reveals that despite willing to sacrifice his life to protect his friends, his true desire is to survive the battle and return to live at the Gargantia with Amy. Chamber then relieves Ledo from duty and ejects him to safety before destroying Striker with a suicide attack, essentially going against his AI programming and telling Striker “up yours”.

  • After the dust settles, Lukkage, and many survivors of Kugal’s fleet, join the Gargantia: Ledo continues his job as a salvage diver, having figured out how to enter whalesquid territory without provoking them; he eventually hopes to learn the means to properly communicate with them.

  • Babel gives a lecture on archaeology here: I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to study the relics of a past civilisation that was more advanced in every way relative to ours. In

  • We recall that I don’t particularly nitpick on things, mainly because a series is worth watching to me if I enjoyed it. I may make the occasional recommendation every so often, but I don’t review anime for a wider audience (and as such, don’t follow a consistent discussion pattern) simply because I don’t have a wider audience; it is quite difficult to get my foot in the door when search engines return results for more well-known but often defunct blogs. Thus, I strive to produce more unique posts or strive to get posts out earlier to stand a chance in the game. At any rate, my final word on is that and Suisei no Gargantia delivered the excellent science fiction anime I’d wished to watch.

The second half of the anime gears up for a final confrontation with Kugel’s fleet rather quickly after the Hideazue’s origins are known, and similar to Futurama, it dispenses with the “fish out of water” elements, completely focussing on the story, and building up for Ledo’s reunion with Amy. The pacing in Suisei no Gargantia thus feels like an exponential curve, starting out slower but accelerating wildly as time progresses: whereas I had watched the first few episodes progressively, I finished the second half over an evening because things had become that engaging. Suisei no Gargantia could have easily fit into a 2-cour space, capitalising on the additional time to explore more concerning the Human-Hideazue war. When all is said and done, Suisei no Gargantia is an excellent anime for being able to capture its environment and building upon what could easily be one of countless stories set within this world. The fact that the soundtrack is immersive, and the fact that the art and animation are of a high quality (no surprises, considering that Production IG, well, produced it) is icing on the cake.

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