65 CommentsFirst Impressions, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet / By Scamp /

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet episode 1 – Space snails

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When the robot’s AI said how much combat hours our main character had clocked in, I paused the video, pulled up the calculator and did some quick maths. That kid has been fighting for 16.5 straight years. Now I’m not sure as of yet how much of that includes his time sleeping in the mech, or whether that counts from when he was very young and in training, but even without that degree of knowledge it’s still a shocking statistic. One of the other guys remarks that this guy is still ‘young’, which implies to clock up over 16 years of service, he’d either have to have been enlisted from birth or started military training as part of his kindergarten level education.

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The amount of detail about the world those lines pack in is phenomenal. We already know the entire population is militaristic to the extreme. The opening segment gave us a view of the propaganda-driven totalitarian regime they were forced to adopt to organise the population so that military fighting is required simply to gain citizenship.  And even after 16 years of service, all this kid got was limited citizenship and 4 days on the planet’s surface. It’s interesting to see how big of a deal they make out of his right to reproduce. When you see how many people die in that epic space battle, it’s fairly clear that well 0ver 99% of people will never get out of their first battle, let alone survive over 16 years of service.

But they have to keep the population going to fight these space snails, so why would they limit their amount of reproducing men? Well, they probably want the best genes possible, and what’s better than natural selection through continuous fighting. Those who gain citizenship and can reproduce will clearly be the greatest fighters and any offspring should have the same fighting genes. To keep the population growing then, that one fighter will probably be the father of 60 bajillion children, living in some kind of space stud farm for humans. Maybe that’s why everyone in that colony looked the same with that same white hair? Or maybe I’m reading too much into that…

It’s not as though it’s 16 years of training either. The main character remarked that he’s so used to fighting he doesn’t even get scared anymore. His response to being woken up by the AI is to yell “where’s the enemy!” which implies he’s used to being woken up with the space snails already attacking. Well, I suppose he could have just been having a bad dream. And in all that time, he’s never stepped foot on a planet. He’s either been on space stations or living that vat-life he has in the robot. So basically civilisation is now producing vat-babies to create the best fighters who spend all their lives inside giant robots regulating their growth and health fighting several years worth of battles until only the best survive, who then create the next generation of kids who are stuck into service with their robot and the cycle begins again.

vlcsnap-2013-04-08-08h08m47s153You know what I love about all that? They did all of that with so few lines and without ever showing most of that directly. Sure I may be a bit off base with a few of those predictions, but I can go into that much depth because of how much information is packed into these little signs. It does all that without infodumping either. It was through some natural dialogue that still giving the characters personality through how they received and reacted to the information. The directing was marvellous too in how it framed shots, such as the spinning camera when the main character got on deck. It even managed to be funny, something Butch Gen isn’t particularly known for. This was one of the best first episodes I’ve ever seen and I loved every goddamn second of it.

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65 Comments

  1. Kiseki
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Haven’t watched this yet, but the official website lists Ledo’s age as 16, so I suppose the AI gave his exact age.

  2. Edraii
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I judge how good a first episode is by how much it leaves me feeling “Go ooooooon”.

    In case of this anime, it left me going “Oh god why won’t you go on already, I DONT WANT TO WAIT A WEEK!!” so I’ll have to agree with how good the first episode is.

    And I guess it’s nice to see a… competent, not mentally unstable mecha pilot for once. Those normally don’t get to be MC’s but I suppose that can change.

    Either way, I want moar!

  3. Edraii
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Oh, and one thing that stood out to me is that near the end, among their more modern style weapons (ak/m16’s) one guy is carrying a Mauser C96.

    http://i.imgur.com/ULF4eH7.jpg

    That weapon is a bloody antique, I wonder if that’s supposed to mean something or not. Maybe how their weaponry is just whatever they could find.

    Or maybe I’m just a gun nut who gets his panties in a bunch over 100 year old weapons.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      What a strange thing to notice. It probably does mean something, given that I doubt they’d have put that level of detail into a gun design without it being deliberate.

      • Edraii
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Well, I’ll admit it is a strange thing to notice…

        On the other hand, I was all like “Is that… my god, TIGER PORSHE!” or “… HOLY FUCK MAUS, IN ANYTHING!?” so, uh… Yeah, priorities!

        On the other hand, to give GuP some props I have never seen a Tiger (P) or Maus in any movie or Anime before.

        Actually, I don’t even remember the names of any of the characters at all, I just remember there being awesome tanks being awesome.

      • khawlin
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        Now if we can make a PZKW IV moe we wouldn’t even need those boring tea scenes.

    • Kuddlesworth
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      It looks more like Han Solo’s blaster to me. Maybe the animators where just trolling.

      • Edraii
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Given what that blaster was based on… Besides, if they wanted to be trolling a flintlock would have done it!

    • Anononon
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Well, it could just be a Star Wars homage. The blaster that Han Solo shot Greedo with was just a thinly disguised Mauser C96.

      Edit: Ninja’ed!

  4. Pusswookie
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    So I’ve yet to see this episode, but “Earth covered in Water.”
    You think Gen is going to get biblical on us? I mean, Madoka already died for our sins became the hope of all jews magical girls.
    Actually, Gen is more of the Geopolitical type. I’m guessing that the polar ice caps finally melted in their entirety in this future.

    • blackice85
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I was thinking global warming too, I don’t think it’ll be like Shangri-la though.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Oh lordy please don’t be like Shangri-la

      • blackice85
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        LOL I was wondering if you had seen that one

    • Mikejacobs
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 1:39 am | Permalink

      Or maybe they are on Sealand.

  5. Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    “And in all that time, he’s never stepped foot on a planet. He’s either been on space stations or living that vat-life he has in the robot.”

    I think that’s not just him, but his entire civilization. From the way the robot was identifying Earth, it sounded like there are no other habitable planets at all.

    Which also explains the reproduction control: in an empire that consists of space stations and maybe inhabitable-planetary dome colonies, there is simply no room for more people. Note that the opening narrator also gave the Empire’s population number, at it was 400 million something.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re right. I thought Avalon, the place the main character was promised to go for 4 weeks holiday, was a planet. But none of the dialogue suggested that, so I think your explanation is more likely to be correct.

      • matrixEXO
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        The picture shown while talking about Avalon never looked like a planet, but an interstellar colony ship. I mean, watching Macross would have given you that feeling when you look at it on the outside so why not in this?

      • Scamp
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Yeah good point. I hadn’t realised that was Avalon

  6. Duelit
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    This wasn’t on my radar at first, but after watching the first episode, I couldn’t help but smile and literally say, “Wow” at the end. It really has the world he lived in summed up in those first few minutes. And I loved the part during the chase scene where they needed more dialog for the translator and he tapped her on the back to startle her. It’s the little things that add up that made me change my mind about the series. XD

  7. Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    This is unexpectedly similar to that Maou-sama show, it’s pretty much a sci-fi counterpart so far.

  8. Shadow
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I think Gargantia is going to be somehow of a shoutout to all Urubochi fans/detractors.

    He is probably trying to tell us: Hey, i can write other stuff beside psychological mindfucks!

    And, i’m not complaining, in fact i welcome it. I feel Gen has lost a bit of its touch due to constantly directing series with a psychological/moral/philosophical dilemma. The introduction was really well done, it gave me that Mass Effect feel that i’ve never felt for a series like this *not even Gundam Wing, my all time favorite mecha gave me this feeling*. You know this is going to be a true sci-fi series. No BS without basis, everything has a physical/logical explanation.

    So while i wouldn’t mind a few mindfucks here and there, i don’t think they will be of the same caliber or as sinister as Madoka, Fate/Zero or Psycho Pass. I think the series should stay the way it is.

    This series has everything to be a 52 episodes meccha shounen extraordinaire! It gives me that Eureka 7/Gundam Wing/Gurren Lagann/Code Geass feel i don’t usually get for meccha series this days.

    • blackice85
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Now let’s hope they don’t cripple it by being a 13 episode run.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Hard to tell what he plans to do from the first episode. However he has a strong habit of very deliberate plotting, so each twist is foreshadowed. So we’ll have an idea what direction this series is going in fairly soon.

    • Stef
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      I’ll say this of Gen: he’s very good at having great ideas.
      Doing something deep and complex with them? Not so much.
      (To be fair, I don’t think that’s his objective)

    • Rait
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      It will be 12 episodes according to MAL.

  9. Cirith
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    It seems I will have to watch this, because I’m not sure whether it was a serious review or making fun off silly implications.

    • Cirith
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Ah watched it now, the 16.5 of service for someone of a similar age sounded like an error you were making fun of, but I guess they basically live in their mechs in this show.

      • Shadow
        Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

        Not forget to add, that they use stasis and wormholes to travel through space. So the MC could easily be 50+ years but due to space-time continuum and the speed of light he’s just 16 and a half years old.

        I like that, its the first anime i’ve seen that actually added space timing into it’s plot.

      • The Big Guy
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        You may want to see Gunbuster then… It will blow your mind.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Also Voices of a Distant Star

  10. Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s amazing how this episode could convey so much so naturally. I wonder how it will go on? Hopefully not with Main settling down and living.

    Question: was it just for me or did the space battles have low fps at times? It looked choppy.

  11. Posted April 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Great job there Scamp. Purposely took the screenshot of Led touching the girl’s butt with his weapon. I don’t know Urobutcher can write such plot.
    :-D

  12. luffyluffy
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    On the contrary, I thought the first fifteen minutes were basically just BUZZWORDS BUZZWORDS BUZZWORDS. The episode improved substantially once Ledo showed up on Earh however. So basically this show reeks of potenti. Now if only the robot wasn’t so… Ugly. Nice cockpit though.

  13. Kuddlesworth
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I did the same thing I used google calculator in the search to calculate his time spent in combat and the time he spent in the worm hole thing its about 6 months I think.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      I did that too, but then straight after he literally goes “6 months!?!” so all my calculations were for nothing =(

  14. Stef
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Was this whole post one giant sarcasm?

    • Shengar
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      A giant mecha anime that capable of taking itself seriously? I don’t think so. From what I’ve read, this is more “show not tell” kind of anime, I wouldn’t surprise if some people can’t understand considering there are just so many anime that would like to tell info dump at you.

      • Stef
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Nah, I’m just saying I still don’t know much about anything to make such a judgment as “great first episode” or something, be it characters, setting or story.

        I guess people are on the lookout for Gen world building so they got excited for infodump-told-by-a-character-so-it’s-not-really-infodump-right?

        My beef is more with the confusing battle sequence.

  15. mwp
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Alright, so just think about this for a second.
    What if…

    What if those space snails are somehow related to Saya’s (Saya no Uta) alien race, perhaps their children, their implanted seeds, spreading throughout the universe after the “blooming” is finished.
    It wouldn’t change a thing, even if that was indeed the case, but the thought excites me regardless.

    • Aelms
      Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      That really is an exciting idea since I always wondered how that ending would turn out.

      But when I don’t think that’s very plausible on second thought, since we see Earth still having people on it. Maybe it’s Saya’s homeworld?

    • Scamp
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      The greater Butch Gen universe. All of Saya’s children are wiped out bar one who becomes the basis for the Sibyl system which then evolves and starts to take over the galaxy

  16. matrixEXO
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Scamp, subbed Death Billiards are out. Give us a good personal view on it!

    • Scamp
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      But I was writing about Chobits…

      • matrixEXO
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        I know you want to do it, Scamp. C’mon! Say it! You definitely want to do it! You cannot deny that desire!!!

  17. Inushinde
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    On one hand, definitely a smart start to a hopefully smart series. On the other, there’s no less a threatening sounding foe than space snails.

    • Shadow
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      Then again, i really doubt the series will touch the subject of the space snail again. If an entire fleet failed to beat them, i doubt a lone hero can.

      He could have been sent to the past though *due to wormhole mechanics*, so chances are he might be able to kill the space snails before they actually become a threat, that would be a nice plot twist.

      • blackice85
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink

        That’d be interesting, but I don’t think it’s likely. His mech said that it had little power left, and I don’t know if Earth has the tech or resources to refuel/recharge it. I have a feeling that he’s going to be relatively grounded, and the mech won’t play a huge role.

  18. Erif
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Woah, Butch Gen at his finest. After reading this I just can’t wait to watch it.

    What I find interesting is that you found the exposition and world building to be naturally, another thing that Gen is not particularly known for. Both the first episodes of Fate/Zero and Psycho Pass have an unreasonable amount of info dump exposition. It’s good to know that he’s constantly improving as a writer.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      You know, I’ve really never been bothered by info-dumps to be honest. So long as they’re contained in the first episode and effectively clarify everything that I need to know.
      With something like the Holy Grail War, it’s probably good to be knowledgeable from the get-go, or else you would have a harder time immersing yourself than the people with prior knowledge of the Visual Novels.

      • The Big Guy
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        I always found it a little funny that there has not been one anime adaptation that explains what the Holy Grail is and what happened to it. That being said, point taken.

  19. Edraii
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 3:21 am | Permalink

    Oh, one of the translations has it with the mechanic saying “We’re in the middle of crossing the milky way right now”, that implies that they’re not locked to earth at least.

    • Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      The second episode clarified that they were talking about glowing line in the water that they were crossing.

      • Edraii
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        There is a second episode out!?!?!

  20. Posted April 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Gen and no exposition dumps? You convinced me, I had to see this with my own eyes.

    I did.

    The first two episodes were very promising actually, the first half of the first episode did do a bit of info dumping but the rest was very interesting and entertaining.

    The interactions between the characters are great, and the whole language barrier was a nice touch, it makes it feel very genuine too.

    The interchange of customs was well played too, it kind of made sense but it worked well as comedy.

    There is one particular thing I didn’t like about the second episode, I’d name it but I get the feeling no many people gave seen it so…. It was just a cliche. Of course the first half of the fist episode could have been done better too.

    Overall is all good so thanks for inadvertently making me watch this.

    • Posted April 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      yeah the first 10 minutes when i charted it out were very drab…and incredibly boring. That’s all I’ll say about that.

      But the last 10 minutes were a real gem. And if (idk how it’d be done) the situation was different and no mech involved, I could definitely see this as being the beginning to a miyazaki movie I wouldn’t mind watching for once.

      But yes, the second episode was relatively annoying, although it didn’t reduce my amount of interest because I still wanted to see what happened and after what happened, i liked how he was like, “yeah, suck it bishes.”

  21. Shadow
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    After watching episode 2, seeing both the opening and the ending. I can tell this series is different from other Urobuchi’s works. Madoka had a similar cheery opening, but you could tell from the characters that appear in the opening that Red will have a harem XD *Harem + Urobuchi = never crossed my mind*

    While usually his work pattern is characters and plot gets darker and darker every episode. I think with Gargantia he took the opposite approach. Episodes will get nicer and nicer as the series moves.

    Maybe the main topic of the series, is neither the space snails or the meccha itself. But adaptability and acceptance of a different culture/world. It will be Red’s journey from a war scarred veteran with a very straight forward mentality to an actual human being, something that the space humans have forgotten after centuries of war.

    Also, Gargantia is Water World done right…thats enough to make it my favorite this season. As i always hated Water World for being a movie with a lot of promise that ended up disappointing me.

  22. Scamp
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    For the record: I’m holding off until there’s a non-webrip version of the second episode before I watch it. I like this show too much to subject myself to webrip quality

    • blackice85
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      This version looks good, though the translation likely isn’t great.

      http://www.nyaa.eu/?page=view&tid=422038

    • Posted April 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Actually dear, they are DVD rips, no web rips, which is not BD rips but the best my laptop can handle.

    • Shadow
      Posted April 10, 2013 at 3:29 am | Permalink

      The video quality is quite decent Scamp. And there’s few misses in the subs. You should give it a try and at least start drafting your impressions.

  23. tf5f89
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I think it looks good so far. I noticed something in episode 2; based on something they said, it seems like this might take place over a billion years in the future, which is further than I’ve seen in pretty much anything else. Not a huge point, I just found it interesting.

  24. R1CK_D0M
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    is it possible that they’ve developed a technology to increase a human’s longevity and youth? So that although he is essentially 16, he’s essentially been alive maybe like 25 years?

    • blackice85
      Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Maybe. Honestly the first thing I thought of while watching this is why the mechs are manned at all. They have precious few people and the AI seems pretty developed, not to mention you wouldn’t have to train them.

  25. UAC
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I kinda like the Galactic Alliance of Humankind symbol which is based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s man in the circle drawing. Furthermore, not all the space humans might be vat babies. I can imagine the drifters or humans not part of the alliance multiply more “naturally”

  26. WeeWaaWeeWaa
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking the white hair has got more to do the lack of melanin, them not being exposed to the sun’s UV and all. Also explains why the main character looks so fair-skinned. There are female voices in the background as well, so i don’t think 1 man will be producing gajillions of babies. Maybe more like match-making.

    It’s probably save to assume they don’t age physically when they are sleeping. Unless there are baby pilots now…

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