33 CommentsGargantia on the Verdurous Planet / By Scamp /

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet episode 11 – Communism is bad

vlcsnap-2013-06-18-15h49m32s63Yo guys, I think Butch Gen might be into liberalism. I first had an inkling of this when Psycho Pass introduced us to a world where a bunch of brains in jars told us whether we would be naughty or nice, but boy did they ever make it super obvious in this episode of Gargantia. I do kinda love that Commie fansubs did this episode. This must be the natural trajectory of Butch Gen’s career. Start by brutally killing people, then slowly move away from that and into denouncing them commie scumbags. Someone needs to come up with a new nickname instead of ‘Butcher Gen’. I’m not very good at puns so I don’t think my version of ‘Gen McCarthyism Urabuchi’ will catch on.

vlcsnap-2013-06-18-15h50m57s170Leaving aside the politics for a while, I did think this episode was much better written then some of the previous ones. For one, Pinion came off as something other than just a giant walking dick. He demonstrated a bit of humility and I enjoyed his back and forth with the dark skinned girl. I did find it rather weird that the criteria for whether he was allowed handle futuristic space lasers was whether he poked a future Rubik’s Cube with a stick or not. I wonder what the selection process is for hiring chief of engineering. They probably put the candidate in a room with a banana hanging just out of reach and a stick on the ground.

I also liked some of the conversations between Ledo and his new commander and them explaining their various positions on how they approached the natives. The captain probably killed a person or two and demonstrated the awesome power of his godlike robot. Ledo’s first actions upon hopping out of the robot was to kidnap a girl and hit her in the bum with a pistol. All right, so maybe you get one tumblr post about how this is yet another example of misogyny in the postal service, but you don’t get a Stalinist Regime born out of it, no matter what your Reddit-stalking, mens’ rights activist might say.

vlcsnap-2013-06-18-15h54m05s255

Oh yeah, Stalinist regime. I thought Psycho Pass was a bit overt with its themes, but that’s the king of subtlety next to evil religious group serves ridiculously posh meal to upper class as denoted by their ability to poke a cube with a stick. Somehow Sibyl reading your brain scans to determine what job you should be in came off as way easier to swallow a simple magic puzzle test then throwing luxuries at you. Sibyl presented a weirdly compelling argument why it should and could be implemented next to what we had now, and you had to really get to the core of what was important about self-determination to work out your standings on the subject. The author’s position on the subject was obvious from the get-go, but by making the alternative this psychopathic wannabe vigilante, it made you figure out for yourself what about liberalism was important.

Gargantia on the other hand presents the issue in a much more black-and-white manner. I appreciate more anime trying to tackle some of these much broader philosophical and politics concepts. Can’t think of the last one we got that wasn’t Butch Gen and was quite as obvious about this. Probably Eden of the East? That show had someone ‘saving the country’ by packing up all the NEETs, stripping them naked and carting them off to Dubai. That’s practically the famous Jonathan Swift ‘A Modest Proposal – Eat the Poor’ analogy. I just wish Gargantia was better at it. I mean, they end the episode by saying they’re going to destroy the happy wonderful capitalist society? I dunno, maybe this is what happens when you get different people to write every episode.

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33 Comments

  1. ANON
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    So, did they combine “communism is bad” and “religion is bad” in this episode? those people looked more like cult fanatics than communists to me.

    and why didn’t rackage get a costume change? to show off her rack?

    • Scamp
      Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      I thought that was pretty funny that the episode portrayed the regime as similar to a religious cult, given what communism thinks of religion

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    it was cool to see Pinion ‘calm down’ this episode and stop being that token blond guy you wanna kiss and throttle at the same time.

    Honestly, now that all three shows (Gargantia, Majestic Prince, and Valvrave) are past the 10 episode mark, I think Majestic Prince is probably the best out of the three of them. Gargantia’s lame middle stretch (not bad by any means, but certainly lame) and Valvrave’s RAPEKILL THE NIGHT have dragged the shows down for me. Meanwhile, MJP might be slow, but it’s remained at a constant level of enjoyment for me, which leads me to like it a bit more.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Nah, I still like Gargantia the most of the three because at least it has an aim. I don’t know what Majestic Prince is supposed to be about and I don’t care about the events anymore. I gave up on the show last week because I stopped caring. Or more like I never really cared and only kept watching because I dunno giant robots or something.

      And Valvrave is just stupid. The bad kind of stupid.

      • Mr. Anon
        Posted June 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

        >And Valvrave is just stupid. The bad kind of stupid.

        Just like Code Geass R2, but you seemed to like that well enough.

      • Chevalier
        Posted June 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        @Mr.Anon:

        I don’t think Code Geass and Valvrave are even that similar, both upon closer inspection and taken as a whole, but then again the fact you’re actually making such a comparison makes me question your own judgment. R2 doesn’t exist in a vacuum, which is always important to note, plus it also had better episodes at the start.

        At the same time, I happen to disagree with Scamp in that I do think Valvrave is stupid, undeniably so, but it’s still not nearly as bad as many other things I’ve seen.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted June 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      You wanted to kiss Pinion, who was being an arrogant dick, last episode?

      I’m just going to assume it’s that tragic brand of “but I know he has a good side” [which, oddly enough, was true this episode] girl logic.

      • luffyluffy
        Posted June 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        It’s more of a product of good character design and konishi’s voice acting. considering all my favorite characters are either 30+ guys with beards, pinion’s clearly the oddball here.

  3. Gedata
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    No mention of QUALITY? First that one episode of Psycho-Pass, then the stills in Attack on Titan, than this? Step it up Production IG. Oh well, the masters of QUALITY will always be Gonzo.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      I was going to mention it, but I’ve realised that I sort of don’t care about the one or two episodes of QUALITY. Heck, the Meguka faces in Madoka were more charming than an actual knock against the show.

      I remember when the one suddenly terribly animated episode was a Satelight thing. Guess Production IG took over their crown in that category

  4. Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, that’s one angle. There’s also the religious angle, the Randian economics angle, the military-industrial complex angle, the “decaying Japanese corporate structure” angle, and the Dances with Whalesquids angle (though hopefully people have realized that last one makes them look more ridiculous than insightful at this point).

    I don’t think any of these elements are incredibly nuanced or subtle, but I think it touches on all of them pretty coherently, and that the sum of their parts is a world with a good number of interesting moving pieces.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Fair point. When you bring in all those differing ways of reading it, it’s a bit more interesting. None of them are, as you said, subtle in the slightest, which I guess is the brunt of my criticism. But it does cover several points asides from good old commie bastards

  5. Posted June 19, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I wish they had set up this last arc better. Some vague rumors of a power amassing beyond the fog, or tales of how the Bandit Queen bent the knee; anything to make the story flow better. We’re supposed to feel horrified that Gargantia, a seafaring paradise city, is going to be attacked but the first several episodes didn’t develop the city well enough to be attached to it.

    Personally I would have combined Ridget and Bellows together into one character to make them more compelling and so their conflict with Pinion would mean more. Amy and Ledo’s relationship should have been developed further to make us care more about Ledo’s leaving and return to Gargantia.

    Its still an above average show but like Eden of East, it had a great first episode and enormous potential that went unfulfilled. Eden of East will probably remain higher on my list though, because I doubt the last 2 episodes of Gargantia are going to wow me.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I love Eden of the East to bits, but I guess it ultimately didn’t deliver on the promises. But maaaaaaaan, leaving it at just that TV series, it’s a phenomenal anime with an amazing ending. But yeah, doubt Gargantia will live up to that

    • Posted June 21, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      Gargantia desperately wishes it could be half as interesting or nuanced as Eden of the East. Damnit, I miss that show now ;_;

  6. BwackNinja
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Communism has been full of more than its fair share of brutality over the course of its various incarnations, but I dislike the apparent continued notion that capitalism is without losers. The society that Kugel has created uses an anthropocentric notion of extrinsic value, and it’s designed to be fair, though portrayed as being kinda wrong somewhere – exacerbated with the presence of a false good. Gargantia is supposedly the opposite of this society and has the appearance of a utopia, but as Amy’s little bro has said, he’s valuable because he supports the people around him, though in ways foreign to Ledo’s upbringing. For some reason, they don’t go for the “all life has intrinsic value” route with their society despite how that seems to be their position with the whalesquids.

    This series is bit all over the place with its values.

    • BwackNinja
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:14 am | Permalink

      Oops, “false God”, not “false good”.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Preach it bruva!

      But yes, I am with you. Don’t really think the capitalist society is any more likely to help the weak than communist is in Gargantia’s analogy.

  7. Posted June 20, 2013 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Is Kugel even alive? What if the robot tricking everybody?
    Oh yeah. Say no to communism, guys.
    Capitalism, Ho!

    • ANON
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:35 am | Permalink

      Capitalism, Ho!

      I really need to finish that game. :D

      • Posted June 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Me too! The characters are cute. But the grinding gets too tiresome to me fast. *hates grinding*

        Oh, wait. I did clear her debt in my first playthrough. But it can be called finished since I haven’t gotten the final two mercenaries.

      • Scamp
        Posted June 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        I got bored of that game. For as funny as the odd line of dialogue, the whole thing is a giant fucking repetitive grindfest. Anime fans hype it up because it has cute anime girls in it. Because apparently anime fans are that easy to please

      • ANON
        Posted June 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        I had that game with me since it came out, its been years and I’m still at 71% completion, mainly because of what you two said, it is indeed a grindfest.

      • Nazaren
        Posted June 21, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        Captitalism, Ho!

        I adored that game right up until I paid off the debt… then my interest in it dropped right off a cliff. I’ve never had that happen so abruptly with any other game.

        I wanna go back to it, but the overwhelming feeling and knowledge of grind is putting me off.

        … *goes back to grinding in Tera*

      • Hanasra
        Posted June 21, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        They should make it focused more on the economics. Maybe something akin to, Spice and Wolf.

  8. Hanasra
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    So, which Episodes Gen Urobuchi write it himself? I wonder though if Urobuchi really did act as supervisor or just “figurehead” supervisor. The quality between episodes sometimes just too jarring for me.

    • Posted June 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      I heard that he is only in charge of the beginning and the ending. Meaning the first episode where Ledo got stranded on Earth and this silly cult thing.

  9. lesterf1020
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I am quite disappointed. If this is where the series was going I think they wasted and misused a lot of episodes. If they were going to mess with philosophical politics I wish it was a lot less black and white and more complicated and nuanced.

    Do they make anime like that anymore? I think the last show I saw that had a nice messy philosophical political discussion was Le Chevalier D’eon. I thought that was about Knights, espionage, wizards and magical zombies in pre-revolutionary France, so imagine my surprise when they started having a messy debate about liberalism vs the monarchy.

    I could do with more stuff like that.

    • fEast91
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Have always seen the commercial for le chevalier d’eon on animax way back when I was in school and never bothered with it. The way you said it made me interested in it now?

  10. Dark_Kain
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I have to disagree with the “communism is bad” analysis.
    Urobochi does not care about the actual political system, his works underline a dislike for consolidate/stagnant systems no matter the form.

    The “system” can be the Sybil, the Mage Association or even the “keep killing witches to be a mahou shojo” shenaningan.
    This new pseudo-religious fleet is just another one on the list.

  11. Posted June 21, 2013 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Honestly, at this point there are more problems than there are reasons to enjoy this for me, but if I had to point to one as a priority, then it would be for fuck’s sake Gargantia fix your goddamn tone. Trying to be all somber and dark with a busty lesbian pirate queen walking around wearing about half the material needed for an actual outfit is gonna make it really hard to take you seriously.

    Seriously, the show just doesn’t have the balls to go all the way with its ideas, it’s gotta pack the show with as much broad appeal as possible, and boy does it show.

  12. Erif
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    I don’t necessarily think that they are directly portraying communism (there a few differences I’ve spotted), nor do I think they are necessarily portraying it in a negative light. I mean yes, there is definitely a sense of unease with what Kugel is trying to accomplish here, but I have the feeling that he’s just trying to recreate civilization as it was in the Galactic Federation, because that’s the only way he knows how to live, and also because it’s rather successful in the environment they live in. If it weren’t for the obvious conflict between the authoritarian vs. liberalism, it wouldn’t seem so bad, but because they’ve set it up as such it’s now the main conflict.

  13. Ajura
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    this is not communism at all, the people are receiving food based on the amount of work they do.
    that’s capitalism with food instead of money

    the fact that there’s a cult of a personality (the only person that matters is the commander) it’s what happens when communism goes wrong, which is always unfortunately.

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