23 CommentsGargantia on the Verdurous Planet / By Scamp /

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet episode 12 – Walk the plank

vlcsnap-2013-06-24-20h54m17s45Throwing people overboard who are not considered useful enough to society aside, I think this regime is perfectly fine. Oh sure, you might think this act of mass sacrifice to appease their robot god and to keep population numbers down is barbaric, but this is only because in this timeline, birth control hasn’t been perfected yet so everyone is making way too many babies. If they didn’t do this, the place would be so over-crowded that people would be falling off the sides of the ships anyway.

vlcsnap-2013-06-24-20h55m15s102Colour me unimpressed by this latest episode again. The regime is pretty obviously as evil as you can get. I’m surprised that, instead of throwing the useless people overboard, they didn’t just cook them and feed them to the actually useful people on the ship. We could, I dunno, introduce mandatory education to maximise their usefulness too. The whole thing is very stupid, which sucks as far as villains go. A good antagonist in these sorts of scenarios is one that actually talks some sense so you don’t realise how dangerous they are. It would perhaps help if Gargantia didn’t keep trying to present this as a difficult moral dilemma. Ledo and Pinion having to struggle with their conscience before making a decision rather than realising right from the off what an arse-backwards system this is.

On a related note, I see why the director wanted to present this evil fleet in the fog rather than the happy sunny time on the Gargantia fleet. Pathetic fallacy and all that. But setting the grand final fight in this dreary lifeless atmosphere isn’t giving it the swashbuckling finale feeling that it seems to be going for. We’ve got a lobster mecha hurling enemy robots around like a child jumping into a flock of pigeons, but the foggy background makes it as adrenaline pumping as an old folks home on a humid summer’s day. It’s the kind of atmosphere that should accompany a grim fight to the death. Where the death march of enemy fighting machines strikes fear and dread into the hearts of our protagonists, not tossing them around like barbie dolls.

vlcsnap-2013-06-24-20h58m58s32Meanwhile, what happened to that big revelation from episode 9 that I was so impressed by originally? You know, the one where it was revealed the space snails all originated from humans? The alliance system is a broken one that doesn’t respect the rights of the individuals and treats them like disposable puppets that feeds the war machine. That is a Bad Thing, right? We’re in agreement there Gargantia, right? Now isn’t that a bad thing whether the space snails were human or not? By revealing the space snails were humans, you’ve managed to water down your own message. So turning your civilisation into a war machine is a bad thing, but only because the people you’ve been fighting are just like us? But what, would it be OK if they were actual proper aliens? Why even bring that up in the first place then?

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  1. Posted June 25, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Ever since they left Gargantia, I’ve been rather bored with the series. I was still somewhat interesting up till episode 9, which I feel was superb (that I didn’t expect the reveal helped a lot), but it was a complete shift in tone.

    And now we have… this…? A mess of… what? Good and bad people? It just doesn’t fit with what has happened so far.

  2. BwackNinja
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Agreed. Though you gloss over the only interesting part of the episode, where Ledo questions Chamber as to whether or not he has self-determination. It’s the ability to make his own choices that makes him human and keeps Chamber as a humanity-enhancement rather than a change in humanity. Despite how Ledo seems to be a blind soldier of the Alliance, there was unfortunately no chance that Chamber was controlling Ledo because Chamber has relied upon and been overridden by Ledo’s decisions.

    It may be a stretch, but the other interesting point I can see from this episode is the role of a welfare state and how it is an unintuitive idea but the lack of it seems inhuman. Assuming the decisions of the robot overlord aren’t filled with false positives, all the people thrown overboard will either starve to death because they can’t fulfill useful roles in society (i.e. have a paying job) or will escape that by being a burden to someone or society as a whole. Emotional attachment aside (particularly as removed by the fleet’s religion), that makes complete sense. What this says, connecting with Ledo’s self-determination and in contrast with the hideauze lifestyle, is that there are things more important than society moving forward.

    I don’t like my anime being too blunt with it’s message, but if this is what they’re going for, I think they’re being a wee bit too subtle.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      I did like that bit about self-determination, although I did all my “this is like a shit Psycho Pass” comparisons last week.

      I don’t think this is quite comparable to the welfare state criticism because the state in this instance is also providing the food to the rich people. Most anti-welfare state stuff is not providing anyone anything.

  3. blackice85
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    I wonder if they’re going to reveal whether Striker was just following her last set of instructions before the guy died, or if she took it upon herself to make her own little alliance on her own after his death. Caught me by surprise either way.

    • shytende
      Posted June 26, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Well, I thought it was some time of handwave why they are so uniformally evil.
      Striker doesn’t have the nuancing view that humans have. And shedidn’t live separately from the Alliance long enough, like Chamber, to make her own choice. She just apply, by the book, the rules of the Alliance.

      …I’m not even fully convincing myself.
      This serie really was a great disappointment…

  4. sandberm
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Agreed. This series is definitely suffering from an identity crisis. I’m trying to figure out how they’re going to wrap up all these open story lines in one episode and an OVA.

    • blackice85
      Posted June 26, 2013 at 3:10 am | Permalink

      Originally I thought this was running for two seasons, but then I found out otherwise and I’m thinking the same as you. It’s gonna feel rushed probably.

      • Posted June 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        The ID crisis is likely due to a bunch of writers trading episodes. The shifts in emphases are too frequent otherwise. Had this show been less of a hot-potatoe session and more of the result of a singular vision, it might have lived up to the promise of the first episode.

        Goes to show that not even Gen Urobuchi can get away with supervision.

      • Scamp
        Posted June 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Not rushed at all. Please don’t go saying that when it faffed around for the middle episodes achieving nothing. It lacked focus and a clear goal, so we get this mess

      • blackice85
        Posted June 26, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Well I meant that the ending will feel rushed, sorry. You’re right that they shouldn’t have been screwing around in the middle.

  5. Matthew
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    I… I really liked this episode. I guess I can never tell how you’re going to react. I figured you’d think it was great.

  6. Nazaren
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    All the build-up of the previous eleven episodes… with Gargantia, the hideauze revelation, and Pinion’s exodus, is culminating in this? Cameos and callbacks from largely minor characters, with notable motivations such as “I wanna be pirate again!” and “this new hair lets logic into my head”. I could go on, but the bottom line is that I don’t give a damn about any of the characters or their respective situations, aside from Ledo/Chamber, who get one damn each from me.

    I feel like this series might’ve been better if it had focused on the cultist fleet the entire time. Make it less EVIL and more nuanced. Have the seeds of revolt grow instead of doing an about-face because “oh yeah, this is bad, I almost forgot”… alongside Ledo’s discovery of his own humanity and self-determination.

    And that reveal at the end! It was called on this very blog (in comments or article, I don’t recall) and should come as a surprise to no one. My prediction: Humanity is cloned and so regimented because the robot overlords already control the Galactic Alliance. Humans are produced as tools, Striker was following the basic tenets of said overlords, Chamber is somehow unique, yada yada yada.

    Apologies for the wall o’ text.

    • sandberm
      Posted June 26, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      “this new hair lets logic into my head”. lol, best laugh all day.

      I like your prediction- here’s mine: A totally new plot twist is introduced- Earth is actually Avalon and this all was a test to see if Ledo could live among humanity.

      • Scamp
        Posted June 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        You know what? That idea is fucking great, if only for how ridiculous and silly it is. Oh man, that would be fantastic, I hope they reveal that’s what it really was. Like a Truman Show run by the government as a citizenship test

  7. Posted June 26, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I actually laughed aloud when the rain gave Pinion a Bishie makeover for his big heel-face-turn. Gargantia is such a mess now it’s almost comical. Real disappointed.

  8. shytende
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Well… When the Robot AI (Chamber) is the more engaging character, you have a problem with your show

    • Scamp
      Posted June 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Robots are always the best characters, nothing new about that

  9. Seppuku33
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Is this series worth continuing? I stopped after the bellydancer episode because I was on a month long trip in Germany / Austria for my Environmental Psychology class. I stopped watching Devil is a Part Timer and I’m wondering if this is going to satisfy me. I don’t want a “it’s ok, I guess.” series. I’m still continuing with Attack on Titan as the only anime for this season bc of the titan berserking around and Mikasa taking names and kicking ass.

    • gedaata
      Posted June 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      It’s okay I guess

    • Posted June 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Sorry to say, but Gargantia has fallen far from the promised heights of the first episode. Proof that you can’t just have the great visionary pass the ball to a conventional writer and expect the same result.

      Kyojin is just a straight shounen, and hasn’t suffered from such inconsistencies – it’s just off pacing-wise, that’s all.

  10. ANON
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I liked this episode! You got a malfunctioning AI voiced by a female, just like eagle eye, skynet, and glados. that’s definitely original!

    also, this episode promises some kind of superweapon lost technology that’s going to be set up as a kind of deus ex machina! what’s not to like.

    also, I was definitely ~healed~ this episode! especially with the colonel’s head falling off! Not to mention the too obvious fact that they were sacrificing people for rain!

    besides, if they were able to take control of the purple metalhead, get all those emp laser weapons back online, take over that cult’s fleet, get that pirate to work for them and display the awesome power of THE KEY, then it would be the start of a new world order, a GARGANTIAN WORLD ORDER! headed by the almighty Ledo and his wise 2nd in command chamber, with his harem of queen-consorts, amy, rackage, ridget, melty and saya!

  11. tecenda
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    I really thought that the Hideauze reveal in ep 9 was the catalyst for some well-engineered finale. Now I’m just disappointed, knowing that any plot development and food for thought that could’ve arisen from this is going to be completely marred by primitive, last-minute cultist warfare. For a show with such potential, seeing it crumble this way makes me sad. The cultists in this show are probably the most generic, shallow and stereotypical depictions of an evil cult that you can get, with robes and face paint that thematically don’t even match the god they are worshiping — a robot. If this was an attempt to illustrate the contrast of the Alliance’s doctrine and Ledo’s emerging understanding of Earth and the nature of humanity, it is unclear and weak at best.

    I’m afraid Urobochi Gen might be about to leave a blemish in his remarkable writing career, leaving so much of the script in the hands of amateurs… unless something amazing happens in the final episode.

  12. R1CK_D0M
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Love how it turned from “evil socialist regime is bad” to I-robot within the span of one episode

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