50 CommentsGargantia on the Verdurous Planet / By Scamp /

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet episode 2 – More terrible OPs

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The reason episode 2 came out so soon after the TV broadcast of episode 1 was because there was some pre-screening event where they had a limited batch of Blu-Rays of the first 2 episodes for ridiculous prices on sale. I guess the assumption from them was a limited release like that would be seen as too precious to go sharing on the interwebz, but they underestimate the dedication to pirate. That means I got to see that TERRIBLE opening song almost a week before I was originally supposed to. Because HOLY SHIT is it ever THE WORST. It reminds me of that OP for the new Last Exile where they replaced the awesome techno bagpipes of the original to some generic genki shite. It says something bad about anime music when the last genuinely great song I can remember being used for anime OP or ED is by an English band from the early 70’s.

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I brought up in my Valvrave post that there’s a point to casting the main characters in Gargantia as teenagers. There’s a very deliberate contrast between the girly and Red/Ledo (Red’s a weird name, but if that is how it was supposed to be pronounced then I don’t want to be ‘That Guy’ who still insists on calling Light from Death Note ‘Raito’) which wouldn’t work if they were adults. Kiseki pointed out in my last post that the official site for Gargantia says Red’s age is 16, so the count his AI gave for his time in service was his exact age. In other words, he’s been in service for as long as he’s been alive. The kid is military through and through, with everything being done through protocol. He’s a lot like Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic. His uptight manner wouldn’t feel so strange if we didn’t have someone his own age next to him who acts like how teenagers are supposed to act. Or at least, a slightly idyllic genki version of how teenagers act. That wouldn’t have the same impact if he was just a gruff military adult soldier, because regardless of war or peace, a grumpy military sergeant is the same personality.

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Another thing I’ve seen floating around about this series is that “it’s Butcher Gen so obviously everyone is going to suffer horribly and die before the end”, which I’m not really seeing at this point. Gen’s stories are structured to a fault. You can usually see most twists a while before they actually come because it’s so deliberately foreshadowed and paced. Madoka Magica did start off nice and fluffy, but there was a very definite sense that something underneath was off. The way Kyubey was shot and how eerie the witch worlds felt showed that something was up long before episode 3 arrived in all its head-munching glory.

I’m not getting that with Gargantia so much. The one ‘dark’ side comes out in the technological difference between him and the Gargantia fleet. Or more specifically, how militarised he is versus the fleet. This came to a head with his disintegration of the pirates. The complete disintegration of someone has always been fascinatingly horrifying for me because it’s so clean. It’s like how when the military try to control the press images of the war, they produce videos of high tech weaponry and no dead bodies. When everything is that clean, it seems so efficient and easy to put down as a job well done, which is what makes it frightening. That’s where the conflict is in this series. The difference between Red and the fleet. I suppose they could change tone and the series could end with him making friends and then space snails invading and killing everyone and it would make perfect sense within the tone they’ve set. But I dunno, just not feeling that right now.

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50 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    IIRC it was 8000 copies that were given out for free at some convention.

  2. anon
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    To be fair, I can’t think of a single OP or ED in the history of anime that’s as good of a song as Roundabout.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      The OP to Detroit Metal City?

  3. shytende
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Attacks on Titans’ OP is pretty cool, though…. And Aku no Hana ED is great, but it’s not really great to listen…
    I don’t really remember the OP, just that he wasn’t that great…
    Anyway, this was my most hyped show of this season, and it still is now.

    • Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Pretty cool? Shingeki no Kyojin’s OP is so badass, that it makes me want to go outside and hunt down some giants.

      Thank God there are no giants around here.

      • Posted April 15, 2013 at 3:21 am | Permalink

        Uh, no, you are going to die instead.

      • Kiseki
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        Shingeki’s OP makes me want to go outside and scream “JÄGER!” instead.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Seeing as the objective badassery of Attack on Titan’s OP has already been mentioned, I’ll just agree that, yes, Aku no Hana’s ED is pretty great too. It’s just so unsettling every time I hear it.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Yeah I like both of those, but they’re ‘good’ rather than greats

    • Erif
      Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I think the OP for Flower of Evil was pretty horrible. When it came on after the relatively somber opening of the first episode it totally took me aback.

      Not really crazy about the op for Attack on Titan either.

  4. Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Gen’s supposed “sadism” is overrated. Psycho-Pass was no darker than your average cyberpunk story, (and didn’t have much of a head count either), and the secret behind the eponymous system was, while fucked up, not the Lovecraftian hopeless logic-trap of eternal suffering as you would expect. Even the heroine was still pretty much fine by the end.

    • Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Still, what does it say when “Not a lot of people die!” is a spoiler for a Gen product?

      • Posted April 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        That his previous two works, out of which one’s plot was already outlined by another writer, were ridiculously popular and turned his supposed personality into a meme?

      • Posted April 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        His Nitro+ work with Saya says otherwise.

      • Posted April 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        I’m not saying that his earlier works *weren’t* dark, just that after Madoka blew up, they were still retroactively reinterpreted through the lens of Urobutchi’s inevitable and consistent sadism, by those who were looking for a pattern, and then so were Fate/Zero and Psycho-Pass.

      • 800020
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Nah, Urobuchi was famous for being grisly and dark even before Madoka, so this isn’t a case of reinterpretation. In fact, he was so famous for writing depressing stories that they tried to hide his involvement with Madoka until the third episode (of course, people found out and started to suspect that the show was going to have a darker twist).

  5. Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    So… when is Orson Scott Card gonna sue?

  6. Posted April 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    No words on the best character so far, Chamber? I’m disappointed. There are some obvious signs for the A.I. to have character development. Red too, obviously. I’m looking forward to them changing over the course of the series while coming in contact with the Gargantia people. I’d rather have that over a “kill-them-all” series. Might this be a “healing” anime done right? Which is ironic considering Urobuchi’s words on Madoka before Madoka aired.

    • shytende
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      AI are generally pretty great characters, at least for me…
      So, I agree with this post

    • luffyluffy
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Sugita Bot so sexy

      • Posted April 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        I have a slight feeling that you’ve also been visiting /a/ the past few days.

  7. Edraii
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Scamp, if it makes you feel better he did not only kill cleanly, but he likely killed at least 500 people in a few seconds or so, and that’s a conservative estimate.

    Going by the size of those ships, I’d call them to be frigates. The larger ships while not all that heavy in displacement were armed like light cruisers however.

    Either way, a WWII frigate has a crew compliment of 100-200 people and a light cruiser ranges around double that. While the pirate crews are likely undersized there were also all those PT boat and boarding crews so that’ll likely bring the number up.

    I’m just saying, puts it in perspective and all, cause I don’t remember any “teenage mecha pilot” main character deliberately and so efficiently killing that many people (not counting space ships, cause that’s in another league) in the first two episodes of an anime.

    And you thought noticing the C96 last week was weird!

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Given the limited resources that are likely to be on the planet, I’d say it’s more likely that there are more people crammed onto those ships than there should be

      • Edraii
        Posted April 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Not necessarily! The pirate captain makes reference to “Ditch these guys, come with us, (insert name) wants you”. Don’t have the video on this computer but I’m pretty sure he says something like that, and that the leader he was talking about was a “her”.

        This implies that this is a raiding fleet and I’d imagine that they don’t actually use these ships for living. Being such heavily armed and confident pirates I do think it’s likely they have (or stole) enough room for their own people. Hell, if this is a detached raiding party then their fleet is almost on a small nations standard.

        One has to keep in mind these were “relatively” small warships to, I’m quite sure we’re going to see a few cruisers and maybe a battleship before this is over, or well, if they stay with the earth setting for most of the run anyway.

        Anyway, if I’m correct (and the show implies so) then that was likely a raiding fleet. Not even pirates are likely to put more people on the ships than needed. I’m pretty sure we’ll see the rest of them in time, maybe when the robots power conveniently runs out? I’m also going to bet on that one since they keep bringing up that they need to save power.

        Besides, there were no habitat ships in that fleet and even pirates need to produce food and stuff to live. If anything those ships were so heavily armed there would be next to no room for living!

  8. Shadow
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Like i said in the episode 1 review. This series will is a shoutout Gen is doing towards all his fans/detractors. That he can write other stuff besides psychological mindfucks.

    I like the premise of the show though, despite not being the usual Urobuchi psychological fest, this series is just a journey of adaptation and acceptance of a different culture.

    If you were to ask me, Gargantia is very similar to 2 western movies that were a hit in Japan in the 90’s. Soldier *which was a hit in Japan but a flop in the US* and Waterworld. Let me add this fact, many military manga and anime got insipired by Soldier and Universal Studios Japan has a Waterworld attraction *been running daily for almost 20 years*

  9. PhantomRenegade
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Was i the only one that got the feeling he’s gonna get in trouble for sinking ships?

    The thought occured to me as i saw the stunned faces of everyone left alive that what he’d done was a bit taboo in that society which would actually make a bit of sense given that those ships seem to be the only space they can live on.

    • sandberm
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 3:47 am | Permalink

      You make a good point. My first impression was that they were overwhelmed by the sudden violence of the attack, but maybe they were also shocked by the destruction of the ships.

      • Edraii
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Lets be reasonable here, it’s pretty hard to fight cannon armed ships without running a great risk of sinking/heavily damaging them in the process.

        I’m just saying, there’s very few ways to take out a moving warship with another warship and short of boarding you’re going to have to shell the thing.

  10. Aelms
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    I liked the opening… Pretty nice amount of energy with a singer who’s voice I instantly recognised. Might just be the nostalgic factor though.

    Every time I watch one of Urobuchi’s work its like watching a modern masterpiece unfold. They always fall a bit short (a fatal flaw if you will) from having a complete package in story-telling but the perks are so distinct that they remain extremely impressive.

  11. Posted April 15, 2013 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    What he has done is an overkill. I wonder how will the Gargantian people treat him now.

    • Aelms
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:06 am | Permalink

      I think it’s more that he has completely reversed all the expectations that Gargantia had of him. They may have had an inkling of his capabilities but to see him take out the entire enemy fleet in a matter of seconds definitely changes their perception of him as a relatively harmless lost soldier.

      • Thrashy
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

        This. For most of the episode, the denizens of Gargantia are trying to fit him into their mental framework (“he’s got a worker mech like ours, it’s just bigger and cooler!” “There’s another guy inside the mech, who speaks our language!” etc.) and then in the final moments of the episode, he turns himself into something monstrous and alien.

      • WeeWaaWeeWaa
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        I’m surprised he didn’t think more carefully before attacking. There’s a possibility that he could have fueled an internal war, with him not exactly sure on how the politics in this planet works.

        Unless, that’s exactly what Butcher Gen wants…

    • Lucim
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      I’m more interested in whether the Gargantian peoples’ response to Red killing all the pirates will be one of gratitude or condemnation. I think if there is a scarcity of resources, the former would be more realistic.

      • Outcast
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Well, the way it usually goes: there will be people on both sides, but they’ll all agree to keep him on Gargantia. Team Gratitude will try to change his personality for the better while Team Condemnation will try to find a way to eliminate Red and get their hands on Chamber. But we’ll see how it turns out.

  12. Kiseki
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I would think our protagonist’s name would be spelled “Ledo” since “Red” is usually “reddo” with the hiccup in Japanese, while this guy here is just “redo”

    • Posted April 15, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      On the other hand, it gives us a lot of fodder for Pokemon jokes.

      • Kiseki
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        I almost used faiareddo as an example.

  13. Stef
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    That was an OK episode. I’m not dying to see what’s next though.

    Red/Ledo is strangely sympathetic for a kid who’s only known war his entire life. You’d think he’d have more trouble than that interacting with other people.

    Agreeing to help for a “bargaining chip” is kind of an easy and flimsy excuse for mecha action. What could the Gargantians do for him exactly? Meh, it doesn’t really bother me. And the point was to demonstrate the moral difference between Red and the fleet by having him neatly kill the pirates.

    • Golos
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      They can offer him information about Earth, food and a place to stay (there is no dry land).

      • shytende
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        This. He stated many times that he will needs their helps to find a way to his homeland.

        And his thoughts for acting were more based on calculations than emotions, even if it probably won’t work as well as he eexpected. He still is pretty inexperienced in a lot of domains(actually, everything unrelated to fighting…)

      • Stef
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Thanks.

  14. Outcast
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    “It says something bad about anime music when the last genuinely great song I can remember being used for anime OP or ED is by an English band from the early 70′s.”

    Now, now, don’t exaggerate <_<. Apart from Attack on Titan's OP other people have already mentioned, Robotics;Notes still had a pretty serviceable OP, if a bit generic.

    Speaking of Attack on Titan, I'm surprised it's not an episodic. What gives?

    • kai
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      True, plenty of good Op/Ed’s around. And I rather like the Ed for Gargantia. Generally I’m happy if no one ambushes me with Ali Project.

    • Posted April 16, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      I had Psycho-Pass’s first ED in my head for several weeks straight.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 16, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        I preferred the second OP for Psycho Pass because it had Kougami farting pink clouds to CAUSE I FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL

  15. R1CK_D0M
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    To be fair I actually expect the forreals aliens to attack at some point. as Red’s little panic attack points out.

    I doubt everyone will die though, it’ll be more to contrast Red and point out to the earthlings who the real aliens are.

    It’ll probably be necessary seeing as how the people are probably scared shitless of him now. He can disentigrate them with little to no effort so they can’t exactly say no to anything he says

  16. hint
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The story here gives me Pochahontas vibes.

  17. Kenjeran
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    this will make an epic opening for shingeki

  18. Erif
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I just love how this has a such a different feel compared to Urobuchi Gen’s previous works, it shows how he’s becoming a better and more varied writer. Not only does it not have that distinct darke tone the pervades through much of Gen’s repertoire, but it also feels more like a “complete” story, opposed to vehicle used solely to discuss morals and philosophies.

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