32 CommentsGargantia on the Verdurous Planet / By Scamp /

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet episode 4 – Eeyashickay


What’s that you you losers use for those crappy 4-koma anime? You know, the weeaboo term you employ to justify why nothing interesting ever happens but it makes you feel nice? The calm you supposedly feel that could just as easily be gotten by staring at a brick wall? Iya…Iyacake? Iyakishit? Iyashikei? Yeah, that’s the one. That’s what Gargantia is for me.


I’ve been holding off talking about Butch Gen in regards to this anime because his involvement isn’t as direct as it was in Psycho Pass and Madoka. He wrote the story, so we’re safe in calling this a big change in tone from his previous works and one that I’m enjoying a lot. The beat-by-beat script is written by different folks altogether, so the people who are praising Butch Gen’s dialogue have their sights misaligned. Each episode so far has been accredited to a different person. In itself not unusual, although it would explain to slightly strange shift in tone episode 3 had.

So who do I heap the praise on for this show being so well written? The dialogue has all the elements good dialogue should have. The world building happens as a natural part of conversation rather than making it feel like awkward exposition as the character talks to the audience. The way they speak feels natural and the way they express themselves goes a long way to developing and demonstrating their personality. Their interactions are structured around the specific themes Gargantia has been building since the start. They do all of this while still retaining their sense of humour. I guess a huge amount of the credit has to go to the director and main writer for having such strong creative control, but this attention to detail is so rare in any entertainment, let alone anime. Someone has really been honing this script.

vlcsnap-2013-05-01-22h23m22s44I love everything about the way they portray Ledo. The changes to how he acts around people has changed slowly during the series. He changed from automatically reacting by grabbing his gun to a more relaxed greeting. He’s making an effort to speak in their language rather than putting up Chamber as a barrier. He’s been slowly shedding layers to the point that he’s basically down in his underwear. I don’t know if the moment in which he displayed the most of his soul was at the point when he was wearing the least clothes was deliberate, but I liked the visual metaphor of him stripping off his military layers. Also I like just watching Ledo wear less clothes because gosh is he ever cute…wait, did I just type that?

*cough* ummm deep thematic resonance something something

vlcsnap-2013-05-01-22h23m15s234Gargantia has a real feel-good charm to it. I brought up Eeyuckyshit earlier because Gargantia makes me feel happy, but it doesn’t do so by being sickly sweet. What I don’t like about anime like Hidamari Sketch or Aria is that there’s no threat of events being anything other than perfect. I’m genuinely baffled that Aria chose to tell its story after they had already set up the planet and no more problems exist, because that seemed like a far more interesting story. The status quo remains the status quo and nothing is ultimately achieved. The true feel-good stories are the ones where people succeed from the lowest of circumstances and have something truly genuinely happy occur. It’s why I love something like Tokyo Godfathers. Where you can break someone’s depressing view of the world and truly make them feel happy, that’s true feel-good. That’s a ~healing~ story.

…now I hope Butcher Gen doesn’t go and kill everyone now.

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  1. Seppuku33
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    As the show progresses, the less I believe that it’s going to turn into a death frenzy (unless they intend to blow our expectations out of the water). A sudden shift such as that would be too erratic for what has already been established.

    This is highly unlikely, however, in the back of my mind I’m picturing that the space snails may discover the Gargantia leaving multicolored chaos in their wake.

    • shytende
      Posted May 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      They won’t destroy all the cast. It will be shock value for shock value, and I can’t really imagine them put so much effort in world building to vaporise all them with few space snails.
      However, they have to address the war out there one way or another. For now, it’s just an underlying plot that reminds us that Ledo’s time on the Gargantia is counted.

      However, I think that one way or another they will show Ledo’s choice where he remarks that he’s no longer adapted to his ancient world because he has now a family there (This seems to be the most imortant theme, more than friends or love).
      That would also makes him less efficient as space snail killing, and so less usefull for his crew.

      Though I would love them to made it a reamke of “The Desert of the Tartars”, with Space Snails as Tartars… but I higly doubt it…

      • Seppuku33
        Posted May 2, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        Now I’m curious to see The Desert of the Tartars. Was it a good movie?

        Here’s what’s going to go down. His captain (who miraculously survived) or soldier is going to come to the Gargantia and tell Ledo it’s time to head out. Ledo ends up fighting in a large scale battle and almost dies. Afterwards he rethinks his purpose and comes back to the Gargantia to live out his days. That would be too cliche, right!?

        I really think that a fellow soldier is going to come back and kill a crew member, causing a ruckus. Possibly this is the Earth way after our time but before Ledo’s. Maybe the space snails are similar to the Coralians from Eureka Seven. I’m playing a guessing game here but it’s only episode 4 we have a decent way to go.

      • Scamp
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        I’m with both of you. Butch Gen’s stories are structured to a fault and any big disaster fit the tone of their stories. Even Madoka had something feeling very off right from the start.

        At the same time though, this story is already a weird new direction for him, so maybe he thinks he hasn’t disguised his intent well enough in previous stories and that’s the direction he’s taking? It would be pretty cheap of him to do that though

      • shytende
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Dunno, I only read the book…

        And many could fine this scenario boring anyway…

  2. Black Dalek
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    mhh clones? that kid in the capsule and the officer on ep 01 have the same eyes and hair color as Ledo, also… limited rights?

    • Scamp
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      I’ve seen the clone idea floated before so I guess that makes sense, although it doesn’t really tie in with the big deal they made of the right to procreate in the first episode

  3. Kiseki
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    But does Gargantia explore mono no aware?

    • Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Oh god mono no aware
      *flashbacks to my IB Japanese presentation on the themes of Hanami in japanese culture*

    • Scamp
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Oh gosh, it’s a long time since I’ve seen that term thrown around in anime discussion

    • ANON
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      That was nice, I learned something new today.

  4. Seppuku33
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    What exactly is a ~healing~ story? I’ve seen you use it before but I’m just not sure what it means or it’s getting at. Also, I feel like you don’t necessarily like how other people use it to describe certain shows (Polar Bear Cafe). I saw a bit of it but it just wasn’t for me.

    • Anne Onymous
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      > Gen Urobuchi tweeted, prior to madoka episode 3 “It’s time to recognize me as a healing-type writer.”

      • Seppuku33
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:28 am | Permalink

        I see, but even so, what is a healing-type story?

      • Anne Onymous
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:44 am | Permalink
      • Seppuku33
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 1:07 am | Permalink

        “created with the specific purpose of having a healing or soothing effect on the audience. Works of this kind often involve alternative realities with little to no conflict, emphasizing nature and the little delights in life.” “the goal is not only to offer a means of getting away from daily worries, but to let the audience embrace a calming state of mind.”

        This seems like this type of story can get pretty boring if something isn’t thrown in to the mix. I absolutely loved Bunny Drop but it still had the conflict of Daikichi raising Rin. It was along the lines of “Man, how am I going to raise this child? I know nothing about being a parent and I don’t want to mess up.”

      • Anne Onymous
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 1:24 am | Permalink

        Now you understand scamp’s opinion.

  5. Kirin
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    I think you’re underselling the appeal of iyashikei just a little bit. For one thing, it would be an unjust to box the category as simply a “feel good” story. But then again, since iyashikei pretty much requires a good deal of appreciation of Japanese aesthetics, it can be a pretty hard genre to like.

    In any case, I’m loving the clash of cultures they have going here. It goes to show how two cultures can diverge entirely under different circumstances. Rather that Aria, I feel that Kino’s Journey is a more apt comparison here where it takes a very hands-off approach in observing the cultures in question.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      I don’t think Kino’s Journey is the best comparison because that was quite brutal with some of its stories, while Gargantia is much calmer and leading us towards a positive conclusion.

  6. Posted May 3, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I kind of found Ledo’s persistent questioning of Gargantia’s social system a bit tedious by the time he got to Bevel. The actual dialogue is something I have nothing against, and I’m actually finding it pretty fascinating, it’s just that I think it could have been structured differently to keep me engaged.

    Of course, that’s just minor criticism and it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the series as a whole so far.

  7. crzy_guy
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I dunno. The fact that Chamber is continuously broadcasting their position and attempting to contact the Human Alliance as well as the constant mentions that the Human Alliance would annihilate and primitive human tribes hints that its going to turn into a Ledo vs. Human Alliance story as the the Alliance attempts to take over the Earth and kill its current inhabitants.

    • Golos
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Actually, the Alliance wants other humans to join them.

      • Scamp
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        But Ledo did also say the Alliance wipes out anyone who isn’t with them in destroying the space snails. I can see Ledo fighting them to save Gargantia and trying to reason with them as some sort of season finale

  8. Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The first episode’s dystopian setting is just a chekov’s gun waiting to go off, “Gen Urobuchi explained on the official website that the message of the story is aimed towards those in their teens and 20s, who are either about to enter into society or recently have, and is meant to cheer them on and to encourage them that “going out into the world isn’t scary”” is horseshit.
    On the other hand, after Madoka, Butcher Gen could be using reverse-reverse psychology to get a further troll out of his audience. Regardless, I’m convinced his intent is malicious.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Get yourself ready for disappointment then.

      Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if a character died. The brother falling ill and Ledo understanding the value of family and relationships and stuff like that. I could definitely see that happening. But wiping out the entire colony seems far beyond Gargantia’s plans

      • Posted May 3, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        There are a ton of flags pointing to an avatar/pocahontas/dances with wolves style plot, and it wouldn’t take a major shift in tone for the show to continue following that established plot arc. I would even go so far as to say Amy’s clothing is an homage to these predecessors. While this is Japanese in origin, so the point the article is trying to make isn’t as applicable, it still highlights the stock features of this type of film: http://io9.com/5422666/when-will-white-people-stop-making-movies-like-avatar
        and these are mostly present in Gargantia. Only time will tell where Gen and Murata will take the plot, and it’s entirely feasible that Gen wants to deconstruct this type of story with Gargantia, but I still feel that some external conflict will emerge between Ledo’s past and his current life.

  9. ANON
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    If this is your stereotypical anime plot, there would at least be a storyline somewhere where a stray space snail comes and chamber/ledo finishes it off, then the galactic alliance comes, tries to take over, ledo doesn’t allow it, and is given the choice to either leave with the alliance forever or the alliance finishes off all the natives. Ledo is forced to become a soldier again, but not before he does something that benefits the natives (making land appear again, idk) THE END.

  10. Fumoffu!!
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I’m going to throw it out there:

    In a lot of ways, isn’t this like Sora no Woto?

    • Aelms
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      In terms of how the greater scale of the setting is largely ignored, yes.

      Sora no Woto was a show that focused on pacifistic messages that I can’t really remember how the plot progressed. I do think that Gargantia’s attention to detail, how all the difficulties Ledo had with the Gargantia fleet are slowly overcome and the contrast drawn between Ledo and everyone else makes it a much more fascinating show.

      SnW is really only memorable because of its music and Anime no Chikara (RIP).

  11. Anonymous
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink
    • khawlin
      Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Iyashikei 癒し系 healing soothing ie.; creating human happiness, that thing Urobuchi has contempt for.

  12. TheOgre
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    I have to agree the dialogue has been surprisingly good in this show, but it’s the overall direction that really brings the positives of the script into the light.

    Kazuya Murata is a pretty talented fellow (who, coincidentally, did a lot of supporting work on Code Geass too) and I think he’s got his collaboration with Urobuchi working very well here in order to flesh out his original ideas.

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