37 CommentsGargantia on the Verdurous Planet / By Scamp /

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet episode 7 – Co-existence? Urrr wuts dat?

vlcsnap-2013-05-22-11h42m29s24If the solution behind the intergalactic space war really is as simple as the Alliance not even considering that maybe they could have just left the space snails alone, I will be supremely disappointed. I could buy that maybe some skirmishes between the Alliance and space snails kept happening until one side realised the other would keep attacking them and attacked back in self-preservation which kept escalating into a full scale war where the original reasons have long since been lost. But the line that really set me off here was Chamber saying that the Alliance had no word for co-existence. Because gee, the only form of co-existence that exists is with space snails. Humans co-existing with other humans hasn’t even been considered because we’re so bloody thick that we can’t even consider leaving the space snails alone.

Hopefully that’s not the case, but the way Chamber phrased that line sent off warning signs that everyone here is just acting super dumb for the sake of keeping up a conflict.

vlcsnap-2013-05-22-11h39m55s16

Characters in this episode in general seemed to be acting dumber than usual. I get why Ledo acts the way he does. His entire reason for existence is to destroy space snails. But he and some of the other people on the ship seemed to be misunderstanding each other for the sake of creating conflict. It had the clear signs of an episode with bad writing, which hasn’t really been the case in Gargantia so far. It has been jumping around in quality from episode to episode, which I guess is what happens when you bring someone different on board to write the script for every episode. That works better when each episode is very disconnected from the next in a strict episodic fashion, and Gargantia doesn’t comply to that formula fully enough for it to work. The characters seem to change intelligence levels and understandings between episodes in a way that’s quite jarring.

I get what this episode was trying to do. Ledo only knows the space snails (I keep calling them space snails because hideouyeyze is too difficult to remember the spelling of) as the enemy and need to be destroyed, and can’t understand why these people don’t see that. To him it’s they’re asking why they need to breath. The episode didn’t sell me on the idea though, and this is me working backwards to figure out why that is. Maybe it’s just my problem in being unable to buy the inhuman reactions of Ledo, much in the way I wasn’t able to buy the bystander effect episode of Psycho Pass. In both cases my problem was the reactions felt too inhuman and stupid, when in both cases that was exactly the point.

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37 Comments

  1. Krobar
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Third path: It’s entirely possible the Alliance has been manipulating the cultural development of its soldiers.

    The show has generally bred the impression that Alliance society, at least from the perspective of Ledo/Red and all the born soldiers, is heavily militarized and utilitarian, and extremely narrow.

    It’s not a huge stretch to speculate that Ledo belongs to a special underclass of soldiers bred to fight by the Alliance, raised on propaganda, with words like co-existence scrubbed from the dictionary as unbeneficial to the war effort.

    TL;DR Ledo is Zentradi.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Well…shit, I think you may have sold me on that idea. Makes a surprising amount of sense given the cloning facility they were in. You could say its a metaphor for the restraining life of school where you are told there is only this path for you as a lifeless salaryman but once you get into the real world you discover that there’s all these other opportunities for you

      • Krobar
        Posted May 23, 2013 at 4:39 am | Permalink

        DECULTURE!

    • blackice85
      Posted May 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      That would also explain why Ledo can’t seem to explain to anyone what they are, other than the ENEMY OF HUMANITY. He also might not know the real reason they began fighting with each other.

  2. Weslea
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Funnily enough I can buy Ledo’s reaction, but not the Gargantia people’s. When he vaporized the pirates they were shocked, but understood he was from Somewhere Else and explained why they thought that was wrong. But now they’re just like “jeez space guy don’t you KNOW?” He’s constantly been talking about this war he’s a part of, and when he finds the enemy on Earth what did they think he was going to do…?

    • Pusswookie
      Posted May 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      “I know you’ve seen thousands of men die from YOUR space snails, but it doesn’t mean you have to go and kill OUR water dwelling space snails!”

      …What?

    • blackice85
      Posted May 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      He’s also not explaining that he’s not merely mistaking whale squids for space snails, they really are the same thing.

      Also, what was it that Chamber said about them? That they’re not bothering humans yet because they don’t see them as a threat yet? Maybe the space snails did start the conflict, perhaps sometime after humans became proficient at life in space. Maybe they saw them as a threat to their territory or something.

      • sandberm
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        That line made me think Ledo might have time traveled to before the space snails became the enemy of mankind and floated off to space. That might also explain why Chamber cannot contact anyone. Or I could just be high.

      • blackice85
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        That crossed my mind too, and since he went through a singularity it could be plausible. Although my impression was that most humans left for space as the Earth was freezing, and it was presumably abandoned. Whereas right now the Earth has thawed out, and some humans had survived the sudden ice age.

      • Mr. Anon
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        That interpretation is not impossible, but if it’s true then that would mean the timeline is something like:

        1) Advanced civilization develops on Earth
        2) They leave Earth because it has become uninhabitable
        3) Earth is somehow restored to a habitable Water World, and this is where the story is now
        4) Advanced Civilization again develops on Earth sometime in the future
        5) They get into a war with the Hideauze and leave Earth again
        6) Ledo is born

        With of course some massive timeskips in between the various points.

        I don’t really think this timeline would make much sense from a narrative perspective, so I’m assuming no time travel for now.

      • Seppuku33
        Posted May 23, 2013 at 1:49 am | Permalink

        I pretty much agree with Mt. Anon. I believe that Ledo was sucked back in time, via the singularity, during the first episode. The space snails attacked because they saw the advanced civilization as a threat to their territory when they redeveloped on waterworld. Wait: MAYBE LEDO SETS OFF THE CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT CUASES THE SPACE SNAILS TO ATTACK HUMANS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!

        It reminds me of Princess Mononoke, in where the forest animals fight against the humans. Except in this case the force of nature has the upper hand.

      • Scamp
        Posted May 23, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        I’ve heard the time travel theory before, because someone pointed out to me that always expect time travel where wormholes are involved. But the timeline is a bit all over the place as it is so hard to say without more evidence

  3. BwackNinja
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like where this seems to be going. The pattern so far has been, “oh Ledo, you just don’t understand because you’re a brainwashed space soldier.” Calling the whalesquids “sacred” and “protected” seems like little more than a lie (perhaps passed down to the point where they don’t remember that it’s a lie) to save face when Gargantia’s entire handling of the whalesquids situation is to cower in fear and pray that the whalesquids don’t think the people are worth their time. That isn’t coexistence, that’s being lower on the food or power chain.

    Then we have Ledo’s quest to go back to space. It is rather telling that they have no information on how to get to space, especially when the technology had to be great enough to allow more than merely a few rockets, but to push a whole society into space. And then we have the whalesquid territory where no one goes, which I doubt will be an empty disappointment. The whalesquids are unnaturally strong for pacifists, even if their prey could be megasharks – nothing else seems remotely dangerous.

    It would be stupid if it ends with Gargantia being right, but if Ledo is right it would both be confusing (because his character is engineered to always be wrong) and only give the message of every Gundam series ever: war sucks, but pacifism is an untenable position. At best we can hope they meet somewhere in the middle.

    • James
      Posted May 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      This series is all about coexistence. All the themes in Gargantia have been about working together, or even going so far as to live with things you dont like (Pirates). The thought behind this is if you just fight everything you’ll only end up alone (Ledo).

      The space squids are going to be a bigger metaphor for this. At the moment I’ve seen people complain about this direction because as you said, it looks like there just lower down the food chain.

      But there’s an important point that’s going to come back (I guarantee it will) that will let the space squids fit into this theme. The water lightning. There the ones that shoot it, and that lightning powers everything on the ships- without it everyone would die. Thats why people think their holy (But the exact reason has likely been lost because the plot demands it).

      Ledo’s gonna be faced with the reality that to kill his enemy he has to actually doom all the new people and opportunities he’s just encountered.

      • BwackNinja
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        I concede that makes sense, and is probably where the story is going, but that moves humans from being simply lower on the food chain to being parasites. With the pirates, the situation was reasonably dire. The women captured were facing some hard problems and it could’ve easily escalated into a rather sticky situation if Ledo hadn’t handled it. Being there for someone is not something that you do simply when it’s easy, but when it’s difficult. Gargantia isn’t strong enough to take on the threats by other ships or anything else for that matter, and has no interest in being able to do so. Even if that stems from a nice-sounding ideological position, it means that people you care about get hurt and die because you refuse to protect them. It is one thing to cower and hide when the threat is overwhelming, but it is something else entirely to avoid becoming stronger to be able to handle threats. And you also don’t see anyone working on powering ships by anything more than a galaxy current. If Gargantia is unlucky and can’t find one for an extended period of time, everyone dies anyway and no one can do anything about it.

        I think it’s great that there is such an emphasis on cooperation and such, but the situation with the whalesquids isn’t cooperation – it is a one-sided dependent relationship. Keeping yourself knowingly vulnerable and feigning ignorance of the fact is questionable to say the least. While it’s probably inevitable for Gargantia’s way of life to be validated once again, it isn’t at all a satisfying end for me. I might change my mind if it turns out that the Machine Caliber were powered by Hideauze though.

      • Posted May 23, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        There’s too much we don’t know about the Hideauze to make any definitive statements at the moment, but I think people are making a mistake by considering them some kind of insidious foe. More likely they’re just inordinately powerful, territorial animals with unexpected social constructs.

        They protect their territory and band together in large groups to eliminate threats when they appear, but don’t have the intelligence to understand concepts like conquest or power dynamics. They’re more a colony of ants or a pod of whales than some intelligent alien antagonist who destroys advanced civilizations. Their understanding of other entities is limited to “threats” and “non-threats”. As such, what is there to gain by antagonizing them?

        It’s not weakness to adopt a policy of “leave the giant death-squid alone”, when unlike the pirates there’s no downside to doing so. To fight back against them (What are they doing that needs fighting against?) would just lead to an escalation of conflict. Soon the Gargantia would spend every day fighting Hideauze to the death over some long-forgotten slight, becoming Ledo’s society.

        The parallels between the two are obvious enough that I figure this is exactly what happened to Ledo’s society in the first place – their aggressive expansion through space put them up against the Hideauze as an obstacle (remember how the Gargantia wanted to explore their territory for relics?) and they attacked them without giving the matter any forethought. It’s just like killing a few bears so you can safely pan for gold in their territory, right?

        Then it turns out the Hideauze were a communal species. They band together in a show of force and retaliate. Ledo’s society fights back. The reactive conflict continues for so long that the original reason is lost and war becomes engrained as the society’s sole purpose. What we’re seeing with the Gargantia is this same situation played out in miniature.

      • Scamp
        Posted May 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        I see where you’re going with that and I think that may me what Gargantia is going to, but that sure is incredibly stupid on the part of the Alliance. Literally never considered maybe leaving the space snails alone?

      • Posted May 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        I imagine it depends on how retaliatory the Hideauze are, or how long their collect memory is for identifying threats. As we saw, they nearly attacked the Gargantia with overwhelming force on its own “turf” in response to an isolated act of aggression. It’s not unthinkable that the same thing happened on a galactic scale, and the Alliance’s attempts to defend itself (as opposed to the Gargantia’s show of submission) set that cycle of endless retaliation in motion.

        Is it stupid on their part to never stop attacking? Incredibly. But of course, Gargantia’s been less than subtle with its message thus far… and they are a society (or a social class, at least) that exists purely to fight an unending, multi-generational war. There could be other reasons as well; for instance, if the Hideauze overran and claimed some important human world as part of their territory in the first attack.

        That, and it seems the authorly thing to do – show how two cultures react in the same situation and where their choices lead. It’s also handy foreshadowing regarding the Alliance’s past; through Ledo we see just what line of thinking and choice actions found his society where it presently is.

      • Posted May 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        A quick side-note I forgot to add: notice how Gargantia has its own faction of leaders who want access to Hideauze territory for its resources (relics of old Earth) and are willing to make war for no other reason than this. They’re the pirates to the Hideauze’s Gargantia – they want to take from them by force rather than search for ways to peacefully coexist.

        At first I thought there wasn’t a plausible reason for the Alliance to have antagonized these killer space snails, but in light of this… doesn’t it seem more likely that they made the very same mistakes in their search for resources out in space?

  4. BwackNinja
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    On a different note, isn’t this completely a Cold War anime? Gargantia represents the Americans et al, and Ledo represents a member of the USSR. Giving him so much money and helping him spend it definitely reeks of the Marshall Plan (especially because it’s ultimately a loan because he owes a lot of money and spending it frivolously is irresponsible). There was also a showing of the bad part of town, but that had a lot more of the feel of “they want to be like that” rather than “poverty sucks” which goes more towards Capitalist propaganda, especially because it wasn’t acknowledged – merely ignored. They also make it look like there is 100% employment and everyone loves their job when that can’t be the reality.

    Now we really can’t expect anything less than a entirely uncontroversial ending because of the politics involved. What say you, Scamp? Am I making parallels where none exist?

    • Scamp
      Posted May 23, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Nah, I think I mentioned something in a previous post about the capitalist lifestyle they’re living on Gargantia. The community is much smaller mind you, and things like poverty are harder to look over and it doesn’t seem like anyone there is noticeably richer than anyone else. But at the same time I can see what you mean about capitalist propaganda.

  5. All Fiction
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Gargantia bitch points gun at Ledo: I will kill you if you even as so much as touch the squids. But if the squids start attacking us, you have my permission to save our asses.

    • blackice85
      Posted May 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      That was a little weird I agree. I don’t think she personally cares all that much, but apparently the captains of the various ships that compose Gargantia are superstitious, and she doesn’t want them to leave the group and weaken them.

  6. Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Space Squids feed on energy and attack when they are provoked. This is why Gargantia shut down all their poweer when the Space Squids came swimming. Otherwise they would’ve attacked. And, well, the Space Squid in the water attacked Ledo because ENERGYYY and he provoked it by attacking.

    Ledo probably ended up in the future and the Space Squids have ended up on Earth because of those “Galaxy Water Nanomachine Thingies”, which we saw them swim along in this episode. Wouldn’t surprise me if they somehow killed off the Alliance and the only humans left are the ones on Earth (and possibly other planets) because they learned how to live in “co-existence” (or rather fear <_<').

    Most likely Ledo will find technology from his time, or at least something high-tech nonetheless when he goes to the Space Squid Nest.

    And deep stuff happens.

    My theory.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 23, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      More time travel theories. Give me more time travel theories!

    • SENSEISHUN
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      I prefer that theory than the people saying he time traveled to the past. My gripe with past time traveling starting a chain of events is that you never really know where it all began. The Space Snails may eventually start to attack humans as civilization progresses. If Ledo traveled to the future then you know that the war has progressed or ended and that co-existence is a possibility.

  7. ANON
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I have a bigger problem with this episode though, THERE WAS A MAP THAT SHOWED LAND at the back of the place where the glasses girl, the other girl and ledo had their meeting.

    I’m also interested on the question of whether the space snails really came from earth.

    as for the fact that the gargantians consider the whalesquid sacred creatures since ancient times and wouldn’t consider hurting them in fear of a curse (sailor’s superstitions and all that, which are actually well founded given the swarming capabilities of those calamari) and that all his life ledo had been told that the hideauze are the enemy and that they must be eliminated, i don’t see a problem with that conflict that the writers would need to make both sides to become dumber just to make it work. but that’s just me.

    • Baphomet
      Posted May 23, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      “THERE WAS A MAP THAT SHOWED LAND at the back of the place where the glasses girl, the other girl and ledo had their meeting.”
      Think “Waterworld” – inhabitable land is a myth because nobody has the resources to actually prove or disprove it. The only map is tattooed on a little girl’s back, but it could be completey made up for all everybody knows. Same with Gargantia, the fleet just can’t afford to research land (they might end up in an area where no nanomachines dwell and run out of power) and that map could be from who knows when and utterly outdated by now.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 23, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Oh shit, I took a screencap of that map and was planning to talk about it but totally forgot to bring it up. Well, if you think about what kind of land would still exist, it would be mountain tops which obviously have no useful artefacts on them. They could try make a home, but I doubt the land is suitable to farming so ultimately staying on those ships is the best move

      • matrixEXO
        Posted May 23, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Given how they superficially merged ships to form a giant fleet, it wouldn’t be impossible that they would use the mountain tops as a base where they expand the structure by adding more metals affixed to floaters or something.

        We cannot rule them out given that those ships managed to survive the Great Flood. Think of a modern Noah’s Ark where resources were managed to be stowed for use later after the Great Flood hit and they survived.

      • Hanasra
        Posted May 24, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        So, will you talked about it in the next episode post?

    • ANON
      Posted May 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I would try to explain:

      back in episode 2, Amy told ledo that long ago, there was this place called land, but she isn’t sure what is that. that’s the problem.

      I don’t know about how kids are educated aboard gargantia, but i’m sure amy had walked past seen that map before, and she would’ve asked what those brown spots were. in short, it is impossible for amy to claim not to know land when there’s a picture of it in a conspicuous place aboard the ship. at the very least, bevel would’ve known about it and would’ve pointed it out to amy.

      this inconsistency will solve itself if we think that the map is an ancient artifact, and that amy is just very, very ignorant of what we would consider as basic knowledge of earth in her time.

      heh, at least she knows how to dance.

      that argument about humans forming gargantia because there’s no power back on land, if it exists, is fairly established, those nanomachines are what is powering the fleet if i remember correctly, so they might’ve left land to live in the galaxy stream.

      • Scamp
        Posted May 24, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        That’s a bit of an oversight on the creators part. The most likely explanation there is the background artists simply weren’t talking to the writers. But hey, I like your explanations more

      • ANON
        Posted May 25, 2013 at 3:09 am | Permalink

        That just goes to show how I tend to over-analyze things that I watch. lol

  8. Сhipp12
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    > which I guess is what happens when you bring someone different on board to write the script for every episode.
    The scriptwriter for this episode has also worked on 2nd and 5th episode. He’s also writing the novel version of anime (supervised by Urobuchi). So I guess he is, like… the main writer for the show or something?

    • Scamp
      Posted May 23, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Huh, interesting. Given that 5 was also crap, I’d hazard to guess this guy isn’t a particularly good writer

      • Chipp
        Posted May 25, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        He’s also writing Petit Gargantia shorts that UTW decided to start translating.

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