16 CommentsGargantia on the Verdurous Planet / By Scamp /

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet episode 8 – Sad violin music

vlcsnap-2013-05-29-11h26m16s175I don’t often get a chance to talk about properly bad background music in an anime. I can bitch about the horrible jpop idol opening songs that infest 90% of anime out there. But the actual background music rarely gets a negative mention. Plenty of people saying positive things about their favourites, but if the BGM isn’t good, people usually just forget to mention it at all. So I would like to thank Gargantia for giving me this great opportunity to talk about the misuse of background music.

vlcsnap-2013-05-29-11h28m59s253Violins. Friggen mournful violin music everywhere. Because we are supposed to feel sad. Throughout the entire episode apparently. Even if the show had earned that tone, it kept going for way too long and played so loudly that I really started to resent in. They didn’t earn this mournful tone either. Because really had really gotten to know and love the fleet commander, hadn’t we? Yes, that…oh what’s his name again? We’re supposedly supposed to feel sorry for Ridget as a proxy and her losing the fleet commander, but that doesn’t work either because we were never really sold their relationship.

Heck, we have barely been sold Ridget’s character. What do we know about her? What are her dreams? What does she like to eat? What does she do? We’ve got to get to know a character to care about them. The characters we do know this level of detail about are Ledo, the younger brother character, and arguably Amy? Amy hasn’t been particularly well characterised. We’ve got a lot of her appearing and running around, but she’s too flat of a character to understand what it is she wants from life. She cares for her brother, but otherwise she occupies the genki spectrum of anime characters in that they’re just so fucking happy about life that they have no space left in their brain to care about anything else. But at least caring about her brother and maybe having a little something something for Ledo is already a better look inside her mind than Ridget.

vlcsnap-2013-05-29-11h30m05s134That’s why all the mourning and stupid violins didn’t work for me this episode. You’ve got to earn my emotional attachment before you start hitting me with what are supposed to be big emotional hits. The bits between Ledo, Amy and Amy’s brother did work because I’ve grown to like them and have learned a lot about how they think about the world, so I care about their interactions. Character depth and development is what gets me to feel those character deaths. Not bashing me over the head with violins.

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  1. Cirith
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh I never really notice the music. But yeah I care more about the mecha than the dead commander. When he died I just thought “So without him nobody will be able to stop them from leaving?”

    • Gedata
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      I care more about Chamber then everyone.

      • Cirith
        Posted May 29, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        Well I like him the most but I don’t expect much character development from him. But I might be wrong.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted May 30, 2013 at 1:28 am | Permalink

      I’d cry like a bitch if Chamber died.

  2. Gan_HOPE326
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    The prize for the worst background music ever used in anime has to go to the beginning of Magi 19, though. That was so awful I actually wondered if the file I was watching wasn’t corrupted for some reason and had merged with an entirely different audio file.

  3. luffyluffy
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    I didn’t even notice the background music, I was focusing more on the neat burial ritual the people at sea seem to have adopted

    • Nazaren
      Posted June 1, 2013 at 3:40 am | Permalink

      Same. That was the only part of this episode that interested me at all.

  4. Grammar Nazi
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Too. Many. Typos. In this post.

  5. Hanasra
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Yeah, misuse of background can be very irritating and detract much enjoyment we should have from that said entertainment. It irks me when sad tune played after the death of some, named red shirt who we hardly knew about or a death of the main character’s big sister that only appeared in total of 10 minutes.

    Background music used properly can invoked, and even ramped up the quality of that said entertainment over the roof. This might be the factor why Cowboy Beboop, Samurai Champloo, and Baccano are so enjoyable.

    I mean, who could resist this?
    It is Baccano in a nutshell of music

    Yes, I post this just because I want to post main Baccano Theme

  6. Anonymous
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I didn’t notice the BGM for most of the episode. But around 18:38 when they drop the burial ship down to the water… the one-woman wail started (of course there’s a trope for it). The scene itself did not have much impact, but i really liked the music.

    So my thoughts were basically “OST when?” instead of “great episode”.
    You win some, you lose some.

  7. ANON
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I was more interested in ledo leaving gargantia, maybe they’re going for a symbolic meaning, i don’t know, all I know was that gragantia’s breaking up, ledo’s leaving and fairlock also “left” and we’re supposed to know that it is sad.

  8. Chipp
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    From th scriptwriter of 4th episode this time.

  9. Mormegil
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    “Heck, we have barely been sold Ridget’s character. What do we know about her? What are her dreams? What does she like to eat? What does she do? We’ve got to get to know a character to care about them.”

    She has huge breasts, and looks good in a bikini. IS THAT NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, SCAMP!? HUH!?

    Yeah, this episode was kind of…meh. Are we supposed to care about the fleet commander?

  10. JZangetsu
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    you don’t necessary have to feel sad to enjoy this episode, at least, you have to do is understand the development and the conflicts of the characters, it has more content than “sadness” and, you know, feel sad to a character is completely subjective, there are stories that don’t have much development on their characters and people cry with it, some people care, some people don’t, it’s not a matter of how much development has.

  11. R1CK_D0M
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    For some reason the thing that most stuck out to me this episode was the talk of how far Ledo was from his home. Like, does going back to sleep work? Not sure if it’s cold sleep or it just keeps him from getting bored during the long haul. and is he ever going to find passage into space? Like an old-ass mass driver in the ocean? I want to see what happens when he goes back and he’s all “earth has deculture” and everyone’s all “zentraedi fight”

    btw now that I think about it I bet he’ll find a mass driver or something in the “treasure” the space aliens turned ocean creatures are hiding.

    also PS: was anyone else thrown for a loop when the younger brother got up and walked around? I thought he was in bed for a reason.

One Trackback

  • […] To be sure, Taro Iwashiro’s compositions for this episode of Gargantia aren’t on the level of Barber, but they are solid all around in depicting the fallout from Captain Fairlock’s death and the struggle that befalls the new leadership. Throughout the episode, the music shows a sense of progression; because of that, I’m perplexed as to why some people found the musical implementation here to be poor. Which is to say it’s easy to overlook the purpose of music to deliver unto the audience the significance of an event, and if anything, that’s one component that’s missing in this writer’s analysis of Gargantia’s…. […]

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