I 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.
Violins. 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.
That’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.