Title: Suisei no Gargantia
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Summary: While fighting an intense inter-galactic war, a mecha pilot was accidentally warped into a space-time neither he nor the computer of his mecha could recognize. After waking up from a long-time hibernation, he found himself trapped on a planet, with human residents talking in an unknown form of language, using inferior technologies, and — most shocking to him — naturally breathable air.
Review: If you follow me on Twitter it shouldn’t come to surprise that I gave this anime such a high rating. I’m actually kind of surprised that I haven’t seen high ratings all across the board. Then again, everyone has their own opinions and many probably founds the slow parts rather boring while I found them to be great character development. The series starts off with quite a bit action as Ledo is fighting an intergalactic space war against the Hidiaazu. You watch the entire fleet of the Human Galactic Alliance go in with a full barrage of explosives to finally end this war. Unfortunately things turned south and the fleet was commanded to retreat. This was the key turning point for Ledo’s character, and you got an insight of what kind of person he was. He cared less about his own life than the success of the battle as he charged head on to save one of his commanders, willing to fight to the bitter end. Tumbling through space he landed on the most foreign idea he’s every heard of, peace.
The art work for Suisei no Gargantia was gorgeous with dynamic characters, fluid body motions, and imaginative scenery. The anime really brought you into the post-ice age earth that caused the whole world to flood. It seemed liked a rather accurate depiction of what would happen if humans really did manage to survive such a tragic event. The open waters and bright blue sky gave the anime a sense of calm that ripped Ledo from his war ridden world. What really caught my attention was the fashion in the new (old?) world. I thought it was a good contrast to see extremely bright colors from a group of people who only lived to enjoy life and the dark Ledo who grew up for battle. The series took this a step further and started to use ominous dark clouds and heavy rain as the series was reaching its climax. The atmosphere fit well with the final battle as Ledo has to choose between the world he grew up with and the one he has come to love. I was slightly disappointed that the characters never had a different set of clothes though. I thought it odd that people wore the same thing day-after-day considering the artist put in the time to make the clothes vastly different from each other even in minor characters. They even had Ledo change into a different set of clothes once, so it wasn’t like they couldn’t come up with more ideas. During episode 6 when you got to see Amy, Saaya, and Melty dancing on stage it wasn’t as captivating as I’d hoped. While the outfits were well thought-out and brought a spark to the scene, the choreography didn’t match. The dance moves were a bit shaky and it was obvious that not a ton of budget went into creating a truly magical dance piece. Although I didn’t consider the artwork to be top notch, it also wasn’t the reason I came to enjoy this anime so much.
The character development for Suisei no Gargantia was something that couldn’t be overlooked. Slice of life anime such as this need to have relatable characters to be successful. Despite having a war-born solider as the main character I felt that many viewers could see some part of themselves in Ledo. They might not have understood the hardships of war, but they could see the difficulty of changing their view of the world because of the people around them or maybe because of one special person. Amy played the brilliant role of understanding where Ledo was coming from while still trying to help him believe that there was more to life than fighting. The two of them soon became my favorite couple of the Spring 2013 season. They didn’t have anything special, or some dramatic moment where they fell into each others arms and had a tearful exchange; they didn’t need it. It was more enjoyable to watch them slowly come together as friends and gradually become something more. It was obvious that they cared for each other despite having such different views of the world. One key moment comes to mind when Ledo thinks that the Hidiaazu have invaded earth. His entire life he has been about fighting them. He was taught that no form of Hidiaazu was safe, that they were all bent on the extinction of man kind. However, to the people of earth these ‘”Hidiaazu” were an ancient race that shouldn’t be trifled with; they should be respected. The rough tides began to stir between Ledo and his new found friends, ultimately ending in a breaking point. What made it so special was that Amy, the one hurt most by Ledo’s actions, still couldn’t come to hate him because she understood that he wasn’t doing it out of spite or hatred toward the people of Earth. Ledo wanted to protect everyone, and do whatever he could to ensure their safety. It was that type of bond that made me enjoy the anime so much. The minor quips and jokes tossed around between Amy and Ledo goes to show that you don’t need anything dramatic have a good relationship between characters. The addition of a self aware robot, Chamber, also helped Ledo grow as a person. Although at first he wasn’t much for manual labor and used Chamber to help with the heavy lifting, he began to realize that it wasn’t him the people grew attached to first. Chamber had the advantage of learning human speech, joining in their customs, and interacting with the various ranks in society. It was nice to see that Ledo didn’t find this all too appealing once the fleet threw him to the side to laze around as Chamber did all the work. I think this speaks to a lot of people who want to be ingrained in society, but don’t know how to do it.
I wanted to give a quick mention to the ending song of Suisei no Gargantia as well. I think that everyone who has watched this anime should give it a listen, and read the translation if they don’t understand Japanese. It fits perfectly with Amy’s character who was the main focus on the ending credits. This reminded me a lot of Bakemonogatari, not because of the style, but rather the use of song to describe a character in an anime. I find this to be some of the best uses of OST for an anime and needed to give it a mention. “Sora to Kimi no Message” by ChouCho was easily one of my favorite songs of the Spring 2013 season. The OST as a whole for Suisei no Gargantia was worth checking out. Probably the only song I was disappointed in was the opening. It was a little to cheerful and corny for me to listen to each time.
Final statements: I would suggest that everyone watch this anime, or at least give it a shot. I think that the slice of life elements mixed with the action and story created a must see anime. The characters were all likeable and I am definitely going to be watching this one again down the line. I also suggest checking out the soundtrack for some great melodies to listen to as you relax with a cup of tea or studying.