English: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Synonyms: Suisei no Galgantia
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 7, 2013 to Jun 30, 2013
23 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.761 (scored by 53260 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisThe story begins in the distant future in the far reaches of the galaxy. The Human Galactic Alliance has been constantly fighting for its survival against a grotesque race of beings called "Hidiaazu." During an intense battle, the young lieutenant Ledo and his humanoid mobile weapon Chamber are swallowed up into a distortion of time and space. Waking from his artificially induced hibernation, Ledo realizes that he has arrived on Earth, the planet on the lost frontier. On this planet that was completely flooded by the seas, people live in fleets of giant ships, salvaging relics from the seas' depths in order to survive. Ledo arrives on one of the fleets called Gargantia. With no knowledge of the planet's history or culture, he is forced to live alongside Amy, a 15-year-old girl who serves as a messenger aboard the Gargantia fleet. To Ledo, who has lived a life where he knows nothing but fighting, these days of peace continue to surprise him.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Suisei no Gargantia, Suisei no Gargantia
Side story: Puchitto Gargantia
Sequel: Suisei no Gargantia Specials
Characters & Voice Actors
There's a perpetual belief that the bigger and more explosive a story is, the better it becomes.
In the case of "Suisei no Gargantia", bigger is anything but better. What makes the first half of the anime so special, and so rewarding, is made irrelevant by the bloated mess that follows. And it's a shame- it had the potential to be one of the best anime of these past few years.
Despite being the latest work of the (in)famous Urobuchi Gen, Suisei no Gargantia depicts a much more down-to-earth story. There is no ruthless slaughtering of the characters (though some might deserve it at times), nor are there any plot twists until the last few episodes. Suisei no Gargantia is set in a distant future where the Earth has been flooded. And flooded entirely. What remains of human civilization live their days in fleets of antiquated ships, free from any worry but the rare threat of pirates.
Enter "Ledo", a teenage soldier from across the galaxy who somehow, conveniently enters a wormhole that drops him to the birthplace of humanity-- Earth.
The most interesting aspect of the series is how Ledo copes with (and eventually accepts) a society so distinctly different from his own. Where Ledo comes from, concepts such as peace do not exist. Humans are born and raised for the sole purpose of fighting their enemy, the Hideaze. And naturally there is no such thing as love or friendship.
What follows is a series of amusing, sometimes uncomfortable scenes of Ledo experiencing culture shock. What the heck is the purpose of money? ... to buy more weapons to shoot dudes with? He has no idea. Whenever he experiences something new, he and his AI companion ("Chambers") will inevitably draw some ridiculous contrast to their own society. In one scene, Ledo even asks the person beside him why an injured child is alive. I felt very bad for laughing at that.
Ledo also experiences a rapid period of growth as he becomes closer with the inhabitants of the Gargantia fleet. He learns to enjoy life, how to do ordinary things such as swimming or cooking, and what friendship means. He transforms from a cold, ruthless soldier into a normal human being, one that can feel emotion and remorse. The Ledo at the start of the story is not the Ledo at the end of the story, and this character development is something that deserves no shortage of praise.
Sadly, there's also everything else about the story.
If you enjoyed the relaxed and carefree nature of the first half, prepare to have everything you liked about the show flipped upside down in the second half. The character development slows to a crawl. The comedy becomes nonexistent. What is hammered in its place is a joyless disaster, devoid of anything even remotely interesting.
Where to begin? I suppose the moronic characterization would be a start. While the first half showed signs of the side characters breaking away from their stereotype, the second half seeks instead to bury them in that shell. The only character aside from Ledo who even receives any notable growth is Pinion, but his backstory is so contrived and heavy-handed that there's little reason to care about his suffering.
Even worse are the minor characters who populate the Gargantia fleet. They are insufferably stupid. There is one scene where Ledo is reprimanded by the fleet's commanders for protecting them from a pirate attack, which would have inevitably led to looting and violence. Are you kidding me?
It makes one wonder why this screen time wasn't handed to Amy instead. Aside from Ledo, she is the only character in the show with sense in her brain. She is the one who changed Ledo, who taught him that life is worth living, and yet she is merely relegated to the role of a cheer leader by the end. She deserved much more than that.
Sure, Ledo is plenty developed, but he is just as much a victim as anybody else. The change that the first half had building for him is simply used as a tool to force in cheesy dialogue about the power of friendship. During the climax, he changes his mind over an important decision simply because Amy came flying by on a kite to yell at him. Can I puke now?
This would be bad enough on its own, but the plot itself fares no better. Plot twists and ridiculous contrivances are the name of the game. Everything is somehow tied to Ledo and his own people, and the 'twists' (especially regarding the antagonist) are so cliched that they almost feel as if the writer was playing a joke. And then there's not even a proper ending to wrap all of this mess up! It ends abruptly with little to no context, begging you to follow through with the sequel OVA for answers. There is absolutely no reason why the audience should have to watch a sequel in order to have a proper conclusion to a story that they already invested their time in. That is silly.
On a more positive note, the artwork is generally decent. The characters are modeled consistently while the oceans are rendered with grandeur, effectively making the post-apocalyptic Earth seem more like a paradise. However, the quality plummets in the 11th episode, where entire scenes have crowds of characters drawn as blobs. Literal blobs.
The soundtrack is also one of the better points of the anime. There's nothing here that will stay in your mind for eternity (though the ending song is sure as heck relaxing), but each of the lighthearted tracks do a solid job of conveying the feelings of relaxation and hope which pervade the first half. It's an atmospheric anime when it tries to be, which makes the second half all the more lamentable.
Suisei no Gargantia is an anime with an identity crisis. Is it a dramatic story about the dark secrets of humanity, or is it simply a lighthearted tale about a young man finding his place in life? Who really knows. I don't think it does either.
It didn't have to turn out this way. read more
Suisei no Gargantia (or Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet) is a show that starts off with plenty of promise. It had famed writer Gen Urobuchi venturing outside the grimness of his previous work to make a more uplifting story, beautiful visuals from Production I.G., and a great premise. It explored thought-provoking concepts while remaining fun and affirming; possessing an optimism and faith in humanity that was simply infectious. However, while the first half of the show flows with a comfortably and naturally (albeit with some wasted time), the second half is clunky and forceful in introducing darker elements to the plot. The end is still a decent and interesting show, but it doesn't quite live up to expectation.
The set-up for the show is great. Due to some great catastrophe, most humans have left Earth and are now engaged in a constant battle for survival against bizarre monstrosities called Hideauze, becoming a militaristic society called the Galactic Alliance of Humankind. Our hero Ledo is a young man who was born into this endless war, knowing nothing but battle. Due to an accident he is transported far away from this conflict, to a water covered planet; the Earth which humankind had left so long ago. He comes across the (mostly) peaceful boat-dwelling indigenous people living in a fleet named Gargantia, and has to adapt to their drastically different culture in order to survive in this unfamiliar world. This set-up works for so many reasons. It allows the show's world to open up as Ledo learns more about his new surroundings; its culture and its people. It provides contrast between Ledo's militaristic way of life and the more laid-back way of life on Gargantia. Most importantly, it gives Ledo a lot of potential for development as he grows accustom to the ways of Gargania, and makes personal connections with its people.
Ledo is by far the most developed character in the show, as it should be because the story hinges on his growth. He starts off as hard-edged, serious young man lacking in personality and understanding of the nuances of human interaction; which is no fault of his own, of course. Despite not understanding of the world he landed in, he knows that he must adapt to his surroundings, which of course includes adjusting to Gargatnia's society and finding his place in it. Completely foreign to him are many of Gargantia's core values: co-existence, caring for the deficient, and using violence as a last resort. The lax organization of the fleet and laid-back way of life seem inefficient to him. However, as he continues to meet and interact with the residents of Gargantia, he begins to understand and appreciate their way of life. This leads to an inner conflict between the ideas that have been instilled in him at a young age, and these new feelings he is developing; which comes to a head when he finds creatures living beneath the water that are genetically identical to the Hideauze. Ledo's development throughout the show is the driving factor on the show, and seeing him change and loosen up is the greatest satisfaction of the show.
The rest of the cast don't have anywhere near the amount of development Ledo has; really do feel secondary. The exception is Ledo's battle mech and support unit, Chamber. Despite not being human, Chamber has a surprising amount of charm; his (Chamber has a male voice) duty to serve and protect Ledo actually grants him some personality. Though his A.I. gives him great analytical ability, being a robot Chamber doesn't really understand human interaction, which is often used for some good laughs. Amy is the spunky girl who volunteers to be Ledo's guide in Gargantia; she's the catalyst to much of Ledo's changes, and his love interest later in the show. She doesn't develop much beyond her feelings for Ledo, but she is a ray of sunshine and a good foil for our stoic lead. Her disabled younger brother Bevel also has a profound, if limited, effect on the show. Through his conversations with Bevel, Ledo learns the value that every person, even someone who is disabled, brings. Most of the other characters are less remarkable; they do get some development, but not enough to make them really memorable. Which is a shame because the show could have done something interesting with many of these characters, but ultimately focuses on them only enough for them to be plot devices. Some of the their actions later in the story feel like they happened for plot convenience, rather than something the characters would do.
The world of Gargaintia is rich in detail and well developed through the early stages of the show. The show begins with a detailed introduction to the Galactic Alliance of Humankind, a bit of its history and social structure, and it isn't even where the main story takes place. When Ledo lands on Earth, it opens up a new world to explore. The show does a good job of depicting first contact between two unfamiliar cultures. Along with the difference of environment and culture, Ledo doesn't even speak the same language as the people of Gargantia. It takes him some time to learn their language; he has to rely on Chamber to decipher and translate for him regularly at first. This really adds to the show's immersion; as a viewer, it feels like you are discovering a new world alongside Ledo. Details of Gargaintia's society and Earth's ecosystem are introduced gradually through situations, rather than just being explained in information dumps. Not to say it always uses its time effectively, episode 5 is a completely unnecessary fan-service episode that is also the low point in the show's writing, and there are moments which are a bit too quaint every once in a while. Still, all in all, it is a very good approach, building the settings in a very natural way.
The show loses this quality in the darker later half, which delves into why and how humans left Earth to begin with. After certain events cause tension, Ledo parts ways with Gargantia for a while. This leads to him finding footage chronicling the events before a large populous fled to space. It is interesting, showing that the people of Earth were far from united even in the face of impending disaster, with two factions waging war on each other. However, it is also a huge info dump that feels out of place. It goes on about disagreements of what actions should be taken for mankind's survival, and arguments of ethics concerning genetic modification; as well as the origins of the Galactic Alliance, and the creation of the Hideauze. It is too much information at one time, and is quite jarring, honestly. The pacing also is jarringly different, with majority of the big plot twists taking place in the latter half; the show goes from pacing itself leisurely to being very busy. Because of this, a lot of characters' development is rushed, and there isn't really any closure or catharsis for any characters the show takes time to develop, with the exception of Ledo and Chamber.
Not to say these plot twists are bad. They invoke some interesting ideas about the system a group of people live under and how it can become harmful when it is so rigid that it becomes constrictive; as it has in the Galactic Alliance of Humanity and the cult that is introduced late in the series. Human society needs a system to function, but when that system becomes all encompassing that it determines how everyone living under it thinks, it becomes an oppressive force. This is a theme Urobuchi seems endlessly fascinated with, having explored similar ideas in his past work. The thing is, Gargantia somewhat oversimplifies these ideas by doing too much to vilify the system at work without really going into why such a system might be necessary. The cult introduced near the finale is so brainwashed that it is obvious that the show is skewed against their way of live. It's admirable that the show believes so strongly in a simpler and more loosely constructed way of life, but it is optimistic to the point of naivety in its view. Luckily, Ledo's revaluation of his life gives the show's values enough weight to still be honest and meaningful.
As far as the visuals go, the show looks incredible as would be expected from Production I.G. Right from the beginning, the visuals impress with a stunning space battle that is cold and mechanical, but amazing to behold nonetheless. In contrast, the never-ending ocean of Earth and city-like fleet of Gargantia are brimming with liveliness. There is a naturalistic beauty to the settings: the clear blue sky and the shimmering water below that goes well beyond the horizon, the underwater ecosystems, the light of the glowfish at night; it is all breathtaking to look at. Gargantia itself is quite a sight, equal parts fantastical and makeshift. The boat-dwelling people of Gargantia have a rudimentary grasp on technology compared their ancestors, but resourceful and learned to live with what little lost technology they can scavenge and whatever nature provides them; it is easy to see this by just looking at the place where they live. The character designs by Hanaharu Naruko are diverse, colorful, and lively. Clear emphasis is put on female characters (the show loves to flaunt their bodies), but the guys are also quite distinctive; something that is fairly rare in anime. Of special note is the tan Ledo develops during his time on Earth, which is a nice subtle touch.
The music by Taro Iwashiro is mostly composed of orchestral pieces. It is nothing innovative, but it is very well composed and most certainly effective. The music is broad and versatile, which is for the best because Gargantia has a wide range of tones. The compositions support the calm quite moments and warm touching moments just as effectively as tension filled arguments and battles. Probably the most impressive thing the music accomplishes is capturing a sense of wonder. After living on a confining military space colony all his life, the wind open Earth must be awe inspiring for Ledo; the music as well as the visuals imbues the show with a feeling of discovery and adventure.
Though it is too naive to really be called a mature work, Suisei no Gargantia is certainly not a bad show. It is really quite enjoyable; it has likable characters, great art and animation, and a well developed lead. It's theme of how people in a community support one another is so good-natured that I feel kind of bad calling it out on its naivety. Still, the lack of development to the overall cast outside of being likable, and the simplifying of complex themes prevent it from being something great.
Both anime involve themes of censorship, war, and morality. Both anime have a huge plot twist and similar execution.
Once successfully survive the apocalypse, humans form small colony. But information of the cause of the apocalypse still remains classified. After stories develop, the dark truth behind the cause of the apocalypse slowly revealed.
Both themes includes morality, war between species, classified information, civilization, and human experiment. One retell the story with the supernatural and the other one with sci-fi.
Battle for survival. The eradication of a species. Science gone wrong.
In both series, there are dark secrets that becomes unraveled as the episodes progresses. These involve humanity and their origins.
Among other factors, there is the concept of morality that comes into play regarding civilization and the people/creatures in them. From that, there is also conflict that results in battles/wars between the two sides.
There is supernatural elements present in both series that is a thrilling ride as our main characters takes on an adventure that they may never forget.
Both anime are based around similar ideas; which unfortunately I can't explain to much because that would be a spoiler.
Even though there are also many differences (Shinsekai Yori is more psycological and darker while Suisei no Gargantia is mecha for example) both are great anime that sometimes suffer from low pacing.
In both anime, there's a war between species. Information is often censored in each society and both protagonists receive a revelation.
Both have somewhat of a Utopian setting but turns into a major plot twist towards the end.
Both Eureka 7 and Suisei no Gargantia feature unique sci-fi worlds that have similarities but fundamental differences. At their core, there are robots involved, a rather large cast of characters, and a beautiful world filled with secrets. Essentially, there is a sense of adventuring, of growing up, of dealing with a harsh world and searching for one's identity. Eureka 7 paints a fuller world with its length which is something Gargantia could've done better, but if you liked one, you're bound to at least be interested in the other. Highly recommended for sci-fi fans.
The main character's peaceful life changed. He meets a group of people who are in a similar situation and decides to help them out. Both series has the main protagonist who is put in a new surrounding.
In both series, a main protagonist gets involved with a mysterious character after a certain incident. In Eureka Seven, it's Eureka. in Suisei no Gargantina, that mysterious character is Ledo. These two characters have trouble communicating with others or understanding others' feelings. However with the help of their new friend, they are able to understand the world a bit better.
There is mecha/science fiction themes present in both series. In fact, the mysterious character present relies on them and treats it as somewhat of a friend.
The backgrounds of both series also feels somewhat similar; giving off that science fiction outlook.
Both series also has drama, comedy, and of course action.
Both have space, an alien race that causes harm, and mechas.
Both include mechs, and a character that isn't exactly human. Ledo is similar to Eureka at the beginning of the series, he has no attachments to life, nor human feelings. He is however a human, but not entirely. It looks like they are created not born. It's a definitely a good watch.
Opening Theme"Kono Sekai wa Bokura wo Matteita (この世界は僕らを待っていた)" by Minori Chihara
Ending Theme"Sora to Kimi no Message (空とキミのメッセージ)" by ChouCho
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