I was a bit hesitant at first to actually watch the Suisei no Gargantia specials due to the mediocrity of the series reflected by the 13 episode season. While Gargantia wasn't necessarily bad, the pacing, overall story, and character development are easily depicted as lacking, considering the potential this series innately had. These two specials essentially give background stories behind the story of Gargantia; they fulfill background information in two separate manners. Rather than lumping these two episodes together and calling them 'specials', they should have been split into their own separate OVAs.
The first special covers Ridget, the new overseer and daughter of the
previous fleet commander and gives background information about her life and stress of fulfilling the role of acting fleet commander. The episode isn't heavy on drama, major themes, or any character development necessarily. It's more of some extra screen time dedicated to fleshing out Ridget's character a little more. It was a fair watch, but doesn't quite add much to the series.
The second episode of the special is dedicated to showing how Kugel arose to the figure of a God and how the cult of his religious followers came to be. Although the episode is a dark one, I thought this particular episode was the best that Suisei no Gargantia had to offer as an animated series. There are strong themes apparent that showcase the many flaws in human nature. Human beings are greedy, manipulative, cunning, power-hungry, and selfish; Kugel's character development reflects these traits well. This episode reflects that well. It also showcases major fallacies depicted by the facade of Gods and religion. For being a special, this episode added a lot of quality material to the series. It feels as if it should have been a part of the actual season airing. It's a shame that it wasn't.
Overall both specials combined were a decent watch. From my perspective the second special was far better than the first and actually felt like a necessity to understanding more about the story of the series.
For many, the Gargantia series was a hit or miss. Personally, I really liked it, but it wasn't as good toward the end as it was at the beginning. I thought they could have done with a few more episodes, since it was the pacing that killed the end for most people. And now that we have 2 more episodes- both depicting backstories of characters who do kind of need development, so how are they?
Ep 14: I thought this was a pretty okay episode, but kind of forgettable. It showed the backstory of Rigit, the captain of Gargantia. It was a bit sad but far
from tearjerking, and it didn't really do much to flesh out her character. But it had a few funny moments and of course we get to see more of that gorgeous animation that I think everyone can agree is always a positive part of this anime. 7/10
Ep 15: I really liked this one. It gave more backstory to the main antagonists and you see how he goes from a pretty good guy to the dickbag you see in the main series. And there is quite a bit of darkness and emotion in this one. I'd give it a 9/10
This isn’t as much of a review as a PSA. These two episodes were made pretty much to fill up the content of the BDs to a neat 5-episodes-per-volume figure. The first one was released on BD Vol.1, the second on BD Vol. 3. As such, referring to them as “episodes 14 & 15” is both wrong and misleading, they aren’t meant to be a follow-up to the main story, rather, the first one is Episode 4.5 and the second one is Episode 13.5.
Episode 4.5 suffers the most if seen at a wrong time, because its story, both chronologically and narrative-wise, takes place between Episodes
4 and 5, with characters acting according to the story progress up until that point, which creates a jarring discrepancy if watched after the later episodes of the main plotline. The first half of the episode is dedicated to worldbuilding, which again, is pretty pointless after the main story is over. The second half provides some extra backstory for the character of Ridget, who also got her character arc resolved well before the finale of the series, in Episode 8. Overall, even if watched in the right order, this episode is just an inoffensive filler, providing nothing but an opportunity to see the cast do more stuff, 6/10.
Episode 13.5 is an immediate follow-up to the final episode of the series (narrative-wise, chronologically it’s a prequel) and is much more relevant to the plot progression. It provides some background on the cultist fleet, which is necessary for connecting the finale of the main series with the follow-up OVAs. It also explains the origin of the second flying squirrel that first appeared in Episode 12 and followed the protagonist ever since. The episode’s storyline of Kugel and Linaria compares and contrasts with the storyline of Ledo and Amy, so it isn’t a filler by any means, but it feels a bit rushed to really work well, 7/10.
The review assumes that the reader is familiar and has seen the main series.
These special episodes give us short glimpses on some of the side characters backstories. The first episode is set somewhere in the parent show’s middle-to end bit (since Chamber is still alive, but Ridget is already the commander. Also, Ledo is still struggling with the language a bit). It follows the cast encountering and exploring an abandoned fleet, supposedly riddled with ghosts. Spoiler alert: no ghosts were to found, except for the ghosts of past.
The episode is alright, and it was nice to see some depth to Ridget’s character. However, I
felt like the story was incomplete, and I was left wishing for more. What happened to the characters from Ridget’s past? Where did they go, and why did they have to abandon the ship in the first place? I feel like there was enough material here for a short movie even, so simply cramming the content into a single episode felt a bit rushed.
TL:DR. (it wasn’t even that long, sheez.) A nice little episode for the fans of the show. Nothing new, and you won’t miss anything even if you skip this, but if you grave for more Gargantia and have time to kill by all means, give it a watch. 6/10.
The second episode centres around Kugel, the Galactic Alliance colonel the main show portrays as the antagonist, and his companion Pilot Guidance System, Striker. The episode follows their landing on Earth, their encounter with a pirate fleet and Kugel’s rise to power as the fleet’s commanded and as an emissary of god. The story is interesting, and it brings depth to Kugel’s character, something I felt was missing from the original show.
Like the first special episode, this one too felt a bit rushed. A lot of material was covered, but since the entire episode had this backstorey-feel to it, this didn’t really matter, and was pretty much expected. Some things were left annoyingly open, like for example the pirate fleet; why had he pirate girl’s father left power to the youngest daughter? Why did the others have such animosity towards her? Was it just rivalry between siblings, or something more? A short explanation would have been nice. Or maybe I just missed it? :P
TL:DR. A good addition to the main series, finally shedding desired light on the main antagonist’s motivations. I would recommend everyone who saw the original show to watch this for the full experience. 8/10.