Alright, Gargantia. It’s time to step it up. A little bird told me that OreGairu, Aku no Hana, and Titan all had their best episodes yet this week – do you feel the pressure? DO YOU FEEL THE HEAT? I hope so, because I believe in you, champ. Now get out there and make me proud. And while you’re at it, tell your characters to put some goddamn clothes on.
1:19 – Chamber, drenched in gore, intestines trailing from his arms. CUE OP! There’s the Urobuchi we know and love!
Kidding, by the way. I find much more optimism about human nature in any of his shows than I do in the average cynically targeted anime production.
3:41 – “But the big squid monsters are sacred!” Welp, it looks like even utopia is still plagued by superstitious bullshit. Win some, lose some.
4:43 – So, if they are actually fundamentally similar creatures, it’s looking like the lesson here is “if you space assholes just left them the fuck alone, you wouldn’t have to live in a militant slave culture in the first place.” I hope it’s not that simple
4:58 – Nice. I like how worried Ledo is that he might be responsible for putting the Gargantians in danger. He’s always cared about helping people (disobeying orders in the very first episode), but his emotions are much more readable and strongly felt at this point
5:33 – Oh dear, fleet commander getting a checkup. That’s a serious death flag right there
6:10 – “Helping the people of this fleet is the proof that I’m alive.” Leave it to the commander to answer the show’s main thematic question in a single sentence
7:41 – “Ledo will fuck up those squids, and we’ll grab the treasure!” Oh thank god “whalesquids are mystical spirit animals” isn’t just a ubiquitous Gargantian belief. Obviously stuff like that is more significant or believable to some individuals than others, regardless of their general cultural background
11:10 – Awesome. I love seeing Ledo get pissed and just go off on the Gargantians for their naïve perspective. This show puts Ledo in the position of student so often that it’s really refreshing to see him take a stand on the one thing that has basically defined his life
11:32 – “You don’t have to do that, Ledo. You’re your own person.” And he’s fucking worried about you idiots, and so he’s deciding as his own person to protect you. Again, it’s great to see these lofty ideas crash into the hard walls of reality
By the way, I’m kind of assuming these whalesquids actually will turn out to be totally peaceful unless provoked, but that’s basically genre assumptions on my part – I think Ledo’s perspective here makes complete sense
13:44 – SEIZON SENRYAKU!
Sorry. This episode’s full of good characterization, but here’s another bit I like – Ledo’s refusal to at least consider their point of view must be significantly based on his psychological need to have his original life be meaningful and correct
Man, choking death rattle directly into perky windsurfing ED. That’s some After Story shit right there
Pretty solid episode, and surprisingly character-focused for an episode featuring an army of mutant whalesquids. I really liked the writing for Ledo in this episode, and pretty much everyone else came across as representing a believable set of interests and beliefs as well – it was also particularly nice seeing Ledo basically go to town on the Gargantian’s hippy-dippy attitude towards conflict. I’ve been kinda worried at various points that this show would be too simplistically didactic, and this episode gives me reason to hope that won’t be the case. My assumption that we were running out of time for idyllic slice-of-life episodes also seemed to be confirmed, though I still doubt that we’re gonna see anything too crazy happen – maybe Ledo will go to town on one whalesquid nest, and that’ll put his separatist fleet in danger, or something. I also like that the largest character conflict that’s existed for a while now, between Bellows and Pinion, has now ballooned into an actually meaningful central conflict – making your foundation-building as invisible as that is a difficult skill, and yet another sign of Urobuchi’s control of craft in storytelling (for example, Maou-sama!, for all its many strengths, has a great deal of trouble with seamless foundation-building).
So yeah, it was a little bit of a transitional episode, but it had a lot of great stuff going on, and I like the direction the story’s going. Not as flashy as some of the other episodes this week, but still just quietly excellent all around