Suisei no Gargantia – Episode 9

Last week’s episode was great, and time is now running out – if this show wants to make any thoughtful and unrushed points, it’s going to have to make extremely good use of the Flange-Gargantia separation. Considering the slow pacing of the show so far, I’m very interested in seeing how we’ll reach a satisfying conclusion in the episodes we have left. Let’s get to it.

Episode 9

0:34 – Well, I guess that answers that question. No wasting time here – directly from the separation to the moment of truth. I like this – last week already gave us all of Amy’s and Ledo’s reservations, we don’t need to repeat that. It’s time to see the consequences of their choices

1:04 – The glow of the whalesquids makes it seem very likely that the theory of them being critical to the glowing waters is correct, especially since this show actually is pretty careful about what that turquoise blue represents thematically

5:45 – Well, that explains that – both Pinion’s personal feelings towards the whalesquid, and his conviction that disturbing their territory is valuable. Seriously, if I didn’t have the meta genre awareness to know these sorts of decisions always turn out badly in media (arguments based on visual thematics don’t really translate well to the real world… “obviously attacking the whalesquids is a bad idea, their glow is the same color as Amy’s eyes!”), I’d be completely on board with Ledo, Pinion, and Flange – their decisions are completely reasonable

8:54 – “Look at all those lightbugs! That spray of water was glowing!” Chances of whalesquid being critical to current earth ecosystem has risen to 78%

9:32 – Oh jeez, what kind of horrific industrial plant will this be? Are we gonna find out how humans created whalesquids, or how they destroyed the original earth? Or will this just be a big explosive deathtrap waiting to happen

11:37 – I actually like Pinion well enough as a character, but I kind of wish they’d seeded this brother stuff a little more consistently throughout. I know the main focus here is more the battle of ideals between Gargantia and Ledo, but I think they could have complicated that a bit more with Pinion’s personal grudge without devaluing his general argument – for instance, if that flashback had come earlier in pieces, people probably would have had less complaints about Pinion’s mission being based too much on conjecture. I get the feeling this is another consequence of the show having multiple writers – it’s difficult to micromanage the distribution of narrative strains like that when you’re not writing the whole story yourself

13:43 – Classified Information. Beautiful. So yeah, that likely confirms a vast chunk of the hypothesized connections – humanity’s own culpability in the state of the earth and creation of the hideauze, a set of information that would only make for less dedicated soldiers, resulting in it being conveniently classified.

17:10 – HOLY SHIT

18:48 – HOLY SHIT

And Done

Ahahahaha. Oh man, slice of life indeed.

So I guess the “humanity created the hideauze” hypothesis was, uh, correct. In a fashion. And it certainly makes sense why the Alliance would classify that information! Also, Ledo basically just single-handedly committed genocide. Are these evolvers actually sentient? The last one seemed to be, but the others didn’t really try to communicate in any way – are they basically saying the original evolvers have shifted to being more primal organisms, or has the show just withheld any hints of sentience for the sake of this reveal?

At the moment, I can’t fully sort out how I feel about this turn. I didn’t really want the show to demonize the Alliance, and I still think Ledo’s actions are reasonable from the position of the life he’s lead, but I feel like literally humanizing the hideauze is too easy of an answer. One thing that is very interesting to me is that Ledo felt absolutely no remorse about murdering all those obviously human pirates earlier on, but is completely devastated by this development – I think we can either chalk that up to character development or to his loss of faith in the great guiding light of the Alliance, or both.

Hm… yeah, overall, I think this works. There’s really no way anyone involved in Flange’s crew could have predicted they be wrong in this way – their actions are all still reasonable, and this basically just makes the larger space conflict one more in a series of conflicts where central powers dehumanize an Other to make for more committed soldiers. The other themes are still intact. We’re good to go.

With that cleared up… holy shit! Ledo just murdered like a thousand post-humans! And learned his life mission has been to murder thousands more! I think the show was basically completely neutral on the idea of the evolvers in the first place, which is awesome – I hate it when shows just pull out “meddling with nature is bad, fuck science,” and here it was obviously not the research itself, but humanity’s own gut reactions to things they don’t understand, as well as just the general fear of the times, that caused the current horrific conflicts in space. That’s awesome. The flashback itself told its story very well, and that scene where Ledo was absentmindedly incinerating the larva was chilling in its own right. And yes, of course, we finally got to that dark, cynical center at the core of every Urobuchi truffle – I honestly wasn’t sure if this show was going to go there, but, well, it went there. I also think we’ve resolved the separation in about as clean a way as possible – at this point, Ledo is clearly through. No possible outcome here could have been more devastating than this – I don’t know how he’ll recover. I am desperately hoping his reunion with Amy comes next episode, because it seems pretty obvious he’s not gonna get over this one alone.

Goddamn you guys. Goddamn.