Well, you did it, Gargantia. You slowrolled the butchering for eight fucking episodes. You really did have me going there – the show didn’t really need to go to a super-dark place to make its points about society and identity. But I guess there was no way this Flange fleet separation was going to end well, and this choice is certainly suitably horrific.
What happens now? Ledo and Chamber seem to have a difference of opinion regarding the justice of their mission. Is Ledo’s highest-ranking-officer trick not gonna cut it now that Chamber knows the nature of this sensitive information? They’re obviously playing up the similarities between the Alliance and Hideauze as much as possible – though the Hideauze look more like animals, from the very first episode it seemed clear that the Alliance was meant to represent humanity as a single hivelike organism, with all individual actions filtering down from a central goal. Are the Hideauze any different? Is Gargantia itself the only example of a communal but still individualist society?
Fuck if I know. Let’s find out.
1:17 – The blood on his hands is a metaphor for the blood on his hands.
1:43 – Doesn’t everyone just love this jaunty OP?
5:50 – “Tell everyone we got the treasure! That’ll scare ’em!” Okay, Pinion, this is just dumb as fuck. There has to be a limit to his bravado – his choice to wipe out the nest was both calculated and based on his brother’s death, but this just the action of a lunatic, and reeks of plot necessity
8:55 – “I annihilated the hideauze! I FEAR NOTHING!” You are one damaged kid, Ledo. I really wish the episode would just focus on him, his breakdown is much more interesting than the damn fleet politics
10:23 – “Did Ledo really wipe out the whalesquids?” “Yes. It was a stupid thing to do.” Why? Why, from what they know of the situation, would it be a stupid thing to do? Clearly we know why – but we have a lot more information than them. Is it just respect for animals in general that motivates these guys? Because I have to say, if there were a nest of some generic wild animals standing between the fleet and hundreds of years of human science, culture, and technology, that really wouldn’t be a difficult choice for me. Sorry!
11:47 – “They’re out of ammo! Keep firing!” Reaaally not liking this crazy turn from Pinion. He’s changing from “pragmatic, egotistical, vindictive” to just “straight-up villainous,” and that’s never good for a story
13:05 – “We’ll be invincible!” So Pinion’s basically standing in for the dangerous blind ambition of humanity here? Man, that’s a whole other idea unrelated to the societal stuff, the identity stuff, or the arbitrary human conflict stuff from last episode. If they can actually pull these strands together…
13:26 – Between Flange and the pirate captain, we’ve also now had two leaders in a row swiftly lose their authority in the face of huge personal gain for their subordinates. That actually does contrast nicely against Gargantia’s ideal of humane co-prosperity
15:30 – “Or the first time I got inside Chamber… this Machine Caliber?” Love that little self-correction. Way more subtle of a distinction than the Pinion stuff
16:00 – “It’s a beam weapon similar to my own.” So have Ledo and Chamber basically just created the one superpower capable of actually fighting them on the planet? That might be the last necessary puzzle piece to see the ending – one easy narrative route it could go from here would be having Ledo flee from the Flange group when asked to raid another nest, and ultimately have to confront them again on the side of Gargantia
16:28 – “Would it work if we harnessed the lightbugs?” Oh boy. If that’s also relevant, the theoretical end to the conflict would be mankind’s weapons of absurd overkill making their own environment unsustainable. Can’t imaginethat ever happening…
18:45 – Good. Chamber’s actually bothering to articulate the very relevant counterargument here – “yeah, sure, they’re humans too. So what? They’re still trying to exterminate us”
21:35 – I’m gonna need to watch through that whole Chamber speech a couple more times, but it’s kinda funny how much of the discussions last week’s episode prompted he’s now just directly articulating
What the fuck? How the fuck did Kugel get here – is there another gate? That would be… hm.
Man. The first half of that episode was pretty slow, and involved too much cackling villainy from Pinion, but the second half made up for it in spades, going directly into both Ledo’s personal doubts and the philosophical questions framing them. There was plenty to unpack in that last speech of Chamber’s – his points about intellect and civilization were reasonable, but it went all over the place… “beings who seek only happiness and self-gratification don’t require a higher intellect,” for instance. Could he be including the culture of Gargantia there? And talking about “the pride of the human race,” or how the Hideauze are actually a higher life form, or how Ledo will understand after he accumulates more experiences – his ultimate point seems to be the pragmatic “in a war between such linked but diametrically opposed forces, there can only be utter victory or utter extinction, and thus we must fight,” but he certainly took a roundabout route to arrive at it.
Either way, the show keeps introducing new ideas, but last week’s ideas were handled beautifully this time, so I’m very hopefully the introduction of Kugel will be a positive one as well. I got pretty much all the Ledo development I could have asked for, and Chamber proving himself to be quite the unexpected philosopher was just icing on the cake. Bring on the next episode!