Suisei no Gargantia – Episode 12

Welp, I’m late, but in my defense your face is stupid. Two episodes to go. Gargantia in the crosshairs. All themes primed to explode.

Let’s talk about that for a second. I assume this and the next episode will probably settle these ideas a bit, but right now, this show is fucking crazy-rich in interpretations. My own focus has been on how Gargantia, Ledo, and the Galactic Alliance explore the purpose of society and how society relates to individual identity. I think that’s a pretty sweet interpretation! But you could also make a strong case for the Alliance system representing the classic and now-decaying Japanese ideal of entering a corporation upon leaving education, rising in an utterly linear fashion within that organization, and being protected by it until the day you die. Or you could talk about the specific historical philosophies our sides are representing – Kugel’s pseudo-Randian theocracy, Gargantia’s lightly capitalist collectivism. Or you could hone in on the theme of entering society, focusing on the way Ridget and Pinion have dealt with their emerging responsibilities, as well as what Chamber and the cockpit might represent. Or you could talk about the show’s layered views on human nature and the inevitability of conflict. Or its much more straightforward but still solidly articulated views on the military-industrial complex. Or the 1984-esque perspective control, focusing on Ledo’s early inability to translate the purpose of Gargantian society and Kugel’s recent redefining of happiness.

So yeah. By all means, take your pick. The show is a rich goddamn tapestry, and even if many of these ideas are relatively straightforward in their expression, that expression is still generally well-articulated, and the summation of all these ideas is a vivid, compelling, and multifaceted world. This show’s a gem. I hope it finishes strong.

Episode 12

0:51 – Pinion’s like a kid in a candy shop. Which I guess is a part of what he represents – humanity’s hasty bravado and careless glee in creating newer and deadlier weapons

1:57 – In order to plea on Gargantia’s behalf, Ledo leaves Chamber, preferring to represent himself in person

2:46 – You know we’re in the shit when there’s no time for the OP

6:31 – Aw maaan, is Kugel gonna murder a bunch of senior citizens because they’re a drain on society? Well, I guess they’re really hammering in what a saint Ayn Rand was. Utterly rational societies, everyone!

8:29 – Jeez, nicely done. Hammering the point home or not, that wave of bodies falling is a chilling image. As is the rain washing away Pinion’s temporary allegiance. And there we have it – Ledo chooses the way he wanted to contribute to Gargantian society over the most efficient role chosen for him by the Alliance

8:54 – I also like that Pinion’s hair has been let fall loose now that he’s given up on the titles and bravado. When I watch this show for a second time, I’ll probably be on the lookout for more efficient visual cues like that or the symbolic colors

10:20 – “Combat policy formulation is in your hands, Ensign.” Awww yeah, fucking fist pump. It’s really hard for me to not treat Chamber like an actual character – he really does seem to have a genuine connection with Ledo. But hey, that fits perfectly in line with his role as teacher/parent in the Japanese society metaphor, and that could be the right one, so who knows?

10:35 – Ledo joins the rebellion in the space of one smirk from Pinion. Pretty efficient storytelling!

13:40 – “He’s gonna turn against an old friend to protect us, and we’re just going to leave him?!” Not if the “entering society shouldn’t be frightening, we’re all there for each other” camp has anything to say about it!

18:24 – I didn’t want to pause during this holy shit viva la revolucion finale but my damn roommate interrupted me so I might as well say I think the sound design here is fucking dynamite. And also all of the other things that are currently happening

21:27 – Oh man, Striker was indeed on autopilot. A society so rational it governs itself!

And Done

Man, that whole “squids have rejected their humanity, and thus are no longer human” argument is looking pretty threadbare when the alternative is a corpse in a machine. But anyway, fuck yes that episode was awesome. The first half of two straight episodes of dramatic and thematic dominoes tumbling down. Pinion’s turn was surprisingly satisfying, Chamber’s defection to Ledo’s orders was confusingly heartwarming, and the finale was pretty goddamn epic. Great music, it bounced well between the various smaller conflicts, there were some really nice visual touches like their cannons parting the sea of mist – the plot and themes are still being respected, but this was also just a sweet freaking episode in all the best pure-entertainment ways. Nailing it, Gargantia.

2 thoughts on “Suisei no Gargantia – Episode 12

  1. Maybe Gargantia has been too complex/confused to reliably deliver worthwhile episodes every week, but it’s nice to see it can still make good on some of the great ideas it’s touched on.

    • Yeah, it’s definitely been a very strange ride tone-wise, but I’m generally very happy with how it’s handling its themes. I’m thinking it will probably look more coherent in retrospect, when we can see the structure as a whole – and I’ve actually enjoyed every episode (though I’ve also had significant issues with a couple of them).

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