This one came out of no where. I got a recommendation, I watched the first episode, then finally at 3am in the morning I went to sleep satisfied. Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet had me hooked from episode one, and I simply couldn’t bring myself to put the adventure on hold. If I had to regret marathoning it in one sitting, it’d be because I don’t have a reason to watch it today. Well, that’s why I’m writing about it now.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet follows Ledo, a mech pilot of The Galatic Alliance of Humankind in their war against the evil Hideauze. The first half of the first episode shows us a bit of this war as the humans assault a Hideauze nest. We meet Ledo, our protagonist and learn that he has little interest in living a normal life, believing it beyond him. From there one we see his personality through his actions in battle, and then IT happens. You see, while this starts off looking like it may be a mech space war anime, halfway through Ledo falls into a wormhole and is whisked away from his battle, and comrades. Ledo then wakes up to find himself a castaway from home in a foreign facility, surrounded by people he doesn’t understand. As it turns out, the world is flooded, and Ledo was picked up from the Oceaon floor in a salvage attempt, and brought aboard the City Fleet of Gargantia.
In Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet they make the language barrier clear to see, as depending on the perspective, the foreign language is depicted in an actual foreign language, be it made up or not, the pint it is clearly different from Japanese. It’s refreshing to see this divide as most of the time this sort of problem is ignored entirely, or brushed over with “magic.” This really puts emphasis that Ledo, is worlds apart from everyone else. Although to be completely fair, we do get a bit of that “magic” thanks to his mechs A.I. (named Chamber) which ends up acting as a translator. Although through the course of the show Ledo does learn Earth’s language.
While Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet does have a mech in it, it is not the focus of the show. In fact the most memorable part about the mech is not it’s fighting prowess, but rather the character of Chamber itself who acts as a support character, that along with Ledo grows as the show progresses forward. This makes sense considering due to the Earth being flooded, the technology available is limited, which means Chamber is easily the strongest thing on the planet. What fun would it be to watch the protagonist have his way with any antagonist comes at him? The answer to this question is found in the second and third episodes, where conflict spawns due to a fundamental difference in the way the two sides think. As you can guess, the conflict is handled mostly by Ledo. Being the one to cause the misunderstanding, he comes to realize his mistake and then readjusts his actions as to be more respectful of the values of the people around him. You could say that Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet is a story about vastly different cultures coming together and learning to co-exist, in more ways than one.
Ledo comes from the stars, and the Earthlings come from a flooded Earth. One comes from a militaristic society organized for efficiency that has existed for the purpose of fighting the Hideauze, whilst the others come from a much more tranquil way of life, although not without their own troubles. With Ledos time on the Gargantia, we get to watch him slowly learn what it is to live as an individual, rather than a cog in the machine. We get to watch him grow on a personal journey of growth where he learns about himself, and others. Others like Amy, who was the first to talk to him directly; Pinion, the head repairman of the Gargantia; Ridget, the Gargantia’s second in command, and Bellows, the head of the excavation team to name a few. While not all of them get that much screen time, for the most part they do get enough characterization to feel like people with actual motivations of their own.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet might sound slow, but I never felt that the show was going to slow, or that some episodes were unnecessary. Everything just flows smoothly together, and for a moment we might forget that Ledo is a soldier, but then episode 7 comes in and subplots come to a head while we’re also reminded of his life in the stars. This is where Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet really starts to pick up speed and get interesting, while a slight sense of unease also settles in. From 7 on, there’s a growing sense of “wrongness,” and unease that settles in which lasts until near the shows completion.
While I highly enjoyed this anime, the plot itself wasn’t anything new per say, but even so it carried it out nicely, with strong themes to support it. We could have used some deeper characterization, but at the end of the day this was from the start always about our protagonist, Ledo. I say that but, is that really an excuse? There’s also some inconsistencies you might catch on to, but they’re not too big… unless you’re particularly picky.
With all that said, while I’d love to go on about the latter half of the series, it’s probaly best I leave that to you as there are some fantastic plot-twists, that you may or may not see coming. But to sum it up, the first half starts off with a bit of action, and some tranquility, while the second half take the plot to into some existential themes. What it really comes down to, is that it’s just a highly enjoyable show. It’s nicely animated, the music is quite alright, and Chamber is just great… really. So feel free to jump into the wormhole and start watching Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, as it’s a great watch, that’s defenitly worth your time.