Posted by psgels on 23 May 2013 with categories: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

So I understand… some of the intentions behind episode five and six. Really, the logic behind the big picture is more than apparent: we needed time to show Ledo getting accustomed to this new culture he ended up at. We needed a chance for the viewers to get a good view of the Gargantia without any drama in it, until that squid came and Ledo had to stir things up again. I like the outcome, but the way in which they got there was a bit weird.

The thing is, that these episodes just weren’t interesting to watch. The creators really could have spent their time better there, instead of going on and on about the random fanservice. They could have used that time to show some geniune and everyday interactions between the characters. Instead they went with a beach episode and silly dances. Sorry, but that just feels shallow. Especially in two consecutive episodes. The creators can write more interesting episodes.

Episode seven thankfully returned to the real business, and I really like what happened. It’s a great twist that the Hideazu have pretty much already settled down on earth, they just chose not to act for now, for whatever reason. Whether they chose to coexist and have something against fancy technology, or they’re just waiting for the right opportunity still remains a question. It’s because of this that Ledo’s actions aren’t inherently wrong; he just acted really rashly.

Convenient heart attack aside, this episode was full of people clashing with each other based on a lot of different values, whether cultural or practical. On one hand there are the Hideazu who have a status as gods, then there is Ledo’s duty, that girl’s personal preference for not wanting to see the guy in a battle, the captain’s concern for the whole population of the gargantia and then there are these economists willing to take a risk for a possible treasure that will benefit the entire Gargantia in the long run. All of them clash together. That really feels like Urobuchi Gen again.
Rating: 3,5/8 (Enjoyable for episodes 5 and 6), 5.5/8 (Excellent for episode 7)

40 Responses

  1. Avatar Ender says:

    Before the ganboys of the show come to bash psgels for this post (you know they’re coming) ask yourself this: “Eeedlessly exploiting young females with provocative belly dancing and erotic, tete-a-tete, might-as-well-be lap dancing, Having voluptuous females with their assets busting out of bathing suits to ensure that a certain segment of the DVD/BD buying market lusts after those specific episodes. Just how much time did they waste on Ledo being chased about by transvestites? Was that supposed to be funny?” How do these really add any value to the story that you can’t find on some hentai site, or one of those “my sister smells like incest” type Light Novel turned into anime “masterpieces”

    • Avatar YourDream says:

      It’s complaints like this that I am unable to understand.
      The show is about a culture that lives on a fleet of ships. Swimming makes sense as a completely natural way to spend leisure time. To swim, people wear swimsuits. The fan service was tasteful, not over the top. It made sense, and wasn’t at all forced.

      Also, there is no way at all that the belly dancing may as well have been a lap dance. It’s a dance. The girls danced. There was nothing erotic about it whatsoever. Simply because they wore revealing clothing, you suddenly denounce it as the lowest of fan service. That’s ridiculous.

      As for psgel’s complaint that they should have showed more daily life activities and interactions instead, they already have. They already spent plenty of episodes showing the viewer the markets, the salvaging equipment and methods, the average work day, the kids playing, how they treat the sickly, etc. Episodes five and six showed two new things about their culture: with their free time they like to have a barbeque and swim, and they showed the sort of festival they host. When it comes to slice of life episodes, these events make total sense. There was nothing particularly boring about them (at least when it comes to slice of life episodes). If they went with your idea and rehashed what they’ve already shown it would be much more boring.

    • Avatar -_- says:

      God, you’re boring. Just stop talking.

  2. Avatar jonas says:

    “I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.”

    You know how japanese writers love Nietzsche, and Nietzsche loved dancing, happiness and love. The fanservice is used to show us that to live and enjoy life, is more important than just survive.

    “What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil”.

  3. Avatar B0Mb0y says:

    No, just no. You expect me to believe that in the whole Gargantia they could only get three underaged girls to do the dumb erotic belly dancing thing? That was terrible fanservice.

    • Avatar jonas says:

      In fairness, those three girls have already been established as very extroverted.

      • Avatar B0Mb0y says:

        Then aren’t there other forms of dance they can perform instead?

        • Avatar jonas says:

          Their dance was more joyful than sexy. It´s their costumes that are too sexy for 16 year old girls. The real life version is pretty tame in comparison: http://youtu.be/_yVJ09D4P-g

          But it seems The Gargantia is very progressive about sexual freedom, episode 5 showed that they are ok with homosexual prostitution.

          As I said above the dance is a celebration of life, and its pleasures.

          “One evening went Zarathustra and his disciples through the forest; and when he sought for a well, lo, he lighted upon a green meadow peacefully surrounded by trees and bushes, where maidens were dancing together. As soon as the maidens recognised Zarathustra, they ceased dancing; Zarathustra, however, approached them with friendly mien and spake these words:
          Cease not your dancing, ye lovely maidens! No game-spoiler hath come to you with evil eye, no enemy of maidens.
          God’s advocate am I with the devil: he, however, is the spirit of gravity. How could I, ye light-footed ones, be hostile to divine dances? Or to maidens’ feet with fine ankles?
          To be sure, I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.
          And even the little God may he find, who is dearest to maidens: beside the well lieth he quietly, with closed eyes.
          Verily, in broad daylight did he fall asleep, the sluggard! Had he perhaps chased butterflies too much?
          Upbraid me not, ye beautiful dancers, when I chasten the little God somewhat! He will cry, certainly, and weep—but he is laughable even when weeping!
          And with tears in his eyes shall he ask you for a dance; and I myself will sing a song to his dance”.

          • Avatar B0Mb0y says:

            You saw the way that scene was animated, with plenty of close up shots of the girls. Fanservice was definitely what the creators were aiming for, regardless of the meaning of the dance in-universe. The GIFs are everywhere on the net!

            Honestly speaking, I’m a great fan of this show. By the fourth episode I was ready to recommend this series to my friends. But if the creators want to show what a fish out of water Ledo is in the Gargantian society, they could do it in one episode while cutting down on the pointless fanservice. Ultimately this show only has 12 episode, and its already at its halfway point.

            On a separate note, glad to see ep 7 is back on track.

    • Avatar Scruffy says:

      While I do agree that the fanservice in ep 5 was unnecessary I think that people simply did not get what ep 6 was all about. Ep 6 was all about Ledo awakening to his desire for Amy. He’s becoming more of a person who does more than just eat seaweed bread for sustenance, and instead learning about eating for enjoyment and perhaps fall in Love. It’s trying to show that life is more than work and there is play in the world and play is important.

      The dance scene with the three girls was IMHO perfectly done. At first we have Ledo chatting with the other two and then slowly his attention becomes fixed on Amy and the others dancing. I loved how they made the vocals slowly fade into the background and we get to see Ledo’s viewpoint of the dance (hence the odd camera angles). BTW, the dance was supposed to be erotic to some extent as they were dancing to attract guys.

      The second dance was very sweet. It was less erotic and more showed Amy’s feelings for Ledo. It brought tears to my eyes.

      • Avatar Silty says:

        Agreed, they’re using fanservice for character development. That’s better than 90%+ of the fanservice out there. It wouldn’t carry the same meaning if they were dressed modestly while dancing.

        List everyone, just because so many anime have been abusing human sexuality lately, doesn’t mean we should be avoiding it entirely. There’s a right and a wrong place for everything!

  4. Avatar Arno says:

    I 90% agree with with Psgels.

    The beach episode was sort of ok because it integrated very well with the Gargantia technological universe, and also it fitted with Ledo learning to relax. However it was ruined by the trannies scenes, which were clamped on with the subtlety of a factory hammer.

    The dance episode was really, really dumb and ugly.

    Sigh… It’ so hard to recommend an anime to friends, even if it begins great you really have to watch it till the last minute to make sure there is no appalling disappointment.

    Now they resume the peace spirit vs war spirit dilemma. It didn’t work very well with the pirates, because pacifism in front of a total invasion is not peaceful coexistence, it’s surrender and death. With the squid monsters it could work better, except you could also wonder why the galaxy forces with their superior knowledge didn’t think about that. Maybe there will be a satisfying answer later…

    A good point though : I like how they modify the ending from one episode to the next.

  5. Avatar TheUltimateReaper says:

    I think people are overacting to these episodes, but I’ll also agree that they strayed somewhat and took me a bit by surprise. What I’ve found so far though is how annoyed I am with this society. I’m not sure to feel about our squids either, if it turns out that they aren’t inherently hostile and mankind fucked up in space I’m not sure how I’ll feel.

    It’s beginning to feel pointless, but we still have some ways to go.

    • Avatar Emma-hime says:

      I think I like the idea of the hideuze being victims striking back on the federation humans that struck first blood, its a good comment on “human beings are monsters because they are” and its fittingly nihilistic/misanthropic.

      • Avatar Hogart says:

        Personally I think it’s a plot device that’s been done way too many times now to work in such simple terms. It takes more than just telling me humans are bad to convince me, and the show’s treatment of the pirates and its own internal politics has been half-hearted at best, so I do hope they don’t end on a bland note.

      • Avatar TheUltimateReaper says:

        What Hogart said.

        I really liked the show at first but its on the threshold of just being grating. I wasn’t expecting anything big but I really hope things don’t just become bland.

  6. Avatar Starss says:

    Did anyone on the fleet remember that the hideaze were sacred creatures to earthlings? I was extremely annoyed by the way everyone seemed to forget after the discussion in the beginning which made it seem pretty damn taboo, saying the whole fleet was now unsettled and feared heavenly retribution. I feel that old couple praying to the heavens were about the only ones to get the reaction right.

    • Avatar black says:

      They said the whalesquids were regarded as sacred creatures since ancient times, but that doesn’t mean everyone think about them like this. It’s like what we think about God is not the same for everyone, some of us are really religious, but there are many who aren’t.

  7. Avatar boa_sting says:

    Trannies aside, was that secret-sauce barbecue fetch quest supposed to be funny? I don’t think anything in the second half of Ep. 5 worked at all or really contributed anything, but the first half was okay.

    First half of Ep. 5 had (1) Ledo wondering about money and looking for a job, (2) Pinion further confirmed as a slacker and setting him up as the kind of guy that’d later want Ledo/Chamber for his get-rich-quick expedition, (3) a contrast of scenes of Gargantia, between what people do at work (mechanic lying under machinery, Bellows swamped in desk work, fishermen maintaining nets, etc.) with what people do on their time off with the engines off (lying around, fishing, playing cards, parties). I thought it was just fine.

    Then pretty much nothing happened for an episode and a half. Pretty much all the ideas and things shown in Ep. 6 (aside from gratuitous dance scenes with really bad animation) were already in 5.

  8. Avatar boa_sting says:

    Oh yeah, one thing I thought was interesting about Ep 7 was the map behind Ridget’s head. There’s dry land, after all, just the higher parts of the Andes, Rockiess, Himalayas, and a few dots like Kilimanjaro in Africa, counter-clockwise starting from upper-left (the map seems to have south on top for whatever reason).

    Do people live on land too?

    Then again, what with the treatment of the pirates and other interactions, I’m not so sure they really know what they’re doing or have amazing things planned for the world in this show.

  9. Avatar Suburbanbanshee says:

    Anybody who’s been to an ethnic festival knows that most of the people who are willing to dance in public are prepubescent girls. Men don’t usually willingly dance in public without acrobatics, strength, attractiveness to girls, or large numbers being involved — (and usually they’re happier if everybody’s doing it, like one of those festival dances at a matsuri). And anybody who’s gone to a Maronite Catholic church festival knows that real ethnic bellydancing in public is not about sexy come-ons. It’s about joy of movement. Little kids, old women, girls.

    The interesting thing about the Gargantia scenes was that they tried to blend this kind of family friendly activity, with showing male desire as a force that drives NEET men to find a job and a life. (And later, with the solitary dance being more arty and pensive, they seemed to be talking about viewing the girl as a person with her own interests and life.)

    The important thing for the Japanese viewer was the stylized sleeves, which said that this was supposed to be a blend of bellydancing with traditional Japanese and Chinese dance forms.

  10. Avatar Arno says:

    Personally I have never seen a festival in any country nor any ethnic group that included half-naked underage girls dancing in front of adult male clients in a cabaret.

    More specifically, although I have never been to a Maronite Catholic festival and I am ready to assume you are right about belly dancing, I fail to see any remote connection with the Maronite ethnic folklore here.

    Last, I don’t know of any ethnic festival in the whole world that includes a girl dancing at the request of one man only, in an isolated place at night.

  11. Avatar Mint says:

    “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

    Ledo is like an immigrant that refuses to accept the customs of his new country and tries to force his beliefs on other people.

    Both the Galactic Alliance and the Gargantia are crapsack worlds. On one end you have the Spartans who live to serve the army and leave behind superior descendants. On the other hand you have people who managed to lead happy peaceful lives by adapting to the new world instead of forcing the world to adapt to them.

    We don’t know how the Galactic Alliance started a war on the Hideauze. Humans might be to blame,but we don’t have any info to back it up. To be honest, it might not even matter. For all we know, “The Final Strike” could just be the final weeding of the Neo Spartan society.

  12. Avatar -_- says:

    It doesn’t really matter what any of you think, because the show is a million times better than any garbage that could spill out of your flacid, uninspired imaginations.

    “waaaaahhhh booohoooo there’s gurls and they have boobies how horrible”

    Sack the hell up. It’s an anime, and a pretty tame one for that matter.

    • Avatar =.= says:

      butthurt fanboy alert

    • Avatar Silty says:

      Yeah.. no. The show was surprisingly good and I was actually entertained throughout the whole thing (including all of 5 and 6), but avoiding the discussion of flaws is stupid.

    • Avatar boa_sting says:

      Also, I’m not one of those that was turned away by the fanservice scenes and whatever else they tried to show (other than perhaps the extreme convenience of somehow those three girls being the ones shown).

      My point was that there was a lot of filler with not much effect. They could have condensed the useful material in 5-6 into a single episode or scrapped half the scenes / cut down on length to be able to stick in some world building or character development that actually contributes something.

      It’s not that every episode needs to be dense on dialogue, but it doesn’t look so great when it seems like a beach ep and then some dancing ep were excuses for the storytelling to slack off and take a break too.

  13. Avatar JaK says:

    once again would say don’t like it don’t watch it :P its so much fun seeing butt hurt comments of people who don’t even like this show lawls

    • Avatar B0Mb0y says:

      On the contrary im sure most people here like the show a lot the show, its obvious this show has much better writing than most anime currently airing. Episodes 5 and 6 just threw us off with content different than what we expected. Every anime has +ves and -ves.

      Also, this is an anime blog with a section for readers to comment. Naturally people are gonna express their opinions. By your logic, if you don’t like reading negative comments about our favourite show, don’t come here. Lawls.

      • Avatar JaK says:

        did i say anything even remotely like not liking reading the comments here O.o rather its comments likes yours and by the people above that make me laugh :)

        • Avatar B0Mb0y says:

          Likewise, neither did I or the people above even remotely imply that we dont even like the show. Even if we commented negatively regarding scenes from the 2 episodes, its abit of a stretch to say that we dont like the show itself.

          I may be wrong here, but im guessing you dont watch the show, and just came here to watch the fight play out between the two sides…which you find amusing. Have some popcorn and enjoy the show. Comments like ‘dont like dont watch’ and ‘butt hurt’ dont really add to the discussion.

  14. Avatar ServantOfPriss says:

    I don’t like how the show strayed from the feel of the first three episodes. Everything was perfect: an interesting, engaging story with equally interesting characters that were engaging as well, with a very rad setting.

    But the episodes have been a bore, fanservice aside (which I’ll admit, I somewhat enjoyed). Nothing advanced until episode 7 (which was a god send, by the way).

  15. Avatar Arno says:

    To reply about “don’t like it don’t watch it” above, literary criticism has a value per se and is part of the world’s cultural heritage. You don’t even have to justify that you like a show, you may dislike a show entirely, the only requisite is that you explain why.

    I know the reaction “don’t like it don’t watch it” is frequent on the internet, nevertheless it is totally incompatible with common and established practices regarding treatment of cultural works by the critics.

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