I knew I would like this series the moment I saw the cover photo on Crunchyroll. What I didn’t expect was how incredible the world is and just how all kinds of fucked up the series gets towards the end.
I’ve seen art of Amy here and there along my internet journey, so when she popped up on the cover of Gargantia when I was flipping through Crunchyroll’s entire library, I had to turn it on and see what I’d be getting into. Admittedly it starts out way off from what it turns out to be, you’re in the depths of space with Ledo and his Gundam-like AI battle armor Chamber fighting these crazy giant alien…things called the Hideauze. During the battle, Ledo fails to catch up with his retreating unit and falls into a warphole as the ships are warping out of that area of space.
***MILD SPOILERS BEGIN***
When Ledo awakens he finds himself on a water world where few ships are the only things left that humans have as living space. Entire communities are a number of ships merged together. After a rough introduction, he begins to work with the people on the ship, most specifically Amy, the first person he comes into contact with. He also touches her butt at one point, which she mentions the first time she’s asked about him. He slowly learns English, while Chamber is translating what he doesn’t know. During this time, Chamber comes to the conclusion that this water planet is actually Earth many, many years after a doomsday event that caused the human race to flee the planet when an Ice Age was loaming and the potential of the entire planet being flooded was far too high to ignore.
As time goes on, they fight pirates and cause massive disturbance between Ledo and the people of the ship as they are a peaceful people and he just kills without thought, like a brainwashed soldier would, the killswitch is on. It becomes really interesting though when you get to the second half of the series.
I will attempt to be as vague as possible talking about the second half of the series. Essentially there are two major pieces of the story that get really crazy towards the end. The first features the return of a familiar face to Ledo and while on the surface it seems like something went horribly wrong, you come to find that horribly wrong is nowhere near just how bad things got. The second is far more fucked up. Again, without spoiling anything, you learn what the origins of the Hideauze are and it ties up a lot of loose ends left in the show, however what the answer to those questions were is a lot more horrifying and just downright disturbing when you realize what had been going on all along. What you see from the Hideauze in Episode 1 is nowhere remotely close to what you see from them by the end of Gargantia.
The characters of the series aren’t as memorable as other series, but they do balance everything out. Amy is the standalone in the series, but others have their moments. Ridget is the calm, cool and collected authority figure on the ship, the one who plays the serious role of the show. Pinion is the dumbass, greedy, sarcastic guy who constantly gets himself and the cast into trouble with various people. And Bellows is a semi-badass tomboy who ends up being the one that isn’t Ledo who acts as the protective one of the show. There are other characters, but none of them really offer much other than being on the side.
The most peculiar thing that I noticed about the show is that not every character is designed to be the archetypical perfectly slim girl with perfect tits and perfect ass. The swimsuit episode of the show is one of the most memorable moments for me not because it’s seeing girls like Amy and the rest in bikinis, it’s because they design them all to look like normal women in it. You look at all the characters, all of them aren’t twigs, they have a little fat to them, more curves. Even Amy (right), who as the female lead is usually designed to be perfect, looks like she has a little extra to her waist and hips and there’s not a damn thing wrong with it, she’s still absolutely gorgeous. Ridget (while her swimwear is quite revealing) is designed like an average middle-aged woman, she carries a bit of extra weight with her, but she’s very elegant, beautiful. Bellows is harder to tell, but I think she’s got a little extra fat as well, but given how in shape she has to be for what she does, she’s still pretty slim. It’s also arguable she’s designed to be the sexy one of the series, so there’s that. But they all aren’t perfect like anime girls generally are and they even talk about dropping a couple pounds during the series, which while it’s not necessary for them to do that, they’re all very beautiful, it’s a common thing/issue girls will talk to each other about. It comes off very realistic.
Gargantia has ended up being one of my favourite overall shows, not just the one I enjoy watching the most over and over, which is slightly different to me. It’s a show that has a very beautifully designed universe and characters, while some of them could’ve had a little more personality. The story itself is full of interesting situations and the reveals near the end are “Holy Shit!” worthy moments for me. Seriously, the Hideauze reveal made me go “Oh fuck…” when I watched it.
If you’re into sci-fi, this is a must watch in my opinion. If you’re on the fence about it, if you’re into crazy mech battles, you won’t get a huge amount of it. A lot of the series is Ledo adapting to an essentially tech-less world, it’s very much like the industrial revolution on ships with salvaged tech like diving mechs from Earth before the flood. The story is fantastic and well worth your time. Check it out!