Anime Worth Watching: Suisei no Gargantia

Suisei no Gargantia is a (翠星のガルガンティア aka Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet) is a 13-episode 2013 sci-fi series from Production IG with series composition by Gen Urobuchi.

Synopsis

While fighting an intense inter-galactic war, a mecha pilot was accidentally warped into a space-time neither he nor the computer of his mecha could recognize. After waking up from a long-time hibernation, he found himself trapped on a planet, with human residents talking in an unknown form of language, using inferior technologies, and — most shocking to him — naturally breathable air. (From ANN)

Appeal

Suisei no Gargantia asks the question, “why can’t we have big flashy action of soft sci-fi AND philosophical notions of hard sci-fi at the same time?” a question more shows should ask as the answer works surprisingly well. Moreover, it certainly favors the hard sci-fi side as the bulk of the show is about the pilot, born in a militant space faring society, and the humans who find him, pacifists whove been living on a planet their whole lives, try to understand each other. It really engages with how not only do these two sides not really get along at first, even when he tries to help his rescuers he tends to make things worse since he resorts to violence with technology beyond what anyone else has upsetting a delicate balance of power.

You can tell how stodgy Ledo is feeling by how much of his space suit hes wearing. Here he shows off “extra jerk” mode.

Special shout out to Chamber, the mecha AI who serves as the pilots partner and is by far the best character in the show. Despite being a computer program that may or may not have become sentient by the shows end, its dry delivery of facts and situations imbues a lot of personality into everything going on.

Downside

Gen Urobuchi outlined the plot along with writing the first and last episode, unfortunately that leaves a lot of middle episodes to cover with some filler episodes right in the center of everything which are not only bad, one is borderline offensive with some of its trans-characters (thankfully its also the most pointless episode in terms of plot and can be easily skipped). The flip side to having to deal with this filler, is that some other subplots feel rushed or underdeveloped even with them leaving the whole series oddly stitched together with more good ideas than perhaps great execution.

Questions the show DIDN’T need to ask, what would it be like to teach someone whos never been on a planet to swim?

Going meta, theres a frustration too in the lack of a second season. Originally one was promised, then things happened and the team couldn’t come together so a movie was going to be done, and then that fell through so a book was planned which hastily covered what a second season would have (and Im not even 100% sure that even ever came out). There was still a lot of ideas that could have been developed more with time and we’ll never get them now.

Conclusion

Weeb Level: 2/10- This show plays more with sci-fi tropes than weeb ones, though its character designs will make sure you dont forget youre watching an anime.

Fanservice: 3/10- Thanks to almost the entire series happening on a ship in the middle of an ocean, characters clothes tend toward the “tropical”. It doesn’t ever get explicit, but again you wont forget what kind of show youre watching.

Theres also a super cute flying squirrel mascot which is fanservice to some people.

Quality: 8/10- This is a mixed rating, the first 3 and last 3 episodes are amazing, the closer to the center of the show you get though the lower the rating drops. Still, good hard sci-fi is hard (sorry not sorry) to come by these days so it gets some leeway for that.

Where to watch: Actually fairly easy to find as its one of the rare Funimation shows still available on Crunchyroll so either of those sites has it.