Suisei no Gargantia (REVIEW)

suisei-no-gargantia-verdurous-planet-logo
It had potential.

Sadly, it’s a disappointment.
Suisei no Gargantia Review
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review
(THERE ARE NO MAJOR SPOILERS)
(Fanservice pictures below. May be NSFW)
Warning! Rant ahead.

NOTE: This review does not meet my standards any longer and will be updated sometime in the future.

Sci-fi drama, space battles, mecha action, slice of life, action, twists, aliens, a most amazing A.I., and more, Suisei no Gargantia encompasses many ideas. However, such an extensive approach when dealt with only 13 episodes can easily lead to nearly all, if not all, of the ideas battling for screen time leading to an unrefined feeling to many aspects of the show. In this review, we’ll be hard pressed trying to highlight all the problems, so highlighting areas where the anime went astray will have to suffice.

Gargantia ledo in space

MECHA ACTION.

ALIENS.

ALIENS.

Looking back to my first review of Suisei no Gargantia, it’s definitely apparent that this anime has promise, tons of it. Ledo, our main protagonist plays the role of a soldier who, under the orders of the Galactic Alliance, is fighting in a war to eliminate the alien threat known as Hideauze. The visually stunning space battle and the militaristic dogma that marks the beginning of the series contrasted with the shift in tone to a less militaristic and a more free community shows high promises of character development that lean in the direction of confronting one’s own ideals. The idea of Ledo potentially going back to space after experiencing a new life elsewhere and influencing others through his new-found ideas or perhaps even confronting new ones seemed to be exciting at the time. With a very strong opening episode, and Urobuchi writing the first and the last two episodes, even though they warned people that it wouldn’t be nearly as dark as his other works, I felt compelled to continue what I, and many others, thought to be a potential anime of the season.

Gargantia ledo sad Ledo or Red sweating

For the first few episodes, Suisei no Gargantia sails smoothly by getting Ledo some much needed character development. Episode 4 was especially great at getting this across making me think that it could only get better with future episodes. Still, the lingering feeling of the anime throwing aside its mecha action side since the first episode made me a bit uneasy. But it’s not the first time for a show to discard one side only to revisit it later when the foundations of the characters are fleshed out. However, this is where the problems begin to arise and the roots of over-diversification and uncertainty of what it wants to be starts to occur.

Suisei no gargantia bikini fanservice

BOOBS.

SUISEI FANSERVICE ANIME

ASS.

From episode 4 onwards, Suisei no Gargantia begins to lose its direction starting with some fanservice episodes that were weaker in terms of character progression compared to the previous few episodes. That’s not to say that fanservice in and of itself is bad, but it took away from the important aspects of the show. Since this is a 13 episode anime, every episode is a valuable resource that must be used wisely, but Suisei no Gargantia seems to lose its management over these resources more and more. Sometimes, it would focus on the side-characters that ultimately do little for the anime. Other times it would focus on the regression of Ledo and his duty to his cause and sometimes it will focus on the aliens. This may have worked out well if they were joined together smoothly, but it feels like discontinued sections that don’t flow well with each other.

Pinion funny face

DERP.

Amy and Bellows gargantia-ridget

Suisei rackage

RACK.

Moreover, what’s also a miss is just how uninteresting and unlikable the characters are. Amy, the girl who is supposed to open Ledo’s eyes to the environment around him and who is supposed to be a “main character” is severely downplayed which downgrades her to a supporting character in my books. Heck, they even tried to develop her only to make it seem unnecessary and melodramatic. Pinion is just a douche, Bellows did nothing, Ridget is okay, Saya is useless, Melty is useless, and the list goes on. The only one that is above all of the other side characters has got to be Rackage because, you know, of her rack. I understand that they can’t be developed that much given the time restrictions, but at the very least they should have made the characters more likable, dynamic, or interesting. They just all feel really bland. There are other anime that have very likable characters even though they don’t get lots of screen-time (T.K.).

Gargantia ledo ready to fight

Big boy.

Suisei no Gargantia chamber

PEW PEW PEW

What about Ledo and Chamber? I can’t deny the fact that Ledo’s development starts off strong, but it sharply declines by the mid-point only to regress, which would have been fine if that were a catalyst for further development but it wasn’t, and suddenly jump to another state of realization and “growth.” There isn’t actual “growth” by the end. It’s more like he suddenly realizes the fact and takes a sudden turn which is a big shame considering that the first few episodes had big promise for Ledo’s gradual and subtle change in mind. What’s more surprising is how Chamber, the artificial intelligence, rivals Ledo’s “development.” How? Well, without spoiling much let’s just say that Chamber causes much of Ledo’s “development” and much of this “development” is really shaped by words on Chamber’s side that have nothing to do with the first few episodes that pave the road towards character development nicely. Yes, it’s not a good thing that this is the case. Anyone can make a character “develop” just by having philosophies spoken to him or her that changes them, but such an approach will have a tough time going beyond mediocrity.

Gargantia on the verdurous planet

red facepalm suisei

I feel your pain.

From the first half of the anime, it looks like character development is what they’re focusing on. Then, after that, it’s ecchi with some romcom which is arguably fine since it did bring about some character progression. It then becomes something else entirely and revisits the conflict with the aliens literally regressing Ledo back to the way he was in the beginning. The second half may as well have been a standalone separate from the first with how discontinuous the two sections are. Then, being unprepared, I was lulled by the twist that occurs in all of this mess and thought it was a good one, but it was in fact something used to shock the audience with its suddenness rather than amaze at it’s brilliance. In the end, the regression that could have been used to promote growth and the build up in the first half is discarded and swift development is brought to our main protagonist that only makes me sigh at the loss of opportunity.

Gargantia lukkage rackage boobs

RACK.

verdurous-chamber-fight Gargantia bellows sad

To put a bit more positivity in this review, I have to say that I did enjoy the mecha action scenes and Chamber the majestic artificial intelligence that makes the show just a bit more awesome. The animations are nice to look at with a few hiccups along the way, and the soundtrack is well done especially during the last episode. Now, I have been really negative in this review and that’s mainly because I had high expectations for Suisei no Gargantia since the beginning and it failed to deliver when it clearly could have if it didn’t have such discontinuity between the first half and the second half while focusing on some more profound character growth or if it just stuck to a theme and went with it. It tries to stuff in too much with far too little time and has way too many themes as a result of over-diversification which leads to the discontinuity. The ending two episodes are better than the other second half episodes, but those two episodes are just not enough to carry the show.

Suisei no Gargantia Review Recommendation

Verdurous planet red ledo

It’s very difficult for me to say whether to try this or not. The first half holds promise, but by the end, it’s a mess. I didn’t care for the characters much by the end and probably neither will a lot of you. I can’t even suggest mecha fans or slice of life fans to watch it either as this anime is all over the place with the audience its trying to adhere to. You could try the first few episodes, as they’re not bad, and whenever you think it’s going downhill, you can probably drop it because it’s not going to get any better until the very end. Even then, that’s only if you have enough time on your hands. If you are someone who only watches a few anime every season, skip this one for sure. Still, I feel guilty even trying even to give any incentive to watch this anime as it’s really a big disappointment and no one should tread this path. I suppose one could watch it for learning how to not write a story? Nonetheless, If you do plan to watch it, which I will advise against with the reasons I’ve already stated, please, please do not go into this anime with high expectations garnered from these first few episodes or from the fact that it’s an Urobuchi work. I have to say that while he’s not responsible for writing the whole project, it is his weakest work that I’ve seen. And as Atomic Dwarf recommends in the comments below: “Conclusion: If you like mecha then watch the first and last episode of this. After that go watch Pacific Rim for your much needed dose of mecha action.”

Suisei no Gargantia Review Conclusion

suisei no gargantia logo

Maybe it’s a good point that having Urobuchi write the first and last two episodes disrupted the overall flow of the anime, but regardless, Suisei no Gargantia is a missed opportunity for some great character development that may have been much more enlightening and profound than what has been shown. It’s one thing for an anime to be terrible all the way through, but it’s truly disheartening to see such potential crushed by trying to do too much. I want to like Suisei no Gargantia. I really do. Sadly, its misshapen characters and the jumbled plot leaves me with quite the opposite feeling by the end from what I had at the end of the first episode. As much as I’d like to say that I hope future anime learn from this one’s mistakes, there will undoubtedly be another time when the same problems will arise. Perhaps, I’ll revisit this review another time once I am more proficient at reviewing and can tackle these issues more efficiently instead of being jumbled in the same way as the anime is, but my stance will probably remain. Suisei no Gargantia is a missed opportunity indeed.

gargantia-on-the-verdurous-planet-wallpaper

NO SPOILERS PLEASE!

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  • Flaiboy

    Totally agree with your assessment of the series. I will not be one to recommend this anime to anyone. Seeing as my time watching anime is limited and judging by a lot of the comments I’ve read I’m probably much pickier than most when it comes to deciding which anime to devote my time to; and though it wasn’t a complete waste of my time (the art is beautiful and the ED is one of my current faves to which to listen) neither will I say it was worth the time to watch it. That’s just how it goes sometimes – live and learn.

    On the plus side, I’m much less apprehensive about dropping a series that I feel won’t pan out in the long run because of it. It’s the third week of the summer season so I’m making my final cuts this week and the list is getting shorter and shorter . . .

    • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

      Ah yes you reminded me about the fact that I have to change a bit of my recommendations as I forgot to mention some things. I’m actually becoming more picky as a result of watching many more shows in the last year. I have seen quite a bit of mediocre shows and I draw harsher lines nowadays to avoid investing more and more into shows that I don’t like hoping for it to be better.

      Honestly, this summer isn’t as good as I thought it would be, but I suppose it’s a bit better than the last winter season as that was just bad. Oh well, there’s still some that are nice. What are you watching this season anyways?

      • Flaiboy

        From this season: Free!, Monogatari, Silver Spoon, Uchouten Kazoku, and Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu.

        On the fence: Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi, Watamote

        From previous cours: Hunter x Hunter (my fave hands down!), Naruto Shippuuden (stuck in Filler Hell, right now), Shingeki no Kyojin

        I’m like you – I thought this season would be better. I would still have the same number of anime on my plate overall, but I just thought they would be more interesting than they are. Looking forward to your review of Shingeki no Kyojin 15; I think I spotted something in the new OP that I want to throw at you and get your opinion on . . .

        • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

          Nice that you’re watching Stella Jogakuin. It reminds me a of Girls und Panzer which I enjoyed thoroughly.

          You should at least watch Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi until episode 3. I didn’t review it until that episode because the first two didn’t interest me, but this one did. Though, from here, I’m not sure if it’ll progress that well.

          >.> I’m skipping Shingeki no Kyojin episode 15 due to time constraints. Nothing really happened anyways so you can discuss the opening on the next review. Sorry, but I have to re-do all my images again due to some issues and I’m rethinking social media, trying to update the site among other things. But man, if you haven’t watched it yet, (BE CAREFUL OF SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS), watch this piano by Tehishter and Animenzzz. Truly amazing.

          • Flaiboy

            Amazing! So love great piano. I should beware of spoilers? lol To which comments are you referring? In episode 14 review?

          • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

            No, I mean just in the Youtube comments section. There are spoilers everywhere in Youtube comments sections. Though, it’s not as bad in these types of videos, but still. Just don’t even scroll down. Yeah…

          • Flaiboy

            Gotcha! Thanks!

        • Ruide Chen

          ohhh you gotta check out kamisama no inai nichiyoubi, and stick to it until ep 3 before making a choice, cause the first 2 kinda leads up to the 3rd ep. :) gl on your anime watching

  • The Atomic Dwarf

    Conclusion: You like mecha then watch the first and last episode of this. After that go watch Pacific Rim for your much needed dose of mecha action.
    P.S. While watching the movie imagine Gipsy Danger’s AI using Chamber’s voice.

    • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

      Haha, that’s a good way of putting it. I’ll put it in my post as well actually.

      • The Atomic Dwarf

        Then watch Gargantia again and imagine Chamber using GlaDos’ voice. To complete the cycle. His last line would be: “Would you like to try again?”

        • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

          I’d still take the Sugitabot KUTABARE BURIKIYAROU.

  • Evilnemesis

    I think this really suffered from being a 13 series instead of 26.

    What do I mean by that? Urobuchi said it was going to be his “healing” anime.

    The problem though is that, because the series was so short, the Slice and Life aspect of it was cut short a bit because of plot progression. And the reverse is also true, because of time constraint, the plot at times moved too fast at times, or characters we’re dumbed down so that drama could happen that would move the plot.

    Still though, Sugitabot #1 Bro

    • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

      Yes, I do agree with you on the 2 season length instead of the 1 season. It definitely would make a big difference.

      However, it’s often far too easy to put that as the blame instead of blaming how the story is told when the writers know very well that it’s only going to be 1 season. There are shows that have done 1 season successfully because they know that they didn’t have that much time. I’m still not sure where I stand on the subject, and I’m sure I’ll do a post on these kinds of topics sooner or later, but I think the fault lie in the writers just as much because they should have realized that it was 1 season and adjusted the story, the flow, the themes, and how long or short it is as a result. Even just encompassing the slice of life part or the sci-fi aspect this season would have been perfectly fine. Instead, they went into it knowing that they would be stuffing in too much, and that’s partially the problem. Not saying that you’re wrong as I do agree, but just looking at it from a different perspective.

  • Citsim

    Gargantia is off pitch. When I look at it objectively, I know it’s a rather good series. Yes, it is, despite the confussion with character and plot developments, the useless fillers and the bland characters. The problem is that it’s disappointing, because, as you’ve said, it promised a lot but didn’t deliver enough.

    My recommendation would have been more chapters or less characters; you’re right, you can’t waste valuable resources. Still, Chamber will always be one of my favourite AI. Hell, he could have been the protagonist.

    • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

      I have to agree that it’s made out to be worse because it’s disappointing and everyone had high expectations since the beginning. However, whether we factor that in objectively or not… I’m not really sure. Is it objective to ignore the high standards set by the beginning? Even if I set my expectations lower, as I have a different standard of “good” from others, I think that it doesn’t really go beyond average at best. And I don’t know if you’d really consider “the confusion with characters and character developments, the useless and the bland characters,” all of which are critical to most anime, to be good.

      Chamber is pretty awesome. I can’t deny that. He pretty much supplied the entertainment in various parts of the show and he could have been the main protagonist for sure. That may have been more interesting.

  • Sammy Lee

    Wow, this was a pretty interesting review, strangely I agree with everything you said, well almost everything. I was actually doing a review of this series and finally have it done. Take a look if you can. I do apologize for not being active on here latley, I was meaning to but I was working on this. I can’t wait to catch up on all the things you have written. :)

    • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

      Sorry for the extremely late reply. I’ve just been really busy trying to set up the templates for my own Youtube reviews. I’m trying to have as much production value as possible so it’s taking me a long, long time.

      Not a bad review and it’s good that you’re starting to find your own style. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to rush out the reviews and be burned out. One every week or something along those lines is probably good. Just be consistent and your viewership will grow exponentially.

      • Sammy Lee

        Ya I understand, my next review, will be a tad different. I’m going to take a chance and really go for a style that is more, well, “Me”. Which is more serious than funny. I hope people like it lol. Anyway, Your doing reviews for Youtube now?! I can’t wait! Tell me once that is up and running! Oh I haven’t been to active on here because well, i’m waiting for the anime such as “Free and etc.” to be over with so I can just watch it all at once. That’s how I prefer to watch my anime. :)

        • http://www.entravity.com/ Entrav

          Good luck with doing that! It’s always good to freshen things up once in a while.

          I’m working on it as I speak and honestly, I think I’m putting in a bit too much effort, but I want the review to be as good as it can. The thing I’m most afraid of is not actually making it, but copyright detection that will block or give me copyright strikes. It will be incredibly frustrating if that turns out to be the case.