「兵士のさだめ」 (Heishi no Sadame)
“A Soldier’s Fate”
As Suisei no Gargantia rolls along, Ledo ends up making quick work of the whalesquid (“Hideazue”) from last episode. In turn, this sparks a turn of events that just highlights the fragility of humans—both in terms of our physical stature, as well as other intangible aspects like the relationships we have with one another—and bodes ominously as we hit the latter half of the series.
Indeed, while there was a lot here in this week’s episode, the biggest thing for me was how easily things started falling apart from the killing of one whalesquid. Of course, it’s understandable the reactions the Gargantians have regarding this—considering how they revere the whalesquid as something sacred—but at the same time, it just highlights how easily the good will Ledo built up in the recent episodes was lost following the incident. It goes to show just how fragile everything related to humanity is and it was admittedly made me feel somewhat sad for Ledo—considering how he didn’t know any better (or arguably, knows better than anyone else in terms of the threat the whalesquid represent). With even Amy joining in on that earlier in the episode too, it was just a big example of how no one really understood (or really cared to understand) the situation Ledo came from (and the situation he’s in now, as a person in an extremely foreign environment). Amy does redeem herself somewhat toward the end in her attempt to stop Ledo from just going off on his own—and in ways have their first real “fight” as a result (a nice development)—but still, it looks like the damage is done…
…because earlier developments would ultimately lead to Pinion’s recruitment of both Flange and Ledo for a salvage mission in whalesquid territory… and the heart attack that the Fleet Commander gets at the end. Needless to say though, this continues the highlight of human fragility that I mentioned previously—this time on the actual, physical fragility of life. Considering the nature of the event—that is, potential death—and the potential havoc it can wreck on the fleet due to the important decisions he was about to make… and well, things don’t look too great for the future to say the least. To top things off, Pinion’s apparent ulterior motive to avenge his brother just reeks of death flags—after all, these things rarely work out—and Ridgett as she is now seems incapable of adequately replacing her father as well.
Looking forward, I think this is one of those key moments where separation is not only inevitable—in terms of Ledo and Pinion leaving the Gargantia and embarking on their salvage mission—but also necessary. With the right development, it’s something that can result in better things in the long run—even if it leaves them somewhat shorthanded in the short-term, especially in terms of the Gargantian defense against pirates. Interestingly enough, this notion of separation and reunion as a story telling device is actually something that’s been used throughout a few of director Murata Kazuya’s previous works. I won’t go into details considering the potential spoilers into those works, but let’s just say they were handled quite well, and bode nicely in terms of future development. Notably, that’s without even counting the potential revelations that would come from a successful salvage run of “treasures from a foregone era of prosperity”—which could hold quite the key in regards to dealing with the Hideazue, either by revealing a physical weakness or by some kind of peaceful communication method. Considering the atmosphere of the series up until now though, I’d be putting my bets on the latter… though of course, it’s something to take with a grain of salt.
Either way, it’s a pretty solid episode for the most part this week, and it’s something that undoubtedly sets the stage for the latter half of Suisei no Gargantia. And depending on how things develop, we could conceivably end up with either one of the better series of the year… or one of the biggest disasters as well. Guess we’ll see how it works out.