「野望の島」 (Yabo no Shima)
“Island of Ambition”
“For now, it doesn’t look like we’re in any danger.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned from various mediums, it’s that the second you start out an episode with those words, you’re likely pretty toast. And as the end of Suisei no Gargantia nears, so does what seems to be the beginning of the end for Pinion and Co.
Continuing off from last week, the successful elimination of the whalesquid opens up a new can of worms: the question of what exactly one does with an endless amount of treasure. As we see early on, a schism starts opening up between the members of the expedition regarding this, and the difference is stark. On one side, we have Flange—the one who wishes to use the treasure to enrich not only their own lives, but the entire human race. On the other hand however, there’s Pinion. Now drunk with a mixture of a revenge high, ambition (greed), and power—he advocates the enriching of their lives first and foremost, and the removal of those who would stand in his way. Needless the say, they’re views on opposite extremes of the spectrum, and mutually exclusive as a result. In the end, one can argue who’s right or wrong (and why)… but with the shipmasters starting to align themselves with Pinion instead, Melty’s mid-episode question ends up hitting the nail on the head: “Are we going to be okay? Are you alright with this?” They’re million dollar questions if I’ve ever seen one—and likely, the answers won’t be pleasant.
Either way, the fact is that this episode brings with it game-changing developments and revelations, and they’re all arguably routed in human ambition (such an aptly named episode title!). Indeed, that’s what Pinion pretty much represents here this week: both the best and worst of human ambition. Sure, it led him to the successful avenging of his brother and a treasure beyond any previously salvaged… but it’s also likely to be what causes his ultimate downfall. In many ways, what we get here is a cautionary tale about tempering one’s ambitions—especially upon accomplishing something particularly significant early on in one’s lifetime—and it’s a testament to both the series’ focus on human nature and society, as well as to the double-edged sword that is human potential. As I discussed a few weeks back, mankind (and life in general) is just filled with fragile elements, and it’s something that really holds true when one tries to overreach their bounds in an attempt to accomplish the impossible.
To this end, it must also be noted how significant it is that creation of the Hideazue—confirmed to be a product of directed, human evolution via nanomachines—was something made in an attempt to literally combat against this fragility. As we see once again though, the path toward the impossible is littered with potholes, and it’s here where human ambition arguably lead to the twisting of the original intent—survival—and the start of the war that threatens to finish off humanity once and for all…
…though as Ledo’s anguished comments note, both sides are theoretically human… and theoretically, there isn’t even a reason for him to fight the Hideazue anymore. Still, those with power usually end up having to fulfill the obligation of using it to do something—anything—in cases like these, and Chamber ends up being quite right in this regard. There really is no luxury of choice for Ledo—though the way I see it, it’s definitely not as black and white as Chamber seems to make it. But, there in lies the reason for having Ledo as a pilot and Chamber as a pilot support interface—that is, the fact that some situations have solutions that only humans capable of abstract thought and emotional compulsion with no sound factual backing can reveal. It’s quite the significant concept to say the least, and one notably tackled in the sci-fi novel series Yukikaze (Kambayashi Chohei) as well.
Looking forward, it really looks like the best is yet to come as expected. A few developments here surprised me this week, but in general, it feels as though my prior predictions are still likely possibilities in the coming episodes—including the non-violent resolution, Pinion’s probable demise etc. Admittedly though, I’m really starting to feel a tad nervous at the lack of time left to resolve everything here, and it’s starting to make me wonder how exactly things will solve themselves in the span of three episodes without something being rushed or things being left out. To top things off, Commander Kugel makes a sudden supposed return as well… and it just adds yet another thing to be solved too. I’m still confident that we’ll get a satisfying resolution, but gosh darn, it makes you wonder if it wouldn’t do to have another episode or two’s worth of buffer.