「翠の星の伝説」 (Midori no Hoshi no Densetsu)
“Legend of the Verdurous Planet”
I originally came into this post with a whole host of things to say, but nope. After watching this episode, it would be a complete and utter failure to not start with a discussion of the
manAI of the hour… the godly kickass mech that made everything possible this week… CHAMBERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
Indeed, with the culmination of Suisei no Gargantia’s run, we also get the culmination of what I noted last week: the completion of Chamber’s growth and change as a result of his stay on Earth. And gosh darn, what an amazing show it is, because even though I mentioned this previously, even I couldn’t have predicted just how much of the stage Chamber would steal in this final episode. Not only does he say a literal “screw you” to Striker by saying her and Kugel’s (and thus the Galactic Alliance in general) views are illogical, he adds insult to injury by saying that “it was regrettable” that she ended up this way, and then pours even more salt on the wound by saying “Go to hell, tin can!” at the end as well. For the most part, Ledo’s shock at these comments paralleled mine, and I was literally just mentally clapping for Chamber and his epicness the entirety of the episode… because he just stole the show in such a way that I think he’s likely risen to be one of viewers favorite “characters” this season (and maybe this year)—or at least, he has for me. To this end, the whole bit where he literally rejects Ledo’s suggestion to merge them together, accepts it later, then literally kicks Ledo out of the cockpit upon confirmation that the latter doesn’t wish to die just takes the cake, and it’s something that really makes this episode a truly spectacular one to end with.
Interestingly enough, I have to say that the bit about Striker’s views being illogical was quite ironic as well… because by all means, Ledo and Chamber are actually the illogical ones if you look at them from the context of how they’re theoretically supposed to be following the Galactic Alliance’s views, but it goes to show that a little perspective just goes a long way.
Moving on though, another big thing this episode was just how things have changed since Flange and the other ship captains left the Gargantia. Initially, we thought that the Gargantia was the group that lost the most, but what was lost behind all of this was the fact that Flange’s group also lost some protection as a result too. Again, it was a necessary separation, but it was one that made both sides weaker for it (at least, from a military point of view). However, if there’s one thing Flange showed, it’s that ultimately, while they might have been separated, it doesn’t change that their ultimately all very similar personality wise. All of them innately know what it means to take responsibility for your actions… what’s right and wrong… how to treat everyone and everything with the proper respect… and really, they’re the true representation of whose truly human in this battle between the Hideazue and the Galactic Alliance.
And to this end, there’s no better representation of the humanity—especially that of our propensity to fail, but succeed with later tries—than Pinion (you suave man!) in the last few episodes, as his shortcomings started this mess, but his technological prowess and additional chances later afforded him the chance to redeem himself as well. Suffice to say, he seizes this chance—and scores Lukkage as a romantic interest as a result, too—and it goes to show that humanity is all about the resilience we possess, the ability we have to learn from the mistakes we’ve made, and the responsibility we have as people with such capabilities. Pinion’s valiant efforts (and attempt to sacrifice himself to ensure the safety of his comrades) highlight this especially, as does Ledo’s (and Chamber’s) realization that he’s been essentially allowing the perpetuation of a flawed system (and logic) through his action and subsequent attempt to take responsibility by taking down Striker.
In turn, all of this just comes together (with Chamber’s aforementioned epic actions) to set up the reunion of Amy and Ledo… and the key realizations that I predicted would happen many episodes prior. The activation of the “heaven’s ladder” (or Gargantia Mass Driver System) follows shortly after, and while it no longer possesses the capability of launching ships into space, ends up giving the Gargantians an epic, long range projectile weapon from which to decimate the Kugel fleet. Granted, some of the developments here are a tad bit of a hit and miss in terms of how they were incorporated and developed, and some might’ve felt less or more than others at these particular junctions, but it doesn’t change the fact that what we get is a fairly good ending to say the least—
—one that ends up also with my alternative prediction from a while back coming true as well. It might not be exactly the “Hideazue” per se that it ends up involving, but as Ledo points out himself in the end, communication between them and the whalesquid seems like a realistic possibility in the end, and it’s something that just might lead to a peaceful coexistence between at least those on Earth. This development does make it notable that we don’t revisit the conflict in space again—which is a slight pity—but arguably, it’s something that doesn’t need to be revisited, because it essentially no longer matters to the people on Earth anymore. That and the fact their communications attempts just might help solve that too. And with that… it’s time for the final impressions, which you’ll find after the ED caps.
Coming into the season, Suisei no Gargantia was a notable series for me due to sci-fi/mecha nature, UroGen’s involvement, and Murata Kazuya’s involvement as well. The latter two have combined to create quite a few of my favorite works (or at least, works I’ve liked), and it was very interesting to see the two work together in a production whose genres were also some of my favorites as well. To this end, UroGen’s involvement lead to a fair amount of hype for many viewers too—a hype that while not necessarily met in its entirely, feels at least mostly fulfilled from my opinion.
Essentially, what we got here with this series was Murata and Gen combining together in an attempt to create a series with many of the strengths from previous works. To this end, Murata brings his gifts with dynamic group interactions and experience regarding mecha and sci-fi to the table, while UroGen adds the fairly grim screenplay he’s been known for (along with the philosophical questions and concepts he likes to weave within plots as well). In this regard, this combination is something that really reeks of potential on paper—and was something that was really worth hyping in my opinion—but the ultimate result was something that fell somewhat short.
And well… it’s kind of interesting, because I’m not quite sure why I feel this way. On one hand, the final episode showed in particular that there’s a lot that this series ended up doing well (mostly the elements listed above)… but at the same time, the series as a whole seems to have garnered an emotional payoff that was somewhat less than expected. I suppose if I had to point out some reasons why though… it’d probably be because there’s a lot here that could’ve been expanded on—ranging from more details into the past and how it developed into the present to the potential resolution of the fight in space and the expansion of a universe that feels like we’ve hardly scratched the surface of. To this end, one wonders if the emotional payoff would’ve have been better off had they either had a few more episodes to work with (or perhaps had they truncated one or two of the episodes during the middle part of the series), but I guess there’s no real point to ponder that at this point.
Ultimately, I guess what Suisei no Gargantia ends up being is a series that is quite good overall, but lacked that extra oomph to push it to the elite tier. Basically, it’s not quite a masterpiece, but there was definitely the potential for it to be. Generally, I’d think most people liked what this series gave us (at least, most of what it gave us)… and it really makes me wonder if we’ll be able to get another Murata x Gen combination on a series anytime soon. Either way though, this finale brings us to the end of yet another series (and the season itself in many ways), and I’d just like to take this moment to thank everyone who’s tuned in to read my Gargantia posts and those who commented as well… so thanks(!) and hopefully you’ll join me for coverage of other series in the future. Until then, I bid thee a fond farewell.