「廃墟船団」 (Haikyo Sendan)
When one talks about life and the factors that make one’s life meaningful, you’ll inevitably find yourself on the receiving end of a multitude of different replies. The money you earn, the people whose lives that you’ve touched, the accomplishments you’ve achieved… the list is endless. When you really think about it though, it isn’t so much about the money you earn or what you’ve accomplished as it is how much you’ve managed to earn or accomplish over your life time. After all, would it really mean that much if you circumvented the globe but had all the time in the world to do it? Would it matter if you accumulated a few million dollars over the course of 30000 years? Not really. As such, time is arguably the biggest determinant in terms of making one’s life meaningful, and it’s only fitting that one quote says it all:
Timing is everything.
And the reason I bring this up is because that’s essentially what this OVA ends up being about, as Amy’s story about ghost ships ends up timing perfectly with Chamber’s appearance in this scene (OH YOU LOVABLE TIN CAN!), and an encounter with an actual ghost fleet. As it turns out, it’s the same fleet Ridget worked on in the past, and this coincidence ends up serving as a basis for a superb episode. Not only do we get more insight into her past and another fleet in the Gargantia universe, we also get a great re-introduction to the rest of the main cast we came to love during the series’ original run as well.
Going into the past aspect first though, I gotta say that cute Ridget is cute. Getting to see her younger self made the price of admission worth it by itself, but they managed to give us that and an introduction to two important figures in her life in Storia and Retna as well. Sadly, we don’t end up getting to spend that much time with the two though, but it just goes to emphasize how time plays a big part in such chance meetings, and we get to see how important they were to Ridget (along with sides of her we never got to see much in the original series). Indeed, I could go on and on about this, but let’s just say that it’s something where pictures tell a thousand words, and the many faces we get to see from her end up telling a story I could never adequately put in words. Combine that with Retna’s wise words—
“If you can’t teach someone how to do it, it means you’ve still got things left to learn. To someone who bears responsibility, there is no greater treasure than experience. Even if the things you do… are different from how we do them here… there are many things you could benefit from learning.”
—and what we get is a meaningful OVA that complements the original Gargantia experience.
Shifting over to the part about the “re-introduction to the rest of the main cast,” it’s also here were one could argue that timing plays a big part too. Because after watching this OVA, I can’t help but feel that the fact that we’re getting this episode now was significant in regards to contributing to my overall enjoyment of it. For instance, the fact that we know what happens to Chamber makes you appreciate and enjoy his presence that much more, and knowing how Ledo develops end up making his choppy Japanese and absurd quotes (“Are ghosts the enemy? Should I ambush them?”) that much more entertaining. Indeed, the same applies to just seeing Pinion, Bellows, and the rest of them again, and I’d say it’s a testament to how memorable the original series was for me to have felt this way. Of course, part of that might’ve been because of the adorable Amy x Ledo sequences we get in the OVA too—courtesy in part due to Pinion’s failed ghost imitation ambush—but hey, I ain’t complaining.
All in all, the first of two Gargantia OVA’s ends up a smashing success in my book. It didn’t try to do too much, kept the vibe and atmosphere we loved, gave us some meaningful context in regards to a key character, and was quite enjoyable to boot. Sure, it’s probably a disappointment to some in regards to how it didn’t end up being a kind of epilogue/sequel, but arguably, it was the next best thing—and it can be said that the content of this OVA might’ve been better than any kind of additional epilogue we could’ve gotten. Here’s to looking forward to the next (and last?) OVA, which will be released with the third BD on October 25th.