「まれびとの祭壇」 (Mare Bito no Saidan)
“Altar of the Heavenly Visitor”

Phew* It took longer than expected to find time to actually do this post, but here we are with Kugel’s untold story. The last of the Suisei no Gargantia OVA’s, this episode ends up amazingly similar to the first one—both in regards to its quality and its singular character focus.

As it turns out, Kugel wasn’t that bad of a guy at all, and it was a perfect storm of events that ultimately led to the fleet we ended up seeing in the main series. What this episode essentially does is finally tell us what those events were, and while some of the developments here were of a generic nature, it doesn’t change the fact that they managed to both introduce us to new characters and get us engaged within their struggles within a very short time span. Linaria in particular ends up being a solid addition to the cast—albeit temporary—and despite the fact I knew what was likely to happen, seeing Linaria’s body just tossed down the catapult like that made me cringe regardless. Seeing Kugel’s subsequent fall from grace ends up being equally cringe-worthy as well—especially when one considers how Stryker nefariously manipulates Kugel’s emotions all throughout the process—and it’s just a testament to good storytelling when a mere 20 minute OVA can give so much extra to the series in general.

With that said, it becomes quite interesting to note how Stryker seems to have been consistently acting above and beyond just being a support interface for Kugel. One could chalk that up to the fact that she’s a command unit rather than a normal unit such as Chamber was, but the fact remains that compared to what Chamber was to Ledo, Stryker was on a whole other level to start with. There was definitely more of a propensity to get involved in matters on Stryker’s part, and one wonders if she wouldn’t have disposed of Kugel herself at some point if he didn’t end up turning over to the “Galactic Alliance” take on things. Makes you shudder a bit, doesn’t it?

I guess it goes to show just how inhuman the Galactic Alliance has become in their quest to fight the Hideazue though, because you’ve gotta have some screws loose if the AI’s you make end up like Stryker and you’re predisposed to follow the guidance given by them as well—especially when you consider Stryker seems perfectly capable of leading even without a human in her cockpit. Granted, it’s not a new notion considering how many times it reared its head during the main series, but there’s just a kind of irony behind this that’s too hard to not talk about again. In the quest to fight off something they deemed “inhuman,” they arguably became inhuman themselves, and one could reason that even if they won the fight with the Hideazue, they already lost more than they could ever gain back from it. The whole productivity vs. individual living conditions aspect and the disposal of feeble constitution concept just add further to this argument, and it all comes together to make Linaria’s death all the more painful, as I’m quite sure that’s not what she wanted her death to mean for Kugel or the fleet.

Ultimately, the Suisei no Gargantia series of OVA’s turned out every bit as enjoyable as the main series did. They performed their roles as supplemental side stories admirably, and demonstrated just how much there was (and still is) to this universe. I suppose that’s why it’s a good thing that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Suisei—a second season was recently confirmed—and we’ll meet again when it comes out. Until then, let’s try not to spend our free time subjugating fleets eh?

Full-length images: 19, 39.


  1. You gotta feel sorry for Kugel. He was as nice of a guy as Ledo was, its just that he landed with the wrong fleet, piloting the wrong AI mecha. If he only met a group of nice people (like the Gargantia crew), and had an awesome, supportive AI personality (like Chamber), he and Ledo would’ve easily been best friends and allies. Poor Kugel…

    1. It’s interesting how the stories of Ledo and Kugel create a kind of dichotomy regarding the way they handle the new situation they find themselves in this “new world”. They both start as a sort of open minded people, trying to adjust, blend in and help the inhabitants of their respective fleets. However, when things start to fall apart, they both find themselves tormented by two opposing forces: their duty as members of the Galactic Alliance and this new emotions they’ve never felt before (love, concern, anger, sadness). The difference resides in the way they both handle this. On the one hand, Ledo finds a new purpose in life, to protect these new friends he has met, but thanks to Chamber, Amy, Pinion and many others, he also learns that the way of life of the Gargantians isn’t bad, as the regulations of the Galactic Alliance would make it seem. On the other hand, Kugel surrenders to fear and despair, and in attempt to correct everything he is left with no other choice but to impose a new absolutist regime. Without friends or family to comfort him, and the twisted Stryker manipulating his feelings, he ultimately fails to create the utopia he longed for.

      1. What makes it even worse is that by the end of it all, he likely died believing he did the right thing and that what he made there was indeed a utopia–even if it was essentially what he fought against trying to create initially.

        In the end, his own comment says it best: “The circumstances are different here.” That is, they were different in terms of him and Ledo’s respective circumstances and how they ended up handling being put in this new world instead.

    2. Yeah, it was sadly just a perfect storm of events. Kugel was a pretty darn good guy just trying to do what he thought was right. If just a few things changed along the way, there would’ve been some great Ledo x Kugel-bro moments.

  2. I don’t disagree with how he killed a certain older sister or how he tricked the fleet to think the evil elder sister just died on her own free will. But Kugel kinda overdid it when he put extremist methods for the ill and crippled.

    It was unfortunate that Krugel died from tuberculosis, I think, he would have been able to actually see Ledo. I still don’t get why Striker wanted to attack Gargantia but I think I do now since Striker’s fleet is made up of pirates.

    It was nice to for the fleet to see a “battle of gods,” their face expression was priceless when then saw the Ocean gods killed.

  3. Lots of good social-political commentary in this episode, as well as the series in general.
    You can see how good leadership can go horribly wrong when it’s handed off to less than
    ideal successors.

    The writer’s bought an interesting contrast to Ledo and Kugel as both were confronted with
    a person who was not up to Galactic Alliance snuff, and Linaria was Kugel’s dilemma. But
    Kugel assumed a completely different poiition int the fleet than Ledo – Ledo was willing to
    follow and fit-in with the community. Ledo had the same opportunity as Kugel to seize power
    right after he attacked the pirates (ep 1-2), but after learning of his error, backed down.
    Kugel, on the other hand, believed that it was part of his “mission” to force his position
    and lead people.

    So when I look (hard) at the basic differences between their AIs, I really do see them as
    distinct and being a supportive interface of their pilot’s directives; I really don’t see the
    AI’s as uniquely acting on their own. Even Chamber’s self-sacrifice is a reflection of what
    Ledo would have / was trying to accomplish to protect the people he came to care about.
    I saw absolutely 0% of that in Kugel. Yea, he cared about Linaria, but I don’t believe he
    loved her. He wasn’t evil, don’t get me wrong, but he saw problems solutions in a completely
    different way than Ledo.

    Good series overall – nice artwork (really loved the ED theme, too) and all of the loose ends
    wrapped up very nicely. My only regret is the loss of Chamber. I would have like to see it
    happen the same way (Chamber ejecting Ledo with the same BS reason), but win against Stryker.
    Because a second season of Suisei no Gargantia without Chamber wont make any sense to me…

    1. It’s true that sequel of Gargantia can’t be without Chamber but they can bring him for Ledo because it would ruin story so far.
      Best way to solve it is timeskip and his descendant finds Chambro

      1. yeah, but Uro butcher Gen wrote only the first and last episodes. nothing more. in fact, the idea behind gargantia wasn’t originally his…so no need to get ourselves hyped that much.
        besides, I didn’t feel much of Uro Gen sides in gargantia.

        that being said..there are ways to go on from here. THO without Chamber it’s not the same. he was an important axis for the series and I am having trouble to imagine the series without him. still, gargantia can pull out a good sequel if it’s stayed focus. on what?that depends..maybe reconnecting with “Galactic Alliance” and stop war with Hideazue..maybe rebuilding life on earth..I don’t know. there are alternatives, but it has to be focus, namely I believe 1cour.

    2. There’s another difference in circumstance that I don’t think you’ve taken into account. Kugel was asked to lead the pirates by Linaria, while Ledo was asked to be a part of Gargantia by Amy (as far as I recall). I think both Ledo and Kugel could’ve easily ended up in each others situations under the right circumstances, making them far more similar than we initially thought.

  4. it was lovely to see suisei no gargantia again. sushi no Hideazue
    even though it’s not in the top this year, I did enjoyed it. and with OVA, it’s nice to remember it once more.

    bringing Kugel’s story is something I wanted and I always felt something is missing in gargantia without it. something that can be very very interesting that the series didn’t express or answered. surprisingly (or not?), I am not talking about Kugel itself, I am talking about the concept “how is that a machine can perceive it is a god?”. let’s admit, it was bizarre that “Sriker”, an AI Yunboro, similar to Chamber, perceive the term “god” and decided that “she”(more like “it”) is a god…for god’s sake…a god?!?! 😛
    we all remember Chamber’s insights about the world that brought Ledo to better understanding about the world, how to live in such world and how a normal society should be like, what is “ethic” and so.
    yet Striker perceive this completely different.
    and I kept asking myself “why?how?” something that suisei no gargantia wasn’t willing to answer.

    however, the second OVA came to answer that. partly. mostly it came to answer about Kugel’s journey in earth. but on the way it gives an answer to the question. not a direct and complete answer, because in fact they gave more or less the course of events that leads toward it.
    we all know (I hope you do?) the famous debate of “Nature VS Nurture”. and here it was carried out beautifully. Striker and Chamber both robots (AI) who learned the language rapidly. but due to environment, they perceive slightly different meanings and insights of the world, only because of the environment, which in this case was the variance of the people inhibiting each society.

    in the end it was even more intriguing because Kugel loved Linaria, yet he chose to see things differently to much. mostly it was due to striker manipulation, but still….

    well, having seen that I feel I completed the puzzle.
    those 2 OVA were good. especially this one. despite the fact we haven’t seen our regular characters, it gave me the feeling of gargantia. and even for OVA the animation was lovely as the series.
    now I am ready for sequel.

  5. Never thought they’d expand on Kugel’s story. Turned out to be quite the pre-Christmas present! Can’t wait for the new season as there’s still a lot they can develop on.

    Also, does anyone on RC plan to blog the new Shingeki OVA?

  6. You realize that a second season has strong potential to revoke any plot armor the main characters from the first season may have had? It’s essentially letting the butcher have a free shot at the innocents who managed to escape being brutally slaughtered the first time.

    1. That’s definitely the best part.

      I’m just struggling to see what they’ll do, if there’s no Chamber. He was the most interesting character to me, though Ledo came on in the last few episodes.

      Last season had a few mysteries, but they focused so much more on Gargantia than the sci fi origins, etc that I found more interesting. I’ll wait and see what they promo material looks like I guess ..

  7. Ledo was lucky to have landed with Gargantia…

    Speaking of Season 2, which sounds more likely?
    A direct continuation of Ledo’s adventures?
    Or a new adventure with new characters(eg. new Alliance/Gargantia crew; Ledo’s descendants?)

  8. Finally, Chihara Minori gets an acting role alongside her singing role as the OP singer, and a crucial character at that as well. So too did Noto Mamiko, never knew she had it in her to play a villain.

    Striker was pretty “messed up” back then already (thanks to the Galactic Alliance doctrine), and if it wasn’t her twisting Linaria’s words, Kugel might not have flipped out overnight and turned the fleet into such a Spartan society.

    Then again, both Striker and Chamber came from the same society, Chamber and Ledo benefited by their mingling with the humanity that is Gargantia. Had Chamber ended up in the same circumstances like Striker had, who’s to say he wouldn’t come to the same draconian conclusion as Striker had?


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