Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
Living on the planet Earth, we, as humans, are fairly sheltered in the grand scheme of what we call the universe. Small-minded, it could be considered, to believe we are the only intelligent life forms in what could be infinite space. For some, the presence of alien life has already been demonstrated, for others, it is all but given that we will make “contact” at some time. And still, for others, alien life is a thing of stories and imagination. Someday, it will be proven which of the believers is right, and if alien life does exist, what form will they take?
In the distant future, humans have left the confines of Earth and taken to the stars, living their lives there. There, they have formed the Galactic Alliance of Humankind and are at war with a race of tentacle aliens termed the Hideauze. To combat these aliens, AI mech have been created, each with their own pilots and capable to various offensive and defensive capabilities. During an integral battle to destroy a Hideauze weapon, with the human battalions all but destroyed, ensign Ledo and his AI mech, Chamber, are knocked into a wormhole. Six months later, Ledo comes out of cryo-stasis to find himself in a strange part of the universe he does not know with a planet before him he had only heard of: Earth.
Ledo and Chamber take to Earth to find it is still inhabited by humankind, albeit in a different capacity. The Earth has flooded and humans now live on floating communities. Ledo, unable to speak the language of the humans, uses Chamber to help him communicate and adapt to the humans way of living while he tries to fit in to their society while waiting for communication from the Galactic Alliance.
What would appear to be another “mech” anime on the outside turned out to be something so much deeper. While the war with the Hideauze is the backdrop for the story, the real depth is in human interaction, the role of society and the role of ethics and making decisions between what is right and what we are instructed to do. Although it may be difficult for us to imagine being thrown into a living situation where we are completely blocked by language barriers, construct of living and way of life, Gargantia perfectly sets up this scenario and brings the viewer into such a situation to experience it first hand through the eyes of Ledo. Going from being a great warrior with a purpose to having no direction or anything that resembles “home,” the psychological toll it would take is understandable. But as history has shown us, humans have a way of adapting to their environment and surviving. Gargantia takes us on this ride and we are better for it in the end.
Then there’s the situation we can all relate to: learning what you have been told is not necessarily the truth. How does one adapt to a situation when they find out that everything they have always been told is, to one degree or another, a lie? How does this affect the psychology of a human whose whole drive in life has been centered on believing an ideology only to find out that it isn’t the truth?
With so much depth to be found in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, it would be negligent of me not to recommend this to anyone who is a fan of anime or good storytelling. With a thirteen-episode storyline, it does not consume too much of your time and the episodes are filled with content, no filler. The last episode of the series does feel a little rushed, especially the climax, and I’m sure some would have liked a different version to the ending, but it is fitting and helps complete the story and set the story for future growth. Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet balances the action, comedy, drama and character growth exceptionally well and the series is better off for it. Plus, this is a series in which everyone can pull a little something and apply it to their lives.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars