Welcome everyone, to another review! For the first time on RishRaff Reviews we will be covering a mecha anime. The anime in question is Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, one we felt stood apart from its mecha brethren. As always, beware of minor SPOILERS that may appear in the review.
Now without further ado, let us begin the review!
Summary: While fighting an intense inter-galactic war, a mecha pilot was accidentally warped into a space-time neither he nor the computer of his mecha could recognize. After waking up from a long-time hibernation, he found himself trapped on a planet, with human residents talking in an unknown form of language, using inferior technologies, and — most shocking to him — naturally breathable air. -Anime News Network
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet brings something a little different to the table when compared to other mecha anime. It focuses less on the mecha themselves and their relatively value and less on action sequences (which there are still plenty) to explore a plot more akin to slice of life, at least, initially. Much of the early episodes focus on Leto, the main character, and his adapting to a new environment and lifestyle aboard Gargantia. The series handles this extremely well, with the focus being on relationship between the characters. It also explores a backstory of humanity, as most sci-fi anime do. However, there is a swift change of pace in the anime about midway through. It becomes much less people based plot and focuses more on technology aspect. This pacing feels a bit rushed as well as, frankly, rather forced as opposed to the more organic flow from earlier in the series.
The driving character of Leto is some one who appears very foreign to us as viewers. He is a military trained, no nonsense kind of character who is hardly relatable. However, as his predicament is explored, the viewer is able to sympathize with him. The cast of characters is large in this anime, which hurts it more than helps it (as is often the case). Some characters feel disposable and do not bring much to the plot, despite there being a surprising amount of focus on them at times. Chamber, the mecha, plays an interesting role as a nonhuman character, and behave as such, being the cold calculating reminder to Leto of his training and previous life, instead of the foil Amy is as a warm and bubbly young lady. However, the anime seems to forget this in the ending and attempts to “humanize” Chamber, in stark contrast to all other portrayals of the mecha.
The animation is absolutely spectacular in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. It goes into great detail in its background especially. Each the action scenes are easy to follow, and the animation as whole is smooth.
While the opening and closing were okay at best, the anime presents most of its better music within the actual show. Most pieces are fantastic and deeply cinematic, perfect for the tension that arises in action sequences that are scattered throughout the anime.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet asks a lot of heavy questions during its run time, many of which are very real questions relevant to our own time. One of the running themes in the show is what it means to be human. Numerous answers are given, ranging from a genetics basis to the creation of civilization. Eugenics, while presented in an extreme fashion, is also explored and how it harms humans and our ethics. The show questions the natural state of humanity exists in, whether that means war or peace. A big part of the show is dedicated to looking into relationships and adaptability as themes, emphasizing them as ideals in human existence. All in all, Garantia on the Verdurous Planet contains a wealth of themes.
Final Score: 8.6/10
Final Grade: B
Gargantia on the Verdous Planet is a seriously awesome piece of Sci Fi. It roped me in right from the start with the cool looking space war. The universe presented was extremely interesting, from space to that version of Earth. The animation is one of my all time favorites, and aside from a pretty good opening and closing, the music is extremely good as well. Watching Ledo try and interact with the new culture was really interesting, and made for great interactions. I didn’t really like some of the supporting characters (I guess they were a bit annoying/killed the mood sometimes), but the main cast including Ledo and Amy were great. The action wasn’t as present as I thought it would, but I’m glad it wasn’t that way. It allowed other aspects of the show to develop. When the action was there, it was fantastic. The mech at least was definitely present throughout the show, and actually had some funny lines. The plot also has some great developments. Overall, Gargantia is a very beautiful and interesting watch. Even if you’re not a Sci Fi person, I highly recommend it.
Final Comments: While not the best mecha out there as a result of the stark and unnatural twists the show presents, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet still explores a plethora of themes and brings something a little different to the table.
Thank you all for reading! Have you seen this anime? What was your opinion of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet? Be sure to comment below your thoughts. Next time we will be reviewing Clannad After Story, so look forward to that!