It’s the Iron Giant All Over Again… RIP Sugita-bot
Normally in a mecha anime, we see the protagonist thrust alongside his trusty companion into conflict or war. In Gargantia though, it’s the exact opposite with Ledo pulled out of conflict. Ledo was born into the world cold, calculating, and hardened to fight the Hideauze because he had to be that way in order to survive. As our hero Ledo acclimates to life on the Gargantia, he slowly learns what it means to be human thanks to Amy. I thought this part of the story was done really well. It’s when the second half kicks in that cracks start to show in Gargantia’s armor.
It still makes sense, given the the context it’s portrayed in, showing Ledo’s new-found humanity conflicting with the demons of his past but the writing just isn’t as tight and the pieces don’t come together as well as things should. The anime spent far too long on getting to the Whale Squid Nest culminating with Ledo learning the origins of the Hideauze. I feel the show would’ve been more cohesive had they introduced Striker’s cult earlier into the story alongside the Whale Squid arc. Instead it’s hastily introduced near the end of Ledo’s journey, not being given the time needed to breath and coalesce.
As for the ending itself, I thought it capped Gargantia neatly with Chamber sacrificing himself so Ledo can move on to the next stage of his life. The series was never about defeating the Hideauze or the war itself between the Galactic Alliance/Hideauze. Though a little on the conventional side, it’s great to see that an Urobuchi series can end happily without the main character suffering from some physical or mental trauma.
Looking back, this was probably my biggest disappointment of the season. Considering the staff producing the show, I was expecting to be blown away but I guess my expectations were too high for Kazuya Murata and Gen Urobuchi. I want to make clear though, Gargantia is still quite good and different compared to something you’d normally see from a series of this type. It just didn’t follow through on all of the potential its premise had.