Friday, 3 October 2014

ANIME REVIEW: GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Rating: 12
Running Time: 114 Mins
Audio: English DD 5.1 & Japanese: DD 2.0
Release Date: 29/9/2014
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

The future isn't so bright for Ledo as he has been in cryo-stasis for six months while his wounds were healing from a battle he barely remembers. After being taken through a wormhole his suit he calls chamber didn't know where he was at first, but as they have arrived on a fleet of ships on an ocean covered planet, he is told that the planet they are on is actually Earth, a place he didn't know existed.

Gargantia is the latest release form Production IG who have made Fate/Zero, Psycho Pass, Ghost in the Shell, Blood The Last Vampire, and Madoka Magica. Just as Attack on Titan is flavour of the month as far as fantasy is concerned, Gargantia is sci-fi's answer to it.

The Galactic Alliance of Humankind has been trying to fend off the Hideauze, or as we would interpret it "hideous" who are survivors who threaten humanity's survival on the planet. Ledo is an Ensign and 16 which makes him popular with the girls his age who live around him. He takes a lot of time fitting in with other people as he has lived before around a people who have been heavily indoctrinated about rules and regulations, rather than being able to live their lives the way these have. Ledo thinks of himself as a stranger around everyone else, and doesn't take to the new people or his new surroundings easily.

Ledo's real usefulness is as a pilot of the Machine Caliber AI Automated humanoid-shaped battle suit. Once he has crash landed on the new planet he doesn't know is earth yet, he has to mingle with the inhabitants while Chamber has a go at interpreting what they say in a manner that he can understand. While his new-found friends take to him well, he also has memories of his past elsewhere and finds the new way of life a better one than he had been used to. The new earth people have different concepts of good and bad, and are loving, caring and have time for people; something he never experienced before. Also the fact that disabled people are treated well as a part of society was alien to him at one time and these new people want to rectify.

The story goes far to mention that Ledo is a man from a different world who has a hard time becoming a part of a new and much looser society as far as rules are concerned. Most of the episodes focus on Ledo's adjustment from a darker society to one that enriches lives rather than gives credence to warring against others. As in many other anime series, there are distractions from this focus, ones that give viewers a break from what can become the norm. These are fan-service episodes that seem to bear no resemblance to the story or its time line; drag queen, pirates and swimsuits are the norm for some episodes as Amy, his friend and most other girls find Ledo interesting as he is a handsome 16 year old boy who is going to get girls after him - hence the fan service.

There is a lot to like with this series, it's sci-fi, has mecha in it, it's story isn't original, but the way it is delivered answers the questions you would have about other series where a stranger in a strange land appears. The production quality is high and there are enough characters in it to make it almost epic.



Bonus Material: Language: English, Japanese, English subtitles.

Verdict:
This is a series that transcends sci-fi and brings it to a new level.