Suisei no Gargantia 03 – 05 — Getting a Job with the Noble Savages

Sorry, I fell way behind on this one. Don’t worry, I am still blogging it!

Non-violent Violence

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The Earthlings seem to be, effectively, a popular, rosy-eyed portrayal of the native Americans. Just look at Amy’s dress. They lived at one with the land, never taking more than they needed. They lived peacefully and in harmony with one another until the white man brought along warfare and destruction.

Except, of course, for the inconvenient facts that they constantly fought wars with other tribes, held slaves, and that the plains people hunted by driving herds of buffalo over cliffs, among other things. While well-intentioned, these naive portrayals, in my opinion, serve to dehumanize the native populations, just as portrayals of them as savages do.

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Anyway, the point is: I’m getting a similar vibe from Gargantia’s portrayal of the Earthlings. They live at one with the land, and never take more than they need. Thank goodness we have an unlimited supply of fish and magical energy! They value life so they never would kill another person, even their enemies. Of course when the pirates attack them they fight back, but it’s just to fool the pirates. They would never actually want to hurt them! Guns don’t hurt people!

With that said, I think the setting’s great and the social system among the natives in Gargantia is quite interesting. I like them. I just hope that we eventually get to see a bit of a darker underbelly to their society, as the scene in episode five with the dark alleyway hinted at.

I also think it’s worth noting that their preaching at Ledo for killing the pirates is stupid. They were shooting each other with guns, the pirates were threatening to rob and rape them, and now they’re surprised that someone got hurt? And they have the nerve to preach at the guy who rescued them for hurting people, acting as if they’d never hurt a fly? Come on. These people were shooting at the pirates ten minutes ago and now they’re talking like they’re Gandhi.

Leaving NEETdom

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Apparently Urobuchi Gen has given interviews where he’s said this show is about leaving your comfort zone and joining in and becoming part of society. That’s a fine theme and all, but it could not be more transparent.

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From what we’ve seen so far, the show’s “message”, if you can call it that, is that if you try to get a job you’ll get invited to wild parties where girls in bikinis will beg you to take off your clothes. The target audience is certainly in store for some disappointment…

The theme itself is fine, but as with the portrayal of the Earthlings, I would have appreciated some more subtlety and ambiguity.

Further Thoughts

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The night battle was pretty cool. I’m a sucker for any scene involving lots of stars. Limiting Ledo to not actually hurting them made the battle more interesting than the previous one. And him spinning around the pirates and tossing them was pretty funny.

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As expected, Ledo is slowly coming out of his shell and learning to better appreciate “useless” things. I find the way he interacts with Chamber one of the most interesting parts of this show. Chamber is able to understand the language and culture much more rapidly than Ledo. But only Ledo is able to adapt and truly learn from their culture. Chamber really has no interest in the people on the boat and simply wants to return to the war as quickly as possible. I’m anticipating that this will be a source of conflict between them in the future.

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My favorite thing about this show is simply how bright and busy it is. It’s always sunny, everything is brightly colored, and there are always tons of people around. It seems like such a cheerful, carefree way of life. It seems basically like Spain but on a boat. I’m amazed that unlike the Spanish they actually appear to occasionally get some work done.

20 thoughts on “Suisei no Gargantia 03 – 05 — Getting a Job with the Noble Savages

  1. Chamber reminds me of Simon from Zetsuen (Just not as funny). He’s completely serious (Because he is a robot) and yet he is funny for it.

  2. You’ve got be a special sort of evil to fully support the killing of another human being. That’s not to say killing is always wrong, but it is morally reprehensible if you lack any remorse or doubt over your actions.

    There is a huge difference between a war and a massacre. Ledo slaughtered every single person he considered an enemy, and I don’t think he questioned his actions at all which is unnerving. He just hit a button after following the directions of a computerized targeting system.

    Violence is something that–while necessary–should be used cautiously and in moderation. There’s a reason that winning a war virtually never entails exterminating the entire opposing force; it simply isn’t necessary to achieve one’s goals.

    1. Well, they was shooting at each other using guns there. Unlike knife and fire, which can be used to cook, those things are totally killing tools, yes? When you raise your gun, you should be prepared to kill or to be killed. Those Gargantians are just hypocrites. That’s what I think.

      1. There’s a spectrum of violence which can be seen through most legal systems. Third-degree murder is treated differently than first-degree murder. A single act of violence is treated differently from the genocide of an entire ethnic group.

        The Gargantians rely on the threat of violence to keep themselves safe. There is no need to commit mass murder as the mere possibility of violence is virtually always enough to protect themselves. They were shocked by Ledo’s actions because he killed dozens of people when it was completely unnecessary to ensure their safety.

        1. Sure, Ledo used disproportionate force. I’m not saying what he did was right by any means.

          But this isn’t the Gargantians’ objection to his action. Their objection is that he killed someone. From what they said, they would have had the same objection had he only killed one of the pirates. So I see this particular criticism as hypocritical, because they’ve been shooting at the pirates with guns this whole time.

  3. I interpreted their reaction as being less about the fact that Ledo killed the pirates and more that he annihilated them to the point that their mother fleet was guaranteed to come after them for payback. They also seemed more than a little frightened of Ledo and Chamber’s destructive potential, which might be why they freaked out the way they did. Of course, that didn’t make the subsequent “I won’t kill you, just make it easier for the other guys to kill you” fight any less irritating.

    1. If that’s why they reacted the way they did that would make much more sense. What I gathered from what Amy said though is that they were made because he killed any of the pirates at all.

      But yeah, limiting Ledo in the fight seems silly either way.

  4. You are allowed to kill in self-defense but there is something called excessive use of force. Ledo just annihilated every single pirate without giving them the chance to surrender.
    The sensible thing to do was to show his superior firepower by shooting down some ships and then ask the pirates to surrender. Maybe kill the ones who were directly threatening the hostages but no more.
    I think many people misinterpreted Bellows’s words. She said that they try to limit the casualties as much as possible, not that they never kill anyone.

    1. From what Bellows and Amy said (especially Amy) I gathered that they never kill anyone. I wonder if the strangeness here is a translation issue.

  5. “their preaching at Ledo for killing the pirates is stupid.”

    They didn’t do preach it. Only Bellows did any preaching.
    Fleet command was bothered because they knew that the pirates would respond to his intervention with a massive attack.

    1. The fleet command didn’t preach at him since they didn’t talk to him at all. But Amy certainly seemed upset about the whole thing.

  6. I’ve had an overdose ofUrobouchi recently and will sit on the sidelines until I know it’s safe to take another look.

  7. I didn’t find it too hypocritical that the Gargantia’s wanted to restrain savagery and violence. To me it seemed very warranted by Ledo’s survival instinct, it made him feel it was the right thing to do without prior knowledge of being merciful. But I guess it was both to each owns ignorance in their conflict of ideas. The Gargantia’s are gonna have to man up eventually when Ledo isn’t with them anymore.

    I think the issue is that Ledo is so acquainted to his old military-war persona that he just doesn’t understand the notion of ones own free will. This is evident especially when Ledo is speaking with Amy’s brother about “taking orders or continue standing by” etc. It’s like he’s never had the opportunity of saying, “Why am I fighting in the first place?”, which is heavily contrasted to the Gargantia’s reserved way of handling conflict

    By that token, I found that the message that’s being elicited is a combination of emancipation/self-actualization of Ledo’s current state of view. To which, I think was was fantastically shown during the flashback scene of the flute with Ledo shedding his first tear.

    I’m on the same boat with you, I think the show could be more ambiguous of what’s to come rather that transparently making the whole situation look so Utopian like.

    1. I find it perfectly reasonable that they’d want to restrain violence too. The way I understood their complaint though was that he killed at all, not that he went overboard. I seem to be in the minority in seeing it this way though, so I probably misunderstood.

      But yeah, Ledo has no idea what to do with himself now that he doesn’t have orders handed to him directly on a silver platter. I think this has some clear analogues to NEETs who graduate from school and have no idea what to do with themselves any longer.

  8. I finally managed to halfway catch up w/ this show. It certainly looks nice and cheerful but I can’t quite find myself engaged emotionally. Everyone on the ship is super genki but has a shallow personality (Amy in particular). Also, I think the setting is hard to believe – life on such a platform must be very noisy and tiring and not at all relaxed. The plot is boring, as well, and I don’t like those bright colors, either.
    Your interpretation w/ the Indians and the white man is quite interesting, though. As you write, RL for the Indians most likely was not all that nice. Actually, one could also argue that the setting resembles an old-time Indian visiting modern society where everyone tries to act as genki as possible and conflicts are resolved by other means than outright war.

    1. The genkiness of everybody is a bit annoying. Amy and her friends offer essentially nothing interesting as characters, which is unfortunate. To have them have troubles and difficulties of their own would go against the creator’s stated purpose, I suppose, which is for young people to get out and join into society.

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