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