Suisei no Gargantia 09 + 10 — The Butcher’s Back

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It’s not Urobuchi Gen unless we have the blood of genocide on our hands (literally).

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I had a hard time buying Ledo’s remorse in these episodes. Now he’s crying about killing squid fetuses because they evolved from humans? Didn’t he, you know, massacre actual humans a few weeks ago and not give a crap? This makes it hard for me to buy his sudden conversion to a peacenik hippie and lover of all creatures with human DNA.

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I’m glad that Chambers gave him a good talking to. Ledo, listen to the robot, he’s way smarter than you are. The fact that the Hideauze evolved from humans changes absolutely nothing. It’s wrong to kill the intelligent, peaceful squid babies whether they are humans or aliens. It’s arguably less wrong to kill the intelligent, belligerent space squids who are trying to murder you whether they are humans or aliens.

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This whole idea of the squids being “human” is especially interesting considering how inhuman both spacefaring groups have become. The Hideauze are inhuman for the obvious reasons. But Ledo’s society is also dehumanizing. They are bred to be soldiers from birth, and have no other purpose in their lives.

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As Chambers says, it’s a conflict between two different survival strategies (seizon senryaku!). One turns people into replaceable parts in the machine called civilization. The other (at least from what Chamber has said) removes the limits of the human body and hence eliminates the need for civilization and other people entirely. It seems like the conclusion we’re heading for is that the middle way is the best way, represented by the Gargantians’ way of life.

Of course, this is Urobuchi Gen, and Pinion is currently busy trying to recreate the end of the world, so I’m fairly confident that everybody’s screwed regardless. Yay!

22 thoughts on “Suisei no Gargantia 09 + 10 — The Butcher’s Back

  1. I thought Ledo’s sudden shift towards a peace-loving opinion of the Hideauze was hamfisted as well, but if we’re being generous it could be interpreted as him having trouble expressing the anger he has about being lied to his whole life by the Galactic Alliance. He’s always thought of them as mindless monsters bent on destroying humanity (which is true,) but now that his understanding of them has grown it leads to him to questioning why he’s fighting such a seemingly pointless war to begin with. So although he states “they’re humans too!” as why he’s against killing them, the reasoning behind that is potentially more complex.

    And then Chambers gives him a logical explanation of why the war just simply won’t end until one side loses to the other, even if it’s not the most peaceful conclusion. I don’t even care why Ledo was angry to be honest, that speech was just so brilliant.

    1. You’re right, there is more to it than just him discovering he was killing humans. It’s more a betrayal of the trust he had in the galactic alliance and everything he’d dedicated his life to. Chambers addresses this well in his speech when he says that his conclusions are based on his own reasoning module to make it clear that he is not simply recycling alliance propaganda. And I completely agree, Chambers’ speech was entirely worth any inconsistencies in Ledo.

  2. The situation back with the pirate killings was different. Ledo was still very accustomed to his notion of eliminating (literally vaporizing) enemies with no remorse. But since adopting Gargantia’s life style, I think Ledo’s grown a heart where he’s able to show a little more restraint when it comes to violence and savagery. Hence his sudden collapse and unwilling-fullness to commit murder.

    I know this revelation sounds contradictory as a whole, but when you were raised to think the Hideauze are just “mindless low-life” creatures without considering the fact they were once sentient (human) beings. I’m pretty sure you’d be a rather shocked too, especially if what you’ve been fighting for has all been lies and manipulation for the sake of genocide.

    I think that’s what we’re left to assume since Ledo did question Chamber about the data files along the lines of…. “Enemy? Who’s the enemy”? which possibly entails that the Galactic Alliance is no better than the Hideauze anyway. I do think Chamber made a legit point, although his ambiguous conclusion in assuring Ledo to continue this conflict of necessity spells even bigger trouble to me.

    1. I can understand his shock and how he’s grown since the show started. But it would have helped much more if the show had built up Ledo’s growth rather than seemingly making it all occur in one big tirade. From what we’d seen before, Ledo had barely grown at all. He never expressed a shred of remorse for killing the pirates, from what I can recall. Plus he ditched Amy’s ship just last week to begin his genocide. It just seems weird that this should be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and in such a dramatic fashion too.

      1. Although Ledo has seen some growth since he arrived on Gargantia, I think the main reason for his reaction is the major shift in his view of the war. He’s a soldier at heart, and that will probably never change, but even soldiers aren’t mindless killing machines. He fought people and creatures who he believed were threats to his world whether they were pirates or Hideauze.

        But now the tables have turned, and he is the aggressor in this new conflict. He thought he was eliminating a hostile enemy when in reality he essentially kicked down the door to a house and killed every man, woman and child inside. No mentally stable person is going to react well to that, and soldiers are no exception.

        As mentioned above, being lied to by the Galactic Alliance only exasperated the situation.

        1. I can understand his shock at realizing he murdered all the defenseless squid people. But it still seems a bit extreme to overthrow everything he believed in based on this one event. It’s already been established that the Hideauze in space are different from the ones on earth. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Ledo wasn’t fighting for humanity’s survival. I guess shock makes people not have the most logical thought process though…

  3. Personally I don’t think Ledo’s 180 turn makes so little sense. We don’t know exactly how long has he been on Gargantia, but it’s probably been months. During this period, he learned to be more human, to the point where he went to kill the whalesquids not because he cared about his mission more than about his ties with Amy, for example, but exactly because he thought that, even if the others did not agree, the whalesquids would eventually become a true danger to humans. He went to war to protect someone he cared for, genuinely believing in what he had been taught his whole life (that Hideauze are this relentless alien race bent on destroying humans), not just to obey orders. Knowing that he can’t possibly return to G.A. must have weakened his resolve too. When he learned the Hideauze were humans, he probably got angry over a whole lot of things – including the death of his little “brother”, most likely. By learning of the beginnings of the war he realized there was no true ‘right’ side. Even if being born into the G.A. makes him one of its soldiers and thus ties his survival to the survival of the Alliance, his motivation is suddenly weakened, as he does not feel ‘in the right’ anymore. The Hideauze change in his eyes from absolute evil to an ordinary human enemy.

    As to Chamber’s speech, I think there’s some subtle doublespeak there. He nonchalantly throws around terms and assumptions which are not a given at all. Are Hideauze really unintelligent by now? If they are, do they still have a drive to hunt down humans or is the Galactic Alliance the one still bent on destroying them at all costs for ideological reasons? And the very assumption that lays at the base of Chamber’s reasoning is that technology is a superior and more ‘human’ way of life than forced evolution. In all honesty, to a caveman, both a Hideauze squid and Ledo inside his Chamber mecha would look like heinous monsters. Of course, being an AI, Chamber obviously favours the ‘technology’ choice – which makes me wonder whether Chamber is not just spouting propaganda from the dominant class, he IS part of the dominant class. What if Galactic Alliance is actually ruled by uber-powerful Artificial Intelligences? It would be consistent with the extremely rationalized and ‘mechanical’ lives of its inhabitants, and no one would know since they spend most of their time either sleeping or fighting Hideauze, always inside their mecha, with an AI as their only interface with the outside world.

    1. Ledo’s change could have made sense, given what you’ve said. It’s the fact that his turn around was so abrupt and complete that is difficult to believe. If this video contradicts everything he’s believed his entire life, why does he immediately except that everything he’s believed his entire life is wrong, rather than rationalizing as Chambers does? He doesn’t even consider the possibility that it’s enemy propaganda, as Chambers suggests. He doesn’t consider the possibility that the Galactic Alliance still needs to fight against the Hideauze, as Chambers also suggests. Both of these explanations seem more reasonable than throwing out his entire belief system and the justification for his own existence. Yet Ledo doesn’t even attempt to see the other side of the story. It’s his ability to throw out his entire life and belief system in the blink of an eye that is so disconcerting. The origins of the Hideauze seem a minor point even: them being originally human doesn’t change the fact that they are apparently attempting to exterminate the remnants of the human race. If there are other factors involved in Ledo’s breakdown, the show did a poor job at showing this. Given what we saw it seems reasonable to assume that the video he saw was the major factor in Ledo’s change.

      There are definitely assumptions in Chambers speech, especially the idea that a technological civilization is superior. I assume we’re going to look at that more later in the show, with the Gargantians providing a happy middle ground living off magical symbiotic free energy from their Hideauze pals.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Galactic Alliance is ruled by AIs either. Especially given Psycho Pass…

      1. There’s no denying that the writing is not very good. The concept was there, but the execution was rather poor – especially considering how much time they wasted on beaches, boobs, and unfunny homophobic jokes before getting here. I’m just trying to lay down what I think is the fundamental concept – as better writers would have made it clear. Oh well. Gargantia is by no means the worst show of the season, it’s not even especially disappointing, but it’s not a prodigy either. For now, just a mildly above average and technically competent anime show. I’ll probably end up giving it an overall 7.5/10 or something around there.

      2. On one hand, If the enemy is unintelligent and driven by primal instinct as Chamber suggests, the possibility of it being enemy propaganda is slim to none. On the other hand, if it is enemy propaganda, the Hideauze are intelligent and Ledo has been lied to by the Galactic Alliance. Either way, his belief system has lost its foundation, so it’s not surprising that he’s reacting poorly.

        1. Did the galactic alliance actually claim they weren’t intelligent? How can they fight a war if they aren’t intelligent? That makes no sense at all.

          1. I’m not saying it makes sense, but the Galactic Alliance claims that the Hideauze are driven purely by primal instinct. I don’t think intelligence is a prerequisite to fighting for one’s survival, so it could be a valid explanation under different circumstances.

          2. I thought they were all fighting together. I guess it could be like the way a beehive fights or something… but if so I’m having trouble imagining how the Galactic Alliance hasn’t figured out how to exploit their primal instincts and slaughter them all.

  4. The Kugel Fleet should just destroy the entire gargantia fleet. One I hate naivety which I have already admit. The two things I hate the most are naivety and characters who act innocent, but really opportunistic.

    1. To be fair I think both the fleets are pretty naive. One thinks every problem can be resolved by wearing hula skirts and singing kumbaya. The other thinks they can kill the Hideauze and go around threatening people without any repercussions. Can’t see this ending well for anybody.

      1. This is the real world and naivety should be like pampered pigs to the slaughter. Although I have to say, “Peace doesn’t last forever as the cycle of hatred will never cease to exist.” I will rather have a sadistic pleasure at laughing at the death of the naïve in the anime including Amy who is the most naïve of all the Gargantia fleet than to see another sappy naïve happy ending which always pisses me off. Get it? Got it? Got it! No naïve chumps as long as I live.

        1. How exactly is the Gargantia fleet naive? I’d say they’re a bit idealistic, but they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves all things considered.

          And don’t you think that you’re being a bit harsh on a fifteen-year-old girl? I’m pretty sure everybody is relatively naive at that age.

          Urobuchi won’t give us a sappy ending, so don’t worry about that, but I’m hoping for something that’s at least bittersweet. Full genocide mode is going to make for a sub-par conclusion given the themes the show has been playing with up until this point.

          1. need I remind of you of how naivety poisons the quality of Shining hearts anime. Bread of Happiness? That’s a lame title courtesy of a naïve supporter.

  5. Just at the moment when I though about quitting this show b/c it was too peaceful and dull things start to become interesting!
    Obviously there is a parallel theme (many differences, as well, though) to Shin Sekai Yori. I think in both shows the shock element does not only derive from suddenly learning that the respective creatures have human DNA. It also derives from the somewhat gory transformation those past-time humans have undergone. In Gargantia the squid guy (human head merged w/ a squid body) looked almost ridiculously like retro science fiction.
    I didn’t quite get, though, how the Hideauze became what they are now. Did they result from some evil scientists’ human experiments? Or wasn’t it rather voluntary transformation by the “evolvers”? If so, I doubt that any sane person realistically would agree to being transformed into a squid-human! And why did these experiments/ transformations take place at all? I can’t quite see the advantage of Hideauze over humans (e.g. they lack proper hands). No wonder they are called “hideous”!

    1. Yeah, both this and Shin Sekai Yori take the approach of “Oh, they had human DNA? What we’ve done is horrible!” I find that odd since what they’ve done is horrible regardless of whether the other creatures are human. It feels like they’re completely missing the point.

      My understanding was that humans voluntarily transformed into squids. I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that either. I guess so they could live in space? Sounds terrible. Perhaps a small number of people underwent the transformation and then they bred like rabbits.

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