Anime Review: Suisei no Gargantia – 13 [Final]

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It’s the series finale, as Ledo concludes his battle with Commander Kugel’s Striker unit.

RECAP:  Ledo continues his battle against the Striker machine caliber unit.  Striker reveals that she is merely following the directive that Kugel originally set out to accomplish before his death.  Meanwhile, the sea battle also continues as the Kugel Fleet is countered.  Additionally, it is revealed that Gargantia’s main body is originally a giant cannon.  The presence of Gargantia becomes the Striker’s prime target, forcing Ledo to stop it at all costs.  And in the midst of that, Chamber gives Ledo the last support and enlightenment he needs to live on.

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Commander Kugel had apparently been dead for a long time now; his body only still intact thanks to Striker’s life support system.  It is implied that, upon landing on Earth, Kugel intended on taking control of the Earth humans as an absolute leader, and he accomplished that.  In order to continue his objective, he entrusted Striker to carry out the rest of the mission without him, with the intention that it was for the good of humankind.  However, unlike Ledo who came to understand what it truly meant to “live,” Kugel was never able to understand that taking away human thought contradicts humanity itself.

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So remember how I voiced that I dislike Pinion?  I still don’t like him, but he has definitely turned into a more likable character than before.  He chivalrously urged his crew to leave him so that they would get out alive; pretty noble thing to do.

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Another big reveal in this final episode was the fact that Gargantia’s main body was a cannon.  Based on their lore, it was supposedly a cannon to fire vessels into space.  In this case, it worked well as a very long-range weapon.  It is quite interesting to find out that the key and the “stairway to heaven” was all a secret thing among the elder gentlemen of Gargantia.  It is as if the vessel itself was all set up to protect this one thing.

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This one moment is what we’ve all been pretty much waiting for: Ledo admitting that he wants to live, and live by Amy’s side.  The emotional rollercoaster we boarded at the beginning of this series has started its descent here as we followed Ledo from being a one-minded soldier, to useless body, to loved Gargantian citizen, back to an enlightened soldier, and now a proper human being.  He has tasted the fruit of living a peaceful life on Gargantia, and he wants to return to those times and protect it.

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Okay… so the emotional rollercoaster had one more hump to it.  I can’t remember the last time I was ever close to crying at the death of a machine.  If you think about it, Chamber foreshadowed this possible end every time he was introduced: He is a Pilot Support Enlightenment Interface System.  Chamber’s job and prime objective from the beginning, besides being an AI to assist in piloting the Machine Caliber, has always been to help Ledo become a person suitable to humankind.  It is because Chamber gathered information on “humanity” on Gargantia that he was able to lead Ledo in the right direction.

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And so all is peaceful, we’re back to where it all began: Gargantia.  Ledo now works as one of the deep-sea treasure hunters, as he aids his new “family” to discover the remnants of Earth’s past so as to ensure that humanity doesn’t follow the same mistakes again.  He is now living according to his duty, but this time of his own free will.

Rating:  4.5/5

Final Thoughts:

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Suisei no Gargantia is a truly wonderful series that serves as a reminder of what it means to be human, without the need for over-fantastical elements.  In this Sci-Fi, post-Earth adventure, we follow Ledo’s growth to become a true human being, rather than existing solely as a cannon-fodder soldier on the battlefield.  Through social interaction and learning how a co-dependent society works, Ledo gains emotions he once never thought about.  To fully see this growth happen in a matter of 13-episodes makes Gargantia a pretty great success in my eyes.

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The story starts out pretty slow, but action occurs when it is needed.  Not only that, events all seem to happen for good reason, as everything is meant to act as a lesson for Ledo, even though he doesn’t realize it.  I recommend this series as the type of show you tell someone with patience and good taste to watch.  Suisei no Gargantia relies mostly on character interaction, which may seem boring to some.  But nonetheless, it is a well written story, enough to get the point across.

Overall Rating:  4.5/5

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