Gargantia ep4: family, purpose and an ugly woodwind instrument.
Gargantia is pounding a message into its characters and viewers. Several messages actually. It seems as though episode four has an especially concentrated message though. One of purpose, and family, and of the strange realization that relying on a machine can personally make you quite useless. Gargantia wants you to feel all that. Man, this show really is all about hippies. I wonder if it was made by them, too?
We start things off with a healthy dose of awkwardness. Even though this fleet is populated by peace loving hippies, they still live on ships. And ships need to be maintained and orderly. And anyone on the ship needs to bloody help out. Ledo and Chamber try, but Ledo doesn’t quite get the intricacies moving about on this without making a mess of it. What ends up happening is a casual transfer of control of Chamber to one of the shipmen so he can get Chamber to help out without making a big mess.
When then get a flashback showing how Ledo has been moved to a crappy warehouse and billed for the damage to the hangar caused in the first episode. I’m with Amy in thinking this is kinda crappy, seeing as how he saved their butts more than once. That should make up for the cost of the roof easily. Seriously, for at least the second episode in a row, “f*ck you Gargantia crew! F*ck you!”
Ledo accepts the terms however, because all he really cares about is being close to his mech. And with them not billing him for certain utilities, my anger is quelled a bit.
In present time (relatively), Ledo is to the side at the docks while Chamber continues to take instructions and move freight. Amy seeing him alone and looking lonely (honestly, he always looks lonely or at least aloof), decides to come by and strike up a conversation. She notices the alien teeth/nails that he likes to manipulate. I always thought that he was trying to make an ocarina or some sort of horn with it. But when Amy asks him what he’s trying to make, he has no idea. Ledo doesn’t have much of any idea about a lot of what the Gargantia, or the viewers would consider normal relations. His hyper controlled military lifestyle doesn’t give him an experience or perspective on their customs or values. It’s much like comparing a tribe to a corporation. The Gargantia is a loosely knit group of diverse people, held together by similar customs and values. The Galactic Alliance is tightly held and controlled through sheer military structure and purpose. The only things the two entities seem to have in common are humans, and the desperate need to survive.
As Ledo travels throughout the fleet he learns that the information he needs to return to his fleet just doesn’t exist here. His ignorance and lack of understanding is exposed here, but it does help bridge gaps. His talk with Dr. Oldham really doesn’t give him any answers, and he’s said to be the most learned in the fleet. Amy also leads Ledo to speak with her brother, Bebel. It’s interesting to see that these two converse. While Bebel is definitely a bit star struck, he’s also sharp and paying attention. His happy demeanor (which may or may not totally be a mask) doesn’t mean that he’s not full of his own sharp incites. Another reason why Ledo and Bebel’s conversation is interesting is because a person like Bebel would not exist in Ledo’s world. Ledo specifically states that people that cannot fight are purged from the Alliance. Are they killed in their hospital beds? Are they aborted in their wombs/test tubes? Are they recycled Macross-style to give the rest of the fleet materials and nourishment? None of that is explicitly stated. But if you think about it for even a moment, it’s a very muted fate.
After his talk with Bebel, Ledo is still hung up on finding a purpose for himself while Chamber is steady working. He runs into Bellows (with her fine looking self) and tells her about his troubles. She tells him not to be so hung up on his military standards in a place like Gargantia. And just like that, Ledo is given one of Earth’s unique gifts, rain.
Later, Ledo goes back to talk with Bebel who brings up his strange habit of carving his alien artifacts, and mentions that it looks like a flute. He blows a single note, which sends us and Ledo into a quick flashback showing him and some other younger boy who looks just like him (a sibling?) communicate about a similar looking flute. The boy is jettisoned off, presumably not to be seen again. Teens practically gush out of Ledo’s face, and he asks Bebel to play the note again…
Wow. I’m seeing some striking similarities between this show and Majestic Prince. One of those is that they both managed to touch an emotional note in their fourth episode. Both of them based off of very brief, subtle moments. I don’t know if Ledo’s memories have been wiped, but that was apparently a very powerful memory. And with the heavy emphasis on family in this episode, I can only guess that that kid was of some relation.
I get the feeling that the show will end up pushing Ledo to make a choice. The obvious choice is whether to return to his fleet or not given the opportunity. But that may not be the actual choice. Mention was made by him of how the Alliance culled humans for the purpose of fighting off its greatest enemy. And the Alliance doesn’t seem to be big on choice. Perhaps humans aren’t given a choice, no matter where they’re found to join the Alliance? I worry that maybe the Alliance will find this revitalized Earth, and all its humans and see them as soldiers to be harvested for their army. The other choice being that the alien threat finds them first or at the same time. So many possibilities, and my first instinct is to think of the ones that could lead to the most suffering.