Home > Episode by Episode > Gargantia ep9: breathe deeply, this won’t feel good

Gargantia ep9: breathe deeply, this won’t feel good

This is a great “reveal” episode.  This just is.  I definitely think that it’s more twisted than Madoka Magica‘s.  It reminds me of the moment you figure out the secrets behind the Evas, the real secrets; the Philosopher’s Stone in Fullmetal Alchemist; what happened to Vash’s arm in Trigun.  It’s the kind of thing that changes your whole perspective on a series, and can make you a little sick to your stomach.

So begins this fated episode, and we see this new expeditionary fleet lead by Pinion and spear-headed by Ledo arrive at its target.  It’s a known whalesquid/Hideauze nest and territory, and the place at which Pinion’s brother met his end.  The operation starts like a military one, quiet and on time.  Ledo is dropped into the ocean, and Pinion has a plan.  Ledo’s just anxious to kill.

The operation (I’m careful not to use the word battle) begins smoothly enough for Ledo and Chamber as they fight off scores of the .. I guess I can’t call them beasts, the Hideauze.  They notice that these Hideauze are not as powerful as the ones they fought in space.  But they are still the same.  And it’s mostly just a slaughter up until they make it to a large, obviously man-made facility.  On the surface, Pinion is having a flashback of when his brother brought him down to that very same facility.  They ended up stumbling upon a Hideauze nest and he was killed in the melee.  I don’t know how Pinion escaped alive, except for the fact that the place was so full of them that they couldn’t get through the hangar door.

Back at the facility, Ledo comes across a very large pregnant Hideauze, and kills it despite some warnings from Chamber to watch his energy consumption, and to be more cautious when engaging.  But Ledo won’t pass up the chance to exterminate every last one of his enemy given the chance.  This leads him into a situation that very well would have killed him in space, given that the Hideauze employed a similar strategy in their space battles and killed many a human with it.

Ledo then comes across what looks like an area for larval… or baby Hideauze.  Chamber goes about his business killling them, though it seems that Ledo is a little uncomfortable with it.  Especially since they somewhat looks like fetuses.  *shudder*

The team then swim into the the center of the facility, and what may be the spawning ground for the Hideauze.  As Chamber goes through and starts exterminating, they notice floating pieces of encrypted data in the room.  Chamber gets to attempting to decoding and translating the material, but stops when he recognizes that it’s classified.  It takes some effort to do so, but Ledo is able to convince Chamber to give him the information anyway.  This is Ledo’s whole life here.  He’s been fighting these things as part of his existence, and he’ll be damned if he gets this far and turns back.

Hmmm, I’m conflicted on how far to go with this next part.  Aside from Ledo falling to Earth, there is nothing more important that happens in this story than this next part.

Chamber decodes the information that all seem to be historical video footage.  What we see is a somewhat jumbled, but still coherent story of how mankind tore itself apart in a crisis.  What basically happens is that scientific extremists (and absolute geniuses) were searching for a way for humanity to go to space and survive the long travels to other inhabitable worlds.  While most everyone agreed on leaving Earth to escape the next great Ice Age.  They went a step further than merely preparing machinery.

This is the part where I’m genuinely conflicted.  I’m all for scientific progress, but I don’t see the point in humanity surviving into space, if it’s no longer humanity.  What do I mean by this?

The Hideauze are a fusion of people and genetically modified, Metroid-like parasites.  Through this fusion, humans are not only able to survive under water, but they’re even eventually able to survive in the vacuum of space!  Unfortunately, the experiments to achieve this end were found to be immoral and appalling to many, while also seen as a godsend to many as well.  And a war broke out.  In the end, humanity literally split apart, even as all of it was attempting to emigrate to space at the same time.  Over the eons, the humans that chose to be genetically modified into the Hideauze probably lost what little of their human forms and minds they had before, and their war with humanity has continued to the present time.

Yeah, my attempt to paraphrase what I thought was effective, chilling and brilliant exposition was likely inadequate.  Seeing it is the only way to experience it.  I’m sure someone will joke about Urobuchi and exposition, but it made this episode.  And the affect was apparent, because after the video was over, a surviving adolescent Hideauze showed up and was crushed routinely by Chamber.  Ledo immediately freaked the hell out.  I have a strong feeling Ledo will return to the Gargantia a very changed individual.

There are many things to consider in light of this.  The repercussions of waging all out war on a Hideauze nest is one of them.  What is still left in that building besides this ancient information?  The effect on Ledo’s psyche after realizing that technically he’s been killing a fighting people this entire time?  Is there any sentience left in the Hideauze after all this time?  Can the humans still communicate with them?  Frankly, I need to sit and stew on this episode for awhile.  I am wondering what anyone reading this thinks about humanity’s decision to “force evolve” themselves to better suit space.  It’s an important question honestly, when you think about how we currently have yet to solve that problem.  Our own body mass starts to break down, especially our skeletal system, once we start to adapt to the weightlessness of extended space visits.

Further Reading

  1. June 3, 2013 at 02:11

    What defines ‘humanity’? The physical form, or the thoughts & intelligence that separate us from ‘lower’ life? If it’s the former, then the Evolver plan wasn’t so much an ‘escape’ from Earth as creating something that would survive us & prove humanity once existed. If it’s the latter, then it was a perfectly acceptable way forward – the Hideauze are just another branch of humanity. And I think it’s going to be the latter approach that the show takes, going by Ledo’s reaction to the infodump.

    There’s been a lot of negative reaction to this episode – most people seem to think the ‘twist’ was dumb. I don’t get that, I thought it was fairly well done.

    As for what happens next: I think when the Gargantia encounter the whalesquid pod, the whalesquid were testing them, to see if Ledo’s first killing was a one-off. They were allowed to pass peacefully, so they didn’t retaliate for the one killing. Now that Ledo’s inflicted major damage on a nest, though, I think any humans in the area are in very deep shit next episode…

    • June 3, 2013 at 03:30

      I would venture to say that humanity is a combination of genetics, intelligence and culture as a whole. But that’s a very convenient way to view the subject in this situation and exclude the Hideauze. It makes me sad to see a happy medium unable to be reached by a brilliant scientific community and their fellow people. Circumstances may have made these experiments more acceptable if humans hadn’t shown themselves to survive quite well without it.

      It’s a masterful backup plan, but the goal fails badly in my opinion if both the need and the ability to coexist both aren’t there. I don’t imagine that Professor Matsumoto wanted to replace humanity by eliminating it.

      As for the reaction to the ‘twist’, I think it’s brilliant. I think most people could guess that humanity had a hand in creating the Hideauze once we saw that they were native to Earth. But I don’t imagine most people thought that they were human at their core (or once were). From the moment the Gargantia crew explained why Ledo shouldn’t attack the Hideauze, I feared the exact same thing you mentioned. He may have ruined humanity’s ability to live on Earth peacefully with their “breathren”.

  2. June 3, 2013 at 05:49

    It’s funny you gave a brief mention to Evangelion in this post – the scene where Ledo desperately screams at Chamber not to kill that final Hideauze after he sees the film footage reminded me very sharply of the scene in Evangelion where Shinji is made to go on a rampage when control of his Eva unit is taken from him.
    In general, this episode felt really full on after the last several, where plot took a back seat to the slice-of-life material, but I enjoyed it. It didn’t feel rushed, and the twist made sense yet wasn’t entirely predictable. Great stuff.

    • June 6, 2013 at 18:06

      I got an Eva flashback, though it was kinda more that legendary scene where Kaworu dies. Same effect though, the first time is probably more relevant since, like you said, that was completely involuntary.

      Also, I forgot to mention this during your ‘worst characters ever’ post. But the way you feel about Shinji is the same way I feel about him. He’s the annoying, cowardly broken child that he is because he’s a child and surrounded by terrible people and death all the time. Same goes for Renton, though I personally find him terribly annoying.

  3. Gibbz
    June 17, 2013 at 17:35

    I would not consider the Hideauze as human especially the Earth Whale Squid Variant. It clearly shows that they no longer have any human will left. They act and multiple like how lower level species do. They attack whoever they perceive as a threat. Its ironic that an experiment that was suppose to be the next step of human evolution end up regressing humanity. It doesn’t looks like that the whale squids have any form of society or any structure whatsoever. I don’t really see the big deal with the alliance choosing to destroy them. I know that this is not a good comparison but think of a Vampire in any modern day fiction. They originated as humans but if they’re out to kill you, its kill or be killed, simple as that. As many others have pointed out, Ledo was able to vaporize pirates without a second thought. I don’t know where this “conscience” is coming from. As for the space Hideauze Variant, I think that remains to be seen but with what we’ve seen so far, Id assume that they have lost their humanity as well. Also I’d like to point out that many people seem to think that the whale squid juvenile that approached Ledo and chamber was Elaine Matsumoto. Elaine Matsumoto is the daughter of the progenitor, the first person to volunteer for the experiment and that was 1000 yrs ago. She, like her parents, underwent the whole experiment. Matsumoto is the surname of the father. I do not think she’s the same whale squid that approached chamber and was killed. It just so happens that it was a juvenile.

    • June 18, 2013 at 20:53

      “They act and multiply like how lower level species do. They attack whoever they perceive as a threat.”

      I hate to break it to you, but you just described humanity.

      “They originated as humans but if they’re out to kill you, its kill or be killed, simple as that.”

      I partially agree with you here, but I think the show is focusing more on the fact that the Hideauze don’t appear to be the aggressors. In the case of Earth, Ledo is undeniably the instigator of the current conflict. Any reasonable third party would likely label the humans as the “bad guys”.

      We can throw around the idea that the Hideauze have lost their humanity, but it’s simply begging the question. Humans have humanity because that is the definition of being human and the definition of humanity. In the context of our argument, it’s a completely arbitrary word.

      When and why did the Hideauze lose their human rights because of genetic modification? Now try to answer this question without assuming that the Hideauze have a mental capacity less than that of humans.

  1. June 10, 2013 at 00:33
  2. June 22, 2013 at 21:04
  3. January 9, 2014 at 03:08

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