Check-out Station: Gargantia ep14 (hope floats on a green sea of memories)
Never thought I’d be revisiting this series, except maybe to show to someone who hadn’t seen it before. Gargantia for me was an average show with high expectations coming into it. That doesn’t make it bad, it’s just that it leaves me with an unfairly sour taste in my mouth, even though the series hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s almost like showing disdain towards a child that found a good job and place to live, but didn’t become a high paid doctor or lawyer. But enough about that, this episode is one of those one-shot episodes that takes place in the middle of the TV series story, but will have consequences so inconsequential that they won’t affect or even be mentioned anywhere else in it. So does that make this inherently a pointless episode, not necessarily. But you can’t be sure without actually watching.
Things start off with the girls (Amy, Melty and Saya) giving the kids on the ship a guide on getting around the ship so that they may do their chores. This conversation eventually devolves into them telling the kids ghost stories about abandoned ships on the sea. And lo and behold, what appears in the distance of the fleet? An abandoned ship. Providence!
Well, calling what was discovered an abandoned ship is understating the situation. What they actually come across is an abandoned fleet, a giant, rusted, empty and silent behemoth of floating metal. Since the Gargantia fleet is always scavenging for resources, this is a perfect opportunity to see what valuable supplies they can find within the dead fleet’s husk. Unfortunately for the expectations of some, the ship truly appears to be an empty shell, but Pinion, Melty and Saya (who somehow get stuck together) decide to make the best of their time by doing the stupidest of things – trying to scare a man with a gun (you know, ghost stories and all). Pinion quickly realizes this was dumb as hell when he makes his attempt and Ledo almost melts his feet off.
While the others goof off in one part of the ship, Ridget and Bellows come across sick bay, where Ridget finds a picture and realizes that she’s seen this fleet before. It was seven years ago – oh wait! I almost forgot to the flashback spell so we can go back in time for the flashback.
“Chime-Chime! Wavy Lines-!”
What? Am I the only one that remembers doing that? Well whatever! Gargantia doesn’t do any special editing to distinguish its flashbacks anyway. Hmph!
Seven years ago, the Gargantia fleet came across this very same one, it wasn’t as advanced as their fleet, so it didn’t even use mechs for interlocking. Ridget and a friend of her’s were very young at the time (between ten and twelve I venture) and helping with the interlocking process by manually locking the arms into place. Ridget saw the young head of the group in charge of the other fleets interlocking and decided to give him a piece of her mind, basically stating that manual interlocking was stupid and a waste of her training as an officer candidate. This in turn only got her embarrassed when he called her out in turn for not knowing what she’s talking about. He basically tells her that she’s of no use to anyone if she can’t show them how to do things, and that she should value experience more, given her important position. She ends up owing him even more when she absent-mindedly loses her footing and ends up falling from quite a height before being caught by the young officer. Too bad that he also got bludgeoned by a heavy tool she was carrying when she fell.
The consequences of Ridget’s mistake are busted head and broken foot for her saviour, and a scolding by him in return. But all in all the guy, whose name is Retna (*sigh* what a crappy name) escapes with non-life threatening injuries, and over time is nursed by my Ridget’s friend, Storia, who happens to be a nurse. She later goes to apologize to her saviour, and all is well between the two. He even shows her a camera that he built from scratch, and takes a picture of her. Later that evening, Storia talks to Ridget about hard decision she has to make. Retna has invited her to join him and his fleet – perhaps permanently. It’s a hard decision for a young girl who has never known anything other than her own fleet to make, but Ridget supports her, and encourages her friend to go with her heart.
Judging by the look of the ship, you’re left wondering if everyone perished after some eventual disaster. But all is explained once Pinion, Ledo and the others stumble across the ship’s main power source. Pinion realizes that it’s been corrupted by “lightbugs” from the inside, and was of no use to anyone. Likely, once the power source died everyone had to abandon the main ship and find the smaller ships, separate them and leave from there. So it likely looks like no one had to die in this incident. So while I’m disappointed there’s no horrific gory ending for all those on board this ship, it’s very welcome news to Ridget, who hasn’t seen her friend she the fleet departed.
In the end, she’s the only one able to leave the ghost fleet with a treasure, the picture of Retna and her best friend sitting next to his bed in sick bay. She may never see them again in her lifetime, but at least she has this and her memories.
End of episode.
Well, this was a little bland at the beginning, but I love endings like the one this little special used. It’s open-ended, but not sad. Well, maybe it is a little sad that she may never see her friend again, especially after having these memories show up at her door step. But the tone is an optimistic one. And it’s hard to hate on a love story like this, even with how minimalist it was. I liked this episode. And even though it’s not really representative of the show as a whole since so many other important elements are missing (the whale-squids, the Alliance, even Chamber barely shows up), I still feel like this is a good, easy watch that I could recommend for anyone who has seen the series, or is at least a little bit interested in it. It won’t sell you on anything, but it’s a good snippet of quality anime.