Suisei no Gargantia (Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet) is a Mecha anime produced by Production I.G and written by Gen "Urobutcher" Urobuchinote Though Urobuchi was apparently mostly involved with the script for episode 1 only., aired as part of the Spring 2013 Anime broadcasting season.In the far future, humanity has conquered the stars under the banner of the Galactic Alliance of Humankind and its capital, a gigantic Space Colony called Avalon. But an obstacle has appeared in mankind's road to the future: a war with a race of aliens known as Hideauze. And the Alliance is losing. In desperation, they send all their possible forces at the alien home world in a surprise attack, but fail and are forced to retreat. Ledo, a mecha pilot, is unable to board a retreating ship in time and attempts to traverse the wormhole leading home in his mecha, only to be warped to a random point in space-time.Waking up from cold sleep six months later, he finds himself in a place neither he nor the computer of his mecha, Chamber, can recognize, with human residents speaking an unknown, seemingly ancient language, using inferior and completely outdated technology, and living without any signs of war. Ledo is astonished to learn that this place, which has a naturally breathable atmosphere and none of the gravitational anomalies that would be present on a space colony, is actually a planet practically unknown to the Galactic Alliance of Humankind: Earth.Viz Mediahas licensed the series for the North American market. The company plans to stream the series on its website, as well as release the series (and the OVAs exclusive to the Japanese disc release) on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2014.Crunchyroll has also licensed this show on their site. Viewers living in the following areas may watch it legally there: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, Central & South America, and Portugal.Additionally, on October 10, 2013, Production I.Gannounced that a sequel has been green-lit. The sequel will consist of two OVAs, both set two years after the original series. They are expected to be released by Fall 2014.Finally, with dual partners with Bandai Entertainment and DMM, an online game will be released on DMM's website as a playable Browser Game with its own story sometime in 2014.Compare Blue Submarine No. 6, another Ocean Punk anime set during a war against marine lifeforms.
This work provides examples of:
A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Galactic Alliance is increasingly starting to resemble this trope, as we learn that they brainwash children into single-minded drone-soldiers, kill all the infirm and disabled and fight a war of extermination in the name of genetic purity. But the Hideauze also resemble this trope, what with their desire to wipe out the inferior and simple-minded humans who failed to embrace a genetic adjustment program, making their Forever War a probable case of Evil Versus Evil.
And the Adventure Continues: The ending is kind of like this; it's more like life continues for everyone. That said, the ending also implies that the humans of Earth may regain much of their lost technology, and that they may even find a way to communicate with the whalesquids.
Abnormal Ammo: Gargantia's hidden coilgun fires decommissioned boats loaded with explosives as makeshift shells.
Action Prologue: The first half of episode 1, when we see Ledo as a mere soldier in the Galactic Alliance. After this, he's stuck on Earth with no apparent way to get back.
A Day in the Limelight: Ridget's past gets explored a little bit in the first OVA. They explore a giant abandoned fleet to see if there's any survivors and salvageable materials. Ridget then remembers seeing this ship seven years earlier, and has a Flash Back to that time when she was working with a friend, and showed a crush on one of the guys from the other fleet. Her friend ends up leaving Gargantia at Ridget's behest, and tells her she can come back anytime. In the end they're unable to find anything of value on the ship, but concluded based on the Apocalyptic Log left behind that the survivors left on smaller ships after the main ship's engines became unusable. And Ridget finds a small photo of her friend and the gentleman from that time, which she keeps in her room.
Aerith and Bob: While some character names are fairly normal sounding, such as Amy and Saaya, a few others seem a bit unusual, such as Melty, Pinion, and Bellows.
After the End: Twice. First, Earth entered a thorough ice age due to 'solar anomaly', forcing Ledo's ancestors to flee to outer space. Second, the ice age came to an end and the thawing ice turns Earth into water planet. The ruins of pre-ice age civilizations are underwater.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Surprisingly Averted with Chamber, who seems to go out of his way to help Ledo, even if it doesn't precisely match up with Galactic Alliance guidelines. Striker, on the other hand, is another story entirely. At first, it looks like she's doing exactly what she was built for, fighting Hideauze and helping the Earth humans build a good society which will be able to fight Evolvers, even though it looks monstrous to the people of Earth. However, it's revealed in short order that she has developed a god complex thanks to a programming flaw and her own misinterpretation of Kugel's final orders. Striker believes that artificial intelligence should rule humans while Chamber believes machines like him are only supposed to serve them.
Ambiguously Brown: Amy and many others living on the ship, although they may simply be sun-tanned, given that Amy's younger brother, an Ill Boy, has a pale complexion. There are a number of people who have a noticeably darker complexion than Amy and Bellows, such as one of Pinion's female coworkers, and a couple of the fleet captains are of a noticeably different race or ethnicity, with at least one who looks African.
And Then What?: Bebel asks what the Alliance would do after (if) they won against the Hideauze. As expected, Ledo was never trained to think like that and cannot come up with an answer.
An Offer You Can't Refuse: Kugel's fleet does this to Pinion's fleet in episode 11. While they seem to have good intentions of making the fleet stronger, Kugel's representative says that Pinion's fleet will be added piecemeal, based on how useful said ships are, and unworthy ships/people that can't contribute meaningfully will likely be cast off and left to fend for themselves.
The old recording Ledo finds in episode 9 could be considered one, since it details the history of humanity from a long while back when the Earth was freezing over, and the revelation that the Hideauze are genetically modified humans.
Ridget finds one in the first OVA. According to what was written in it, and Pinion's detective work, the ship's main engine became unusable after light bugs crystallized it, and the survivors detached whatever ships could float on their own power and left. This also gives closure for her as well, as she saw this ship seven years earlier, and her friend left Gargantia to stay with a guy she met on this fleet, and was wondering what happened to them since then.
Artificial Intelligence: Chamber, the computer that runs Ledo's mecha. Many of the Earthlings have trouble believing he's a talking machine, and are convinced there's another human hiding in there somewhere.
Artistic License - Engineering: Given the implied amount of time which has taken place on Earth absolutely everything that was sunk under the ocean should've been completely destroyed by erosion (which works far faster underwater, where salt water can essentially turn a pristine ship into a brittle rust bin in a decade or two). The idea of salvaging anything that's languished on the ocean floor since before the ice age is laughable.
It's unclear how much time have passed, ice age didn't end naturally, earthlings somehow achieved this by messing with the Sun. For all we know, "ice age" could have lasted less than 100 years, especially considering that Gargantia itself is pre-ice age tech. Also, the more high-tech artifacts are shown to be completely immune to erosion.
One farming ship in Gargantia is the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulles with its deck covered with plants.
Bad Ass Boast: A case in which the boaster is fully capable of backing up what he claims. When asked, Ledo does admit that he and Chamber are fully capable of wiping out the fleet on their own. Of course, there's no benefit in doing so, and he does have a conscience, so he doesn't.
Beam Spam: Both the Hideauze and the Alliance subscribe to this. We get a closer look on Earth, when Chamber fires lasers from every point on its body at once. The Hideauze version also branches out after a short distance, resembling tree branches as it spread out its attack.
Episode 3 has the battle between Gargantia versus Lady Lukkage' Pirates. Big guns are fired, amphibious mechas are deployed, and close-quarter gunfire is exchanged. For all the actions, though, it's actually downplayed, at least as far as Ledo is concerned.
Episode 12 has Chamber and Pinion's crew fighting against Striker, the AI in Kugel's Machine Caliber. In the same battle, Lukkage's crew versus Kugel's fleet's crew.
Big "NO!": Ledo lets one out in episode 9 after Chamber crushes a surviving Hideauze who approached them shortly after he finds out the truth about the Galactic Alliance's sworn enemy.
Blood Knight: Lady Lukkage. It's probably also a form of Honor Before Reason: she can't let her fleet be dishonored by not doing anything to avenge the death of her lackey. This is in a world where peace is maintained through deterrents.
Breaking the Fellowship: In episode 8, several ships decide to break away from Gargantia, largely due to Pinion wanting to go treasure hunting in whale squid territory. Ledo is one of the people that goes with him, along with Melty, one of Amy's friends.
Breather Episode: Episode 4, 5 and 6 (until the very end), which focuses largely on character building by having Ledo trying to find something that he can do while interacting more directly with various residents of Gargantia, such as Bebel and Amy.
Brutal Honesty: When Ledo meets Bebel for the first time, he tells him outright that someone in his condition would be killed off so as not to waste limited resources, such as food and air. note While at first glance it may seem incredibly cold, keep in mind that Ledo's been trained from birth that humans have to be in good physical and mental condition in order to fight against the Hideauze, a war that isn't going well for them from what Ledo's commander mentions briefly in the first episode. Chamber's mention that no Earth-like planets have been found yet means that they must all be living in spaceships or space colonies which have limited room and resources, so if someone like Bebel were born and raised on a spaceship, he wouldn't be able to contribute much to the war effort, and would need a lot of care to stay alive. So Ledo was just looking at it from a practical point of view, until Bebel asks him And Then What?, regarding what Ledo would do if humanity outright won against the Hideauze.
This comes back to haunt Ledo after he learns the truth about the Hideauze, as well as being asked by Commander Kugel at the end of episode 11 to attack the Gargantia to make an example of them.
Bug War / Guilt-Free Extermination War: The Galactic Alliance Vs the Hideauze. For this reason the soldiers are raised to exterminate all enemies. Ledo uses such an attack against the pirates in episode two, due to wrongly assuming the pirates are mortal enemies that must be annihilated, and ends up causing more harm than good.
He goes on a killing spree in episode 9, and delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle. Then he comes across a very old recording that reveals the Hideauze were genetically altered humans.
Burial at Sea: Commander Fairlock has one in episode 8 after he passes away from a heart attack.
Episode 12 features a much darker version crossed with Buried Alive; the members of Kugel's fleet use it as a form of ritual execution for anyone who doesn't have a purpose on the fleet.
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Earthlings refer to Mini Mechas as "Yunboroids," which is a portmanteau of the Japanese colloquialism "yunbo/yumbo" (meaning excavator) and "android."
Central Theme: Peace vs. Justice. In particular, which is right? Peaceful Coexistence by accepting evil vs Moral Justice by creating hell.
The other central theme: The incredible intricate connections between all people and things. Your enemy is integrally part of you; what is the balance between the moral method vs the safe method of meeting the threat?
Cerebus Syndrome: After the bright and lighthearted first half, the series started to become increasingly dark, moody and dramatic since around the Episode 8. Artistically symbolized by moving most of the action into the Sea of Mists, with its constant gloomy fog.
Chekhov's Gun: The giant tower in the middle of Gargantia. It regularly appears in early episodes, then episode 4 shows it is fitted with sprinklers, used for farming. Only the episode 13 reveals it's really is an electromagnetic catapult, and sprinklers create water screen which absorbs impact wave caused by the projectiles breaking sonic barrier.
Child Soldiers: Ledo has accumulated 145,000 hours of military service, which equates to roughly 16 years. Ledo also happens to be 16 years old, which means that he has been a member of the Galactic Alliance military since around the time he was born. According to him, this is standard Alliance procedure.
City on the Water: The titular Gargantia, and by extension, all other scavenger fleets scattered across Earth.
Cliff Hanger: The end of episode 6, when Chamber confirms that there is a Hideauze swimming around in the area Ledo and Bellows are salvaging. The credits begin to roll just as Ledo begins to attack it.
Cluster F-Bomb: Amy's reaction upon being taken hostage by Ledo when they first meet. The colorful vocabulary really helps in expanding Chamber's translator module. Made funnier by the fact that Chamber translates it with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness as "reproduction with one's mother, as well as sanctified excrement".
Combat Tentacles: The Hideauze' most prominent attacks. The mechas that seem to be invincible on Earth can be easily crushed by them.
Crapsack World: The Forever War against the Hideauze, resource scarcity, and a healthy dose of He Who Fights Monsters have formed a vicious cycle and has turned the Galactic Alliance into this. One must earn the right to reproduce by killing the Hideauze. Ledo has been doing exactly that and nothing else for basically his whole life. On top of that, when the Alliance says that those who can't fight are unneeded, they mean it — if you're old, ill, or otherwise weak, to the incinerator you go.
Crippling Overspecialization: Ledo's been training all his life to be a soldier. So in episode 5, when there's no combat to be seen, he lacks any other skills that would be of much use around the ship, despite attempting to find a job he could help out with.
Cryptic Background Reference: The characteristics of the artifical paradise of Avalon, and the cause of the extreme ice age on Earth in the distant past, are only hinted at. The data Ledo finds reveals much of the history of the Bug War, but it's intentionally fragmented and leaves many things unclear (mainly, what started the war; it's implied there was some factor beyond the escalating moral conflicts, but we don't know what it was).
Cue the Sun: The battle between Chamber and Striker features extremely high-powered rifles that can break the thick layer of cloud above the Sea of Fog. It's also symbolic of Ledo finding hope in humanity and is a Foreshadowing: the next episode, Gargantia activates its super-artillery, the Stairway to Heaven, which was able to shoot through the sky.
The battle against the Hideauze shown in the first episode. Things don't seem to be going too well for the Galactic Alliance, and Ledo's commander says that if this attack fails, humanity may be doomed. While they seem to cause significant damage, the Hideauze is still able to destroy their latest weapon, and forces them to retreat from the battle.
In episode 3, he largely has no trouble against the pirates, although since he's forced to avoid casualties, causing him to attack a bit slower so that the pirates have time to get away before he destroys their cannons.
Ledo delivers another one in episode 9, by wiping out a few thousand Hideauze/whale squid living in a region of the ocean single-handedly. Chamber's analysis of the creatures mentions that they are only a tiny fraction of the strength their space-counterparts are, hence why he's able to destroy them so easily.
At the end of the series, the cult is on the receiving end of one. Without Striker's leadership, as well as the rebellion, they are unable to respond to Lukkage's Pirate Fleet, or Gargantia's Escort Fleet's ambush, or Pinion's Rail Gun arsenal, or Gargantia's BFG. The curbstomp is so severe that there are zero casualties and losses on the allied side, and nearly the entire fleet that the Cult has as well as Striker herself is defeated.
Cult: By the end of the series, Kugel / Striker has established one based around annihilating the Hideauze.
Damage-Proof Vehicle: The Earthling scavengers spend hours chipping away Ledo's mech with heavy duty power tools to try and crack it open, but don't even manage to make a single visible dent or scratch.
Dead All Along: The end of episode 12 reveals that The 'commander' Ledo was talking to was actually the commander's mecha's AI, Striker, using his voice. The commander was dead inside its cockpit.
Decapitated Army: While Ledo actually doesn't kill the pirate leader Lukkage in episode 3, him tossing her mech away with little effort is enough to scare the remaining pirates into fleeing.
Happens again with Striker's Cult. at the end of the show. Without Striker issuing commands, they are FAR less effective. The price of sacrificing their free will meant they sacrificed their ability to think on their feet and think for themselves and were absolutely curbstomped by Lukkage's Fleet, Gargantia's escort Fleet, and Gargantia's BFG.
Defeat Means Friendship: The surviving cultists are brought onboard the Gargantia in episode 13, and are likely integrated with the citizens on the ship.
Lady Lukkage owns lesbian Sex Slavescomplete with chains, but it's strongly implied that the girls love her a lot and that she trusts them strongly: she won't be able to pull crazy mecha stunts without those girls being the co-pilots.
Easily Forgiven: Amy forgives Ledo for using her as a hostage with remarkable ease. She states that she can't exactly blame someone in Ledo's condition for doing what he did because that would be her (or anyone's) instinctive response, and that she can appreciate that he neither antagonized her nor was overtly hostile. After that she's friendly with him in order to break the deadlock between Ledo and the Gargantians, who don't let him off the hook so easily.
Earthlings' Lunch: Ledo is squicked when offered salted fish, meant to be token of friendship, by Amy. He finds the idea of consuming animal carcasses disgusting. Considering that he has been eating some kind of manufactured nutrient slurry all his life, it's a normal reaction. However, he manages to find it enjoyable (or at least tolerable) once he actually eats it.
The "animal carcass" is back for episode 3, this time a chicken. Thankfully, this time it's served as BBQ.
He is freaked out by the special dinner Pinion orders for him in episode 6, which turns out to be plain old octopus. He assumes its the Hideauze, and while Bellows and Pinion think he's overreacting, at the end of the episode Chamber confirms a Hideauze presence in the water, which does indeed look squid-like.
Earn Your Happy Ending: In the end, Ledo manages to destroy the cult and their insane goddess making things worse all around, and it's implied that he's begun a long-overdo peace process between human and Hideauze (at least the peaceful whalesquids).
Earth That Was: Earth is remembered only as a legend by the Human Galactic Alliance.
And even on Earth, the concept of "land" is also a legend.
Enemy Mine: The citizens of Gargantia still don't trust Ledo by episode 3 despite having saved Bellows in the previous episode. However, when the pirates bring their fleet in order to punish and make an example of them, Ledo makes them an offer to protect them. Ridget is understandably skeptical of his motives, so he mentions something Bellows told him earlier about giving water to the one who catches fish. He also tells her that he'd rather stay on the Gargantia rather than negotiate with the pirates, who have no sense of honor and would likely stab him in the back shortly after any deal he makes with them. They reluctantly accept his offer, since they stand no chance in a pitched battle, nor do they have the speed to flee the pirate ships.
Expy: Between her natural talent to make friends, her pet squirrel, and her mastery of personal aviation device, Amy really looks like the main heroine of Nausicań of the Valley of the Wind. Just replace 'Ohmu' with 'Whalesquids'.
It gets better: like the Ohmu, the Whalesquids (read: Hideauze) have or have had important role in restoring the Earth to a habitable state. This is according to Bevel and Dr. Oldham, who studied history.
Fanservice: The characters are designed by none other but Hanaharu Naruko, best known for his(?) prolific works of ero manga.
Episode 5 has almost every female character in a skimpy bikini and Ledo in his boxers for most of the episode. It's about as close as you can get to a Beach Episode without any actual land.
Episode 6 has Amy and her two friends in Stripperiffic belly dancer outfits, and a camera angle a few seconds in briefly focuses on Amy's tuchus as she lands.
Fantastic Racism: The Galactic Alliance has trained their soldiers and brainwashed them into believing that the Hideauze are evil alien beings intent on destroying all of mankind. And judging by the Curb-Stomp Battle they receive from the Hideauze in the first episode, Ledo also sees them as an enemy of humanity for much of the series. That is, until he finds out in episode 9 that the Hideauze are actually genetically modified humans. Ledo is forced to address this issue as well when Commander Kugel shows up again and still has the same mentality that Ledo had regarding wiping out the Hideauze as well as culling weak humans who can't serve as a soldier.
Father Neptune: The leader of the Gargantia. He's old, experienced, and put the interest of the fleet before his own personal opinion.
Fish out of Water: Ledo, when he wakes up from cold sleep. He's also out of water literally, because he spend most of his cold sleep at the bottom of the ocean. Being a soldier whose job is exterminate all enemies thanks to countless years in war, Ledo responds to a pirate attack by wiping them all out. However, once he understands how things work on earth he understands what he did as the wrong way of doing things he no longer uses such tactics. Later, he's also confused at the lack of discipline the children on Gargantia display, and why they seem to do unnecessary things, such as keeping invalids alive. Where he came from, training and discipline were key things they learned and adhered to while growing up, and those who weren't fit to fight were culled.
Flesh Versus Steel: What the civilization conflict between Human versus Hideauze boils down to.
Foil: Galactic Alliance vis-a-vis Gargantia. Both of them are fleets: one in outer space, the other on actual seas. The Alliance is locked in a Forever War, Gargantia is a peaceful (except when fighting pirates) perpetual forager; both are stuck in a cultural stasis. The Alliance treats Ledo like an expendable tool, Gargantia tolerates Ledo even though he is a potential strain on resources. The contrast goes on and on.
Forever War: The war between the Galactic Alliance and the Hideauze has been going on for so long that to some people, their entire life is spent fighting those bugs. Ledo says that it has been on-going since the Alliance first left Earth.
Ghost Story: Amy shares one in the first OVA, telling a group about a girl who was exploring a hastily abandoned ship, and then finding bloody footprints and seeing something terrible. Melty and Saaya point behind them, and then when the group turns around, they scream when they see Chamber floating behind them. Ledo, for his part, is unaware of the concept of a ghost, and Chamber tells him the Galactic Alliance has no information on them either. When they explore a real abandoned ship later, Amy is understandably scared due to her story earlier, while Ledo thinks ghosts are just another name for other survivors.
Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: Chamber catches Ledo this way in the final battle. Lukkage's robot does the same thing for Pinion a bit later.
Godzilla Threshold: By episode 13, things have become absolutely bad that a war broke out over possession of pre-ice age relic, necessitating the use of Gargantia orbital artillery.
Also subverted. Striker is apparently an Ace Custom by the virtue of having learned everything Kugel knew about battles. In order to combat this, Ledo is forced to activate Chamber's Neuro Plus system (think Trans-Am) which will ultimately kill him, but Chamber ejected him out before it can happen.
Going Down with the Ship: Pinion and Splinter Fleet Commander both try to go down with their respective ships after giving the order to evacuate before Garantia begins to assist them in the final battle.
Go Mad from the Revelation: Ledo contracts temporary PTSD after finding out that the Hideauze aliens that he's been slaughtering under the command of the Alliance are, in fact, artificially-evolved humans.
Go Through Me: Invoked by Amy when she tries to block Ledo from climbing into Chamber to attack the huge swarm of whale squid in episode 7. Although he pushes her away, she then grabs him from behind, and delays him long enough for Ridget to show up and force him to stay to prevent doing anything reckless to the whale squids that would jeopardize the safety of the ships.
Grew Beyond Their Programming: Striker proposes that it itself is God and it wants to finish the mission proposed by its dead Commander. There are two reasons why this is wrong: there is no one to give it orders, and there is no way for it to know it even has orders. Chamber notes that all of these machines are exclusively servants, not masters, and they take these orders with this flaw in their programming.
Grey and Gray Morality: The war between the Evolvers and the Continental Union. The Evolvers wanted to genetically modify themselves into beings capable of enduring both the new ice age and the vacuum of space, while the Continental Union favoured using technology to leave Earth behind while also maintaining their human form. It broke out into war when the full extent of what the Evolvers were planning became clear and the Union attacked them. In the final stages of the War, the Evolvers planned to steal the wormhole the Union were building to leave Earth and abandon the Union to perish on Earth. It's debatable just how ethical the Evolvers' experiments were and whether or not the Continental Union was right to attack them.
Gunship Rescue: Invoked by Ledo while piloting Chamber in episode 2 to rescue Bellows and her crew. Gargantia is unable to muster enough ships or firepower in time to scare the pirates away, so Ledo offers to save them, and single-handedly destroys all of the pirates as well as their ships. Then it turns out he wasn't supposed to do that...
Gut Punch: The ending of Episode 6, featuring The Reveal that there are Hidauze on earth. This ends the slice-of-life that made up the first half and kicks off the show's real plot.
Half-Human Hybrid: Deconstructed. The Hideauze are this, but their hybridization was achieved only after many years of controversial research by a huge organization of scientists. They started out as fabricated human-squid symbiotes, and gradually evolved into a single organism. The final product only resembles humans in the larval stage.
Heroic Albino: Ledo is close to this, due to spending his whole life in space. He gets more tanned the longer he stays on a planet with sunlight.
Heroic BSOD: Ledo suffers one of these after learning that the Hideauze he's been killing all his life are in fact humans, albeit genetically-altered ones, which is made worse by the fact that literally minutes before the revelation, he went and ruthlessly slaughtered thousands of Hideauze babies! And all in the name of "protecting humanity". Chamber later talks him out of it.
Heroic Sacrifice: After the attack on the Hideauze's nest fails, Ledo's commanding officer stays behind to hold off the Hideauze for as long as possible to allow his men to escape. The logic he present behind sacrificing himself for a subordinate—he figures because Ledo is younger and stronger he will kill more enemies—tells a lot about them.
Chamber pulls one in Episode 13, ejecting Ledo from the cockpit before ramming the malfunctioning Striker
Hold the Line: Kugel attempts to do this in the first battle when he notices that the Hideauze forces are much too close to their escape point, and doesn't want to risk having any of them follow the fleeing Galactic Alliance forces into the wormhole.
A House Divided: By the end of episode 7, Gargantians are split between those who want to preserve peace with the Whalesquids known to Ledo as Hideauze, and those who are looking to plunder the Whalesquids' nest with Ledo's (very eager) help. Unfortunately, the man with the largest personal fleet is on the latter's side, and thus Gargantia risks being stripped of defense.
Human All Along: Episode 9 reveals that the Hideauze are humans that have "evolved" through human genetic experiments.
Human Popsicle: Ledo spends 6 months in cold sleep after falling into the wormhole. It's strongly implied that when he's not fighting he spends all the time in the cryo-chamber.
Humans Are Special: Interesting in that an AI comes to this conclusion on its own based purely on logic.
Chamber: If the humans were equipped with strong, versatile bodies like the Hideauze, it would not be necessary to develop the Machine Calibers. My system is the crystallization of the intelligence of the human race. But we are also necessary to offset the fragile human body. Conjecture: Humans are beings that surpass their own limits, develop intellect, and build civilizations. The existence of civilization is what separates humanity from all other primates.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Chamber's lasers have pin-point accuracy. In Episode 2 they are shown disintegrating a pair of pirates without harming their hostages.
Ironic Echo: "Humans need each other." First said by everyone in Gargantia in order for Ledo to learn to rely on others. Later said by Kugel in order to justify his faux-religious fascist order, citing that humans are weak and must be corralled into totalitarianism. Doubly ironic because Kugel is actually dead all along and it's Striker who put his persona, and it's based on wrong conclusion she draw in regard to humanity.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Ridget, who falls in love with the same guy her friend did in the first OVA. After he asks the latter to join his fleet, she's conflicted because while she's an orphan, she doesn't want to leave her friends behind. Ridget, for her part, tells her friend to go with him, since she realizes her friend likes the guy as well and was taking care of him after an accident Ridget caused. She also tells her friend that she's welcome back on Gargantia at any time.
Keystone Navy: The instant Chamber tosses the pirate leader's mech away, along with her two minions who were piloting boats, all of the remaining pirates retreat from Gargantia.
Kimodameshi: In the first OVA, Pinion suggests this to Melty and Saaya, to scare Amy and Ledo while exploring a derelict ship. At first they agree to it, but then Amy faints into Ledo's arms while he shoots at the "ghost", who turned out to be Pinion in a bedsheet, and both girls get a little jealous that they inadvertently helped Amy get closer to Ledo.
Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Episode 12 reveals that Gargantia is actually built around a massive electromagnetic catapult nicknamed Heaven's Ladder, which they use to utterly demolish Striker's fleet in the next episode.
Language Equals Thought: Ledo's language has no word for "thank you", and finds the idea of an expression that exist just to express gratitude odd. Understandable, given how he is raised to be a soldier who obey the chain of command.
Neither there is an equivalent for "little brother", since there is no concept of "family" in the Alliance. Ledo's analogue for family is "people who look suspiciously alike."
Neither there is an equivalent for "peaceful coexistence" in the Alliance.
A more subtle example is when Ledo tries to explain the hostility between Man and Hideauze to Amy in the language of the Earthlings, he reverts to Alliance-speech, because there are no words strong enough for him to use.
Ley Lines: The Galatic Current. These are hypercharged flow of energy in the sea, allowing the city-fleets to sail. The Galactic Currents also discharges aurora and electricity, and is probably responsible for the existence of the Hideauze.
In episode 9, Chamber comes across some archaic data buried where the Hideauze nest was located. After he scans and translates it, Ledo tells him to play it. However, he initially refuses to, since its considered classified military information. Ledo then says that the highest ranking person in the area has the right to command, and asks Chamber who's the highest ranking official there, Chamber tells him that he is, and Ledo orders him to play it again.
In the final episode, Chamber himself does this in order to allow his pilot to live while he makes the Heroic Sacrifice on his own. By stating that Ledo's psychological profile is no longer befitting of a Galactic Alliance soldier, he strips Ledo of his status as one and uses that as justification to eject the cockpit. Subverted by Striker comments that AIsdon't have the authority to reject their pilots. Double Subverted by Chamber, who claims that he's fulfilling his mission as a Pilot Support Enlightenment Interface system.
Lost Superweapon: Relic from pre-ice age humanity. Even Gargantia itself is one: it's a mass driver (electromagnetic catapult) which original purpose is launching things to space, but it also works as ballistic missile launcher. Resident elders call it Stairway to Heaven.
Lost Technology: Downplayed. Gargantians know that humanity used to be able to go to outer space, but the space technology itself is lost in the present time. Probably explains why they are not skeptical when Ledo says he come from space.
They also still have casual access to scholarly text on outer space, but it's not very useful.
Ludicrous Gibs: Since firing beam weapons in water is difficult at best, along with the potential for hitting Bellows' Yunboroid, Ledo resorts to simply grabbing the whale squid in episode 7, and squeezes it until it explodes. It splatters all over Chamber.
Macho Camp: Ledo runs away from a couple of these in episode 5 while attempting to get something for Pinion. When he returns, he's got a lot of kisses all over his body and his shirt is tattered, implying he was caught by them on the way back.
"Query: why is this necessary? I repeat. Query: why is this necessary? I repeat..."
Male Gaze: Used on Amy and her two friends in episode 6 while dancing in the restaurant.
Meganekko: Ridget, the Gargantia captain's assistant.
Message in a Bottle: Ledo has Melty do this in episode 12. He wanted to warn Gargantia that Kugel's fleet was planning on attacking them, but didn't want to risk sending a wireless transmission since it could be intercepted, and having him go would probably also seem highly suspicious.
Mid-Season Twist: After several relatively lighthearted episodes centering around character development, the seventh episode confirms that the Hideauze also live within the oceans of the Earth (called whale-squids by the humans of Earth), and that humans have both feared and revered its species since ancient times. Additionally, Pinion holds some kind of dark grudge against said creatures, and for it and (supposedly) for the possibility of untold loot that could rake in money, manages to convince both Ledo and two captains of entire fleets to split from Gargantia, taking with them a large population, but leaving behind many of the characters we've come to know.
Might Makes Right: The pirates seem to live by this rule, as well as Kugel's fleet, who wants to instill the Galactic Alliance's mindset into humans on Earth by wiping out the Hideauze, as well as getting rid of inferior humans who can't contribute anything meaningful.
Mini-Mecha: While Ledo's mecha is by no means small, it's still about the size of a semi truck. The Gargantians call such mecha "Yunboroids" or "Yunboro" for short, regardless of makes or level of technology.
Mood Whiplash: Episode 6. Shortly after a tender scene of Amy dancing for Ledo with the "ocean auroras" shining in the background, Ledo is gathering scrap metal with Bellows...when a Hideauze shows up, and he goes straight into battle mode. Episode 7 follows up on it with some intense drama scenes where a large swarm of whale squids show up and pass by Gargantia.
After Ledo saves Bellows in episode 2, it turns out that vaporizing all the pirates and destroying their ships was a bit too extreme. As a result, the pirates send their main fleet in an attempt to destroy Gargantia to make an example of them in episode 3.
Ledo again in episode 7. Turns out that there's a taboo against killing whale squids, which Chamber identifies as Hideauze. Gargantia is forced to power down and remain as silent as possible when a large swarm of whale squids pass by, and Ledo is forced at gun point to let them pass by rather than attack such an overwhelming force and threaten the safety of the ships. He is disgusted at being held back like that, and swears he's going to leave the ship, which Amy doesn't take too well.
Noble Savage: Played with. The Gargantians have a happier and more peaceful way of life than Ledo's people, but the latter have a militaristic Social Darwinist society by necessity: if they hadn't maximized their soldier-producing efficiency, the Hideauze would have killed them all by now. But the Earth-people are mysteriously unthreatened by this enemy. The ocean is full of them, in fact, and they're generally not dangerous if the humans avoid provoking them; though Ledo has circumstantial evidence to believe they will be hostile to human progress and plan to wipe out the humans, as their spacefaring brethren have done. It's not clear who's in the right on this issue. Until Ledo finds out the origins of the Hideauze...
Averted in the first battle. The Galactic Alliance is forced to leave behind some of their soldiers attempting to deliver bombs due to the Hideauze gaining the upper hand. Ledo tries to save some of them, but is attacked by a Hideauze himself, and is only saved because of Kugel's assistance. The latter also tells him that it's too late to save them anyway, when Ledo watches helplessly as the soldiers call for back up and are engulfed by Hideauze forces.
Played straight during the Earth battles, as Ledo tries his best not to let any of comrades suffer the same fate as the Galactic Alliance soldiers, such as when he rescues Bellows in episode 2.
Not Quite Dead: Lukkage and her two female assistants are seen in episode 3, and get tossed away by Chamber far away during the battle. They show up again in episode 11, having been assimilated by Kugel's fleet.
While the Galactic Alliance and Hideauze are shown to be in a situation of all-out war with one another, on Earth, humans and Evolvers both seem to subsist with the idea of cohabitation if not complete cooperation. This mirror image parallel showcases that that the Hideauze/Evolvers are human-like in their thinking, understandable in their being transhuman. (It still hasn't been clarified whether the current Evolvers on Earth are as unaware as the current humans of their origins, but if the same holds true with the Hideauze, i.e. space Evolvers, it would be another mirror image parallel, since Ledo as a Child Soldier had no idea of the extent of the knowledge the Galactic Alliance had been depriving its soldiers and citizens of.)
Also, the original Evolvers were obsessed with forcing evolution to turn humans into the perfect life form, while the Alliance practices extreme Social Darwinist policies to breed the perfect soldiers.
No Transhumanism Allowed: The stance of the Continental Union, who would later become the Alliance. Ironically, they ended up giving up just about everything that makes a human society, such as family and free will as a result of this belief.
Off Model: As is standard, this trope occurs from time to time and is most noticeable in episode 11.
Oh Crap: Ledo has a brief one in episode 9 when he encounters a giant Hideauze inside their nest. However, he manages to dispatch it since they're much weaker than the ones he's fought in space.
Pinion in episode 11 decides to fire a warning shot at an approaching fleet using a new weapon they recovered. The other fleet responds in kind by firing a similar looking shot at Pinion's ship, which melts part of a smokestack, causing it to collapse, making him realize he may be outgunned, particularly after Ledo leaves for the other fleet.
Orbital Shot: Done at the very end of the first episode. When Ledo steps outside Gargantia for the first time, his jaw drops at the sight of the ship, along with Chamber's hypothesis that they're on Earth, birthplace of humanity.
Origins Episode/Start of Darkness: Episode 15, exclusive to the home video release, explains what Kugel did after arriving on Earth but before his off-screen death. He turns out to have been something close to a Fallen Hero.
Panty Shot: There's a very brief up-skirt of Amy in the opening and various angles in the ending and in a couple episodes.
People of Hair Color: It's implied that every soldier in the Galactic Alliance is this, to the point where an entire span of soldiers has only one identifiable hair color.
Point Defenseless: Several defensive guns on the Gargantia seem to do this. While they do knock out some random pirates, the pirate leader's Ace Custom isn't even scratched by direct close-range fire. Conversely, none of the pirate attacks against Chamber are effective against it.
Coilgun: Turns out that Gargantia had one onboard its ship, and the thing Commander Fairlock gave to Ridget was the key to activating it. They use it to destroy the cultist's ship that contained all of their weaponry.
Ragnarok-Proofing: Several of the cast make a living as salvagers, dredging surprisingly-intact stuff from the pre-flood civilization off of the sea-floor, where it's presumably been lying for centuries.
Real Robot: Yunboroids are fairly fragile, and used mostly as versatile forklifts. Meanwhile, Chamber counts as one... in the Galactic Alliance. When put against Earth tech, Chamber is a Super Robot, incapable of even being scratched by them.
The Reveal: In episode 9, Ledo and Chamber discover some archaic data buried deep in the ocean. Chamber at first refuses to reveal the data because its considered classified military information, but Ledo forces him to do it anyway, and learns a shocking truth. The Hideauze were genetically altered humans, and what he saw contradicted what he was told about the Hideauze being evil aliens.
Revenge: What the pirates attempt to do in episode 3 after Ledo delivered a Curb-Stomp Battle to them in the previous episode. Because virtually all of the pirates in the area converge on the Gargantia, and they're hopelessly outclassed and outgunned by them, the citizens have reason to fear the reprisal attack.
To a lesser extent, this also drives Ledo in his determination to kill off the Hideauze.
Rock Beats Laser: Combat Tentacles are suprisingly effective against the humans' high-tech mechas. In a case of "Rock Beats Rock," while fighting a whalesquid (i.e. Hideauze), Ledo discovers that his advanced weapons don't work very well underwater, so he squeezes it until it bursts into Ludicrous Gibs.
Rule of Cool: The surfkite. They can be used for surfing and for flying.
Ruthless Post-Apocalypse Pirates: The pirates who keep attacking the fleet-cities. Although robbers by trade, their interactions with civilian groups seem to be rather formalized and diplomatic; both sides have lots of weapons, but they are mostly for show, and the side with the advantage usually gets what they want without bloodshed. Ledo's actions in episode 2 break this delicate balance, threatening to cause an all-out war.
Scenery Porn: The Gargantia by itself is quite a sight, and then we're treated to the beauty of the post-apocalypse nature.
Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Chamber claims that a glitch in the wormhole sent them to a completely random location. The probability of ending up anywhere other than deep space, let alone the surface of a populated planet with breathable air, is ludicrously small (roughly 1 in 10^39, i.e. one in a trillion billion billion billion, if he wasn't sent to a different galaxy). If there's a better explanation for this, it has yet to be revealed. (See Fridge Logic for possible explanation).
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Pretty much anyone who ends up fighting against the cultists, particularly after witnessing them sacrifice weaker people by dropping them ceremoniously into the ocean, much like how the Galactic Alliance culls humans unfit to become soldiers.
Serious Business: Ledo is sent to retrieve a mysterious box from an old woman, and goes through hell to get it. When he gets to her, she reacts melodramatically to the request. The box contains steak sauce.
Shipper on Deck: Amy's friends, Saya and Melty, like to tease Amy about her relationship with Ledo.
Shown Their Work: Lightning (well, the much brighter part) flows from the ground to clouds in episode 2. It's generated by seafaring microorganisms, though, so this may be a case of Accidentally Accurate.
The Siege: Episode 3 has a brief one, when the main pirate fleet attacks Gargantia. They seem to hold their own briefly, until the pirates launch a sneak attack using subs.
Sins of Our Fathers: This gets touched on later in the show. Due to what he had been taught, Ledo believes the Hideauze were hostile aliens creatures attempting to wipe out humanity, and behaves accordingly. Then episode 9 reveals that the Galactic Alliance/Hideauze war actually originated on Earth, and his extermination of the whale-squids on Earth was an extension of that fight. And then he finds out that the Hideauze were genetically modified humans, not aliens as he had been taught.
In the Galactic Alliance, soldiers have to experience at least 145,000 hoursnote i.e. 16 years of combat in order to get reproduction rights. And this may be only temporary: Ledo's told at the start of the episode that his hours of service will have granted him limited citizenship, and the chance to go to Avalon for a mere four weeks.
This trope comes into play again during episode 4, when Ledo talks to Bebel. While he seems harsh telling Bebel that an invalid like him would be culled in the Galactic Alliance, to be fair that's all he's known since humanity is fighting a war with the Hideauze and can't spare resources to keep someone who can't fight alive. Bebel tells him that people on Earth need each other, like him and his sister, and that people are doing everything they can to survive. This becomes a critical plot point late in the series after he learns the truth about the Hideauze, as well as the cultist fleet led by Kugel who's attempting to instill the will of the Galactic Alliance upon humans on Earth.
Space Is an Ocean: Possibly invoked with the Hideauze. They were created as underwater life, but their ultimate purpose was to make humans that could survive the vacuum of space.
Spell My Name with an S: All of the names are of unclear origin and there's no official romanization aside from 'Gargantia'. This trope is a given.
Stock Aesops: Several. Namely: it's OK to be different, we're in this together, violence is not the answer, and you should enjoy life.
According to Word of God, the series was written with a decidedly non-stock one in mind: The skills and lessons you learned while growing up may not apply in the real world. Lean what does, and make the most of it. Don't try to force the world to fit your worldview.
Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Ledo is this to the roughly-20th century-tech (excluding the Yunboroids) "tribe" of humans he finds himself in. They attempt to disassemble his inactive mecha, but their tools literally can't scratch the surface of it.
An interesting subversion is the fact that Chamber's space-oriented scanners cannot see through water, allowing survivors to leave the area in the 2 episode and allowing surprise submarine attack in episode 3. That being said, he detected the pirate surface fleet from hundreds kilometers away and calculated firing solution to destroy them.
Super Drowning Skills: Ledo in episode 6, who manages to sink while inside a Yunboroid. To be fair, in space, water was probably an important and rare commodity like oxygen, so its likely he was never taught to swim since he wouldn't need that skill in order to fight the Hideauze up there.
Taking You with Me: Chamber does this to Striker during the finale, firing his main cannon point blank while grappling the other mecha was hit knowing he'd also be caught in the explosion.
Talking Is a Free Action: Several instances during the battle with Striker; whenever Ledo needs to contemplate something or discuss the situation with Chamber, she mysteriously stops attacking. The weirdest part is when Chamber formally announces their intent to destroy her, and she patiently waits for the defenseless Ledo to climb into the cockpit. Chamber does say her programming is flawed due to Kugel's influence—she may have inherited his Honor Before Reason. Chamber tells Ledo that Striker is perfectly mimicking Kugel's piloting style and it is very likely Kugel wouldn't attack someone who isn't attacking him therefore Striker wouldn't.
Tempting Fate: After Pinion has Ledo remove the whale squids in their territory and salvages a lot of stuff from that area, he decides to broadcast the news to the entire world about it. Sure enough, a lot of people who may have otherwise avoided the area due to said whale squids living there now decide to pillage the area as well, including Kugel's fleet/cult.
Theme Naming: Many of the Gargantians are named after mechanical parts and tools, including Pinion, Bevel, and Bellows.
Transhuman Aliens: What the Hideauze actually are. The relative merits of this and whether the effort was worth it are left as a thought exercise for the audience.
Translation Convention: The language of the point-of-view character in a scene is Japanese, with languages that the character doesn't understand being unintelligible noises. Certain fansubs render the supposedly-Earthian speeches with cursive runes and supposedly-Galactic speeches with dull blocks.
Translator Microbes: A slightly more realistic example: Chamber can translate any language, but he needs time to gather and analyze dialogue samples. And he gets better and better the more experience he has with a particular language (in this case, Earth-ian). Ledo eventually learns the language himself, rendering this unnecessary.
Transvestite: They dwell in the seedier part of Gargantia. Some of them end up chasing Ledo.
Tron Lines: Both Chamber and Ledo when he suits up and connects to the cockpit.
Underwater Ruins: Earth is entirely submerged. Fleets of ships sail around, looking for salvage under the sea.
Wham Episode: The second half of the series is a nonstop series of them.
Episode 6, which begins largely as a Breather Episode, until the very end when he's helping Bellows to do some salvage. a creature shows up that Chamber identifies as a Hideauze, which looks very squid-like in its appearance, hence his freakout at the octopus dinner from earlier.
Episode 7 does a Mood Whiplash, which has Ledo kill said creature, which Bellows identifies as a whale squid, from the previous episode, and Chamber confirms it is genetically similar to the Hideauze they've been fighting in space. Later, a huge swarm of whale squids pass by Gargantia, and the commanding officer suffers a heart attack at the end when two of the ships request leaving Gargantia to salvage in whale squid territory.
Episode 9, which makes an extremely significant reveal: The Hideauze are genetically-altered humans. There's actually some foreshadowing to this, right before Ledo finds out, Chamber bumps into a Hideauze larvae, there's a Freeze-Frame Bonus in that the larvae looks like nothing more than a glowing, baby human with large eyes.
Episode 10, where in the end we find out that Lieutenant Colonel Kugel, Ledo's commanding officer, survived his Heroic Sacrifice and is now leading his own fleet.
Episode 11, Kugel requests that Ledo help him to make an example of strong leadership by taking out a smaller fleet that's passing nearby. Said fleet is the remnants of Gargantia.
Wham Line/Armor-Piercing Question: In episode 4, Bebel asks Ledo what would happen if the Galactic Alliance defeated the Hideauze, since Ledo told him they were at war since the Alliance formed. Ledo had been so focused on his training and defeating them that he never even thought what he would do if the fighting actually stopped, so he simply tells Bebel he'd standby for further orders. Then Bebel asks him what he'd do if said orders never came. He then relates Ledo's standby for orders like the people just living their life do on Gargantia.
In episode 8, Chamber finally manages to pinpoint exactly where in the galaxy Ledo is at. However, he tells Ledo that the SOS signal he sent a while back when they first landed on Earth would take about 6,500 years before it would reach any Alliance ships. And since he's incapable of faster-than-light travel, he concludes that getting back home is impossible.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Bebel, who really wants to go into space and explore it. Even with Ledo's explanations of how harsh space can be due to their war with the Hideauze, he still seems interested in exploring it someday.
Worthless Yellow Rocks: Ledo is unsure of what to do with the money he earned in episode 6, and thinks that he's been overpaid when Chamber tells him what its used for.
Wretched Hive: Some parts of Gargantia are quite dangerous, and not just because the rusty machinery. Ledo learns it the hard way.
You Can't Go Home Again: In episode 8, Chamber finally manages to pinpoint Earth's location in relation to Alliance space. Unfortunately, they lack the FTL capability to return and the signal from their distress beacon won't reach the Alliance for another 6500+ years.