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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Perhaps to be expected with Gen Urobuchi. SPOILERS AHEAD!
    • Is Ledo a headstrong organic battle droid who takes his urge to destroy Hideauze into Suicidal Overconfidence, or a seasoned soldier with a lifelong-trained desire to protect humanity, surrounded by people who consistently refuse to listen to him, even when he has a pretty good point?
    • Is Ridget a stubborn, cowardly Obstructive Bureaucrat who treats a boy who could be their greatest savior (or destroy them instantly) as a potential enemy, or a pragmatic, secretly insecure leader of a Spartan Scavenger World who shares her peoples' initial distrust of a mysterious being who literally dropped out of the sky, remains somewhat cool and distant, and packs an unthinkable amount of firepower?
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    • Is Pinion a greedy douchebag who foolishly endangers his life and risks provoking a squid attack on Gargantia over some treasure that may or may not even be there, or an adventurous go-getter who genuinely does want to avenge his brother and ensure humanity's safety and prosperity, even if he's putting his life on the line? (It can be argued that him getting rich quick just sweetens the deal).
    • Whether or not that fact that Pinion actually knew where the treasure horde was, in addition to the knowledge that it wasn't monetarily valuable but the world's largest think tank and scientific center, and therefore mankind's greatest hope of a better future, justifies his crippling his hometown is up in the air for any given viewer.
    • The Alliance. A ruthless, totalitarian government that does not tolerate weakness or genetic engineering, or Well Intentioned Extremists fighting against aggressive and expansionist genetically engineered monsters?
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    • The original Alliance as well. See the Grey and Gray Morality trope on the main page for all the details, but: The Evolvers were asking for sanctions if not all out war due to a lack of regulation and inhumane experiments. Did the Continental Union have the right to take the first shot? Assuming the Union had the legal right to take the first shot and start the war, are they doing the right thing by following universal standards of morality and justice even though it doomed the human race to a shitty future? Should they have held back in order to preserve peace? Or would preserving peace at the cost of inhumanity be intolerable?
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • A minor example; Ledo recalls a young boy he once knew who taught him how to carve ocarinas and was exterminated for being deficient. After learning about the concept of family he realizes off screen that the boy was probably his legitimate younger brother, adding another layer of tragedy to the whole thing. Ledo is relatively calm about it, considering how much he must have repressed the memories and his complex feelings regarding the issue.
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    • It is averted earlier, with him even crying about the memories without quite realizing their significance, but again there wasn't much of a reaction after he made the connection.
    • Later episodes show him angsting quite a bit after he kills Hideauze children. He sees the image of his brother over them.
    • Essentially, the more emotional context he gains, the more the memory comes back to bite him with his new found perspective.
  • Anvilicious: Though maybe not necessarily a bad thing.
    • Emotions are natural. People need each other. Sometimes, violence isn't the answer. Cooked animal carcasses are delicious.
    • The outside world isn't scary. You don't have to keep in a shell away from it.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The second OVA. While the series is generally well-received, some viewers felt that the series could have further explained certain plot points involving Kugel's cult and why it came to be, as well as take a more serious tone once in a while. The second OVA not only rivals Episode 9 as the darkest episode in the series, but goes out of its way to establish Character Development for Kugel and Striker.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Body Horror: The origins of the Hideauze.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Some people thought Grace was a bit too cutesy, especially with her constant chirping, and also believed that flying squirrels (or sugar gliders) becoming common pets in a waterborne scavenger society stretched Willing Suspension of Disbelief a bit too far.
  • Broken Base:
    • Fans' opinions are divided as to whether the Gargantians' live-and-let-live attitude towards the pirates is well-written, let alone wise. Some view it as an effective solution that avoids wasting resources and needless bloodshed, while others view it as a stopgap that does nothing to actually solve the problem.
    • Episode 5: Some thought it was a pleasant feel-good moment in a story about a lifelong warrior rediscovering his humanity (and plenty of juicy Fanservice) and some thought it was a plotless waste of time that could've been spent on character development.
    • Just about everything after Episode 5. Episode 6 was also denounced by many as largely plot-free and driven by fanservice. And then when crap started getting real in Episode 7, the fandom became further split between pro-Ledo fans (those who agree with Ledo's mission to leave Gargantia and destroy the Hideauze) and pro-Gargantia fans (those who believe the Gargantians' statement that the Hideauze are not inherently evil/dangerous, and think he's acting like an unthinking drone).
    • The Revelations of Episode 9 brings about a divide with fans on the two major pre-2nd Ice Age groups. Some believing that the Evolvers who would ultimately morph themselves into Hideauze were at fault for the conflict for breaking laws in their experiment and ultimately becoming a rogue state and others that view the governments that would ultimately become the Galactic Alliance at fault for their unwillingness to coexist with a different methods.
  • Complete Monster: Aleria from the second OVA is, in short, the Big Sister Bully taken to the max and then some. She cares for absolutely nothing but complete social, political, and religious control of her father's fleet and will do anything to get what she wants. When her youngest sister Linaria inherits her father's fleet and converts to a sky-based religion (implied to be a means of escaping Aleria), Aleria orders her other two sisters to hunt down her freighter and kill everyone on board. By the time Kugel arrived, only Linaria remained because of Aleria's relentless attack. She later intentionally lures the Hideauze onto the fleet by setting off mines on the seabed in order to publicly shame Kugel and leave the fleet up for grabs. Finally, after both attempts fail, she finds out that Linaria died. Hearing this, she smirks at her own sister's death and tries to usurp the vacant position as high priestess in order to become the leader of the fleet. Villains this bad are very hard to come by in this series, but Aleria takes the cake as the vilest of the bunch.
  • Designated Evil: Surprisingly subverted. When Ledo, a Child Soldier kills the pirates who were currently en route to taking the crew of Gargantia for slave labor(and sexually assaulting Bellows's friend) they basically condemn him and even speak of handing him over to the pirates. However... While the people were pretty terrified by Ledo's actions, it's to be expected. It isn't every day you see (admittedly despicable) human beings vaporized in person, and with the exception of Amy who , being a sweet, kindhearted girl was horrified by the bloodshed in general, it seemed to be more a general fear of his power and how easily he wielded it more than seeing him as some evil monster, and the decision was primarily to spare Gargantia from retribution, not punish Ledo for breaking their rules. In the end, Amy and Bellows thank him for saving their lives and teach him that shedding blood is simply not their way.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Lady Lukkage may be the scumbag leader of a bunch of thieving, murdering, scumbags... but she's so sexy! And her mecha is so cool!
  • Fanfic Fuel: Leaving aside the obvious, in the final episode the pirate leader says she has feelings for Pinion. By shouting "Pinion Amore!" at the top of her lungs while saving his life, and ruffling his hair and teasing him in the epilogue. And given the implication that she's going to be working closely with Gargantia going forward, that leaves plenty of hijinks for fanfics where she pursues him, even leaving aside the kinky stuff. All part of a well-balanced fanfic.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Saaya is teased a bit about being "fat", simply because she's built a bit bigger than the other two. Yet while her body type might be pudgy to Japanese society, in others she seems built more like a goddess, and barely any wider than Amy, if at all.
  • Les Yay:
    • The leader of the pirates is a woman who keeps two scantily-clad female bodyguards chained to her throne. Notably, it's implied to be consensual, given how enthusiastically they aid her in battle.
    • Saaya also proves to be very ticklish when Amy is rubbing suntan oil on her back in Episode 5.
    • Also on Episode 5 there was a fairly brief but notable scene with Bellows and Ridget lounging about in swimsuits. Bellows was admiring Ridget's swimsuit in a somewhat flirty tone and finding it rather hot causing Ridget to blush.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Zenmetsu". Explanation 
    • Team Rackage is blasting off again! Explanation 
  • Moe: Amy, in a Genki Girl sort of way.
  • Narm:
    • Episode 6, when Bellows and Pinion are fighting, trying to convince Ledo to work for them... the problem is, this semi tense/dramatic argument is punctuated with very Fanservicey shots of Amy and her friends belly dancing. However, this is likely intentional: while Ledo gets the gist, and later joins Bellows, his attention to the argument diminishes with each passing second as he becomes focused on the sight of the girls, particularly Amy- the panning shot near the end makes this especially clear. Plus, this moment later leads him to ask Amy to give him a (very sensual) private dance, so one could say it's potentially Narm Charm instead, with the ignored argument becoming a humorous element.
    • Pretty much any time Lakkage is talked to or about, due to her ridiculous outfit with Absolute Cleavage and some subtitles referring to her as Rackage.
  • Nausea Fuel: The pulped remains of Whalesquid/Hideauze clinging to Chamber's body after crushing some of them to death. Made so much worse by their Awful Truth, related below. Even in-universe, Ledo vomits upon witnessing this.(after gaining new perspective upon learning the whole story.)
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Both the OP and ED songs are upbeat J-Pop, and start sounding very much out of place by Episode 7. Even the calm violin strains during the Eye Catch could count.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In Episode 10, Chamber points out to Ledo that killing Hideauze despite them being evolved humans is justified because their focus on biological advancement has led to the devolution of their own intelligence, as they no longer needed it to survive. Essentially, the Hideauze can no longer be considered human.
    • Pinion, in turn, gets this as well. Despite the "whale squids" currently not posing much of a threat, they will inevitably become monsters that devastate the human race and also happen to be standing in the way of progress. Given how hard, even in this lush world, people have to struggle to survive another day, he would have been a fool to hold back because of nothing more than superstition. In fact, it does pay off quite a bit when he gets a serious upgrade in technology.
  • Too Cool to Live: Chamber.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The opening scene, especially.
    • The fight between Chamber and Striker in Episode 12.
  • Values Dissonance: For some, the idea of 14/15-year-olds (Melty/Saaya/Amy) belly-dancing in Fanservice-y outfits is considered uncomfortable, perhaps even unacceptable. However, despite misrepresentation that belly-dancing is a sexual dance, it's not inherently considered such in real life - individuals may perform the dance in a sexual, seductive manner, but otherwise it is merely another form of dancing, like many others. In fact, it's considered acceptable to all ages in it's natural form, not only to see but to perform, as it's meant to make women feel empowered and teach them bodily acceptance, two pertinent and (usually) non-sexual values. Even in-universe, while there is definite Male Gaze going on (from both the camera and a few male watchers, Ledo included), the cheering crowd basically treats this as a normal dancing show - with kids in attendance - rather than something sexual for adults only.
  • The Woobie:
    • Ledo. Did you ever want to live in a space colony? Well, you certainly wouldn't want to live in one locked in a resource-straining Forever War, and definitely not as a Child Soldier. Now imagine that that's the only lifestyle you've ever known...
    • Little Elaine Matsumoto and other first-generation child Evolvers. Her father and the other adult Evolvers at least knew what they were getting into; Elaine and the other children probably didn't.

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