In the distant future, the human race is on the brink of destruction. Mankind, which now drifts in space aboard a massive, technologically-advanced base known as Avalon, is poised to launch one final, desperate attack against its enemy, the alien race Hideauze. It’s during this battle that Ledo, a mecha pilot, is thrown into a wormhole and sent to an unfamiliar place: Earth, the lost birthplace of humanity said to have turned to ice long ago. Having been saved by the inhabitants of the Gargantia, a fleet of ships that traverses the now-flooded planet, Ledo must come to terms with these primitive people with their backwards language and technology, learn to communicate, and try to find a way back home to his place in the sky.
This series has an interesting premise, what if humanity had split, half of them moved to the stars while half remained on the “dying” planet. There were points in the story which felt as if they were copied from other stories, such as “man gets stranded from group and accidentally finds ancient home planet of his race”. The ideas however, of how the people on this ‘new’ world are living was unique. Their planet has been almost completely submerged under water, from what the viewer can tell. This drives the inhabitants to create large flotillas which are essentially large cities that can be connected and disconnected from each other, almost like a large jigsaw puzzle.
One of the larger issues of this story is that the pace seems quite fast. They do not delve much into the background aside from a couple episodes as to why and how we got to this point in the planet, let alone in the space civilization. There is some attempt in a couple episodes as I stated that do try to explain the background however, there are points of those explanations that will leave more questions for the viewer than answers. The story does almost end in a slight cliffhanger, whether that was in order leave it open for a future series, that is not fully clear.
While the story in some respects is unique and well put together, there are some holes and lack of development which may leave the message a little muddled and a little forgettable.
As the series just came out in 2013, and was developed by one of the more popular studios Production I.G., the animation was very well done. The studio did a wonderful job at making the world very expressive, the colors were all very crisp and mesmerizing. The character animations were also done very well, the facial expressions and movements were natural and truly conveyed the intended emotions and helped to define the characters further. The ship animations however, seemed a little scaled back, unless if they were doing close ups of the vessels there were points where they didn’t appear as crisp as their surrounding environment. Overall the animation was well done and created some very beautiful images.
The music in this series was quite frankly forgettable. I am writing this review fairly recent after watching the series and cannot even remember what the songs were for the opening or ending. This was probably one of the larger letdowns. I always enjoy a good soundtrack, even if it is only an opening and ending sequence, if done right a strong soundtrack can distract a viewer from some of the more minor flaws and help the viewer look more fondly back on a show. While the opening and ending sequences were very well done, the music just felt generic and won’t be memorable to the viewer.
The characters as mentioned before were very well animated and for the most part were engaging to the viewer. There were however, things left to be desired. Certain characters were not given much of a back story, however, the show does progress assuming that you know some of this back story. The main character for what seems like the first half of the series doesn’t see much personality change then almost on cue when circumstances start being altered he almost does a 180, there were times where this lack of development felt straining to the viewer. However, I feel if we had some more background on his character and the society he came from this may have been more excusable, since we do learn later on that he comes from a society which is built around strict military service and no personal connections to other people are really encouraged. For the most part however, none of this negates the enjoyment I had from learning and engaging with the characters. This was probably one of the strongest part of the series.
This series is overall well put together, if you can ignore some slow or lack of character development and the occasional cliche story. The animation is very engaging and you will not regret watching this series. While it wasn’t the strongest show of the season it was still a good show and would probably rank in my top 10 for 2013. If you enjoy a good mecha with beautifully animated sequences and scenery with some very intriguing characters and a premise, while somewhat cliche, makes you want to know more about how they got to this point I would recommend you check this out.
Thank you for reading the first installment of our ANIME KNIGHT series. Whenever we complete a series a new review will be posted here.
ANIME KNIGHT IS CURRENTLY WATCHING: NORN 9