Suisei No Gargantia: Meguru Kouro, Haruka

October 23, 2015

I thought everything had ended. What would the series be without that super intelligent robot? Therefore I was wondering how Suisei No Gargantia: Meguru Kouro, Haruka, a double OVA episode that lasts an hour long each would fare since it takes place after the events of the TV series. Ah yes, I remember how awesome it was watching that and sadly despite it has only been a couple of years since I last saw this series, it felt like ages and I couldn’t remember much in detail. But at least I still remember generally what happened. Phew. Not so bad, eh? Anyway, like any awesome series, it has become my ‘obligation’ to follow up if there are future episodes of it and here I am finally watching this OVA albeit being very, very late. Well, better than never. So it interests me to see what kind of story will unfold for Ledo since he doesn’t have Chamber anymore. And will there be any sort of development between Ledo x Amy? One can only hope…

Episode 1
Bellows leads her team in another undersea wreckage salvaging. Thanks to Ledo, they are able to find a good catch of usable ships. Amy has a junior under her wing, Leema as she guides her through her postal and messenger job. Being the newbie around, her curiosity of those Yunboro has her fascinated but almost got her into trouble with one of the engineers for casually touching it. Pinion tries to recruit Leema into his engineering section as he needs all the help he can get. But seriously, you need this little girl to help out with all the heavy metal stuffs? Not sure if Rackage is a citizen of this ship as she is seen making herself home on Gargantia. She claims she is taking a vacation before her next big expedition. Leema and Ledo meet for the first time and the former wants to hear all his stories with Chamber. Ledo also learns that Leema was from the Providence fleet and during the time Kugel played God. He is also interested to know what happened there but before any story can begin, Melty and Saya interrupt Ledo for trying to two-time Amy. They even let out this secret that they eavesdropped Amy asking Chamber what are Ledo’s favourite stuffs but of course the machine didn’t get it and Amy was left frustrated. Imagine Amy’s embarrassment when she finds out her friends knew about this conversation. Leema tells briefly about her fleet joining Providence and after the priestesses died, Kugel began to change and everything went downhill (see OVA 2 to refresh your memory). Ledo believes Kugel’s way of getting rid of the weak and convincing the rest to fight and give whatever to support is the same motto as the Alliance. He believes had he been alive, he would have found a way.

That night, Amy doesn’t understand why Ledo still lives in fear every day. Right now, humans are still fighting Hideauze and he feels that war is somewhat necessary. But he is here right now away from all that conflict and unrelated. On the contrary, all of them are connected to it no matter where they are. This makes Ledo think if he would handle things differently from the Alliance if he ever comes into conflict with the whalesquids. With Leema accidentally eavesdropping on the story, she wants to hear more especially that stormy incident. It was the worst kind of storm that Gargantia has ever seen. The waves were violent enough to damage the pillars, pylons, bridges and interlocks of a connecting ship, Altemia. Only a bridge is left but it could snap any time. Fairlock gives the orders for the ship to evacuate and for Altemia to scuttle. Amy notices that Saya is still onboard Altemia helping others to evacuate and goes to help look for anymore that are left behind. The only other one left is Fleiss, Saya’s brother who has evacuated his crew (after the captain threw a tantrum he would rather go down with the ship than leave it and is clinging on to his chair). After Amy evacuates an old grandpa and his grandson, back at the bridge, Melty calls to warn for them to get out now because a huge wave is going to pound them. Too late. A direct hit. This causes the last bridge to break. Now they are floating adrift. To add to the problems, a connecting ship is tilting and will capsize. Ledo and Chamber come in to push it back up. At the same time they realize Altemia’s predicament. Ledo knows well he cannot leave his position. Altemia drifts back thanks to the waves but is in danger of slamming into the ship. Once Chamber has successfully put this ship back up, just in time to cushion the impact and save a few more lives. Leema is impressed with the story although Ledo credits everything to Chamber. Amy believes even if Chamber isn’t here, Ledo will not give up.

On a beautiful clear sky day, Bellows leads her team to scavenge the undersea wreckage. Everything goes well until some gas burst that causes the rocks to collapse. In Ledo’s bit to save one of the trapped crew, he is pulled down into the abyss as his cable got caught by the falling rock. Things are not looking good. Life support is dangerously low and all communications are cut so he improvises the reserve tank for a little more oxygen. During this moment of loneliness, he remembers a similar incident when he was fighting Hideauze. He was unable to contact to any of his comrades and a horde of Hideauze is coming. Chamber suggested to stop all communication to avoid being detected but Ledo does not want to be a sitting duck and be eaten alive. He can’t trust this machine to make the decisions. Chamber agrees that Ledo should call the final shots and all he can do is to provide the best support. In short, Chamber’s power depends on Ledo and this way if he screws up, you can’t blame the machine, right?

Bellows and her crew resurface and tell what happened to Ledo. Guess who is being all worried and emotional? Of course everybody can think of going back down to bring him back up but the grounds are unstable and if a search party was dispatched, they might get buried too. Before we can turn this into Amy’s crying fest, all other Yunboro who can still dive take the initiative to dive down with whatever resources they can carry. Amy wants to go help too (because Leema is going but I can think of another good reason why) but Bellows would rather have her stay here to greet Ledo with a smile when he returns. I thought it could have been there are no more spare Yunboro for her to spare. Anyway the search party dives down and finds Ledo’s unit pinned under the rock. Time for Rackage to have her screen time by doing something useful. Her unit is strong enough to lift the rock. Bellows and Ledo communicate via Morse code and the plan is once most of the rocks are pulled out of the way, Ledo is to eject the unit’s limbs for propulsion to freedom. They only have one shot at this. And as expected it is a huge success. Amy, you can stop praying real hard now. Oh, she’s crying again. At least tears of joy. The biggest heave of relief in her life. When Ledo steps out, he receives a hero’s welcome. A better ‘prize’ with Amy giving him a big hug. Nobody better interrupt this. Life proceeds as usual on Gargantia but it ends with a cliff-hanger. In a secret room, Leema unveils and activates a Machine Caliber!

Episode 2
Rackage tries to remind Pinion about this and that as he promised but Pinion like the typical guy he is, never remembers he made those vows! Ledo and Bevel examine a blueprint extract. They believe it is of a technology that is very similar to Machine Caliber. Leema seems to be interested in all kinds of stuffs related to machine so she is much impressed with Bevel’s mechanized wheelchair as he explains despite having a weak body, he is strong because everyone supports him. If you had your suspicions on Leema, then it comes true now because she is seen talking to her underlings about their objective to get Ledo to come with them. Originally they wanted to get Kugel but he died. They have to act fast because their higher ups aren’t going to wait. Ridget listens to the community leaders about their supplies being exhausted. So when she announces they will be stopping by Dragon Palace, a major trading hub from the land, the residents rejoice. Ridget negotiates with the top officials for whatever is necessary. As a token, she is given an updated world map. They also invite her to drink after that but she got drunk. Ledo and the girls walk around Dragon Palace. This includes playing games at the carnival and getting into their swimsuits to play with dolphins. Since Leema didn’t bring hers, they shop for one and this is your few seconds of Leema fanservice. Leema somewhat envies how close Ledo and Amy are and she always wished she had spent such times with her older brother. When a pretty redhead passes by Pinion, this guy tries to make a pass and flirt with her with his cheesy lines but she ignores him. Hmm… Why do I have a feeling I know who this chick is?

Leema talks to an informer who tells her the higher ups cannot wait any longer about their top military secret weapon being outside the country. They are afraid of information leak more than anything so if you see them coming, it’s game over. She must complete the mission before they arrive. Leema remembers showing Ledo the Augmented Body (their term for Machine Caliber), Muzzle. She wanted him to follow her to help her country research this robot. Leema sits inside Muzzle and still cannot understand the sophisticated language it speaks. At this rate, the more she spends time on Gargantia, the more she is starting to hate the idea of war. Continuing her mission, this time Leema tries to persuade Amy to convince Ledo to come with her. Of course Amy and Bevel can leave with him too. Because Ledo didn’t give her an answer, she thought Amy would help him decide. In that case, Amy won’t do it. But what if Bevel’s condition can be cured on land? And so Ledo and Amy discuss this including the possibility if Bevel cannot be cured. Decisions, decisions, decisions… An unidentified fleet is spotted and because there are no interlocks, they conclude it is a war fleet from a land nation. Leema recognizes and confirms it as the special forces armada. She gets desperate to get Ledo to come with her (throwing in that Bevel cure case). Even shocking she reveals she was born on land. A distress call from Melty and Saya has them know that Amy has been kidnapped by a couple of suspicious guys. Leema knows this is the work of her underlings. She doesn’t want Ledo to follow her as Amy is bait to lure him. If he is captured, he will never return. Of course Ledo doesn’t care and follows her into her breakaway ship.

When the fleet fires to destroy the ship, Muzzle activates to protect them. The fleet warns Gargantia not to get involved but Ridget won’t sit back and let her citizens be harmed. She gives orders to fire back. Pinion sees the redhead running somewhere so he tails her and recognizes her too late. Never realized this pirate queen could look so different and beautiful, eh? She was here in disguise to gather information. Now that she has discovered something, time to stop playing good citizen and return to the ways of her pirate life. She is not risking some war with the land and aggravate the situation. Leema hops into Muzzle as she feels sorry for trying to use Ledo for her own gains. She was trying to get him involved in a centuries-long war between land nations. After living on Gargantia, she feels she has no right to take away their way of life. Ledo hops onboard with her and since the system is closely similar to Chamber, he guides in how to pilot Muzzle (some device Ledo has is also enhancing its system). With its electromagnetic attack, it tries to destroy all the fleet’s cannons. Ledo neutralizes Leema’s subordinates and frees Amy. Save the hugs for later because the fleet is now targeting Muzzle. They plan to sink the machine and the pilot deep down into the ocean to prevent it falling into enemy hands. Leema tries to continue take out the remaining cannons but her skills are not as good without Ledo guiding her.

Muzzle stops activating when it takes a direct hit. Sinking into the deep ocean, all Leema could do is just sit there and reminisce her times with the machine. Still not understanding what it is trying to say, though. But surprise! Muzzle says her name! And then it displays on the small screen a montage of ‘important events’ from its monitor. Like the time Leema was assigned by the scientists to pilot it, all the hours she spent fine tuning it, the time she joined Providence, then coming to Gargantia, showing Ledo this Augmented Body and finally recently how she piloted it. Muzzle can now decently speak in Leema’s language. It then detaches the cockpit to let Leema float up. After a safe distance below, Muzzle self destructs. Once sad Leema resurfaces, she feels guilty that her only friend is gone. What will she do now? Don’t worry. Rackage offers her to join her crew. Leema joins her as her way of atonement. While Ridget praises the people of Gargantia and their efforts to keep damage to a minimum and maintain peace, Ledo talks to Amy about the many things on Earth he still doesn’t know and this device is somewhat connected to that Augmented Body. Amy wonders what kind of life Leema had led as she was born in a land in perpetual war. But for them, no matter what troubles they may face, they’re going to live here and Ledo is going to protect Amy here. Okay. Time to continue the emotional hug.

Home, Wherever You Call It
And… They cancelled the second season!!!!!!!!!! WHY, OH WHY???!!! For whatever reasons, let is not hold a grudge for the future that has not and will never happen. As far as this OVA is concerned, despite some drama parts, it is still very interesting and brings back a whole lot of nostalgic memories of the TV series. Personally, watching the entire duration pulled a lot of heartstrings within me even if that scene wasn’t meant so. Just because of the nostalgia. With the revelation of land nations who love to fight, I guess this is what most probably how the story will continue and as seen there are lots of potential and development. But sadly as mentioned, we won’t be getting it unless somebody or a group of people start changing their minds.

Even with Chamber being reduced to just flashback memories (heck, that was just only the first OVA and the second one he did not even appear), it somewhat proves that the plot can still be interesting without the Ledo-Chamber combo. Of course the Ledo x Amy romance is still a long way to go but it is developing nicely between them. It feels like a little reward to see them together from time to time after a little ‘adventure’. It is hard to say about the recurring characters given the couple of episodes so it is unfair to say they’re just showing their faces as courtesy. Like Pinion who didn’t really do anything major here. Except the fact he might have regretted for losing the coolest chick ever? So guys out there, never judge a book by its cover or scoff of something when it doesn’t match your taste at first. I think we’re all guilty of that. I figure with the pacing and development of the second OVA, it was supposed to be an introduction for the next season but… Oh, can I not stop harping on that already?!

Another great and big plus of this OVA is the top notched quality they put in animating the visuals. The art and sceneries are just freaking spectacular and breathtaking to look whether they are hand drawn or using CGI. I tell you, they are just magnificent and awesome. No wonder I felt heartstrings being pulled within me. And despite the certain ‘slow’ drama parts, it is this art and visual that makes me feel awed instead of being ‘bored’. So if I don’t want to follow the little drama, I can always look to the background and admire the pretty sceneries. It makes Gargantia quite a majestic and beautiful place despite it is just a fleet of ships connected together to form a bigger floating vessel. Very good indeed. Even during action scenes, there is no drop in quality and the animation continues smooth sailing. This is definitely worth your money if you buy the DVDs.

On a very trivial note, I just wanted to point out that since Gargantia a very huge floating vessel, I can’t help keep thinking that shouldn’t the animation give the feel like they’re living on a floating vessel? You know, when you’re on a ship, you’re moving with the waves so there is this wavy motion effect to it. Uhm, not sure if I described it correctly. But you get the idea. Therefore sometimes seeing the scenes, it feels like the people on Gargantia are living on stable rock solid land. Get what I mean? Okay, you may argue that Gargantia is so big and thus stable. But the ocean is big too. Very big. Wave currents can be big too even for a mild one and Gargantia is essentially floating no matter how stable it is. In a way it is also good not to have that kind of effect. Can you imagine having the entire duration watching this anime with this effect? I think I might get seasick due to the realism.

Overall, a very good addition to the TV series and a must-watch for fans of the series especially for people like me, invoking the great nostalgia factor. For those who have not, please start watching. It goes to show that even if it is deep down inside our blood and genes to lust for war, peace and harmony are possible when you make it possible. It is just ironic that be it Hideauze or your own kind (technically, Hideauze originated from us human beings), men still can sure find ways to pick a fight. I guess it’s our way of saying what’s the use of being alive without having some sort of ‘excitement’. Better than being a living zombie. Or an otaku who constantly watches anime and plays games all day long on his computer. Hmm… I think this isn’t kinda bad either…

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