***This is a somewhat spoiler free review***
Out of all the shows this season (maybe aside from Attack on Titan which I dropped in order to follow the manga instead), Suisei no Gargantia had in my honest opinion the best start. The story starts out with Ledo heading into battle against a threat to humanity. In the aftermaths of the battle though, Ledo is transported to a strange world. Little did he know that he is where humanity started; planet Earth.
The show pulled out ahead compared to the rest with its interesting premise and beautiful animation but when the show hit its midway point, I had started to notice that my anticipation for each new episode was starting to drop. Don’t get me wrong the show overall is pretty enjoyable; it’s just for some reason the studio just decided to turn the “interesting” factor down for a lengthy couple of episodes. During this boring phase, Ledo was trying to adjust to the life style on the ship compared to what he was used to in the army/whatever. In this time though, we had a bunch of unneeded fanservice flashed into our faces and a bunch of uninteresting squabble between characters that didn’t prove to be worth a damn. The show tries to make the relationship between Amy and Ledo important to the overall flow but what really happens is we learn that Amy (and her friends) are pole dancing mailmen (err women) and that Ledo wants a private showing. The affection Amy had for Ledo just did not translate well for me as I didn’t really care what happened between them even when the show ended.
What’s worse is when the show finally starts to get back on its feet, it ends. While the final arc’s episodes were extremely interesting to watch due to the nature of the society Ledo finds himself in, the show simply rushes through it. The conflict within the new society sparks way too soon and all the character build up is wasted due to a rush to the final conflict. While the ending is very good, it feels like it could of crescendo even more.
The premise for the plot was extremely interesting and fresh but fresh can only get you so far if you have a boring second act.
The animation is pretty dang good in this 2013 anime. Lighting effects, color selection, and overall animation quality (especially during the fight scenes) was done very well. Character models are another story; in most instances they look great however during some scenes proportions really get out of whack and to be honest the quality just doesn’t seem equal throughout every episode. When watching the show I could very easily point out the certain points in episodes where the quality just seems to drop off randomly.
There are however without a doubt some really beautiful scenes within this anime. In one of the earlier episodes, there is a moment when the fleet is sailing across the many light bug thingies in the ocean. The lighting effects and overall quality of the animation during this scene completely blew me away. It’s just a shame the quality drops off in later episodes.
While the orchestral arrangements are very much welcome in my book, they really did not bring any punch when needed. The score (soundtrack) was very nice but I just found that it did not amplify what was being visually presented. The voice actors did a pretty good job as well but like with the score I just didn’t feel “wowed” by their performance. Not bad but not great.
This is where the anime really fell on its face. With such an interesting premise and great sparks of animation, I was so ready to fall in love with the characters and be driven into a great story. This does not happen as each character is as deep as a glass of water. I simply did not care at all for any of the characters in this show because they just did not give me any reason to do so. Both Amy and Bellows come off as lifeless characters that just happen to throw their err features out there whenever needed. The other mailwomen are uninteresting and boring and while Pinion was at first an interesting character, he soon loses any affection after what he does to get the small fleet in danger in the later part of the show.
There just was no reason to like any character in this show. The elder doctor and Amy’s brother were nice additions but their role was so small that they could not possibly add anything to the overall spectrum of the show.
This show as a whole barely passes for what I would call an “ok” anime. While it had such an amazing introduction and short but satisfying ending, it was completely destroyed by its structural pillars. Characters are the life blood for any show/movie and you cannot expect it to thrive if the viewer doesn’t give a f#$@ about who is on the screen. All I can say is if you end up liking the characters early on then stick with the show. Just understand that while there is a build up to the end, it is short lived. While this is by no means a disappointment on the scale of Sword Art Online, Suisei no Gargantia really let me down.