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Gargantian Talk vs Gargantian Action

April 23, 2013

garrGargantia. Space Dude sees the Hippie Water Peeps getting killed by Punk Pirates. Space Dude zappidyzaps them into nothingness. Water Hippies get all touchy feely and cry because some bad guys who wanted to kill them got killed. Space Dude doesn’t get the whole “you don’t vaporize peeps” concept. Peeps in the real world watching this shit take sides, as if a silly cartoon has to reflect their real life attitudes on vaporization. Let’s talk about this.

What we got here is a generational clash in anime expectations. Space Dude’s from the old school, where launching  a Macross Missile Attack that takes out a group of people larger than the population of some small island nations is a perfectly natural thing. He’s from a culture where war is the norm, and the thing you’re warring with is some otherly entity hellbent on your destruction. That’s pretty much the mode of old school otaku-centric anime. Fans of the shit from the 70s and 80s wanted that sort of wargame fanservice, and our little Space Dude here epitomizes those attitudes.

Then you have the Waterworlders. They try to live an idyllic life, cruising about the ocean and scavenging ancient relics to make a living. While conflict isn’t completely foreign to them, they don’t value those sorts of actions. We get the feeling that these guys only put up a fight as a show of force, and even then they aren’t too keen on the act of killing under any circumstances. There’s that one scene where they talk about self-preservation, but they pretty much talk circles around the concept of death, doing their best to avoid mentioning it. That’s pretty much your modern anime mode– all about valuing feelings and emotions and avoiding conflict if at all possible. The modern fan cares more about whether they get an emotional payoff than a visceral one, and that’s expressed by the Water Hippie’s abhorrence at Space Dude’s actions.

Yeah, this shit isn’t about projecting your real world feelings about war and whether killing has value. Gargantia’s about the clash between anime fans, and how different camps within the fandom have desires that clash and how some shows attempt to reconcile these differences by catering to both sides. Said series usually don’t work. They either favor one side over the other, alienating one group of fans, or they end up being a mediocre mess that appeals to no one. That’s my main concern about Gargantia. If I’m right and this is a deliberate attempt to address this schism in fandom, is it gonna suffer the same pitfalls of similar shows? Even if it isn’t the show intent, it’ll be interesting to see how things play out in this regard.

Also: Lobstermechs riding Sharkboats. That should unite all camps.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2013 11:47 PM

    Yep, lobstermechs riding sharkboats have a certain quality to them that all otaku should appreciate. My prediction for Gargantia is that it’ll end up having Ledo either embrace the ways of life on Earth or have him rejecting their ways and returning to the stars. Or find a middle ground of some sort, as described in your post. If he takes the first or third route, Butcher Gen will have messed this one up. To make it great, he’d have to take the second route and do something spectacular with it. On a somewhat related note, can’t wait to read your thoughts on Eva 3.33.

  2. May 31, 2013 5:03 PM

    Production I.G. sucks. Enough said.

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