Susei no Gargantia has big dreams. Kazuya Murata is an unproven director working with a relatively new franchise. With none of the hype surrounding titles like Attack on Titan and Red Data Girl, does this show stand on its own two mechanized feet?
The best aspect of the outing has to be the curve ball that’s thrown at the viewers in the first episode. In the opening moments, you’re greeted by the vast reaches of space filled with large spaceships, advanced mecha, and cosmic space monsters. What seems like the ideal recipe for a science fiction opera of epic proportions quickly gets scaled down to more terrestrial quarters. It doesn’t sound that exciting but I really don’t want to give away too much as it is the best part of the episode. The big revelation has a proper drumroll that makes the moment feel important and entertaining to behold.
Let’s just move onto the ugly…
I won’t lie, the color design for this show is spot on. I love the bright hues that seem to pop off the screen. But that’s where my artistic appreciation for the series begins and ends. In the first few minutes a whole host of problems with the execution of the design becomes apparent. Where I expected to see a large scale space battle filled with explosions, metal, combat and alien guts, instead is a light show worthy of a few laser penlights that third graders play with. I can’t believe the greatest threat to humanity provokes such snail like movement from its soldiers. There was no sense of fluidity or motion in the animation which frankly made me bored.
Now you can’t completely judge the introduction of show based on a single element, but sometimes it leaves such a bad taste in the viewers mouth that it’s hard to appreciate the rest. For a show that seems to have a focus on action, fight sequences, no matter how big or small, need to be dramatic. These are the moments that capture the audience’s attention because they serve as a change of pace. These scenes cannot be more sluggish than the exposition around it. It’s a formula for disastrous pacing.
Now I’m not going to drop this series immediately. The anime enthusiast in me wants to give this show another shot. Let’s hope the second episode doesn’t disappoint like this lackluster introduction.