Continuing the little naming scheme of the more attractive shows this season, GARGANTIA honestly grabbed my attention by finding another cool synonym for big in its title. Yeah, I'll fess up to that. The stark neon on display in the promo image was certainly eye-catching, as well. It goes to show that picking the right title and cover really is half the battle for these shows.
Anyway, perhaps I’m just getting too jaded, but I went through another cycle of dismissiveness-to-excitement-flipped-over-commercial-breaks here that was awfully similar to the one I went through for ATTACK ON TITAN’s pilot. For the first half, it honestly looked like this was would be another over-ambitious anime falling prey to the common pitfall of frontloading wayyyyy too much world-building.
There were plenty of pretty lights and explosions for the first 11 or so minutes, but I had no idea who was who because none of the characters were properly introduced. It’s hard to tell your daring lead (?) from your grizzled veteran (?) when you only ever see them with the same feature-obscuring flight helmet on. All the outer-space dogfighting was just a bunch of mumbo jumbo, as far as I was concerned - - pretty mumbo jumbo, to be sure, but mumbo jumbo never the less.
Maybe I wasn’t ever seriously going to close my browser, but the thought did dance across my brain for a second or two…
At least, it did until after the commercial break, when it seemed like a completely different show replaced the one was I watching. Once more, I feel like I’ve just played into a show’s hand, because I’m sure they made the first stretch of material intentionally overwhelming so as to add to the culture shock our stranger feels when he wakes up in this new strange land.
It’s a familiar twist, to be sure. Some might even call it a trope. But the execution really infused such urgency, humor and personality to all the scenes on the oil rig that, despite myself, I was eager to actually keep the browser open and let the next episode stream once the credits rolled. I want to know where this mecha-versus-militia Mexican stand-off leads, man!
In other words... I can be a big sucker for these storytelling tricks.
Watch this episode, "Castaway" here and decide for yourself.