Now, I’ve actually been waiting for this sort of premise to get played out in a show. For all the hot air I’ve blown out over deconstructionism and the like, wouldn’t it be the greatest genre inversion to have your typical anime killing machine getting stuck in a predicament where he can’t use force to solve anything?
I’m about a third of the way into this show, now. It’d be easy to fall into the trap of calling things too early. Still, I’ll put a wish out there and hope that GARGANTIA actually goes ahead with something fearless here. I’d love if it turns out that Ledo really has wiped out all the bad guys, and the rest of this series is just about him and his mech learning how to cope with more benign communication and relationship challenges. He’d be the knife with nothing to cut, searching for a more benevolent reason for his existence.
The last time I used that whole “knife that doesn’t cut” phrase was when I was reviewing CASSHERN SINS. It’s not too much of a stretch here, honestly. Ledo’s basically another battle bot grappling with questions of purpose; only his struggle with humanization doesn’t have the sort of pesky qualifiers that’d come with him actually being synthetic. His conversation with Amy’s little brother is a rather bittersweet distillation of all the lengthy philosophical dialogs in CASSHERN.
On the one hand, the kid is so heartbreakingly naïve for not even comprehending how anybody could see him as worthless. On the other hand, there’s something undeniably life-affirming to the way he sort-of just shrugs off Ledo’s bleak worldview for the grumpiness it really is. The gloom simply doesn’t apply to him.
Whether the show winds up becoming more conventional - - either with the appearance of new Terran enemies or with the arrival of Ledo’ss alien foes - - I’ll prize this episode for having more Urobuchi-brand dialog that are legitimately thought-provoking without the pretension that usually accompanies the term.