I'll be honest with you, I passed on Gargantia when I first came across it, but The Chief set me straight. He said, "Goddammit, Rossman, with all the shit you normally watch why don't you take my advice for once and actually watch a GOOD show that won't make you spit all over your screen in venomous anger like one of those frilled dinosaurs in Jurassic Park that ralphed all over Dennis Nedry's face?!" And so I did, but not really with an open mind.
Gargantia is one of those anime series where I first looked at the character designs and read the quick plot synopsis and thought "Ugh, THIS again?!" Generic cute characters, a boy who's only known war and battle tactics who's thrown into the middle of a peaceful environment, and a planet totally covered in water. It was like the original writers thought "Hey, we like Full Metal Panic, and Retard Tsukitami over there loves Mars Daybreak... Let's merge those fuckers together and call it original!" Luckily though, the writers kicked Retard Tsukitami off the project right after that initial planning meeting, because Gargantia turned out to be a really solid story with great characters and a very strong ending. That is an extreme rarity in this day and age.
As I said though, the set-up was nothing too special. We begin with a space-army of albino human mecha-pilots fighting a shit-ton of strange monster space squids out in the vastness of the cosmos. (This actually is a pretty big genre in anime, you'd be surprised.) One of the human soldiers of a squadron that gets its buttocks handed to it by the enemy monsters, a Lieutenant named Ledo, gets lost in the retreat through a warp-gate after an attack on a large collection of space squids fails miserably. Instead of meeting up with the rest of the fleet on the far side of the galaxy, our boy Ledo finds himself and his semi-sentient mecha trapped on a relatively primitive and totally flooded planet Earth (the Earth that the human space forces abandoned and thought "lost" for like a millennia by this point). The rest of the show deals with Ledo learning how NOT to fight all the time, how to do a real job that produces food or fixes things, and how to get along with the pretty laid back Earthlings that he encounters. See, Ledo is TOTALLY what's-his-face from Full Metal Panic! Sousuke! He's pretty much Sousuke!
Things start off with a super-space bang in Gargantia — what with the huge space battles, terrible space bloodshed, and tragic space separation of Ledo from his fellow soldiers — but then, after chilling with the Earthlings for a few eps I was afraid that the series would just end up being a bland "fish out of water" tale with nothing but unfunny situations where Ledo would be chastised by postal girl Amy, because his first reaction to something he doesn't understand is to fight it or to blow it up. But thankfully we only get a couple of episodes based on Ledo's misunderstandings of a peaceful civilization before an actual plot kicks in that ties in everything we've learned so far about the space forces, the space squid, and just what the fuck is going on with a flooded Earth. It's all good.
I did find it weird when they had that orgy in the middle of that one episode, with that super busty girl, that even bustier girl, Ledo and that little squirrel thing. I mean WOW! The way they animated their bodies, their sweaty, strong, flexible bodies! The way they timed the action with the music and the cutaway scene to the Lobster Pirate Queen lady as she whipped her two bosomy subordinates, it should win some kind of award. And then when they brought in the Lobster Pirate Queen's pet tentacle monster.... I don't know what it had to do with jack shit, but my GOD was it amazing! And sweaty.
I enjoyed this series quite a bit. The story was very entertaining, it did a good job of making something old fresh and interesting again, and once it found its footing it kept revving things up till it was blasting through the finish line at 200MPH. I enjoyed pretty much all of the characters, including Ledo and his sentient mecha, the postal service girl Amy, that bombastic blonde dude with something to prove, and even the stick-up-her-butt admiral of the fleet. They were all very human, and all people I'd like to hang out with in real life.
But mostly I liked the little surprises this show would throw our way when we weren't expecting them too. For example (KIND OF A SPOILER), in the final episode, when Amy comes out of nowhere on that glider towards Ledo's battle, I thought "Oh shit... She's gonna just get in Ledo's way and he'll have to save her and get hurt as a result, thus causing even more unneeded drama. Fuck this shit!" But then SHE ended up helping the end battle as much as Ledo himself did without the story making any ridiculous jumps in logic or anything. It was pretty cool, and goddammit, that was the most awesomest weapon ever: A fucking giant scientific rail-gun that launches explosive-filled boats at its enemies... Fucking beautiful! (END OF SPOILERS)
So there you go.
Who the hell doesn't like anime series about giant robots blowing shit up and killing space bugs or squids?! This is like WHY freaks like the Rossman watch this shit religiously. Oh, and it has cute, busty chicks in tiny bikinis running around in the hot sun building up a sweat. That is always appreciated.