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After Suisei no Gargantia's first episode, it looks like Production I.G deserves the most attention this season. At the very least, most of the attention at this point in time.
Every once in a while, one studio dominates a certain anime season. This happens from time to time, yet it's not a common occurrence, given the difficulty of making multiple projects into the best anime of their respective seasons. Though it's hard, I.G's delegation of Shingeki no Kyojin to their new subsidiary has given the studio the ability to focus all of its efforts on Suisei no Gargantia. It looks like they are actually paying a lot of attention to this new original series.
On paper the series placed towards the top of the list, but I had my own reservations. My biggest fear was that this would turn out to be yet another Urobuchi "special" i.e. a dark series. It's still too early to say we won't be getting his signature plot twists and the like, but for now Suisei no Gargantia feels different and for that I'm excited.
The episode's pace isn't as fast as I would have expected for what is supposed to be a 12 episode series. In fact, it takes its time with introducing our main character Red, who's fighting for his right to live and breed - literally, the right to reproduce - in his very swanky-looking mecha body armour. Since the first half of the episode was dedicated to the outer space fight, we got a good look at the fantastic visuals we can expect from I.G. The battle felt just long enough to show off the animation, all the while introducing us to our main character prior to his transportation to a different universe.
Following this, we go straight to the world filled with regular humans. With the change in scenery comes, the change in atmosphere to something very simple and dare I say, bordering on the slice-of-life. There's a feeling of adventure that comes from Red travelling to a different universe, which only amplifies as he's faced with a language he doesn't know and situation he doesn't understand. Not only do we get the feeling of adventure, but it has a little bit of Disney feel to it - Treasure Planet comes to mind - which gives the series its hook. A hook that's a nice change from what we usually get. One can only assume this to be the result of Urobuchi's continued integration of Western and Eastern media, giving us something a little different and special. Also, let's not forget the fun of seeing Red take Amy hostage.
As far as first episodes go, this probably the best of the season. I only say this because I already knew Shingeki no Kyojin's first episode would be great, but I doubted Suisei no Gargantia, making it even more enjoyable to watch. Much like a lot of the first episode of the season, there wasn't much going in this first episode besides setting up for the rest of the series. The big difference is that Suisei no Gargantia pulled it off better than anyone (so far). It gave us a look at the sci-fi as well as setting up for what could be a fantastically delightful adventure series. To say I'm looking forward to next week's episode may be understating it.
Suisei no Gargantia, I applaud you!