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To say things got out of hand in the last three episodes of Suisei no Gargantia might be putting it lightly.
While its changes came halfway through the season, the final three episodes of Suisei no Gargantia piled on even more changes to Urobuchi Gen's sci-fi adventure. Making his statement of "a different kind of anime" appear moot and making me question any future projects from the man.
The burden of the problem here was the writing. Starting with episode 11, the new developments and introduction of a religious cult became immediate causes of worry for myself. The cult itself felt a little extreme, especially as a comparison to an intergalactic military operation, but is no surprise when considering the writer. Execution-wise, I had little to complain about but when it came to the new twists and turns in the story I just couldn't hold any enthusiasm for the last few episodes.
Another, and probably bigger, plot blunder was Commander Kugel and his true identity. Not only was he a poor choice of villain - the series didn't really need one - but the last plot twist was even more of a sigh inducing moment. One step too far doesn't seem to cut it when describing this particular plot development, though it sums up the problems of Suisei no Gargantia's final episodes pretty well.
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I won't even go into Rackage's reappearance or Pinion seeing the light, but I will remind readers that the execution was still good. Better than good - and the writing - it created quite an atmosphere for these episodes, which gave Suisei no Gargantia a bit of a cushion in its rough descent. Were it not for the execution, watching the last stretch would not have been as likely.
For all my negative views of the last episodes, there were one or two redeeming features. Well...just Chamber's sacrifice. A little cliché but heart-warming nonetheless, him acting on his own and give Ledo the gift of life was the highlight of the last episode. Chamber was an odd companion to Ledo and, even stranger, a likeable non-human character for the series but I didn't like him as much as I did after he sacrificed himself for Ledo. One could argue, this was the best development we got out of so many sloppy and excessive ones. Again I reiterate, it was cliché but enjoyable.
Finally, there's the case of the Ledo x Amy. A relationship many including myself had hoped would bear fruit, but did not do so with grand gestures. In some ways Pinion x Rackage stole the spotlight, though I suspect this was done intentionally so that the OVA coming out in August would cover that and not rush in the final moments of the episode.
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Suisei no Gargantia (Mini) Series Review
What started off as the best anime of the Spring 2013 season, ended up disappointing. Comparing the beginning and end of Suisei no Gargantia is a sad affair because it makes you realise just how much potential was wasted and how over-ambition can kill the best of stories.
Had the series followed on in its "fish-out-of-water" approach for the plot, we could have seen something considerably better than what it turned into at the end: a mess of too many plot developments. The simplicity of the first four episodes was the series at its best and these episodes was when it was at its worst.
It's sad to have witnessed the demise of what could have been one of the best of the year, but that seems to be the trend of the season which Suisei no Gargantia couldn't escape.