I really enjoyed Gargantia episode 5. It’s got fine girls in skimpy bikinis (Hanaharu wau), giant robots, ocean-side BBQ, a light-hearted aero-plane race, a foot chase up a spiral tower, high-vantage landscape shots (complete with water-umbrella-rainbow-all-that-jazz), unconventional use of beyond-high-tech, fine weather, sunshine, relaxing in the shade, girl talk, retro scuba suits, teasing the AI, sauce, party, and this:
 This episode gets to the heart of Gargantia, and its true meaning as a statement of sociopolitical solidarity with Japan’s young generation of much-maligned NEETs and freeters. Urobuchi has said the show was intended as a statement for these young people about to enter the world.
And frankly, it’s a little too on the nose. It’s not even subtle.
Here’s Ledo, poor guy finding himself uncertain about his life for the first time. He’s been raised in a strict, regimented educational system that prioritizes efficiency and is dedicated to only one thing: passing exams, er, killing space monsters. But in this new world, vaporizing people is looked down upon. He has his Master’s Degree in Space Monster Vaporization and it’s completely unsuited to the needs of the post-wormhole economy.
And on top of the unemployment he’s saddled with massive debt he doesn’t even begin to know how to pay off. Sure he has some neat technological gizmos that allow him to do cool things, but what can he *himself* do? He’s not sure, and it seems that no matter where he looks on the ship, there’s no place for him.
I think it’s not even subtle since the beginning. And for people watching anime this way, it’s not the first time we’ve seen a show that served this up like that roasted hog with an apple in its face. It’s been a while since people are cheeky enough to adopt post-bubble philosophies into their stories–probably in the early-mid 00s.
For the sake of completeness, please read this from our dear Butch, who too had to struggle to make a living and get to the point he is in his own career. I suppose he’s just enjoying the fruit of his labor!
Update: Added this quote from ANN’s interview of Kazuya Murata, director.
What do you hope people take away from the experience of watching Gargantia?
For the Japanese audience, I would like “young people who are about to enter society” to take the message, “Don’t worry. Try. You can do it”. For the larger audience in the world, I want them to have the message, “Whatever could happen, we, human beings, will be alright. If we all together open the path, the future will always be ahead of us”.
Looks like they really want to get that message across. That said, Murata is probably a good reason why the show has such a positive vibe.