Festival (Gargantia Episode 6)
(If you missed the last essay on episode 5, check it out HERE)
In this episode, as in the previous three episodes, Ensign Ledo continues to learn more about fundamental differences between the society of Gargantia and his own space-faring peoples in the Galactic Alliance of Humankind. He also continues to develop as a person, as an individual. The information overload begins when he gets his weekly pay for services rendered by Chamber, his AI Machine Caliber, who has been helping out workers on the docks. The money confuses Ledo who first must identify what it is and only finds an analogue in the meal vouchers that his own society produced for work. Chamber helps him interpret the values of the money and realizes that one coin is worth a meal and a dollar value is worth one hundred coins. Knowing he could not eat hundreds of meals in a week, Ledo questions what the extra money could be for and wonders if he has been overpaid.
His friend Amy appears and helps him to understand that the money is for his enjoyment in activities beyond mere consumption of food. She brings him out to eat, but he orders seaweed bread: the cheapest and most nutritious food on most restaurant menus. Ledo, it seems, does not even yet understand the concept that eating can be an enjoyable experience. He views meals merely as opportunities to refuel his body, which is a good approach as it promotes good health and prevents one from becoming overweight and diseased as a result. But he definitely loses something in the experience.
Ledo is still searching a job in Gargantia and with Amy’s help, he manages to find a job fishing. Fishing jobs in Gargantia are achieved through the use of Yunboros, or mech suits, that use their physical presence to corral schools of fish and net them as large groups. Once Ledo enters a Yunboro and is lowered into the water, however, he finds that the machine is unwieldy. The machine itself cannot swim. This is the users job, to move his or her limbs inside and make the machine swim manually. Ledo is confused by the unresponsive machinery that doesn’t even have an AI system built-in and does not answer to voice commands. As such, Ledo makes a bad fisherman and instead must instruct Chamber to do the job for him instead. Once again, Ledo is jobless and feels useless within the larger collective of Gargantia.
Later, Pinion takes Ledo out to eat at one of the city’s fanciest restaurants. Ledo proceeds to order seaweed bread again, but Pinion intervenes and orders the day’s special for both himself and Ledo instead. When the food arrives, two revelations are made. The first, that the experience of eating well-prepared food suited to the human palate is a joy in and of itself. The second, that the Hideauze exist on Earth as well as in space. The final course of the meal is a large steamed dish of octopus. Ledo freaks out upon the dish’s reveal as he finds it anatomy to be similar to the Hideauze. Pinion and his friend Bellows, who has just arrived at the restaurant, tell Ledo that if he freaked out over a small octopus, he surely does not want to see a Whale Squid. This prompts Ledo to further research the Whale Squid at a later date.
Meanwhile, Bellows and Pinion are headhunting Ledo in an attempt to gain him as a worker for their competing Salvage companies. They believe that his Machine Caliber could be a massive asset to them both in its powers to analyze wreckage from afar and to excise large objects from the ocean floor due to its power. All the while, Ledo is paying little attention to the conversation. Amy and her friends are performing a dance for the restaurant patrons on this day: a special occasion in Gargantia that calls for a Festival. The girls are skimpily clad and Ledo is pretty interested in their dance. He watches Amy intently and it seems we can see the interest and then the desire forming in his eyes and in his mind as his sexuality awakens, which had previously been suffocated by the Galactic Alliance’s a-sexual society wherein children were born not to breeding pairs of human parents but to matched donors of genetic and sexual materials to be raised in a collective by machines and maids.
Later that night, Ledo will play his ocarina for Amy as they sit under the stars. The object, once deemed meaningless through its lack of use in human survival by Ledo, is now recognized by him as increasing pleasure in certain instances through the beauty of the music it creates. Amy is impressed that he is coming to understand some of the finer cultural points about human life in Gargantia. Ledo then asks Amy to dance for him again. She does so, blushing all the while, and Ledo seems near lecherous in his interest, though we as spectators know that his interest is still pretty innocent and has not yet developed to that level of calculation.
The next day, Ledo will visit Bebel to ask him about the Whale Squids and gain more information on them. Ledo also gives Bebel a gift of a Crab toy he bought at the fair yesterday. This demonstrates that Ledo is learning more about how he can use his money to not only bring about pleasurable experiences for himself, but for others as well. He expresses this newfound realization about the social and emotional efficacy of The Gift. Bebel responds that not only can he use the money for this purpose, but he must recognize that the presence of the money itself and the fact that he obtained it through pay means that Ledo performed a service to Gargantia through his and Chamber’s work, and that the money symbolizes that Ledo has give help and support to others. This seems to bolster Ledo’s emotional state and drag him further out of his depression. He has found a way to be useful finally.
The episode ends with Ledo deciding to work for Bellows’ Salvage Company rather than with Pinion. While they trawl the ocean’s depths and search out an old, wrecked ocean liner, a Whale Squid hovers nearby. The look of the majestic sea-beast is very similar to the Hideauze we witnessed in space fighting the Galactic Alliance in Episode 1. Chamber and Ledo realize this immediately as well and reflexively begin their ascent to attack and destroy the creature before it can attack them!
Ciao for now,