In the distant future, humanity has abandoned a ruined Earth and now lives in the furthest reaches of space fighting their eternal enemy, the Hideauze. During one of their massive space battles, a young soldier named Ledo and his mecha Chamber are flung through a warp hole into space. He crash lands on a strange planet that is covered in completely in water. To his surprise, he finds that other humans also live there aboard massive fleets of boats. Found by the Gargantia fleet, Ledo must navigate this strange new world.
Although a short series, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet makes a big impact with its world-building, unique story, and absolutely glorious animation. You’ll find it difficult to find anything so beautiful, but these anime recommendations capture that same good storytelling.
For Fans of Unique Sci-Fi Worlds
Renton seeks a life of adventure, but his grandfather’s insistence that he becomes a mechanic keeps him firmly planted at home. His only escape is a pastime that rides Trapar wave particles in the air akin to surfing. One day, adventure literally crashes into his house in the form of a Light Finding Operation piloted by a mysterious girl named Eureka. As a member of the mercenary group Gekkostate, Renton suddenly finds himself intertwined in a whole new life.
Both Eureka Seven and Gargantia took a relatively tired mecha plot and reinvigorated it by building a vast and beautiful new world around it. So few mecha anime series take the time focus on the setting of their stories, but when they do, it provides an adventure in all regards.
From the New World
After a sudden outbreak of psychokensis, the small portion of the population used it to their advantage. Now in the distant future, the town of Kamisu 66 consists of those with psychic powers. Saki Watanabe just had her abilities awakened and now gets to join her friends at the Sage Academy. However, she begins to question things that go on around her, like what happens to those that don’t awaken abilities or why some students mysteriously disappear.
While not mecha, From the New World, like Gargantia, excels most in its world building. While its animation is different, it is equally as beautiful in its own way as well. However, the biggest similarity is that both series paint a story that is intriguing enough to grab onto you, particular if you stick with it near the end where neither series will let you go.
After Aoba Watase is targeted by a mysterious robot known as Valiancer, he is saved by his classmate Hina Yumihara. She reveals that she and her enemy are from the future, and, in order to save his life, propels Aoba 70 years forward where a whole different world awaits him.
Although vastly different in settings, both Gargantia and Buddy Complex tell the same main character stories. Both male protagonists are thrust into a place they are wholly unfamiliar with, the series shows them struggling to adapt, and eventually they discover a secret that changes everything they are about.
For Fans of World / Universe Travelling
While constructing a local dam, a mysterious artifact was discovered. Intellectuals around the world gathered at the United Nations Kurobe Research Institute to study it. However, one day a mysterious samurai from the past awakens and recognizes the head researcher’s daughter, Yukina Shirahane.
Immediately upon watching Kuromukuro, you will notice that like Gargantia it has that same fluid and vibrant animation that is a feast for the eyes. While it has the typical similarities of a singular giant mech, an occasionally brooding male protagonist, and hints of a love story, the most that it has in common is watching the male lead adapt to an unfamiliar environment.
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar
After being mysteriously transported from Earth, Kenshi Masaki finds himself enlisted by a mysterious organization on a planet called Geminar. With the promise of being returned home, he is tasked with piloting a mech and fighting the Shtrayu Empire. After things go wrong and he ends up in prison, he must now redeem himself in order to get home.
While Tenchi Muyo can get a bit lost in the harem-ness of it all and Gargantia is more about character development, they both feature men that are capable of piloting extremely powerful mechs and also have to navigate a strange land where their old customs can get them into trouble.
The Devil is a Part-Timer
On the cusp of completely conquering his world, Satan suddenly finds himself transported to Earth. With no power or magic, he must now get a part-time job to pay the rent.
Yes, The Devil is a Part-Timer doesn’t have mechs and is also exclusively dedicated to comedy, but if you like watching Gargantia for its occasional laughs and watching Ledo blunder his way around a new world, there is no finer recommendation.
For Fans of Alien Fighting
Knights of Sidonia
After destroying Earth, humanity fled from their alien enemy, the Gauna, into the depths of space. However, in their darkest hour as the Gauna discover their seed ships, a mysterious pilot emerges from the depths of the ship to defend humanity’s last hope.
Knights of Sidonia is essentially Gargantia if Ledo stayed with his space people. While the Sidonia crew isn’t quite as uptight as the space humans in Gargantia, they hate their enemy just as much. Although the CGI in Sidonia can be a little awkward, it does present an intriguing and occasionally funny mechs versus aliens survival story.
Humanity has long waged war against a group of giants known as the Zentradi. Facing extinction in their losing war, they fled to the stars, heading towards the center of the galaxy. However, after a rather uneventful exodus, suddenly they find themselves fighting another foe, the biomechanical Vajra.
While Macross Frontier focuses more on the space colony aspect, in both series, humanity is in a desperate fight for survival against an intimidating alien foe. The series also focuses on the state of mind of the mech pilot as well.
After sending cockroaches and algae to terraform Mars as a second home for the crowded Earth, in the future their efforts are coming back to bite them. Not only is an alien disease ravaging humanity, but the cockroaches evolved in murderous giants with a vendetta against humanity. In order to get a cure for the disease, a team of genetically modified heroes from around the world must go to Mars and fight in order to gather samples.
Gargantia is short on the gore, but when it is there, it is pretty GOREgeous. Get it? Ah, well, anyway, if you wished Gargantia had more brutal violence and less of that plot stuff, Terra Formars is perfect for you. While it does get some plot development in its second season, mostly it is about aliens killing people, people killing aliens, and humans stabbing each other in the back using some excellent quality animation.
Do you have your own anime recommendations for Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet? Tell us about them in the comments section below!