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Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
aka: Gurren Lagann

"Go beyond the impossible, and kick reason to the curb! That's how Team Gurren rolls!"

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (roughly "Heaven-Piercing Crimson Face") is what happens when Studio Gainax is asked to create a Saturday Morning Cartoon.

Lonely orphan Simon (pronounced "SHI-mon" in Japanese and "SEE-moan" in the English dub) lives in an underground village, digging for ancient artifacts and eating pigmoles. His self-appointed big brother, Kamina, is a hot-headed idiot who dreams of going to the "Surface" as his father did (despite the village elder constantly saying the "Surface" doesn't exist).

Then Simon discovers a strange drill-shaped key — and, soon after, a pint-sized mecha which responds to the key.

Taking his bro to see it, they're interrupted by (in turn) the village elder, the roof of the village collapsing, a massive, bestial, robotic head, and Yoko, a woman with a very big gun and very little clothing firing at said beast-mecha — a "Gunmen".note 

Thus begins a rollercoaster ride of Fanservice, over-the-top fight scenes between mecha, hot-bloodedness, epic sunglasses, massive Badassery, and mind-blowing heroism. The show is loads of fun and seldom takes itself seriously. Don't try reading any science into the show; common theory (and near Word of God) says its verse's very laws of physics are subservient to the Rule of Cool. On Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is soft enough to be spread on a bagel.

There are two Compilation Movies (with new scenes to help tie things together and provide movie-original climaxes): Gurren-hen ("Crimson Lotus Chapter", titled as Childhood's End outside of Japan) and Lagann-hen ("Spiral Stone Chapter", similarly titled The Lights in the Sky Are Stars). There are also three manga: one is a slightly altered version of the anime, another is a hilariously awesome High School AU, and the third is set in an Alternate Universe focusing on Simon and Nia. A Buddy Cop Show Fan Webcomic by the name of DOUBLE K also exists — and it is glorious.

Gurren Lagann was originally licensed by ADV Films, but was later lifted from their license list and given to Bandai, which went out of print when that went down and is now licensed by Aniplex of America. The English dub — under the title Gurren Lagann — began showing in America on SyFy right before Now and Then, Here and There and MD Geist, and later aired on Viz Media's Neon Alley streaming service. The show aired on Toonami starting August 16th 2014.

Oh, one more thing: this show is highly quotable.

Late-Arrival Spoiler Warning (PLEASE READ): Gurren Lagann was wildly popular on the Internet during its original broadcast in Japan and the months following its end, and said popularity led to Troper Critical Mass (and the insanely long — and detailed — page you are about to read). Most of the spoilers below are marked as such, but quite a few aren't. If you possess any interest in seeing the series for yourself without any spoilers, don't scroll down the page. Don't even Google the series name or check out the subpages. Go here instead and enjoy the awesomeness firsthand.note 

This series (particularly one of its main characters) is the Trope Namer for:

These tropes are the tropes that shall pierce the Heavens!

    open/close all folders 

  • The Abridged Series: Of particular note is Gurren Lagann The Satire which somehow manages to make the series even more epic. This is partially due to the fact that the creator has access to what amounts to a book from Gainax called the "Word of God Data Collection" that allows him to take advantage of creator footnotes.
  • Abusing the Kardashev Scale for Fun and Profit: And boy, does it get abused. Thanks to Spiral Power, Humanity starts out as pretty much Type -1, then goes to Type 0 in 7 years. They then go from Type 0 to Type 4+ in a few days! Finally, they "settle down" to Type 1 after the final fight, using more power as necessary but mostly limiting it to prevent excess Spiral power causing Spiral Nemesis.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Rossiu, known by Kamina as "Dekosuke": "Forehead Guy".
  • Ace Custom: The Gurren, built out of the combined remains of the first three Gunmen our heroes fight on the surface.
  • Action Dress Rip: Yoko, when she needed to rescue a little kid stuck in a tree
  • Action Girl: Yoko. She starts out being Overshadowed by Awesome but things get better for her soon.
  • Adaptation Distillation: By shoehorning the battles with the Four Generals into the last half hour of the first movie and giving different parts to different characters, the story is more streamlined and the film ends with an epic battle.
    • The second movie crunches twelve episodes into two hours, and somehow makes it work.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The manga adds in a few additional scenes not found in the anime. Such as how Nia wound up in the box that Simon would later find. And a converstation between Thymilph and Adiane thats gives a little insight to their relationship.
    • There's even an additional bit before the final battle of the first half about Nia's sister.
  • Advantage Ball: Prevalent since, thanks to Spiral Energy, confidence is combat ability. Except for wild cards like the Mugann, the Ball is in the court of whoever is delivering a Badass Boast at the moment.
  • Aerith and Bob: For example, there's Simon, and then there's Kamina. Simon's could be kind of a subversion though, as it's pronounced "See-mone" as opposed to "Si-mon". Both of them are pretty normal compared to names like Viral and Leeron, though.
  • Affectionate Parody: Not only are the heroes Determinators, as they would be in a bona fide Super Robot show, but they can also win literally on pure determination.
  • A Form You Are (Un)Comfortable With: The Anti-Spiral in the final battle.
  • After the End
  • All Deaths Final: Spoilers, of course In the final episode, after Nia dies, Simon is asked why he doesn't just bring her back, and bring back everyone who died during the series, since he has such massive Spiral Power. Yoko simply replies "Because he's not God." Simon finishes saying that if he were to bring back the dead, they would get in the way of the new generation, and that there are people better suited to follow the tunnels he digs.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Played with. Kamina believes voyeurism to be 'the height of the male soul' (and Simon at least goes along until he's complimented on his real manliness by Yoko).
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
    • In the movie, it splits up into its base parts—Simon in Tengen Toppa Lagann, Nia's Tengen Toppa Solvernia, Viral's Tengen Toppa Enkidurga, Yoko's Tengen Toppa Yoko W Tank, the twins' Tengen Toppa Twin Boukun, Kidd's Tengen Toppa Kidd Knuckle, Iraak's Tengen Toppa Ainzaurus, Zorthy's Tengen Toppa Sozorthyn, Makken's Tengen Toppa Moshogun, and Darry and Gimmy's Tengen Toppa Grapearl, with the rest of the crew in the Tengen Toppa Dai-Gurren. And then they re-combine to create SUPER TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN, which is even bigger.
  • Alternative Calendar: While an actual dating system is never mentioned, Word of God says that prior to Lordgenome's defeat, each village had developed its own calendar system due to not being able to measure time by the sun and moon. This explains why Yoko looks so much older than Simon, despite both of them being, by the reckoning of their respective cultures, 14, because Geehaw and Littner measure years differently.
  • Animation Bump: Episode 15 (the end of the first half) looks like a movie version compared to everything we had seen before, especially Gurren Lagann's flight-to and fight with Teppelin's hand and the battle with Lordgenome. Add it half the episode is evening colored instead of the usual bright daytime.
    • The movies also have this, and to a larger extent than the TV show. The first film gets a massive animation bump beginning with Simon climbing Cytomander's Gunmen using only his Core Drill, all in order to save Nia, which lasts all the way to the film's credits. The second film contains an even better (and more beautiful) Animation Bump when the fight between Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and the Granzeboma elevates into a fight between Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and the Super Granzeboma.
    • The second episode gets an animation bump DOWNWARDS, when Kamina and Simon charge at the Gunzar, which only makes the entire scene even more awesome.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Viral can't help but feel sad for Kamina's death. Or he's just upset that he's been losing to a little kid all this time; he cheers up when he begins to think of Simon as a Worthy Opponent post-timeskip.
  • Anti-Villain: Lordgenome and the Anti-spirals
  • Anyone Can Die: To a more limited degree than other series, though. Kamina dies, and so do a bunch of other characters while fighting the Anti-Spiral; Nia dies at the end.
  • Apocalypse How: Pre-timeskip Earth is a class 2. The Anti-Spirals try to inflict a Class 6 on Earth (by using the moon for a Colony Drop), to keep humanity from eventually causing a Class X-4, if the stuff about the Spiral Nemesis is true. The final fight againt the Anti-Spiral causes a few class X-3s.
    • Eh, they're fighting in a pocket dimension forged by their own perceptions during the final battle. Nothing that exists there is 'real' except the characters themselves.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Princess Nia.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Spiral Power.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Justified. In the second half of the story Gunmen were being decommissioned in favor of the Grapearls. When the Anti-Spirals attacked however, the Gunmen fared far better, because while the Grapearls were the more advanced machine, the Gunmen had been designed specifically to fight that particular enemy.
  • Arc Symbol: Spirals.
  • Arc Words: "Yours is the drill that will pierce the Heavens!" and "Who the Hell Do You Think I Am!"
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Anti-Spiral Nia insists that she is a virtual lifeform with no emotional ties to her past. Simon counters with: "If that's really true, why are you still wearing that ring?" This brings about the conclusion of the "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight and Nia's transition from Manchurian Agent to Distressed Damsel.
  • Art Shift: Nia's paper-cutout flashback in Episode 11. Also, the animation switches to a light, heavily sketchy style during times of extreme hot-bloodedness along with Lordgenome most of the time, whether the rest of the shot is sketchy or not, probably because he has a truly preposterous amount of Spiral energy. Also, the art style changes noticeably in episode 4 due to having a different director.
  • Artistic Age: Kamina is supposed to be about 17 or 18 (which he does look), but Simon is supposed to be fourteen and Yoko is supposed to be around the same age (likely a bit older than Simon). This is lampshaded in the background material by claiming that, without the sun, most of the villages lost the ability to tell time, so no one really knows how old anyone is.
  • Ascended Meme: In Super Robot Wars Z2, you can get Kamina's shades as an equippable item. They give +20 to starting morale.
    • A lesser example: though "Beyond The Impossible" is quite a popular translation of Kamina's catchphrase, no official translation uses it. However, on the blurb for its compilation DVD release of the two movies, Madman Entertainment wrote: "Go beyond the impossible with this Gurren Lagann movie bundle [...]", as a nod to the popularity of that alternate translation.
  • Assimilation Plot: The Anti-Spirals are all collected in one Hive Mind. They did this so they would stop evolving and prevent the Spiral Nemesis.
  • Astral Finale: The entire third arc of the series is set in space.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Thymilph, Lordgenome and the Anti-Spirals all succeed in doing major damage to Team Dai-Gurren.
    • Lordgenome beats the fuck out of a mecha with HIS BARE HANDS. 'nuff said.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Viral's Leitmotif is highly badass heavy metal.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Filled to the brim with this, but it's later played with: Due to the way that Spiral Energy works, the more awesome something is, the more practical it is.
  • Awesomeness Is Volatile: And of course, the entire point of Spiral Nemesis is that too much uncontrolled awesome will destroy the universe.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Kidd and Iraak, during their Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Badass: Just about the entire stinkin' cast! Kamina takes it to Refuge in Audacity levels.
  • Badass Adorable: Simon.
  • Badass Boast: The reputation of Team Gurren echoes far and wide across Giha village! When they talk about its badass leader, that paragon of indomitable spirit and masculinity... they're talkin' about THE MIGHTY KAMINA!!
    • Simon gives us this gem:
      "I'm Simon. Dai-Gurren Brigade's Leader, Simon the Digger. If you become a wall that stands in our way, I'll tear open a hole and break through every time! That drill!"
    • Done by the entire Team Dai-Gurren, in the final episode:
    Simon: Don't underestimate us! We don't care about time, or space, or multi-dimensional whatevers... We don't give a damn about that! Force your way down a path you choose to take and do it all yourself. That's the way Team Dai-Gurren Rolls!
    (Cue Meta Mecha sequence...)
    Nia: Even when trapped by Karma's cycle...
    Yoko: The dreams we left behind will open the door!
    Leeron: Even if the universe stands in our way!
    Viral: Our seething blood will determine what will be!
    Simon: We'll break through time and space...
    All: And defy all those who would stop us to grab hold of our path!
  • Badass Cape: Kamina, of course.
    • The Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann comes with one made of spiral power. Justified in that said mecha looks like a giant glowing blue Kamina.
      • Doubly justified as Word of God has revealed Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is the resurrected Kamina.
  • Badass Creed: Just about all of Kamina's catch phrases could qualify.
    "Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb!"
    Kamina:Your drill is the drill that will pierce the heavens!
  • Badass Grandpa: Father Magin. Though he may be a humble priest the rest of his time on-screen, as Kamina notes he had enough fighting spirit to get an ancient gunman working and used it to defeat the Monster of the Week (though he still manages to be The Stoic). Also, he got the hang of it pretty well, so he's either an Instant Expert, or he's piloted them before. The dub at least implies Instant Expert, as he said that he just did what felt natural.
    • And let's not forget Old Coco.
  • Badass Family: The Black Siblings; Just watch Kittan Zero if you don't believe this.
  • Badass Longcoat: Prologue and post-Timeskip Simon
  • Badass Normal: Surprisingly enough? Kamina. A Word of God book states that when it comes to comparing Spiral Energy levels across the series, Kamina's is one of the lowest of the cast, which is justified by the fact that most of his bravado is a facade that inspires others and is intentionally invoked to keep people from thinking of him as weak. Kamina, having barely any Spiral Power, yet acts brave and inspiring. That in turn raises Spiral Energy in his allies which then strengthens Kamina himself. Whoa, Kamina the party bard coming through!
  • Badass Princess: Nia, though she isn't really Badass until she stops being a princess and slowly becomes a Hot-Blooded freedom fighter as she hangs out with the Team Gurren.
  • Badass Teacher: Yoko becomes one after the Time Skip. Do NOT threaten her students. She'll show you that she hasn't lost her sniper skills. If you happen to be a student, watch out for flying chalk that can crack concrete.
  • Bad Bad Acting: The group of women who lure Team Gurren into a trap in episode 9. They aren't gonna win any Oscars, that's for sure. Of course, Team Gurren being who they are it works perfectly anyway.
  • Balloon Belly: Briefly happened to Kamina in Episode 6.
    Kamina: A man's stomach knows no limit! Keep 'em on coming!
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted with the final scenes of the Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It's either cold in space or Simon kicking every single bit of ass possible makes both Nia and Yoko very happy. You may not notice it due to all the awesome though.
  • Bash Brothers: Simon and Kamina. Later Simon and Viral. Kidd and Iraak from Team Dai-Gurren count too, even though we don't see them in action until near the end.
    • Jorgun and Balinbow, even though they basically share a personality.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space
  • Battle Interrupting Shout: Nia does this twice.
  • The Battlestar: The Dai-Gunzan becomes Team Gurren's mobile fortress "Dai-Gurren" after it's seized from the Beastmen army. It gets an upgrade after the Time Skip when the moon is revealed to be an old Spiral Base, and is converted into the new "Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren"
  • Battle Trophy: Gurren Lagann gets its helmet by taking it from Viral's mech the first time they meet. There's no telling where it goes when they're not combined.
  • Beach Episode: Used straight and subverted: Most of the girls get the usual treatment...except for Yoko and Nia; the former ends up wearing a swimsuit less revealing than her normal clothes, while the latter does even better with a full body swimsuit. However, it's no Filler episode as it features crucial Character Development and the death of a recurring villain.
  • Beady-Eyed Loser: Simon starts off as one.
  • Beam-O-War: Twice. With drills. It collapses a pocket universe the second time.
  • Beam Spam: There's a reason why Attenborough is known by fans as "Beam Spam McMuppet".
  • Behemoth Battle: The anime starts off as a typical battle between Humongous Mecha who over the series escalates into galaxy sized ones.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Kamina and Yoko. The bickering, the insults, the beating, the denial, the Accidental Perversion that leds to a beating; it's all there. It's also a rare example of this trope being Played for Drama due to certain plot developments.
  • Beneath the Earth: Most of humanity had been forced underground by forces unknown a long time ago. The first part of the series revolves around liberating the repressed humans.
  • The Berserker: The entire cast! Exception: Nia, her CMOA in Lagann-Hen notwithstanding.
  • Berserker Tears: Simon in episode 11.
  • Beyond the Impossible: The Trope Namer as shown by the first quote on that page. The Dai Gurren Brigade has no respect for laws even if they're physical laws.
  • BFG: Yoko's rifle. It's clearly based on the Barrett M82 anti-materiel rifle, a Cool Rifle.
  • BFS: Kamina's nodachi. Epically lampshaded in Kamina's on-foot battle with Viral; he spends a good ten seconds drawing the thing.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Bruce Ironstaunch.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Kamina; although he's not Simon's real brother, he considers himself his soul brother.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens all the bloody time. Kamina pulls one from BEYOND THE GRAVE when the others are trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine
  • Bigger Is Better:
    • The Gurren Lagann just keeps getting bigger... and bigger... and bigger...
    • Then inverted in that at the end it then gets smaller... and smaller...
  • Big "NEVER!": By the "final boss" himself in the English dub.
  • Bishounen:
    • Kamina to an extent.
    • Post-timeskip, Simon and Rossiu.
    • Cytomander, although in Cytomander's case it can be easily hidden behind what we might call his "enthusiasm".
  • Bilingual Bonus: The name of Viral's Leitmotif, Nikopol? Apparently it derives from the Greek Nikepolis, which means "City of Victory."
  • Bird Run: The Spiral King's Lazengann does this (strangely, the man himself does not).
  • Bishounen Line: As the Team Dai Gurren mechs get stronger, they begin to get more humanoid, yet monstrous. Their final phase, Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, is a sudden transition from a multi-faced mech samurai to a large, blue tribute to the founder of their group. Justified because, as Lordgenome explains, the human form is the one most conducive to generating Spiral Power.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The universe is saved through the power of badassitude and a timely Theme Music Power-Up. Buuuut Nia dies just after getting married to Simon, who spends the rest of his days Walking the Earth with Boota. And, to make it all the more heartrending, both men Yoko loved die, and she seems to have sworn off romance for life.
    • More sweet than bitter, as the human race and all other Spirals are now calling out to each other, implying that everyone in the Universe will soon come upon a singularity, making life exponentially easier for everyone.
  • Black Box: Every Gunmen, specifically Gurren Lagann (Well, mostly Lagann - it is over 1000 years old and made by the same humans who built the Cathedral Terra.) has these, and mass-production versions of Gurren Lagann made without these are superior to Lordgenome's old clunky Gunmen, right? Hell No. Apparently, if you make a bunch of Gurren Laganns post-timeskip without the inexplicable ability to summon huge drills from nowhere, that odd, presumably appendix-like engine that allows it to run on Spiral Power, and on top of that replace the Gunmen pilots with a bunch of people who weren't in the original (Dai-)Gurren Brigade, all you get is a Redshirt Army. Go figure.
    • The differences between modified, Gunmen and Grapearls (the aforementioned redshirts) are taken to absurd physics-defying heights in episode 22, where the Grapearls are being utterly annihilated by the mugann, then a squad of about 7 Gunmen show up in a massive Big Damn Heroes moment, and Gurren Lagann kills off hundreds of mugann with sheer force of of awesome, to which the rest of the Gunmen also destroy hundreds of Mugann, in all of two minutes without a scratch, while all the Grapearls could do at first was get shot at.
      • This is actually justified in-episode by Lordgenome, who states that the Gunmen were originally designed to fight Anti-spirals like the Mugann. This makes sense, as the Grapearls were originally designed to fight against other Gunmen, based off of imperfect understanding of the technology of the Spiral Races.
  • Blade Brake: The OVA.
  • The Blank: The Anti-Spiral robots. Only appropriate, as "Mugann" can be translated as "faceless".
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Nia.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Kamina.
  • Bokukko: The not-particularly-masculine and very enthusiastic Kiyal uses the even more masculine "ore", which really stands out in her very feminine voice.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: At the end, they realize that the Anti-Spiral leader is intentionally matching their abilities, just to make it more depressing when they finally lose.
    • The may be a form of Genre Savvy on Anti-Spiral's part, as despair weakens spiral power, though it is debatable whether he needed to do this to get rid of them for good, or just wanted to (or both).
  • Book Ends:
    • Well, sort of, the technique that was used to defeat the Big Bad wasn't the Giga Drill Break, it was the very first team attack that Kamina and Simon used to defeat two Gunmen, throwing Lagann at the enemy, impaling them.
    • Lagann-hen starts with the melee fight between Simon and Lordgenome ending with Lordgenome having a big hole in his chest. Guess how the Anti-Spiral ends up going down? To make it even better, look at the dialogue in between the battles, you'll notice several parallels.
    • "All The Lights in the Sky..."
    • The shot just before Simon discovers Lagann in the first episode is of Simon's tunnel spiraling down to a fine point and continuing even farther down straight vertically. The last shot of the series is of Gurren Lagann's flight trail spiraling up into a fine point and continuing farther up straight vertically.
    • Simon starts as a simple digger expanding Jiha Village, and ends as a simple digger planting flowers and helping others.
  • Boss Subtitles:
    • When some of the mightier Gunmen are introduced, along with their pilots.
    • Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann has them as well. And in The Movie version of the Anti-Spiral arc, everyone gets one.
  • Brawler Lock: Simon in Lagann vs Lordgenome... WITH HIS BARE HANDS!!! Also Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann vs the Grand Zamboa.
  • Breaking the Bonds: Done by Kamina in the first episode, as well as Lordgenome in the 15th.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done in the Hot Springs Episode in reference to the censoring blur on the female naked apes of Team Gurren. Kamina points it out, and is overall confused by it. That's right folks, Team Gurren really does live up to their theme and "breaks the unbreakable".
    • From the same episode's Clip Show segment, when it gets to Viral's first appearance...
      Kamina: Wait. That guy was in the show?
      Simon: Huh? You forgot him already?
    • Medium Awareness: In the same episode, Darry and Gimmi are notably surprised when the notice Kamina's and Simon's splitscreens appearing above them, and actually begin looking around for where it's coming from.
    • Grand Zamboa does this to end the Dai Gurren Dan's triumphant speech in Lagann Hen.
  • Building Swing: Simon and Yoko do it by sticking the Gurren Lagann's drills on enemy aircraft!.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Several. Leeron is the first to come to mind.
    • The Anti-Spiral plays it straight in the finale: "Infinity...Big Bang! STTTTOOOOORRRRRRMMMMMMM!"
  • Canon Foreigner: The Manga introduces Princess Straea, an elderly abandoned Spiral Princess who runs the all-female village and wants Nia to succeed her post. And had a past with Old Coco.
  • Camp Gay: Leeron. Then we have Leeron's theme tune, "He is so XXX". The following message is spelled out in individual letters: "Leeron is gay. He is so gay. Gay. He loves my asshole. Asshole."
  • Cape Swish: Everyone with clothes past their waist does this at least once. Same goes for any mecha with trailing parts.
  • The Captain: Dayakka, after the team takes command of Dai-Gurren.
  • Cartwright Curse: Any man Yoko starts to express anything resembling nonplatonic affection for dies very soon. She kisses Kamina and he gets his Heroic Sacrifice clearing up Simon's Heroic BSOD. Seven years later she admits she admires Kittan's contributions, even compared to Kamina's... which concludes in a kiss right before his own Rule of Cool Heroic Sacrifice. Given that death follows her lips, fans of Simon should be glad she never gave him the eye.
    • Of course, Kittan's death is due to him undertaking a Suicide Mission to give the others a chance to survive. And he volunteered.
      • However, he interrupts Yoko just as she is about to announce that she is going on said suicide mission. So his sacrifice was to protect the woman he came to love... whom he thought had multiple children over the past few years (total misunderstanding).
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Crowd scenes are impressively detailed, and include quite a few recurring extras. Including Bruce Ironstaunch, if you look hard enough.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: When Yoko makes her first appearance fighting the Gunman that falls in to Jiha Village, what's the first thing that Kamina does? He flirts with her.
    Kamina: "Hey, babe! Come here often?"
  • Catch Phrase: Kamina has several, all of which border on being Arc Words: "Who the hell do you think I am!?" The Mouth Flaps actually match fairly well from Japanese to English, so WTHDYTIA didn't have to be altered at all. Just so you know, in Japanese it's 俺を誰だと思ってやがる "Ore wo dare da to omotte yagaru?!")
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: WTHDYTIA, the last time it's used in the show.
    Simon: I guess I'm nobody, huh?
  • Cephalothorax: The Gunmen.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: An intentionally planned example.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Rossiu despairs of them once.
  • Character Development
  • Char Clone: Viral fits this trope, he even does a very Char-esque Heel-Face Turn. The difference lies in their levels of sheer hot-bloodedness.
  • Chastity Couple: In spite of all blatant Fanservice, Simon and Nia fit this trope perfectly. They just had one on-screen kiss before her death. Although, off screen it has been confirmed that they got it on at least twice. Though the same Word of God also stated that they didn't at all. Supposedly, YMMV on that point.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Nia's engagement ring, which coincides with her Face-Heel Turn into the Anti-Spiral messenger, becomes the subject of the Armor-Piercing Question above, then is later used to find her and the Anti Spiral homeworld, and is then used once again as a gateway to allow Simon and the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann to get to the Anti Spiral King. This is even more impressive when you note that the engagement ring's gem is the same rock that Simon gave Nia in Episode 11.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Space Gunmen's cascade system, which allows the original Gunman/Grapearl to eject from the larger mech's mouth. The first time it is actually used is when Kittan has to eject the original King Kittan when his Space Gunman is crushed by the Death Spiral Machine. Had it not been for that, Kittan's Heroic Sacrifice would have been for naught, and the heroes would have been crushed to death.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Lagann's ability to combine with other Gunmen crops up several times after it first combines with Gurren. The first time it's used as part of Kamina's plan to hijack the Dai-Gunzan, after which it's mostly forgotten until after the timeskip, when Simon suddenly pulls it out again to combine Gurren-Lagann with the Arc-Gurren and form the Arc-Gurren-Lagann.
    • It was used during the fight against Lordgenome, who detonated Lazengann's arm to prevent it.
    • It was also used against Cytomander's forces when Gurren Lagann grabbed onto a flying gunman, and spiral-fused it to its back, giving it flight and wings.
    • Also, in the manga, Yoko fuses Lagann to the Dayakkaiser, creating Dayakaiser Lagann. She does this in the wake of Kamina's death.
  • Chekhov's Volcano
  • Chewing the Scenery
  • Chiaroscuro
  • City in a Bottle: Jeeha, Simon and Kamina's village; Kamina always keeps getting in trouble because he firmly believes in the surface, and the elder doesn't start believing until Yoko and a Gunmen crash through the ceiling.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Gunmen, especially Gurren Lagann, pretty much run on the sheer power of belief and hot blood.
  • Clip Show:
    • Episode 16 (and most of 6, in the TV-version), which recap the entire story thus far.
    • The movies are arguably glorified clip shows until the endings.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Nia is being held hostage by an enemy mech, but Yoko destroys it by shooting through Nia's hair.
  • Close on Title: Episode 8, "Farewell, comrades," the Last Words of Kamina.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Nia; at first it seems to come from her sheltered up-bringing but it quite clear she isn't all there in the head when even after 7 years in the outside world she still surprises everyone with her quirky misunderstandings. Simon even remarks he has a hard time understanding what she says.
  • Colony Drop: After the time skip, the moon is sent on a head-on collision with the Earth..
  • Combat Break Down:
    • Simon vs. Lordgenome. Starts with Gurren Lagann vs. Lazengann. Both get trashed. Continues with Lagann (just the head) vs. Lordgenome punching it barehanded. Lordgenome actually wins that one and pulls Simon out of the cockpit. Simon responds by stabbing Lordgenome with his fricking car keys. The resulting explosion pops the top off Teppelin.
    • Lagann-hen's finale. It happens really fast at the end. It starts with Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann versus Super Grand Zamboa. They both smash their giant drills together. Super Tengen Toppa Giga Drill Break falls apart to Super Grand Zamboa's drill. Then Zamboa's drill beats Tengen Toppa Giga Drill Break, then Super Galaxy Giga Drill Break, then Arc Giga Drill Break, before finally being beaten by the original Giga Drill Break, sending Gurren Lagann flying at Super Grand Zamboa. It breaks down more from there. Super Grand Zamboa sends some drill tendrils at Gurren Lagann. Gurren Lagann plows through after taking some hit. The Anti Spiral homeworld shoots some more tendrils at Gurren Lagann. Viral uses Gurren to throw Lagann at the Anti Spiral homeworld to get past the tendrils. Breaks down further to the Anti Spiral himself shooting tendrils at Lagann, breaking open the cockpit, causing Lagann to come alive and throw Simon at the Anti Spiral. From there on out it's down all the way from giant energy beings 500 million lightyears tall to Simon and the Anti Spiral going at it with their bare fists.
  • Combat Tentacles:
    • The Anti-Spiral and his personal mech. Naturally, they're drills.
    • Adiane's mech also displays this when she first shows up.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Signified when everyone on Earth sports a Determined Look.
  • Combining Mecha:
    • Parodied when Kamina tries to accomplish this by just sticking Simon's mecha on top of his own, only to have it work anyway. Simon is able later to repeat this trick with a battleship, a winged mini-mech, an even bigger battleship, and the Moon..
    • Further parodied in the manga adaptation, where Kamina gets it in his head that Lagann Gurren: Gurren on top, Lagann on the bottom. might work. It doesn't.
    • In the Compilation Movie the mecha of the Four Generals: with Viral taking Thymilph's place. combine into one massive robot rather than the generals fighting the Team Gurren individually.
    • In addition to being a combination of every mecha/spaceship it has fused with to this point, the eponymous mecha also includes several other Laganns that had been abandoned in previous failed attempts to defeat the Anti Spiral, each piloted by a team member.
    • In Lagann-Hen the Tengen Toppa Gunmen that step in after Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is destroyed, including Tengen Toppa Lagann, turn into raw spiral power and combine to form Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. This trope can also be extended to the other Gurren Laganns, all of which are inside of Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's head.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: The last part of the show seems to carry this message to a great extent.
  • Coming-of-Age Story
  • Commedia Dell Arte Troupe: The entire cast fits just fine in the High School AU. Or in a Buddy Cop Show. Observe.
  • Conspicuous CG
    • The Anti-Spiral Mugann mecha look like refugees from TRON. And it works. The first time a Mugann shows up becomes a bonafide Oh, Crap moment because it's so entirely different from any other enemy seen in the series so far.
    • Pay close attention to episode 8 as Dai-Gurren is about to throw Gurren Lagann. It's arms are computer-generated, but they're cleverly blended into the scene in split-second animation.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Needed for the Diabolus Ex Machina moment and lampshaded with little more than the affected character shouting WHAT A TWEEEEEST!. This actually supposed to be part of the thematic development in the show. Not only was Nia captured by the same fate as her father, it was actually supposed to tie in with her overall development as someone that wasn't born to be a human. It was also more beneficial to the heroes than to the villains, if Nia hadn't been the Messenger Earth would be doomed and they would never find the Anti-Spiral homeworld. It's basically the same deal as Simon finding the Lagann.
  • Conveniently Cellmates: Simon is conveniently put in the same cell as Viral.
  • Cool Big Sis: Yoko to everyone.
  • Cool but Stupid: Kamina is filled with this. In the very first episode he attempts to take on a giant robot, and he only gets cooler and stupider from there. Somehow, though, Word of God confirms that Kamina would have won the battle without Yoko or Lagann.
  • Cool Helmet: Gurren Lagann's, stolen from Viral's Gunman, Enki.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: At least until some of those cool people become the Authority after the timeskip, by then its decidely uncool. After that it depends on whether or not you think the Anti-Spiral was a larger authority.
  • Cool Shades: Kamina's are the champion example — but even the robots and Boota have them.
  • Cool Ship: The Dai-Gunzan/Dai-Gurren, followed by the Arc-Gurren and finally the Cathedral Terra/SuperGalaxy Dai-Gurren.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The Gunmen in season 1 seem to adhere to this, especially with regard to Yoko's rifle: whenever there's one Gunman, her shots barely faze it. When there's an army of them: like in the battle to capture Dai-Gunzan, they're dropping like flies.
  • Corporal Punishment: Adiane beats up on an already injured Viral for his failure against the heroes. It's rather painful to watch.
  • Corrupt Church:
    • Partially subverted; the religion of Rossiu's village is faked, but only to Shoot the Dog when it's honestly necessary.
    • Though after the Time Skip, Rossiu seems to be reverting somewhat to the patterns of this phony faith, as Simon points out.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: If smashing a small robot into a big robots head, almost impaling the pilot of the big robot (who, by the way, was the one who thought of this) in the process is not Crazy Enough to Work, then nothing is. Oh, and they also run a walking, nonflying battleship up a mountain and jump through the air for a good half a mile just to get a chance to kick an Airborne Aircraft Carrier. This universe runs on Rule of Cool, so it was destined to succeed.
    • And when the flying kick only scratches the side of the Airborne Aircraft Carrier? They at once make the captain fling the wheel over in the most exaggerated way possible, turning the flying kick into a flying roundhouse kick that of course succeeds.
  • Creature Hunter Organization: The Spirals' Ganmen Pilots, who repurposed Ganmen to combat the Antispirals and their Ashtanga. The Beastmen are these Inverted, since they were seen by the humans as mere beasts who attack people on the surface with their Mecha just because.
  • Cute Bruiser: While she never actually gets to fight hand-to-hand, Nia is freakishly strong, especially given her small size pre-timeskip.
  • Cute Little Fang: Kiyal.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Anti-Spiral, who not only knows how spiral power works but fights the heroes by using scenarios designed to break their will and determination. Except at the end, which is just an excuse for an AWESOME giant robot fight.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Kamina's whole character is pretty much based around providing this sort of motivation to the other characters. Hell, this could be considered basically the entire message of the series, seeing as all the incredibly awesome stuff they accomplish is caused simply by daring to a Badass.
  • Darker and Edgier: The second movie, Lagann-hen, had a run-in with this trope. Even though Jorgin and Balinbou survived the initial Anti-Spiral attack, Kittan still died, and the scenes in the film were more brutal and graphic this time around than in the TV anime. Such instances of brutality included Simon coughing up blood from exerting too much Spiral Power, the Tengen Toppa mechs all bleeding (which seems to be a bit of a loving jab towards another work from Gainax) from the Anti-Spiral's no-holds-barred beatdown, Simon coughing up even more blood from said beatdown, and the more subtle, less-epic manner in which the film handled Rossiu's attempted suicide. Also Nia got at least a whole thirty seconds of screentime dedicated to showing off her (albeit beautiful) toplessness
    • Slightly less extreme as above, but the series proper post-Timeskip definitely counts. Just look at the Anti-Spiral's and Rossiou's decisions!
  • A Day in the Limelight: The compilation movies put a lot more emphasis on the minor Gunmen pilots in the group, especially the second one, which gives each of them their own Tengen Toppa mech and a fight scene versus the Anti-Spiral.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: Before a major battle with the beast men, Kamina and Yoko kiss, and Kamina says when he comes back "he'll return that 10 times more". He tragically dies from a fatal wound in the subsequent battle.
  • Death Is a Sad Thing: Many of the characters express regret at the death of Kamina.
    • The entire Dai Gurren team in Lagann Hen fights with unmatched fury after the death of Kittan
  • Death Is Dramatic: Played as straight as possible.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Up until the death of Kamina, this is a deconstruction. It does not take itself seriously, and mocks most of the tropes comprising it. After that event, it bops us over the head, asking us: "Dude, did you not forget that these things are awesome?"
    • The series also deconstructs the Heroic Willpower and Telescoping Robot tropes present in the Super Robot Genre: Spiral energy, the physical form of Heroic Willpower, can create matter out of nothing, but its overuse is slowly killing the universe; the Anti-Spirals are performing a mass Spiralcide to prevent this. It gets reconstructed in the end, when the galaxy unites to address the issue, having been enlightened by the Anti-Spirals.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Kamina definitely takes up most of the spotlight during the first act, but his death kind of disqualifies him of protagonistship.
    • 'The man who has yet to realise his destiny' isn't Kamina.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Viral, who starts off as utterly contemptuous of our heroes, respects his opponents more and more with each consecutive defeat.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: As Rossiu is surrounded by armed guards telling a crowd Simon is to be executed, someone throws a rock at him. While we never see who truly threw it, fanon believes that a certain Bruce Ironstaunch intervened.
  • Delayed Explosion: Happens a lot. Often done to give the heroes time to strike a pose after a kill.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The surface world gets this treatment in episode 9, due to the tremendous amount of rain, just to show how bleak the world's gotten (at least from the point-of-view of team Dai-Gurren) after Kamina's death. The only things that aren't monochrome in the environment in the first half of the episode are the green of Simon's drills (and Spiral energy vomit), and the technicolor explosions of the Gunmen that Kittan and Simon leave in ruin in the first few minutes.
    • Also, Simon's world in the Anti-Spiral's Lotus-Eater Machine is noticeably bleak and unsaturated, at least until the real Kamina shows up.
  • Despair Gambit: The Anti-spirals' and Lordgenome's MO. Ultimately backfires.
  • Destructive Saviour: the alternate Team Gurren in Parallel Works 6.
    • Simon, when the muganns appear for the first time.
  • Determinator: The whole cast.
    Kamina: A true man never dies, even when he's killed!
    • Special mention must be made of Lordgenome, who manages to walk around delivering his dying words without the benefit of lungs, a heart, or a spinal cord, as they have been removed via drill.
  • Determined Expression: These happen, of course, throughout the series, but the crowner comes in the grand finale, when a stunning "The Reason You Suck" Speech from the Big Bad is countered by Determined Looks from people across the globe, as they send a Combined Energy Attack to the titular mech and simultaneously kick off a Last Episode Theme Reprise.
  • Deus Angst Machina Played for laughs in the High School AU with Simons past
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: see Contrived Coincidence.
  • Diagonal Cut: Although This Is a Drill, Giga Drill Break stylistically resembles one.
    • Gurren Boomerang is a more straightforward example.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Literally, during the final battle of Lagann-hen. Topped off with transforming your own hand into a drill before delivering the final blow.
  • Disc One Final Boss: The Spiral King.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place many years after the climatic battle, and shows how the survivors have settled into their new lives.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Within five minutes of the first episode's beginning, some girls wonder if Simon's going to drill them. It only gets worse from there.
    • Don't believe it? Attempting to list even a half of the show's examples of this trope would be longer than the rest of the page.
    • It can all be summed up by looking at the Dai Gurren. Hell that thing is this trope embodied.
    • Really though, would you expect any less from the group that made FLCL?
  • Doom Magnet: As mentioned above, anyone Yoko shows the slightest romantic affection toward is destined for a Bad End.
  • Don't Think. Feel: How to pilot a Gunmen: do whatever feels natural.
  • The Dragon: Both Viral and Guame can be considered Dragons.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Rossiu leaves his village, he tells Father Magin that once they make the surface peaceful and safe for humans, there will be no need for painful laws like the village's population limits. Seven years later when humans live on the surface in large numbers, no only is there that exact same problem with the Anti-Spirals beginning their attack once human population reaches a million, but it's Rossiu who's trying to keep it in check to prevent them from reaching that limit. Simon calls him out on this.
  • Dual Wielding Most notably, the TTGL dual-wielding two Giga Drills in the finale.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Simon and Nia's first meeting.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: This might as well have been the title of episode 24
  • Dynamic Entry: inter alia, see below under Get A Hold Of Yourself Man.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For everyone not named Simon, who does the most out of the entire cast yet still ends up getting handed a sack of crap.
  • Easily Forgiven: Simon doesn't have any problem forgiving Rossiu, after he overthrew Simon and tried to sentence him to death.
  • Eat the Dog: Boota serves his own tail to Simon and Kamina when they're too hungry to pilot their Gunmen with HOT BLOOD. It turns out, despite Simon's reluctance, it's actually delicious — though it might be that he's just a massive source of Spiral energy.
  • Ecchi: Mostly confined to Yoko's outfit of choice. Until the second movie that is.
  • Elseworld: Some of the Parallel Works videos.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Anti-Spirals.
  • Elemental Powers: Each of Lordgenome's Four Generals has power over one of the classical elements. This is most readily seen when they teleport out of his throne room.
  • Elite Mook: Gurren starts out as one of these, piloted by a Beastman who is at least one level of command above his randomly-marauding peers in the region.
  • Emerald Power: Spiral Energy glows green, and whenever someone uses a vast amount of spiral energy, their eyes turn green too. Special mention to Kittan whose entire body take a green tint during his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Gunmen — and especially Simon's Lagann — are powered by the fighting spirit of their pilots.
    • Near the end of Lagann-hen, it's implied Lagann is not only fueled by emotion, but is actually sentient.
  • Empathic Environment: The weather is rainy and gloomy during the first two-thirds of the Episode 9. After Simon finds Nia, beams of light appear, the rain stops and colour returns to the sky.
  • Emperor Scientist: Lordgenome.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Spiral Nemesis; the annihilation of the universe through an overdose of Spiral Power. Happens in the first episode (an Alternate Continuity) and in Lagann-hen, in an alternate universe (not the same thing).
  • Energy Being: Not an actual creature, but it arguably describes the title mecha itself, which is a construct made out of all of the heroes' Spiral energy. Possibly the same case regarding its anti-thesis, the Granzeboma.
    • Definitely describes the SUPER Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which is basically an energy reincarnation of Kamina.
    • Boota, being a living creature of so dense spiral power even the Anti Spiral had not seen anything like him before. Note that the Anti Spiral supposedly saw thousands if not millions of spiral rebellions through, and he even took extra cautious measures to try and figure out what is so irregular about Simon and company's rebellion, just because of Boota's hidden power. The best example of Boota being this is him instantly evolving into humanoid form using his massive spiral energy pool when the whole crew became endangered.
    • The Anti-Spiral is a being composed of the collective will of the Anti-Spiral race.
  • Enthusiasm vs. Stoicism
  • Establishing Character Moment: The show literally starts out with Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Iraak's Tengen Toppa Gunman in The Movie is a robotic T. rex the size of a galaxy. Thank god for Spared By Adaptation!
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Nia.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: In the form of "Spiral Power", this is a codified law of the universe.
  • Everything Trying To Kill Humanity
  • Evil Counterpart: Lordgenome to Simon of all people! In the films, you learn of his backstory and find that in many ways they were eerily similar to Simon's. After the Anti-Spirals first invaded the earth ages ago, Genome, as a child of about Simon's age, decided to raise an army and fight back. He even had a cute animal for a sidekick and a mini-Gunmen.
  • Evil Chancellor: Post-Time Skip Rossiu is actually a subversion. He's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who tries to kill himself once he realizes what he's done. Luckily, Simon gives him a fist sized dose of Get A Hold Of Yourself Man.
  • Evil Is Dumb: Viral.
  • Evil Is Sterile: The Anti-Spiral opposes the growth of Spiral Energy, which is caused by biological evolution. To that end, it has deliberately halted the evolution of its own species and actively tries to suppress the spread of life throughout the universe. It never creates independent lifeforms, instead spawning countless identical automata that can do nothing but mindlessly attack. This lack is also reflected in its tactics- aside from certain automatic defense systems, like the Death Spiral Field and the Alternate Space Labyrinth, it never uses any strategy more complex than "use a weapon just like the protagonists', but slightly more powerful".
    • Lordgenome, as an agent of the Anti-Spiral, kills his own offspring when they become self-aware and polices his reign with the Beastmen, who are literally sterile as a way to prevent them generating Spiral Power.
  • Evolving Credits: Each arc has a different animation for the opening credits, reflecting changes in the cast and the goals. But they don't stop there- the pre-timeskip openers feature the first verse of Sorairo Days, while the post-timeskip openers use the second verse.
  • Explosive Leash: During Rossiu's coup against Simon, he has to rely on him to fight a Mugan that is attacking the Earth. He allows Simon to use the Gurren-Lagann, only with some conditions: 1. Kinon has to be his co-pilot, and 2. she has the Gurren-Lagann armed with explosives to make sure Simon won't try to escape.
  • Expressive Mask: The faces on the Gunmen speak at the same time as their pilots.
    • To go even further, the Gunmen can even mimic facial expressions to some degree. Thought it happens with the majority of the main ones, it's best featured on Enki (particularly in Parallel Works 2, though it happens at various points in the canon).
      • Gurren Lagann does a Jaw drop (with the top head) and blush (both heads) when the towel covering Yoko's chest flies away. That mecha is expressive as hell.
  • Expressive Shirt: Yoko's skull hairpin sometimes reflects her emotions. Most notably when she realizes the men desperately need a bath. Her pin was giving an ">_<" look while Yoko held her breath and pretty much made the same expression.
  • Expy: Kamina acts very much like a successor to Sanson from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.
    • And there's a great similarity between how his actions and those of Gai Daigoji.
    • It wouldn't be a Gainax series without a Shout-Out to Cordwainer Smith. The Beastmen are all too similar to Smith's animal derived Underpeople, and Teppelin shares a structurual design similar to Smith's Earthport.
    • Thymilph is a fat, old one of 777 from Dead Leaves.
    • Look at the Gurren-Lagann, without the sunglasses. Now look at the Gundam Virsago from After War Gundam X. Notice how similar they are?
      • Similarly, the Chouginga Gurren-Lagann's transformation sequence looks quite similar to that of the Gundam Ashtaron/Hermit Crab from the same show as above.
      • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann itself is very simmilar with Persoenlichkeit from Super Robot Wars Original Generation.
  • Eye Color Change: Humans who channel enormous Spiral Power have spirals appear in their eyes. This is seen mostly in Lordgenome, but also briefly in Kittan right before his death. Simon's eye also changes during the Giga Drill Break war with the Anti-Spiral after Lordgenome's sacrifice, as well as during the Distant Finale.
  • Face Fault: This being anime, it happens a few times. What's notable is how Leeron manages to make the aircraft-carrier-sized Dai-Gurren facefault.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Lordgenome prior to the beginning of the series and Nia in the series (and the movies, though those are essentially just glorified clip shows); as well as Lordgenome in the parallel works. And they turn HARD.
  • Fallen Hero: Lordgenome and Guame
  • Falling into His Arms: Nia falls into Simon's arms after he arrives to save her from the Anti-Spiral.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Let's face it, almost anyone who is even slightly a Determinator or Hot-Blooded can and WILL pilot a Gunmen at some point.
    • Simon literally does this in episode 11, before his Heroic Rebirth and Prestige-Classing into Badass. He literally falls hundreds of meters from hanging onto a gunmen, and is caught by Lagann's seat.
  • Fan Disservice: In the sixth episode, with Gimmy. You know what I'm talking about. By extention, Parallel Works 5 doesn't even need an explanation when you find out that the opening shot is one of Gimmy's penis.
  • Fangs Are Evil: until Viral's Heel-Face Turn, when Gurren itself sports them.
    • Also, whenever Gurren-Lagann performs a Giga Drill Break, it's teeth in Gurren's mouth are replaced by drills, as if trying to play this trope straight.
  • Fanservice: Yoko wears a flame-patterned bikini, short shorts, stockings and a scarf. At all times. Lampshaded when they visit another village and tell her to cover herself up. (She ends up looking like White Mage.)
    • And again with the Beach Episode: The men are VERY excited that Yoko agrees to put on a bathing suit, but are disappointed when it covers more than her normal outfit (though, really, how much more revealing can you get than her normal outfit?).
    • Yoko actually has two other outfits she wears in the series: one as a teacher during a flashback after the timejump which isn't really revealing, if it wasn't for the fact that there is a significantly long shot that shows her... assets... are not impeded by it. She ditches it for her old costume as soon as her schoolchildren are in trouble. Finally, in the last few episodes where Team Dai-Gurren are going off to fight the Anti-Spirals, she changes into a costume that has some strategically-placed stars... and is arguably showing more of her skin than before.
    • Kittan's three sisters also show alot of this, especially Kiyoh, the eldest with the biggest assets.
    • Not to mention, of course, both Nia and Yoko in the second movie. During the Rousing Speech, the camera pans quite slowly over their inexplicably naked bodies.
    • Kamina also has his fair amount of Shirtless Scene, a whole episode of full nudity. and is a good example of Mr. Fanservice. Which re-occured with Simon and Viral during the shower fight scene.
  • Fastball Special: Kamina chucks Lagann at two Gunmen (against Simon's will the first time), and it soon becomes a staple of their combat tactics.
    • For all of two battles. After that, they tend to go with Giga Drill Breaks as Finishing Moves.
    • The Dai-Gunzan "launches" its subordinate Gunmen by throwing them into the air.
    • Viral repeats this in the battle against the Anti-Spiral, though it stands to reason that he probably learned from watching Kamina. And then Lagann does it too.
  • Father to His Men: Kamina is close, though he's more of a terrifying older brother.
    • Lordgenome is a literal father to his men! In that he built them, anyway.
    • Thymilph is another example, but you have to really pay attention to his dialog.
  • Femme Fatalons: Adiane, of course. Her entire character is feminine to the point that she has the most titular Gunmen of the series; sporting ample breasts and speaking out of its crotch.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Nia, after her consumption by the anti-spirals
  • Fill It With Flowers: In the movie, after the Time Skip Nia states that she wants to plant flowers across the world. In the Distant Finale, Simon is shown digging a well for a small village and, when offered thanks, demands that the chief cover the hillside with flowers.
  • The Final Temptation
  • Final Speech: Lordgenome and the Anti-Spiral leader.
  • Finishing Move! Giga! Drill! BREAK-AAAAAHHH!
  • First Time in the Sun: The first episode.
  • Five-Bad Band: the Beastman generals and their creator.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Simon's reaction to Kamina's death. He only goes through four of them, however: Denial (saying Kamina's name over and over again), anger (killing beastmen by the dozen with no regard for his own safety), depression (Lagann refuses to work), and acceptance (his "World of Cardboard" Speech).
  • Flirting Under Fire: This actually happens during Kamina and Yoko's first meeting. She comes down through the roof, firing at the enemy gunman, and he's instantly attracted to her. When he starts flirting, Yoko's baffled that he isn't running for his life instead.
    Yoko: I only knocked it backwards. It could still get up and get us!
    Kamina: Hey, babe! Come here often?
    Yoko: What?
  • Foreshadowing: In the first 2 minutes of the series, we get a look at the initial battle fought with the anti-spirals, and the ship which was used in it. It goes even further to show that Lagann (by way of the core drill) will play a huge part, and even displaying a character looking almost identical to evolved!Boota. The series is in love with history repeating itself (with everything from personalities, fighting techniques, and deaths), and just repeating itself in general by way of having an episode and two movies dedicated to clips; but they have moved to show us that the same thing has been in the course of happening for over 1,000 years.
    • Viral's character and sense of honor being what it is, his discussion with Lordgenome is obvious but real foreshadowing for his Heel-Face Turn after the time skip.
    • Rossiu's society as a child fuels his future decisions to the point where he does exactly what he'd been so horrified to learn of in the past.
      • And while on the topic of Rossiu, his temporarily taking control of the Gurren in episode 6. Following Kamina's death, Rossiu becomes his replacement.
    • About the whole relationship between Rossiu and Simon is made of these, really. Starting after Kamina's death, when Rossiu takes over the piloting of Gurren Rossiu acts similar to Simons old self and constantly tries to save Simon who gets nearly suicidal and reckless "like" Kamina. As the story develops Rossiu is the one that needs encouragement like Simon did, and Simon is the brave, inspiring big bro like Kamina was. The whole resemblance goes on to the Get A Hold Of Yourself Man punch from Simon to Rossiu exactly copying what Kamina did to Simon, and ultimately Simon entrusts the leadership and everything to Rossiu, just like Kamina chose Simon to lead the Dai-Gurren Team.
    • There was also Kamina stating early in the series that he'd die without Simon. Guess what happens on the first mission where the two had seperate jobs away from one another?
    • Kamina stealing Viral's helmet and lecturing him on how he'll never know what combining is. Guess who replaces Kamina as Gurren's pilot (and gets his helmet back)?
    • Kamina is well known for his line, "Don't believe in yourself, believe in me who believes in you" but what is perhaps a more significant line, as well as one that foreshadows his fate, is the exact opposite: "Don't believe in me who believes in you, believe in you who believes in yourself." He is essentially foreshadowing that he will no longer be there to be Simon's moral support so Simon has to learn to stand on his own, which he eventually does, signified by his own famous lines, "I am not bro! I'm Me! Simon the Digger!"
    • The Arc Words "Yours is the drill that will pierce the heavens!" foreshadow the titular Tengen Toppa (Heaven-Piercing) Gurren Lagann.
    • Kinon picking up a reading "identical to Gurren Lagann" Inside Tepplin's throne room.
    • When Lazengann is first revealed sitting underneath Lordgenome's throne, it appears as if it's sitting on a throne of its own. But closer inspection reveals that it's actually a cockpit very similar to Lagann's. Specifically, what appear to be armrests are actually handles. It was piloting Dekabustsu (Tepplin), just as Gurren Lagann would later pilot Arc Gurren Lagann.
  • The Four Gods/Four Is Death: the Four Generals of the Spiral King; their Gunmen are named after the Chinese gods. And they all die.
  • Four Philosophy Ensemble: (Early episodes): Simon as Cynic, Kamina as Optimist, Yoko as Realist, Leeron as Apathetic.
    • Later it becomes: Simon as Cynic, Nia as Optimist, Yoko as Realist, Leeron as Apathetic.
    • At the beginning of season 2 is was: Rossiu as Cynic, Kittan was Optimist, Simon was Realist and Viral is Apathetic, then it turned into Gimy as Cynic, Simon/Kittan as Optimist, Leeron/Yoko as Realist and Lordgenome as Apathetic. Maybe. Hard to say since everyone is pretty single-mindedly optimistic through sheer force of will at that point.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Once Lordgenome has been defeated and it's time to rebuild, it turns out the protagonists aren't very good statesmen: while the Idiot Heroes are still as (un)reliable and (trying to be) helpful as usual, an Obstructive Bureaucracy is created in the shadow of Lordgenome's tyranny, and the only competent official in the bunch (Rossiu) is slowly growing into Spiral King 2.0.
  • Funbag Airbag: The male-on-male version happens in the very first episode between Simon and Kamina; later, you see a straight version between Simon and Yoko, who reacts with a smile. Almost a Looks Like She Is Enjoying It, except poor Simon never gets to come anywhere near Yoko. Which is probably a good thing: He might've died otherwise.
    • Happens again in episode 6, when Simon leaps over Leeron, but his crotch doesn't quite clear him and Leeron gets smacked in the face by Simon's junk. He responds simply by going "So warm.~"
  • Future Badass: Gimmy, Darry, and Viral.
    • In the Distant Finale, it's just those 3. But don't forget, this show does have a 7-year timeskip, where pretty much everybody counts as a Future Badass. If they started Badass, then they got more Badass. Future Loser? In Gurren Lagann? What the hell do you think this is?!
  • Gag Penis: In two episodes of what is supposed to be a Saturday Morning Cartoon, no less! Episode 6 has Kamina's... er, manhood, covered by Boota, who inexplicably grows to the size of a watermelon by the end of the episode. Episode 7 has Kamina using Boota again, but, in a few brief shots, Simon's drill dangles just over his junk in what is perhaps the sneakiest reference to Dead Leaves possible.
  • Gainax Opening: Apparently, it was supposed to foreshadow the ending but the writers lost that story thread somewhere. Fans have taken it as an alternate reality where that foreshadowing references a bad ending. The Word of God ended up being going along with it.
    • The TV series ending does have several elements that come out of nowhere. However, Lagann-hen retailors the story with foreshadowing. Gainax... learning from its mistakes?
  • Gainaxing: So, so much.
    • Taken to an extreme in Lagann-Hen, where Yoko's Tengen Toppa Gunman has a pair of anti-gravity jubblie missiles.
  • Generation Xerox Played with, since the villains make it quite clear that everything the hero has done so far has been done before, with no success; the heroes only manage to succeed due to The Power of Love.
  • Genki Guy: Attenborough. Just try to find a scene not involving this guy missing the target or a certain shocking twist in which he is calm. Go on. I dare you.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Summarized (and done at least thrice in the anime) in just one sentence: "Let's see you GRIT THOSE TEETH!"
    • In Lagann-hen though, it was Kinon who delivered the last one - a traditional Bright Slap - to a still-suicidal Rossiu, while onboard the Cathedral Lazengann.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Listen closely to Leeron's theme song, and in particular the letters being sung in the background. They spell out "Leeron is gay. He is so gay. Gay. He loves my asshole. Asshole."
  • Girl in a Box: Nia.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals
  • Glory Days: Subverted/inverted.
  • Godiva Hair: Yoko, briefly, in The Movie.
    • Nia in the second movie.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Averted. Entirely. Simon's goggles are used as light sources, and later turn into Kamina-style glasses. Even the Gurren Lagann has sunglasses that double as a boomerang.
  • Gonna Need More X: You mean we're gonna need to use an even bigger drill?
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: At least partially subverted when a motley crew of bit players from previous episodes show up to join the heroes' cause without being asked by anyone, least of all the heroes themselves.
  • Good All Along: Lordgenome, and the Beastmen
  • Gossipy Hens: In the first episode.
  • Gratuitous English: The attack's names.
  • Gratuitous German: Nia Teppelins family name is most likely a garbled version of the German word "Zeppelin".
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The names of the mechs tend to be untranslated from Japanese (Mugann is better translated as Faceless, Chouginga as Super-Galaxy/Galactic, Tengen Toppa as Heaven Piercing, Lazengann as Spiral Face, etc.).
  • Green Lantern Ring: Spiral energy is one of the ultimate examples of this.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Kamina smacks some sense into Simon with the arm of his own mech. Gurren Lagann has a habit of fastballing it's own head at enemies.
  • Grin of Audacity: A hallmark of the series. Delivered with panache, like everything else.
  • Groin Attack: During their battle with Adiane, the Dai-Gurren ends up getting it's main underside cannon destroyed, resulting in EVERY MALE except Leeron to grab their crotch in pain.
    • Somewhat realistic, as the hole started to flood the ship, suddenly increasing cabin pressure. This sudden pressure leads to some *ahem* mild discomfort on the men's part.
    • Later in the same battle, Simon pushes the Dai-Gurren out of the water by ramming his drill into the hole left by the destroyed cannon. Instead of a repeat performance by the men, we see Leeron gasp and suddenly hop upwards.
  • Gut Punch: Kamina's death is a mild example - while the series did get notably darker afterwards, it still stayed pretty light.
  • Half-Human Hybrids: The Beastmen.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: There may have been one or two brief scenes of thi— OK, can't do that with a straight face. Happens every two minutes, like clockwork.
  • Handy Cuffs: The entire Gurren Brigade got once handcuffed with good ol' wooden boards, but that didn't deter Simon from digging with his Core Drill until recovering his Lagann.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Viral and Lordgenome after the Time Skip. Lordgenome's is notable in that when he does it, he is literally just a face.
  • "Hell Yes" Moment: Nia has this reaction when she realizes her ring has started glowing.
  • Heroic BSOD More a villainous blue screen of death: Viral's realization that he's been fighting "women and a children" instead of Kamina, ever since Kamina's death.
    • Simon also gets a brief one after Kamina's death before realising that this isn't Neon Genesis Evangelion and quickly snaps out of it.
    • It can also be said that Lordgenome was never evil, just suffering from a chronic case of this.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several — all the others' completely eclipsed by Kittan, whose death scene is a Crowning Moment of Awesome all in its own, and Lordgenome, who tanks a Big Bang's worth of power..
  • Heroic Second Wind: Completely justified and part of the theme of the series—their fighting spirit kick in strongest when they're about to lose, and this in turn causes a rise in their Spiral Power output that lets them make a comeback. As Nia says in the final arc under the control of the Anti-Spiral, the survival instinct in Spiral Races is incredibly powerful for this reason.
  • Hero LFG: The lead and secondary cast joined Kamina just after a little talk. The rest of them joined just because they were told about his awesomeness.
  • He's Back: Simon... One of the most awesome examples ever seen on television. EVER EVERRRR
  • Hidden Depths: Kamina is actually a much more complex character than he seems, for the time he's in the series anyway.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge
  • His Quirk Lives On: Later in the series, we have Simon adopting the cockiness, quirks and fashion sense of his Big Brother Mentor, Kamina.
  • Hive Mind: The Anti-Spirals.
  • Homage:
    • Nia's awakening scene was a homage to Outlaw Star's scene when Melfina was found.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! made a card who must be a tribute/homage to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, I present you the Drill Warrior
    • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, there's a weapon called the Drill Arm. It looks exactly like an arm sized Core Drill.
  • Homage Shot: The scene where Chouginga Gurren Lagann rises out of the space ocean is an almost exact replica of Gunbuster's first appearance.
  • Honor Before Reason: Viral in episode 13 (he needs a little push, though)
    • This is rather typical of Viral, actually, as he is repeatedly shown as holding a sense of honor and responsibility above all else. Better explained in the manga, but it shows in the anime as well; such as when he waits patiently for everyone to get dressed and into their Gunmen because there would be no honor in fighting otherwise.
  • Hope Spot: Invoked repeatedly, by the Anti-Spirals, in order to turn them on their heads with the intention that this will sap the will of the humans to fight. At best, it works only momentarily.
    • The most touching of these is Viral: he gets a beastman wife and young daughter on an elysian meadow, enjoying peace, tranquility and belonging for the first time in his whole life. What's even worse is, he knows when it's about to end that it was All Just a Dream.
    • "OHMYGOD THEY KILLED KAMINA! Wait what? He's ok! OH THANK GOD! This is the most awesome... Kamina? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
  • Hot-Blooded: Um... WHERE THE HELL DO WE EVEN START?!.
    • We start at the Village Chief, if only because this happens within 40 seconds of the initial title screen, and the first 3 minutes of the entire series.
    • Even the Anti-Spiral becomes this during the final fight after spending the entire show trying to suppress the same thing.
    • In the same fight, Viral of all characters, wholeheartedly admits it while talking with the others in a Badass Boast.
  • Hot Springs Episode: featuring Lawyer Friendly Cameos from other famous Gainax characters — in Playboy Bunny costumes.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Played straight in the first episode.
  • How We Got Here
  • Humongous Mecha: The Gunmen and Grapearls, which range from Mini-Mecha to extremely huge. At the end of the show, the title mecha, the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann can be measured in lightyears.. See here and here for just how big the damn thing is. The second movie features the 52.8 billion light years tall Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (according to the offical guide book from GAINAX (仕事魂) and after transforming into a drill its length is multiplied 10 times), which can be seen here. That thing inside its head? That's Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann . The small dots are galaxies. And yes, the mecha DOES look like a huge Kamina. Made of fire. THIS picture gives a size comparison with the Granzeboma, which is smaller than the STTGL's foot! At this point, the only larger known mecha are Demonbane, and possibly the Getter Emperor, both of which are ridiculous.

  • I Am Legion: The Anti-Spiral King.
  • Icon of Rebellion: The Team Dai-Gurren symbol and flag.
  • I Feel Angry: Nia.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each arc uses a line from one character — first Kamina, then Nia, then Rossiu, and finally Simon — as the title for each episode. Also, to follow suit, the title cards for each arc have their own typeset.
  • Idiot Hero: At first glance, Kamina screams this trope. However, he is actually a good planner and Combat Pragmatist when the time is right.
  • I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Simon gives a particularly good one to an Anti-Spiral-possessed Nia.
  • I Like Those Odds: The very first scene.
  • Immortality:
    • The Ageless: Lordgenome has this, as do his Four Generals. It's possible that all Beastmen have the same trait.
    • Healing Factor: Viral is explicitly given an immortal body, but it's not clarified what this means; however, he demonstrates a Healing Factor at one point, and is the only character in the Distant Finale who still looks the same.
  • Immortality Immorality: Played straight with Lordgenome. Thankfully subverted. Lordgenome performed his Heroic Sacrifice and admitted that he had always dreamed to die for humankind, Viral became the most furious protector of humankind, compared to cynical Rossiu and Simon who was unaware of Rossiu's deeds
  • Important Haircut: Nia in ep. 13. The show being what it is, she gets hers from a sniper rifle; see the trope page for details.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Just about everyone.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Using galaxies as weapons, of course.
  • Incendiary Exponent: If something is about to get badass, it lights on fire. End of story.
  • Indy Ploy: Every single fight with just one exception: the one fight that is actually planned is the one wherein Kamina dies.
  • Innocent Innuendo. Sorta. When Guame kidnaps Nia, he's explaining why her father's ordered her death, but then comments that she may be "far too lovely" to kill- and in the rest of the scene looks like he's coming on to her!
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Do not mispronounce Kamina's name around Hokkien-speakers, especially not if you're saying it enthusiastically or loudly.
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Leeron uses them.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Simon and his current co-pilot do this at dramatically or thematically appropriate moments.
    • Which, ironically, includes the time they went to attack the moon.
  • Inventing The Wheel: Averted - The new high technology used after the timeskip is all influenced by Gunmen designs, so all civilian vehicles move on legs or have hoverpads attached with nary a wheel in sight. Basing everything on Gunmen also results in skyscrapers with faces...
    • Even mundane appliances like clothes irons, TV sets, and doors have faces!
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Simon is pronounced "Sea-moan" rather that "Sigh-mun", and Viral's name is pronounced "veer-al".
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: When Kamina is first given a gun he pretends to know how to use it, even though he doesn't know what it actually is. At first he uses it as a hammer, and after narrowly missing shooting himself in the gonads he proceeds to hold it upside down. Well, he already held it upside down when using it as a hammer; but of course, it was pointing towards him then.
  • Kangaroo Court: Simon gets put through one of these when Rossiu needs a scapegoat. Kittan angrily protests at the verdict, pointing out, among other things, that they gave Simon the stupidest member of the government for a defense attorney. Rossiu is pretty up-front about it, too.
  • Keigo: Nia speaks like this. It leads to her version of Kamina's phrase: "ARE YOU AWARE OF WHO EXACTLY I AM!?".
  • Kid Hero All Grown Up: The second arc features grown-up versions of Simon, Nia, Rossiu, and the Black siblings, as well as teenage versions of Gimmy and Darry. The Grand Finale also shows what becomes of the surviving cast 20 years down the line.
  • Kill All Humans: The basic goal of The Anti-Spirals
  • Killed Off for Real: not only straight-up, but arguably subverted, with the same character: try seeing how well most people survive having their torsos be completely vaporized.
  • Large Ham: Kamina, to ridiculous levels. In fact, most of the cast are somewhat ham-like at one point or another, but Kamina really takes the cake. The cake made entirely of ham. And badass. In fact, in the same way the series is supposed to be the Rule of Cool personified, Kamina is Large Ham personified.
    • The Anti-Spiral King brings forth truly preposterous amounts of ham when they are fighting in the final battle.
  • Killer Yoyo: Not in the main series, but in Parallel Works: Kittan Zero, Kiyoh uses one of these. Not surprisingly, the tricks she pulls with it are powered by Rule of Cool
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: If you value being free of spoilers, do not so much as Google this series. Heck, you shouldn't even have reached this far down the page. You shouldn't have even looked at this page, for crap's sake. In fact, you should probably have spent all time between starting and finishing the series away from the Internet entirely.
    • Trying to watch the series on MANG Aentertainment's Youtube channel can be a bit of a problem, since a banner displayed there and TTGL's thumbnail under the "Shows" tab display Simon as an adult. Though it isn't immediately obvious it's him, after watching a couple of episodes it isn't too hard to figure out.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Several Gainax characters as bunnygirls; also, Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants, along with Gunmen resembling the [[{Franchise/{Transformers}} Autobot and Decepticon symbols]] have been seen briefly. Also, Yoko rides a yellow hovering scooter/moped..
    • The eyecatches have even more, with Gunmen resembling Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda characters.
      • Pikachu himself appears in the last Parallel Works video as one of Lordgenome's toy animals.
    • And the Enki and Lazengann look... strangely familiar...note 
    • Did we also mention that there is a parody of Dexter's Laboratory in Yoko's music video? Because there is.
  • Layman's Terms: Leeron's long explanations require this to make sense.
    • On the other hand, Lordgenome's layman's terms still make no sense.
    • Before the final fight Dayakka snaps at Lordgenome 'demanding' them.
  • Leader Forms The Head: Played with in various ways throughout the series; see the trope page for details.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Damn near everyone. Kamina and Attenborough are especially good examples.
  • Lensman Arms Race: It goes from the compact car-sized Lagann, to the tens-of-meters Gurren Lagann, to the aircraft-carrier-sized Dai-Gurren, to the multi-kilometric Arc-Gurren Lagann, to the thousands-of-kilometers Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann, to what Word of God has stated 10-million-light-year tall Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann..
    • Also, the Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann from the movie. Supposedly, it is 3 BILLION light years in height.
      • Not to mention, any and all visible movement, even the slightest twitch, would require breaking the lightspeed barrier..
  • Lethal Chef: Nia, although Simon and Boota sincerely like her cooking. Anyone else who eats it gets knocked out, though.
  • Limited Animation: The infamous fourth episode, to the point that it looks completely out of place with the rest of the series, and even drew negative criticism from staff members at Pixar. Yes, that Pixar.
  • Literal-Minded: Nia. Watch the first post-Time Skip episode in case of doubt.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: If the girls on his throne are any indiction, Lordgenome enjoyed eternal life. In the Distant Finale, Viral was making the most of it too.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: With Lordgenome's defeat, not only does the capital city (itself a giant robot) start to break apart and explode, but his army's mecha all simultaneously lose power, thus assuring victory for our heroes.
    • Possible justification: As beastmen are later reveled to be non-spiral lifeforms, it's quite likely that Lordgenome's immense reserves are powering the entire army.
  • Longing Look
  • Long Song, Short Scene: While Dai-Gurren's Theme and the like are used often throughout the series, Kamina's Theme is used maybe once for all of five seconds.
  • Long Title: Not the series itself, but rather Kamina/Team Dai-Gurren's theme song. Taku Iwasaki sure had a lot of fun making up titles for the tracks on the soundtrack. The Team Dai-Gurren rap theme's title is very, very, very long. The Japanese title is "ラップは漢の魂だ! 無理を通して道理を蹴っ飛ばす! 俺たち大グレン団のテーマを耳の穴かっぽじってよ~く聴きやがれ!!": Rappu ha Otoko no Tamashii da! Muri wo Tōshite Dōri wo Kettobasu! Ore-tachi Dai-Guren-dan no Tēma wo Mimi no Ana Kappojite Yo~ku Kikiyagare!!. The OST cut of the song adds "(Short Start Edit)" to the end, since the 60 second-ish orchestral opening is cut. One translation of the title, "Rap is a Man's Soul! We Kick Reason to the Curb to Make the Impossible Possible! Open up Your Ears and Listen to Our Team Dai-Gurren Theme!!", is so long that when used as a filename, "(short start edit)" is cut off at "(short ", and the length of the title caused all sorts of weird bugs to happen to Windows Explorer until he finally cut "(short start edit)" to "(SSE)". Oh, and to make it worse, the most common English translation uses wording that makes the title at least two words longer.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: Kamina's death.
  • Lost Technology: The Gunmen; also, Yoko's gun comes from the cache of ancient weapons her village was built around.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: After the Time Skip, Rossiu starts Shooting The Dog over and over as things deteriorate. It all just makes things worse. Only when Simon returns do things get better.
    • Rossiu does manage to quell the riots, get almost everyone into underground shelters, and get a large population of humans into space. His plans might have worked...if the enemies were sane or understandable. Simon and Team Gurren provide the Spiral Power needed to win.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Attenborough loves to do this. It generally accomplishes very little.
    • A massive one is delivered in the Compilation Movie. It does precisely jack to Team Dai-Gurren...who then return the favor and show it done right.
      • For future reference, "Done right" refers to a missile-laced Giga Drill Breaker landing in the enemy hanger, working its way through the giant Combining Mecha's body (taking out two of the three pilots en route), culminating in a giant rainbow explosion that every human on earth can see. Done right? How about done awesome?
    • That's nothing. How about when the Chouginga Gurren Lagann fires missiles to attack every point in space ten seconds into the past and eight seconds into the future? Honestly, it was pretty close to being enough Dakka.
  • Made of Iron: Pretty much everyone and everything in the series. That's right, even the animals. One managed to survive two arrows two the heart and back.
  • Made of Explodium: In accordance with the Rule of Cool, there are lots and lots of explosions, particularly in the second part.
    • Quite literally in the case of the Mugan.
  • Magical Eye: Inverted. Characters with large Spiral power signify this with spirals in their eyes. Strangely, Simon, the one who produces the vast majority of said power, doesn't get this until the Distant Finale, and then only on one side.
  • Magic Feather: Contrary to how it might initially seem, possessing the core drill is not what allows Simon to pilot Lagann. Indeed, it might be more true to say that his inherent Spiral power is what allowed him to find the core drill. Kamina understands this intuitively, and insists that Simon alone pilot it.
  • Magic Skirt: Nia. Especially in episode 15.
  • Male Gaze: Ubiquitous throughout.
    • The camera explicitly tracks Kamina's gaze as he tries to chat up Yoko — from the gun, to the boots, along the thighs, to the breasts.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Anti Spirals.
  • The Man Behind The Monsters: Lordgenome.
  • Manchurian Agent: Nia after the population hits one million
  • Manly Tears: Several times during the series. Often mirrored by THE VIEWER THEMSELVES.
  • Marked Change: Post-Time Skip Nia after she becomes an Anti-Spiral.
  • Married In The Future: The Anti-Spiral traps Team Dai-Gurren in a Lotus-Eater Machine called the "Alternate Space Labyrinth," in which they live out their hearts' inner desires (for example, Simon's fantasy is getting to tag along with with the already-Killed Off for Real Kamina much like they did in the beginning of the series, whereas Viral gets to realize his dream of having a family, which is impossible due to him being effectively immortal and Beastmen can't reproduce). One of these what-if scenarios (shown on a TV screen in this case) depicts Yoko and Kittan on their wedding day. What makes this so poignant is that, by that time in the series, Kittan had just died one episode ago after giving a Last Kiss to Yoko. The implication is that, had Kittan not knowingly sacrificed himself to help the group escape from the Sea of Despair and things turned out differently in the battle against the Anti-Spiral, they might have become a couple for real. And then, in Kung-Fu Jesus Messianic Archetype fashion, the spirit of Kamina shows up to help all of the heroes break free. In Yoko's case she's seen turning off the TV display of her and Kittan, which is held by Kamina.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Simon has just the perfect height for this. Kiyoh even says so when she smothers him.
    • Simon follows up his entry to the surface by falling into Yoko's cleavage. He looks up in horror to see her smiling face, only to see the smile change to a horrified expression- not because of his position, but because of the two gunmen behind him.
  • Mauve Shirt: Gimmy and Darry usually end up as the last survivors of the Redshirt Army.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Sort of: there are Gunmen and Grapearl, but the (very infrequently-used) generic term is "mech". On a single occasion, "Gunmen" is also used as if it were the generic term.
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Simon's name apparently comes from a Japanese word relating to digging and we all know how much Simon loves to dig.
    • Naakim, the kid in Yoko's "during the time skip" episode, climbs a ridiculously tall tree to retrieve a satchel that bullies had hung from the top branches. This impressed the bullies so much that they told him they couldn't just call him Naakim anymore. Naakim is an anagram of Kamina.
    • Both Gurren and Lagann. "Guren" means "Crimson" (or "Crimson Lotus") and "Ragan" (Lagann's romanized form) means "Rock Face". Furthermore, the English word "Lagan" means "wreckage or goods at the bottom of the sea" (compare flotsam, jetsam), which, if "bottom of the sea" is replaced by "under ground", is where Lagann was actually discovered by Simon. This could also be how Kamina came up with the name in the first place...
  • Meet Cute: How Simon and Nia meet. After Kamina's death, Simon is hit harder by it than anyone else, not helped that any attempts to help him feel better prove ineffective. However, upon freeing Nia from a box that contained her, his angst and self-pity is immediately forgotten and goes back to being rather Adorkable in how he speaks to his beautiful girl who seems to have no grasp what a human is and is automatically friendly to him.
  • Meet the New Boss: Rossiu's village chief, then Lordgenome, then the Anti-Spirals all repress a group for their own good, likely a deliberate tie-in with the "Spiral" theme of recurring escalation.
    • Viral accuses Simon of replacing Lordgenome as a tyrant over the Beastmen and villagers by imprisoning the former and forcibly relocating the latter. Though there seem to be good reasons for these decisions, Simon's fear that he is Not So Different from Lordgenome causes him to accept Rossiu's plans, even when that means his own execution.
  • Meganekko: Yomako, Yoko in Gurren-Hen during the Time-Compression Montage, and Kinon.
  • Megaton Punch: In possiby the ultimate example of this, Simon uses Arc Gurren Lagann to punch an enemy so hard it rips a freaking hole in the fabric of space and time.
    • He punched that ship so hard it hit NOTHING, and broke through it!
  • Meta Mecha: More or less the signature power of the Lagann, taken to ridiculous levels when in the finale you have a mech the size of a human co-piloting a mech the size of a building, who in turn pilots a mech the size of a city, who then pilots a mech the size of the moon, who them combines with about a dozen other human-sized mechs and pilots a mech the size of a 'galaxy', and that's all without figuring in the giant flaming Kamina in the Movie known as Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann...
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Frequent and intense.
  • Mind Rape: The Anti-Spirals showing the Spiral Nemesis to the future Lordgenome in Parallel Works 8.
  • Mini-Mecha: Lagann
  • Mirror Match: This is the Anti-Spirals' preferred method of inducing ultimate despair.
    • Lordgenome's Spiral Power readouts and drills also turn in the opposite direction of Gurren Lagann's, aswell as having straighter grooves.
      • As does The Anti Spiral's Grand Zamboa in the final battle.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Grapopotamus is a key example; though this trope fits for every animal and most of the Beastmen in the series.
  • Monstrosity Equals Weakness: Averted. The most powerful gunmen tended to be really bizarre and monstrous, and the more animalistic beastmen, while minor characters for the most part, weren't portrayed as any less powerful than humanoids. For a series that flat out states that the human form has more spiral power than any other, that's a pretty surprising aversion.
  • Mood Whiplash: As a direct consequence of several character deaths.
    • Also, the above-mentioned Sci Fi Channel scheduling.
    • Frequently switched between humour, drama, and action. "You're Gonna Do It!!", for example, starts with dramatic closeup shots as Kamina and Viral snipe at each other while Simon, Yoko, and the Black sisters look on. Then the camera switched to a wider angle, and, reminds the audience that, oh, right, our heroes are still pretty much naked from the last episode.
  • Motivational Kiss: Both Kamina and Kittan choose to kiss Yoko shortly before dying heroically in battle.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The Granzeboma has an additional pair of gigantic arms, big enough to pick up galaxies easily the size of the rest of the mech's body
    • The idea behind Viral's mech at the Enkidudu stage. Doesn't work; Simon pretty much pwns him without really paying attention, and eventually it gets shot up by Grapearls. It gets a bit more impressive with sixteen arms circa Lagann-Hen.
  • Multicolored Hair: Nia and Kittan.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Ms. Fanservice: Yoko.
    • And the Black sisters too.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: "I'm Simon The Digger!!!"
  • Narrator All Along: Simon
  • Never Tell Me the Odds: Played straight when Lordgenome is about to tell Leeron the chances of survival in the Sea of Despair, and Leeron simply doesn't want to hear it. Best thing about that? Lordgenome later tells him the chances of survival were ZERO. "The odds of success were zero, but probability doesn't seem to matter with you guys."
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Subverted, and how!
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Gaume's televising his fight with Lagann and broadcasting it to humans everywhere. He ends up getting his butt whupped by Simon, for all humans on Earth to see, who are thus inspired into Badassery and Hotbloodedness and turn up as The Cavalry in the penultimate battle for Teppelin.
    • Later on, Simon points out to Nia that all of the Anti-Spiral's attempts to kill off humanity have simply made them stronger. He goes on to realise that she subconsciously did this on purpose.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Wait, Lordgenome's iron-fisted rule was the only thing keeping all of humanity from a brutal genocide at the hands of the Anti-Spirals? Whoopsie...
    • More directly, Lordgenome says that the moon shall become the "messenger of hell" when there are 1 million humans on the surface. So what does Rossiu do? He forces everyone onto the surface to conduct a census. As it turns out, at that time there were 999,999 of them. And then Kiyou has her baby. Whoops.
      • In the Compilation Movie, to simplify the plot Lordgenome simply says the trigger will be humanity reaching the moon. So Rossiu sends a rocket to the moon. Brilliant.
  • Noble Demon: Viral.
  • No Conservation of Energy: Actually a plot point.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Post time-skip Rossieu makes a series of decisions that could be politely called "morally questionable", including using his friend and the saviour of the world as a sacrificial lamb to placate the will of the public, secretly conducting research that has "bad, bad, dangerous idea" written all over it, using a woman who is clearly romantically interested in him as a hostage to ensure Simon's cooperation, and forcibly relocating people from their homes without telling anybody. Bizarrely, the choice that seems to cause him the most regret and which eventually drives him to nearly kill himself is his decision to abandon Kamina City with a half-full ship which, while not exactly heroic, was nonetheless a practical choice and pretty much the only defensible decision he'd made to that point.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The battle against Lordgenome, who beats the ever-loving crap out of Lagann bare-handed.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Boota, later kinda human sidekick..
  • No Ontological Inertia: Teppelin when Lordgenome is killed, and Nia after the defeat of the Anti-Spiral.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Kamina, after being epically blasted, seeming dead to everyone and making Simon have a Heroic BSOD, comes back and Bright Slaps him out of it, then leads the Dai-Gurren Brigade to victory. And then dies.
    • Apparently, Word of God said Kamina did in fact die, but came back to life to whoop Thymilph's ass. So the guy, got killed, got up, and avenged himself (as the abridged series noted). Truly a man of legends.
  • No Sell: Lordgenome effortlessly managing to block a Giga Drill Break.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Leeron gets a little too close to Simon and Kamina for their comfort when he first appears; and then repeatedly with various others through the rest of the series.
  • No Sympathy: After Kamina's death, everyone's morale has taken a toll, but none more so than Simon. However, most seem to be intent on putting a stiff upper-lip and trying to move on while doing somewhat half-assed attempts at helping him. Gets a bit worse throughout as after Lagann stops working, they kinda abandon him to his own devices. The only one shown to be consistently worried about him was Rossieu. While Nia was also worried, she also had genuine faith in Simon which was the main reason he broke through his funk (not that Rossieu didn't believe in Simon, he was openly concerned).
  • Not Brainwashed: Nia, according to herself after she learns she's The Mole. Simon disagrees.
  • Not So Stoic: The Anti-Spiral goes Hot-Blooded during the final battle.
  • The Obi-Wan: Kamina and Yoko fill this role together: Kamina takes it upon himself to guide Simon on his path to being a man, and Yoko acts as their guide on the surface, as well as fulfilling the role of The Herald.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Kamina before dying.
  • Off Model: Episode 4 had a guest director, and is considered to be a visual low-point in the series.
    • Done intentionally, if That Other Wiki is to be believed.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: See One-Woman Wail. Interspersed with a rap song, and is just as awesome as it sounds.
  • 108: Pay very close attention, in episode 24, 13 minutes and 21 seconds into the episode, Gimmy says something to the effect of "108th unit destroyed!" after blowing up a few anti-spiral mooks. Then, that's when everything goes bad. Given the obviously Buddhism- (or Hinduism?) inspired ships, this was wholly intentional. If you really want to get into the symbolism here, what's 13 minutes in seconds? That's right, 780 seconds, plus the 21 seconds, and you get 801, which is ONE HUNDRED EIGHT BACKWARDS!!
    • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has 27 episodes. 27 times four is 108.
  • One-Woman Wail: "Libera Me From Hell", the track played during Kittan's Heroic Sacrifice, Kamina pulling everyone out of the Lotus-Eater Machine, and the creation of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • Only Sane Man: Rossiu in episode 6.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Lordgenome.
  • Out of the Inferno: Pulled by Kittan flying King Kittan through the explosion of his Space Gunmen.
    • Earlier pulled by every one of the three battleships involved in episode 14.
  • The Outside World: The show starts off with Humanity living in isolated villages below the earth. The idea of a surface world is a legend, as well as a major taboo to go searching for it. When the plot kicks in though, Simon and Kamina find themselves on the surface at the end of the first episode. While the initial reaction to them surveying their surroundings is nothing too special, both are constantly surprised by the wonders that exist there.
  • Parental Abandonment: The parents of everyone that wasn't born during the course of the series are all dead Except for Rossiu, though his mother was essentially sentenced to death by his father. Except for one case, where it simply was literal parental abandonment - though her father dies anyway. Twice.
  • Parrot Pet Position: Boota is often seen on Simon's shoulder, pre-Time Skip.
  • Passion Is Evil: Inverted. Good is personified by passion in this series, as opposed to the depressing stoicism and cold logic of the bad guys.
  • Passing the Torch: There is a chain of these, mixed with Take Up My Sword. Notably Kamina to Simon, and Simon to Gimmy. Not including other predecessors. The villains are those who refused to step aside.
    • Throughout the series, Simon gradually becomes more and more like Kamina. This becomes most pronounced post- Time Skip. Just compare the appearances of the two at the end of episode 26 when shown together.
  • People Jars: Lordgenome's head is revived as a "biological computer", who later becomes useful for spouting out Techno Babble on the reality-altering attacks the Anti-Spirals use. The Beastmen also come from people jars, which are briefly seen when Lordgenome makes Viral immortal, and again in Parallel Works 8.
  • Pet the Dog: Viral in mourning. Then comes a Double Subversion later in the same episode, where Yoko, Simon's current co-pilot, was held hostage by Cytomander, and the latter orders Viral to finish Simon off (defenseless because of Yoko's situation). Viral was about to comply, until Simon calls him out on this, causing Viral to disobey the order given to him.
  • Petting Zoo People: The more humanoid Beastmen.
  • Physical God: The only category that the Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann qualifies for!
    • And the Anti-Spiral King.
  • Pixellation: Subverted for laughs in episode 6 (uncut). When the villain kidnaps the women and children and displays them on a monitor, pixels covering the necessary areas. She offers to remove them if Kamina exits Gurren. The girls were wearing towels underneath; only Gimmy needed to be censored.
  • Planet Spaceship: The final battle has the two sides fighting with ships that are on the same scale as galaxies!
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: After the heroes end up naked after being ambushed at the hot springs, Viral shows up looking for a fight. He is outraged at their lack of attire and gives them time to get dressed before he fights them.
    • The Adai villagers also give Yoko a robe to wear over her bikini top and daisy dukes.
  • Poe's Law: Started out as a parody of the Hot-Blooded Super Robot shows that inspired it, but after Episode 8, it gradually became more and more the reconstruction we all know and love.
  • Population Control: Applies both to Adai Village's population limit of 50 (enforced by randomly-selected exile to the surface) and the "1,000,000 apes" prophecy.
    • Of course, the latter was supposed to cut the population down to 0, were it not for Team Dai-Gurren being incredibly badass.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Kamina gets lethally hurt, but not without opening a huge can of whoopass on Thymilph's Dai-Gunzan and comandeering it as the Dai-Gurren. Then he dies..
  • Power Gives You Wings: Power gives you Cool Shades and drills.
  • The Power of Love: One of the main themes of the show; on a more literal level, without Simon and Nia's love, humanity and the beastmen would've been annihilated.
  • Power Incontinence: Simon gets the rare inversion of this trope following Kamina's death - whenever he tries to use Lagann in the immediate aftermath, it starts vomiting out energy and refuses to work. Turns out the thing runs on spiral energy - determination and willpower, so Simon's defeatist attitude was basically pouring diesel in the gas tank.
  • Product Placement: In a few closeups you can see the Gurren Lagann's joints look suspiciously like those of the Revoltech toys.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Spiral Power. Fear and despair kill it, hope and optimism increase it, and Hot Blood blasts it sky-high.
  • Pun-Based Title: The Japanese titles of the movies use kanji that read Guren and Ragan (i.e. "Gurren" and "Lagann"). The English titles eschew this in favor of the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, and go with quotes just like the series episode titles.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: GIGA!!! DRILL!!! BREAAKEEEERRR!!!!!.
    • Taken to the logical extreme by combining 300 and TTGL, which arguably makes for an even more awesome trailer than the original. Beware of Spoilers and keep a towel ready to wipe off the testosterone from your monitor afterwards.
  • Punk Punk: The entire first season and a little on is in the style of Desert Punk to the letter. Plus giant robots.

  • Rated M for Manly: This show is all about drills. And fighting. Breasts feature prominently in the background. And the manliness is so awesome it warps reality. Manliness warping reality is actually the driving force of the plot.
    • Even the girls are manly enough to warp reality.
    • Heck even the pet piglet is manly enough to warp reality.
      • Even the super-femme Camp Gay mechanic is manly enough to warp reality!
    • Manliest of all is Kamina. So much so just wearing his Cool Shades at least triples your manliness. WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK HE IS?!
    • It's a show all about doing the impossible, seeing the invisible, breaking the unbreakable. Fighting the POWAH.
    • Lordgenome might top them all. He's a giant muscular man with an impressive spiky beard and spiral-shaped chest hair who goes around shirtless despite essentially ruling the world. He is so manly HE DESTROYS GIANT ROBOTS WITH HIS OWN BARE HANDS. HE CONSIDERS USING HIS GIANT ROBOT IN A BATTLE AS "HOLDING BACK". He ate a Big Bang. As in for breakfast. Without milk. Devoured the damn thing whole and then turned into a gigantic-ass drill. Said drill was directly responsible for the defeat of the Big Bad.
    • Simon invented time-space teleportation just to punch Rossiu in the face.
    • By the end of the series, Simon becomes so manly that a nice outfit and ridiculous-looking pair of sunglasses spontaneously generates on his body, right in time for the final battle.
    • As described to an anime club once: "Gurren Lagann is about brotherhood, giant robots, and killing furries with phallic symbols."
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: Literally. As in, when the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann absorbs the energy from a Beam-O-War twice the power of the Big Bang, the readings go off the scale and float in midair.
    • The Scale also only uses White and Green normally. When the Reading literally go off the scale, they also turn into a rainbow.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: The Spiral Nemesis. The Anti-spirals fear that transmuting too much mass will cause the universe to collapse into a black hole. Probably performed in Lagann-hen when the power struggle of two drills causes the pocket universe they're in to collapse into an infinity sign.
  • Real Robot: Although the show as a whole falls squarely into Super Robot territory, Grapearls represent the Real Robot genre: They are produced in large quantities (mostly identical in appearance) for the use of military personnel, they use more mundane guns and swords as opposed to the Gunmen's (especially Gurren Lagann's) more physics-breaking weapons, and most notably, in contrast to Gunmen, they don't run on the pilot's fighting spirit, which is one of the key differences between the two genres.
    • Debatably, the Beastman-controlled Ganmen can be considered a type of Real Robot; they are mass-produced (though there are many types), they use mundane weaponry like clubs and greatswords, and they run on solar power.
    • Arguably, every mecha in the show are actually real robots with the exception the "Lagann" type mecha. Though, anything the Laganns "hack" into turns into a Super Robot, including the moon. It is also the sole reason why the "improved" Grapearls were never able to surpass the original.
      • May be the reason why they couldn't mass produce the Lagann types along with the Grapearls.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: see Juggling Loaded Guns.
  • Reconstruction: This show is pretty much the polar opposite of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Reversed: uber-Hot-Blooded Simon and Kamina wear blue, while the level-headed Yoko is a redhead.
    • Played around with in regards to Jorgun and Balinbow (each twin wears red and blue shades respectively, but have the same basic Hot-Blooded personality).
    • And played straight Post-Time Skip Simon and Rossiu.
    • Also, compare capes. Simon is just a tad more restrained than Kamina and wears a blue Badass Longcoat. Kamina's Badass Cape is crimson.
  • Redshirt Army: The motley crew at the battle against Teppelin, then the post-Time Skip Grapearl army.
  • Refrain from Assuming: No, the song is not called "Row, Row, Fight the Power". There are three main versions of it; Rap is a Man's Soul! We Surpass the Impossible, and Kick Reason to the Curb! Open Your Ears Wide and Listen to Team Dai-Gurren's Theme, Rap is a Man's Soul! Open Your Ears Wide and Listen to the Great Kamina's Theme, the Man Who Believes in Himself and Surges at Heaven!, and, most famously, "Libera Me" from Hell.
  • Released to Elsewhere: One of the pit villages practices strict population control. Every time the population exceeds 50, they cast lots to see who gets sent to the surface. The people are told that the surface is paradise, but in reality, it's a desolate wasteland crawling with genocidal beastmen. It's doubtful that the exiles even outlast their rations.
  • Retired Badass: Kiyoh and Kiyal, post-Time Skip Yoko before the Anti-Spirals' attack; Simon in the Distant Finale.
    • The Priest of Adai village.
  • Retro Upgrade: In the second half of the anime, the Gunmen are dropped in favor of the new Guparls. It turns out that the Gunmen are still more useful against anti-spirals because they were designed specifically to fight them.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Boota!
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: During Simon and Kamina's first mecha fight with Viral, Gurren grabs Lagann and rams it, drill-first, on top of its own body. "You see that!? Now we got two faces too!" Little did Kamina know, that's exactly how Lagann transforms with other Gunmen.
  • Rocket Punch: Subverted — the one and only example is less "rocket" than it is "pull off my arm and throw it at you," and it is less "punch" than "the most epic Bright Slap in human history."
  • Rousseau Was Right: EVERY major antagonist turns out to be trying to do what they thought was best for the world. Including Rossiu.
  • Rule of Cool: The show pretty much relies on this for everything it does. Even ordinary goggles can randomly transform into sunglasses if the situation is dramatic enough.
    • Kamina lives strictly by the Rule of Cool to the point of rejecting anything useful, plausible, practical, survivable, etc, if it isn't cool enough.
    • Obscurus Lupa sums up the series as incredibly stupid when you analyze it, as there's a ton of plot holes, a Deux ex Machina nearly every episode, and nothing about it makes any real sense. But the show is just so much fun to watch, the heroes are so awesome, and there was obviously so much passion, intensity and love that went into the production, that you really don't care and just enjoy the ride.
  • Rule of Symbolism: As elaborated in Simon's "World of Cardboard" Speech, the concept of spirals detailing the struggles of the humans up to that point.
  • Running Joke: The Old Man.
    • Yoko having kids.
    • A meta-example: Any time any question is asked about anything in this series, the first answer is always "spiral energy." Even when—no, especially when there's a better answer.
  • Satellite Character: Kinon after the time-skip.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Yoko's.
    • Also Viral Post-Timeskip, in his hobo/freedom fighter outfit, although this is possibly a subversion, as his scarf defies all laws of gravity and refuses to blow in the wind.
  • Scavenger World
  • Scenery Porn: When Simon first broke through to the surface with Yoko and Kamina, he shot up so high he saw the earth pretty much split in two between night and day, with the moon and sun on opposite sides of the sky going over a vast exapanse of earth. Photographers would kill to get that kind of shot in real life but because this show runs on Rule of Cool, that's more than likely impossible.
    • Even more breathtaking after the Time Skip when Yoko and a student see the same view (inexplicably from a treetop this time) over the fucking ocean.
  • Schmuck Banquet: Lampshaded heavily with the Japanese inn, banquet, and hot springs all being called into question
  • Schoolmarm: Post-Time Skip Yoko.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: The last episode shows Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann, which is the size of the moon, being only slightly smaller than Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which is larger than galaxies.
    • Also, the Gurren Laganns ejecting each other in turn to get to the Anti-Spiral at the end of the final battle. If we are to trust the Word of God about the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann being 10 million light-years tall, the two mechas' heads should be thousands of light-years away from each other, yet Simon manages to reach the Granzeboma in just a few seconds.
    • Also, if we are to presume that the planet on the helmet of the Anti-Spiral mech is taken from "real space", and noting that when the fabricated universe rips and the Earth appears, it is just the right size for the Anti-Spiral mech to grab it with one hand, the final mechs are probably "only" around the size of the Earth-Moon system when translated into real space - a reasonable level of growth stepping up from the Moon-sized Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann, and just small enough to avoid breaking the light-speed barrier provided they don't move too fast (although still large enough to break most other laws of physics).
  • Screaming Warrior: Every time someone is Hot-Blooded; read: all the time!.
  • Screw Destiny: The entire point of "We go Beyond the Impossible" . Just listen to their Rousing Speeches during the last part of the series. note  This could be taken literally: the dominant motifs are drills, spirals and other screw-shaped implements with which they dig right through their confines and break them to pieces.
  • Self-Made Man: Played with for Kamina, who built himself up to team leader from nothing and yet relies on Simon for everything.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Kittan flies out to perform a Heroic Sacrifice - only for his mecha to blow up moments too soon. Wait, no- that was his mecha's mecha. Kittan lasts a few more seconds and manages to deliver his defining Crowning Moment before eating it.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Simon and Kamina.
  • Serial Escalation: No matter how cool the last fight was, no matter how big their current mecha are, and no matter how Hot-Blooded and Badass they are, the next episode will top it all in mind-blowing fashion. Keep in mind, this series is what happens when Studio Gainax makes a Saturday Morning Cartoon. They can't really help it. It's just what they do.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Kiyoh for Dayakka, Kinon for Rossiu. Still, this is Character Development for them since before they had little characterization.
    • Kiyoh and Dayakka's relationship is given a little more attention in the manga.
  • Self Healing Phlebotinum: Gunmen regenerate when infused with fighting spirit. Usually they return to their damaged state after the battle is over.
  • Share Phrase: Every main character gets a turn in hot-bloodingly shouting some variation on "WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!" Even Nia.
  • Share the Male Pain: In a particularly memorable scene, the Dai-Gurren takes a shot to the crotch. Every man (save for Leeron) immediately winces.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Taken a step further when Kiyoh assumes that Gimmy and Darry are two kids that Kamina and Yoko had together.
    Kiyoh: Yoko! When did you have children? Don't tell me you and Kamina-?!
    Yoko: As if that'd happen!
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Kamina's death signified the shifting Affectionate Parody to Reconstruction, and the show became more serious in tone.
  • Shoot the Dog: Rossiu is forced to do this a lot, and suffers for it.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Brought up by Adiane to Yoko when she takes Nia hostage, but subverted: Yoko was actually aiming 2 millimeters to the right of Nia's head, allowing her to hit a weak spot on Adiane's mech.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Most of the Gunmen, epitomised by Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann's.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Basically every main character, but subverted in that most of their death cheating catches up with them at the very end, albeit by choice, in a series of Heroic Sacrifices
  • The Siege: Combined with Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?.
  • Signature Team Transport: The Dai-Gurren becomes this for the Gurren Brigade.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Jougan and Barinbou.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: While not a literal case of this, GIGA DRILL BREAKAH is genuinely shown as such, complete with landing in a crouch before the enemy mech explodes.
  • Sissy Villain: Cytomander
  • Sixth Ranger: Viral after his Heel-Face Turn.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Big Bang-powered Wave Motion Gun? No problem!.
    • For the Chouginga Gurren-Lagann: Having thrown planets at yourself? Less of a problem.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 5 (Full Lockout), especially as it goes on (though the Parallel Works are level 0).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: GIGAAAA DRILLLLLLL BREAAAAAAAKEEEERRRR!!!!!
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Rossiu after Simon jumps through space and time to smack some sense into him.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Lordgenome's preferred method of sitting. Naturally.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Yoko and her sniper rifle.
  • Snot Bubble
  • Soft Water: During the Beach Episode, it's OK to use the hundreds of feet tall Dai-Gunmen as a springboard.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Viral, then the Four Divine Generals, then Lordgenome, then the Anti-Spiral System, then an entire reality controlled by Anti-Spirals, and finally an enemy mecha that throws galaxies like Frisbees.
  • Space Is an Ocean: There really is an ocean in space, and a watery one at that. It turns out to be a Negative Space Wedgie. There's also the movie's Tengen Toppa Dai-Gurren; whereas the original Dai-Gurren simply resembled a ship, this one shows up on a wave, flies a flag, has a water-going vessel's steering wheel, and even one of those bells.
  • Space Opera: The final act of the series. Of course, fitting the series, this is a Space Opera wherein the ships are piloted by the sheer manliness and willpower of the protagonists.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the second film, Kittan is the only character to be killed in the final battle, everyone else who died in the original anime lives, with various scenes edited or added to include them.
  • Spectral Weapon Copy: the climax has Simon impale the Anti-Spiral with a drill made of pure energy (and his blood). This is foreshadowed in the second expanded movie, where Simon, while imprisoned, creates a spectral copy of his Core Drill, but doesn't use it as he's unsure of the right course of action.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": official Japanese Gulaparl vs. Fanon Grapal; which one is used depends on the fansub group, and neither is the official English name, "Grapearl;" Gunmen/Gammen/Ganmen/Gunman, Rossiu/Roshiu, Giga Drill Break(er); Giha/Jiiha; pronouncing Simon SHE-Moan or SEE-Moan (or as the usual Anglo "Simon"); Lord Genome/Lordgenome.
    • Also, the Anti-Spiral's Tengen Toppa-class mecha, the Granzaboma, is usually seen written as "Grand Zamboa."
    • To add a theoretical dimension to this, Matt Greenfield of ADV Films once said that they would've dubbed Simon's name as the typical English Sai-mon.
    • "Ritona" was pretty rampant as Yoko's last/clan name, being the direct Romanization. Bandai standardized this to "Littner".
    • And then there's the series title itself. It has been alternatively spelled as Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann. It's an EXTREMELY widespread usage.
  • Sphere of Power
  • Split Screen: Taken to splintered screens wrestling with each other's borders during arguments and Ham-to-Ham Combat.
  • Spoiler Opening: the third intro is notorious for this: Nia having "another self", the Gurren Lagann shown to have more (and larger) forms, the Cathedral Terra (although it's only shown in shadow), among others...
  • Spring Coil: the Lagann has them
  • Start of Darkness: Parallel Works #8 for Lordgenome.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Lordgenome asks the Anti-Spiral Leader why he didn't just destroy Team Dai-Gurren with his near-infinite power. The ASL says there was an unusual source of spiral energy that they needed data on, lest it "ruin everything". Turns out it's Boota.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: The last chapter features Stepping Galaxies In Outer Space!
  • Stock Footage: The Giga Drill Break-animation. Which gets kinda jarring in episode 15 and The Movie, as the Gurren Lagann's wings just spontaneously disappear for one shot as the attack is carried out.
  • Storming the Castle
  • Stress Vomit: Simon's robot, the Lagann, starts vomiting Spiral Energy during the more stressful moments Simon goes through after Kamina's death.
  • Stripperiffic: Yoko, especially her outfit for the final arc. Not to mention Simon's waist cincher and posture collar. And Kamina never wore very much either.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: As the 8th Parallel Works video shows super-huge Lordgenome used to basically be a male version of Nia.
    • In the Distant Finale, Rossiu now has a striking resemblance to his own father.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Has an explosions-per-minute quotient that would put any Michael Bay movie to shame.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: If the short "Viral's Sweet Dream" is anything to go by, even his sworn enemies can't help but have ...thoughts about Kamina.
    Viral: Why was I dreaming of Kamina!? Well, I guess I'm allowed to have sweet dr-NO, NO! NOT SWEET! NOT SWEET!
  • Supernatural Aid
  • Super Prototype: The Grapearl mecha are mass-produced versions of the Gurren Lagann. Of course, being Real Robots based on a Super Robot, they're inferior. Gimmy Lampshades this in one episode. Also, the Custom Gunmen of Lordgenome's Four Generals.
  • Super Robot: Hell yeah.
  • Super Robot Wars: We bet you'll all be happy to know it's making it's long-awaited debut in Super Robot Wars Z2.
  • Supporting Leader: Kamina of course; though Kittan assumes the role after Kamina dies, even getting two days in the limelight in the second arc.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Subverted with Simon. In the first arc, it very much looks this way, but then Kamina dies. In reality, Kamina's entire role was contributing to Simon's Character Development.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Quite a few of the songs on the soundtrack have legitimate, understandable English lyrics. Examples include Viral's theme Nikopol, all versions of 'Rap Is A Man's Soul' (commonly referred to by its famous lyrics, "ROW ROW, FIGHT DA POWAH!", and it's surprisingly good rap to boot), and 'To Hell With Gattai!'
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Played straight most of the time, except in episode 25.
    Kittan: "Damnit, let me finish talking!"
  • Team Mom: Yoko.
  • Team Pet: Boota.
    • The eighth Parallel Works video suggests that Guame used to be this to Lordgenome. This is hinted at in the canon, as Gaume justifies taking more liberties against Lordgenome than the others by stating that they were old friends.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Nia, to the point where she provided the page picture.
    • Notably, her eyes became flat and monochrome while she was under the control of the Anti-Spiral.
  • Telescoping Robot: Taken to the extreme: making weapons larger than the rest of the mech. Handwaved with Spiral Power, and deconstructed: overuse will destroy the entire universe.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Kamina, especially in episode 6.
  • That Cloud Looks Like: Done in episode 4 by Simon, Kamina and Kittan with the usual food variety.
  • That's No Moon!: The Moon itself is a disguised Humongous Mecha.
    • Which is thereafter corrected by using said mecha to pull the real moon out of another dimension
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Repeatedly. Culminating in the final episode, which contains a theme music-powered beatdown to the entire full length version of the opening theme..
  • Theme Naming: The Beastmen, their leaders, and a good chunk of the core group of Team Gurren.
    • The four generals are named after a sort-of-portmanteau of the DNA base pairs and pagan elemental spirits. Guame = guanine+ Gnome, spirit of earth; Adiane = adenine+ Undine, spirit of water; Cytomander = cytosine+ Salamander, spirit of fire; and Thymilph = thymine+ Sylph, spirit of air. Their Gunmen are also named after The Four Gods, Suzaku, Seiryuu, Byakkou, and Genbu.
    • The four Beastman flagships are all named "Gun(something about the ship)". There's the ground-based Gundo: "do" means "earth", air-based Gunten: "ten" is "heaven", sea-based Gunkai: "kai" is "ocean", and for the Gunzan: "zan" is a phonetic variant of "san", meaning "mountain."
    • "Simon" contains "shimo", "below"; "Kamina" has "kami", "above"; "Yoko" is "yoko", "beside", and her alter-ego Yomako is from "mayoko", "directly beside"; Nia has "near" (of course); Kittan is from "tanki", "quick-tempered"; Leeron is from "riron", "theory"; Gimmy and Darry are from "migi" and "hidari", "right" and "left"; Kiyoh is from "youki", "cheerful", and her infant daughter Anne is from "annei", "public peace"; Kinon is from "nonki", "easygoing"; Kiyal is from "yaruki", "eager"; Dayakka is from "odayaka", "gentle"; Kidd and Ailak are from "kidoairaku", "human emotions"; Zorthy is from "souzoushii", "noisy, boisterous"; Jorgun and Balinbow are from "ganjou", "solid" and "abarenbou", "rowdy"; Makken is from "kenma", "grinding, polishing, studying"; Leite is from "teire", "maintenance"; Attenborough is from "awatenbou", "hasty". Jeeha Village is from "haji", "end"; Littner is from "tonari", "next door"; Korehana (the school Yomako taught at) is from "hanare kojima", "small island of isolation"; Bachika is from "chikaba", "nearby place"; Adai is from "aida", "distance; Koiiga (no official romanisation, the village Kidd and Iraak are from) is from "gaikoku", "foreign country"; Nakai (from whence Zorthy hails) is from "inaka", "countryside"; Bakusa (Jorgun and Balinbow's home village) is from "sabaku", "desert"; Jouken (Leite and Makken's home village) is from "kenjou", "neighbourhood"; Koachichi (Attenborough's home village) is from "acchikocchi", "somewhere". Memusu (Viral's daughter) is from "musume"'', "daughter". Phew.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Most battles, including the very first, are completed by utterly anhilating the enemy. "GIGA!!! DRILL!!! BRRRRREAKER!!!!!"
    • The Giga Drill Break in Episode 8 Almost takes an entire chapter in the manga... or at least 11 PAGES FOR A 30 SECOND LONG ATTACK SEQUENCE!
  • They Should Have Sent A Poet: At the end of the first episode. The three main characters launch themselves through the earth's surface and high into the air, getting an overview of everything.
    • This is repeated with Yoko and one of her students post-time skip.
    • It's actually repeated earlier than that with Simon and Nia.
  • This Cannot Be!: Actually exclaimed by heroes and villains alike whenever physics go out the window in favor of what's coolest.
    • The final battle is basically one long contest of this, with the Anti-spirals losing HORRIBLY. Needless to say physics was found brutally murdered in a dark alley.
  • This Is a Drill: The Animated Series. They come in many shapes and sizes and are the weapons of choice for many characters. They also represent the series' theme of continuously moving forward.
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn: In a manner of speaking- the daughter of Dayakka and Kiyoh is born with a full head of hair and generally looks many months old from the first.
  • Time Abyss: While receiving reports on the evacuation, Rossiu glances at a display showing a world map. The shapes of the continents are just recognizable enough to deduce that tens of millions of years' worth of continental drift has occurred.
    • Or the Anti-Spirals' attack on Earth (as shown in Parallel Works #8) severely screwed up the landmasses.
  • Time Skip: After Simon defeats the Spiral King.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: How else do you explain the Gurren's spontaneous fix up after combining with Lagann?
  • Title Drop: The biggest mecha in the series is called "Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann"; chapters are also named after a dramatic line said by one of the characters.
    • As the title in America is simply Gurren Lagann, this was lost when the finale was aired. There's also confusion after episodes having to be renamed as the line they're named after are slightly different.
    • It should be noted that, translated, the biggest Mecha of the series literally reads Heaven Shattering Gurren Lagann. Guess what it does.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The reinforcements in episode 14. Your commander dies because he charged straight into a tornado of energy? Go ahead and try it en masse. You'll break through it in no time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Simon. Only in the universe of Gurren Lagann can something like this happen.
    • You mean a human being turning Super Saiyan? Because that's what it looks like to me. That's right, being in Gurren Lagann makes you so badass that it turns you into a Saiyan.
    • Seven years, some good Character Development, and the ingestion of a Big Bang-level attack will do that to you.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Yoko and Nia
  • Tragic Bromance: Simon and Kamina
  • Transformation Sequence: Invoked by Kamina in the fourth episode. He just would not combine with Simon until he did it.
  • Tron Lines: These appear on many things related to the Anti-Spirals, including most of the Mugann, Nia as the Anti-Spiral messenger, and even their home planet.
  • Trope Overdosed: Because lots of tropers watch this show, and it's just that awesome.
  • Troperiffic
  • Troper Critical Mass: Read the above entry.
  • Tropes Are Tools: The creators intentionally evoked the classic tropes of Mecha anime from 70s on, with each arc covering the different sets of tropes from eras in Mecha as noted above as a Shout-Out. Taking cues from Getter Robo (this one is worth mentioning the first, have you seen what they do in Shin Getter Robo - Sekai Saigo no Hi???) , Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Mobile Suit Gundam, Evangelion, as well as many more,the series was a love letter to all that was good and great about those tropes, as well as using the last arc to set up what they hope would become a new Trope for the future of the Mecha genre.
  • True Companions: Team Dai-Gurren.
  • Tsundere: Yoko shows some characteristics of this when it comes to Kamina.
  • Tunnel King: Simon the Digger
  • Übermensch: Kamina is one of the straightest heroic examples in fiction. He defies the existing morality (wich is similar to the "sheep" morality described and despised by Nietsche) and makes his own code, and inspires others to follow him.
    • All of Team Gurren is this to some degree, and most of the leaders who oppose them (Lordgenome, post timeskip Rossiu, the Anti Spiral) are Last Men.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The human population after the first encounter with the Mugann causes damage to Kamina City, they immediately start rioting and wanting Simon dead despite everything he did for humanity.
  • Unsound Effect: The manga gives us some truly unique ones, like "Ten-Megaton Punch" and "Kiyaloon <3!"
  • Unstoppable Rage: Simon gets these a lot, especially after episode 8. Of course, special mention must be made for Kamina's unstoppable rage in episode 6. It was freakin hilarious. "MAN'S WRATH ERUPTION SLASH!"
  • Unusual Euphemism: When Yoko expresses her feelings for Kamina by kissing him, he reciprocates with a kiss of his own and then remarks that he'll "pay her back ten times over" after they return from their upcoming battle.
    Kamina: When we return, I'll pay you back ten times over. Remember that.
    Yoko: *laughs*
    Kamina: Wh-What?
    Yoko: Couldn't you have put that a little more romantically?
  • Up to Eleven: The entire series revolves around taking every Super Robot trope up to eleven. The movie goes on ahead and disintegrate the goddamn knob.
  • The Usual Adversaries: For the first half, Beastmen. Later on becomes Anti-Spirals.
  • Vagina Dentata: Adiane's mecha has its mouth in its crotch, with fangs.
  • Vague Age: Virtually everyone's age is uncertain due to the whole "living underground with no sun or moon" issue, but Leeron is especially notable: in the Distant Finale, which takes place 27 years after his first appearance, he hasn't aged at all. One can start to wonder if he's actually human…
  • Vapor Wear: It's obvious that Nia in the High School AU goes commando.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Both Lordgenome and the Anti-Spiral King. Notable in that Lordgenome isn't having a Freak Out so much as he's enjoying himself for the first time in one thousand years. In the anime, the Anti-Spiral King - being the collective conscious of an entire planet - has a few moments where he begins to stretch and tear at the seams. In the movie, however, he mirrors Lordgenome, especially when he releases the Super Grand Zemboa - he freaking smiles with confidence! In general, this can be said for most of the villains, who go from confident to Oh, Crap regularly.
  • Villain Opening Scene: In the Movie.
  • Villain Pedigree: From Beastmen to Anti-Spirals.
  • Visual Innuendo: The Dai-Gurren - for God's sake just look at it!
    • This is actually pointed out at one point. When something smashed through the observation deck, all of the male crew members, minus Leeron, grabbed their crotches and cringed.
      • Shortly thereafter, an equally Freudian weapon nails the Dai-Gurren from below...causing Leeron to hop out of his seat with a startled "iya~n."
    • Antispiral Nia's black Latex Space Suit has red Tron Lines going about it. The concentric circles on her breasts easily remind you of something.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: The most obvious example is Kamina. Lordgenome could also count, depending on whether or not his (very manly) torso can be seen as Fanservice.
  • Walking the Earth Viral, because of Lordgenome (post-timeskip) and Simon, because of Nia (in the epilogue).
  • The War to End All Wars: One of these is a major part of the backstory; it ended with humankind forced to live underground in a misguided attempt to save it from the Anti-Spiral. A more literal example takes place during the course of the series, in which humanity fights back against the Anti-Spiral and defeats it, and the newly-liberated civilizations of the universe join with humanity in peace.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Powered by a Big Bang.
  • Weapon Tombstone: Kamina's katana. His Badass Cape is tied around the hilt for added coolness. And it somehow stays completely undisturbed through the whole show!
  • Weird Moon: A creepy-faced moon on a collision course with the earth? Now, where have we seen this before...?
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Kamina; much of his personality is arguably because of his regret that he didn't accompany his father to the surface when he was a child.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lordgenome, post-Time Skip Rossiu and the Anti-Spirals
  • Wham Episode: Episode 8: Kamina.. Kamina dies? No way. That.. that can't be right. He's gonna get right up, wipe himself off, they'll maybe put some bandages on him, he'll be fine, right? .. Right?.
    • Netflix used to have the episodes out of order, which made this even worse if you were watching it for the first time there. They are all fine and then skip that particular Wham Episode leading newcomers to believe Kamina was killed off screen!
    • After a certain point in Episode 24, you just want to grab Gainax and start shaking them until they stop killing secondary characters.
    • And another one in Episode 17, after the Time Skip. The Anti-Spirals have made their presence as the new Big Bad, and Nia appears to be under their control.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The justification for Simon's imprisonment.
    • Rossiu is REPEATEDLY called out for this post-Timeskip. And rightfully so. He makes Simon a scapegoat (after the latter had just finished defending the city from TWO Mugens, puts Simon in a Kangaroo Court (appointing himself as the judge and stocking the prosecution and probably the jury with people who were more loyal to him), uses the aforementioned Kangaroo Court to SENTENCE SIMON TO DEATH for the sole sake of calming the public. He then ORDERS GURREN LAGGAN AND THE OTHER GUNMEN SCRAPPED, evacuates everyone outside of Kamina City to underground shelters to survive the Colony Drop, AND CONTINUES DOING THIS EVEN AFTER he learns that they have NO CHANCE of surviving. He then leaves half of Kamina City behind without a hint of remorse.
      • This is made all the sweeter when the total extinction of mankind is only prevented by the VERY GUNMEN HE ORDERED SCRAPPED in the first place, and a bunch of former members of Team Dai-Guren deciding "Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right". Basically, he spent two weeks making a mess it took Simon LESS THAN TWO HOURS to fix
  • When All You Have Is A Drill
    Viral: "It's no good! Our drill can't penetrate it!" [paraphrase]
    Simon: "So we need a bigger drill!?" [paraphrase]
  • Who Are You?: Inverted or...something. The hot-blooded heroes were rarely actually asked, but often answered their opponents preemptively and at great length, always ending with the series' Catch Phrase / Arc Words, "JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE!?"
  • Who Is This Guy Again?: The secondary members of Team Dai-Gurren tend to go unnamed, even if they get large amounts of screentime.
    • The entire crew of Dai-Gurren is actually named; as are their Gunmen (though this may just be a trait of the manga). They announce names at a few points in the canon, and resources exist with all the characters labeled. None the less, it's incredibly easy to forget that they are all indeed named, as these characters are rarely identified despite having substantial screen time for minor characters.
    • Happens to Viral at the end of episode 6. Kamina actually asks "Wait... Who is he again?", though Kamina does this for various people and facts. He actually does this a lot more than one would think for a character who's only alive in 8 episodes.
    • Subverted in the most awesome way in Lagann-hen. Kamina appears to Simon in the Lotus Eater Machine of the Anti-Spirals, helping him to get out of it. Then, Kittan shows up and Kamina says "Who was this guy again?". Kittan gets angry, but the subversion comes when Kamina grabs Kittan around the shoulders and says "You dolt! How could I forget?!"
  • A Wizard Did It: Spiral Energy can do pretty much whatever the hell's coolest.
  • The Worf Barrage: Poor Viral seems to fall victim to this a lot, especially any time he draws his swords. Apparently drills > Katanas. Then he gets redeemed.
    • In Lagann-Hen, he does the same barrage of blades in the anime, but with Tengen Toppa Enkidulga, and when the swords inevitably break, he kicks a shard of the sword into the Anti-Spiral homeworld, which Yoko shoots in her Tengen Toppa Yoko W Tank, the only time in the series where his swords were useful.
    • Not to mention Attenborough's Button Mashing all the Humongous Mecha-du-jour's guns on every enemy, usually to little effect: see his Fan Nickname. This is pointed out to him at one point.
      • Despite this, he actually does kill Adiane with it, and mooks now and then.
    • And it's not just Attenborough. Before that there was Yoko's BFG.
  • The Worf Effect: If you pay attention, you'll notice that Kamina almost never won a fight without Simon. The funny thing is, Kamina is fully aware of that trend. It's just that no one - especially Simon - believes him. And this is about a guy with insane stamina, Genius Bruiser tendencies and some Instant Expert skills thrown in one.
    • This is mostly due to the fact that the super robot Lagann IS THEIR ENTIRE FIGHTING FORCE and without it, the real robot Gurren is just one big ass target. The Lagann is also the only mecha powered by Spiral Energy (aka manliness) and only Simon can pilot it.
    • Also, the final battle. After escaping from the Alternate Space Labyrinth, the Dai-Gurren Brigade assemble a galaxy-sized mecha with an entire universe's worth of Spiral power. The Anti-Spiral proceeds to summon up his own galaxy-sized mecha and beat the crap out of it, even tearing it to shreds in the movie.
      • Deliberately invoked by the Anti-Spirals, as this is the only way to induce total despair, which in turn will destroy any trace of spiral power.
  • World of Badass
  • World of Ham: Does anybody notice that it can be said the Spiral Power is actually powered by hams?
  • Wrench Wench: Leyte, a.k.a. "The Professor".
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Rossiu is a cynical, pragmatic, and intellectual. If he was in Gundam or Evangelion he'd be completely right with all his choices.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: A comedic version throughout the Hot Springs Episode. Kamina keeps getting led to believe that he'll get to see the girls (and especially Yoko) naked while at the hot springs. First, just as he manages to reach the top of the dividing wall, the hots springs are revealed to be a Gunman. Then, the girls are shown as hostages, with their private areas under a mosaic blur. Kamina is promised that the blur will be removed if he gets out of his Gunman. When he complies, the blur is removed to reveal that the girls are wearing towels. Later, it turns out that the tightness of the towels is being controlled by a remote. Once the dial on the remote is turned to release the towels, it's revealed that they had bikinis on the entire time.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Kinon in the AU manga.
    • For that matter, note Yoko's reaction to "they're going to combine".
  • Yonkoma: The Internet has created the "Dai-Gurren-Koma", a collection of photoshops of the "Gaijin 4-Koma" corresponding to each episode that aired, which was updated within days of airing. This Website/{{Youtube}} video uses the pictures to punctuate a montage of the entire series. Warning: spoilers.
  • You Are Already Dead Simon does this with Lordgenome
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Some characters, such as Kamina and Nia, have obviously blue hair; others, like Simon and Kiyal, have dark blue hair which is less noticeable.
  • You Killed My Father: In the second episode, Simon realising that tremors caused by the Beastmen-piloted Gunmen led to his parents' deaths motivates him to fight.
  • Younger Than They Look: Zig-Zagged. Yoko starts the series at 14 in-universe years. It's claimed that Word of God states that in actual years, she's about 18.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Yoko wears a grade A with short shorts. Ironically, this means her legs are by far the only decently-covered part of her.

The lights in the skies are stars... Yeah, they're stars. Stars where our spiral cousins are waiting for us.

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alternative title(s): Gurren Lagann; Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann; Gurren Lagann
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