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YMMV / Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

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  • Adorkable: Simon is as cute and endearing as Kamina is hammy. He ditches this after the timeskip though, and becomes a lot like Kamina... save for when he cheers over Nia accepting his marriage proposal.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Simon doesn't seem the least bit perturbed about Nia's death literally seconds after their wedding. Granted, he and Nia were expecting it, and it was meant to show how much he had matured, but one would think he'd at least have some kind of emotional response to it. The other attendees also take it amazingly well, considering they weren't expecting it at all.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Dai Gurren rams into Cytomander's Shuzack and sends him crashing into his own battleship, incinerating him in the colossal explosion. In the movie, he can't even get an attack off before Simon mulches him with a Giga Drill Break. It just goes to show how low he really is—he's not even good enough to be killed ceremoniously. As if it weren't hard enough on the guy, he is killed in the film and manga adaptations by the Giga Drill Break before he's even able to finish speaking his own attack's name.
    • Adiane, who is blown apart by Dai-Gurren's ship in the anime and manga versions before Simon can slam a finishing move, and unlike Cytomander, she was a reoccurring threat beforehand.
    • Played abundantly straight with the movie's Dai-Gan Do-Ten-Kai-Zen, a powerful fusion of the Four Generals carrier mecha who previously gave Team Dai-Gurren a run for their money individually before Simon arrives. Despite packing enormous firepower and being touted as a "Perfect Fortress", it fails to even scratch a single member of the team, and is swiftly defeated in one grandiose swoop.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Fans either hate Rossiu for using Simon as a scapegoat for the Anti-Spiral attacks post-Time Skip, or forgive him and see it as an integral part of his character arc.
    • The Anti-Spiral is one, albeit it's not so much half the fanbase hates it while the other half likes it. The matter is more if its actions can be excused as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, or if it has crossed the line.
    • Nia: Is she a compelling character and good foil to Kamina, or is she an unnecessary Satellite Love Interest to Simon? Additionally, was her death completely contradictory to the idealism of the series, or was it necessary to show how much Simon matured?
    • Some have called Yoko out for being an unnecessary Ms. Fanservice who adds nothing to the series, with one of the biggest complaints being the Unfortunate Implications of sexualizing a 14-year-old (pre-timeskip). Others, however, tend to see her as a competent Action Girl with a good deal of Character Development of her own. Like Kamina, she suffers from Hype Backlash in some communities for being one of the most iconic characters but never being a central focus of the story.
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    • For all his popularity, Kamina suffers from Hype Backlash in some circles. Most of this is because he only serves as the Decoy Protagonist and because Simon achieves a lot more throughout the series while becoming manlier than Kamina ever was; some of Kamina's detractors believe that most of his popularity is due to Memetic Mutation, Memetic Badassery, and from those who only watched the early episodes of the series. Despite this, it's rare to find fans who dislike or hate him outright. Instead, most are fed up with his memes.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Yoko. While she has a developed personality, backstory, and character arc, she's famous for being a poster girl for Ms. Fanservice, and the series is entirely shameless about exploiting and lampshading it.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
  • Broken Base:
    • The face-based Gunmen/mecha designs. They're either cool, creepy, full of Narm Charm, or any combination of the above. Same goes for the sleeker and less blatantly facelike Tengen Toppa Solvernia and Yoko W Tank, which are either more aesthetically pleasing than the standard Gunmen, or too much like generic "cute female robots".
    • The entire ending. Nia's death in particular is a very hotly contested issue, for which you have those who think it was a necessary scene to establish how Simon has grown as a character, while others think it was simply shoehorned in for cheap drama and goes against the "never give up" spirit of the series.
  • Crazy Is Cool: Kamina is basically the poster boy for this trope. He is, when you get down to it, a complete misfit who has no idea how to fit in to society at all, especially the grim one he finds himself born into. And holy hell, is he the coolest and most inspirational guy on the show. And the show then goes on to examine this in a way, since his "crazy coolness" is, essentially, what gets him killed, and much of lead character Simon's arc for the rest of the show is more or less him considering to what degree he should really try to follow in Kamina's footsteps, or if that's even a good idea.
  • Ending Aversion: A lot of viewers say that Nia's death was so jarring and contradictory to the series themes about not giving in and not accepting how things are without a fight that it ruined the series for them.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Jorgun and Balinbow also have their fans for being hilariously stereotypical Dumb Muscle characters who end up sacrificing themselves to save Gimmy and Darry.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • One popular theory is that the world of Gurren Lagann is what happened to Earth after the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Considering it's revealed that the Angels generate their power from helical DNA, and humanity itself is the 18th Angel, this is getting dangerously close to being plausible.
    • The ending of the manga shows a young Beastman girl shyly looking upon Dai-Gurren, heavily resembling Adaine, right down to the clothes. Who she is and why she is there is a total mystery, though some theorize that she is possibly Viral's daughter.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Yes, the universe was saved and the Anti-Spiral didn't kill off humanity, but many of the crew dies (including Kittan, right after he confesses his love for Yoko), Nia dies just after her and Simon's wedding and Simon himself becomes a hobo of sorts, which comes off as a rather insulting fate for someone who saved humanity from extinction. Not to mention, the Spiral Nemesis, the thing the Anti-Spiral were trying to stop from happening is still a potential risk that has a very real chance of transpiring and destroying everything. For such an idealistic series, the ending can be especially jarring and made a lot of the fans angry.
  • Evil Is Cool: Lordgenome, the tall, muscular Evil Overlord who pilots a pitch-black Gunmen, and isn't afraid to fight Lagann with his bare hands. It helps that he's a genuinely well-rounded, sympathetic character and pulls off one of the series' best Heroic Sacrifices.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Adiane and Cytomander, two of the four Beastmen generals.
    • Anti-Spiral Nia, the dark side version of Simon's Love Interest.
  • Fair for Its Day: Leeron is an exaggerated Camp Gay stereotype who creeps out other males when he flirts with them. While a character like him wouldn't see the light of day if created in The New '10s, Leeron has generally avoided accusations of being offensive and dated by being a very competent, helpful and entertaining heroic character, not to mention that he has a legitimate following in the LGBT community.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Viral/Adiane seems to be popular.
  • Foe Yay: Viral is supposedly portrayed as this with Kamina. In fact in a scene out of the Viral's Sweet Dream drama CD, every time he thinks of his wife, she turns out to be Kamina in a dress.
  • Fountain of Memes: Kamina. Many of his lines are often quoted for their combination of extreme WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK HE IS?!
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One Parallel Works video features Viral with a Beastmen daughter and wife, and he realizes that it was All Just a Dream after seeing Kamina in them, so he decides to find a way to stay awake so he doesn't have to dream anymore. Come episode 26, and it's revealed that all Viral wants is a Beastmen daughter and wife (who are the same ones in the Parallel works), and he comes to realize that it's All Just a Dream when Kamina saves everyone from the Interdimensional Labyrinth, calling the whole act sappy. And unlike last time, it's not Played for Laughs.
  • Gateway Series: The series was one of the more popular anime shown on Sci Fi Channel's Ani-Monday block back in 2008 and, along with Evangelion and Code Geass, it helped introduce many fans to the mecha genre.
  • Genius Bonus: The Four Generals' names are based on the names of the four bases in DNA. Thymilph: thymine; Adiane: adenine; Guame: guanine; Cytomander: cytosine. Especially good when you remember that A and T are complementary base pairs. They also take inspiration from how the four classical alchemical are represented by specific creatures: Gnomes (Earth), sylphs (Air), undines (Water) and salamanders (Fire). Guame = guanine + gnome, Thymilph = thymine + sylph, Adiane = adenine + undine, Cytomander = cytosine + salamander. Air and Fire have clearly been swapped here, though.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The series never made that big of an impact in Japan, where its father, Neon Genesis Evangelion, holds massive ubiquity. In America, where Evangelion doesn't hold as much influence as in its home country (even if it still remains a well-remembered classic in the anime community), Gurren Lagann has had much more success critically and commercially, and it's more debatable which of the two mecha anime is more popular and well-remembered.
  • Growing the Beard: It's more or less unanimously agreed that the series really picks up after Kamina dies, shifting from an episodic and highly comedic format to a more serious and plot-driven one. The series' signature Serial Escalation of Beyond the Impossible badassery is also finally introduced. Ironically, Kamina is regularly seen as the series' most popular character.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Many of the off-hand comments to the effect that Kamina is gonna get himself killed in the early episodes. Viral's warning "your bravado will get you killed" and Kamina's own "I'd be dead if it wasn't for your level head" to Simon in episode 3 come across as Foreshadowing once you get to episode 8.
    • In Episode 7, Rossiu warns everyone that "Good intentions can sometimes tempt good people into traveling down the wrong path." Post-time skip, he's doing exactly what he was warning against. He even mentions the effect it had on his village, which is what Simon compares it to when he finds out.
    • The finale of Lagann-Hen and TV series becomes this when you remember in episode 4, Kamina said that more than 16 combinations sound "Stupid", when in the movie that's almost exactly what Simon and the Dai-Gurren do near the end of the battle, to turn into a giant energy Kamina. Of course, the reason why Kamina said it was stupid was that more faces doesn't make you powerful, it's the bond between the spirits combining that gives you power. Take a look at Team Dai-Gurren's close friendship.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • Within the fandom, Kamina has loads of fans who refuse to accept that he was killed.
    • Nia gets this a lot, with people insisting there's always hope for her return.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Concerning the voice actors:
  • Hollywood Pudgy: According to Kamina, Yoko has a fat, unflattering bottom. She's not drawn in a way to reflect this and no one else really comments on it, so it seems completely baseless.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Real men fire each other up, unite, and make comments about each other's drills.
      Kamina: (To Viral) You best remember this, fuzzball! Combining is all about one man's fighting spirit slamming into another!!!
    • It ought be noted, it's Simon's Lagann that penetrates Kamina's Gurren...yes.
    • May also double as a sort of Shout-Out to the "Real men Ride each other" meme from Super Robot Wars.
    • The first time Kamina promises to "combine" with Simon, after the inevitable Split Screen of everyone repeating it dramatically, Yoko exclaims in glee, before Leeron tells her to forget about it.
  • Hype Backlash: Thanks to a very enthusiastic fanbase, certain watchers don't believe the series warranted the hype it got.
  • I Am Not Shazam: You may see many references to "Lord Genome" which are technically incorrect. Officially, "Lord" and "Genome" are not his title and name. Rather, it's simply "Lordgenome". Thus, it's pronounced as one word in both the Japanese and English versions. This hasn't stopped a few fans from hilariously back-mistranslating it as "Genome-sama".
  • It Was His Sled: Chronologically: Kamina dies. Also, there are things called "Anti-Spirals", and the final incarnation of Gurren Lagann is big enough to throw galaxies like shuriken. That second one is the most common, followed by the third. Even on this very wiki.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: You are not very likely to find a serious shipping war in the TTGL fandom simply because everyone (except maybe Leeron) is a LOATS. Yes, even Boota.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lordgenome, the Spiral King and initial Big Bad, is the totalitarian ruler of the Beastman Empire who once challenged the Anti-Spirals as a great leader of mankind with his Spiral Powers. Defeated and faced with his race being wiped out, Lordgenome created the Beastmen to force humanity to live underground, sacrificing their freedom to keep them safe from the aforementioned Anti-Spirals. Successful for many centuries with his armies, Lordgenome's forces prove a near-match for the heroes at every turn before they manage to fight their way through to his fortress. Seemingly killed by Simon, Lordgenome warns him of the risks of Spiral Power to humanity and when resurrected to help stop the Anti-Spirals, gives his life to finally end the alien monsters' threat.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Kamina, or rather his sunglasses. There's even an Emoticon for them! ◥▶◀◤
    • Simon. He invented teleportation specifically to punch someone in the face. Unfortunately, they got rid of the teleportation part in Lagann-hen and all we get is Kinon slapping Rossiu's face. Still awesome but not as awesome as the one from the TV series.
  • Memetic Loser: Simon. While early series Simon is trying to find his footing and hence is not as some as Kamina, late in the series, he surpasses his "Aniki" in spades and Kamina himself acknowledges it (if posthumously). Alas, the meme guys didn't get the memo and Simon pretty much remains a useless whiny little bitch in their eyes, and if they do acknowledge his late-show achievements, they think that Simon, a guy who outgrew his problems and faced his fears and became a badass, is more like there's two men called 'Simon', one who is a whiny little bitch and one who is pure high-octane GAR with no in-betweens.
  • Memetic Molester: Leeron is a more humorous example. The Anti-Spiral... isn't.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Kamina is not the protagonist. Simon is, and the series does not lose any of its awesomeness after Kamina dies.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
  • Narm Charm:
    • From the dub, episode 11: "ROSSIU! Let's COMBINE!" The following Moment of Awesome is made even better by Yuri Lowenthal's delivery and the new script, though, so it's all good.
    • How does Gurren Lagann make that "sproing" sound effect when it moves appear so awesome?
    • The whole show pretty much runs on it. The story is pretty poorly constructed for the most part, especially its extreme overuse of Deus ex Machina, but the creators' sheer love and enthusiasm for their work drips from every frame and makes it beautiful.
    • "Libera Me" from Hell: You wouldn't think that an opera song with Gratuitous English rapping would end up as one of the series' most iconic and beloved pieces.
  • Nausea Fuel: Boota ripping off his tail so that Simon and Kamina can have something to eat in the fourth episode. It's not bloody or anything, but it's still pretty gross to think about.
  • Never Live It Down: While Yoko is a very badass, likable and well-rounded female character, she will always be held up as one of the most egregrious Ms. Fanservice characters, not to mention the fact that she's technically underage in her most iconic design. Yoko cosplayers in particular are stereotyped as "thots" who cosplay her for fanservice and attention rather than out of genuine admiration of her character.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • With the way it's spoken about online you'd think that it invented mecha.
    • Spiral Energy at first seems like a concept original to this series. In actuality, it was originally a concept from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The "Classified Information" files in the game Neon Genesis Evangelion 2, released in 2003, reveal that the Angels' S2 engines generate an inexhaustible form of energy from, you guessed it, helical energy derived from their DNA-like shape. Beyond even that, the concept of Spiral Energy as depicted in the Gurren Lagann is as old as the super-robot genre itself. The idea that the robot suddenly became stronger because the pilot/controller is all fired up is one of the defining tropes of the genre, after all. Gurren Lagann just gives it a name and a gauge rather than playing it off as just something that happens in these sorts of shows. Also, the plot about the heroes' reality-bending power dooming the universe with eventual overuse was almost directly lifted from a Getter Robo story: Spiral Energy is Getter Rays and the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is the Getter Emperor.
  • Shocking Moments: The series has several. One of the most notable examples is Kamina's death.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Especially in the second half, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann basically comes off as an adaptation of the later arcs of the Getter Robo saga, with Spiral Energy becoming an even more obvious parallel of Getter Rays and there even being a Getter Emperor equivalent.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing: This series has one of the most popular teen/adult-oriented English anime dubs out there, employing a very talented voice cast, being full of Woolseyisms, and translating many of the signature lines in a highly quotable manner. As such, like with any anime series, there's quite a bit of debate over whether the sub or dub is preferable. However, the debate is generally more friendly than with other series due to the series' nature and format.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Viral's theme song "Nikopol" sounds an awful lot like "Points of Authority" by Linkin Park.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Rossiu deserved his punch to the face in Episode 23. This also counts as a Rescued from the Scrappy Heap moment, as his true colours are revealed in this scene.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The remake of the "Simon the Digger" speech in the first movie isn't the same as the TV version, something that didn't go over well with certain parts of the fandom.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Some fans feel this way about Kamina, feeling that he would've made a more interesting protagonist than Simon. Or at the very least wished he lasted a bit longer into the series, up until the battle with Lordgenome.
    • Kiyal, one of the only female characters that pilots a mecha, gets sidelined and dropped Out of Focus after the Time Skip, with her mecha combined into Kittan's, wasting an opportunity for her to join the rest of Dai-Gurren, as well as plenty of character development and story potential. The manga adaptation, however, gives her more focus, dedicating an entire chapter to establishing her experiences with Team Dai-Gurren and relationship with Kittan. She even gets more development during the Time Skip, right before Kittan goes off to face the Anti-Spirals with Simon.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The Rasen Shōnen-tan (or Spiral Boy) manga, set in an alternate universe. Simon meets Nia early, Yoko and Kittan are agents hunting down gunmen users (though Yoko eventually does a Heel–Face Turn), Kamina is the leader of a bunch of rebels with Viral of all people, the whole group are outlaws against a grown Rossiu and Lordgenome. Unfortunately, it was canceled after five chapters.
    • There was an opportunity for Rossiu to fully redeem himself and prove his skills as an effective and valuable leader of the populace by encouraging them to use their spiral power to help Team Dai-Gurren versus the Anti-Spiral. Instead, we get nothing of the sort, and in the epilogue, praise of Rossiu's leader skills from Leeron that comes off as empty and meaningless due to the lack of development backing it up.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: This is what you get when you inject your typical Super Robot anime with Powerthirst.
  • Too Cool to Live: Kamina and Kittan.
  • Values Dissonance: Yoko is insanely sexualized despite being a fourteen-year-old.
  • Uncanny Valley: Some of the Gunmen can invoke this, since they're modeled after faces. Especially since they "speak" and emote along with their pilots - particularly the titular Gurren Lagann due to its Multiple Head Case, especially when Kamina is piloting Gurren and it's very expressive.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Rossiu, who betrays Simon, designates him as a scapegoat to take the blame for the Mugann attacks, stages a coup to take his place as leader of humanity, and orders him executed. We're later shown he's seriously torn up about what he's doing and is truly only doing what he thinks is best for all of humanity, and when he's proven to have been in the wrong he attempts to kill himself, only for Simon to stop him. However, his smug attitude towards his teammates and friends, his command to have Simon executed, and the fact he is obviously basking in and enjoying the adulation of his advisors and the public when they praise him for saving them, makes it hard to feel that sorry for him when his Break the Haughty kicks in.
    • The entire human race. After the Time Skip, everyone has become so complacent and entitled that the government is bombarded with petty citizen complaints daily, and in the aftermath of Simon fighting the first few Mugann over the city there's riots and protests blaming Simon for the destruction the fighting caused, which then extends to blaming Kamina for it and tearing down his statue during a riot. Although Simon was reckless and could have tried harder to mitigate collateral damage (such as simply luring the Mugann out of the city, which he tries in the next fight with one), as Kittan points out, Simon was fighting to defend the city, and the Mugan would have done a lot more damage than Simon did if he hadn't destroyed it.
  • What an Idiot!
    • Kamina has this a number times, such as revealing himself to a Gunmen when Yoko is trying snipe or walking into a hotspring that obvious a trap.
    • Kittan has a magnificent display of this in episode 11 when he falls for the most obvious trap because he thought he was actually going to rescue a bunch of women supposedly under attack by gunmen.
    • The Anti-Spiral makes it pretty clear its victory in the past didn't come from out-thinking its enemies, considering it keeps wanting to push the protagonists over the Despair Event Horizon, and never seems to take it hint that doing that doesn't work and keeps giving them chances to become more powerful to the point where they can actually win.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Violence, cursing and fanservice galore - in a Shōnen Saturday Morning Cartoon. Western versions of the franchise drop the pretense and market it directly towards teenagers and adults.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The "My XXX Is the Best in the Universe" Parallel Works video. Whatever it is, it makes no sense at all. After all, it was drawn by Gekidan Inu Curry, the artists who drew the equally surreal witch barriers of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
  • The Woobie:
    • Poor Viral can't catch a break, even in his dreams. All the poor guy wants is a family, but being a Beastman he can never reproduce, and after Lordgenome makes him immortal he'll outlive any family he could possibly have.
    • Nia. She has to will herself to stay alive just to make it to her wedding, which happens right after she's kidnapped and raped.
    • Simon loses his parents, his best friend who was also his surrogate brother and something of a father figure, and a good chunk of his friends from Team Gurren. Along with that, he was betrayed and then character assassinated by his close friend and Well-Intentioned Extremist Rossiu, who also had him condemned to death. And to top it all off, his lover, who rescued him from a deep depression after losing aforementioned surrogate brother, and for who he literally tore apart the universe trying to save, crumbles into dust moments after they're married. Someone give this kid a hug, dammit.
    • Yoko after both the men who loved her die.
    • Kamina, who devotes his life to getting to the surface so he can meet his father and finds his skeleton on his second night there. It gets even worse when you find out that his over-the-top personality is all a fake and he is as scared as the rest of the Brigade, if not more.
  • Wangst: Rossiu's guilt and melodramatic sobbing about betraying Simon hardly redeems him to some members of the audience. Especially after putting Simon through hell by manipulating him and making Kinon strap a bomb to herself as insurance he wouldn't step out of line. Which pushes him to the level of suicidal thoughts.
  • Woolseyism: In the Japanese version, Kamina's last words roughly translate to "Farewell, comrades." The dub and official subs set it to "Later, buddy..." which is more powerful and fits his character better.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: There are a few fans who react this way after seeing Yoko's ridiculously Stripperific outfit (more so than usual, that is) from the final few episodes.


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