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The series was promising at first: the battles were awesome, the characters were interesting, the animation was fairly good. Then it became repetitive: fine, fighting spirit makes the mechas work, going past the impossible, we get it. Itís Serial Escalation of the exact same concept with too little development of anything else. Characters repeatedly pick up the Idiot Ball, and to make matters worse, the ball is apparently the Macguffin. At some point the escalation got so bad I started laughing when I shouldíve been amazed.
To make matters even worse, it smacked of misogyny, what with all the non-stop talk about masculinity and masculine values (and conflating them with a will to struggle for survival!), and that vagina-faced gunmen; to a lesser degree, the moon, which has been associated with femininity in many cultures around the world, becomes a serious threat to the survival of all mankind at one point (though this could be me reading too much into it). Worst of all is obviously gay/gender-nonconforming Leeron, who repeatedly harasses and creeps out the men he works with (yes, he contributes a lot to the team, but his queerness is expressed first and foremost by sexual harassment and Skewed Priorities towards his own good looks in the middle fighting). Nia serves to counter some of Kaminaís raging idiocy very briefly when she tells Simon he has every right to use his common sense and run from a hopeless battle... and then the series goes right back to espousing what is essentially unthinking Attack! Attack! Attack! mentality. Yoko is used way, way too much as Wish Fulfillment rather than an actual character, eagerly wearing extremely revealing clothes that practically run on Theiss Titillation Theory, complete with constant Gainaxing for no actual reason, and falling for caricatures of masculinity hormone-addled teenage boys project themselves onto. Itís annoying.
This series had potential, but it couldnít decide whether it was a parody or a straight-forward mecha series, and relied way too heavily on a set formula and misogyny that seriously cut down its entertainment value.
So you're getting a bit tired of all the very cynical and "down to earth" works of fiction. I mean, sure, you like them, but after a while it gets a bit turgid. Eventually you will cry to the heavens with arms outstretched "Give me something that's completely over the top, boisterous, flmaboyant, idealistic, happy, and awesome, with no attempt at subtlety!"
Enter Gurren Lagann.
The characters are all likable, sympathetic, and have real flaws. They are bigger than life, very often hammy and do things that even they percieve as impossible, because that's what they do. But they are humanised pretty damn well, and the warmth and ties between the characters is tangible. Sure, the characters have flaws and bad things sometimes happen, but in the end these characters in the end are people to look up to as an example of shining heroism.
The tone is probably the most optimistic thing i've ever seen on the planet. But it's because the series portrays tropes such as the Power of Friendship, and heroic resolve so straight and honestly that the series is so uplifting and awe inspiring. It completely passes cheesiness and Narm by virtue of playing these tropes so straight, and emotionally true.
The battles in the show are the other particular reason it makes the grade. Hint: FUCKING. AWE. INSPIRING. Sure, the fights start out as awesome but typical mecha fare, but slowly escalate into something entirely different, on a scale I can barely concieve. It starts with a fight, a small robot versus a slightly bigger one, and at the end involves two GALAXY SIZED MECHAS throwing galaxies at each other. May seem ridiculous from the outside, but this escalation is perfectly built up and feels natural, not mention awesome. Near the end It took me a few seconds to take in that the Main villain's homeworld wasn't just really small or something, and that the scale had just gotten that big.
Essentially it boils down to Rule of Cool. But Gurren Lagann is not just cool. It's probably the most, I Kid you not, uplifting work of fiction ever. It's about the intrisic potential of humanity as a force for good, fighting against impossible odds but winning anyway because of their essential goodness and strength of heart. Nothing is impossible and one day you too could pilot a giant mech to save the galaxy.
I could talk about the amazing animation, the awesome soundtrack or the energetic and heartfelt story that makes people overlook it's plotholes. But that would be repeating what others have said. Here and now, I'm gonna counter something many people try to criticize this show for that is completely false: That it's a dumb Super Robot show. That you need to shut your brain off to enjoy this show.
No, you don't. Despite all it's bluster, yelling and giant mechs pounding each other into the dirt: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is an intelligent and deep show.
For example, it's usage of the Hero's Journey to give the show that grandiose and classical feeling as well as showing that any of us ordinary humans can be heros.
1. Simon's Ordinary World is the underground village of Giha.
2. Next is surprisingly Meeting The Mentor with the one and only Kamina! (Sorry but every TTGL fan is required to introduce him that way. He's kind of deserved it.)
3. Call to Adventure comes in the dual forms of the finding of Lagann, which becomes the means in which he overcomes the challenges before him, the first being the Gunmen that has fallen into his village.
4. The Refusal of the Call comes after the battle with the Gunmen, being chased by other two Gunmen, which also coinsides with the fifth step, Crossing teh First Threshold.
6. Meeting Friends, Allies and Enemies, which consists of the second and third episodes, where he meets the people of Littner Village who would become his closest comrades as well as a proper introduction to the Beastmen, the first antagonists of the series and one of their greatest warriors, Viral.
7. Approach comes in the form of Kamina's Death and Simon's Resulting Depression, in which he must know that he cannot be his brother, only himself.
8. The Ordeal which is the final obstacle in his quest for freedom, the Spiral King Lordgenome.
9. Reward, the accomplishment of the Spiral King's defeat and the resulting freedom.
10. The Road Back, while not his life from before, Simon's comes in the form of his new life as Supreme Commander.
11. Resurrection Hero comes in the form of the Anti-Spiral, who threatens everything Simon holds dear where he must use the lessons he learned from Kamina, his love Nia, his friend Rossiu and his comrades as well as the Anti-Spiral himself.
12. Finally, The Return with the Elixir where he puts the lessons he learned into practice by letting Nia die and wandering the world.
And that is only one example. I could make at least five other reviews on this but I can't, so I will just leave a couple of links in the comments and give you one challenge: See what you can find in TTGL.
What makes Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann a true gem is how it manages to combine years of mecha history, surprisingly good story telling, and pure awesomeness. And somehow, against all possibilities yield an epic masterpiece.
All of the charactera are developed and memorable even at their silliest moments. Initially they come off as typical stock archetypes with Simon the crybaby, Kamina the hyperactive big brother, and Rossiu the emo cynic. However, as the series progresses, each character reveal additional hidden traits and experience character arcs. The seemingly fearless Kamina secretly feels seems moments of terror yet still persists because of Simon. Simon initially was presented as a crybaby and coward who would snap at every setback. However, with enough encouragement from Kamina and Nia, he was able to believe in the ideal version of himself and become a truly confident hero. Even Rossiu, the doubting strawman who seems out of place, is shown as a fully developed figure instead of a nagging caricature. In fact, everyone values Rossiu as a human being and helps him. For all their over the top quirks, the characters still feel relatable and dynamic.
In relationship to other mecha series, Gurren Lagann serves as both an homage and a spiritual antithesis to Evangelion and Gundam. Specifically, Lagann counters the elements of despair in Evangelion and death in Gundam. Like Evangelion, the heroes fall into moments of suicidal despair. However, unlike Evangelion, these characters were able to bind together and help each other overcome their problems, thus allowing them to deal with further hardships. Like Gundam, many beloved characters are killed off in unexpected moments. However, even when facing their inevitable deaths, each character go out in a blaze of glory. Gurren Lagann addresses these issues such that the characters could work around them in an uplifting manner.
Yet ultimately, Gurren Lagann has some very meaningful messages. Simon was able to become a badass with loving support and his own identity. He tries to follow in Kamina's place only to fail tragically. However, he learns that he is not Kamina and with help from Nia manages to recover from his emotional hardships. Thus the message: you cannot make someone overcome hardships by force, greatness can only be achieved when one finds their own identity and has loving support.
THE SHEER UNBRIDLED AWESOMENESS AND PHYSICS DEFYING TESTOSTERONE IN THE SERIES IS SO GREAT THAT I CAN ONLY DESCRIBE IT IN ALL CAPS AND MANLY ECSTAAAAAAAASSSSSSYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!
BUT SO AS TO PROVIDE A SOMEWHAT RESTRAINED (IF STILL HAMMY) SUMMARY, THE MAIN STRENGTH OF THIS SERIES IS ITS PASSION.
YOU MUST EMBRACE THE FACT THAT THE LAWS OF PHYICS ARE NON-EXSITENT IN THIS UNIVERSE, AND ROLL WITH THE EVER GROWING PILE OF CRAZY IT CULTIVAAAATTTTEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!
SO IS DUMB? (OF COURSE!)
IS IT BOISTROUS? UNAPOLOGETICALLY SO!
DO I LOVE IT ALL THE SAME? ABSOLUTELY!
WHO DO YOU THINK I AM?
It's a giant robot series. Oh, hell yes, it is a giant robot series, and Gurren Lagann makes no bones about it. Take every single cliche and overused line of dialogue and jam it into one show while amping everything above and beyond what should be acceptable.
Everything, literally, everything about the show is in-your-face and loud. The animation is bright, colorful and cartoony, with an extremely smooth framerate throughout the vast majority of it. Occasionally, there is a hiccup, such as the infamous episode 4, but otherwise, the quality stays extremely high throughout. The soundtrack? Also fantastic and in-your-face, from "Libera Me" to "Happy Ending" to "Sorairo Days" to "TO HELL WITH COMBINING," everything is loud, loud, and loud. And, just like the animation? It's mostly fantastic! I mean, hell, I listen to "TO HELL WITH COMBINING" all the damn time. That's how catchy this stuff gets.
The story is just as exaggerated. It's your typical tale of a boy's growth into a man as he experiences loss and grief, but ultimately bounces back stronger than before. It's not new by any stretch of the imagination, but it's played in such a way that it truly feels like a full-blown love letter to everything mecha. I especially love how the series, for all its optimism, isn't afraid to kill people. Characters die. Very important characters die, and there's a good purpose to it. I absolutely love how Kamina's death was handled, in that it was the catalyst for Simon's development. It was well-executed and it helped move things along.
Shifting gears from what the series does right, there's also one very important thing to know...this series is stupid. No, don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean it's bad. It just means that the series goes in such a direction that it's silly, overblown, and kind of ridiculous. But that's perfectly okay because the series happens to know this. And it goes through with its stupidity in a very passionate way. And that's probably what makes the series so damn enjoyable and fun to watch. It's clear that there was a lot of love put into Gurren Lagann, and it shows. The characters are passionate. The bright colors and cartoony art style scream TLC. The songs feature mad effort out the wazoo.
It's no wonder that TTGL got so popular. It's fucking ridiculous.
"Who the hell do you think I am?!"
A now famous quote that is Kamina's battle cry, Simon's battle cry, and arguably the show's battle cry. Gurren Lagann is a show that screams this in every way, shattering all limitations placed upon the constraints of its world. In doing so, it becomes what is arguably the most epic anime on the map today, in every sense of the word.
Gurren Lagann is an epic story, because the narrative actually is the layout of classic epic poetry. A vast limitless setting to journey across, passionate speeches, and heroes that embody the hopes and dreams of entire civilizations. It is a tried-and-true formula that Lagann follows to the letter but takes it beyond imagination.
Lagann is animated expertly by the infamous veteran studio Gainax. A studio known for inventive directing, and this series is no exception. Animation is jerky and sketchy, but given the sheer energy of the material and it's unbridled force, it works and it works perfectly. You may not like the look of it, but that doesn't mean it's not appropriate. Only one episode of the bunch really stands out in quality, but it is a one-time slip... still it is a massive slip so points need to be taken off for it. Everything else is Grade-A material.
The journey of Gurren Lagann is accompanied by an epic soundtrack. The use of rap doesn't always work, but the majority of the music is not rap, and does well to highlight the epic nature of the series with swelling brass, snare drums, and even opera. The sum of it sounds like a grand call to war, which fits the series perfectly.
To be frank, very frank, when I finished Gurren Lagann I felt like my soul had had an enlightenment. The passionate dialogue and grandiose animation are rhetorically dynamic. You feel what Simon feels, you want what Simon wants, and you go through it all with a deep sense of satisfaction. Gurren Lagann is a genius anime, but it is also a respectable triumph in general entertainment, anime or otherwise.
This show is just plain fun. After watching FLCL, I figured i would check and see what else the Gaianx creators had up there selves, what I found was more pure unadulterated fun. If you come into the series expecting a deep, thoughtful, insight into the mind, your going to be disappointed, but if you come in thinking what the show is, and not taking it serouisly, this show Is going to Rock you harder then a Hurricane! By the way, this show has plenty if fan service, so fair warning on that :P
I went into this show in a non criticizing mood, and this is how it should be watched. Just relax and enjoy, and be swept up in the awesomeness. If you like to be inspired and uplifted, this is for you. The only way you could not like this show is if you are cynical to a fault. I know it's sometimes hard to see the good in the world, but if you have to believe in just one thing, believe in the you who believes in me. And I believe in Gurren Lagann. This show is my mantra, my motto, my soul. It's what gets me up in the mornings, and pushes me along until my legs give way. This show is literally my religion. Now on to why it's so good.
Besides being pure optimism, it has very strong characters, a solid plot, great music, amazing animation, and a strong fighting spirit. While Yoko is basically exploited by the animators as a sex object by the clothing she wears, she is not portrayed as an object. She is a strong, believable character, whose actions are not made for the camera, but for the plot. Kamina is hard not to love, an energetic, manly, and optimistic fighter, he's my favorite character, and I revere him as Jesus. Simon is little boy, rightfully afraid of his circumstances, but he's also brave.
I can't say much about the plot, except to say that it's simple. And I can't say much about the music besides that I enjoyed it. The animation, as I mention before, is clean and very enjoyable except for episode 4.
When I watched this show, I felt the spirit of god burning in my soul stronger than at any other time. When Kamina came back, I cried. No, not manly tears, I was choking up. It was pure fun, and this is why Gurren Lagann is now my religion, and my favorite piece of media ever.
When I had heard about this series, I had thought "Well, okay. This sounds cool, but it probably isn't as good as the hundreds of tropers gushing about it are making it sound." When I watched the series, well, I was right.
I felt that the show was overtly chauvanistic with its characters, claiming by believing hard alone would allow you to break the laws of physics. I understand the moral, but it's completely Anvilicious and overtly optimistic. This is particularly glaring in the last leg of the second arc, where the protaganists go outright into Invincible Hero territory, which completely ruins the tension that had been set up earlier. As for the characters themselves, I really didn't feel that I could feel for them. They just seemed to be cookie-cut-out from anime character cliches. Kamina I felt was overhyped from being shown as "the manliest man in fiction", and he didn't have much depth. I felt that the character development (that doesn't consist of shouting "ROW ROW FIGHT DAH POWAH") also had issues. At the beginning of the series, it's implied that Simon has a crush on Yoko. This is completely dropped by the time he meets the resident Moeblob, Nia. There are other opportunities like this throughout that sadly don't come into full fruition, which is a real shame. I could go on, but I only have 400 words to use.
Now, is this show bad? By no means! If you're looking for a series that has a bunch of explosions, cool stuff and great animation, this is it. I'll admit that this is easily the most fun anime that I've ever watched, but (again) not the best.
I felt that what killed the series (and likely made me like the show less) was the ending. A show about doing the impossible by pushing yourself to the limit ends with the universe eventually becoming doomed because of this very idea. Adding to that comes what happens to the remaining characters. Does our hero get a happy ending? Nope, he spends the rest of his life living as a homeless wanderer. Seeing the show's heroes become old and decrepit in the Distant Finale also felt like a punch to the gut. Thankfully, you and I can always just pretend it never happened and think our characters lived happily for the rest of their lives.
Overall, the show is flawed but worth watching if you can avoid the Hype Backlash that's generated from the internet.
Some time ago, when I stumbled upon Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, I was enthralled and caught up in all the fun and hot blood. Looking beyond that, however, I found the plot a bit underwhelming.
The plot is just your typical "La Resistance" story; the characters, while likeable in my opinion, were-cookie cutter in terms of personality. There are several Deus Ex Machina which can be detracting at times, though they are not overly grating. Also, a lot of plot elements have been graciously borrowed from other series (the framework of the second half was almost directly lifted from Getter Robo). Since this anime is essentially a satirical deconstruction/reconstruction of the Super Robot Genre, it may be all deliberate on Gainax's part.
The one part where I commend the plot, however, is using Kamina as a Decoy Protagonist and helping Simon step up to the plate. It was a good plot twist, subverting the typical Shonen protagonist and reconstructing what Shinji deconstructed eleven years beforehand. In my opinion, the growth of Simon is the most powerful part of the plot; the Character Development also somewhat leaked to other characters, and in my opinion led to the show's plot Growing The Beard. Even after that development has long passed, his character continues to progress in several ways. There is also a "follow the destiny you think is right" theme which I appreciate.
If you are not a plot kind of guy, however, and just want to have fun, you'll find an anime you'll really like. The fights and action are intense, though not drawn out like several other Shonen anime (you know which ones I'm talking about). While lacking in action in the beginning, it slowly but surely builds up.
Overall, this anime is the most fun one I've seen yet, but there's not a complete plot package behind the action. For me, it hardly detracts from my enjoyment of the show, and it is currently one of my favorites.
9/10 action wise
7/10 plot wise
It did. The action was exelent for a action mecha anime (example: Simon trying to drill the anti spiral with supper tengen toppa only for it to be destroyed and having to go down the line of mechas only to have the orriginal gurren laggan be the one to break a universal scale drill), the characters werent the types you see in the usual mecha anime (eccept for Simon after Kamina dies for a bit) The mecha upgrades got past the fact that they were a bit predictable by going beyond the impossible (like in the movie were Simon pilots a mecha only slightly smaller than the universe) The characters were also probably the most awsome personalities ive ever seen. Over all on a scale of 1-10 i would give it about an 8.5 maybe 9, it is an anime i will enjoy watching for many a year to come.
As you should know, there are two versions of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann available to the public; one TV series and a pair of compilation movies (Gurren-hen and Lagann-hen). Which version, you ask, is better?
For the movies, the scenes that are new or have been redrawn have much higher quality than the originals. When you compare Simon's "rebirth" in the series to the version from the movie (spoilers), the movie seems a lot more fluid. The voice acting was also redone, so they generally sound better (notice how Simon doesn't sound like he overdosed on Red Bull in the movie). However, the voice acting has a tendency to get too hammy in the movies sometimes (Your Mileage May Vary, so you may enjoy the extra ham). The abridging of the series helps Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann newbies get into the story more easily, so I sometimes like to call the movies "Gurren Lagann for Dummies".
However, the series has superior storytelling compared to the original. Several scenes which I felt were important were left out, and plot details were edited for streamlining's sake. One of the things I dislike about Gurren-hen is how the last three Beastman Generals got shoehorned into a single battle. The bulk of the character development of Yoko and Viral was also cut out, sadly.
The movies also have a lot more Fanservice than the originals - at one point, two females are shown topless in all their glory. You may or may not like it, so I'm just warning you ahead of time.
If you watch the movies first then the series, you will feel a bit let down by the action and fight scenes of the latter. I did that, so the series felt a bit underwhelming to me. The Final Battle of Lagann-hen beats the original by a Tengen Toppa Gunmen's length (which is a long distance). Don't believe me? Look it up (both the final battle and the Tengen Toppa Gunmen's length).
My verdict? If you prefer better storytelling and less corny voice acting, watch the TV series. If you are new to the Gurren Lagann franchise, you just care about Beyond The Impossible super robot action, or you just want to have fun, then the movies were made for you.
I don't really watch anime. The only anime I've ever really watched is Inuyasha, and I didn't finish that. After seeing a signature of Kamina's Who The Hell Do You Think I Am? on a forum I frequent, I Googled the phrase and discovered Gurren Lagann.
I never thought I'd be one to like Mecha, but Gurren Lagann changed my mind. It's over-the-top, ridiculous, and pulls it off with such finesse and sincerity you don't know whether to cry or to laugh (I did both). Upon first glance it seems like just a bunch of overhyped Fanservice, but once you get into it, you find out it has great animation, solid characters, and a strong plot. The ending was a major sticking point for several people, but I accepted it as it was. Yes, it was heartbreaking, but it made sense, and at least they were fine with it themselves.
Anyway, I would definitely look into it. If you're not one for a Bittersweet Ending, though, steer clear. And if you do watch it, bring a box of Kleenex. You're gonna need it.
I decided to watch this show after seeing it all over TV Tropes. I checked out the page; it sounded pretty stupid. But evidently all of these other people loved it, so maybe it was good. I tried it out, not planning to take it seriously from the start, which, by the way, is the best way to enjoy this show.
I pretty much did a double take every other shot, had a huge, dorky smile on the whole time, and couldn't help stare like an idiot. It was just so... AWESOME! I couldn't stop smiling!
This show makes no sense whatsoever. Try and make sense of it and you'll probably break your head. But that's really not the point of the show. It's not supposed to make sense. It seems like...an experiment to see how much Crazy Awesome, hot-bloodedness, and exaggerated testosterone could be smashed into one 27-episode show. It's crazy but...somehow, it all works. It's not supposed to work properly in your head—it's supposed to almost blow it off with all of the awesomeness crammed into it. Some think the characters are a tad cooky-cutterish, but they're really more like the classic archetypal heroes, villains, and supporting cast placed in a shiny, cool new package. This show is probably the most Troperiffic thing I've ever seen, and it doesn't exactly try not to be. People complaining that it's unoriginal are missing the point—it was meant to be a mishmash of old favorite tropes in an awesome, unbeatable way.
There are so many catchphrases and quotes in this show. Somehow, they all manage to be awesome. They're not all that original, but, as I said before, it's not trying to be original. It is instead trying to be as Crazy Awesome and hot-blooded as is humanly possible, and it succeeds.
Watch it for fun, not trying to be serious, and you'll enjoy it one heck of a lot more. It's the most motivational show in existence, and it's really just so crazy awesome that you can't help but feel it whenever Kamina screams his battle cry—"JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?"
The first time I watched TTGL, I came away with something I hadn't felt since I saw Superman the Movie at age 11: Pure, unrestrained glee. The passion put into this show oozes off the screen and dragged me with it, and I had a blast. Yeah, it's really stupid, but I didn't care. I've seen the whole thing twice through, and each time I come away with an ear to ear grin and the desire to punch the air. This is one of the rare works of fiction that transcends mere awesomeness and becomes a kind of art in and of itself. Yeah, I just called it art. Bear with me. To me, there are some things that are flat out awesome - explosions, fight scenes, and general badassery - but most of the time, these things fail to produce an emotional response beyond an adrenaline spike. This show makes you feel it - when something cool happens, it's hard not to scream out "Hell yeah!" I did a marathon viewing of this with my friend once, and by the time we hit episode 11 we were pushing out too many expletive-loaded reactions to mention here. I can watch it over and over again for that reason alone - this series is first and foremost about letting the audience have a blast. It sweeps you up and pulls you away with it, and that's something I'm always willing to do.
Well, it's springtime and the first movie of the remake duology is probably hitting a torrent near you. Does it stack up to the original series? Does it manage to capture that same intense rush of emotion and fieriness of the TV series? Let's find out, shall we?
The first three-fourths of the film cover the events of the Kamina arc and the beginning of the Nia arc. The term "remake" is stretching it a bit, as while a few scenes do have slightly more polished animation, we are watching footage ripped straight from the TV series, right down to the infamous art style from episode 4 that sent viewers into a childish tizzy. Pacing is an issue here, as while there is some compression, there's not enough of it and the movie starts to drag a bit. It's not until forty-five minutes into the film that the group even sets out with the Gurren Lagann. Consequently, major events such as the meeting of Kittan and Rossiu are done in a Time Compression Montage, resulting in one only knowing the characters' names and not much else about them, or why they're tagging along.
The climatic battle of the movie is where we finally get a completely original sequence, with full-borne movie quality animation. The three remaining Generals, including Viral with his own version of the Dai-Gunzan attack the Dai-Gurren in an all-out assault, with the intent of showing the humans around the world their defeat, much like Guame tried to do in the original series. I liked this battle because it let all of the members of the group, like Kidd and Zoshi, do something, even if it's just holding off grunt Gunmans. Yoko even gets to show off her Action Girl credentials by taking on a horde of Beastmen and Adiane by herself. Simon's "rebirth", as it's called, is just as much fun to watch this time around as it was the last. The whole thing ends with the Generals' motherships combining to form a humongous craft which is sadly taken down before it does much of anything. In fact, apart from Adiane's fight with Yoko, the Generals really don't do all that much in the battle. Heck, all Cytomander really gets to do is menace Nia a bit and scream like a girl.
If you're looking for an entirely new product, you're out of luck, and better off skipping to the last half-hour. If you want a reminder of what the series originally had to offer, go right ahead and enjoy.
Yeah, you heard me right. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is not a good show. It's not great. Not awesome. Not epic. Why, you ask?
BECAUSE NONE OF THESE WORDS DO THE DAMN THING JUSTICE. IN ORDER TO PROPERLY CONVEY HOW FREAKING AWESOME TTGL IS, A WHOLE NEW LANGUAGE WOULD HAVE TO BE MADE FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF SINGING THIS SHOW'S PRAISES.
The show is populated by some of the most Bad Ass characters in the history of anime: Kamina, the man who coined the term Beyond The Impossible, who can be badass no matter what he does, and is literally the most awesome guy ever except nobody really knows why. Simon, who starts out pretty unimpressive, but by the end... oh MAN. Yoko, the scantily dressed sniper with the kiss of death, Leeron, the homosexual mechanic, Kittan, who may be just as awesome as Kamina, and many, many others.
TTGL has a bit of everything. Many genuinely funny moments, anything Kamina says, ever, is somehow inspirational no matter how many times he's said it, there are moments where you WILL break down and cry, the soundtrack is always amazing, and most of all, there are moments where you will stand up and start cheering for a good minute because what you just saw was so damn awesome.
Seriously, I can't recommend this thing highly enough. It may just be one of the greatest anime of our time, and is a must-see for any anime fan.
Oh, and a word of advice? Don't think too hard about how everything works. You'll just hurt your head.
I sat through the entire series after having my suspension of disbelief frittered away by the third episode, but in between snarky remarks of "really? I think elementary school students could realize the problems with these physics" I was smirking like a madman and generally throwing away my usually calm personality to grin, laugh, and even cheer with wild abandon. If asked about this in the future, I will sharply deny it.
While most (read:the limit as the amount approaches all) of the story elements have been done before, TTGL remains blissfully aware of this. Unlike other Gainax projects I could mention, its focus is less on examining classic mecha tropes/cliches but instead on celebrating them in the most over-the-top, Beyond The Impossible manner possible.
Behind all of this, though, is a genuinely good (if not entirely original) storyline with a colorful and well-developed supporting cast. Unlike many Super Robot shows which simply focus on the Showy Invincible Hero, TTGL gives B-list characters a decent amount of the spotlight; in my opinion, they are more interesting than protagonist Simon and Memetic Badass Kamina. The plot moves at a relatively rapid pace, averting the hated Status Quo Is God trope (insert tirade) yet not seeming jerky.
The point I am trying to make here is that if you go in expecting perfection, you will be as disappointed as if you were looking for perfection... well, anywhere else really. (huge cynic bluh bluh) Similarly, any attempt to take it EXTREMELY SERIOUSLY is a dire case of point-missing: Gurren Lagann is made to entertain, and that is a task at which it succeeds immensely.
This series is completely and utterly ridiculous in the best possible way: the breaks from reality are so shameless that they stride confidently straight past being wallbangers and into just plain awesome, and everything comes together to make it work, feel genuinely inspirational and make a strange amount of sense in its own completely nonsensical way. It's worth seeing just for that.
However, Gurren Lagann also has a surprising amount of subtle depth that isn't obvious at first glance. Kamina is the embodiment of the series itself, over-the-top and crazy and ridiculous - but he has no real heroic qualities to speak of outside of his Determinator status, and the series knows. My absolute favorite part of Gurren Lagann is how this is shown in the backstory of how Simon met Kamina: relatively early in the series we see Simon explain the story, how they were trapped after an earthquake and losing hope, but Kamina refused to surrender his spirit and kept Simon going until he'd managed to dig their way out. This is in line with how we've been viewing Kamina, through Simon's eyes, as an inspirational idol. However, much later, we see a flashback to Kamina telling the same story to Yoko: he explains that as they were trapped, all he could do was sit there babbling while Simon was the one tirelessly digging their way out of there - Kamina idolized his determination.
It's beautiful. It's stirring. It's poetic, really, realizing that the guy who's spent the whole series hamming it up and hogging the attention felt positively inferior to the quiet, resigned little boy who viewed himself as just tagging along. Gurren Lagann is full of little, understated character moments like this underneath all the epic and ham. How about the fact Kinon straps explosives to herself to go with Simon in Gurren Lagann to destroy the Anti-Spiral mechs? In a series stuffed to the brim with Determinators, she blows them all out of the water without even having to summon giant drills out of the ether to prove it. And Viral, the tough rival, turns out in one of the last episodes to wish for nothing more than a family, the one thing he, by virtue of his genes, can never have.
These little things are what really makes this series; without them it's epic, but with them it's truly, genuinely good.
I came into this series with almost no expectations. All I knew was that it would be badass, have drills, and some really cool shades. And as of now, I can honestly say there is no anime except FLCL that has entertained me more. I laughed, I cried, I CHEERED. Yes, actually cheering out loud. This series was just so much fun. I loved the characters, I loved the plots, I loved the over-the-top fights, I loved just about everything Gurren Lagann had to offer. While some would say it's 'Overrated' or 'Overhyped', I say it's a damn good anime if you stop listening to what everyone else says and let it describe itself for you. Just kick back, relax, and prepare for a non-stop montage of explosions, giant robots, and kicking reason out to the curb.
In short, I had a blast with this anime and I highly recommend it.
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