Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann… I’m not sure how to start this post for some reason. Gurren Lagann is about a boy (who later becomes a young man) called Simon who is on a quest to reach his destiny (I paraphrased that from the opening sequence of every episode… I’m sorry). In all seriousness, the anime is about Simon who discovers a drill which is used to activate a gunmen (or ganmen if you watched it with subs) called Lagann. Simon along with his “bro” Kamina live in an underground colony, just like most humans in this series and they both dream of touching the surface which eventually happens when they meet Yoko who they help to defeat a beastmen (beastmen are the bad guys). Once they reach the surface, they learn about the beastmen and discover that the beastmen and their leader the Spiral King are the reason that humans are confined to underground colonies. The story takes another direction where humans (spiral beings) have to fight against an entity known as the anti-spiral. (I know it’s a bit of a crappy explanation but I’m trying not to give too many spoilers).
This will sound cheesy but the first thing that I got from watching this anime was that it was a nice way of showing people to follow their dreams and to always have the will power to follow through on them. Usually in anime, people have some sort of energy that provides the source of their power and in this one the energy is called spiral power, something that’s only available to spiral beings but when you look at spiral power, it’s nothing like reiatsu or chakra, it’s just based on the spiral being and their desire not to give up (maybe it’s a little like the ones I mentioned but at least there’s an explanation that makes sense). I felt that the story progressed too quickly which was a shame because this was something that I enjoyed watching. For the first few episodes I thought that this would be one of those character of the day anime however, the story came together which felt rewarding because I considered giving up on this anime (like I felt with Kurozuka). The second half of the series is where things get really interesting, personally I liked it because it was more linear and it had some surprising (if not confusing revelations). The one thing about the series that got to me was the ending, however I’ll let you decide on that for yourself.
Most of the characters outside of Simon, Kamina and Yoko seemed secondary, so no matter what happened to them it was hard for me to care. To be honest, as the series went on Yoko lost importance as it started to focus more on Simon. Kamina was probably the character that it was easiest to take to because he provided a lot of comedy, he was also part of my favourite moment in the show which made it even worse when he died. His death was necessary as it gave Simon some character development, however I felt that as the series went on Simon transitioned from himself into Kamina 2.0. Simon was also victim of the disease (or blessing depending on how you look at it) known as being an overpowered main character. I didn’t see anybody pose a serious threat to Simon during a fight for more than half an episode which took the away the chance for some really good fights.
I thought that this was going to be an anime for children and I’m so glad that I was proven wrong on that. For some reason, the drawing style really helped to contribute to that, probably because it reminded me a lot of Shaman King. I can say that this is an anime worth watching for many reasons but one of my standout reasons is that the show does make some statements (that I hope I’m not reading too much into) such as how humans can be ungrateful and turn on someone that’s done a lot for them. It also made a statement on religion (something that I’ve seen in a few anime and will probably blog about later).
Other thoughts: There was a character called Viral and despite everything, I didn’t like him. He was just too annoying and never really seemed like a character that I could take seriously. There was a gunmen called Dai Ganzan/Gurren which had a very huge third leg, in fact this show was weird when it came to private parts because there was another gunmen which had a scorpion tail in that area. Maybe it’s me but getting closer to the end of the anime, it was like it gave up on the story and said “convenience for the win!” I liked that the whenever a character talked inside a gunmen the gunmen would talk as well. Of all the characters in the main group that could have died, the one that I was looking forward to seeing die, didn’t die. I’ve said this a few times lately for anime but I liked the soundtrack, it was a good mix of genres.
Recommendation: I’d recommend this to anybody that hasn’t watched a mecha anime (we’ll see if I change that after watching more).