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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Random Month: Gurren-Lagann Review

It's a new month, Halloween is now over and sorry I didn't do a specific review for that day. Personally I don't care for that holiday, but maybe next year I could do something. So this is the start of random month where I will review anything that is slightly different than what I review usually, but some have some connections to Toku. So first is an anime series. Anime was a big thing for me when I was younger and it still is big. For me the best time was the 90's with Dragonball, Outlaw Star, and my favorite from that time YuYu Hakusho. Today anime has changed from what I remembered. This is one big reason why I got into Toku because anime started to disinterest me at times. I still watch some, but I don't follow the big ones like Naruto and Fairy Tail they just bore me. So Gurren-Lagannwas another big popular series and I was worried about it since big ones are very overrated, but to my surprise this series deserves all the love it gets. (Also the I wanted to review YuYu, but it's hard to find)
So now onto Gurren-Lagann, it's a mecha anime and some will think of Gundamn and at first that what I thought. It does share some aspects with it, but where it shares it, it amplifies it! If you love mechas this series is for you. As said by Anime For Dummies this series will be like crack for mecha fans. The plot of this series is that humanity has been taken down and are forced to live underground by the Spiral King. There are people called Diggers who expand where they live. One boy wants to see more of the world though and with his role model Kamina he supports Simon with his dream. One day a giant robot crashes into their village and begins to attack. During this attack Kamina takes action, but a woman  appears and fights the mech. During the fight the three get away because Simon has an idea. He shows them the "face" he has found and it's similar to the Gunman which are what the mechs are called in the series. Simon activates it with the drill object he found from before and it's already time for Lagann's first fight! Simon pilots the Lagann and gets his first win thanks to the mighty drill weapon! Now the three explore to the surface and they don't get a friendly welcome. Now they have to fight some more and through all of this they find out a lot more about the surface and their robot. It is in fact a Gunman, but it is missing it's lower half. Each Gunman can unite to a lower half and soon they steal their own lower half. This makes Gurren-Lagann and it's drill will pierce the heavens! Also with the support of other people Kamina takes his the team Lagann into new light as they will take down the Beast-men who have kept them underground.
Pros- What I love about this series the most is how short it is, but it has three parts in total. There are 27 episodes and I am amazed on how smooth things went. There is great progression and each episode has some importance to the plot. Since it's a mech anime you expect there to be action and this series gives you more than you expect. The action in this series is top notch and it just keeps giving you it. Along with the great animation everything looks amazing and doesn't confuse you on what is happening. The characters are really good as well with the best character ever made in an anime series Kamina! The series use him in the best way possible and his legacy will always live on. He is a complete badass who calls for danger and knows how to fight. I also love how much of a leader he actually is as he leads many people to what looks like suicide missions, but with his great dynamics he can make any battle possible. Simon was also a near perfect character as he is the main focus. He goes through a lot of development and how it is done is amazing. Yoko was also a pretty good character along with the other two and I am surprised that she does a lot than I expected since characters like her just stay as eye candy. There are minor characters as well and some don't get the same dynamics as others, but they stay who they are and they are already awesome so there was no need for them to change. I was afraid with the action because I would think it would over whelm the overall series, but I was dead wrong. There is great sense of emotion with sheer excitement and pure sadness. Another emotion is happiness and boy will this series get you happy, the comedy is another good element for this show. Gurren-Lagann is one of the best series I have seen to use many elements of entertainment.
Still one of the best characters I have ever seen in any type of entertainment.
Cons- There are only little things that get me at times and that is the fan service. Yea the series does do that and it's not a thing I personally like. It maybe done too many times, but at points it does mix well with the comedy at least. Also this series uses a bad style of recapping and then there is the mid point break. So little, but it still bothers me.
 She is fourteen?!
Overall- This is easily my second favorite anime. It has some of the best action because it's not only eye catching, but also fills you up with so much excitement. The progression feels very good and doesn't feel rushed at all. I would recommend this series like I am with Wizard right now. It is near perfect and both English and Japanese voice actors work well. So I give this series an A. So now here's the question what connections does it have to Toku? Well there are two parts that I know the most. The first hint is a certain voice actor and the second hint is a recent series that ended and is coming back.


  1. *Ahem*...first half was good. Second half made me want to gouge out my eyes with a toothpick. They had such a good thing going and then threw it all away.

  2. By the second part I think you mean the future arc. The first half was better yes, but that part was still good for me. It had a good message the amount of action and the style of it stayed the same. Also seeing how things finished off went really well. I forget his name, but the shark boy character got more focus which made me happy because he was my 2nd fave character in the series. The overall series was really strong. Also in a personal response I wouldn't say a show is terrible if another part didn't do as well. I would just recommend the first part. Cause the first part did have a good finish and felt like it had good amount of closure. For me the second part did get darker, but it shows a lot because the team was so strong and seeing them start to lose did get to me. Which lead to why Team Gurren was great their passion and courage made them do things that people would hesitate to do.

  3. What bugs me about the future arc is primarily 2 things:

    1) The characterization felt like it ignored every unique element of the characters from before the timeskip. They pay their characters homage in name only. Apart from that they may as well be an all new cast. The worst offender being Simon. Simon was trussed up in the pre-future arcs as everything Kamine wishes he had. Brains, skill, kindness, reservation...the kinds of personality traits you get from being meek. And in Simon's moment of victory at the end of those arcs it seemed like he was all set to be what Kamine wanted him to be. Which is to say, himself but with more confidence. But instead what does Simon turn out to be? A carbon-copy of Kamine that lost every important element of his personality that made him a BETTER person than his idol. It was a betrayal of his development as a character and made him an equally foolish oaf as his predecessor when it came to making decisions. Which leads into issue #2...

    2) The injection of a BS philosophical element that was so ham-fistedly delivered that by the time they finally actually beat the big bad I felt like I'd been listening to a political lecture for 7 hours. It's not that I don't like philosophy in my shows, quite the contrary. It's how they really only had ONE assertion: "Population Control is bad." They tried to dress it up with a lot of "humans have limitless potential" and "fearing what you can't control doesn't give you a right to oppress it" but those were so poorly integrated they came off as throwing philosophy at the wall to see what sticks. It feels like none of the characters had any brain at all. Though I suppose another moral of the story is "think with your dick". As if all the drills were too subtle.

    I despise Kamine. For all his likability and charisma, he doesn't command RESPECT. He's a fool in every sense. And its his recklessly poor decision-making that leads to the kind of devil-may-care philosophy that will likely end up killing his planet through starvation, wars over resources, and blind speciesist prejudices. And he KNEW IT. Simon was supposed to be his true successor. He was supposed to be BETTER than him.

  4. Kamina is a great character for me. He did want he wanted and he wasn't an asshole about it. He was a strong man who wanted to make things better for people. His attitude is a complete die hard and how they did his "SPOILER ALERT!!!" death was very well done. Easily one of the best death scenes in an anime series. For me Simon was a kid who respected Kamina so him becoming sort of like him makes sense because he was a big role model. Simon was still his own person and there is no big hint saying that he was supposed to be better. Being a successor just doesn't mean being better it just means carrying on the dream and ideals.

  5. Nah, it was heavily implied that Kamina recognized his flaws and always wanted Simon to be the leader. I never said Kamina was a bad character, just that I despised and had no respect for him. He was a fine character and his **SPOILERS** death was very well done indeed.

    Kamina is, on the one hand, what I like in a character. Boundless confidence and an urge to do what he thinks is right regardless of how others feel about it. But he was also a complete *MORON*. I mean 68 IQ kinda moron. Brainless, skill-less, and without even the sense to know when he's beat. His poor decision making put himself and his entire troupe in danger. And that's why I despised him. And his groupies were equally idiotic for taking him seriously.

    Without intellect, spirit means jack shit. Was Don Quixote a brilliant tactical mind for tilting at windmills? Would I be applauded if I tried to play chicken with a monster truck while riding a go-kart? Kamina made me angry. But not half as angry as seeing all the other characters eat it up like candy. I thought with Simon in charge that the show might follow through on the heavily implied tongue-in-cheek lampooning of the character archetype Kamina portrayed.

    But instead they abandoned that whole, subtly interesting, loving, almost-parody of the Super Robot anime genre and decided to play it completely straight post-timeskip. And all they accomplished was spewing tiresome, repetitive ideology and screaming a lot. Oh, and killing everyone for no apparent reason other than "it's what you do to build dramatic tension and raise the stakes." Not because it suited the story, but just "because it's what you do."

  6. SPOLIERS!!!! The death scenes at the future arc actually show a lot for the series. First remember how these guys just plowed straight through everything and still lived. They faced hard enemies and always lived. Well those death scenes show that things are much tougher and it has been shown that others have tried before them. I will have to agree about the ideology, but I really didn't want to mention that in the review since it happens in the future arc only. I will say this the future arc did prevent the series from getting a perfect ranking from me. The future arc was still watchable for me though because I loved the build up and even though the villains did talk too much, they were still good. Also this isn't the first time villains have ranted before in an anime series.

  7. That the cast-Armageddon accomplished its task of building up the threat and tension levels doesn't mean it wasn't a CHEAP way to do it. And I maintain that they only did it because it's the kind of thing that happened in a lot of classic Super Robot genre animes.

    Gurren Lagann is a tongue-in-cheek parody of that genre of anime, through and through. Most people didn't grow up watching those though (Think GaoGaiGar, Mazinger Z, or Gigantor) and they think that Gurren Lagann is meant to be viewed on its own.

    Viewed as a straight loving parody I give the future arc more credit for effectively exaggerating all the usual Super Robot tropes. But as a story unto itself, it killed its own momentum by changing gears so much post-timeskip. Its like it wanted to lampoon two different styles of Super Robot show in each era but couldn't figure a way to keep the cohesion between them.

    I still don't think I would have liked the future arc if it HAD been a whole new cast of characters, because I frankly think the ever-escalating danger bit went a long way too far even without all the issues I've been discussing thus far. But I would have had a lot FEWER problems with it if that had been the case.

  8. SPOILERS!! For a series that was 27 episodes I think a whole new cast for the future arc would be a problem because they would needed new designs and then if they were being killed their deaths wouldn't mean that much then. I really do love how a parody should be done and this is a great example of that just like Akiabranger. Also I think with a new cast the things at the end wouldn't feel as dynamic than compared to the old cast.