Sunday, November 4, 2012

Anime Spotlight: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

I’m going to begin my anime spotlights with my favourite anime: Gurren Lagann. It’s very apt for a Katawa Shoujo blog, too...

Oh god mah drills

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m going to try not to spoil much past the first episode for you. The main character, Simon, lives in a post-apocalyptic Earth where humanity is condemned to live underground while the surface is controlled by animal-like beastmen who pilot Ganmen (or possibly gunmen). Simon acts like a scared child much of the time, playing foil to his bro, Kamina, whose constant shows of fearlessness eventually inspire Simon, instilling the courage in him that he needs to row row fight the powah. 

From left to right: Kamina, Simon, Yoko. In back, Gurren-Lagann

The constant motif of the drill portrays the main themes of Gurren Lagann: anything is possible and love changes the universe. The endless spin symbolizes life’s ever-changing perseverance through all good and bad times. The drill, being the embodiment of spin, symbolizes humanity’s ability to thrive and life itself. These are big, cheesy themes, I know, but they work. Gurren integrates them into the very souls of the characters and the anime takes place on such a grand scale, that they are realized by the entire universe.


Essentially, it’s a giant love letter to the mecha anime of the 80’s. It’s masculine, testosterone-packed kid v. mechs v. universe fun. A lot of people criticize the anime for being silly, over-the-top, etc. and reeking of fanservice. I don’t. I firmly believe that everything in this anime works with in the story. As I alluded to in the last paragraph, the crazy scale of Gurren Lagann is necessary for their crazy themes to be truly realized. Without all the fun and antics combined with the gratuitous battles it would only have been half of what we have today.

So go watch it. Now.

I’m planning on writing a follow up to this in a week or so. I didn’t cover all of my thoughts about the themes or how bloody depressing it all is once you consider how the characters end up.


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