Gainax is a well acclaimed studio that founded by a bunch of university students Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Hiroyuki Yamaga, Takami Akai, Toshio Okada, Yasuhiro Takeda and Shinji Higuchi. Since then Gainax has give us well acclaimed series like Gunbuster, Nadia The Secret of blue water (1990), Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) FLCL (2000).
In the spring of 2007 Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann begin airing from April 1st 2007 to Sep 30, 2007 was directed by a man named Imaishi, Hiroyuki who also directed Kill La Kill from a different studio named Studio Trigger.
When I first heard of Gurren Lagann I thought it will be a cheesy mecha show because back in 2011 I finished Code Geass and Neon Genesis Evangelion and I wanted to watch another good mecha base anime that is not childish. Also I had three choices for my next mecha anime.
Full Metal Panic.
I decided to go with Gurren Lagann over the other because at time people told me that the other two mecha shows were average and I pretty much avoided them until winter 16. (BTW those other two mecha shows were actually great)
Now what do I think of Gurren Lagann? I think Gurren Lagann is a amazing over the type mecha series that I loved but I don’t consider Gurren Lagann to be a true masterpiece in my eyes unlike Wolf’ Children another anime that I reviewed and I consider that a true masterpiece.
Why is that? Let’s dive it shall we.
The story begins with Simon and Kamina living in a underground village where are they forced to underground as minors for life
One day the protagonist Kamina and Simon decided that they don’t want to spend they life’s underground and start they journey in the surface where they met many allies and enemies along the way in they journey to defeat Beastmen and later on Lordgenome the spiral king.
Now Gurren Lagann is spit up into two arcs.
The per time-skip arc episode 1-16 and the post time-skip arc episodes 17 – 27 = end
Am going to say this right now I prefer the per time-skip arc over the post time-skip because besides the last couple of episodes I feel like the post time-skip arc is kinda forced in the terms of content more on that shortly.
I feel that the per time-skip arc has better writing and better content like the first 8 episodes Kamina helps Simon to overcome his fears and help him to become a man and also the final two episodes of the per time-skip arc was better directed because I actually felt more engaged with the Mecha fights. Don’t get me wrong I loved the finale of Gurren Lagann but to get to the amazing finale I had to sit through more serious episode that were unneeded.
With that amazing story that Gurren Lagann has it also has amazing world building like for example in episode 1 we are shown life of Simon and Kamina living in a underground village as slaves while in the beginning of the post time-skip arc to beginning state of Kamina city where Rossui is in control.
If I had any real complaints with the is transaction of the amazing well written per-time-skip to the more kinda first half of the post time-skip arc because they decided to more series and added more romance which it didn’t work for the show. I feel like the serious stuff of Gurren Lagann did not work at all and also I feel that the romance of this arc was just forced in.
Gurren Lagann explore themes like puberty and determination.
You see at the start of Gurren Lagann you see Simon as this typical pilot who is scared to do anything and he always had to relay on Kamina but has the series progresses you actually see Simon grow as a character and he actually becomes a real man. The determination part of Gurren Lagann is basically where all of the character will never back down even when they are in a critical stake.
Overall the story may have issues during the beginning of the post time-skip arc it makes it up with the amazing pre-timeskip arc and the last couple of episode of the post time-skip arc.
The of Gurren Lagann are all around great. some may say that some of the character were annoying but I personally found to be really enjoyable.
Enter our main lead Simon the main pilot of Gurren Lagann
He starts off as a wimp where he just always run away from a fight similar to Shinji Ikari but as the series progresses around end of the arc before the post time-skip we see him overcome his psychology issues and he actually grows up to become a real man.
Overall I really like Simon.
Kamina is manliest of the group and his very determined.
We get to see Kamina as the leader of Team Dai-Gurren and he’s very determined of taking down the beast-man empire with his crew.
I personally found Kamina to be a great character because I liked his determination and the advice that he will give usually give to Simon to overcome his fear.
Overall I liked Kamina but is sad to see him go after the first couple of episodes because something happens to him which I wont spoil in this review
Yoko is honestly a great character in my opinion because she has great character developed through out the series like for example in episode 7 Yoko is expressing her feeling to Kamina and throughout episode 8 she actually wants Kamina to be safe after the battle has ended,
However my favourite part of Yoko’s character development is at episode 12 where at the beginning she doesn’t trust Nia and she showed her Tsundere side of jealousy until the very end of the episode where Yoko finally trust Nia.
I was kind worried at first when she first appeared in the shows because I thought Yoko would be a another sex object type of character that you will usually see in most ecchi/harem anime. This was not the case for Yoko because while having a amazing ass/boobs she is still a well developed character that actually is relevant to the story.
Overall I really like Yoko.
Lastly we have Nia who is the disowned daughter of Lordgenome.
I personally liked her but at the same time she’s rather off because she may be well developed character due to her dealing with the truth like her father just left her to die to when she learns how to socialise with humans in the per time- arc. These is something off about Nia that I notice when watching Gurren Lagann but I have to say this.
Nia is a Eureka clone. Why? Nia shows personal traits of Eureka starting from the end of episode 12 when her long hair has been shot up and the very beginning of episode 13 her gets shorten and her appearance is literally ripped from Eureka from Eureka Seven. Not to mention that in the post time-skip arc at times she is basically a walking Eureka even tho she has her original moments.
Overall I enjoyed Nia as a character but not in the same way as Yoko
The rest of the characters did great with they roles and almost all of them are memorable for the most part.
However out of all of the character I liked and enjoyed there is one character that kinda bother me especially in post-time-skip arc of the series and that is Rossiu Adai.
I am still trying to puzzle this because I personally found hes methods on paper to be great but execution I found his methods to be selfish . I wont go into more detail Rossiu methods because the things that he does is a walking spoiler itself and trust me I want you to experience this character for yourself.
Besides that I personally mixed opinion on Rossiu.
Overall besides from Rossiu I found this character cast to be great and very memorable.
Now the art of Gurren Lagann for the most part is visually amazing and over the top.
The background scenery and locations were all very well detailed for a Ganiax show. It also adds more life to Gurren Lagann especially if your exploring each arc of the show like in Kamina
The character designs are surprisingly unique because after all this a Gainax show.
Am also surprised the amount of budget that Gurren Lagann has because all of the mecha fights were all perfectly animated hell the last episode of Gurren Lagann features the best mecha animation in all of mecha anime ^_^
One thing that I really adore about the art and animation is different art-style that it uses.
The per timeskip arc has the more FLCL style when it comes to its animation while in the second half is modernise and cleaner like a adult while Simon was a kid it has a more cartoonist feel into it
However there is one thing that bother me and that art- style at times can like bad at times. What do I mean bad? Well episode 4 had a different director named Osamu Kobayashi who directed that episode. The action scenes were fine but the art can range from bad to downright ugly.
The last time that I want to point is the fan- service and I personally think the fan-service was well use and it didn’t distract the viewer. Episodes 6 and 12 contain some best use of fan-service I have seen in mecha anime because not only they those two episodes are self aware of the fan-service content but they also manages to connect with they story perfectly.
Overall I really adore the art/animation here for the most part.
Gurren Lagann features my favourite anime OST in anime. Some of my favourite tracks include.
Gurren Lagann also has my favourite anime opening of all time Soraio Days by and trust me the song itself brings more excitement for this show. While the ending themes are good but not is exciting as the opening in my opinion.
Gurren Lagann also has some of the best dubs of Mecha anime period because you can tell there a lot of effort in the dubbing department. I mean we have Yuri Lowenthal as Simon, Kyle Hebert as Kamina, Michelle Ruff as Yoko and Bridget Hoffman as Nia (Older)
Gurren Lagann is one of those shows that you should watch in dub over the sub because like other anime like FMAB, Ourlaw Star, Nana, Eureka Seven, Durarara, Cowboy Bebop and Code Geass I feel the dub adds more life to the show because dub actors are more relaxed and professional when voicing these characters of those shows.
In short watch Gurren Lagann dub ^_^
One more thing that I like to add.
Gurren Lagann features some of the best anime quotes in anime period.
“Don’t be distracted by the what-if’s, should-have’s, and if-only’s. The one thing you choose for yourself – that are the truth of you’re universe”
“When we were trapped in that hole…they’re was nothing I could do. But Simon just kept on digging. Believing in my show of courage”. “In the end, he was the one whom saved me”.
“Who the hell do you think I am?!”
“A real man never dies, even when he’s killed!”
“I will believe! I will believe in the me that believes in us, humans and the future! This drill is my soul!”
“We evolve, beyond the person that we were a minute before. Little by little, we advance with each turn. That’s how a drill works!
What can I really say about enjoyment of the gem. It’s is a wonderful piece of art that I loved from start of finish expect for the beginning of the post timeskip arc. I just wasn’t a fan of that arc in the beginning.
I really love how Gainax manages to handle they budget because the last couple of episodes has some of the best animation quality I have ever seen in fiction. Seriously the animation of the last few episodes put some anime movies to fucking shame.
I personally enjoyed almost every character from Simon who grew to a real man, Kamina while not being in the show after a certain point of the story has inspired Simon to become the person that he is today to the great Yoko who I thought she was just a walking sex object but her character development and growth prove me wrong because she was so well written that I wished more female character more like Yoko.
Gurren Lagann is one hell of a amazing piece of art that I loved from start to finish.
It may have a few issues like the beginning of the post time-skip arc which the show tries to more serious and added in romance that was thrown in but in the end all of those issues are forgotten due to the amazing story, well developed characters, amazing off the wall art/animation, a kickass OST/OP and some of the best dubs in mecha anime.
As much I want to give Gurren Lagann a 11/10 I personally can’t because out of everything that it did great there is that beginning of the post arc which the show kinda really slow down the pacing and for a show that is meant to be all over the top super robot action show with very powerful themes like becoming a man the whole Rossiu thing was really out of place.
I give Gurren Lagann a 10/10 ( A amazing mecha show that should not be missed)
My personal Anime Recommendations.
I will be going all out on this one.
Anyway this has been TheCodeTrigger and I will see you guys next time.
Upcoming reviews in no order.