Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann Cover Art featuring Simon, Yoko, Kamina, and other characters
Gurren Lagann Cover Art

Overview

Well today I felt like writing about Gurren Lagann so here you go!  Gurren Lagann is probably my favorite anime in the mecha genre, although this isn’t a genre I typically watch.

The general plot of the anime is that Simon and Kamina live in an underground village and one day the ceiling caves in due to the fight between a girl named Yoko and a giant mech.  Simon and Kamina decide to go with Yoko to the surface where they are met with a desolate landscape in which the last remnants of human society are fighting for their lives against giant mechs controlled by beings called the Anti-Spirals.

I think the main things I like about this anime are the art style and the over-the-topness of it all.  Everything in the show is turned up to 11 and is continuously getting bigger and more extreme as the show progresses.  The art style tends to reflect this at times where it ceases to be “clean” animation and the use of random lines and high contrast colors emphasizes the, as I said before, over-the-topness.

The combined Gurren Lagann
Gurren Lagann

Characters

Simon is the main protagonist of the anime as well as the worst of the main characters.  He’s afraid of everything and always seems to be relying on those around him rather than doing things himself.  Even in the latter half of the show when he finally “finds himself” he’s still overshadowed by the larger than life persona of Kamina.

Kamina is the true hero of the show and the founder of Team Gurren.  I often find that the main character isn’t the true hero and Gurren Lagann is no exception.  I want to say that Kamina is everyone’s favorite character, but I’m sure there are some who say he isn’t just so they can be different.

Honestly, he’s a pretty one-dimensional character, but that’s part of his charm.  He does whatever he wants and doesn’t know the meaning of the word “impossible.”

Yoko is the female lead as far as I’m concerned.  You could make the argument that there’s another character who is more of a female lead, but Yoko was there from the beginning so she’s the one that matters.

Like Simon and Kamina she too was originally from an underground village, but she had been living on the surface for some time before meeting them.  Unlike Simon and Kamina who use mechs to fight, Yoko uses a sniper rifle.

**Spoilers Ahead**

Complaints

So I’m just going to start with possibly the biggest spoiler of this review which is that our beloved Kamina dies in episode 9 out of 27 if I’m not mistaken.  Not only does this remove the best character in the series, but it leaves a void which never really gets filled.

Don’t get me wrong, Kamina’s death was a great scene and I think it was what he would have wanted if he were watching an anime about himself.  Going all out until the end is definitely the Kamina way to do things.  Really, my main issue is what comes after.

It takes what seems like a very long time for the other characters to get over Kamina’s death.  Sure, maybe they wanted to be realistic, but it sucks the fun out of watching the show for too many episodes when everyone is moping around instead of being over-the-top.

Then, even after everyone seems to have recovered, all they do is think about what Kamina would do if he were in every situation they find themselves in.  None of them have minds or wills of their own, it’s just constantly flashing back to Kamina and what he would have done if he were still around.

I mentioned that even once Simon “finds himself” he’s still overshadowed by Kamina and this is exactly what I meant.  He becomes a bootleg version of Kamina which could never be as good as the original.

I could say more about how the way in which the loss of Kamina was dealt with negatively impacted the rest of the show, but I’ll end my rant there.  The next issue I have has to do with one of the things I liked about the show, the over-the-topness.

This feature of the show always being more extreme than it was one minute ago was fun for the beginning half, but there was some point at which it lost its charm.  I think it was after they defeated lord Genome.

Lord Genome was set up as the main antagonist and his defeat could have been the end of the show, but instead they pressed on and everything continued to get even bigger (literally).  It started with mechs the size of houses and ended with mechs the size of galaxies; or at the very least, solar systems.  It’s been a while since I’ve watched it.

Conclusion

As I mentioned at the beginning, Gurren Lagann is probably my favorite anime in the mecha genre.  Even though I think the show drops off to an extent after the first third, I still give it an 8/10.  It’s exciting, colorful, and has one of the best characters to ever grace anime.

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