November 19, 2011

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann follows Simon (pronounced see-mon) as he and his blood brother Kamina attempt to escape life underground and create their own destiny on the surface. In During the first part of this series, humans are exiled to live underground by the Spiral King. The surface is overrun by the beastmen and the gunman robots that they pilot. While digging tunnels to expand the village, Simon comes across a buried mini-gunman, which Kamina later names Lagann. When their village is under attack by a gunman that falls through the surface, Simon learns of his unique ability to pilot mini-gunman in order to protect his village. This marks the beginning of Simon and Kamina's quest to build a new life on the surface.
As the story progresses Kamina ends up hijacking a gunman from a beastman during a fight and decides to name him Gurren (as Kamina is the leader of Team Gurren, the name is only fitting). Gurren is able to combine with Lagann, creating Gurren Lagann. Simon and Kamina's ability to fight back against the Spiral King using Gurren Lagann encourages other humans to revolt and also steal gunman, forming militia as well. Along the way, Simon and Kamina befriend a number of unique characters, including the master rifle wielder Yoko (who is practically naked throughout the show).

The show is broken into two pieces (young Simon and older Simon). The arc with young Simon focuses on the conflict with the Spiral King and taking the fight from underground to the Earth's surface. The second arc is focused on older Simon and the fight against the anti-spiral race. The second arc also has more of a space/interstellar/galactic motif behind it while the first arc is less technologically developed. Having this break in time through the series was interesting and well done. Too many times I pick up a series and find that there is no ending. This provided the longevity in the story without making me have to sit through 100 episodes.

There were a number of redeeming qualities in this anime aside from the story. Character development was a huge component. There was evolution in the character's personalities from arc 1 to arc 2. This dynamic aspect kept the show fresh and wondering what was going to happen next. The animation contained a good contrast between raw and clean design. There were many instances where the images were very unrefined and contained an appearance much like what you would see in Getter Robo Armageddon or Afro Samurai. The cleaner animation styles represented such shows as Yu-Gi-Oh! or Eureka Seven. The contrast helped in conveying tone and mood while watching. The music selected also helped to provide some context into the tone and mood.

Overall, this was a great show.I don't often give 10/10 ratings, but Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann earned it. For those who want some elements of action, adventure, romance, commedy, and lots of robots, Gurren Lagann has it all. At 27 episodes the show is not excessively long, but is able to provide some closure to the story as it ends.

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