This is a coming-of-age story about how one young individual eventually becomes an interstellar badass. Or so I’d like to think. So far Gurren-Lagann has entertained me for the first three episodes, as GAINAX has managed to play their cards right so far. Many things seems to be clicking right now, and I hope that it will remain as such for the rest of the show. But based on recent history, GAINAX will have to go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb. Who says they’ve lost a step? Who do you think they are?
What intrigues me about the show so far? It seems like a variation on the “main character discovers [drill] mech, and because of it goes to a new world (figuratively) and explores it” shtick I’ve like to say that I’ve seen before. However, GAINAX is executing this in a tongue-and-cheek manner. It looks to be a world where having enough guts and willpower can overcome anything, and because of this, things happen that should/shouldn’t . When you contrast how mechas are started/used in the first three episodes of Gurren-Lagann, by mecha standards (save for GaoGaiGar), much doesn’t seem to make sense based on how we view our world/anime. But that’s the beauty of it.
I think GAINAX is also placing a spin (lol) on the typical characters we would find in a mecha show. Simon as the main character currently vacillates between being awesome by not being rational and being realistic, but also more cowardly/less assured of himself. This duplicitous behavior so far seems to result in a limiting of his potential, and it will be interesting to see how he deals with it and in how it develops later on (did he do something in his past?). It helps that Simon has compatriots that can help him on this journey of self-discovery in Kamina, who can best be described as “coolly hot-blooded” (realistic yet passionate; a smarter Gai Daigoji?), and Yoko, whom we don’t know much about yet but can be seen as one who can easily take care of herself and has the ability to take care of others.
The makings of a tight friendship among the three will probably be a prevalent point throughout the series. As the older two of the group, Yoko and Kamina in their own ways provide guidance for Simon as he’s beginning to come along on his own. Questions remain for me about the other two though. I wonder what Yoko’s feelings really are for these two random people she just met, as well as what her real goals are. And Kamina’s methodology of hot blood: will it continue to be “practical” in the situations that our heroes will find themselves in, such as his trying to help Simon gain self-esteem (“Don’t believe in yourself! Believe in me! Because I believe in you!”)? And what is Kamina’s motivation for that viewpoint anyway? Faith begets faith? Reliance on others begets others relying on you? Does it really lead to growing up? Does anyone really care about what I’m talking about here? 😀
Focusing more on reactions that don’t result in me thinking much, the action/humor is the same over-the-top, off the wall stuff we’ve seen from GAINAX before (and that I continue to love) but more controlled than usual, and the energy isn’t overly so (nowhere near GGG’s level I might add). I really like the soundtrack so far, with Taku Iwasaki (Read or Die, Black Cat, NTHT) leading the helms to highlight the “epic” nature the show has. The backgrounds/colors are vivid when they have be, and muted when necessary as well. The supporting cast of characters aren’t grating (though I’ll probably find someone to get annoyed at anyways) and serve as a nice complement to the heroes. Hopefully the influence of the main character’s determination (no matter how unwieldy it might seem) continues to channel over them too; secondary characters can be badass too if you let them. 😛
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann doesn’t seem like a show with much substance yet, and maybe it will never become one. But at least the ride has started off enjoyable to me at least, which is what I hoped for. May GAINAX continue to attempt to pierce the heavens with a drill.