Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Initial Impressions

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? Ah yeah. :3

Tempered hot blood should make it awesomer, no?

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.

With guns like that, who wouldn’t think that?

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.

Who do we think you are? Give us a couple more eps to find out.


8 Responses to “Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Initial Impressions”

  1. 1 wildarmsheero April 23, 2007 at 10:39 pm


    Now watch Evangelion.

  2. 2 lmsyhmic October 1, 2007 at 4:16 am

    Good Review, @wildarmsheero I love Evangelion, and honestly episodes 20 and up border Evangelion status.

  3. 3 Space King Kittan October 5, 2007 at 11:31 am

    Yeah, a good review, but the show starts being truly epic first around the defeat of the first of the four generals.

  4. 4 Daniel April 25, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I really didn’t like how Yoko couldnt get any dudes, its like lets make out make big promises and then you get killed. And the fact that suddenly Nia dissapeared also dissapointed me. It took a shot at evangelion but didnt build up to it properly, i mean, it was way too cheerful to have all the twistedness. The moment nia said Aishiteru and vanished this anime really dropped low down on my list. Ill give the writers this much, they really scored at getting the viewer into the anime and the characters, and i forgave them for killing Kamina, but Nia at the least should have survived, and Yoko was more than deserving of some person in the end.
    I really actually hoped for an ending like evangelion’s original, cuz sure, they all died, but Shinji kinda made a new world.
    So yeah. If they are going to develop romances (even tho the anime isnt a romantic anime) and then just kill it, it really seems wrong. I dunno, The first half of the show was crazy good. I loved it. But the anime took on way too much weight and really got twisted. And the ending felt rushed to say the least. Evangelion really built up well, but this anime kept on taking wrong turns. I mean, i loved the way Kamina died and all of it’s implications. It was well written and scripted. But the writer or director must’ve decided it was cool to go killing people off for no reason. I love how they got Viral to join, and i knew that was going to happen once the anime got serious. Honestly tho. It was sick and twisted. Had they at least left Nia alive (their excuse was such BS) I would be too mad at this show. Oh well, I really got into the characters and it really dissapointed me to see how the story ended. Id give the first half a ten out of ten
    the second deserves maybe two or three out of ten points.
    Not so much for how the story felt but the aftertaste.
    When they defeated the helix king i was okay with that as an ending, it was complete and satisfactory.

  5. 5 Gurren Lagann September 21, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann story moves very fast and changes in an unexpected way. The drill theme is pretty cool and Yoko is freaking hot! I agree with Daniel that the story is quite messed up at the end.. they make a movie compilation of the series, maybe it will be good.

  6. 6 Wykfo March 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Evangelion had a terrible ending. Didn’t you notice Gainax running out of money and replacing anything decent with self-absorbed pretensious 14 year old philosophy?

    Gurren Lagann had a good ending.

  7. 7 Bombignants July 26, 2009 at 4:10 am

    I’m a bit surprised in the lack of Kamina praise/the massive expectations of Simon, I guess there just not what I’ve seen from people seeing the first episodes. Not sure I agree with King Kittan though, the first 8 episodes are incrediwin, as I suppose the rest of them are, though Simon gets a little bitchy in there. As for the superiority of evangelion…nah dog. Both are great, Gurren Laganns 1st story arc is so much comical than evangelion that comparison is hard since theyre so different, but I agree that 1 person, 20+ rival Evangelion for awesome (more) serious buisness anime, but I’m gonna have to give it to Gurren Lagann, ITS SO WIN!

  1. 1 Gurren Lagann: piercing the heavens with a drill « Haibane.info Trackback on May 15, 2009 at 6:08 am

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