Written, Directed, Produced, and Starring: Nomad “Whoa man, epic” Otto
Dedicated to: The Gurren brigade’s Demon Leader: Kamina
About eight hours ago, give or take, I watched the end of Tengen Toppa Gureen Lagann. I must say, Gainax has done a very good job with the series, as they’ve kept the service down, the production values up, and GAR in the hearts of every man, woman, and child in the fair land of Greater Animeblogistan (Primary Exports: Angst!! and Pumpkin Pie). Of course, there are some weakness to the show (the awesome from the last group of episodes was almost drowned out by the sounds of physics crying), but I feel that I need to re-watch the whole thing as a chunk before I can get a handle on the deep analysis.
Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of stupid, masturbatory analysis recently, and not, say, reading the stack of books that stare at me from across my desk, or working on my problem sets, or writing an application for NSF-sponsored research trips to fantastic locales. To take a break from that shaz, here’s some quick, cold, clean reviewing/nitpicking/fanboyism for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
1) Viral, Lord Genome, Nia, Roussiu and the anti-spirals: I really liked how Viral and Lord Genome went from Bad-ass adversaries to Bad-ass Heroes without the need for excessive: “I’m only helping you because I want to be the one who beats you” garbage. Lord Genome especially. I didn’t see him as anything but a monster until the last arc, when he became doubly awesome (awesome part 1 was when he got out of his Ganmen to kick the shit out of Simon)
2) Emotions without Emo: It’s now a cliche that there needs to be a couple of eps in the middle of a series in which the main character loses his will to fight and instead cries in his room listening to Dashboard Confessional. Yeah, it was there, but it was fairly short, and there was something else about the show that I liked, the characters cared. In a lot of modern stuff, the characters need to be bad-ass, and this is accomplished by making them self-absorbed asses (Characters are asses done well: Cowboy Bebop, Black Lagoon. Done Poorly: Darker than Black, Some Parts of Eureka 7, Monster Princess.) In Tegen Toppa, the characters cared about each other, and cared about their mission.
3) Old-Skool Art (The K stands for Quality): Oh man, especially the last arc had a lot of scenes that felt like they were drawn in the Eighties, and then made even more awesome with modern techniques. Huge, thick, jagged lines on the close up during screaming defiance. It’s the offical artstyle of GAR.
1) The role of Women: Seriously! There were a bunch of strong female characters in the show, and they always just get abandoned/ kidnapped/ sit in a background like a lump. Yoko had the potential to be a real force on the show, instead, she’s just there in the background a lot of the time, and she keeps getting abandoned by having the people she cares about charging to their deaths (Kamina was understandable, Kittan was just brutal). The three sisters are just eye-candy/housewives who exist to be protected; lame. Come on, Japan, get over the whole misogyny thing and make some more awesome heroines, like Utena! (I should probably devote a whole article to her, because she’s exactly what a female character in an action series should be, strong, confidant, and, most importantly, female without being reduced to an object or stereotype)
2) Leeron, the magical homosexual: I hope everyone is familiar with the film trope of the “magical Negro” (See This Link for more information). Well, Leeron is pretty much that, but gay. Especially with the growth of the Fujoshi demographic, I
expected hoped homosexual men might be portrayed a little bit more… as actual people. No such luck (props to Big Ben for pointing out Leeron’s magical homosexual status).
3) My Beloved Physics: Could we have a gar hard science fiction show? Please? For the sake of the children? Seriously, science is awesome, and I’d like it if I could watch something without having to turn off my “techno/science-babble baloney detector.”
1) GARDS: Alright, now it’s over, and next season doesn’t really have anything that I would describe as “gar” (Genshiken is awesome, but not GAR). Can I get a something to tide me over so I don’t suffer from GARDS (GAR deficency syndrome, also known as “the Harlock Shakes”). Please, even an OVA would be okay.
2) KAMINNNNNNNAAAAA: Every time I think of episode 8, I tear up a little bit. Oh Kamina, the you were too good for the world. Goodnight, sweet prince…. hideous
3) Your mom: yeah, that’s right, I went there!
To end on an awesome note: next week (provided I don’t get swamped with work) , expect some heartbreaking work of staggering genius, or, more likely, me talking about the many aspects of fanservice. To keep the right mood, more pictures!