The End of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and GARDS

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.

The Good:

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)

Viral, Chillin’ like a Villian

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.

He Cares, you can tell by the awesome around him

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.

These lines are nature’s way of saying “this is epic”

The Bad:

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)

What might have been…

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).

I was hoping for something a little more nuanced than this

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.”

Hammer pants… other than the fact that they look stupid, I wonder why they’ve never caught on

The Ugly:

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.

Lulu, you could save me from the Harlock Shakes, if only you were here this fall…

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

Don’t know where, don’t know when, but someday, someday, we’ll meet again

3) Your mom: yeah, that’s right, I went there!

Saya (without the benefit of brain-damage-o-vision) is less hidious than your mom
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!

Not service, but prettyNot that pretty, but service

9 Responses to “The End of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and GARDS”

  1. 1 J. R. R. Flores March 25, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Actually, I found the portrayal of Leeron to be more favorable than the usual “gay comic relief” character found in anime. Leeron was actually useful and did a lot to help their cause.

  2. 2 Banditjing1 March 26, 2008 at 7:08 am

    I find the ending preety good but i just hated the part about where nia disappears and how simon becomes a nobody in the end and the rest of the people are full high ranking

    • 3 Dman December 5, 2009 at 2:46 pm

      I also hated how Yoko, the most influential female character in the show kinda just got left behind after the epilogue. I mean I understand that she wanted to be a teacher, but just seeing her grow old killed something inside of me. Kind of like when Kamina thought he was gonna get t1ts but instead got the bathing suits in episode 6. Something like that.

  3. 4 Daniel April 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

    so true man, you really kit the nail on the head
    as banditjing sez, seriously, Nia and Simon was something the viewer waited for the entire anti spiral arc. It was extremely disappointing to see her say Ai shite ru and then vanish. I mean, to be honest, the BS the writer fed you for her dissaperance was so friggin weak id laugh if i wasnt so pissed.

  4. 5 A.E. Jose April 29, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Science isn’t really that awesome, it’s more like the one guy at the party who ruins everyone’s good time. Also,Gurren lagann wouldn’t have been as awesome as it was if they gave the women more of a role since it would take away the GAR and emasculate the men.I just can’t picture a women producing GAR in mass quantities that isn’t insane or a ball buster.

  5. 6 Raven Trinis July 24, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Hi, I was writing about Viral and I couldn’t find a nice picture of him until I stumbled on your site. Hope you don’t mind me copying that picture of Viral and putting it into my blog. I made reference to your blog.

  6. 7 Bman October 6, 2008 at 5:09 am

    man..I think you REALLY dropped the ball on Yoko. She was a ridiculously strong woman. She was able to move on from Kamina’s death, and she learned from it, she grew up as a person. She was the most well adjusted character, which is especially rare for women in anime. While everyone else was thinking about their issues she was actually enjoying living on the surface. She found her own happiness with the kids after Kamina died. As far as Kittan, he had to go or she would have went.

  7. 8 Dango Ou November 28, 2008 at 6:43 am

    According to The Laws of Super Robot Animes: 83) The laws of physics can kindly go f*** themselves =D

    sauce is:

  1. 1 Impressions on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Where’s My Reasonable Curbing? « Drastic My Anime Blog Trackback on October 3, 2007 at 8:31 am

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