You’ve already seen Nomad’s piece on the matter, so let me try and tackle it from a different angle. Expect spoilers and incoherent ramblings. :3
After watching all 27 episodes, I can say that Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was a fun watch, but it won’t necessarily be a memorable show for me as a whole. It had it’s great moments, but overall the show felt like it was lacking something to me after the timeskip. We were left on a high point after the battle with Lord Genome, and I never felt that GAINAX could really sufficiently build on that point. Everything after it was nicely put together despite the many questions I had watching it (like what exactly happened during that timeskip, and more about what Lord Genome’s history was like for starters), and how things occurred the last couple of episodes were great. But it wasn’t as awesome for me as pre-timeskip was, and I think it was because GAINAX played it safe.
Maybe I became jaded, but I wanted more from GAINAX after the epic battle for the surface that defined the first half of the series. I thought for the first 15 episodes that there was a nice variation on things I’ve seen or heard of before, as well as a whole new way of looking at things. Seeing things like seeing how Kamina dies (with the amazing Giga Drill Breaker’s unveiling) and how it was done, Simon’s awakening, and the fight with Lord Genome were epic for me because I hadn’t seen things done quite like that before, especially the latter. How often does one see a man by himself (with flaming hair) take on a kid and his mecha and hold his own, knowing that he was fighting to keep humanity under the ground? It was a fresh, tongue-in-cheek series of episodes that had me desiring more of kicking reason to the curb.
And there were more original moments like that for me post-timeskip: space as an ocean, the alternate realities (why would Simon want to stay as he was with a Kamina that lacked the bravado and guts the original had, for example), fighting the Will in the primordial sea. There were pretty epic moments in that second half as well, like Kittan’s passing (again with the Giga Drill Breaker; I love that move), seeing Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann emerge from stuff which universes were made of, Rossiu taking a pretty powerful punch like a man, Boota going over 9000, Kamina “coming back”, lol quantum dividing, and so on.
But while you could say it was epic, it wasn’t as over-the-top as we got from before the timeskip, and I missed that. Part of that could be attributed to the loss of Kamina early on, though it’s not a big part. He contained a controlled insanity inside of him, you could say, which influenced the Gurren-dan in ways that no-one was really ever able to master. Simon grew to such a through the series, but he was more controlled than anything else. But it makes sense, since Simon realized that he couldn’t be Kamina. With Kamina’s death, while his mottos and views were taken up by the team, you lost much of his insanity that came with them. And with that loss of insanity, to me a lot of possibilities (in terms of doing the impossible) were lost with it. They don’t go necessarily hand in hand, but I’d like to think that being random and off the wall opens things up if people believe in that.
Another part of that tempering of going past the impossible occurred as things progressed through the series. Many things were predictable with little spin placed on them, and while things became epic in scale and the things that Gurren-Lagann could do became bigger and better, everything seemed… logical. As others have noted, Simon’s story was like a spiral in terms of what he became involved in, what became placed on his shoulders, what Spiral beings could do when placed to the edge. And because it was like that, in one way or another, you could see how things would play out, and the impact was lost for me. I like when stuff leaves me guessing and wondering what will happen next, so things like seeing Arc Gurren-Lagann punch the Mugan out of space-time as they knew it wasn’t as exciting as it should have been to me, since you could see that occuring. I just thought, “Yeah. And? What next?” And a lot of that is on me; I wanted to see a Giga Drill Breaker on a massive scale at least once in the final battle, kinda like a Goldion Crusher sort of thing. So sue me. : P
But as it seems more stories are yet to be told in the Spiral universe of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, this won’t be the end of my forays into this show. Who the hell do you think I am? I’m not that stupid/pathetic. :3
Edit: ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER