July 26, 2010

659 words 4 mins read

Review: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Anime)

Cosplay of Yoko from Gurren Lagann, taken at Fanimecon 2010. Copyright Richard Tom.

This weekend I spent some of my free time watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, or more simply Gurren Lagann.  This is by no means a new series (it has been out since 2007) I just never got around to watching it.  I had heard mixed reviews about it, especially around the character of Yoko.  Anyways, after seeing Yoko done well in cosplay, I thought I should endeavor to see such as a fantastic series.

Now that I’ve finished watching it, I figured I’d share my thoughts.  NO SPOILERS

Yoko’s ‘Space’ costume. I approve!

Overall, this series is over the top and a bit… nuts. I tend not to be a fan of that totally over the top style of anime, so the first episode or two I wasn’t too sure about it.  As the episodes continued the “over the top” bits weren’t so over the top as to turn me off, and actually turned out to be quite fun.

I found Gurren Lagann, as a series, quite surprising.  They went directions and did things I wasn’t quite expecting, and are fairly unusual for a “feel good” series.  I won’t spoil whom, but they kill off a character fairly early on in the story, which I really did not expect.  In a lot of animes, a death of a character would be cause for those close to them to angst for practically the rest of the series.  In Lagann, they lightly angsted over the death for the next episode and a half.  But the end of that second episode, they got their act together and pushed on.  There were other bad things that happened, but basically no one sat about angsting for any amount of time, except for Rossiu (whom I didn’t like anyways).

As for the accusations that Yoko (pictured several times now) is a problem in the series, I disagree.  She plays a love interest, on occasion, to give the series a little more diversity other than just continuous awesome.  In reality, even though I’ve posted multiple pictures of her and she’s one of the “core” characters of the Gurren Brigade (as they call themselves), she doesn’t actually get all that much screen time.  Seeing as how she is the advertising tits to get you to watch the series (hey, it worked on me), I thought she’d play a bigger part.  I didn’t find her personality or the way she acted particularly annoying, and would have liked to see more of her, but alas it was not to be.

The length and speed of the series was great.  It was 27 episodes, which is an unusual number of episodes, but that really didn’t matter.  Basically, each episode they powered through the enemies or challenges they had.  Rarely did the series spend more than 2 episodes in one particular area.  The series is about the good guys winning, kicking ass, and being awesome.  The director realized they didn’t need to spend 3 episodes on every demi-boss fight to illustrate how awesome our protagonists are.  Thank you kami-sama.  Not to say I wouldn’t like to have seen a little more of the series, because I enjoyed it so much, but they wrapped the series up nicely and tied a bow on it even.  When it ended, it left me with the feeling of “Ahh, that was good… and now it is done”.  No strings left dangling, no loose ends, just complete.

Kamina, Simon and Yoko

It should be obvious by now, that I highly recommend watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.  If I wasn’t, I would have included spoilers.  Let’s just say that the journey of Simon The Digger and his pig-mole, Boota (who is a critical component in the series), is a fun and worthwhile watch.  It might be crazy and over the top, but soon that becomes part of the hilarious good time of Gurren Lagann.