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Hikaru Suzuhara



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 78
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:15 pm Reply with quote
If anyone who has completed Gurren Lagann and hasn't already seen BestGuyEver's analysis of the series, I would highly recommend giving it a watch if you can spare about 40 minutes of your time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIiX4TL2_vg
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Parsifal24



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 950
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:15 pm Reply with quote
A Gunbuster Podcast would be great as Gurren Lagan goes I watched it through Netflix and didn't care for it mostly for how it presented its theory of Masculinity in it. It has been a while since I've seen it but I didn't hate it it was entertaining.
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
Posts: 463
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:38 pm Reply with quote
Here's a thought: You should try to arrange a combined Gunbuster+Diebuster discussion. There's so much to talk about each show on its own, their actual links and how they reflect two completely different time periods for both Gainax and the industry as a whole that it would be a very interesting conversation.

As for today's podcast, Gurren Lagann absolutely was one of the most entertaining shows of its time and there's a lot to praise about how the execution quality was unusually high for a production of this type. It really elevated its influences and made the results far more appealing for a newer audience that won't necessarily care about old-school giant robots. I do wish the staff hadn't used up all of their ideas so quickly though, because I'd be quite willing to watch a sequel.

The two compilation movies were interesting as curiosities with a small number of new scenes but, in my opinion, don't really come close to being a full replacement for the original show. Some would argue they handled the spoiler[Nia] death better than the TV series, which might be technically true, but I still feel that wasn't a necessary development in the first place and still comes across like a transparent bit of emotional manipulation from a critical perspective. Doesn't cripple the rest of the material for me, which is still worthwhile on its own merits, but I can't exactly say that specific event was a supremely good idea either. For a show that was so fundamentally based on the raw power of humanity's optimism (or, if you prefer, optimistic masculinity with a hint of compassion in order to balance things out), it sure felt like a thematically forced "oh right, we can't all be dumb fun and games, nope, we definitely need to end on a totally serious bittersweet note here because we are Gainax!" or something roughly along those general lines.

I do think it's worth pointing out the gap between Gurren Lagann's influence on anime fans and its influence on the industry itself. It's quite a memorable production that's left a lasting mark on the audience and Internet culture (for lack of a better term), but I don't think most of the industry actually learned too much from the series or has even necessarily tried to do the same thing all over again.

Aside from Kill la Kill, which was almost literally the same crew of people, the only other thing that easily comes to mind is Needless (and the name is a fitting description indeed). It didn't lead to a new wave of energetic Super Robot anime in particular nor a huge rise in specifically 1970s-oriented anime nostalgia. It was a successful project, to be sure, but doesn't appear to have radically changed the face of the medium so far. Compared to Evangelion, which did "change everything" one way or another, this has had a far more modest impact. Either way, I do think TTGL sits somewhere in my personal top 10 for the decade, with the disclaimer that I would in fact argue it was better than Kill la Kill (I really didn't find too much thematic depth in Trigger's flagship title, but that's a whole other can of worms).
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pluvia33



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 171
Location: Alamogordo, NM, USA
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:24 pm Reply with quote
I'd be really interested to see how the straight male response to an anime man-crush poll would look these days. Personally, while I loved the show and still have it placing in my personal top 10, I wouldn't have voted for Kamina even back then. But I've never been a particularly macho guy. Kyon from Haruhi would have gotten my vote back then and these days Araragi from the Monogatari Series would get my vote no question. To this day Kyon is still my favorite anime character ever, but if I had to f*** a guy, Araragi would win in that regard.

Actually, none of the characters from Gurren Lagann would really crack a top spot on any favorite characters lists for me. I enjoyed the characters and while all of the main characters were attractive in their own ways (Kamina: cool, Simon: relatable, Yoko: sexy/cool, Nia: cute), they didn't really have enough of a full-package for me. I mean, what straight man wouldn't love Yoko's character design? But even back in 2009 she couldn't crack my Top 25 List just for female characters; considering that Lucy from Elfen Lied somehow barely made it on that list, that's kind of bad.... (Personal note: I really need to do an updated list)
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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 1906
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:34 pm Reply with quote
jroa wrote:
For a show that was so fundamentally based on the raw power of humanity's optimism (or, if you prefer, optimistic masculinity with a hint of compassion in order to balance things out), it sure felt like a thematically forced "oh right, we can't all be dumb fun and games, nope, we definitely need to end on a totally serious bittersweet note here because we are Gainax!" or something roughly along those general lines.

I disagree; I think it's a necessary statement about the limits of optimism even after it put so much effort into a paean to complete commitment to optimism. No amount of optimism will stop death.

Similarly, after a whole series of becoming every more amazing, in the final scene Simone is a forgotten old man. He saved the world a few times but that kid has no idea who he is.

Including this realities makes it's optimism all the more powerful for not pretending the counterbalance isn't there and it's significant that Simone deals with these things with grace.
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:01 pm Reply with quote
Fronzel wrote:

I disagree; I think it's a necessary statement about the limits of optimism even after it put so much effort into a paean to complete commitment to optimism. No amount of optimism will stop death.


That would be quite fitting if the show had been interested in realism or had ever suggested it was making such a statement before. Instead, defeating the Anti-Spirals explicitly required going past those limits and the series embraced this. They even dared to tangentially imply death could have been prevented in this specific case too. Thus my conclusion is that the writer, who lives far outside of the entirely fictional universe he created, didn't originally need to go there at all.

Quote:
Including this realities makes it's optimism all the more powerful for not pretending the counterbalance isn't there and it's significant that Simone deals with these things with grace.


I can respect your interpretation, on paper, but in practice the concept of Gurren Lagann suddenly deciding it needed to restrain itself to be more "realistic" at the very end of the story has always struck me as the single weakest creative decision in the whole show. It's almost like an incredibly entertaining circus performance that bizarrely chooses to go for tragedy instead of comedy five minutes before the curtain drops. There can be intellectual justifications for it, but it still feels off to me (and at least a certain slice of the audience too).
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Zin5ki
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:09 pm Reply with quote
jroa wrote:
Here's a thought: You should try to arrange a combined Gunbuster+Diebuster discussion. There's so much to talk about each show on its own, their actual links and how they reflect two completely different time periods for both Gainax and the industry as a whole that it would be a very interesting conversation.

I second this! Each show ultimately demonstrated the pinnacle of what a mecha series could achieve in its respective era, the differences between each being quite demonstrative of how anime evolves as a medium.
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:20 pm Reply with quote
I enjoyed this episode. I am glad to see these episodes dedicated to discussing a show return to ANNCast; I hope the next one comes out soon.

Gurren Lagann is an enjoyable show. I don't love it as much as I did five years ago, but it remains an important anime for me. I can agree that the show reaches its peak during the first 15 episodes, but I definitely like the last 11-12 episodes more because I found them to be much more emotionally fulfilling.

And I also think Kill la Kill is better made than Gurren Lagann; I agree with everything Jacob admires about KLK.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 1759
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:16 pm Reply with quote
Man, I haven't seen Gurren Lagann since it originally aired (yeah, I used fansubs back then, but I quickly bought Bandai's sub-only DVDs before eventually getting the dual-audio boxset). Anyway, while I really do appreciate the views that Zac, Jake, & Eryn bring to the tabler, because I never really thought of the show in that regard back in the day, at the same time I think they do read more into it than I think even the (soon-to-be) Trigger staff even had planned.

For example, that out-of-place in media res start in episode 1. The creators have gone on record that they simply wanted to have some sort of wild & crazy intro for the show to catch people's attention, but when they actually got to the point where that scene would have happened, they realized that the story they made went in a completely different direction, so they simply explained it away as an alternate universe. There is literally no hidden meaning to be found in that avant (i.e. pre-opening scene), and that kind of sums up the show itself to some extent.

Now, yes, there is hidden meaning, & Zac & Co. went into that with characters like Kamina, but Gurren Lagann in general was simply meant to be the creators' love letter to everything they loved about 70s & 80s mech anime, plus all kinds of other non-mecha references & homages (spoiler[Kamina's death is a blatantly obvious Ashita no Joe homage, right down to the screen coloration & his death pose]), but with everything taken to such an absurd extreme just because they could. The hyper-masculinity that was deemed "toxic" by Zac & Jake was included more or less because that's how things were back in the day with mech anime. Kamina was kind of a deconstruction of that attitude, sure, but at the same time it fully embraced it because that's simply how things were back then, regardless of how insulting & sexist it comes off like now. Hell, my personal belief is that spiral energy works off of "sheer stupidity", because the actions of the main characters are so absurd that it can't possibly be taken like a legitimate way of taking action; only a mystical energy can allow Team (Dai-)Gurren to work as well as they do. While Spiral Energy is very similar to "Za Powaa" in GaoGaiGar, there's a distinct difference between how the robots of 3G can do the things they do because they are "brave", & how Team Gurren's actions can work simply because they belive it to be so.

Any hidden or extra meaning that can be found in Gurren Lagann is more or less like what happened with Evangelion, i.e. they just tossed stuff in for the cool factor initially. The staff simply tossed in stuff because it was cool or they were super fans of the stuff they were referencing, and in the process there was a bunch of extra meaning found its way into the show. I'm sure the writers noticed some of these & decided to build upon them to an extent, especially in the second half, but I feel that most of the hidden or extra messages & meaning inside GL is, for a lack of a better word, accidental.

Again, that's not an indictment towards looking for deeper meaning within Gurren Lagan, because Zac, Jake, & Eryn's views on the show were great to listen to, but for now I'm going to stick with the feeling of "I loved this show because it was just a ton of fun, and the more you are familiar with old-school anime & mecha the more you'll love it again." Granted, I should rewatch this show again one day, but overall I do love this show, as it's a ton of fun & is well worth watching, though it may not exactly be the best into into mecha for most people.
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Gasero



Joined: 24 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:12 pm Reply with quote
This podcast will pierce the heavens!
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:49 pm Reply with quote
Several years after the fact, I still unabashedly, unapologetically adore this series. There are several answers I could give to the question, "Why do you watch anime?", but a major one would basically be me pointing at Gurren-Lagann and yelling "This right here!" It's a show that has internalized the Rule of Cool to such an extent that's the fundamental mechanism driving its plot. It runs on manliness and GAR and fighting spirit and awesomeness and pretty much everything that leaves my inner 10-year-old cheering for joy. And yet once you look past the superficial bombast of crazy-giant robots doing crazy-giant things, it also manages to carry a lot of heart, and (intentionally or not) even has a smidgen of philosophical depth to it. Something I don't think the show gets nearly enough credit for is how spectacularly it handles the untimely death of a loved one, and how that person's impact can be felt in one's life long after they're gone; It's always amused me that it took a show in which robots throw around entire galaxies like shuriken to really nail that message.

Man, now I'm just psyching myself up to rewatch the series. I totally would have double-dipped for it on Blu-ray years ago, but, well, there's the elephant in the room there.
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:56 am Reply with quote
jroa wrote:
Fronzel wrote:

I disagree; I think it's a necessary statement about the limits of optimism even after it put so much effort into a paean to complete commitment to optimism. No amount of optimism will stop death.


That would be quite fitting if the show had been interested in realism or had ever suggested it was making such a statement before. Instead, defeating the Anti-Spirals explicitly required going past those limits and the series embraced this. They even dared to tangentially imply death could have been prevented in this specific case too.


Kamina's early, momentous death seemed to me to give exactly this earlier statement. Simon wasn't a beast of optimism and at the time, but Kamina was, it didn't do a thing to keep him alive, and the fallout from that loss nearly destroyed Simon.
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
Posts: 463
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:11 am Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:

Kamina's early, momentous death seemed to me to give exactly this earlier statement. Simon wasn't a beast of optimism and at the time, but Kamina was, it didn't do a thing to keep him alive, and the fallout from that loss nearly destroyed Simon.


I can see what you're trying to suggest here, but for me the parallels aren't strong enough to create a single unified message. In context, Kamina was portrayed as the mentor figure who, like many of those archetypes often do, selflessly sacrifices himself for the sake of the protagonist. In order for Simon to truly grow up, Kamina has to die. That's the storytelling purpose of his character. He voluntarily decided to use all of his energy in battle rather than think of his own survival. If anything, it was precisely his optimism that allowed them to win that final fight. The show wasn't criticizing Kamina in that respect. Simon was shattered by this loss, but he eventually got out of his depression and back on the heroic path.

Towards the end of the story, Simon and the rest of the gang are able to accomplish so much more with their optimism than Kamina ever could. In practice, they've already incorporated his "teachings" and far surpassed him to such a ridiculous degree that they're literally facing galactic-level threats. In that situation, having a character die not because of a sacrifice or in battle but simply because of a plot-induced disease seems...rather anti-climactic, to be honest, because it wasn't a natural storytelling requirement.
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Tuor_of_Gondolin



Joined: 20 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:25 pm Reply with quote
It should also be pointed out that virtually all of the members of Team Dai-Gurren died fighting the anti-Spirals. I don't think anyone needed to be told that there was a limit to what Spiral Power (or optimism, if you prefer) could accomplish. I *really* disliked what happened to Nia, and the reasoning behind it (that is, the set-up by the writers) has always struck me as both unnecessary and unfair.

Also, about Stupidity = Spiral Power: in the first half, when they're assaulting the capital, a bunch of gunmen ran off and threw themselves at the energy shield protecting it, dying pointless deaths until stopped by Nia. So, sheer stupidity doesn't actually equate to Spiral Power.
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Hawkmonger



Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 440
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:46 pm Reply with quote
Christ, I wasn't much of a fan first time around...but it was 10 years ago...
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