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Ten Years of Piercing the Heavens with Gurren Lagann


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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 12112
Location: Windsor Ontario
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:03 am Reply with quote
I was as hyped up as everyone else when the show first started, but that waned a bit as it went on. Seeing everyone else continue to be enthusiastic about it created this sense of alienation that inevitably hurt my enjoyment of the show.

Doesn't help that I don't like Kamina. He's an obnoxious overbearing reckless idiot and I hate how both the show and the fandom deify him as the most amazing guy ever. And they still overly glorify his memory right to the end where he essentially saves the day.

Needless to say I'm a bigger fan of "shy guy overshadowed by dumb jock" pre-time skip Simon and I firmly supported post time skip "knows hotblood doesn't solve everything and you have to make some hard decisions" Rossieu.
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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 2851
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:14 am Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
I was as hyped up as everyone else when the show first started, but that waned a bit as it went on. Seeing everyone else continue to be enthusiastic about it created this sense of alienation that inevitably hurt my enjoyment of the show.

Doesn't help that I don't like Kamina. He's an obnoxious overbearing reckless idiot and I hate how both the show and the fandom deify him as the most amazing guy ever. And they still overly glorify his memory right to the end where he essentially saves the day.

Needless to say I'm a bigger fan of "shy guy overshadowed by dumb jock" pre-time skip Simon and I firmly supported post time skip "knows hotblood doesn't solve everything and you have to make some hard decisions" Rossieu.


Kamina is the Fool writ large and loud and one of the most amazing examples in anime. If it wasn't for Kamina, no one would try anything in that world for reasons of safety and sense. Your Rossieu factor at work where the best you can hope for is not to die today.

For Kamina, yeah, you may die to day but you also may die doing nothing and he'd rather die standing up facing the danger on his terms than cowering in a hole somewhere. His awesome, awesome terms.

1 Be awesome
2 See number 1
3 Believe number 1
4 Believe in someone who believes you are number 1.
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 12112
Location: Windsor Ontario
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:32 am Reply with quote
Certainly I can appreciate Kamina's necessary role in the story, but outright smacking Lagann away during a life-or-death battle just because he wasn't going to combine in a cool way was absolute idiocy. Him dying was the best thing to happen to the show since it finally allowed Simon to step out of his shadow and take his place as the main protagonist. Except...

They had the whole bit where Simon had to learn that he can't imitate Kamina and has to be himself but that inevitably falls flat when he eventually becomes exactly like Kamina anyways.

Hell, during the 2nd movie I found myself rooting for the Anti-Spiral during the final battle. I think I took the wrong thing away from the show Laughing
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Chrono1000



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 270
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:42 am Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
Doesn't help that I don't like Kamina. He's an obnoxious overbearing reckless idiot and I hate how both the show and the fandom deify him as the most amazing guy ever. And they still overly glorify his memory right to the end where he essentially saves the day.

Needless to say I'm a bigger fan of "shy guy overshadowed by dumb jock" pre-time skip Simon and I firmly supported post time skip "knows hotblood doesn't solve everything and you have to make some hard decisions" Rossieu.
Kamina was flawed but he did represent the inspirational hero seen throughout history such as in Gilgamesh, The Iliad, and Beowulf. That Kamina had a desire for freedom not just for himself but for everyone made him a true hero. Kamina was an idealist that died due to the limits of the real world, Rossieu was the cynic that created an oppressive government because he lost hope in the ideal, and Simon was the moderate.
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
Posts: 349
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:29 pm Reply with quote
I really enjoyed Gurren Lagann myself and consider it as one of the last truly memorable Gainax productions, but never was a huge fan of Kamina either. It's funny how people usually seem to assume that everyone watching the show just had to be lining up behind him right from the start.

In a few words...when it comes to hot-blooded characters, I tend to prefer Noriko from Gainax's own Gunbuster or even the cast of Getter Robo and other parts of the classic Dynamic Pro output, which certainly was as much of an inspiration for the content and style of TTGL as anything else that has been previously mentioned.

Also, Kamina's fate wasn't that surprising or shocking to me either. They telegraphed it rather clearly (a little too much, perhaps) and experienced viewers will realize that mentor/"older brother" characters aren't usually going to stick around forever, whether it's in anime, manga or your average JRPG storyline. I did appreciate the evident homage/reference to Ashita no Joe though!

It made sense for the cast of characters to hold Kamina in high regard, mind you, and seeing Simon recover from this loss was a key part of his character development. Curiously enough, I'll even admit that by the end of the story I did grow to like the guy more than when he was actively participating in the narrative. I suppose you could consider it to be a matter of context.

Speaking of which...there seem to be a fair amount of criticisms levied at the second half of the story in some circles, but I thought the experience was still compelling enough. I'll even argue that the epilogue was/is fine as a concept, despite also feeling that Nia wasn't handled too well in the end. Either way, I am glad that Imaishi and company have continued to find interesting outlets for their talents after all these years.
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tintor2



Joined: 11 Aug 2010
Posts: 309
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:32 pm Reply with quote
What I really liked about Kamina was how he was mostly focused on make Simon surpass his fears. It all comes from a time when these two were trapped underground and by giving each other motivations, the two survived. The impact Kamina has on Simon led to the latter to become the series' hotblooded main character.
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Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 2307
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:58 pm Reply with quote
After Otakon I got all nostalgic for Gurren Lagann and I started to rewatch the series. I am on episode 5 now. I still can't believe it's already been 10 years.

I also still can't believe in 10 years no one has created a decent Adult Simon figure. I mean come on.

Anyways while I love Kamina I am not as obsessed with him as some people. Simon and the way his character develops is what made the series for me (I also disagree that he just became another Kamina). My other 2 favorites were Nia & Viral. But the entire cast of characters from villain to hero were all memorable. Not to mention the colorful and fun fight scenes, the fantastic score, and all the quotable lines. Gurren Lagann was a treasure.


On another note Gurren Lagann is streaming on Netflix (both dub & sub) so if you haven't seen it, this is a great time to check it out.
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jymmy



Joined: 11 Nov 2011
Posts: 1220
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:03 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Gunbuster even originated the Gainax Pose...

Incorrect: that's a common misconception I'm surprised to see in an ANN article. It's an homage to Getter Dragon's pose in Getter Robo, the series that actually invented it.
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Takkun4343



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 416
Location: Gahanna, Ohio
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:05 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
Certainly I can appreciate Kamina's necessary role in the story, but outright smacking Lagann away during a life-or-death battle just because he wasn't going to combine in a cool way was absolute idiocy.

Hey, in all fairness, that was only episode 4, and lots of people consider that episode non-canon apart from Kittan and his sisters' introduction anyways.
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v1cious



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
Posts: 5632
Location: Houston, TX
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:23 pm Reply with quote
Still one of my favorite anime of all time. It's the only show I can binge watch without getting bored. I've seen it three times, and it still entertains me.

Did I mention it has the best insert song of all time?
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 2773
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:51 pm Reply with quote
Gurren Lagann is one of those shows I feel like I could watch a hundred times and never tire of. Count me firmly in Team Kamina: I love his bombastic idiocy, I love his unabashedly manly spirit (the man defines GAR), and perhaps most of all, I love how all of his swagger conceals some very human insecurities. He puts on this persona for the sake of helping and encouraging his bro Simon, and even right at the end, he's only thinking about Simon being able to push forward. The thing that really strikes me about Kamina's death is it allowed the series to succeed at something where so many other shows falter: exploring how the passing of a loved one affects those around them. We've all seen far too many series where characters are shocked and saddened in the moment of another's death, but then other than a passing reference here and there it's almost entirely forgotten. Life doesn't work that way: memories of those we've lost pop into our heads all the time, and we hold onto how they've impacted our lives. It was striking to see how the cast, particularly Simon and Yoko, kept Kamina's spirit alive as the series progressed, and how it was his memory that ultimately allowed them to overcome their final spiritual crises.

As for Simon himself, I've always seen him as a definite anti-Shinji: he's overshadowed by Kamina at the start, and he goes through his own horrible period of depression and self-doubt, but it's the simple act of digging a hole that makes him realize his self-worth again and turns him into the hero he was destined to be. He winds up growing into the most powerful being in existence, tossing entire galaxies around, and literally bending space and time in order to see the woman he loves one last time. That's my kind of main protagonist.

The crazy thing is that, beneath all of the manly yelling and crazy giant robots, Gurren Lagann has a simple yet profound message at its core: fight for what you believe in, no matter how impossible the odds may seem, and leave the world a better place for those who come after you. The way things have been going, I feel like it's more relevant than ever.

(Seriously though, ten years? Goddamn I'm old. Shocked )
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 3345
Location: Northern Virginia
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:18 am Reply with quote
Rather than the last anime I ever watched(obviously) Gurren Lagann was one of the first anime I ever watched. And it was very eye-opening. My experience with anime up to that point was Ghibli, Ghibli-esque, or dark, gritty, edgy stuff like Elfen Lied. This was the first thing I watched that was nothing like anything else I had ever seen. And it was absolutely fantastic. I don't know how the tonal balance in the show didn't bother me back then, since most of what I had ever seen from any sort of media prior was much more serious, down-to-earth, or at least self-serious, but it somehow worked, I fell in love, and I think I'm a much more open-minded consumer thanks to it.
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Sakagami Tomoyo



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:38 am Reply with quote
10 years? Gods, it has been, hasn't it?

While I didn't think it was The Greatest Most Awesome Thing Ever, like most of the anime fandom seemed to at the time, it was still an excellent show.

Kamina is a rather divisive figure. While he is largely the kind of hot-blooded idiot I find tiresome and boring, he does play a vital role for what he does for humanity in general and Simon in particular, which could only be done by his kind of character: show that they are better than they think they are, that they need to step up and fight back, and that even if they do suffer setbacks, it's still the right and necessary thing to fight. And underneath the hotheaded idiocy, he does have the sense to recognise that hot blood and guts aren't the be-all and end-all, and he'd be more lost without Simon than Simon would be without him.
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Maciste



Joined: 27 Jan 2008
Posts: 84
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:17 am Reply with quote
This series will always have a special place in my heart. The concept, execution, OST, everything came together so well. With all the over-the-top action and its theme "it's always getting manlier and bigger (literally)", I consider it a parody of mecha shows, and a very good one at that. It's still an excellent watch. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes anime any day of the week. I even bought the UK BD boxset (TV-Series, both movies, Parallel Works) recently, because the price was too good to ignore it. I regret nothing.
While I do like Gunbuster and Diebuster, I don't think Gainax ever came close to the success that was TTGL. Kill La Kill was nice to look at and I enjoyed the first couple of episodes, but then it devolved into something that made me lose interest very quickly.
Please excuse me now, I'm gonna need to fight the power.
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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 2851
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:24 am Reply with quote
OK, I'll be the first to say it here, I really don't like Simon. Why is it that Kamina has ideas, Rossieu has ideas but Simon can only react to the most recent threat?

Also, "Who the hell do you think I am?" not to forget Nia's own wonderful take on it "Do you not know who I am?" Nia is very under appreciated character in this series... can't imagine how that happened. And then there's Yohko...

There's so much greatness surrounding Simon but apart from being Kamina when Kamina isn't there, Simon is just a passive hero who relies on the power of chance... ie having the writers so far in his corner a 0% chance may as well be a hundred, I mean a 100% percent of advancing the plot may as well be 99.9995%... to win his fights so his actions primarily consist of moving forward and upward up to the point where an actual choice has to be made, which is spoiler[letting everything go along with Nia's life or taking a new chance to fight fate for her and his answer was "Ok, I'm done. Imma take a walk for 40 years. See ya."] Our hero?

Doing the impossible as long as its in front of him? No problem. Making a... gasp... decision? "Let it be."

Say what you will about Kamina but he would have never given up. According to GL's screen diagnostics, spoiler[he died long before he stopped fighting] but Kamina's Kamina and something like that won't stop him. Immediately...
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