Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (天元突破グレンラガン)

All posts tagged Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (天元突破グレンラガン)

This anime has its own whiny emo kid too.

My 4th review in less than a week, today comes my mini-review of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, another 2007 anime which automatically will put it in contention for my Anime of The Year 2007 award. Rated no.7 in Anime News Network as of writing, does this anime has what it takes to grab the title from Nodame Cantabile?

Simon and Kamina lives in an underground village and Kamina always have the desire to go to the surface. After Simon found a strange artifact right before an invasion of the village by mecha-piloting strange being called Beastmen, both of them managed to get to the surface of the Earth. There, they found out that Earth has been colonized by the afore-mentioned Beastmen who has driven all humans underground. From there on, both of them set to a journey to free humanity from those evil Beastmen and their leader Spiral/Helix King (pick what is appropriate).

This anime is actually seems to be in the same genre as the likes of Zoid Genesis and Chou Sei Shin series, which are mecha anime aimed primarily for elementary school kids. You know, the type of anime TV-Nihon fansubbing group specializing in? In fact, the storyline itself is typical of the genre, therefore making it pretty predictable to the likes of me who watched this kind of anime while I am still a kid.

But what makes Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann different from the rest is that Gainax takes the typical mainstream story this anime has, then polished it as shiny as possible and presented it as good as they can. Just like Tonagura, the great strength of this anime is their execution and presentation. Plus, it takes a leaf from Nodame Cantabile, and presented Simon, and to a lesser extent, Kamina, as 2 powerful characters that are able to drive the series forward.

Gainax has also moderates some (but not all) of the bad clichés associated with this kind of kid mecha genre, making it palatable to a wider audience. This is why positioning the story to revolve around a small drill is somewhat believable and even enjoyable. This series definitely does not have a great story (for that go look at Seirei no Moribito or Claymore) but the presentation/execution and also the character strength of the main characters more than make up for it.

Yeah baby, yeah!

Character Design:-
Basically, the character designs for human and beastly characters and the mecha too are typical of the kid mecha genre mentioned above. There are no attempts whatsoever to make it resemble mecha like in the series like Gundam or Heroic Age. This fit the kiddy story perfectly, or else I will question the shape of the iris in Nia’s eyes and label it bad character design. For kiddy anime, a higher degree of suspension of belief is needed.

Voice acting:-
The voice acting here is generally good, especially for Kamina. But not all main characters have good voice actors, because Simon’s voice, especially when he is still a kid, is average at best. And don’t get me started with Nia, because her case is one of Gainax’s failures at moderating the clichés in this genre.

The anime has great OST but the OP/ED themes are not.

The FLCL-esque animation techniques, especially in battles scenes, are awesome to watch. All of the actions are fluid (as it is with all 2007 anime I watched to date) even in fast scenes. Choreography can be way too fast though, but nothing that the CTRL + <– combo button in Media Player Classic cannot solve.

The directing in this series is phenomenal, just look at how the typical story that the series has being turned into a part of the package of an anime that is simply a masterpiece. Although he/she probably can do away with those overused flashbacks and also that single recap episode (yet another cliché Gainax fail to stamp out).

A perfect 10 out of 10, but Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fails by a whisker to grab the Anime of The Year 2007 title from Nodame Cantabile. While both match each other in story and character design, Nodame Cantabile superiority in voice acting is cancelled out by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann advantage in animation/direction. Nodame wins out at the end mainly because all of its OP/ED themes are great while this is not so for this series.

The resident emo kid just fired a fireball in anger.