Welcome back! If you follow me on Twitter you know that a started Gurren Lagann a bit ago and became a smidge obsessed. As you may recall from my post Favorite Mech Anime? More Like Only… I don’t have a lot of experience with this genre, but I really wanted to try something new and I had a few people tell me this was pretty good.
I am really glad I decided to listen to them because I sincerely enjoyed this show. I am also pumped to do this review! No worries this first review will be spoiler free, however I will be writing another post sometime soon that will be full of spoilers. This post is geared towards people who have never seen the show before and are considering watching it. My future post will be geared towards people who have already seen the show and want to talk about all the crazy things that happened!
So without further ado let us begin the SPOILER FREE review post of Gurren Lagann.
The premise of the show centers on a time set in the future where humans live underground. Simon is a young boy who lives in an underground village and has a job drilling holes to expand the village. He is kind of a worrier and isn’t very confident in himself. Simon does take pride in his ability to drill.
Kamina is a young man in the village who seems to be the only person unsatisfied with underground life. He dreams of somehow reaching the surface and see what the world holds above ground. He takes a liking to Simon and is the only person who is able to recognize Simon’s potential. Kamina seems to be the polar opposite of Simon. While Simon worries and lacks confidence, Kamina seems fearless and confidence knows no bounds. In fact I think in some ways cocky wouldn’t be to off base when describing Kamina.
Despite their difference Kamina and Simon grow very close. The consider themselves to be brothers and each of them sees things in the other that they admire. Kamina becomes a role model for Simon and he spends much of his time trying to emulate him. Kamina on the other hand maintains that his ability to be so self-assured comes from Simon.
Kamina ropes Simon into his dreams of going above ground but before they are able to reach their goals Simon discovers a face will drilling and what turns out to be a drill key. When their underground village is attacked by what appears to be a giant mechanism Simon and Kamina realize that the face they found is a machine and that they can use it to fight back.
During this fight they also meet Yoko, a young woman who claims to live above ground. She explains to them that the mechanism is actually a Beastman in a machine. Yoko helps Kamina and Simon fight the beastman and the two of them decide to join Yoko above ground in order to escape their underground lives. It is there that they learn that the humans above ground are constantly fighting these Beastmen who seem determined to keep humans off the surface of the Earth.
In the beginning the show centers on Kamina and Simon trying to make a place for themselves and their friends above ground by defeating the Beastmen. Throughout the show it is also reveled why the Beastmen are fighting humans and more importantly why humans are forced to live underground.
Thoughts on the Show
Honestly, when I first started this show I wasn’t very interested. A little part of me honestly considered dropping it. I am really glad I didn’t though so my first piece of advice for this show is to watch it all the way through!
I think that the reason I wasn’t super into it in the beginning is because it takes a few episodes to get to the big picture. During the first few episodes you don’t really have any details and you’re basically just thrown into this world. There doesn’t feel like any sense of direction. There is yet to be a reason for why Beastmen are meandering around and they don’t seem to be an organized coalition.
You really don’t get the information on the Beastmen until a few episodes in. After giving it some thought I believe the reason for this is because the show is really focused on showing the relationship between Kamina and Simon. There is also a big push in the beginning to show how Kamina affects the people he meets. I think the reason for this is to establish the type of leader Kamina is before they start getting into the real fights.
This actually makes a lot of sense in hindsight because we are able to watch the characters grow as the fight harder battles and learn more about the above ground world. I think in the beginning I was just too impatient. This is a story that needs the ability to unfold, you can’t just bust right through.
I really enjoyed Gurren Lagann’s ability to do just that, tell a story. When I think about the first episode vs the last episode it becomes very apparent to me that this show excels at character development. I was very impressed with that aspect especially since it was able to accomplish this in one season. There are many shows that seem incapable of developing some of their character after eight seasons let alone one.
The last thing I would point out would be Gurren Lagann’s ability to balance things out. I love that in a show. I like when an anime is able to bring out multiple emotions during it’s run and Gurren Lagann delivers that. I become invested in the characters. There were times I laughed but there were also times I cried, or got so angry that I may have chucked a controller…. The story was written and the acting was so well done that I found myself caught up in the emotions each character was feeling.
In the End
I recommend you watch this show if you get the chance. Just remember that you need to get a few episodes in. At the start this show seems pretty goofy but as the story develops the show becomes serious while still providing moments to have a good laugh. I think that the development of the characters and the direction of the story will leave everyone surprised (in a good way). I did not see the reason for humans being forced underground coming that’s for sure!
Let me know what you think in the comments below! Also if you have any suggestions for anime to review in the future don’t forget to let me know.
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