Grimm Community 🙂 It is good to see you back!
It has been a while since I posted my review of Gurren Lagann and I did mention I would be doing a follow up post. That post is finally here.
This post is geared towards people who have already watched Gurren Lagann. Understand that there will be spoilers so please if you have yet to watch Gurren Lagann and are looking for more of a spoiler free review check out my first post Gurren Lagann… So This is Mech Anime? I’ll Have Another. This way you are able to learn more about the show without ruining the plot twists.
FROM THIS POINT FORWARD WE TALK SPOILERS
Something that really stuck with me in this anime is that Kamina dies. It was something I was not expecting and as weird as it sounds this was the moment I actually got into Gurren Lagann. Up until this point I didn’t hate Gurren Lagann but I didn’t love it either.
To me it was just this sort of goofy show that had animation that reminded me of Kill La Kill. The characters were okay but I hadn’t grown to really relate to any of them. Simon was a bit of a whine baby, Yoko was okay, and Kamina was funny but crazy. Out of all the characters I liked Kamina and Viral best. I wasn’t sold on the show though.
I was mainly continuing to watch it because I planned on reviewing it for GrimmGirl. Plus a lot of my online friends had raved about it and I wanted to give it a full shot. Also if I’m a hundred percent honest with myself it actually takes me some time to warm up to a show. For example I am a huge Bleach fangirl but I didn’t really start liking the show until the end of season one. So unless I really hate a show (Seven Deadly Sins I’m looking at you) I have a policy to at least watch the first season.
The moment where Kamina was injured immediately pulled my attention. I remember thinking, “He’s not really going to die. How would the story go on without him? He’s the one who pulls everyone together and moves things forward.”
When he seems to recover in order to pull one final attack with Simon all seemed right in my anime universe. I knew it I thought he’ll have a miraculous recovery and him and Simon will realize that Yoko really isn’t the one for him and get his head in the game.
You can imagine my shock when after their attack Kamina didn’t get back up. This is the moment that hooked me into the show because Kamina was the character that moved things forward in the story. He’s the reason they went to the surface, the reason they started taking over the machines, the reason they decided to attack the beastmen and not wait to be attacked, and the reason they were going to the city where the king resided!
How could this story continue without him? How could it move forward?
The interesting thing is that the rest of the characters in Gurren Lagann were asking themselves the same questions. This is when I finally started relating to Simon and Yoko and seeing them as more than just characters to prop up Kamina.
I thought it was incredible the way the show portrayed each of the characters adjustments to Kamina’s death, but Yoko’s and Simon’s reactions were particularly captivating. I thought each of their reactions were realistic to how grief would play out in real life.
Simon was resentful of himself for not being more like Kamina. He couldn’t help but feeling that if he was more like Kamina than Kamina wouldn’t have died. He couldn’t understand what Kamina meant by Simon be the reason he was able to push forward. You could also tell that he wished that he was the one who died and not Kamina.
Yoko couldn’t reach out to Simon because she was barely holding it together herself. I thought it was cool that the writers of the show actually gave Yoko that space to express that. Yoko couldn’t help Simon or console him because there was a part of her that agreed with Simon and resented him as well for not being more like Kamina. Just like Simon she couldn’t understand how Kamina could feel like Simon was whom he needed to move forward.
It is rare in the anime I have seen for the writers to actually dedicate time to a characters grief at the loss of someone like this. The grief that the characters feel and how they react to situations because of the loss of Kamina because central to the storyline. There isn’t an episode that goes by where Kamina is not mentioned.
It’s very strange who that expression, “Gone but not forgotten” applies so fittingly to Kamina. Even though he is only on the show for a sort period of time his presence is felt so much throughout the rest of the show it is almost like he is still there in every episode. If someone asked me who the two main characters of Gurren Lagann were I would immediately answer Kamina and Simon. Even though Kamina isn’t seen again after the first few episodes.
It’s also strange that after his death I asked along with the characters, how can they move forward. Without him how could the story continue? The story does continue, but it doesn’t continue without him like I thought it would and like the characters thought it would. It still continues with him.
Kamina’s presence was so strong and influential to the characters that even with his death his words live on throughout the show and within the characters. The characters use him as a point of reference so often that it feels as if he is always there pushing them forward and reminding them who they truly are.
Kamina’s legacy isn’t just with Simon but with every character he influenced while he was alive. This is what makes Gurren Lagann so special to me; this is what hooked me into the show.
What about you? How do you feel about Kamina’s death? Do you think it was as influential as I do?