Tag Archive: mecha


Well, my week long love-affair with Gurren Lagann has finally come to an end, and I as have finally finished the entire series. It now gets to join the ranks of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood as being one of the only anime series to have an emotionally satisfying ending (if you just count the finale itself Death Note would be there too, but you have to remember the whole arc with Near and Mello that led you there that will never be as good as L’s arc). My original prognosis of the show way back from my first review in progress still holds that this series is what happens when you mix up the humongous mecha sub-genre of anime with over-the-top stylistic action movies like Shoot ‘Em Up, and I’ll tell you what, it was a hell of a ride while it lasted.

This tale that started out as a deconstruction of the humongous mecha genre paired with over-the-top, epic, and awesome fighting and humor evolved into something much more. So many different types of stories were represented. Space Opera. Politics. Psychological Dram. Ribald humor. GIANT FUCKING ROBOTS BLOWING UP OTHER GIANT FUCKING ROBOTS IN INCREASINGLY MORE AND MORE AWESOME FASHION. It managed to deconstruct a genre and then reconstruct it all within the space of one series. I’m not really sure how that’s possible but to quote Kamina “Go beyond the impossible, and kick reason to the curb. That’s the Team (Dai-)Gurren way!”. And that’s what the show did. At every point, it bucked any sort of logic or science and simply set out to make a show that was as cool as humanly possible, and you know what, it succeeded.

Before I watched this series, I wasn’t a really a huge fan of the giant mecha genre, and that was one of the reasons why I was so reticent to watch it to begin with. Gundam is not really my thing. So to all those out there who might be concerned that this series isn’t for you since you don’t like mecha stuff, don’t worry. It is so awesome that you don’t worry about that. Also, I almost always watch the Japanese version of the shows with English subtitles because dubs are almost universally god-awful. However, Gurren Lagann‘s dub was actually really pretty good. At no point did any of the voice actors make me want to shoot myself (I’m looking at you, entire English voice cast of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood).

At the end of the day, this is simply a great anime. It has fantastic characters, an epic story that will push you beyond the impossible, cooler fight scenes than on any other show I’ve ever watched, and it manages to change things up consistently and stay constantly fresh despite only being 26 episodes long. If you consider yourself to be a fan of anime, then you need to give Gurren Lagann a try. There is no group of anime fans that I could not easily recommend this show to. So, remember, MY DRILL IS THE DRILL THAT CREATES THE HEAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (lol sorry that will make sense after you watch the show).

Final Score: A

*SPOILER ALERTS*

You’ve heard it all before. Read the review for episodes 1-4 for a spoiler-free, introductory look to the show. Imagine this warning is the warning above the entrance to Hell that greets Dante and Virgil in The Divine Comedy, “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” if you read this and haven’t seen the episodes yet.(yeah i realize the intellectual contradiction between quoting Dante Alighieri in the reviews for an anime series).

Well, we’re entering the home-stretch here. I’ve only got three episodes left to watch after having seen these last 4 episodes, and I’m not going to lie. I’m probably going to finish the rest of the series tonight ( A)cause it’s getting super awesome and B) Cowboy Bebop is coming in the mail from Netflix tomorrow and I won’t to be able to give that classic the attention it deserves). Things have gotten for lack of a more original word really god damn epic on this show. It turned out that the moon was in fact A GUNMAN. And if you were wondering if Simon was going to combine Gurren Lagann with it, then the answer is a resoundingly awesome yes. Not to mention at one point he PUNCHED A HOLE IN THE VERY FABRIC OF SPACE-TIME! The show has entered space-opera territory as Team Dai-Gurren has piloted the new Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren (Gurren Lagann, plus the Ark Gurren, plus the MOON GUNMAN) into space to try and find the Anti-Spiral home-world to save humanity and hope to rescue Nia as well.

I had started to complain to myself that the show was starting to feel too safe. No major or important characters had died since Kamina. I regret making that complaint. Cause a ton of supporting characters built the bullet in the last episode I watched in fairly epic and heroic ways. No one super important died, but at least, it was named characters that I recognized biting the dust. The show has reached its end-game and it’s done holding back any punches. I’m sure there will be more deaths to follow.

Yoko got her own “day in the sun” episode, which showed what she had been doing ever since the time-skip, which would be teaching in an island village. It was understated and quiet, yet it gave Yoko some much needed character development that helped to bring her above being pure fanservice. Also, in one episode in what can only be described in one of the most bad-ass things I’ve ever seen a character do on this show, Kittan (one of the leaders of Team Dai Gurren) took on an Anti-Spiral Gunman on foot with nothing but a shotgun and lived to tell the tale. It was pretty wicked.

Score in Progress: A

 

*SPOILER ALERTS*

I almost feel repetitive putting this at the start of every review for this that I do, but I noticed that when these articles get publicized to facebook, it doesn’t recognize paragraph breaks in the little excerpt that it posts to give people a preview of the post, and so even with this, it’s still possible that people might accidentally see more than I want them to. So, once again, for a spoiler free look, check out episodes 1-4.

Major changes have confronted our team Dai-Gurren and I am very happy to report that said changes are for the better. Since the defeat of Lord Genome and his cryptic warnings of future destruction if humanity were allowed to grow unchecked, the story has skipped 7 years into the future to a world where humans have advanced significantly and now live in a massive futuristic city on the surface. The 1,000,000th human child is born. Simon has become the supreme commander of humanity and Rossiu, the priest boy from the underground village, has become the second in command (and an absolutely fantastic and compelling foil).

However, all is not peaceful as humanity finally faces a new threat, the Anti-Spiral, a race of beings whose job is to destroy humanity and keep it from reaching its true spiral potential (they are the reason Lord Genome had suppressed humanity for centuries). Also, it turns out that Nia was a sort of Manchurian agent, and was actually a sleeper agent of the anti-spiral. The Anti-Spiral has sent the moon on a crash course with Earth in order to wipe out humanity as well as regularly sending in its forces to destroy the new capital city.

However, the biggest change to the series and what has made it so great for me is the much darker and more mature themes it has tackled the last four episodes. While the primary antagonist has been the Anti-Spiral, I feel that the primary source of the dramatic tension has been the political battle being waged by Rossiu for control of human society. He believes in law, science, and efficiency (which if you watch the show, you know team Dai-Gurren gets the job done by doing the most crazy and unpredictable thing possible). He is not afraid to replace the old guard with new blood that believes in his system. And as much of an asshole as he comes off as being, you can’t help but at least understand his characters motivation. His character development and face-heel turn was incredibly well done. Not to mention the fact that Johnny Yong Bosch is pretty fantastic with his voice acting. However, if you think your beloved show of awesome fighting got too serious, don’t worry. There are still plenty of kick-ass fights to whet your teeth on.

Score in Progress: A

*SPOILER ALERT*

This is like my fourth set of reviews for the show so at this point, you have been warned.Once again, a introductory and spoiler-free review for the first four episodes can be found elsewhere on the site.

Well, the show kicked up its HSQ (Holy Shit Quotient) up for this particular batch of episodes and concluded a fairly major story-line much earlier than I thought it would. I have to remember that this isn’t Dragon Ball Z and it isn’t going to take 30 episodes to take down Frieza. For those not in the know, that’s not really an exaggeration. I think the Namek arc was something like 70 episodes. That’s several seasons of most TV shows. The further and further I’ve delved into the world of anime the more and more I’ve determined that DBZ is like the most over-rated anime of all time. I mean, parts of it are awesome (the Cell saga springs to mind) but there are so many anime out there that are simply much better.

Anyways, back to the show at hand, Gurren Lagann. Team Dai-Gurren is taking the fight straight to Lord Genome. They spend two episodes dispatching his remaining generals in fairly epic fashion, and then taking the fight to the Lord himself and coming out on top. I’ve simply stopped trying to apply any system of logic to the power levels and techniques on this show. On most fighting anime, new powers and techniques are introduced through some sort of training scenario or are mentioned beforehand and a character achieving it through sheer force of will is something to be expected. On Gurren Lagann, Simon is going to exhibit one or two never before seen attacks an episode just because he’s that fucking awesome. Although, the system by which Simon has powers at all is finally explained through the presence of Spiral Energy and the symbolism of his drill becomes much more apparent and understandable. Also, the myth arc and end game of the series has finally been set in place. One of my major problems with the show is how episodic its been. But now, I feel like I finally have an idea of where its going. This score is for the three episodes I watched and how awesome they were (one episode was a compilation episode).

Score in Progress: A

 

*SPOILER ALERTS*

Like with my last review for this show, if you don’t want any spoilers, stop reading now and check out the review for the first four episodes.

Well, these last four episodes have explored the new group dynamic now that Kamina has passed away and Simon has become the de facto leader of team Dai-Gurren. Three of the episodes dealt primarily with Simon’s over-whelming sense of guilt and sadness concerning his role in Kamina’s death, and boy, were they angsty and not a lot of fun. Suddenly, the show felt more like Neon Genesis Evangelion and not the Gurren Lagann that I’ve grown to love. However, by the end of episode 11, Simon had snapped out of his funk and entered a new era of ultimate ass-kicking. Another new major plot development is the introduction of the character Nia, a Beastman princess and the daughter of the Big Bad Lord Genenome; however, she is one of the good guys as she had been cast out from Beastman society for becoming self-aware and displeasing her father. I do not like Nia. She’s like your proto-typical soft-voiced Mary Sue anime princess, and she just bothers me. I want Kamina back, or for Yoko to have a larger role. I don’t like this broad.

The show does suffer without the presence of Kamina, but not too terribly. Once Simon snapped out of his depression, he spent that episode and the next one kicking seven different shades of ass and the show went back to being cool again. This show isn’t going to be as good as Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Death Note or Cowboy Bebop, but that’s ok because it manages to be very self-aware of how campy it is and it is consistently a lot of fun. This is the score of the show sans Kamina.

Score in Progress: B+

*SPOILER ALERTS*

For anyone who wants zero spoilers for this show, check out my original review for the first four episodes which gives a pretty decent look at the over-all plot without going too deep into anything. From this point forward, it assumes you have a basic knowledge of the plot of the show and the characters there-in, and if you do not want anything ruined for you, then stop reading right now. Because this is about to get spoileriffic and a half.

HOLY SHIT! The reason that I had to stop watching the show and not wait til I had watched some more episodes to write this review is that the last episode was a major WHAM! moment. (I apologize ahead of time for the fact that to understand half of what I write requires a decent understanding of the different terms and slang from tvtropes.org). Simon and Kamina continued to wage their jihad against the Beastmen and were trying to find their mobile base. Along the way, they came across an underground village that was sort of like Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and it exiled members by lot (although not really) whenever the population passed 50 and they also came across a bath-house that was in fact another Gunman. And that episode was hilarious. I laughed my ass off the whole time. There’s something about Kamina running around bare-ass naked with nothing but Simon’s pet mole covering his junk while piloting a giant robot that is just hilarious. And then of course, they finally caught up with the mobile base, used Lagann (Simon’s mecha) to take control of it and Kamina died in the battle. I WAS NOT PLEASED!

I have to debate how wise of a decision it is to kill the best character on your show so early into your series, but at least I know now that the danger and dramatic tension of the show is real and that anyone can die. It’s not going to be like Dragon Ball Z where death is just a momentary inconvenience. I guess this what I should expect from the team that gave you the most depressing anime ever made Neon Genesis Evangelion.

I’ve also determined that is definitely a seinen anime and not a shonen anime. If you’re reading this still, you probably know the difference and that the former is for young adults while the latter is a for children. With all of the blood, cursing, giant tits, occasion partial nudity, and out and out violence, this show I can safely say is meant for a slightly older viewing audience and I don’t have to feel so weird enjoying it as much as I do. The show has managed to definitely up its ante in the dramatic department, but we’ll have to wait to see if I will still enjoy it now that my favorite character is gone.

Score in Progress: A-

I’m a grown man of 22 years of age. I like art house cinema, progressive and experimental music, high literature, and intellectually stimulating drama. Simultaneously, I am a humongous dork. I love comic books, video games, and anime. There’s something about watching giant robots duke it out or dudes with spiky hair blow up planets that gives me a child-like sense of pleasure. One of my all time favorite television series is Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I don’t care that it was a show primarily marketed to children. It’s got awesome animation, awesome fights, awesome characters, and an awesome story. It is made of pure, undistilled awesome. A couple of months back a friend of mine recommended that I start watching an anime that I had never heard of before called Gurren Lagann, a giant mecha anime from Gainax Studios (the company responsible for the Citizen Kane of the mecha genre Neon Genesis Evangelion). Well, it was available to watch instantly on Netflix, so I figured that I would watch the first four episodes and see how I felt. Boy, am I glad I made that decision!

So far (cause I’m only 4 episodes in), Gurren Lagann is about Simon and Kamina, two orphans who live in an underground village. Simon is fairly young. I would say like 12 or 13. Kamina looks like he’s about 17 or 18. Simon is shy and demure, whereas as Kamina is hot-headed and head strong (and made of pure win). Kamina’s dream is to see the surface, which his village chief say doesn’t exist. His dream becomes reality when a giant mecha known as a “Gunman” crashes through the surface and lands in his village, beginning to terrorize it. Simon finds a much smaller mecha hidden beneath the Earth and pilots it to help fight off the monster. Around this point, Yoko shows up. Yoko is a surface dweller, toting a huge sniper rifle hunting the “Gunman”. Let’s just say that Yoko is perhaps the purest bit of fan service in the history of anime, that wasn’t actually hentai. Her outfit is barely there and her breasts are ginormous. It’s absolutely ridiculous.It’s so ridiculous that it borders on offensive. Without wanting to ruin too much more of the plot, needless to say, they make it to the surface where Kamina gets his own mecha to pilot and things progressively get crazier and crazier.

If the plot sounds like your typical shonen mecha fare, it probably might be so far. However, this show is made absolutely fantastic because of how ridiculously over the top it is. This is like the anime equivalent of Shoot ‘Em Up. It takes all of the tropes and cliches of the mecha and anime generally and lampshades them to hilarious effects and cranks them all up to 11 (and then some). I’ve only watched four episodes of this show and Kamina is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite anime characters along with Spike from Cowboy BeBop, L from Death Note, and Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. He spouts some of the most ridiculous lines I have ever heard. It’s like if you gave Joss Whedon crack and told him to make an anime. Not to mention, the animation on this show is top notch. It looks absolutely fantastic, and this one of those rare instances when watching the English dub doesn’t make me want to scratch my eyes out because it’s actually pretty good.

I can’t wait to watch more of this. From what I’ve read, the series just pretty much gets even crazier and crazier and more awesome as it progresses. So, this is a rough score that I can give from just four episodes in. It may get higher or go lower as I see more, but updates of my viewing of this awesome show will continue to come along as I get further and further in. I can’t wait to keep watching the antics and exploits of the living breathing meme fountain Kamina and his nakama of Simon and Yoko.

Score in Progress: B+