by jh


This is a bratty, hyper-active shounen mecha show about a group of humans using their spirit power or whatever to overcome any and all obstacles. The humans are forced to live underground thanks to some unknown force, but our young heroes manage to break out almost immediately, and not only that, form a sort of ragtag rebellion just in the first few episodes. The series’ strengths rely solely on making you turn off your brain and marvel at how badass everything is. It mostly works.

Imaishi brings his chaotic, energetic style (Dead Leaves) under control for most of it, but unleashes everything he has during the battle scenes. Compositions are frequently dynamic and aim to bring out the often ridiculously exhilarating nature of the mecha fights. In Gurren Lagann, nothing is subtle, and as such, its animation and composition follow suit. There is no logical progression to any of the battles. Everything is predetermined. Because our characters have “spirit,” whereas our villains don’t, everything is resolved thru yelling loudly and “feeling” things more than the opponent does. It isn’t a drawback of the series, though; it’s more like a philosophical viewpoint. Because to be human is to be reckless, emotional, ever-changing.

Had some other notes about the first few episodes being a secret remake of FLCL (with the drills, erections, boobs and teenage confusion), but it only extended to the first few episodes, so I didn’t bother thinking more about it. Although, as a Gainax show, it’s playing around with the mecha formula, but this time taking it to different, more operatic heights.

How to Find It

Aniplex of America currently has the license for this show, but it can be streamed through Crunchyroll.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007)

27 episodes