I described the first episode of GURREN LAGANN as seeming like an anime directed by American animation legend Don Bluth and this one’s really harped on that vibe again. To be specific, this might not be the most complex or sophisticated show (which isn’t even a bad thing, per se) but it makes up for all of that in heart. Gobs and gobs of heart. I’m starting to notice that protagonists steadily gaining more power every episode is considered a whole genre (maybe even a cliché?) in anime but this is one of those few coming-of-age heroic quests where you really believe the protagonist is becoming a man. I can see where Simon’s getting new confidence every episode, and how those leaps in self-esteem build upon eachother - - and I’m buying all of it.
Nia’s similarly bringing some credibility and likability to a common trope. Lord knows there’s been a legion of innocent princesses in fiction, but she’s maybe the first I've encountered who seems like she could actually exist in reality. Yeah, her memory’s spotty, she’s an insufferable optimist, she’s bordering on naïve… but she isn't a one-note stereotype. The scene that’s really making me bring this up is the bit where she pleads with Simon to put her to work. She's still a girly-girl, but she's not a background decoration either. Of course, she ends up giving everybody food poisoning, but that’s beside the point.
Actually, maybe that’s totally on point. Having suffered from the treachery of C-rated taqueria’s spoiled chicken quesadilla - - which was a colorful experience, if you get me - - I get a perverse enjoyment over this episode’s cliffhanger hinging on Simon about to ingest some undercooked food. He beat the rest of Dai Gurren team to the plate, right? It's just him eating, right? Every episode seems to introduce at least ten more crew members… it’d be downright disastrous for them all to get sick.
Also, I have to comment that I love how Gurren Lagann’s basically using drills like Spider-Man uses webbing. Those Gainax goons are just endlessly inventive, aren’t they?
Watch this episode, "Everybody, Eat to Your Heart's Content" below, decide for yourself and then read my comments on the previous episode here.