Watch & Learn: Gurren Lagann #19

Topic started by No_name_here on Sept. 5, 2010. Last post by megaghipower 3 years, 9 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (854 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff
  It's like she didn't have a single haircut during that seven year gap.
 It's like she didn't have a single haircut during that seven year gap.

Since I haven’t found an appropriate place to mention this yet, I need to say right off the bat that Nia’s hair deserves a special place of notoriety in the halls of bizarre anime hair. I never thought I’d see a do crazier than a third-level Super Saiyan’s, yet here's this girl carrying around a trail of clouds behind her all the time. 

Now that that’s out of the way, let me say that I’m not a follower of Ayn Rand. I’ve never really been able to swallow all the tenants of objectivism (it always seemed to be based on the presumption that you, of course, are one of the elites.) That being said, I still think the lady had some good ideas and, while I certainly wouldn’t call GURREN LAGANN mecha’s answer to THE FOUNTAINHEAD, this episode definitely had a subtext that reflected those ideas.  

Simon and Kamina are heroes whose prowess is innate. They save society only for the ungrateful rabble to turn on them. The peace they bring allows a government to grow, but that body (represented by weasely bureaucrat, Rossiu) uses twisted, cowardly "laws" to imprison them. I’m sure they're all going to come crawling for Gurren Lagann’s help later on, when the anti-spirals make another assault, and Simon’s going to have as much cause to shrug as any Atlas has ever had.  

 A number of you have commented on how much you hate Rossiu and, now, I do too. That’s actually a testament to there being some good writing on the show. It’s easier to make a villain you “love to hate.” What's hard is making one you genuinely can’t stand. And you better believe I'm counting the second until this rat gets his. 

One last thing - - SamJaz contrasted spiral force and Eva’s AT-Field in the last episode. Am I the only one seeing some similairites between the anti-spirals and the angels? Especially now that they’re popping up as these weird, 3D geometric shapes who drop in from the heavens.

Check out this episode, “We Shall Survive By Whatever We Do”, decide for yourself and read my comments on the previous episode here.  

  

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of   HYBRID BASTARDS!  &   UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon   here  & here.

Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,703 posts) See mini bio Level 20
I never say the similarities between the angels and anti spirals personally, I think once you find out more about them you will change your mind.
Post by Qwertykeyboard (4 posts) See mini bio Level 5
This part of the series is basically an ode to Eva and other mecha shows like it in the 90s/2000s, so yeah you could find some similarities between them.
Post by Gasero (167 posts) See mini bio Level 9
People keep mentioning this " Evangelion" anime. Maybe I should actually take some time to watch it.
 
I don't understand why Rossiu had such a drastic change in personality. Sure, we missed a large number of years of his life, but he seemed like a reasonable person at first. I guess it's one of those things where you don't know if someone will be corrupted by power until they have it. I can't see myself becoming that way, but I have also never had a large amount of power.
Post by zaldar (1,221 posts) See mini bio Level 15
Well....according to Ann Rand if you are not one of the elites than you don't matter and should accept your place below the elites.  Did I mention she was also very much an atheist.  Yeah...though I consider myself a capitalist she definitely went to far.  Still they were wronged here but then that will make him even more heroic when he saves them anyway I suppose...
Post by SamJaz (11,109 posts) See mini bio Level 19
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I can see where you're coming with the angels being similar to the Anti-Spirals, at least at this point. I actually watched Gurren Lagann first, so I know the deal with them, which is why I didn't see the similarity myself.
 
The Atlas Shrugged metaphor made me think of a Watchmen quote:
 Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!" ...and I'll look down and whisper "No."
 
Which in turn reminded me of a Torchwood quote.
 
 There is one thing I always meant to ask Jack. Back in the old days. I wanted to know about that Doctor of his. The man who appear out of nowhere and saves the world, except sometimes he doesn't. All these times in history when there was no sign of him. I wanted to know why not. But I don't need to ask anymore. I know the answer now. Sometimes the Doctor must look on this planet, and turn away in shame.
 
See, as a species, Humans are Bastards. Sometimes we don't deserve a hero. Sometimes a great flood comes down to wash the planet clean.
 
And that, to me, is the theme of Gurren Lagann. We are bastards, but we are human. We would torch the sky if it meant we would live, but we would die for a child. We would fight to the end and but we would not fall. We are mankind, the greatest monster and the kindest being, all wrapped up in one, fleshy killing machine.
 
I just want to remind you of this scene in the first episode. This'll show you what I mean.
 
  
"So... All the lights in the heavens are our enemies now..."
"Yeah, but they're worthy opponents. I'll use the fabric of space time to wring them out of Existence!!"
 
  GURREN LAGANN! SPIN ON! Who the Hell do you think I am?

To the Anti-Spirals. Run. Run far away as fast as you can, because the monsters are coming. The human race, and we are angry.
Post by SamJaz (11,109 posts) See mini bio Level 19
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@Gasero: Evangelion is well worth watching, but it is messed.
 
The deal with Rossiu is that his overriding instinct is to ensure 'The Good Of The Colony'. He's not a fighter, he's a bureaucrat. He's the person you have behind a desk making sure that things get done. He's not a leader for a crisis situation, but for the past seven years, Simon, a digger, has been doing a job that Rossiu would have been much better at, so Rossiu's 'learnt' that he's a better leader than Simon is, at least when it comes to making sure the city runs, not at times of war. 
 
Heroes have a time and place. Peace is not one of those times. Simon had no place being leader, but the human race needed Simon as a leader: a symbol to get behind. Rossiu's got the skills to run a city, Simon is a symbol that keeps everyone together. Once that symbol of hope becomes a symbol of hate, Rossiu needed to use it to protect the city. He was thinking like an accountant, not a hot-blooded leader, because that's what he is. He's an accountant that counts people. And the city needs him. He's just in the wrong place at the wrong time, trying to do what he can.
Post by TriforceF (105 posts) See mini bio Level 15
I don't hate Rossiu. Thats not to say I agree with his ideals but he is trying to make the best of the situation he is just slightly blinded by his knowledge as it were. He thinks too much. Now if Kamina was around I reckon he would snap some sense into him (or knock some sense out of him?) and then everything would've been fine = P
Post by sotyfan16 (1,340 posts) See mini bio Level 20

I understand what Rossiu is doing but it doesn't change the fact I don't like him. He keeps falling back on what he learned in his village and making up some flimsy excuses for his actions. Rossiu is the only character voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch so far that I don't like. I can see some similarities between Angels and Anti-Spirals but the Anti-Sprials are much more extreme. Another feeling I have is that Gurren Lagann makes sense compared to Eva.

Post by mediaright (75 posts) See mini bio Level 5
Not that I don't enjoy this discussion, but I'm reminded of Mark Twain's first words at the start of Huck Finn. After a certain point, these characters just are. There's a limit to how much of this was planned, and how much of it just fell neatly into place (oh, so beautifully too). 
 
Remember, essays have been written on the religious symbols in End of Eva, and when Gainax was asked about them, they just said they were all put in because they looked cool. So settle down a bit folks. 
 
But it is true that these characters all fit these beautiful stereotypes and symbols of pure principles and ideas. And to be honest, Rossiu also demonstrates the other thing this show always promises: real characters who do things for perfectly understandable reasons. Rossiu may seem like an unjust tyrant, but remember how he grew up. Remember the circumstances of how he was told to endlessly follow. He's making up for that now, and he's ruling like the only ruler he ever really knew. Given the circumstances, it's perfectly understandable. Not pretty, but I can believe it. 
  
For me, the whole aspect of strapping Simon and your girlfriend in the mech with a bomb is just horrible. It was kinda hard for me to watch this one...but it just drives home how well-done this show is. And Kittan and Rossiu at the end are just brilliant.
Post by vergilius (147 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Tom, I've gone through most of the "Watch & Learn" archives and found it compelling enough that I decided to jump in.  And a fortuitous time, too, because the dialogue here is one I think I can contribute to.
 
I think it would be very fruitful to give TTGL a "libertarian" reading if not necessarily an Objectivist one.  You won't find anything here about the inherent superiority of Rachmaninov over Mozart, for instance.  You will find an argument for individualism and voluntary cooperation over collectivism and cooperation imposed by force, and for belief in the limitlessness of human potential against the maledictions of Malthusians, Luddites,  and other doomsayers.
 
There's been a lot made of the spiral/drill as a symbol here, and this will become more explicit later on, as has been said by others.  In addition to the vague notion of "the human spirit," and the less vague notion of "manliness," keep in mind that we've also seen the drill used as a phallic fertility symbol, beginning way back in episode 1 where the girls joke that they should watch out because Simon might drill them, or some such thing, continuing with Leeron's remarks about how using the drill as an ignition key is "a lot like screwing," and how the Dai-Gurren appears to be walking around with a giant boner.  The Beastmen, if you remember, are sterile, and Lordgenome's mission was to suppress the population of the Earth--that is, to suppress "breeding."  The spiral/anti-spiral struggle can be read as a conflict between life and death, fertility and sterility, growth and stagnation. 
 
Playing off of that, there's some really interesting stuff you can get out of TTGL about gender roles.  To a certain degree, reconstructing the mecha genre must involve a reconstruction of masculinity in a post-feminism landscape.  We see here a celebration of masculinity, even at its most ridiculous (see "preposterone" comments earlier), as well as an opening of the gates; in TTGL, anyone can participate in "manliness," whether male or female, gay or straight.  Consider the early interactions between Kamina and Yoko about "what a man would do" and similar things.  TTGL encourages us to pick out the parts of old-school masculinity that are essentially human characteristics, and make them a part of our picture of ourselves as a species.  Masculinity is seldom shown as the opposite or enemy of femininity--about the only thing I can remember is Adiane's mech having it's mouth placed in such a way as to suggest a vagina dentata, and it occurs to me that that's mostly a Western thing.  
 
As for portrayal's of women, you've already remarked that Nia sheds the helpless princess stereotype nicely.  Yoko's time as a schoolteacher is also interesting here--while it is a traditionally "female" occupation,  when Yoko does it, it seems to be an act of defiance: she's unwilling to become a ruler of others and would rather nurture them.  This differentiates her from Rossiu, who accepts bureaucracy and political leadership as inevitable and sees himself as doing the necessary, responsible thing, and from Simon who would rather go back to digging (or fighting, should circumstances dictate) but participates in running the new government anyway. 
 
Also, while there is fanservice here, none of the female characters have the sense of embarrassment or shame about their sexuality that seems to plague the more "proper" women in other shows with this kind of pandering.  The only time it comes up that I remember is when we travel to the backward village where they picked up Gimmy, Darry, and Rossiu--the townspeople make Yoko put on a robe that leaves her a formless blob.
 
I'm interested to hear what you have to say about the last third of the series.  It's a hell of a ride!
Post by zaldar (1,221 posts) See mini bio Level 15

I may be reaching here.....but....I wonder if it is possible that Rossiu is supposed to be an embodiment of the philosophy of rosseau...I mean the spelling is very close and I could see an alternate prononciation of the name being even closer to the way rosseau is said.  As well from the (extremly) little I was able to make out from rosseau's philosophy it seems to fit... 
 
(Oh and love the quotes from earlier Jass...I wish I could think of a good B5 one to go along with the ones you used..I am sure there is one...man children of men was such a great series...some of the best sci-fi I had seen in a long time).
Post by megaghipower (10 posts) See mini bio Level 8
Is there gonna be another episode cause i see that manga is taking a long time for do another episode or this anime and i havent heard about another episode of laggan
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