Watch & Learn: GURREN LAGANN #26

Topic started by No_name_here on Sept. 26, 2010. Last post by zaldar 3 years, 11 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (855 posts) See mini bio Level 11
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  This man is an unparalleled visionary.
 This man is an unparalleled visionary.

Simon calling the anti-spiral leader a dumbass might be the definitive quote of GURREN LAGANN; even more definitive than “Don’t you know who the hell I am?!?!?”   Smack-talking an abstract, celestial entity is pretty much the peak of this show’s unique overall philosophy. Basically, these knuckleheads surmount every single obstacle thrown at them by basically disregarding their significance. That’s actually a pretty good message (though, the way it’s phrased, it’s almost like getting pearls of wisdom from a popsicle-stick inscription) but skipping the “struggle phase” definitely leads to... an unusual viewing experience.

It’s clear now that Gainax and I both share a distaste for “WIZARD OF OZ” endings. You know, where the main characters wake up, realize it was all dream and notice that all their friends were characters in the story? EVANGELION more-or-less parodied the conceit in its last episode, and this episode escalates and expands the notion for another existential trap similar to human instrumentality (and awwwwww… all along Viral just wanted a family.) Once again, it’s actually a pretty strong metaphor about barreling forward in your life without a single thought given to what might’ve been or what could’ve been, but it’s just so… bizarre to see it presented in the same hyper-kinetic fashion as the rest of the show.

Kamina’s re-appearance to thwart the faux Kamina was a powerful scene. I suppose the former is the “Kamina who believes in Simon” that we’ve been hearing about it, making him sort of an “inception” that’s been planted in Simon’s consciousness. But I just can’t get over how this jock basically became this universe’s Budha or something; somebody whom the heroes can only perceive after they’ve reached a certain level of enlightment. Actually, this whole series feels like the MAHABHARATA re-written by sugar-fueled gamers.

We’re down to the last one, here. I’m sure I won’t be able to predict what’s coming, but I can gauarantee that Gurren Lagann’s going to put the hurt on the cool-looking static test pattern anti-spiral man. I can only hope he’ll suplex him. 

Watch this episode, "Let's Go, Comrades!" below, 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 vergilius (147 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Hmmm...I hadn't drawn the parallel between the dream worlds created for the Dai Gurren Dan and Eva's Instrumentality.  I guess they're both presented as paradises for the mind, but the sense I get is that Eva presents the real world as similar to the TTGL dream worlds--each of us in solitary confinement in a realm of pure perception.  Funny how one anime's heaven is another's hell.
 
I think they really make explicit in this episode in the next the parallel dichotomies between change and stasis, fertility and sterility,  life and death.  Most of the cast has dreams involving safety or a return to simpler times--the dreams of the spiral beings are to escape the burdens associated with their spiral-ness.  Viral's dream is sort of the counterpoint to all that--he wants to be more spiral-like.  I've often wondered if he views his immortality as a curse or a blessing, and this episode provides some clue.  His reality is an unchanging eternity, his dream ties into the whole love/evolution/progress thing.
 
Also, many people find it curious that Yoko's dream pairs her with Kittan and not Kamina.  I don't think this is odd, when we consider the role Kamina plays here--Yoko fell in love with the Kamina who is waking up the brigade, not a version of the Kamina in Simon's dream.
 
One of the things I enjoyed about this series was how they turned the "I'll defeat you because I have no other choice, even though I know I can't" vibe from a lot of shonen into, well, "Who the hell do you think I am?"  The heroes simply recognize no limits on what is or is not accomplishable--all obstacles are temporary.  In class the other day, we talked about a fallacy called "reification," which means roughly, imputing existence to an abstraction.  A classic example of the fallacy would be, "The organization made me do it."  Well, no, either some specific people made you do it, or else you were actually free to do whatever you wanted and refused to see your other option.  I think what makes Simon and his crew admirable is that they seldom fail to see the other option.  "If there is no path, we'll make one with these hands," they tell us.
 
Sometimes I wonder if they see themselves too much as man-gods, but I think the death of Kamina prevented those sorts of thoughts from ever taking hold.  The way they carry themselves sort of reminds me of the bit in 300 where the queen tells Leonidas, don't ask what a king should do, ask what a free man should do.  I get the sense that the Dai-Gurren Dan's thinking typically falls into that pattern.
Post by SamJaz (12,503 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Make Damn Sure That You Watch The Movies. By Which I Mean Lagann-Hen, Because Gurren-Hen's Fairly Naff, But Lagann-Hen Will Blow Your Head Off.
Post by JD (46 posts) See mini bio Level 4
I'm really not finding the value in this series some of you do.  Overcoming a seemingly impossible obstacle through sheer force of will is all warm and fuzzy-making, but it's also an anime cliché.  The parts where somehow sheer force of will is what's needed to operate machinery is also an 
anime cliché.  What kind of nutty race would make machines that don't work at all when the operator is depressed and forlorn?  It makes me wonder what kind of sphincter pressure the heros are exerting when  they do operate these things. 
Post by CapeBarnes (494 posts) See mini bio Level 18
@JD:  Clichéd or not, this show is still an homage to lots of other anime. Just reminding you. 
 
In regards to Yoko's dream, to think if she had stayed in Kamina City... 
Post by tb13 (4 posts) See mini bio Level 3
@JD: Bro, this is a parody of robo animes.  A loving parody, but still a parody.   
 
Also it's kinda a gigantic Jesus metaphor, but hit up TV tropes if you really need to know bout that lol.  
Post by mediaright (75 posts) See mini bio Level 5
The second half of this episode is perhaps my favorite stretch of any anime I've ever seen. There's so much power and emotion behind every one of these realities of perception, especially Viral's, and especially the return of Kamina in Simon's. It's warm, it's fuzzy, it's emotional, and I love it. It's a payoff beyond all payoffs. 
 
A note about humanoid Boota. First, it's really a shame they never ran with him in that form (he's been scrubbed from the movies). Gainax said they didn't have time and decided to go in a different direction, but, go back to the first episode now, and watch the opening sequence. Notice anything?
Post by No_name_here (855 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff
@vergilius: I just think it's amusing the show invites some much thematic discussion and the characters wax philosophical so often... when they're all such over-the-top "dude bro" jocks.
Post by No_name_here (855 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff
@mediaright: Ah c'mon... don't make me work. Did human boota show up in the beginning?
Post by No_name_here (855 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff
@JD: Ha ha... I, too, have wondered about the "sphincter pressure." 
 
I don't know... I don't look at the thing through a logical lens. It's all dream logic.
Post by vergilius (147 posts) See mini bio Level 13
I seem to remember hearing somewhere that by the time they actually got to writing and animating the parts of the story in outer space, they had mostly forgotten the opening foreshadowing scene.  I think there are some subtle character design differences as well, and at no point does anyone say the line "Is the whole universe our enemy." 
 
Which is to say, you don't really need to go back and watch it, Tom.  But yeah, human Boota was there, or at least his silhouette.
 
@Mediaright: Honestly, I'm not sure what more there was to do with Boota.  He was mostly a mascot character/MacGuffin that they incorporated into the plot at a few points but was mostly there to look cute and fondle Yoko.
 
@Tom_Pinchuk: I agree, it's funny.  What really gets me is how a show like this, that actually HAS some depth, wraps itself in this cloak of unthinking preposterone, while there are all these incredibly shallow shows out there that present themselves as being "artsy" and "philosophical."  I think the lack of pretension actually facilitates the exploration of the subtexts and such--it isn't dancing around and saying "look at me" all the time so we can actually step back and get a good look at it.
 
Here's to shows not being obscure and vague for the sake of obscurity and vagueness.
 
Enjoy the last episode.
Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20

Just an epic battle here. That is really all I have for fear of being redundant and repeating myself. Oh, and of course to be part of Team Dai Gurren you have to kick logic out! Do the impossible. See the invisible.

Post by zaldar (1,253 posts) See mini bio Level 15
I am really really enjoying this more than I thought I would...I mean there IS depth here...who knew!  For one I do wish they had telegraphed that a little more aka I stopped watching it the first time because it didn't telegraph that is was deep the way eva did.....looked just like a mecha clone number 502 show to me.  Oh and for a less icky question ;).  What brought you to anime., and how do you think that colors your perception of it?  I was brought into it, for example, from sci-fi books and novels.  I expect this is why I don't notice some of the drawing stuff that people talk about all the time, and why manga doesn't do much for me.  Visual art has never interested me much...may also be why I don't like moe to much....
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