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Gurren Lagann: The Movies: The Review

I got to see the first AND second Gurren Lagann movies last night. I know you're jealous.

There is video pending for this from John, but as for me, my mind is too blown to actually speak out loud about the Gurren Lagann films. Seriously. So let me go into this in text, if you don't mind! I'll do my best to do it sans spoilers for those of you watching along on the Daily Drill.

Gurren Lagann the Movie: Childhood's End

 So I actually first watched Gurren Lagann: Childhood's End, the first of the two Gurren Lagann remake films, at Anime Expo this year in a room full of major Gurren Lagann fans. My experience at the New People Center's showing was a bit smaller-scale, but otherwise similar: lots of hoots, hollers, jokes, and everyone yells along with the GIGA DRILL BREAK. It's almost like anime's own Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The first movie retells the story up until just before the final battle with Lord Genome, the Spiral King. Most of what happens will be pretty familiar to you, but the ending chunk is almost entirely new footage (while still tying into essentially the same story). Basically, the first Gurren Lagann movie is an excuse to yell at the screen with your friends or random strangers-- with a few surprises to make the already over-the-top show even BIGGER. Buy it and show it at a geek party. I can almost guarantee you'll get laid. (It just might be by your best pal who's a mech freak instead of the hot Kamina fangirl.)


Gurren Lagann the Movie 2: The Lights in the Sky are Stars

The second movie addresses everything that happens post-timeskip. Unlike the first movie, however, movie #2 is much heavier on new content-- almost half of it is, according to reports (and my memory). Where the first movie was a party, there was silence for most of the second, even though the story itself wasn't hugely different. Why the silence? It's all pure awe, my friends. Pure. Awe. Gurren-Lagann the TV series was all about going over the top, and walking into the first movie, you wonder how they can top it-- and they do. Then the second movie starts and you wonder how they can top the first-- and they do. Hands down, 100%, no matter what else you think about the movies.
 
Gainax did a really fantastic job piecing together the story in a much shorter package. In some cases they actually manage to make light of the fact that they can't go into the in-depth explanations or introductions to various aspects of the plot, such as the...unique navigational tool they wind up using to navigate their way to enemy headquarters. It's really good, very enjoyable stuff that adds to but doesn't muck up the whole Gurren Lagann canon, either.

The Sum-Up

 Imagine going through all this in 4.5 hours.
 Imagine going through all this in 4.5 hours.
If you have already seen and liked Gurren Lagann, you should see these movies. If you have not seen, and do not think you are likely to ever see, the TV series, you may as well go ahead and watch the movies so that you'll get all the jokes and memes that have sprung with this show.

The only people who should NOT see these movies (yet) are those who want to watch the TV show but haven't yet. The movies are so much about taking the TV series and doing it bigger that I think watching them in the reverse order would make the TV series seem less crazy.

The most awe-inspiring thing about Gurren Lagann isn't how creative Gainax is at creating epic battles-- although that is pretty amazing --but how much the series has resonated with people, possibly even as much as Evangelion did 13 years prior to TTGL's release. The contrast between the two couldn't have been more different, though: a major theme of Evangelion is our personal demons and failures preventing us from moving forward with our lives.

By contrast, in a time of such cynicism and pessimism, Gurren Lagann is the ultimate statement that determination and belief in oneself is most, if not all, of what we need to break through the walls we perceive to be in front of us. It's a message I'm thrilled to see connect with so many people.
DJTyranton Nov. 18, 2009 at 3:39 p.m.
can't wait to see the second movie, I think our feelings were pretty much inline on the first movie so I think I'll like the second one as much as you did :)
GodLen staff on Nov. 18, 2009 at 4:13 p.m.
Jealous to the MAX
giaon Nov. 18, 2009 at 4:40 p.m.
@DJTyrant: Oh yes, I suspect you will. It's movies like this that the word "epic" was INVENTED for.
 
@GodLen: I know. I wish you could have been there with us. :(
Zeouterlimitson Nov. 18, 2009 at 5:48 p.m.
@gia: Did anyone from the rest of Whiskey Media go?
Papasanon Nov. 18, 2009 at 7:48 p.m.

The way you describe it, this movie sounds like a can't-miss. I wish I could syncronize with your appearances in SF... As I've said, yours is a hand I would like to shake.
Chibi_Kajion Nov. 18, 2009 at 9:16 p.m.
I want to see this now....
giaon Nov. 18, 2009 at 10:01 p.m.
@Zeouterlimits: Alas, no. Most of them live further up north, so trips into the city are more of a hassle for them. @_@
 
@Papasan: Aw, many thanks. :)
ethan staff on Nov. 19, 2009 at 12:46 a.m.
I like how you end with....

 By contrast, in a time of such cynicism and pessimism, Gurren Lagann is the ultimate statement that determination and belief in oneself is most, if not all, of what we need to break through the walls we perceive to be in front of us. It's a message I'm thrilled to see connect with so many people.    

I'll take your advice and finish the series here on animevice before I watch the movie.
lordhaseoon Nov. 19, 2009 at 6:49 a.m.

i want to see it soooo bad!!!!

Dig Deeper into Gurren Lagann The Movie 2: The Lights In The Sky Are Stars

The second movie retelling of the Gurren Lagann story.

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