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Watch & Learn: Gurren Lagann #13

This show might have a thick skull, but it's got heart.

For a monster named after disease, Viral is AWFULLY honorable.
For a monster named after disease, Viral is AWFULLY honorable.

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.

  

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

yuetheguardianon Aug. 18, 2010 at 1:01 a.m.
a fun episode and I agree completely about nia being a more realistic princess character. I love the Rossieu subplot its just great.
sotyfan16on Aug. 18, 2010 at 3:59 a.m.

You haven't seen half the badassery GL offers so get ready for a Dai Gurren-sized hard on during the next eps. One of the crew that I like is the guy with the big lips that always wants to shoot the cannons. It's funny how short-minded he is.

cowdrunkon Aug. 18, 2010 at 5:02 a.m.

this is a good episode partiularly the part in the hanger after Yoko gets hurt and Simon is fighting alone and winning, but... 
the next couple of episodes blow this one out of the water
mediarighton Aug. 18, 2010 at 5:37 a.m.
Good points I never really considered before. 
 
If Viral has an infection, it must be on his hands...those things do not match.
Gaseroon Aug. 18, 2010 at 6:31 a.m.
It was pretty good plot for Nia to try to be more involved with everything that was going on. I can't remember anything too specific, but the cooking is one thing that stands out.

Dig Deeper into Gurren Lagann

In a world driven underground by the Spiral King, young Simon discovers the giant mech Gurren Lagann alongside his older friend Kamina. Together, alongside a group of rag-tag mech pilots, Simon and Kamina fight to defend their planet and their universe.

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