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Watch & Learn: Gurren Lagann #14

How toyetic is this show?

  When all is said and done, Kamina just might be the most inspirational doofus in history.
 When all is said and done, Kamina just might be the most inspirational doofus in history.

At last, we get a little explanation about GURREN LAGANN’s world. I was wondering if this was intended to be a post-Apocalyptic Earth or just a fantasy frontier. Now, there’s not much doubt that it’s the former. I suppose the Spiral King’s quick succession of taking control, putting everybody underground, breeding Beast Men and then, well, rampant insemination must’ve occurred sometime after he defeated the Mishima family in the final King of Iron First tournament (as I’m convinced he’s a TEKKEN fighter who’s gotten far ahead in the world.) With that new bit of information, this is even more clearly a MATRIX-style riff on Plato’s ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE. The hordes of aroused-mecha pilots joining Team Dai Gurren in this episode even get inspired to act after watching flickering projections from down in those caves.

On another note, this has to be either the most “toyetic” or least “toyetic” show ever conceived. Forgive me for focusing on a merchandising angle, but any American child of the 90s is forever going to associate mecha with criminally over-priced POWER RANGERS toy sets. Good LORD those pieces of crap cost too much, and EVERYBODY wanted them for Christmas. So, I’m watching this show, and four or five (or twenty, in this case) mechas are introduced every episode. That’d seem great for a toy line… but then they’re all so weirdly shaped. And they keep changing into weirder shapes depending on the pilot’s self-esteem. I figure even Japanese parents wouldn’t be too keen on getting giant robots with giant boners for their kids… and now, there’s a whole fleet of them.

What else? I don’t know who exactly to credit here (who created this? Let me know) but Gainax is just endlessly inventive when it comes to these battles. We’ve had fights in the water, in the air and, now, in the ground. I’ve honestly never seen a bad guy get the hurt put on him like Guame did this time. Impaled, by a drill, from beneath.  That's an awful way to cash out. There might as well have been a FATALITY banner flashing in the last frame, instead of the monstrous cliffhanger. And speaking of cliffhangers, where's the pay off for the last one? I was expecting this episode to start with Simon suffering from some unimaginably-awful explosive diarrhea. But now, Nia's dangerous cooking has been forgotten?

Anyway, watch this episode "How Are You, Everyone?" 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.

Catolfon Aug. 20, 2010 at 7:41 p.m.
I really liked this episode and you gotta trust me, the finisher's just get better and better in this anime.
mediarighton Aug. 20, 2010 at 8:07 p.m.
Simon's just good for Nia's cooking. The bonds that tie, huh... 
 
A bit of behind-the-scenes history since you asked. I'll probably get some stuff wrong. The over-population of mechs in this show is, indeed, completely by design. The genesis for Gurren Lagann started when Gainax execs were considering another, more nuanced, production, and said to themselves "It's a new century. If we can't make a solid mech anime in this new century of technology and audience, we're absolutely worthless." So, lots of stuff was considered, including some of the goofy mech designs you see in this show. In one meeting though, a Bandai exec. happened to be in the room, and said "You know guys, if you used these, they'd make freakin' awesome toys. They're really marketable." And...Gainax knows $$$ when they see it. Fortunately, great composition, writing, design, directing, and acting followed. 
 
It's not all that suprising really. Seiji Mizushima who directed episodes of Eva, the original Fullmetal Alchemist, and Gundam 00 has talked about how toy/franchise execs were in on all the production/story meetings for these types of shows. Kinda just factored in.
Gaseroon Aug. 20, 2010 at 8:58 p.m.
I am not against Gurren merchandise. Those mecha are cool. You'd hardly have an easy time designing them to be transformable. The Lagann itself would already have plenty.
 
And yes, the battles only get wilder from here.
sotyfan16on Aug. 20, 2010 at 10:36 p.m.

Most used statement in this show and anime history: "Just who the hell do you think I/we am/are?!" 

That alone would have been martketable. Power Rangers and Transformers toy were the shit and I'd play with them for hours back in the day. 

The battles become of even larger scale now (if you can imagine). 
 

I bet Tom with be surpised when the jump happens.
Randommanon Aug. 21, 2010 at 9:35 a.m.

That's kinda funny, considering the only Gurren Lagann action figures I've seen are the, well, gurren lagann ones. Well, I think there was also one for Viral's mech, but still. I want a revoltech Kamina... 
Gaffon Aug. 24, 2010 at 8:25 a.m.
A quick look on Hobby Link Japan coughs up 264 items. Of course, that's "everything" from action figures, mecha to... *ahem* specialty cushions. Granted, it doesn't quite hold a candle to Gainax's previous cash cow Evangelion or heck Gundam, but still respectable, I guess? 
 
Now excuse me, I need to look for some new pillows.

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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