I put out the request (the challenge!) to you Anime Vice lunatics… I asked you to pick the show you wanted me to watch (and presumably learn from) next here and GURREN LAGANN was one of the winners. This’ll be the third Gainax show I’ve seen for this column and I’m sure that isn’t a coincidence - - they sure seem to crank out hits, don't they?
I’m not sure what to make of this just yet. The animation quality honestly seemed a little dodgy at the beginning. I was a lot more aware of the motion cycles being used and everything (characters, backgrounds, objects) seemed a lot less rendered. However, once this trio’s gets up to the surface, things get noticeably more slick, so I’m wondering if this was all a matter of artistic choice. Or maybe the budget was just being saved for the finish. Take your pick.
GURREN LAGANN strikes me as what would happen if Don Bluth ever tackled mecha. I really don’t know where that’s coming from - - it’s not like this show has significant similarities to SPACE ACE or DRAGON’S LAIR or even TITAN A.E. - - but that was my gut reaction. It’s got that same kind of rock ‘n roll soda pop vibe with Simon, Kamina and Yoko fitting the respective archetypes of the callow youth, the arrogant wiseguy and the “bombshell next door.” Maybe I’ll be able to articulate this better as the show goes on.
Some of you have described this show as being the mecha reconstructionist answer to EVANGELION’s desconstructionism. Even though I’m probably missing a lot of the references, I get the sense that this whole thing’s peppered with winks and nudges to other standards of this tradition. The bad guys are mechas called Gundam… er, Gunman? And that space opera opening on the starship seemed like some intentional misdirection for Captain Harlock fans.
And, ah… so THAT'S the infamous “Gainax bounce.” Thank you, Ms. Littner.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the other new anime I’m reviewing for this column. I’ve decided to keep everybody on their toes and review two shows at once.