Anime Vice News

Watch & Learn: Gurren Lagann Episode #1

You picked it and I'm watching it!

 This title sounds Malay to me.
 This title sounds Malay to me.

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.

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. HYBRID BASTARDS! is available  here and UNIMAGINABLE is available here for pre-order on Amazon.com.  

chellysaidwhaton July 7, 2010 at 8:17 p.m.
i hope you stick with this show. its gets really damn out there as it goes on, but it's enjoyable enough. i like these watch&learn things :]
Count_Zeroon July 7, 2010 at 8:24 p.m.
Just to let you know, the first appearance of the Gainax Bounce is, apparently, in the animated segments of the Gainax OVA Otaku No Video which, by the way, might be worth a short "Watch And Learn" after Gurren Lagann (the DVD is available on Netflix).
hitsusatsu11on July 7, 2010 at 8:47 p.m.
I like Gainax but im not a big fan of this show.
OnlyWonderBoyon July 7, 2010 at 8:48 p.m.
Two at once, I approve. It'll be nice to change up the pace. I'm interested to see if the second show is one I haven't see so I'll be able to watch it along with you, that'd be a nice change.
Gaseroon July 7, 2010 at 8:50 p.m.
There are so many lovable quotes from this show. I hope I can remember them as you go through the episodes.
 
My favorite part about starting up the series was hearing Kamina pronouce Simon's name as "see-moan" instead of "Sy-min". I still do that to this day.
 
And by the way, there isn't really much to "learn" from Gurren Lagann as there is to just enjoy and be entertained.
daotherkenjion July 7, 2010 at 9 p.m.
There are a few lessons I will let you in on. First you must be manly. Second YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY MANLY. This the most manly show since Fist of the Northstar. Its an epic enjoy.
sotyfan16on July 7, 2010 at 9:03 p.m.

I just recently finished this series and I really liked it. It's funny how Gunmen have faces and they move along with the operator's words. I think Kyle Herbert lended his voice well for Kamina. Also good to hear Yuri Lowenthal as a youth (Simon) striving to be better. Lastly, it was good to hear the voice of Rukia, Michelle Ruff, as another pretty and curvy character (Yoko). I also noticed just from a couple of these voice actors that a number of them have worked together multiple times (ex. Code Geass).

The view of the sky when they broke through the surface was amazing. 
 
For any of you who have seen the enitre series I have my thoughts broken down here. Tom, I know it's tempting to click links but I suggest not reading my blog until you have seen all of Gurren Lagann..or Angel Beats! for that matter.

MercuryCrusaderon July 7, 2010 at 10:11 p.m.

If you aren't familiar with the history of the Super Robot genre or just mecha in general, you're going to miss out on a lot of references.  Then again, almost everybody that has seen it knew nothing about the genre, then loved this show, but as a result will probably never try out older shows.  For the story of Gurren Lagann is the story of the Super Robot genre itself. 
 
Also, GL fans are jerks, they refuse to try out older shows. Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Reideen (not the remake), Zambot 3, Daitarn 3, Combattler V, the list goes on.  Can't recommend any of those shows. "They're too old" or something to that effect.  Hah, weak. They'll never enjoy Gurren Lagann to its fullest potential.

sotyfan16on July 7, 2010 at 10:34 p.m.
@MercuryCrusader:
I think you're wrong. Enjoying Gurren Lagann to its fullest requires understanding the story and the characters. The meanings behind both are inspiring.
AgentJon July 8, 2010 at 12:27 a.m.
ACK! I'll have to actually watch this one along with yall. First one you've done that I haven't already seen. 
FoxxFireArt moderator on July 8, 2010 at 1:56 a.m.
This is a really good and entertaining series. In some way it shares something similar with Death Note.
I've never watched this series in the dub form. Does HULU have this series in their catalog in dub and sub forms?? 

In honor of this article for this series. I made a profile for the Gainax Bounce. I'm honestly surprised no one had made a profile for this yet. It happens in quite a few animes. It was a pain finding a picture that best exemplified breasts bouncing wildly in still form.
 
Yoko is very sexy. I can sympathize with Simon. I'd have a hard time concentrating as well with those puppies knocking me in the head.
sotyfan16on July 8, 2010 at 3:21 a.m.
@FoxxFireArt:
Hulu has the dub. If you have a Netflix account you can stream it to your tv (for a bigger picture and maybe surround sound). Netflix did have a couple eps out of order but I informed them and it should be fixed by now (the entire series is on Vol. 1).
FoxxFireArt moderator on July 8, 2010 at 4:34 a.m.
@sotyfan16: 
You know, it's so odd, but I never see your replies to my comments in my inbox on here. It's been like that for weeks.
 
I'd rather watch the subtitles again, but I might be interested in giving the dubs a try. I know SciFi Channel was showing them. It was just a bad tome for me when they aired.
 
I don't have Netflix yet. I'm looking for a rental service that would provide both movies and games. So, that way I wouldn't need to pay for multiple memberships
MercuryCrusaderon July 8, 2010 at 8:27 a.m.
@sotyfan16 said:

"I think you're wrong. Enjoying Gurren Lagann to its fullest requires understanding the story and the characters. "


Isn't that like saying "enjoying food requires you actually eating it"?  That's a very general statement put towards a lot of works of fiction. 
 
@FoxxFireArt said:

"This is a really good and entertaining series. In some way it shares something similar with Death Note.

    
Wait, what? Death Note? Well, yeah, if your basis of them sharing something similar involves them being made rather recently, then I guess you're right. 
 
 
Look, I know whenever I post in these forums, it's either to call out somebody's bullshit and/or make references to older works, but considering that the average anime fan only posts about whatever the flavor-of-the-month show/manga is, how their favorite works are whatever they saw on Toonami/Adult Swim when they were 12/are 12, and how a show or whatever is significant because of "X" where X is something a previous work did (and probably did better) without any kind of background knowledge on the subject, I feel I have to buck the trend and offer a counterpoint or a history lesson.  I know anime fans hate history, since they're pretty much several steps away from gamers, and gamers hate history probably just as much, and it is easy to just handwave older shows as being "irrelevant" because you didn't grow up with them or their animation is dated, but if you want the medium of "anime" to be taken at least one little bit seriously, then understanding the history of the medium is a small step in the right direction. I'm sure hardcore movie buffs with a love of the medium aren't just handwaving everything made before their time, so why should anime fans be any different? 
 
I can answer that last question and it'll probably get me banned.
zaldaron July 8, 2010 at 8:41 a.m.
Heh best places to see this online as I haven't watched this one yet either.  Heard a lot about it and loved eva.  Generally don't like mecha stuff on its own though (I can't stand Gundum) so you never know.
 
Ok found it and it was interesting and rather funny.  The bit when the gurren became a ball and it was almost hit by a bat (which I suppose is a fooly cooly reference?) was interesting, and I will be interested in seeing how they tie the space stuff in the beginning with it.
 
The double entendres were also interesting....it kinda just popped out....really now it did, did it ;).
Kelleth moderator on July 8, 2010 at 10:03 a.m.
@MercuryCrusader:  Well your wrong i for one <3 history :P
ZachTheAnimeGeekon July 8, 2010 at 11:01 a.m.

I saw this on the Wii Netflix thing but i didn't watch. I'm not a really a big mech fan but i guess ill give it a try :)
Burntlettuceon July 8, 2010 at 12:40 p.m.
@sotyfan16 said:
" @MercuryCrusader: I think you're wrong. Enjoying Gurren Lagann to its fullest requires understanding the story and the characters. The meanings behind both are inspiring. "
Do you just say this? It's one of the most straight forward cliche show's to ever be presented, so it's fairly easy to understand.
FoxxFireArt moderator on July 8, 2010 at 2:16 p.m.
@MercuryCrusader said:
" @FoxxFireArt said:

"This is a really good and entertaining series. In some way it shares something similar with Death Note.

    Wait, what? Death Note? Well, yeah, if your basis of them sharing something similar involves them being made rather recently, then I guess you're right.  "
I'm speaking of a certain "event" that happens mid way through the series that no one really saw coming or thought was possible. "Something" I don't want to spoil.
NegaZurgon July 8, 2010 at 3:26 p.m.

The second half of this show is extremely janky.

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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