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Ore wo Dare da to Omotte Yagaru?!

April 24, 2009

The mecha genre of anime is one that continues to thrive, with quality shows like Gundam 00 and Code Geass popping up all the time.  But few in recent years have taken the world by storm the same way that Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has.  I would go so far as to say that it’s the inheritor of the mantle enjoyed by such classic mecha shows as Mobile Suit Gundam, Robotech, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.  Admittedly, it’s a lot sillier than any of those shows, but it’s just as good.  The premise of the show is that, in the future, the people of Earth live underground.  The ground is highly unstable, and people called diggers are always drilling deeper to try and keep humanity alive.  On the surface, creatures called beastmen pilot giant robots called Gunmen to keep the human population in check.

Enter Simon.  Simon is one such digger, and he has absolutely no self-esteem whatsoever.  But he’s quite good at his job.  And he has his “soul-brother,” Kamina, to back him up.  Kamina, in total contrast to Simon, is outwardly brimming with self-esteem and vigor, to the point that he seems over the top.  When a Gunmen and a beautiful, buxom woman named Yoko burst into their village, Kaminas ees this as an opportunity to visit the surface world, and he takes Simon with him.  By using the minature Gunmen that Simon discovered, which Kamina names Lagann, the trio begin their adventures.  They quickly find another Gunmen that Kamina steals and names Gurren.  During a fight with the beastman who would become their archnemesis, Viral, Simon and Kamina fuse their two Gunmen together, creating the powerful Gurren-Lagann.  Over time, they meet other characters, like the flamboyant Leeron, the leader of the Black Siblings, Kittan, the withdrawn yet intelligent Rossiu, and the kind, innocent Nia.

Ultimately, the show, through the symbolism of Spiral Energy, shows the limitless power of human beings.  Their power is so limitless that, should they so desire it, they could even stop the very problems that they themselves cause, which in this case, is the Spiral Nemesis that the Anti-Spirals so fear.  As the series progresses, the mecha get increasingly larger and more ridiculous.  In fact, the plot is pretty ridiculous at times.  The Gunmen are basically walking faces, and Spiral Energy is so powerful that it can create galaxies.  That’s pretty silly sounding, if you ask me.  And yet, the main thing that this series has is that extra factor that makes it superb.  The plot may be silly, the music often forgettable (minus the opening and ending theme songs), and the animation at times almost satirical.  But you can’t help but love this series.  You can’t help but love the characters and love all the craziness for what it is.  The best single part of the series is the voice acting, which is absolutely top notch.  I may not always say that Japanese seiyuu are better than American voice actors, but this is one instance where there’s just no comparison.  If you love anime, you’ve got to see this show.  I doubted at first, but I don’t any longer.  It’s just that awesome.

Story: 8.4      Artwork: 8.8      Soundtrack: 7.6      Acting: 9.5      Overall: 9.4

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