Gurren Lagann is quite a different experience for a fan such as myself. When I started the series, I had 2 things in mind; "If the plot sucks, at least the redhead is attractive" and "Well... maybe it's cheesy for comedies sake!". I was right on both ends I suppose. Up until episode 17, Gurenn Lagann is a pretty funny neurotic comedy, full of cheesy one liners "When you screw it in, give it a hard manly twist!" and awkward sexual innuendos. After episode 17, the series takes a sort of turn towards a more serious side, and I quickly started to lose faith in the series.
The story for Gurenn Lagann was pretty rough. 2 nobodies in a underground town end up being man kinds saviors? No thanks. The only character I truly came to like was Kamina. Kamina is a pissed off, hot headed, cool character, and was so narcissistic and supportive that you couldn't help but think him one of the best characters you've witnessed in a long time. Then we come to Simon. Something that caught my attention about this character is that he is a child... and actually acts like a child when faced with danger! He doesn't gain any super magical powers to pull through and save they day! I was blown away! At least for a few episodes. Up until episode 17, this had been a screwball comedy, with some goofy action scenes, but once episode 17 rolls around, they try to wrap in government, deep thoughts on human reaction to certain death, and other "serious" themes, that just fall through. (It's not necessarily that they did a bad job, the transition from screwball comedy to mellow drama is hard to swallow at first). The series ends on a weak note in space, and the last episode itself is just bad. I won't give away any specifics, but the way they wrap up a few characters plotlines near the end comes off as not only lazy, but haphazardly, and the very last episode has Simon and Nia end unfavorably for me at least. The worst part of the storyline, and this is just my personal preference, is how insistent the main characters are on ignorantly charging in, and winning any fight, because they know "the human spirit" can beat anything. Even when other character point out the obvious flaws, they get all high and mighty, and go do something to prove that brains aren't important, but rather hearts are. Call me the cynic, but this attitude and moral of the story really pissed me off. Also, episode 16 being a replay of all of the material so far was kind of strange. Had I been watching on TV, and just waited a week to see a replay of what I had watched, I would have probably been infuriated! If you are on a anime binge and plan on watching this, you can slip episode 16 for sure.
This is a tough one, seeing as how YES the animation was cheesy, and simple looking, but also it was still well done, (if that makes sense?). It's hard to give a serious rating for animation when the style wasn't of serious intention. Regardless, it was talented, and the landscapes could be beautiful at times.
Sound was a strong point for the series. Every character had wonderful voice actors, and furthermore, the soundtrack was fun. Every song, be it opening, ending, commercial breaks, or otherwise were catchy. My favorite was the "ROW! ROW! FIGHT DA POWAH!" commercial break song. It was so stupidly catchy :]. Anyway, they did a great job here.
A difficult category, this one. Early on in the show, they changed a character that had so much potential! To be honest, the majority of the characters started strong and suffered bad endings. also disappointing was Yoko's character. Being the token eye-candy, and main character since the beginning episode; you would think she would come into her own as a character, bur for the most part she stays the same person, rarely opening up, and rarely getting the attention a main character deserves. Lee Ron was the most hilarious character. He was a (homosexual?) mechanic/scientist who was at the heart of preparing the team. His awkward "gay" comments, and the rest of the characters reactions towards him always got a laugh out of me. Around episode 17-20, Rossiu get's his defining episodes as a character, and his actions, and Simon's reaction to it infuriated me. (I know that's an awkward sentence, but I didn't want to give away a spoiler. You'll understand what I mean when you get there :]). Anyway, it was a ridiculous plot twist, and pushed me away from the series.
Overall, despite angering me halfway through, and personally feeling let down by an amusing show, I did stick through every episode, and I did have a few good laughs. I feel as if I'm not disappointed for having watched it, and would recommend it to friends, but it won't make any top 5 lists of mine :] all in all, despite my personal grudges against it, it wasn't too bad of a series for perhaps a younger crowd, or maybe a mecha fan.
overall score: 9/10
overall score: 8.5/10
overall score: 9.5/10