Gurren Lagann is arguably one of the greatest anime series of all time, and for good reason. I just started watching it yesteday. And I got through all 27 episodes in the course of the past thirty-six hours. It was that freaking good. There are so many things that have been said about this anime that I know when I say will sound repetitive, but you hear these things for good reason. This is a series that as a fan of anime, I can safely say has something for everyone.
Gurren Lagann does not have the greatest story of any anime. The situations we see in the series are exciting and well thought out, but the story isn't the strongest point of the series. It starts with a post-apocalyptic sort of survivial story, an uprising of humanity that is a common theme of science fiction stories, but it is done in such a spectacular way through the giant robot battles and ultra exciting war-like fights that are bigger than any fights in any anime. Part two takes us seven years in the future where we see a much more renaissance-like version of sci-fi that works fantastically with the previous arc. Without spoiling anything, something heads for Earth, we see a distinct change in humanities priorities and we encounter what is essentially God. This isn't untold of in a Gainax anime, I knew from the start that something religious-like would happen. Not that it is in your face and quite as prevalent as that of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but it is still there if you look into it a bit.
So, the story is good, but not amazing. The story shines in the politics of the second half and what happens there, but otherwise it is a lot more character driven than story. Though I must say that the background story is fleshed out well. But overall, I wasn't sticking around for the story as much as the characters.
Some will hate the animation style, some will love it. I personally found its' bright colors and smooth animation to be great. It's supposed to invoke in you a nostalgic feeling of eighties mecha animes and it does that. But it also maintains a bit of that modern feel with how vivid the colors are. The Beastmen and robots look great and have the feel of old school anime.
The sound is fantastic. The voice actors are all great for one thing and convey emotions well. The music is great, the opening music being catchy and a good start, the ending music being good as well. The music during the show helps pump you up during fight scenes and convey the mood of the characters during sadder scenes. The explosions are great sounding and I can't find a single problem with the sound.
You keep watching this series quite simply for the vast array of well thought out and typically well fleshed out characters. Every character is distinct in their actions, voice, and mindset and as the series progresses each one is pushed to the limit and also show their true colors. Even the bad guys are fleshed out well. Each character reflects humanity in a different respect. It's just hard to describe the characters without giving away a spoiler or going through each character and who they are. I did not dislike a single character. Of course, throughout they become bitchy or whiny, but they act like humans would act. If Gainax got one thing right with this series, it was characters. I'm going out on a limb, but I'm going to say it:
Gurren Lagann has the best cast of anime characters ever.
I went and did it. Take your teenage angst ridden robot riders elsewhere, while some of the characters do act like wusses at points, it's because seriously terrible things have happened. People actually die in this series and it hurts the person watching, as well as severely affects the characters. This series gets characters right and everyone will find a favorite.
I'm going to say something about reviewing anime real quick. It's tough to rate different anime on a 1-10 scale because there are all different kinds of anime. I rate this over Ghost in the Shell but that's not to say this will be better liked than Ghost in the Shell because these anime cater to two different crowds, have two different styles. It's hard for me to convey in reviews how much somebody else may like an anime because everyone has different things they like. I love my adult techno-thriller and hardcore sci fi kind of anime. But this is not exactly for those kind of people.
You see what I'm saying? It's hard to review Fruits Basket on the same scale as Gurren Lagann because they cater to two different audiences. It's the loophole of being a critic. You rate on the scale that the complete opposite is reviewed on.
Anyway, regardless of what you like, there is something to like in this. There's romance, mechs, action, some deeper psychological thinking, hard science fiction, fantasy elements. It mixes all of these with great characters, fantastic dialogue, amazing action scenes, a great animation style, and it wraps up in a satisfying (though sad) conclusion that doesn't leave any plot threads open for you to have to think over.
Gurren Lagann is now one of my favorite anime. I can never pick a number one favorite anime because I like stuff catering to different audiences and it's hard to choose one over the other because of how different they are. But this is most definately one of the best animes I've ever seen.
Well met Gurren Lagann. I'm sure I'll be coming back for a reaquantance sometime soon.
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