Anime review: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Status: watched 4 episodes (out of 26)
There’s this kid named Simon who lives in a strange world. No, not that Simon. This Simon lives in an underground village threatened by constant earthquakes which means he has to dig new tunnels all day so that his fellow villagers can escape or move their homes. One day, Simon finds a magical drill bit that turns out to be the key to a sort of super deformed robot. Things get weirder when a giant robot comes crashing into his village from the outside world, along with a scantily clad girl named Yoko. So Simon – in his robot “Lagann” – his older and more confident friend Kamina, and the hot Yoko do battle with the huge invader.
Eventually, Simon and Kamina discover that the reason all humans live underground is because they were driven there a long time ago by a race of creatures called “beastmen” who pilot giant robots known as Gunman. Kamina captures one of these and makes it his own, calling it “Gurren”. By accident, they discover that if their two robots combine, they become the super powerful “Gurren-Lagann” (pictured above) and they head off to find the home of the Beastmen and liberate humanity from its mole rat existence.
Yes, this show is as freaky as it sounds. It has a very FLCL feel to it (and I LOVED FLCL) where a lot is left unexplained and the writers are obviously having a good time messing with giant robot and anime stereotypes. Plus, the animation dances across the screen like paint flowing through water, and is so full of saturated colours that the show feels like old Mazinger episodes on acid.
But unlike FLCL, there is a much bigger story to tell, with more characters and more backstory. So far, I think I’m starting to glimpse the underlying plot, but there’s still a lot of questions to answer and I can already guess that those answers will be as bizarre as this show. Then again, 26 episodes is a long way to go just parodying old mecha shows.
Regardless, this is the best new anime I’ve seen this season.