When you first start any anime that’s been extremely hyped over the years, you’re always anticipating the exact moment you’ll fall in love with it. Which is also scary, because what if this highly rated show just never hits that point for you? And you’re left out of the loop or thinking ‘man, that was a letdown!’. This is a question you see come up for older shows such as Gurren Lagann, pretty often.
Personally, if you don’t get hyped from the very first episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, chances are you’ll never end up liking it. Gurren Lagann is one of those shows that just dial it to 100 from the very first scene and doesn’t let itself go until the very end. It’s dynamic, bombastic, and inspired so many anime that came after it. However, if you give it a try and are still on the fence, hold out till episode 8. A lot happens there that changes the trajectory of the plot in a big way.
Gurren Lagann is one of those shows you always heard about being amazing and a must-watch, yet some people never really dove into it. Despite its wide acclaim and critical success, following many awards, it sorts of faded behind all the big name Shonen that was raging on at the time. Still, you can not miss the exceptional character designs or how the show revolutionized the mecha anime genre, with a bigger focus on its individuals.
Still, it is easy to discount it as something that takes way too long for the actual journey to start. This might be true because how the first few episodes are a prologue that takes some time to build up the actual narrative of the story. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an exciting watch from the very first minute. Gurren Lagann is one of those cult classics that you should give a chance, considering it’s the reason shows such as Kill La Kill exist. So, let’s break it down.
The Premise: Driven Underground, Humanity Wants To Resurface!
The future of Planet Earth is a dystopian mess. Lordgenome, also known as The Spiral King, has taken over the world and, to escape his wrath, they now live in isolated subterranean localities that are constantly in fear. However, the biggest fear mainly comes from Lordgenome’s army, the Beastmen, who are always on the prowl for any humans on the surface.
Meet Simon, a shy digger who eventually ends up joining his best friend’s gang, known as Team Gurren. This best friend is Kamina, who is leading Team Gurren in a push to visit the surface world. When Simon comes across the Core Drill and manages to awaken a mech named Gunmen that helps the team breach the surface alongside a girl named Yoko, Kamina takes over one of the mechs. From then on, this hybrid is known as Gurren Lagann, and together, the trio is going to unearth why Lordgenome exists and why was humanity culled for their survival.
The Plot: Flashy, Stylish, And A Whole Lot Of Excitement
Gurren Lagann always stood out to me because of its gorgeous animation. Even the way it designed its mech to be more fluid like bioweapons, instead of robotic, was so unique for its time. Even if you don’t consider the story, the anime was just leaps and bounds ahead visually.
And then, there is the plot, which is nothing short of iconic. It’s dynamic and chaotic, but never overwhelming or wasteful. It pulls a lot from previous mecha anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion but doesn’t copy it to the point where it seems repetitive. Make no mistake, Gurren Lagann is very much its show.
The characters are so charismatic, that you can’t help but focus on them the entire time the anime is running. They carry the show in a big way, with their personalities matching the larger-than-life aspect of the premise.
The Verdict: A Mecha That Can’t Be Missed!
Gurren Lagann is punchy and attention-grabbing but still iconic in a way only it could be. There’s a reason why Studio Trigger still tries emulating its style, more than a decade later. There has been very little anime that comes close to its unique charm.
This one is a must for mecha enthusiasts and those that like their anime a little off kilter!