15 CommentsAnime Analysis, Twelve Days / By Scamp /

12 Days of Anime #12: Simon vs Anti-Spiral

The 12 Days of Anime project is the closest the aniblogsphere has to a tradition. Started by CCY and now on it’s fourth year, anime bloggers recount 12 anime related moments of the year that affected them in some way. This is my second year doing this and you can read all last years posts in this newly created category if you so wish. But this is 2010 and I’m kicking this session off with some modern super robot loving.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was classed as a glorious return to the super robot genre. A love letter by Gaianx to the older super robot fans. They sat there, streams of manly tears pouring down their face, clutching a Mazinger Z gunpla in one hand and a Nia figurene in the other, as Gainax poured out exactly what they had though anime had lost. But it did more than that. If Gurren Lagann was just a love letter to older fans, it would have barely been noticed by the majority of anime fandom, much like the Shin Mazinger Z anime that came out a year or so back. Gurren Lagann also was a hit with the modern day fans. Sucked in by the atmosphere, it still kept in touch with what made modern anime so enthralling to these fans.

Both of these points were largely lost on me. The original Gurren Lagann TV series was one of the first anime I watched, and the very first mecha series I watched. Even without the prior knowledge and experience that older fans had, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. But time moves quicker when you’re a newer fan. Reading reviews and impressions of the series 2-3 years after I’d watched it had me confused. Did I get this rush of manly energy as Simon and Kamina performed their daring feats? I don’t remember feeling that at all. What was it I liked about Gurren Lagann in the first place?

I had a similar experience with Gainas’s other powerhouse, Evangelion. I was starting to forget what it was I loved about the series, combined with a steady realisation that I never understood the plot to Evangelion had me wondering whether it was really any good in the first place. The first EVA movie both re-jigged my memory and reminded me why I held Evangelion in such high regard. The first Gurren Lagann movie, Gurren-hen, didn’t achieve this at all, which just amplified my worries that maybe my younger self had just thought any anime that wasn’t a ecchi-fest was amazing. Oddly, Lagann-hen didn’t achieve that either. It didn’t re-jig my memory of the key events, nor did it rekindle my old love for the series. What it did was far greater than that.

Lagann-hen made an entirely new fan. It didn’t rekindle any old feelings at all. It didn’t make me fall in love ‘all over again’. I fell in love with Lagann-hen and Lagann-hen alone. And the way I fell in love was the very same way those other fans claimed to feel for the original TV series. I felt the rush of sheer awesomeness and epicness. The overwhelming energy won me over. It kep building up, gradually becoming more and more epic and the movie went on. It was during the final battle that I finally remembered something about the original series. Not something I liked though. The final battle kept trying to out-epic itself by simply making everything larger. The climax of the final battle, if had went the same way the rest of the movie had, would have had two universes fighting each other. It started to lose its effect as it went on in the TV series and it was looking like the movie was going to go the same way.

But no. The most epic fight scene you could have possibly imagined was not achieved by simply making everything bigger. It was done by creating the simplest battle of all. Nothing more than a fist fight. And it worked. Oh boy did it work. I don’t think I breathed once during the entire scene, my body consumed by how epic the scene was. That’s my moment in anime #12. The fist fight between Simon and the Anti-Spiral.

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  1. Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Great moment! Most of those battles were pretty darn awesome!

    I wasn’t taken to TTGL for the most part since I just look at it as a fresh mecha anime made to draw in a new crowd of mecha fans. It did however get those newer fans to dive into older mecha… I totally appreciate the show for doing so because it has made those fans want to go back and see other gateway mecha shows that all the older folk ramble on about.

  2. karry
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    “Ten­gen Toppa Gur­ren Lagann was classed as a glor­i­ous return to the super robot genre.”

    And it failed miserably at that task. Gainax may be a nest of mecha fanboys, but they absolutely suck at replicating the spirit of the real mecha series. Crappy mecha designs, crappy directing, crappy animation and FX (…aside of boobs jiggling…), puny attempts at humor and even punier attempts at drama. Second half of it was especially worthless. Just shows that internet can hype even the biggest and stinkiest of turds.

    • Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      Apparently the internet’s also really good at harboring bitterness.

  3. Posted December 14, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I was struck by the effectiveness of this scene too. It was pretty awesome.

    Also, watching some other mecha series made me appreciate what a solid gateway mecha Gurren Lagann is. It’s not so much a throwback to super robot series (that would be GaoGaiGar, in good and bad ways) as it is something that tells viewers, “Hey, this shit used to be awesome. Why don’t you go in and take a peek?” It’s made to draw in as many people as possible rather than alienate them by hewing too close to tradition. Even if a grumpy guy like karry can’t appreciate it. :p

    • Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      This is exactly what I was getting at! ^__^

  4. Posted December 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Gurren Lagann may share the same spirit of super mecha of years gone, but the way it’s packaged in a stylish, modern veneer is what makes it appealing to newer fans. The rough-sketched, soiled designs and embracing of hip-hop music mixed with the more traditional cartoony color-palette and bombastic fanfare is what really strikes a chord. I think a lot of old-school fans miss that TTGL’s “moderness” is what sets it apart from other super robot shows.

  5. luffyluffy
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t Bandai license and dub Lagann-Hen?

    I’d love to buy that shit..

    • Scamp
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Never liked the dub to Gurren Lagann. Dunno why, it should have been perfectly suited to a dub but I couldn’t get into it

  6. Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    This is the list done right

  7. Posted December 15, 2010 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    I want a genderbent version of TTGL

    • luffyluffy
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      Didn’t you hear? KyoAni confirmed a genderbent version of TTGL weeks ago.

      It’ll have cute girls doing cute things, using their cute to out-cute their rivals in cuteatude.

  8. Posted December 15, 2010 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    I didn’t really like Gurren Lagann at the beginning, but around episode 8, things started to click for me. It just kept revelling in its own epicness, giving us more and more amazing moments. Fitting with the theme of the story, the action just kept spiraling out of control, constantly giving us moments that we could only marvel at.

    The ability of Gainax to provide these epic moments and keep one uping them with each story arc truly impressed, and that’s what made me eventually fall in love with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

    Still gotta watch the movies, though.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Gurren-hen = lame
      Lagann-hen = Better than the TV series

  9. Posted December 19, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t actually watched Gurren Lagann, so I’ll use this chance to do it. Approved

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