Hello all! I’m starting to look into MFA programs in Creative Writing. I’m not sure if I’m going to do it yet, but its definitely something that I’m considering. I’m not getting jobs with the degree that I do have, so I should go to school and continue my education to open up jobs, right?
I haven’t done any blogging on anime yet. I’m a huge geek, though. I go to two or three conventions a year, hoping to hit up at least two this year. I’ve been into anime since I was about 10 or 11 years old, my mom always thought I’d grow out of it. Not so much. Anime is for all ages. Seriously. I should do a blog on that at some point…
Anime that’s Awesome
So every once and awhile I’m going to write about some awesome anime. I define it as a series that is well-written, moving, and interesting. I first watched Gurren Lagann first semester of my senior year of college, so about a year and a half ago. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is one of my favorite series now. It is a series that is turned up to 11 throughout the duration. ***This blog contains spoilers for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, if you haven’t finished the series, do not keep reading!*** Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
We will now be referring to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann as Gurren Lagann. Gurren Lagann takes place in an alternate future where humans are forced to live underground by the Spiral King, Lordgenome. As such, people dig to expand the underground cities to protect them from frequent earthquakes. The story follows Simon, a young digger. He befriends the older Kamina who allows Simon to join his gang, Team Gurren. While digging one day, Simon finds a drill shaped key called a Core Drill and a small face-shaped mecha (called gunmen in this series) that Kamina names Lagann. After a giant gunman falls through the ceiling of the city and a girl named Yoko follows it, Simon uses the Core Drill to activate Lagann and destroy the larger gunman, as well as making it to the surface. To simplify things after this, Kamina hijacks his own gunmen, which he names Gurren. This inspires other humans to do the same and eventually Team Dai-Gurren is formed. In a mission to capture an enemy fortress, Kamina is killed.
Following Kamina’s death, Simon falls into depression. He then meets Lordgenome’s daugher, Nia. Meeting Nia helps Simon come to terms with Kamina’s death. He then takes over as leader of Team Dai-Gurren. Then we jump seven years in the future. Humans are now living on surface and thriving. However, this draws attention of the Anti-Spiral. As the tension builds, Team Dai-Gurren goes on to save the universe. Literally.
The plot summary really doesn’t do the series justice. Breaking it down further, this is a series about giant robots that are powered by evolution energy. The ability to change. Or manliness. They call it Spiral Power, which refers to the helix in our DNA. Whichever way you look at it, the robots are powered by awesome. Then you have Kamina, who takes in Simon as a younger brother. He inspires him to continue even when things are tough. The ideals that Kamina preached drive the entire series to saving the universe. To be human and have that power? It’s pretty darn awesome. Then we just get to the “crowning moments of awesome“. At one point in the series, Team Dai-Gurren showing up blows up the entire enemy fleet. Their entrance was just that awesome. And in the movie that elaborates the end of the series? It comes down to fisticuffs. Seriously. I shouldn’t get too into the awesomeness, it could make your screen explode…
A lot of people don’t take Gurren Lagann seriously. They think its just a goofy series, and for the most part, they’re right. There’s a lot of silliness thrown into the series, but the writing is quite sound. Gurren Lagann is set up as the perfect coming of age story. You have Simon at the beginning, somewhere around the age of 12-14 and his older brother figure Kamina, who is around 17. The coming of age story is set up to deal with love or death. And in a way, it does both. The first coming of age is when Kamina dies. Simon’s world changes when Kamina dies. His older brother is gone and suddenly the goal is scarier. Death is real. Death can happen to anyone. The second coming of age is when Simon falls in love with Nia. Nia is the one who helps Simon work through Kamina’s death and her turning Anti-Spiral drives the second half of the series.
This is one of the best anime I’ve seen. I would recommend it to anyone. It has a little bit of everything in it. And remember, while its a ‘silly’ series, keep your eyes open. There’s some real heartwarming spots that get a little hard to notice if you don’t pay attention.
If you’ve seen it, what do you think?
Images were found on Google Image Search.