Anime that’s Awesome: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

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…

What do you mean its not awesome?


The Writing…

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.


9 thoughts on “Anime that’s Awesome: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

  1. I too love Gurren Lagann. Although I hate bittersweet endings (damn you Gainax), TTGL has got to be one of my all time favorite animes, and i just watched it this year….I just got done watching it a second time through and I must say I’ll probably still be watching this years from now….Damn I love anime.

    • I don’t know why I didn’t reply to this last year…

      Thank you for the comment!

      I’ve watched the whole series twice, I think. I’ve watched the movies a couple times too. It really is a great series.

  2. After watching Gurren Lagann, I felt a little, -okay, a lot- of depression coming up. The ending is truly remarkable to my liking. I enjoyed the whole series and think it’s so awesome that I sometimes wonder if my screen will explode.
    Great job on this blog, I enjoyed it greatly.
    To anyone who has not watched TTGL, you deserve a punch to the face! (Just a joke.)

    • Thanks for the comment!

      If you haven’t seen the movies, they really expand on the second half of the series. I totally recommend them.

      And people really SHOULD watch the series.

  3. Hey. As the Badass Leader of Team Trini Dai-Gurren, I approve this message.

    After seeing this –
    – I was inspired to form my own Team. We are now one of the most prominent clans in the country, each member with his and her own aspect of awesomeness.

    The influence of the spiral is greater than I think even you know. After all… Just who the hell do you think we are? 😉

    Lovely piece. Write on, writer and good luck to you.

  4. I actually got introduced to this series from the popular YouTube video ‘When I’m Bored’. At first, although I found it a bit silly, I began to take to it and realise that it is much more than that. Now I find it extremely entertaining and it has earned its place among my favourite anime series.

    Excellent artice, by the way. Keep up the good work :).

  5. If you’re going to write a blog, get your writing down. It’s annoying to see the inconsistency of someone that didn’t pay attention in English class.

    I was going to say that I doubted you writing the descrip in this article, but I ended up reading the summary in its entirety. The summary was, in fact, petty. You missed certain integral elements that could properly tie this together (you did a fairly decent job, though). I suppose you could have attempted to water it down for your readers, trying to not give away all the aspects of this amazing anime. Wait, if that was the case, why write “spoiler alert”?

    At any rate, I suggest you bust out that Thesaurus, sir. Your piece could use the graceful touch of a wide vocabulary! I found reading a few parts in this to be redundant and painful. Did I sense you lost interest in the telling of this fable towards the end, or did your ideas never have a sense of solidity?

    Seriously, though [….] I say all of this only as constructive criticism. You declare you’re planning on using segments such the example above for creative writing, but isn’t WRITING a prodigious, important addendum for the fusion of “Creative Writing”?

    • You are, of course, entitled to your own opinion. It’s also interesting that you choose to call out grammar on a post that’s coming up on being two years old.

      Have you been on the internet lately? People hate getting spoiled on series. I’ve had enough spoiled for me on various shows, movies, video games… that I’m very cautious with what any spoilers that I post.

      A thesaurus is a decent tool, but writers are told to use them with caution. This isn’t a paper for school – I don’t need to impress anyone with my vocabulary.

      You spend a lot of time tearing things down for this to be truly considered constructive criticism. I never said I’d use samples from my blog for my application for graduate school. And yes, I wholly agree that writing is an important part of “creative writing.” And it’s something I’m always working on.

      Thank you for your comment.

  6. Pingback: Anime that’s Awesome: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 | Rants from a Starving Writer

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