Thursday, February 25, 2010

Anime: "Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann"

I usually compare Evangelion with Gurren Lagann. They are two sides of a coin indicating emotional level: Evengelion is the "Emo" side, while Gurren Lagann is the "Gar" side (if you don't know what 'gar' is, just take it as the opposite of 'emo'. It'll take some time to actually explain how the word came about).

The story is about beastmen who lives on the surface, preventing humans who live underground to emerge and also controlling their population. Bascially it is to prevent the humans' ability to grow and expand. Simon is just a simple driller in his home. His 'brother', Kamina, envisioned that he will one day reach the surface.

One day, a meccha fell from the roof of the underground home Simon lives at. Fighting it is a beauty (now a regular and popular character to cosplay) with a huge sniper rifle named Yoko. Kamina and Simon somehow got involved and eventually ended up at the surface, where an endless battle against the beastman ensues.

The anime can be a little nonsensical especially to those who are used to meccha animes being 'logical' and 'scientific', where everything is some how explained on a reality level. Gurren Lagann's logic is very simple and based on one thing: Spiral Energy. As long as you have the will, it will be converted to this 'spiral energy' which can be converted into...just about anything.

So based on this idea, you can imagine how hot-blooded the anime can be, since the more hot-blooded you are, you more powerful you become and the more nonsense you can do. Your meccha's leg is broken? Get angry, get mad and get serious and the leg will magically heal. In many ways, this anime can be both funny and exciting at the same time. It teaches how 'when there's a will, there's a way' at a very...nonsensical level.

So far I've used the word 'nonsense' a lot, but I'm really not putting down the anime. Trust me, if you have watched this anime and try to recommend it to your friend, it's hard not to make it sound stupid in one way or another. It is essentially the storyline and cinematography that are incredibly well done. Add the 'nonsense' and you get one intense, exciting and funny anime.

Also, when I meant funny, I meant the 'holy crap that's insane!' kind of funny. If you've laughed over the first time Nanoha does Starlight Breaker to Fate, you'll know what I mean.

Of course, the whole story is not just gar gar and more gar. There are a couple of emo episodes where a certain character is depressed over something I can't tell you due to spoilers. There are also 2 sections to the anime, the parts before and after the beastman are defeated. The 2nd part takes some politics into play, the first time the anime actually have a dark sense of seriousness.

This makes the whole anime all the more engaging. It brings you into the world where anything can happen as you as you will it to, and pulls you straight back to reality. It's this subtle blend of events that makes you feel somehow that this 'Spiral Energy' exists within you and really makes you believe that 'when you have the will, you have the way'.

Or maybe I'm just thinking too much lol. Nevertheless, it is a very VERY good watch which I definately recommend. I just find it odd that the anime actually kicked off in its popularity after a year or so after its out here in Singapore. Enjoy the ride :)

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