News Ticker


Pierce The Heavens!! - Gurren Lagann Anime Review

Ah, Gurren Lagann. The show that turns boys into men.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (天元突破グレンラガン) is a 27 episodes long series that ran in 2007 and was animated by Gainax. The story starts off with two boys: We have Kamina, the unrivalled star of the show who steals the protagonist limelight with his boisterous personality and kiss-my-ass attitude. Yeah, we’ve all seen that guy… The half-naked chap with god-like levels of self-confidence who hits on all the ladies. And then we have Simon, his sorta sidekick, his ‘bro’, a wimpy, self-doubting kid who’s still struggling to find his self-worth. As different as they sound, these two are tight. They’re partners in crime, and they feed off each other’s strength. Most of all, they believe in each other.

In the world of Gurren Lagann, human civilisation has been banished to live underground by the Spiral King, an almighty beastman shrouded in mystery. Beastmen are exactly what they sound like; beast-human hybrids, and they roam the surface in huge, robotic contraptions called Gunmen. Whoever is foolish enough to come up to the surface gets their ass fried, mecha-style.

You’ve guessed it though; someone as fabulous as Kamina isn’t one to be contented to live in the deep, dark underground. He harbours a great dream of following in his father’s footsteps and venturing into the outside world, blazing a path of hope and freedom for all mankind. Very idealistic and protagonist-like, yes? And of course, he’s dragging Simon along.

I should tell you at this point of time that Simon has a special talent: Digging. And it is through his digging that he discovered a Gunman buried deep beneath the ground. This is where it all begins. With this Gunman, he and Kamina burst forth from the soil and battle other Beastmen-piloted Gunmen, with the ultimate goal of destroying the Spiral King and his fearsome rule. They amass a cool team along the way too.

Why is the Spiral King so hell-bent on keeping the humans locked away underground? Is he an evil nuthead who has perverse fun in playing the supreme king, or is he a noble knight in disguise? In most cases, the Spiral King would be the super wicked villain, and throughout the first half of the show, that’s pretty much the premise. During the later part of the series, however, it starts to become a bit unclear regarding who’s right and who’s wrong. It turns out the Spiral King wasn’t their real enemy per se; there’s something much, much bigger than him. Something that lurks in the vast murkiness of the universe. It would be fitting to call this force the ‘true evil’.

Anyway, we should move on before I end up spoiling the entire show for everybody. The first third of the show is classic shiny mecha fun and games: Pretty entertaining with awesome action sequences and a great dose of comedy. I had a lot of fun watching those, but if you’re the kind to prefer “deeper” plotlines, I implore you to stick it out till episode 9. Things get slightly darker then, and in the episodes leading up to 20, it becomes super interesting and pretty gritty. As the story progresses, we see the characters go through the pain of death and loss, and the complexities and ugliness of human nature. But we also witness their amazing strength and willpower, and the ability to overcome the odds. *cue epic theme song*

Gurren Lagann is one of those feel-good, adrenaline-pumping shows that has tons of catchy one-liners and quotes. In the ever-expanding land of shounen anime, Gurren Lagann still shines bright throughout the years, and for good reason too.

To sum it up...

Plot: 8.5/10 – Starts off common, gets a twist in the middle and ends off with a bang. The story is actually quite simple but it’s incredibly interesting to watch.

Animation and art: 8.5/10 – It’s nothing ground-breaking but I quite like it. It has great action and colour and an easy-to-like drawing style.

Voice acting: 9/10 – I watched the English dub for this and it was pretty sweet. The voice actors didn’t sound obnoxious at all and suited the characters to a T. So yes, for this series, I would definitely recommend the dub version.

Music: 9/10 – Pretty much perfect for the show. The first opening song is epic; especially when it plays during the big battles like that’s my s*** man.

Characters: 8/10 – There’s a diverse cast and they’re all unique in their own way which makes the show even more fascinating. A few of them are put through some intense character development too.

Personal enjoyment: 9/10 

Overall rating: 9/10 – Note that this is coming from someone who’s not exactly a fan of the mecha battle genre. But Gurren Lagann far exceeded my expectations and truly impressed me. It was engaging, exhilarating and I literally could not stop watching it. If your to-watch list has been stagnant for a while, why not make some space for this gem?

And with that I leave you a parting quote, the immortal words from one brother to another…

"Listen, Simon. Never forget. Just believe in yourself. Not in the Simon that I believe in; not in the Kamina that you believe in. Have faith in the Simon who believes in you."

Written by Faelan

Share This:

Post Tags:

1 comment to ''Pierce The Heavens!! - Gurren Lagann Anime Review"

  1. Nice review. The series was great. Although I don't prefer the dub version.