Come to think of it, why aren’t you watching Gurren Lagann?
Late last year we made a quick list of some of the biggest Mecha offerings to look out for in 2021. Now some of those are already out and others are following closely. But, in a very surprising turn of events, the Mecha gods, seemingly hearing the cry of those who are looking for more mecha to consume, suddenly dropped Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann for wide viewing via the streaming site Netflix. The show that pierced the heavens, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann isn’t only considered as one of the best mecha shows of the modern era, but also one of the best shows in general as it reignited interest in the genre in its own way.
What the hell do you think this show is?
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, otherwise known as just Gurren Lagann is one of the shows to come out during the modern Golden Period of mecha shows. In contrast to a genre dominated by metal giants participating in political strife, Gurren Lagann made its name loud and proud by revisiting the long-forgotten formula of Super Robots. The show was made by Gainax, one of the granddaddy studios of mecha, together with Aniplex and Konami, and directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi. The show’s own take on crazy Super Robot tropes and breaking away from the serious Real Robot formula made it an instant hit not just to mecha fans but to anime fans in general. Its influence can be felt not just within the anime community but spilled over to general pop culture and its success also made way for director Hiroyuki Imaishi to co-found one of the most beloved and praised animation studios today, Studio Trigger.
The show that pierced the heavens
With it being a mecha show it’s easy to say that Gurren Laggan is just for mecha fans but in reality, it has more than enough to offer to both mecha and non-mecha enthusiasts. In contrast to the many other mecha shows that somehow rely on you already understanding what’s going on and why it’s going on, whether, through its previous iterations or you being a mecha fan in general, Gurren Laggan reintroduces the genre to a bigger audience surpassing your typical mecha enthusiast and it does so in brilliant and galactic fashion (quite literally). As said before its influence is widespread from its design to animation and even crazy, over-the-top thematics. Even its characters have spawned “clones” over the past few years in what may be the unlikeliest of shows. A powerless, seemingly helpless main character getting mentored by a more powerful, but totally hyper figure? Sound familiar? A supernatural conflict that spans generations but with a surprising twist halfway through? That ring any bells? Or how about, and this may be the most obvious of all, Huge Robots with human faces fighting enemies…IN SPACE!
Speaking of Robots in Space
Gurren Lagann’s over-the-topness goes into galactic proportions, quite literally anime-wise. As stated the show revels in its Super Robot inspirations and it does not shy from showing you just how extravagant they can get when it comes to showing off. From a show that starts below ground level, again literally, to reaching the surface and going beyond, the tagline “Pierce the Heavens” fits how Gurren Lagann takes elevates your view of even the most typical of super robot tropes and extend its story to the far reaches of the galaxy. Imagine, and a bit of a spoiler, 2 huge mechanized beings just hurling galaxies as if they were boomerangs and you get the picture, and again, a bit of a spoiler. But, aside from its already crazy premise, what’s great about Gurren Lagann is that it retells the hero’s journey in a way that’s different from the typical. Gone are the “gifted youngster that’s tasked to save the world” and enter the main character that’s dealing with confidence issues, the mentor isn’t your usual edgy, brooding, “I don’t wanna train the protagonist because of some tragedy from many years back” but rather one of the coolest persons to look up to, with teachings that don’t exactly make sense but it does.
Who it isn’t for.
Now of course, just like every other show, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann IS not for everyone, despite its attempt to capture everyone’s attention with its own signature blend of super robot tropes and superhero stories. For one if you’re not into mecha then there may be some reservations when picking up this show. The character design is also more reminiscent of classic 80s and 90s shows which may throw the highly sophisticated modern-day fan that solely believes in realistic human proportions when it comes to character design. Its over-the-top approach to action scenes might also throw some people off because, well, it can get very over ridiculous but that’s just how super robots work.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is now available for the wider audience via Netflix. Be sure to also check for your region restrictions if there’s any.