At First Glance – Gurren Lagann

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article. You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann

Ah yes, another anime that I’ve heard of quite a lot but just never gotten around to watching until now. Fun fact, I actually flat out considered buying this anime on a whim a while ago. I didn’t, but I considered it.

As I don’t really want to know where the show is going from here (and I mean that in a good way), the briefest summary I can give is that Gurren Lagann follows the adventures of Simon (pronounced “see-mon”) Kamina and Yoko on their adventures on the surface world of their home planet…and possibly beyond for all I know. The first episode specifically introduces us to the three, and details the events that lead to Simon & Kamina reaching the surface; having lived their lives entirely (or almost entirely in Kamina’s case) underground in Giha village, their hometown.

Considering that this anime was made by the same team (albeit not the same actual studio) that made Kill La Kill, I must admit I was expecting something much more over-the-top than this ended up being. Don’t get me wrong, it is still  ridiculous and over-the-top, but in a much more subdued way than the in-your-face Kill La Kill is. I must admit I was actually kind of glad when I realised that was the case, rather than let down. I mean, it could always get crazier from here, and I wouldn’t doubt it, but this first episode was fairly subdued in it’s over-the-top aspects.

As far as the characters go, I feel like out the main three there isn’t a character I’ll
end up hating. At least it doesn’t feel that way going by this one episode. Simon is
the typical meek character that you know will have some kind of arc where he
gains some confidence. Kamina is the cocky, overconfident cheerleader who just
charges into everything blindly, and Yoko is the strong, badass young woman who probably doesn’t take shit from anyone. That and probably has the most actual combat experience of the three. Hell I assume she’s the only one with ANY combat experience. It’s a varied enough group to work and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what kind of adventures they have.

One thing I kind of like is that Simon just sort of gets dragged into all this mess. He seemed fairly content with his life, even if he clearly wishes for a better one. But even then he doesn’t really seem to yearn to leave his hometown or anything. Even when they finally do end up on the surface world at the end, it’s partially just a result of fighting with the creature that falls through the “ceiling” into their hometown rather than them actively trying to get there.

Another thing I like is that even though Kamina can be a bit of an arsehole, it’s at least the loveable kind of arsehole right now, so his antics come off more as being funny than wanting someone to strangle him. Even when he hits on Yoko, it’s clear if she wanted him to shut up she could do it fairly easily. Hell, Yoko is clearly not a submissive or passive woman at all. She doesn’t even mind when Simon ends up on top of her by accident due to their little mech crashing to the ground (possibly because he doesn’t try to grope her or she finds his embarrassment to be cute), and then buries his head in her chest when she realises there are giant monsters looming over them.

All-in-all I’m definitely looking forward to watching more of the show, and am also glad I finally gave this show a try, which means the streak remains unbroken for now. If you’re into mech-based anime or general action-adventure anime I’d say give this one a chance if you’re not already a fan. The series is 27 episodes long and it’s available in both subbed and dubbed formats for those who care. Hell, like some anime Gurren Lagann even has two movies that condense the events of the series down into movie form if you can’t get enough of it.

And that about covers it I think. f anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline. I’ll see you guys next time with my thoughts on the first episode of the anime series “K-On!”.

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