The first thing you should know about Gurren Lagann is that it is made by the same people who did Furi Kuri(Studio GAINAX) People who have seen Furi Kuri before will know what to expect. Though slightly rougher around the edges, it delivers the very same chaotic and stylish feeling as their previous show if infused by many post apocalyptic sceneries. Backgrounds are nothing short of awesome, be it a scenery of desolate wasteland, a future city or a gigantic shot of many galaxies intervening with each other, everything not only is carefully detailed, it’s beautiful. It creates such a good atmosphere for the show that I have little words to express it. Cartoon-like bright color palette, thick black border lines and various deformed things given birth by the vilest of imagination all blend in a godlike tranquility which is present in this show alone. Rather than anime, it looks more like a comic book came alive, yet it suits the plot, suits it great.
It’s so very interesting to see an anime which doubtlessly starts and till the last moments, develop as what feels like a parody, end up as a better mecha than the ones it’s poking at, like the famous Neon Genesis Evangelion which is possibly the most famous of GAINAX works. Wherever Neon Genesis Evangelion failed utterly and badly, Gurren Lagann doesn’t. Here we have a mecha that starts fast and furious and goes all the way to the end like that. No emotional bullshit clouding the main intent: The characters are there to kick ass and they do it no matter what. No matter how deeper the story or emotions go, no matter where kicking ass doesn’t seem to cut it, they still do it their way with full packed action. As much as this may seem mindless, it’s what the audience wants and expects from an anime such as this. And they provide it, larger than life personalities overcoming infinite and invincible odds and basing this on the human spirit. By the end of the show, it truly feels like Simon has grown into a man, not just on the outside, but on the inside as well.
A strong point in this anime, not because of it’s character development, which only about half the cast gets, but how likable each and every character is, including the main bad guys as well. Each character are a comical one that doesn’t change, a serious one that gets developed, or a little of both. Each major character gets a lot of development as the show progresses. Simon, our hero of the anime, gets the most development out of the bunch, eventually hitting his peak near the end of the show; reaching the point where he lets evolution and overcoming all obstacles into the hands of the future generation.
The animation is by far the biggest selling point of Gurren Lagann and it absolutely delivers. The mecha move with a fluidity rarely seen on TV. While there a hadful of outsourced episodes later in the series with some questionable artwork, the rest and overall quality of the series completely makes up for it and makes it easily forgiveable. Even the backgrounds of the anime, while excellent most of the time, jump to movie animation levels in several episodes, particularly episode 15, which in my opinion is the centerpiece of the show. The screen is filled with hundreds of robots, each of them moving about, the scene composition is truly amazing. Even later in the show, it manages the same in a different setting and looks just as good doing it.
As for the music. The opening and endings did not feel particularly thrilling to me, but they did not hinder in any way the show, and proved to be decent support to amazing animations. The soundtrack itself felt a bit repetitive and slow in the beginning, but the pace quickly catches up after the first half, and the last few episodes are just a marveling phonic explosion.
I really can’t sum up the feelings I felt after watching this anime; it was just an amazing watch overall, however it did come with a cost, the ending. In the end this anime, after filling you with some much adrenaline, will leave you with a hole in your heart due to the fact of how it ends. The ending doesn’t continue Simon’s epic actions, however it is left to the hands of more able bodies and our children. The future isn’t always ours to play out, we as people and as heroes, only pave the path onto which our children can walk on.