time slip tengen toppa gurren lagann

Pierce the heavens with your drill!


I’ve been lovin’ the newest arc of Gurren Lagann; it nicely builds up what has occurred before and adds another layer of depth, intrigue, and win. Almost on cue with every ~8 episodes, there has been a new arc as most evident by the way the text style of the series changes. At first, we got Kamina’s style, and if you didn’t know that this would be a 26 episode series, you could make an argument that Kamina and his bombastic calligraphy style was the star. He was just unparalleled. Gurren Lagann was more of a traditional mecha series then, the hot-blooded stereotype that Akito Tenkawa would have enjoyed.

The next ~8 episodes can be collectively the Nia arc, as evident by the flowerish, starish style that she exudes. It wasn’t as much about the mecha as it was about Simon– with Nia’s help– learning to become the man that Kamina predicted. It was a different series where angst and self-discovery overcame the hot-bloodedness. If Simon were a plant, Kamina would be the farmer who tilled the seed into the ground. Nia is the sunshine and the water.


Which brings us to the current (and probably final) arc, as ushered in by Rossiu and his highly cold, industrial style, a very pragmatic contrast to both Nia and Kamina… and it’s deliberate. While both Kamina and Nia nurtured and encouraged Simon to grow, Rossiu is threatening to (intentionally or not) break him and to (intentionally or not) rebuild him to get Simon to fulfill his full potential. It’s almost like a plant that needs real adversity to reach its full potential (see Fremen of Dune).

The interesting thing is, of course, is that if Gainax wraps up the story fully by 26, there’s no Simon arc. Maybe Simon’s not the point of the story. Maybe the story is about growth and ultimately a comment on humanity’s desire to always improve and strive for a better life. Or maybe his story will be saved for later, as while we’re in Time Slip Gurren Lagann, we’re not exactly at Interstellar Space Combat Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann… yet.


Anyway, back to Time Slip Gurren Lagann. The future setting is well done. I like the architectural cues from the Ganmen, which makes sense since that’s a pillar of their original society. Even though seven years is a bit fast to go from digging caves like the Viet Cong to cell phones, that has become an actual part of the story. The Kamina City thing was beyond predictable (the odds that Simon and Nia would have named their son “Kamina” is off of the books in Vegas). I also like the transition from freedom fighter to occupational government for the Gurren Brigade. Maybe has some parallels to American history where war heroes like Washington had to be take the mantle of being a civic leader as well as a military leader. One thing though… it’s clear that men with vision can lead, whether in politics or in battle… and Washington and Simon have that vision. Rossiu, clearly, does not.

(For people who have never read one of George Washington’s State of the Union speeches, I highly encourage you to do so. Comparing his oratory skills and his breadth for leadership to any of the contemporary presidents is like trying to compare Nia’s melonpan to Yoko’s. “Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. In one in which the measures of government receive their impressions so immediately from the sense of the community as in ours it is proportionably essential.” Now that’s a State of the Union address. Compare that to Bush’s “Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine — but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea.” You get the idea.)


I also liked the inspired wrinkle that Yoko went off somewhere, just because you know that Simon can’t save the world by himself, and she’s just as large part of his life and success as Kamina. It also removes the immediate awkwardness that 14 is the new 21 is now 21 Yoko looks exactly the same pre and post time slip. I definitely liked how the minor characters from before suddenly get juicier roles, especially Gimmy and “We’re Glad We Watched Your Career With Interest” Darry. It’s like how they brought back all the fringe characters from the old Rocky movies for Rocky Balboa (only because I thought most of the original cast was dead, but that’s a different issue). And because Darry actually speaks now, yes, we get to hear more from Shizuka Itou (Wilhemenia/Hinagiku). Delightful.


I’m also giddy at the prospect of Rossiu pulling a Hummel (Ed Harris’ character on the 1996 movie The Rock where he thinks he is doing the right thing until the very end when he realizes, OMFG WHAT HAVE I DONE and sacrifices himself to try to make up for his poor judgment… there’s probably an anime equivalent to this role… but this is AoMM… so maybe I need to find an NBA equivalent instead). Then there’s Kinon and the other dude who looks like Ishida from Bleach who pretty much have been corrupted by Rossiu’s beliefs. I’m also pumped at how the characters have evolved through time. Simon seems to be the same idealist who believes in himself. Nia was the perfect companion for him until she went fembot on him. Rossiu is becoming his old underground chief. Leeron is still Leeron. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Simply put: there’s a lot of shit going on, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. If that’s not the mark of a great series, I don’t know what is.


32 Responses to “time slip tengen toppa gurren lagann”

  1. I can’t wait to see how it all end. From what we’ve seen, I expect nothing short of epic.

  2. Is it just me or is time-skip Gurren Lagann taking elements from several Zelda games now? (For example, the digital stylings of the anti-spirals and the way they drop out of the sky are uncannily reminiscent of Twilight Princess… ;)

  3. And Viral’s still out there, fighting for the dream…
    Even if he got pwned by Gimmy & Darry ;)

    Now, if ADV could please put good voice-actors & a speedy EU release on this…

  4. Can’t shake the feeling that at certain moments, Rossiu looks a bit like Fei of Xenogears… except he doesn’t get to pilot as cool a mecha. :)

  5. I second that. Rossiu looks like a Fei-Citan love child.

  6. I wouldn’t really say Nia went fembot as much as she discovered her true nature. She is coldblooded because that’s her real self, logical and rational rather than warm. And there is a Simon arc, each arc is one episode shorter than the previous and the show is 27 episodes long.

    1-8: Kamina (Discovery)
    9-15: Nia (World)
    17-22: Rossiu (Galaxy)
    23-27: Simon (Universe)

  7. Actually, including the recap episode, Gurren Lagann is a total of 27 episodes. And there should be 4 arcs in GL. This moon arc is probably the 3rd and the final one should be where Harlock Simon goes into outer space and fight aliens(?).

    My only wish is for Nia to have a happy end. With or without Simon… ok, maybe with Simon.

  8. Lol, Undead beat me to it. Anyway, that is not Nia’s true nature! I refuse to believe that! I’m sure that in the end, Harlock Simon will wake her up with a kiss and live happily ever after.

  9. Darry is nice… very nice.

  10. Hmmm, in the previews, Simon willingly gives up his core drill to Rossiu and it looks like the Gurren Lagann get owned by Kinon and some new sytem… or something. I suspect Simon gets freed by Viral, Gimmy, and Darry and they join up with Yoko to overthrow the new government. Rossiu wasn’t Simon’s right-hand man in the beginning of ep 1, so he most probably gets supplanted somewhere in there.

  11. [quote comment=”152448″]Darry is nice… very nice.[/quote]
    You speak my mind! Now that’s why I become a loli…

    Ehem, anyway, time slip Nia is so nice that I almost regret voting for Yoko in the poll (and no, nothing short of Simon getting both Nia AND Yoko is acceptable).

  12. I was going to make some intelligent comments, and then I got to the last picture… and OMG Yoko with glasses!

  13. I can’t say that Rossiu is totally wrong, nor that Simon is totally right. As is generally the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Iron sharpens iron, though, and I think both will be wiser at the end.

    I can’t say that Simon should have “his own” arc, though. It’s all been about him. No man grows in a vacuum, and so at no point will Simon grow just by himself. I do think, though, that he will shine brightly on his own by the end, in a greater way than he did at the end of the previous two arcs.

  14. Yoko > Pre-Timeslip Nia
    Yoko = Post Timeslip Nia
    Evil Nia > Yoko
    Meganekko Yoko >>> all
    And you can bet that All(most)-Woman Darry is in there somewhere…

  15. [quote post=”1129″]Simply put: there’s a lot of shit going on, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. If that’s not the mark of a great series, I don’t know what is.[/quote]
    No argument here. I am whole-heartedly enjoy this series more and more as it progresses.

    I like Nia with long hair. Lol @ Anon’s sub “NINJA NIA IS HOT”
    Looks like Yoko needs to come back and save Simon’s ass.
    Somehow Rossui is going to get bitch-slapped by Simon, therefore leading to the epic space battle where Rossui will follow Simon’s orders.
    Darry grew up very nicely.
    Funny to see Viral show up again. I wonder if he’ll play any bigger part then just being the guy who gets his ass kicked all the time.
    And preservation of Lord Genome’s head. How did I not see that coming.
    Still. Very. Epic. Stuff.

  16. [quote post=”1129″]If Simon were a plant, Kamina would be the farmer who tilled the seed into the ground. Nia is the sunshine and the water.[/quote]

    …what are disturbingly sappy poetic analogies doing in my nekomimi meido blog?

  17. All right. Well, I can safely say I like GL better than I did before, but a lot of things still grate on me, especially this whole goverment arc. How can everyone miss so much high logic after all that glorious battle seven years ago. I’m sure a lot of those people who lost their homes fought in that battle, and as such, should be able to understand what can and probably will happen when any area becomes a battlefield. It just feels sort of forced, and just a bit contrived. I think, the most interesting part for me was the explination of the whole ‘spiral’ war.

    As for Nia, her being forced into an ‘evil’ role was pretty much forseen, and a bit contrived, but it’s there to create an element of drama. Being bad doesn’t make her cute at all, though honestly, Leeron speaks more ‘womanly’ than her, which could be considered cute. Musings of anime-women, and the Japanese langauge, still, I’m not sure if I can fully accept these things plot elements they’re throwing at me. I used to grumble at the randomness of the first part of GL, but now, I almost miss it. If you’re going to pull a dystopia-in-the-making on me, please don’t do it with established lighthearted characters who seemed to have known better when they were younger. It just doesn’t make sense.

    Anyway, I think I’ll see this show to the end.

  18. Come on, where are the NIA fans?? I can’t believe no one has waxed lyrical on Anti-Buster Nia’s new form! (except something about a ninja). Darry is cute and all… but she came in too late. And Yoko is MIA (oops really bad pun). I wonder what will happen if it comes to Yoko with some triple buster cannon rifle squaring off against NIA and her Anti-Nono powers? Uber cat-fight of the century I tell you!

  19. I wouldn’t worry about Nia, in episode 18 she already revealed that she can be saved, because she’s not yet turned “no longer human.” Why the anti-spiral system didn’t change her immediately I can’t fathom. And I feel it made a fatal mistake of not (trying to) kill Simon right there when she was in front of Nia, outside his ganmen. One shot and their greatest potential enemy would be gone. Not that Nia’s transformation seem to serve any greater purpose beyond plot device – it’s not like the anti-spiral system appears to need her in any manner.
    Well all that’s nitpicking though, Gurren-Lagann’s strength is not the plot department but action. It still remains my #1 airing show, though after Kamina’s departure Lucky Star has caught up and is challenging the position…

  20. every time it just gets more and more awesome, for that matter this whole season seems to be full of special things, be it not all awesome, but still, promising.

  21. actually northernshadows.. the plot is pretty fucking good

  22. Nia really reminded me of Dune when she’s all glowy. And Rossiu reminds me too much of Xenogears for that to be a coincidence. I also love seeing characters age, especially when it’s done realistically like here. I really hope this series keeps it up.

  23. What upsets me is that I don’t understand a word of Japanese, so I have to watch fansubs: fansubs which don’t work with any of my media players. Don’t get me wrong though, soon as Gurren goes to DVD I’m buying it: I just want to know what’s happening now damn it.

  24. What upsets me is that I don’t understand a word of Japanese, so I have to watch fansubs: fansubs which don’t work with any of my media players.

    BulletSpeedSubs have been releasing hard-subbed AVIs since Nyoro~n et al. stopped. Look for [bss]
    Also: I second that — Gurren is getting my money ASAP

  25. *drool* Time-slip Viral…
    I’m hoping ADV doesn’t royally fuck up the voices in the dub…
    I’m definately going to be looking for Gurren DVDs when they comes out, as well as merchandise at conventions.

  26. [quote post=”1129″]actually northernshadows.. the plot is pretty fucking good[/quote]
    I’ll respectfulyl disagree. The plot is in fact rather rote. As thus: “an evil king, his four generals and beastman armies oppress humans and force them to live underground. Simon discovers a core drill(?) and a ragtag band of rebels gathers around him, taking down the generals and the king and liberates humanity.” Now, if we’ll add to that the characters, the over-the-top action and especially the style in which the plot is told, Gurren Lagann turns into 24 carat gold.

  27. [quote comment=”152575″][quote post=”1129″]actually northernshadows.. the plot is pretty fucking good[/quote]
    The plot is in fact rather rote. As thus: “an evil king, his four generals and beastman armies oppress humans and force them to live underground. Simon discovers a core drill(?) and a ragtag band of rebels gathers around him, taking down the generals and the king and liberates humanity.” [/quote]
    Yeah I would agree that it is a bit trite, if they didnt resolve that halfway tru the series .I personally had a really hard time figureing out why I liked this show. The ways that the mecha work were unrealistic in a way that I could not pass off to the acceptable parts of my brain.Yet I still was drawn to the show.
    I realised that it was because of Kamina’s personality. And the development of everyone who came in contact with him.Development is the best aspect of this show in my opinion.
    Thats just my way of linking to my real subject.
    Viral is set to become a true hero in this show. He has reformed, and yet still has the fighting spirit.He protects those that he wanted to kill in the past. And has already established himself as a person who is loyal, and benificial to whatever cause he links up to.
    I predict that he will be a major player in upcomeing events. Personally I hope he has his time in the sun. He has put in massive ammounts of effort. He deserves to shine.

  28. Ok, someone give me a hand here. After watching ep 20 (not enough space to download 21 >_

  29. Ack, post got half-eaten. Reposting:

    Ok, someone give me a hand here. After watching ep 20 (not enough space to download 21 >_

  30. …got half-eaten. Again. I’m suspecting it’s the emoticon. At least I copied it before posting this time. Reposting:

    Ok, someone give me a hand here. After watching ep 20 (not enough space to download 21), I went and rewatched episode 1.

    Is it just me, or is the second one talking in the space battle (“Mirror shield dissolving!” in Kamina subs) Viral? His voice sounds quite similar, IMO.

    If it’s him, that’d confirm what some people thought, that he’d be the bad-guy-turned-good-guy.

  31. I love Nia, but I really want a Yoko/Simon ending. I dunno why.

    I guess its because through it all Simon has kinda always liked Yoko. I mean he was looking at that statue of Kamina and thinking to himself “If only she’d let me protect her like that.” (Atleast I am banking on him referring to Yoko with that phrase.)

    Granted I know that Nia helped Simon overcome his depression, but I really think that Yoko is better suited for him. I think he prolly wouldn’t mind a chick who can stand next to him and fight rather than a damsel in distress type girl.

    Here’s hoping Nia DOES have a bit more development in her new Evil!Nia role. Since at the moment it doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose than to rial Simon up. LOL. ^^ I just want some for of a happy ending. But Heaven only knows what Gainax will throw at us. XD

  32. The person who originally told me about this series said it was Evangelion wrapped in crack. He was right! This is driving me crazy, I am checking to see if the new fansubs came out every time I look at my computer. If you like anime, action or mecha, you will get hooked by this show.
    A happy ending would be nice, though it would be cool if Nia was the commander of the HanResan fleet. I do want to see big battles before the end of this… they seem to get better each episode.
    Plus I love the fact that (aside from 16) they go forward in each episode, no obvious fillers.
    10 out of 10 for the crack I mean anime

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