best of 2007: #1

Categories: best of 2007


A drill that will pierce the heavens.

Best Anime Series of 2007

Winner: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Eh, what were you expecting here? It should be absolutely no surprise that Gurren Lagann claims the top spot.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has all the pieces of being one of the best series ever. It has epic storytelling, well-constructed plot, memorable characters, quotable catchphrases, and numerous shining moments. Hell, I can’t even count the number of times a chill went up spine while watching this series… when Kamina went out all guns blazing, when Simon reached for his inner GAR the first time… when Simon battled Lord Genome… when Gurren Lagann transformed into Arc Gurren Lagann… when we saw Time Slip Darry’s ass for the first time… when Kittan used its Giga Drill… when Simon saves Nia from the Anti-spiral and summons Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann… when Lord Genome sacrificed himself for Simon and Nia… when Simon watched Nia disappear into thin air. To put it maybe a bit too simply, epic storytelling.

Gurren Lagann was bold in that there’s not a lot of anime series that would try for a major narrative shift… and Gurren Lagann pulled it off twice. At first, Kamina and Yoko were the featured characters, and the awesomeness was driven strongly by Kamina and his battles with Viral. We all know how quickly that changed. Soon, it became Simon’s show, thrust squarely into the narrative. Unlike most anime heroes, Simon didn’t wilt, he took the challenge and was a reborn into a new character. Oh, while the male lead was being passed, so was the female lead with Nia’s introduction and the beginning of Yoko’s de-emphasis (which was even self-parodied in the beach episode). But we’re not done yet! While most stories end at the defeat of the big bad boss guy, it’s just the beginning as when Simon and company won against Lord Genome, it was just the beginning of their fight against a whole new, completely different enemy. Remarkable transformation mid-stride for a series.


Gurren Lagann also had bold characters. Kamina himself is more bombastic than every 2007 male harem lead combined. He oozes manliness, confidence, and stupidity. Simon? Well, he ends up surpassing his sensei. Of course, the ladies stepped up too, with Yoko pulling the human highlight film routine. She was a bit bombastic, a bit cocky, a bit out-of-control as well. Nia is just constantly upbeat, constantly supportive of Simon, and constantly changing her moe mode. The side characters weren’t any worse, with Kittan, Lord Genome, Viral, Boota, and Darry. But the ultimate star? Gurren Lagann itself. The Matryoshka Mecha was just a mecha beyond mecha, much like how Simon was a man beyond men. As the stakes grew, so did Gurren Lagann.

There’s just a lot to like about Gurren Lagann. While no series is perfect, Gurren Lagann is just too fun to watch. It’s just really difficult to not cheer along Simon and Nia as they stare down Lord Genome or cheer Simon and Viral when they come to the rescue of Arc Gurren. There’s just no way to avoid the chills whenever one hears “GIGA DRILL!” And isn’t enjoying and having fun and cheering along the hallmarks of any great anime? And that’s why Gurren Lagann is Derailed by Darry’s Best Anime of 2007.

(Seeing as how this blog is presented named “Derailed by Darry,” this selection should be of no surprise.)

Thanks for everyone’s support the past year. Tomorrow will be Best of 2007’s wrap-up post, which is also Derailed’s final post of 2007. Will another anime series’ drill pierce the heavens in 2008? I sure hope so.

25 Responses to “best of 2007: #1”

  1. Looking back, I distinctly remember that I kept feeling that there was something disappointing about the anime seasons this year. I think there were a few bright spots of really good, fun shows, and some with a great deal of promise, and a whole lot of blah.

    For me, the top shows were TTGL, Seirei no Moribito, and Darker than Black. These were series that successfully integrated a couple different aspects or genres, usually action plus either comedy, drama, or mystery in some form. That’s not to say that Umisho isn’t fun to watch, but I feel like this year was overall lacking in durable, enduring quality. I didn’t watch many of the shows you mentioned, mostly due to lack of interest, so it’s entirely fair to say this wasn’t my year so much as a poor year in general. However, could you say that ef, Minami-ke, etc. are equal to other recent shows in their genre? I withhold my judgement, but I feel like the excitement I’ve felt for other shows, even Love Hina, Ai Yori Aoshi, and others outside my core interests, just wasn’t there this year. Not to be a downer, of course, merely my opinion. Wishing you all a happy New Year, and a great year of anime to come!

  2. 俺を誰だと思っている

  3. Only thing I agree with you on is that Karmina is definately the male lead of the year. Other than that, Yoko excluded Gurren Lagann sucked.

    But that´s just me.

  4. This selection is such a surprise, I am going to fall down and die, from this surprise.

  5. Who can forget the following phrases?

    “Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb!”

    “Believe in me! Believe in me who believes in you!”

    “My drill is a drill to pierce the heavens!”

    “Who the hell do you think I am?!”

    A lot, if not all, of these phrases came from the 1st episode and from one person. Kamina was a lot smarter and deeper than what our first impression made of him. His over-the-top confidence made sense when we learned that he drew it from Simon. He was always frustrated with not going with his father to the surface. At first his confidence was just an act, but it gained purpose after the tunnel incident discussed in episode 11 when he swore to become a man that would never laugh at Simon’s back. When everyone only saw a dirty little digger in Simon, Kamina saw a boy that when applied made miracles happen and always respected that.

    I could write several paragraphs about Kamina that would make my high school English teachers proud (if I could get any of them to watch this show), however, I think the above is enough for a comment section. Gurren Lagann is truly one of those bright gems in anime that I have no problems recommending to others. Besides the easily noticeable positives like the characters, story, and just-fun-to-watch factors, there was the consistent application of the simple yet effective drill motif and great art direction that really put this show over the top for me. To see this in HD… whichever format releases this and a few other titles first will win me over.

  6. Kamina is a total don.

    Not the series I enjoyed most in 2007, but a worthy candidate for the best quality.

  7. 8:52
    Never forget.

    Goddamn, and I really liked Kittan’s crazy banana-star mech, too.

    That’s what TTGL did for me: it made me care about the fate of an actual mech.

  8. Hiroyuki Imaishi did say that King Kittan was his favourite mech to work…

    anyways, did anyone ever doubt this would take top spot? This would actually be my second “super robot” show next to RahXephon (and eva?) but the contrast between them is so jarring. TTGL really did deserve to take top spot, plus we forgave Gainax for EVA’s emoness.

    Here’s to 2008, and here’s hoping for the next series that will pierce the heavens. I have a feeling that TTGL references are here to stay on this blog for a very very long time.

  9. Your photoshop skills are amazing jason!

  10. No suprise here, and I have to agree.

    Kinda wondering where Seto no Hanayome is in this group, but it could be you just didn’t watch that series.

  11. The part that has always given me the most chills has to be when Nia’s ring starts flashing. The series of emotions that passes across her face is just pricless.

    And once the DVD’s are out I hope the guy who made this video reworks it. I’ve never been much for My Chemical Romance, but the fusion of Welcome to the Black Parade and Gurren Lagann is perfect. (and at 3:02 in that video is another priceless series by Nia)

  12. Wisely chosen Jason. No series before or after could compare to Gurren Lagann awesomeness. Still it could have been better if they show more Darry and her nice round as… ahem, never mind.

  13. …NUTS…

    …now that’s a reference…

  14. Obv. still my favorite of 07 though easily.

    That said, Denno Coil was the best of 07 from a story and technical standpoint and the fact that it’s not even mentioned on most people’s ‘Best Of 07’ posts is a real shame. I’m sure it’ll get multiple ‘best sleeper’ posts down the road though from people, heh.

  15. This is easily the second best anime I’ve ever seen, so I definitely agree with jason on this…

    Not like I expected anything else anyway.

  16. I cried manly tears. Again.

  17. I laughed badly when saw the picture of Simon. I expected Gurren Lagann but I didn’t expect Simon to be there at all. Great job with those pictures with priceless expression.

  18. Incidentally, the top image on the Gainax site for this week is, basically, what I could term simply as the House of GAR.

  19. I don’t think there’s anything to add to what’s already been said here and in previous TTGL blog entries at Derailed. A show truly deserving the Best of 2007-title.

    That’s clearly a “BOW TO YOUR GODS OF GAR” to be printed and placed on your altar of anime.

  20. Yes.

    I concur.

  21. >>
    If somebody finds it, I want a bigger version of this image! Pleeeease! ;) Or maybe a poster… :P

    Well Gurren Lagann deffinitively got my seal of approval for the best anime of 2007!

  22. Where’s Darry?

  23. “Kamina himself is more bombastic than every 2007 male harem lead combined.”

    I dunno if you’re really saying that much. Itou Makoto is a lot of negative points added to the pool of harem leads.

  24. Well, of course it won.

    It had Lerron in it, who is so epic-ly win it hurts to look at him.


  25. Every time I hear quotes and references to TTGL,I remember how awesome it was,and I feel like clenching my fists and roaring like that gajin 4-koma. Every time.

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