march madness: championship

ライブアライブ… ぞ 最後の戦いだ.

(The championship match will begin in roughly ~12 hours and end around 11PM PST on March 25th and brings the madness to a close. As always, rules are available here.)

Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Winner Best of 2006
5 Epics: Melonpan, Meme Generation, God Knows, Aya Hirano, Fan Base
1 Legendary Tsundere God


Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Winner Best of 2007
5 Epics: Melonpan, Gar, Spiral Energy, Mecha, Space/Time Breakage
1 Legendary Spiral Metaphor


… not sure what to write…

I think if I were picking between these two series, I’d feel really good about it, just because no matter which one won, it’s a spectacular choice (the complete and utter opposite of the Republican primary). Haruhi, Simon, Mikuru, Yoko, Yuki, Nia, Kyon, Kamina, and their brethren have quickly slid and fortified themselves in the anime community.

For Haruhi Suzumiya, it gave legitimacy to an upstart studio that wanted to prove that, yes, quality animation is something still valuable in these modern days of cheaply outsourcing anime production to Korea or Vietnam. It gave legitimacy to a studio that had shown flashes of promise with Fumoffu, but didn’t quite show it as well with Air and Munto. It gave the industry a much needed star, much like how the NHL is desperate for Crosby.

Haruhi also delivered a huge cultural phenomena that is still chugging along today. Kyonko is just a patch on a quilt featuring everything from Tissue Hime to millions of distressingly embarrassing Hare Hare Yukai attempts to energizing (and really starting) fan light novel translation projects to crushing infidels.

Almost two years later, Haruhi‘s popularity shows little signs of waning (though the backlash against Hare Hare Yukai dancing is gaining some steam, but I can’t blame them), and many fans groan when they hear Kyoto is working on (a) remaking an anime series only four years old (b) making a 4koma that has no business being an anime into an anime and (c) giving us five episodes of “Dozo! Here’s a starfish” and ending about 6 episodes too early instead of more Haruhi Suzumiya, Mikuru Asahina, and Yuki Nagato.

Meanwhile, at almost a year old, Gurren Lagann isn’t as aging as well. Maybe it’s because there’s no catchy dance number or costume raping, but it’s popularity has waned more than Haruhi Suzumiya aside from its inspirational phrases. But, for me, it hasn’t waned. When I’m not having a great day, I still pop in a random Gurren Lagann episode, and it’ll pick me up, much like a double espresso from Starbucks in the morning.

I still remember the day when I first watched Evangelion on laser disc, and it was just so different from anything I have seen on TV, movie, or anime prior, I just didn’t know what to do with myself besides watch more. Then, after it was over, I still didn’t know what to do with myself. So I ended up debating with my friends, and, when that wasn’t enough, started seeking out others to talk about pressing issues like, “Asuka’s personality… I wish there was a word that would concisely describe it,” “Wait, is Kaoru gay?” and “Did Shinji just pleasure himself to Rei’s battered body? If so, how does this effect Kaoru’s gayness?”

I mean, it wasn’t the beginning of a fan. It was the beginning of a fanboy. Big different. But like a prizefighter who got too much too quickly and too soon, Gainax stumbled (resulting in the almost shocking He Is My Master). Now, like an aging prizefighter waiting to be forgotten, Gurren Lagann is Gainax’s comeback kid, it’s Rocky Balboa, it’s Might Ducks. I even wrote about this as I saw Kamina fall down to the mat, but Gainax rising up. They’re back.

Why do I bring up the studios, and what’s their significance? Well, keep reading.

What’s the difference between Haruhi and Simon? Haruhi Suzumiya is an intricate, well-laid out plan at a popular anime. It’s like watching the Yankees go out and buy big names. It’s backed by an A+++ light novel series that sold millions of copies. Execute well, Haruhi will go down in legend. Execute in mediocrity or badly, it’ll still be successful because of the novel fans (see Tsukaima, Zero no). Gurren Lagann, on the other hand, is a dice roll. Gainax has a hit-or-miss record, especially when it comes to original source material. There’s no pre-established fan base for Gurren Lagann. The last few series from the studio hasn’t exactly been barn burners (Konomini! HIMM!).

Now, how does this apply to my thinking for the match-up? I enjoy both series tremendously. There’s great moments to both, and the melonpan match-up is a draw. It’s too hard to choose between Mikuru dodging ground balls and Nia destroying Yoko on the beach. Or even LOL FANG-TAN’s LOL FANG-TANiness vs. Darry in a plugsuit. So I reach down into my inner critic, my gut, my spiral energy, my integrated data entity, and this is what I know. When I first started writing drafts for Heart’s Content, I went to my local bookstore to (foolishly) look for any books on writing for manga or comics. I found one and only one, written by Stan Lee, and quickly put it back on the shelf. I then meandered over to the art section, and there were a whole bookshelf filled with “How to Draw Manga,” “Manga for Dummies,” and “Japanese Style Drawing.” I flipped through a lot of them, and they all had instruction on how to draw. Only drawing is part of the manga process. There has to be a story too, right?

So what I think Gainax did with Gurren Lagann is more impressive than what Kyoto did with Haruhi Suzumiya. When I go back and watch Gurren Lagann, I just plain enjoy it. I still root for Simon, Kittan, anyone to kick Rossiu’s ass, for Kamina’s last giga drill, for Nia to not disappear. When I went back to watch Haruhi Suzumiya, I’m bothered that Kyoto made one too many gimmicks, didn’t go far enough in the plot, and is happy in giving us cheap imitations instead of finishing or at least progressing the story. I think that’s also the baggage that comes with Haruhi: while the light novels are awesome source material to draw from, it’s also the weakest link. The novels aren’t finished yet, and there’s always something to compare anime Haruhi to… but there’s no other original version of Gurren Lagann to be compared against. The anime is its truest form.

Haruhi’s story also hasn’t progressed or the characters have developed as fully as Simon, Yoko, and Nia. In 14 episodes, we have seen bits and pieces of Kyon and Haruhi, and while Haruhi has changed somewhat, she’s still stagnant with regards to herself at the end of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya arc. Meanwhile, by episode 14 of Gurren Lagann, Simon, Yoko, and Nia have undergone overwhelming changes. Simon was a digger in a small, underground town, and now he’s leading the resistance as the greatest resistance fighter since George Washington. For people who value character development, Gurren Lagann is a drillsend… characters grow and evolve naturally with respect to what’s happening to and around them. It’s a concise story that fits nicely in the alloted anime episodes.

Also, Gainax took giant leaps of faith in the time slips. At first, I was weary since it just sounds like a bad idea. “Jump 7 years ahead in time? In the middle of a series? Even Sunrise thinks that’s a bad idea.” They took a chance, and it worked. Meanwhile, Kyoto was too busy developing the Hare Hare Yukai dance steps. They played it safe with Haruhi. Yes, they did make an inspired decision to bang out God Knows at movie quality and cast Aya Hirano, but improving animation quality and hiring great seiyuu is hardly the same level of risk as plot narrative throttles. The thing is, Gainax’s gambit worked. I was bracing for a worst case scenario in where Gurren Lagann gets derailed by the time slip, and my readers would have endured at least a dozen “Gainax should have ended Gurren Lagann when Simon beat Lord Genome instead of giving us this crappy Gainax ending” posts.

Gainax took nothing, took a chance on that nothing, and it spiraled into a very fun and memorable anime. Kyoto took something great, added a bit of polish, put in a few gimmicks that wouldn’t let it fail, and it also became a very fun and memorable anime. For me, in its entirety, Gurren Lagann is a crafted story where Gainax had to worry about the plot and narrative as much as the animation. Haruhi was pre-crafted, and Kyoto just worried about selling CDs and animating bunny girls. There’s just a much greater degree of difficulty in doing everything, especially when there isn’t exactly a plethora of how to write great stories for anime and manga books out there.


… I think I know what one I would go for.

Well, Haruhi Suzumiya and Gurren Lagann. Voting begins in about ~12 hours, so there’s time to get campaigning in for either side before the votes start dropping.

69 Responses to “march madness: championship”

  1. Although what you say about Gainax and their leap of faiths are true, from the perspective of pure entertainment and storyline, even if it was pre-developed, it’s still Haruhi for me…

  2. random thought from a few news posts back
    argument against genderswap TTGL: this blog would be called Derailed by Darryl.
    Also, thank you for your post Jason. Was going to vote for Haruhi out of loyalty, but I sort of realize now the different amounts of effort that went into each series. Gurren Lagann deserves the win, subject to re-evaluation after Disappearance.

  3. The Gurren Lagann backlash was pretty sudden and harsh (like, the second after the last episode aired there were threads in /a/ denouncing it after a near constant 26-week long praise). It’s become the anime that everyone tries to point out as being overrated. I’m hoping the backlash will end soon.

  4. Well, then, ROW ROW FIGHT DA POWER!

  5. Wow, uh, great post Jason…

    despite that persuasive argument, I’m still going to vote for Haruhi. My sincerest apologies ^_^

  6. #comment-158209
    I’m afraid I have to go with this.

    Actually, I was watching Day of Sagittarius the other day at random. Funny how it wasn’t as enjoyable as the first/second times around (I think I watched Haruhi 3.5 times total…. I still need to try it out in chronological order).

    ALSO, despite GSD’s bad reputation, I’m actually enjoyable it as it goes down the stretch. In relations to that… DAMMIT /m/ JUST SPOILED GUNDAM 00 24 FOR ME. AND /a/, for some reason. Lots of people die, including a bridge bunny. ;____________________; Subs and your episodic article couldn’t come sooner!!!

  7. Gurren Lagann is the only anime where I can suspend my disbelief while they are throwing galaxies.

  8. An excellent sales pitch there Jason, but my vote is still going to Haruhi. ;)

  9. So what I think Gainax did with Gurren Lagann is more impressive than what Kyoto did with Haruhi Suzumiya.

    I agree.

  10. You make a lot of good points. Did Gainax do something more impressive than Kyoani with Gurren Lagann?

    No question.

    But does that mean Gurren Lagann is a better show than Haruhi?

    Conclusion does not necessarily follow from premise.

    If we were voting for Gainax vs Kyoani, well… then it might. But this is Haruhi vs Gurren Lagann.

    And God Knows I’m voting for Haruhi.

  11. I am voting Haruhi because I am also voting for a type of science-fiction that is always overshadowed by cyberpunch, space opera and mecha in the anime industry. When I watch Haruhi, and Noein, I think “Hey Japan: Can’t we have less of the three mentionned sci-fi genres, and more of the lesser exposed types of science-fiction please?”.

    I also that the whole original creation vs adaptation is kinda, how do I put it, in the “unfair” territory, especially for the adaptation side.

    I often frowned upon the cries of “BUT THIS IS ADAPTATION!” from a portion fo the anime fanbase. So because it is an adaptation, it have less merits? Pleeeeeeease.

    You have said it yourself, both of them does have their hit and miss. Let’s take Bones and the shonen genre, FMA and Darker than Black are action shonen at the very heart of their concepts and execution and done by the same studio, the first is an adaptation while the second is an original creation. And we knows how the both turned out.

    Personally, I prefer to enjoy the show for what it is, an anime, something to help to forget about a shitty day and kill time with, without falling to the dark side that is watching stupid dating programs churned out by MTV or soap operas. Should it be an original creation or adaptation, I don’t fcking care, as long as it entertain me and is well-done.

    I am also voting Haruhi because it was the unexpected hit that hit me with the “Hey I love anime again!”, its science-fiction , blended with romantic comedy elements, came as “fresh” to me.

    Gurenn Lagann is excellent, as a revival of good old 1970s super robots shows, as far as I am concerned. There are GAR in it, the convincing kind, but it is not my kind of GAR (I am more the HnK GAR kind).

    So in the end, I’ll still go for Haruhi.

  12. All good arguments there Jason, and despite my slice-of-life leanings of late, I found Gurren Lagann an incredibly enjoyable series, which is funny since I only got into the show around Episode 13 (and even then it took some prompting from a friend to do so). Groundbreaking? Perhaps not, but it was a heck of a ride. Kudos to Gainax for restoring faith in a lontime fan who got into anime because of their works (EVA? Wrong, I started with Gunbuster, THEN became an EVA fan)

    However… I’m an avowed Haruhiist, so the Haruhi’s getting my vote. KyoAni’s dithering and delays aside, of course.

    From the blasphemy of the Stereotypical,

    God-Empress Haruhi, deliver us,

    From the begetting of the Mundane,

    God-Empress Haruhi, deliver us,

    From the curse of the Boring,

    God-Empress Haruhi, deliver us,

    A morte perpetua,

    Domine, libra nos.

    That thou wouldst bring them only Excitement,

    That thou shouldst spare no effort,

    That thou shouldst spread fun

    We beseech thee, Enlighten them.

    Ave Imperatrix!

  13. Great post. Little propaganda before big voting. :)
    I agree that studio vs. studio, Gainax wins. But anime vs. anime it’s about how we want to vote. Is it just how much we enjoyed watching that anime or do we take criticism way. Maybe little both.

    Nevertheless I enjoy both series very much and I’m happy either way.

    Haruhi has a good feeling. There is ep 12, Kyons monologues and haruhims. Epics which Jason pointed out. Only real missing point was character development which is covered with messing with ep order. Love this series and can’t wait for some more.

    Tengen toppa really hit me. There’s big feelings everywhere and it makes you feel like you’re there too. After Lord Genome I thought there just can’t be more awesomeness left. How wrong I was. Show has it’s downsides (ep 4 WTF?!) but in the end it’s just epic.

    Finished my 2nd run of TTGL couple weeks ago. Maybe cause of that I have too much spiral power still inside me. My vote goes to Gurren Lagann

  14. wow, in that picture, haruhi isnt wearing a top…

    im sure that other stuff you wrote is cool too

  15. I still not understand why haruhi is so popular, i saw it once, it was good, very good sometimes but i wont watch it again, it was special to see ok but at the end a bit boring… Look like in order to be considered like an Otaku, you have to worship haruhi…
    TTGL like FMA, Fumoffu, school rumble had epic moment and i can watch them anytime, anyday and still have a lot of fun…

  16. I’m a Haruhi fan myself, primarily because it proves you can make a deep, insightful series with likable, complex characters and… everyone is so happy all the time (take that ‘true art is angsty!’).

    I personally find Gurren Lagann to be overrated myself. Who was it that said it’s like 300? That it was epic but ultimately hollow, that’s what I agree with, with its emphasis on power over empathy and logic (final episode proves the Anti-Spirals had a point, throwing Galaxies around by either side can;t be good for the universe). Backlash? Highly deserved in my opinion.

  17. My God, Yuki with melonpan and the makings of a pony-tail. My world….. is upside down….. For that picture along TTGL has stolen my vote for showing me such a beautiful rendition of yuki….book reading yuki just isn’t as exciting as melonpan examining yuki with long hair.

  18. This is how I see it.
    Gurren Lagan is like Michael Jordan, we will never see an anime like this ever again. It was overtop, exaggerated, extreme, epic just like his Airness.

    While Haruhi is a Penny Hardaway, has a lot of gimmicks and was/is extremly popular but will never reach its full potential because of its downfalls.

  19. >> I personally find Gurren Lagann to be overrated myself. Who was it that said it’s like 300? That it was epic but ultimately hollow

    1. I disagree with this because what I tried to say in this post and everyone seemed to not get is that Kyoto really dumbed down and simplified Haruhi for anime consumption. I didn’t notice this until after I went back, read the light novels, and then watched the series again. Haruhi itself is not a deep series. People want to slap what they learned in philosophy class on Haruhi, but, after reading Nagaru Tanigawa’s notes and his other material… well… I don’t think it’s the case. I just don’t think he has it in him.

    2. Deepest series is not by any means most entertaining series. I think a lot of anime deeper than both GL and Haruhi have been eliminated already. I mean, if this were a contest about deepness and philosophy, why is Mushishi eliminated on the first day? Obviously, people want melonpan. I have no problems with this, and it’s one reason why I still write this blog. I want to be the fan who watches anime to enjoy it rather than tear it down to its ids and egos.

    3. Do you think knowing that Haruhi has been dumbed down impacts my enjoyment of it? Yes, because I’ll choose to watch GL over it when I have a random 20 minutes to kill.

    >> When I watch Haruhi, and Noein, I think “Hey Japan: Can’t we have less of the three mentionned sci-fi genres, and more of the lesser exposed types of science-fiction please?”. I also that the whole original creation vs adaptation is kinda, how do I put it, in the “unfair” territory, especially for the adaptation side.

    I find this comment funny because, in the last year, I can think of Baccano, Dark Than Black, Dennou Coil, Shigofumi, Ghost Hound, and Zombie Loan right off the top of my head in this “lesser” sci-fi genre. Giant mecha? Gundam 00 and Gurren Lagann.

    Check out the last four seasons…

    When I talk about the studios, I think people just gloss over the main argument in that Haruhi’s weakness is that it has the light novels. I laid it into Kyoto once already for overthinking the adaptation:

    And I could probably go back and write the same thing for other episodes. Can I do the same thing with GL? Does it effect my enjoyment of Haruhi? You bet it does. I would never have written that post if I never read the light novel, but I did, and now I have questions about the anime, much like Clannad fans have over Clannad. GL? Escapes. Making up your own story and doing a damn good job at it is a Get Out of Jail Free card.

    >> You make a lot of good points. Did Gainax do something more impressive than Kyoani with Gurren Lagann? No question. But does that mean Gurren Lagann is a better show than Haruhi? Conclusion does not necessarily follow from premise.

    See previous paragraph. Also didn’t I write that “I enjoy both series tremendously. So I reach down into my inner critic, my gut, my spiral energy, my integrated data entity, and this is what I know.” My inner critic will judge an anime against its source material.

    >> While Haruhi is a Penny Hardaway, has a lot of gimmicks and was/is extremly popular but will never reach its full potential because of its downfalls.

    I kinda disagree with this because I see Haruhi more of a Kobe. Extremely gifted, great player, comes from a good background (Kobe’s family was rich and educated), very flashy, gets all the commercials, exonerated rapist, will probably win the MVP this year.

    I see GL as more of a Chris Paul. One of the best point guards… ever. I watched him destroy Nash, Kidd, Billups, and Deron over two weeks this season, and I just listed the other top PGs in the league. CP3 can shoot, penetrate, play D, I mean, he has no holes in his game as an 1. Does he get the same love that Kobe gets? Hell, no. Putting up 16 assists isn’t the same as putting up 53 points when it comes to ESPN.

    One thing about Paul is that a PG needs to make his teammates better, and he does so by leaps and bounds. I mean… he’s turned Tyson Chandler into a scoring machine, he’s salvaged Peja’s career (I had him as more than washed up when he left the Kings), and he’s turned David West (a good, solid player) into an All-Star.

    Paul has keep NO up in the West with a significantly worse team than what Kobe has, and a significantly worse franchise. People who live in or around NO, you have one of the greatest PGs in the past 30 years in your city. Go watch him play! I can’t stand flipping on TNT or ESPN and see New Orleans Arena half-empty. The team is second in the West right now. Go watch them!!!

    Should that factor into MVP voting along with his stats? Hell yeah. But will it? Hell no. Kobe will win, and CP3 gets robbed.

  20. I think the principle advantage Haruhi has over Gurren Lagann is its universal appeal. This may not be obvious at first. “What? Isn’t Gurren Lagann the definition of mass appeal?” But, you see, I don’t mean mass appeal in its usual sense. I mean universal appeal, across all demographics.

    Gurren Lagann is fun, fun, fun, and sometimes very sentimental. But Haruhi is both intelligent and fun. On one hand, the normal anime fan can laugh at Haruhi’s jokes and oggle Mikuru. On the other, the faggy, NEET, “anime-is-art” crowd can appreciate the subtleties of Haruhi’s philosophical richness and the genius of its anachronic ordering. Both anime talk about achieving great things; but Haruhi presents its answers in a far more intelligent manner.

    It is, perhaps, the first anime to ask “What is the purpose of life?” and not immediately answer “Helping others” or “Love” or “TO PIERCE THE HEAVENS WITH MY DRILL!”

    Of course, in this blog this may not be much of an advantage. Yoko’s melonpan is much nicer than Mikuru’s. In any case, I’m voting for the teenage goddess.

  21. Great post, it only made my choice of Gurren Lagann that much easier to make. For the long reason why, I wrote it up on my blog so I won’t repeat myself.

  22. @Jason:

    If it is in the spirit of this blog to not question why an anime is enjoyable to someone, I guess that by extension, we should just enjoy the ride why the poll lasts and not care too much about why people vote for a series and not another, ne?

    Personally, I don’t think I have a fair and stable standard either. If I were to vote a week ago, just after I watched a bunch of hotblooded Gurren Lagann MAD MVs, my vote might go differently. But since the poll is taking place just after I finish Dennou Coil, I’m going to judge with a different mindset, but so be it.

  23. I applaud Gainax for experimenting, but I wouldn’t mind if they had stopped right after Lord Genome, or continued the story with Viral as the main villain. While a handful of scenes after the time slip were downright fantastic (Yoko’s comeback, Arc-Gurren’s transformation, Kittan’s giga drill breaker), the anti-spiral was highly forgettable.

    Maybe that was its purpose, to give more screentime for the protagonists, but I can’t help shake the feeling that it could have been so much more had there been a villian with personality. A Doctor Doom if you will. Instead we got something more akin to the machines from The Matrix or ironically the angels from Evangelion.

  24. Will vote for the God-Empress

    Why: God is Watching

  25. >>Gurren Lagann is the only anime where I can suspend my disbelief while they are throwing galaxies.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I don’t know how it manages it, but it never fails to get me on the bandwagon cheering away for the main characters.

  26. >> If it is in the spirit of this blog to not question why an anime is enjoyable to someone, I guess that by extension, we should just enjoy the ride why the poll lasts and not care too much about why people vote for a series and not another, ne?

    You’ve missed my point…

    1. I approach this blog as a fan, and as such, enjoyment is very important.

    2. I’m approaching this post as a critic, because the fan in me can’t choose.

    3. As a fan, I also want this blog to be entertaining. Relevant discussion is more entertaining than lopsided 90/10 outcomes, ne?

    Anyway, voting should begin in ~2 hours if my dumb cron job works.

  27. Haruhi was an awesome show the first time I saw it. I admit, I really wanted to do the dance myself the first time I saw the ED and was pleasantly surprised when I saw it on YouTube. It was also the first series since Eva where I actually debated with people about the various aspects of the show.

    But still upon watching it again, I noticed some critical flaws. The basic problem with Haruhi is that since it’s a slice of life show with a bit of overarching plot, it slows down considerably in the middle of the show. It’s bookended by awesomeness, but the middle of the show is frankly boring. The entire detective arc was pretty boring (aside from imouto in a suitcase and Haruhi in the rain) and really detracted from the entire series overall. Also you get the sense that they were trying a little TOO hard to be cleaver with the ordering the show in a messed up order.

    Meanwhile Gurran never pretends to be more than it is. It doesn’t try hard to be deeper or add in pointless filler. It’s a non-stop adventure from beginning to end. The time slip allows it to incorporate multiple completely different styles to the show which are all extremely well done without being overdone and the plot is extremely consistent.

    Oh and funny enough it’s Haruhi which ends up having the ‘Gainax ending’ while Gurran is just a pretty damn satisfying ending which neatly wrapped up the plot.

    Because of all that I’d give Gurran the edge overall.

  28. My choice is simple. When I was watching TTGL, I was blown out by episodes 4 and 5, and stopped watching in disgust; therefore I missed the genius of the later episodes.

    Melancholy made NO such missteps. Yeah, the 9th/14th episode was bad. But it wasn’t “OMG, I can’t take any more bad!”

    At the end of every episode of Haruhi, I’d hear the music start up and go, “Damn! Noooooooooooooooo! The episode’s over!”

    At the end of every episode of TTGL (that I watched), I was going, “Um….ok. That had it’s moments, I guess.”

    I think it’s clear which show I will vote for; one that barely kept me watching for a few weeks cannot be voted for over a series that constantly left me wanting more. I acknowledge your point, Jason, and it’s a good one, but in the end, this is ENTERTAINMENT. Haruhi hit on all cylinders; TTGL misfired a lot.

  29. I honestly can’t think of any examples where “Kyoto really dumbed down and simplified Haruhi for anime consumption” with the key word being really.
    Lone Island Syndrome suffered, but I wouldn’t call it too important a change in the grand scheme of things, nor not explaining the exact details of Yuki’s teleportation hack in Day of Sagittarius. And having read all the novels I can, and frequently do go back to an episode of Haruhi and enjoy it.

    Sure the novels add a lot extra to the series, but I’m not sure how much of that is just because there are more of them. In the end you’ve got to take a chapter of around 10K-15K words and translate them into around 20 minutes viewing, and I think KyoAni did a good and faithful job of it within 14 episodes.

    I’d say it’s swings and roundabouts for adaptation vs original storyline. Adaptation isn’t easy to do well, look at JC Staff and its adaptation woes, horrible pacing issues (Shana 2), and horrible adaptation issues (Louise 1 & 2). And the background noise of each season is filled with all sorts of crap from both camps.

    When the studio writes the script itself it needs a lot more creativity, but in that case it’s their story so it is (…or should be anyway…) written with an episodic format in mind, and they can control the pace, keeping it balanced throughout the run, not letting things get too settled. And if you don’t have the creative guys who can do that then I see no shame in not trying to do so.

    Gainax took a risk, and did well with it, but I’m still voting on the anime’s story, not the story of the anime’s story.

  30. My problem with Haruhi is that when it ends, I feel that is should just begin. Which is probably true since the series only covered the first part of many light novels. So in ten years when there’s been five seasons of Haruhi and a lot of things I can’t yet even imagine have happened in Haruhi, I would say that it’s a better series. Probably. But when look just the first season and compare it to the self-contained story and mindblowing awesomeness of Gurren Lagann, I can only say that Haruhi feels incomplete and a preview of things to come. A very entertaining one and surely worth of the praise it gets, but it doesn’t use its full potential yet. So it’s Gurren Lagann for me.

  31. I think your best point Jason was where you said at the beginning that no matter which you choose, you can rest assured that you are making an excellent choice.

    For myself, I will vote Haruhi, but I cannot fault anyone who chooses TTGL, and I would hope that no one choosing TTGL faults anyone who sides with Haruhi. They are both excellent incredible shows and I can’t think of any other matchup I’d rather see in the championship.

    Some people will reach into their inner critic and depending on their inner critic will side with one or the other. As Neriya pointed out, adaptations are by no means solid deals as comparisons inevitably come into it.

    I enjoyed both shows thoroughly though and I refuse to judge anyone who decides to side with Yoko(or Darry) over Haruhi.

    This post needed a good shot of Yoko though imo =X

  32. Although I originally started reading this blog because of Haruhi, it’s because of this blog that I watched Gurren Lagann. A tough choice indeed.

  33. I can see why some people would think that the Haruhi anime is a little dumbed down because the character of Kyon in the books is subtly different from the one in the anime. Anime Kyon has always struck me as a voice of sanity in an obviously insane world. Light novel Kyon is more like someone who is desperately trying to convince himself that the world should exist in a certain “normal’ state, even though deep inside of him he wants the crazy world he finds himself in.

    It’s no mistake that the chronological intro is about how Kyon used to wish for a crazy world, but that now he doesn’t believe in any of it. The feeling that Kyon is lying to himself is something that comes out of his narration vs his actions, for example he always narrates that he doesn’t understand what’s happening but it’s obvious that he knows exactly what is going on most of the time, or how he consciously gets bad grades but seems to have an encyclopedia’s worth of knowledge. This is not something that Kyoto really brings out in the anime to the same extent, and to me the fact that Kyon is trying to act a certain way that he thinks he should even though his true nature is something else is the major theme of the novels. When the anime can’t porttray the main theme of the source, then someone who likes the source is going to be a little disappointed and can understandably feel like it has been ‘dumbed down’ a little, even if the adaptation is still excellent overall.

  34. Jason, I think you just basically stated all my problems with the Haruhi anime. Thank you.

    However, it still gets my vote over Gurren Lagann.

    Even if KyoAni will NEVER produce a second season…

  35. I love both these shows, but while I rewatch Haruhi over and over, I never really get the urge to go back to Gurren Lagann. Given that, the choice for me is simple.

  36. Rationally, I’ll have to give the nod to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (TTGL).

    Despite initial reservations, TTGL excelled, re-invigorating the anime experience for myself and friends. The epic storyline and relentless pacing that continually pressed forward offered a sense of progress and change that repeated viewings of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (MoHS) just cannot touch. With the exception of Ryoko “taking a leave of absence”, nothing was really persistent throughout the series, hence the feasibility of the re-ordering. Granted the execution was always top-notch and the attention to detail was staggering and greatly appreciated. However, I found MoHS had an episodic nature that ultimately limited its greatness. A more cynical person would say nothing really “happened” in MoHS, information was just revealed, whereas in TTGL the world was literally changed, and more.

    The pacing and progress are just some of the reasons that Gurren Lagann takes the crown in my book.

    Hopefully my rambling made some sense :x

  37. I can understand why Haruhi will win in the end. It has great characters, brilliant writing and a fantastic premise.

    Gurren-Lagann is a bit more opaque, being a sci-fi show with giant robots. It’s not as obviously deep as Haruhi, though it also tackles some pretty interesting themes. It’s harder to get the message behind the hectic pace and flashy animation. They also went with an ending that pissed a LOT of fans.

    TTGL still gets my vote, because it does something anime almost never does nowadays. Go somewhere and have a definite ending.

    While Haruhi’s setup hardly changes, TTGL’s universe is in constant flux; Simon goes through a series of life-changing experiences that take him from an illiterate kid litterally living in a hole to leader of humanity’s struggle for it’s freedom. The heroes not only defeat obstacles put in their way, but inspire others to do the same. The world itself is changed in a very real way.

    For all this and because Gainax dared to take risks, Gurren-Lagann gets my vote.

  38. For some reason I couldn’t get through TTGL in its entirety, and thus Haruhi wins by default. I’m sure I will go back and watch TTGL, but the fact that I was able to “stop” around episode 12 without clawing for new episodes is somewhat telling in my opinion. Hell, I go crazy when Shion No Ou episodes are a few days late lol.

    Just by the way I would disagree with Jason about Air , I really enjoyed that anime =P

  39. I’ve never re-watched Haruhi. I enjoyed it, but it felt like it was lacking something. When I reflected on why I didn’t seem to latch onto it as well as most people seem to, I came upon a few conclusions.

    The characters remain rather poorly developed, especially if you show the episodes in the chronological order. Kyon is still Kyon, Haruhi is still Haruhi, and everybody’s basically the same… except for Nagato. She’s the only character that visibly develops, and that’s why she’s my favorite. She was the only character that was interesting beyond their immediate “viewer hooks.” While the characters are nuanced and defined with detail that the audience loves to latch onto, they’re also ultimately “safe.” They just don’t change, so there’s no chance of them changing or growing into something that doesn’t grasp that sort of “instant appeal” that makes or breaks the show.

    The plot of Haruhi is also more of a suggestion of a plot than an actual plot. Haruhi isn’t about what happens, it’s about the narrative. How the story unfolds, not what story is unfolding. But even then, watching it either in televised order or in chronological order, it’s clear that the narrative itself is as simple as “get interesting characters into slice-of-life hijinks.”

    It’s a simple fun, but it wasn’t anything that could justify my voting for it as the best show ever.

    Now… on to why I voted for TTGL, and why it’s a damned shame that it’s losing to Haruhi.

    I’ve read some comments that indicate many people believe Gurren Lagann is fun, but it’s a simple, emotional, unintellectual fun. And that Haruhi is the more intelligent of the two, in comparison. I feel I have to take a counter-snob stance to this intellectual snobbery, as is our way and tradition on the Internets.

    In terms of intellectual strengths, I will challenge the institution, stand up before the Church, and fight the powaa. I hereby put forth the position that Gurren Lagann stands as a finer work to present in intelligent discussion, while Haruhi is an comparatively shallow work, suitable for those who wish to project their own philosophical educations, and egos, upon it without regard for its own merits. (I’m being mean here because it’s the only way to get people’s attention. Such is the way of the internet.)

    This sounds absurd at first glance. One is an emotionally charged, action-packed throwback to hotblooded 1970’s super robot shows, the other is a philosophical smorgasbord of interesting subtleties, interesting ideas, woven from the threads of interesting and endearing characters. One is so… simple. The other is so… interesting. How could something so interesting be shallow?

    Simple. When you stand up and present intellectually interesting ideas up front to the audience, you catch the attention of people looking for something to tickle their thinking caps. If you hide your thoughtfulness and understanding under layers of metaphor, structure, planning, and narrative–and if said layers all have a more visceral, immediate appeal that most intellectually-celebrated works possess–said people will at first glance write you off as fluff.

    However, the show that stood up and presented its intellectually intriguing ideas did not follow through on them. Philosophy, contemplation, reflection, these all exist to flavor an otherwise simple story (and speaking only of the arc depicted in the anime, this is true). What thoughts it possesses exist primarily as hooks for “plot twists” and to create a context for characters and a story that, without the intellectual appeal afforded by said context, are a simple harem setup in a slice of life story. This is enough for most people. The instant appeal is there, the show and characters themselves are nuanced enough (if developmentally flat throughout the arc) that people can notice these nuances and appreciate them, and the whole thing is lovable enough that you just want to see more.

    And if I had never watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, I would have voted Haruhi in a heartbeat.

    But I watched it. The appeal was less apparent in comparison to Haruhi. This possessed the visual stangeness of certain other Gainax works. The premise was as simple as any other “boy meets robot” show, there were no intellectually stimulating tidbits to inform viewers that what they’re watching would be any deeper or more meaningful than what was presented before them. This was a show without pretense, with only the juvenile appeal of giant robots, a buxom girl barely covering herself, and hotblooded–if not entirely logical–courage. Gurren Lagann did not need to advertise its thoughtfulness or intelligence–it could stand alone on the story it was going to tell. But the thoughtfulness, the intellect, was all there; just working behind the scenes.

    The entire structure of the plot and narrative was created using an idea carried consistently and logically through the course of its run. The Spiral is more than just a running motif, it was the root of the story’s very foundations, a point that grows larger and more grand as it spins outward. The themes inferred from the Spiral motif, and the Spiral power (the manifest universal force of evolution as fueled by fighting spirit, the will to live, and love–silly as it sounds it makes perfect sense when you’re eased into it by a well-crafted narrative) setting element that provides much of the internal justification for the heroics of the protagonist, all subtly slide more depth and thought into what would be a simpler show, tying into the greater structure reflected in its story arcs. How Gainax takes this silly little idea, and follows through on it, ties in with how they reflect upon the entire history of the robot show, super, real, or otherwise.

    The episode arcs reflect not only individual characters, nor the state of mind of the hero, but also the history of robot anime itself. From the roots of the genre as the Super Robot as superhero against the monster of the week, to the development of the genre as the Real Robot as one tool of war against many, to the Deconstruction of the super robot through depression and despair, all culminating in the drill turning full circle with a Reconstruction–a return to what makes a super robot so damned super. This is especially appropriate when one considers that Gainax was also the studio that started the Deconstruction and dark ages of the robot genre. And they know it.

    The entire point of a deconstruction is to take a work or genre apart to see the bare truths sitting under the surface, truths that the genre itself may have ignored in favor of following its own conventions. (With Evangelion, the deconstruction started with a simple question: What kind of father would abandon his son, only to show up years later to demand that he pilot some gigantic bipedal weapon, anyway? It carried through fueled with its own director’s troubles and manifested a self-contained world of dysfunction and despair.) But the point of Reconstruction is to take a deconstructed work or genre and rebuild it. To celebrate its roots, yes, but also to build anew for generations to follow. All of this, and more, was woven seamlessly into Gurren Lagann’s story and themes. This was one such idea Gainax followed through on, all the way up to the end. And the justification of the reconstruction were the ideas they tied into the Spiral energy theme, themselves the very ideas that made the Super Robot genre–indeed, what made lots of hotblooded anime–what it was to begin with.

    While lacking the sort of snob appeal of existentialism, entities akin to the Q Continuum, alternate takes on the concept of time and time travel, or questions regarding God and the universe that people like to think about… these ideas and thoughts were built and carried through the whole of the work, not merely existing as convenient cosmological blurbs to have a cute non-traditional-male esper ruminate on when the action slows down. Gurren Lagann had something to say and said it, a thesis in favor of hope as opposed to despair–the opposite of modern day cynicism. Haruhi didn’t really want to say anything, it just wanted to be loved as something pretty, witty, and smart. And boy, was it loved.

    Haruhi may have had something of a backlash due to its loud and wide fanbase, but not the sort of backlash that Gurren Lagann recieved. Perhaps because Haruhi was not complete–a moment frozen in time, a beautiful adolescence that will not leave us. Even at the end, everybody’s still there, still having misadventures, and just waiting for us to catch up to them. On the other hand, Gurren Lagann ended. That was that. There’s room for a franchise, but the characters we watched grow, change, and sometimes even fade away… their story is done.

    People don’t like to be depressed, people don’t like it when the lovely dream ends and the waking life continues. I would say that Haruhi, as it continues on without ending, falls victim to this desire. The juvenile desire not to end the dream, the rose-colored adolescence we enjoy and indulge in. The show ended without a real conclusion, and the only bad thing anyone had to say about it was that “They want MOAR.”

    Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was the opposite. Characters come and go, heroes rise and fall, and life goes on. Even in the middle of the series’ run, there was a dramatic timeskip that showed the consequences of the Gurren-dan’s actions. Most importantly, something happened that didn’t in Haruhi–things changed. Gainax didn’t just take a risk by writing original material, they took a gamble on everything at that point. To deny the childish desire to maintain the illusion of a beautiful adolescence, and to move forward with adulthood. Without the timeskip, Gurren Lagann would simply have been a “good” show. But by stepping forward and showing the “what happened after,” Gainax turned it into a Great show. A world and the characters within become more real, more than simple images and words, when you show that they exist beyond the box of expectations previously built up around them.

    The epilogue sums up the maturity and thoughtfulness woven into Gurren Lagann’s tapestry, even if some people found it somewhat more depressing for their tastes–I had a heavy heart seeing what became of the survivors I cared so deeply for. The adolescence ended, the heroes’ story is over. This isn’t like Haruhi, a serial that you can keep looking forward to, maintaining the dream and never waking up. In Gurren Lagann, you wake up and face the new day. I’ll repeat it here, because they did too: They were paving the way for new generations, not just in a reconstructed genre, but for the characters in the continuity itself. It takes more than just courage to do what was done in Gurren Lagann, it takes the willingness to follow through on the ideas and themes they presented.


    Well, I’m a bit too tired, and this comment is a bit too long, for me to really continue on. I’m entering pure ramble mode, and there are FAR more qualified minds to argue these points. I’m just glad Jason threw his moral support behind TTGL.

    Judging the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi for the show itself, it’s hard to compare it to a masterpiece like Gurren Lagann. It’s a bit telling that a show juggling so many complex and intellectually stimulating ideas isn’t as willing to follow through on its ideas as a show that only presents itself as a simple boy-meets-robot-and-saves-world story. Same goes for the maturity with which they’re willing to treat their characters.

    In voting only on the shows, and not on any material surrounding the shows, I can’t in good conscience vote anything other than Gurren Lagann. Emotionally, intellectually, and just plain fanboyishly, I want to believe in the drill that is a drill that pierces the heavens.

    P.S. I also agree with JohnG about how Kyoto handled Kyon–he’s less interesting only being a snark, without the depth of his inner self lending a greater context to his character as a whole.

    P.P.S. I also think Nia’s death was a bit excessive. She died basically so Gainax could reiterate their point though Simon’s acceptance of her death… But at least they had a point, and we can be content in knowing that she and Simon had known happiness in their time together.

    P.P.P.S. Also, damage done to our hearts by Old Yoko was swiftly undone by the release of the Yoko gravure book. Well played, Gainax. Well played.

    P.P.P.P.S. Isn’t it odd that the most interesting fanworks of either involve swapping genders? Well, one’s interesting and entertaining, the other’s interesting in a more disturbing way. Well, bring on Kyonko, I say. Please leave aniki alone, though. Just focus on Kyonko, Japan! And Haruki. If it had been the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruki, I’d probably have loved the show enough to vote for it instead.

    P.P.P.P.P.S. As an aside to the above ramble: Please stop messing with Nia and Simon. Bastards.

    This has been my day’s emotionally-charged ramble. Torpedo me as you wish, for that is the way of the internet and I deserve every bit of anger you might choose to direct towards me. Until this point, there weren’t really any hard-feelings over the voting issue. But then I got hard feelings and decided to hard them on you! So hah.

  40. Peshaah! Totally stole my thunder man. Beyond the immediate attention grabbers, Haruhi just felt…flat, Compared to Gurren. So pretty much what ^ said, just condensed. Gurren gets my vote.

  41. I guess that if we’re only considering the anime, Gurren Lagann is a lot better from a storytelling standpoint.

    However, I found Haruhi a lot more FUN.

    But that’s just me.

  42. While I really enjoyed ttgl and its now one of my favorites. I liked ttgl because in a way it reminded me of Flcl (which I love) but I’m voting Haruhi because 1) Haruhi is much hotter than simon 2) It was always fun for me and never boring(gurren lagann dragged on for a bit for me) 3) did I mention haruhi’s hottness????

    Really I wanted fumoffu to win(all time favorite) but my next choice was haruhi with gurren-lagann a very close third(because flcl wasn’t an option)

  43. TTGL get my vote for one reason and one reason only: It made me fall in lov with anime again. Haruhi was entertaining, clever, and a all around good ride but in the end Lagann made me fill like a kid again. Anything was possible. Heaven is no obstacle. SPIN ON!!!! When I watched Gurren Lagann it was….just magic. This was the feeling an old, faithful anime watcher was missing. That feeling of excitement…of newness that the new school just couldn’t provide.

    Yeah two great series but I can’t help but to be just a little sad to see TTGL losing (even if its only by a little)

  44. This is my first post here, but so much interesting stuff has been said on this topic that I thought I’d contribute my two cents.

    When I first saw the brackets for this tournament, I predicted that Haruhi and TTGL would meet in the final (if only my March Madness Bracket would go so well. Why Duke, why?) Both shows were terrific, with great characters, art, etc. Despite what Jason and others have said, my vote’s going to Haruhi, for a number of reasons.

    1. Epicness. If I’m grading the shows merely by the number of times I went OMGTHATSEPIC, Haruhi wins by a mile. TTGL is often described as “epic”, but there were so many incredible scenes in Haruhi– God Knows, the space battle, Yuki vs. Asakura, the final kiss, even Haruhi and Kyon walking in the rain, in a quiet way. When Haruhi was at it’s best, it was absolutely sensational.

    2. Consistency. Even when Haruhi wasn’t incredible, it was still damn good. My least favorite episode, by far, was Lone Island Syndrome 2, and even that episode was better than 90% of other Anime episodes. I’ve rewatched all the Haruhi episodes multiple times, and they’re all good, if not great. TTGL had multiple episode dull stretches. I just feel that Kyoto got everything they possibly could out of 14 episodes, while parts of TTGL (small parts) were just flat out mediocre.

    I think that some people are treating Kyoto Animation a bit unfairly. Yes, Haruhi has better source material than TTGL, so maybe Kyoto had less of a mountain to climb. But better source material is one of the reasons I think I enjoyed Haruhi more. Not Kyoto’s fault if they get better material to work with.

    Also, I totally disagree with the notion that Kyoto Animation didn’t take risks. Just look at the first episode. Creating a deliberately terrible first impression for a new show from a small studio takes serious balls. I also thought that the crazy mixed up order was another huge risk. Lot’s of people didn’t like it, I thought it worked excellently. Gainax did a great job with TTGL ,but Kyoto did a great job with Haruhi as well.

    What I’ve been most impressed with by Haruhi is that Kyoto managed to make it very attractive to multiple audiences. Lot’s of people loved it because it was fun and crazy and had amusing charachters. By the show is also far more subtle than it appears.

    I’ll give you a random example. At the end of “Someday in the Rain” Kyon is confused by having two cardigans on him. One would probably be enough to keep him warm, so what’s up with two? That tiny scene shows:
    a. Nagato’s emotional development. She cares about Kyon enough to give him her cardigan and, more importantly, understands humans well enough to understand that that’s what Kyon wants.
    b. Haruhi’s mindset. She cannot allow any competition for Kyon’s affection, and is willing to suffer being cold to demonstrate her own affection by equaling Nagato’s move.
    c. Kyon’s confusion. He first assumes Mikuru gave him the cardigan, not Nagato. That can be interpreted multiple ways, etc.

    You learn a lot from a thirty second scene. And for me, it’s all the glances and tiny details that show the work Kyoto put into this. I personally feel you MUST watch Haruhi at least twice (once broadcast, once chronologically), to understand it at all. Which brings me to point 3:
    3. Replayability. For me at least, Haruhi never gets old. It’s such a vivacious show (well, so is TTGL) that I could watch it over and over and never get bored. Having a show be this popular a year and a half after it’s release says something. Haruhi is a lot more than sarcasm and bunny girls.

    I’m a relative newcomer to Anime. My first show was Death Note, my second Haruhi. And while I liked Death Note a lot, looking back it doesn’t seem so special to me. Haruhi did and does. Gurren Lagann was a blast, but it just doesn’t hold a special place in my heart.

    For the God- empress! :p

  45. Oh… Crap…..

    *head explodes in a shower of burned flesh*

    Cant…. Choose…. Either….. Way….

  46. Wow, there are some epic walls of text here…

  47. I’ve seen argument after argument explaining why Gurren Lagann is the better choice , and all any one can do in favor of Haruhi is roll over like some kind of dog and praise it. I’ve seen both multiple times…Gurren Lagann is deeper, more multinuanced, communicates its central motif better (Haruhi is really vague on it’s motif), viscerally more entertaining, and does not have a girly dance. It has a manly rap (better Music period actually, there’s no jazz in Haruhi either). And most of the characters change and evolve with time except for Kamina’s (which is good, because he’s the ideological foundation of the show).

    If FMP or Azumanga Daioh had made it, I would have STILL voted GL. They’re both absolutely amazing in their own right, but they weren’t original. Though the Lambda Driver and the spiral have some similarities.

    Gurren Lagann is also ridiculously entertaining. There’s not one person alive whose current circumstances aren’t better than their wildest dreams. Haruhi entertained, but NEVER inspired or uplifted.

  48. >>Wow, there are some epic walls of text here…

    Most of them in favor of Gurren Lagann, too.

    And yet, Haruhi is still winning.

    God’s in Her Heaven, All’s Right With the World, eh?

  49. >>God’s in Her Heaven, All’s Right With the World, eh?

    EVA flashbacks. Second half of series. Bad times.

    Thanks a lot, buddy.

    Already resigned myself to seeing The Power of Love and Fighting Spirit lose to Bunny Girls and Dancing, but now I’m getting flashbacks to ‘Nam Shinji. That’s not right, man. Not right like a Bad Sandwich.

  50. Mmm… I think I’d prefer a Gurren Lagann banner.

  51. >> Haruhi entertained, but NEVER inspired or uplifted.

    Going to have to resoundingly disagree with that one. As a total cynic who probably shared a lot in common with Kyon at the start of the series, Haruhi simply spoke to me in a way that resonated. I’d gladly type a wall of text to back that up, but it’s late and it’s Easter tomorrow, so I really ought to get to bed soon.

  52. Both these series are made of win and awesome. There are no losers, because either way, we the fans have certainly won.

    Of course, we can’t vote for both, like we did last round…

    That said, Haruhi gets my vote. While Jason’s argument about the security of adaptation versus the crap shoot of anime originality certainly has its points, there is one large flaw in the argument. There is no security in adaptations. Our memories and Recycle Bins are littered with the decaying carcasses of poorly adapted anime. While it’s true that adding the geniuses at KyoAni to the adaptation equation tilts things in the favor of success and quality, there is never any guarantee (see Clannad). On the flip side, for an original series to make it to the screen, it has to have something good there to begin with, or else it will never see the light of day. All an adaptation has to have is popularity—very much not the same thing.

    And what an adaptation it was… While not perfect, there were numerous and consistant moments of brilliance. KyoAni heavily involved the original author in the production, as they had done with great success with their FMP! licenses, and it makes you wonder why so many failed adaptations don’t do the same. Where they did deviate from the source material, the results were largely exceptional, the successes ranging from the inspired (Asahina Mikuru no Bouken Ep 00) to the brilliant (Someday in the Rain) to the epic (Day of Sagittarius) to the legendary (Live Alive). The only real failure in adaptation were the Lone Island episodes, where they tried to add moé, parody, and a slight (but notable) change of story to make up for an inability to use a fair amount of the source material (d-drunk kids are bad, mmkay…), and the result was a bit sub-par. Sub-par to the novel readers, that is, as the vast majority of the “unwashed” probably had no problem whatsoever.

    As for the vast majority, which was as close to a shot for shot adaptation as you’re likely to ever see without a “Frank Miller’s” in front of it or a one-eyed Eddie Bauer-clad wandering pimp in it, it was perfect. The guys at KyoAni are absolute geniuses when it comes to composition, effects, consistency, detail, and most of all, just sitting back and letting the source work for itself. That’s one of the reasons why Gurran Lagann was so good, as well, was the incredible source material, but the fact that GL’s source material was itself does little to diminish KyoAni’s result still being better.

    I’m just still pissed that Mushishi didn’t make the final four. Talk about another stellar adaptation…

  53. @Dorian Cornelius Jasper

    Wow. At 2259 words, I take my hat off to you sir.

    I wouldn’t particularly say that Haruhi is the more intellectual of the two, nor really see why people are putting philosophic ideas at the very core of Haruhi. Sure the basic idea of Haruhi as a god is one, but that’s not an underlying theme that the show or even the novels are focussed on, it’s just a premise postulated by Itsuki’s agency, and which just happens to describe Haruhi’s abilities well, and why she’s so dangerous.

    Fans can speculate on who’s the real power in the world, and on the true nature of Haruhi, and maybe with Sasaki’s advent in book 9 the novels are moving in more of that direction, but in the series itself and the novels pre-9 it’s really only Itsuki and his love of discussing philosophy at Kyon that bring any of that to the series itself.

    We don’t get an epic romp from digging holes in the ground to throwing universes around, with a fixed end point that the characters all grow and change to meet, but that’s just the large differences in source material and episode count. Despite this I really saw something new and refreshing in Haruhi, mainly thanks to the solid, refreshing main cast of characters. Kyon and Haruhi were the main mould-breakers of character archetypes, but Yuki, Mikuru and Itsuki all bring something interesting to the table. These real focus of the show are these characters, and how they deal with the situations that Haruhi thrusts them into, and this was what I enjoyed every week as it aired. I just can’t say quite the same thing about GL.

  54. I think Gurren Lagann is more enjoyable than Haruhi. I Love the Haruhi anime, but I really think that the anime’s main purpose is to SELL and with Haruhi, hell.. when i go to an anime event, and they talk about Haruhi, they all know the Hare Hare Yukai, and some of them even don’t know that Hare Hare Yukai is from Haruhi ._. and because of that i prefer the light novels from haruhi than the Kyoto adaptation.
    With Gurren Lagann, it’s pure epicness, the series itself is Spiral energy, who doesn’t want to be Simon?! it’s an anime that not only brought back the Gainax that we loved, it’s an anime that will be remembered. It will stay in my heart my whole life.
    When I get older maybe i will forget Haruhi Suzumiya, the anime about the girl who has the power to change the world and doesn’t know, But i will never forget Gurren lagann, the anime about Simon The Driller, the kid from underground who saved humanity because he never gave up.
    I hope i explained myself, because i’m from Chile and i speak spanish.
    oh, and Jason, your blog is the best xD every one of my friends reads it every day.

  55. Everything I love in anime, I found in Gurren Lagann.
    Everything I love in books, I continue to find in Suzumiya Haruhi.

    Both are immensely likeable shows, and I forgive any of the striking flaws they’ve demonstrated. They both absolutely deserved to be in this final ranking. But even as much as I adore the SOS-Dan, I find myself enjoying the novels more than the anime. After shedding a tear for the stunning “Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” chapter, I was both happy to see the story have such vibrancy, but frustrated that it would take so much more budget, time and material to see it animated.
    As an artist, an animation student, and a fan, I HAVE TO vote for anything that takes complete advantage of it’s medium, establishes it’s theme so thoroughly, embodies and pays homage it’s genre in full, presenting an epic, 100+ episodes worth of content & character in a quarter of that time. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a landmark to me, as both dedicated fans love it and people who otherwise wouldn’t LOOK at anime enjoy it.

    Thus, my vote stands. TTGL.

  56. Based on the exit polls, the prestigious Mustang News Network (MNN) calls it for Haruhi.

  57. Voted for Haruhi because I enjoyed it more. While TTGL is great, I dislike the philosophy that it portraits, i.e. that every problem can be solved by sheer determination and guts. I know that things don’t work this way IRL, so I feel a bit cheated when Kamina “kicks the reason to the curb” and emerges victorious against impossible odds.

  58. Son Gohan:
    Just to make sure, you did realize what happened to Kamina, correct?

    TTGL has characters confront the consequences of their actions, which seems all too rare.

  59. Can’t believe so many of these posts are tl;dr.

    In conclusion, just read the first response and vote Haruhi!

  60. its allready decided but its sad
    the votes should get to TTGL because there will never be anything else to compare with, at least thats the feeling i have

    its beyond my imaginaing how something could be more epic than TTGL

    when i think about haruhi, its a good series but …

    i know animes which are more fun like fumoffu, school rumble, azumanga
    i know animes which i would call more intelligent like hanbai renmei
    because it has no “real plot” i have to compare with other periodic animes and i rather whatch a 100 times some random Cowboy bebob ep than a Haruhi ep

    well all i want to say is that i dont think that anything that was shown on haruhi ( except of the homemade vid “Mikuru run run” ep, but thats just 1 ep) is somewhat unique and can not be topped or repeadet in some parts in another series

  61. Person at Engrish: What’s really hurting TTGL is its weak ending. You have this central them throughout the series (kick reason to the curb and do the impossible) and you just toss it aside like trash. Typical Gainax, eh?

    Haruhi, on the other hand, had a very strong finish.

    By the way, the “out of order” episodes was pretty unique, was it not? I haven’t seen a series that has done that successfully. Kodos, KyouAni.

  62. In the realm of totally useless information, the main traps have been entered into the nomination phase of the International SaiMoe League 2008 being put on my AnimeSuki.
    Jun Watarase is the lead trap at 72nd place with 19 points to his name. Mizuho Miyanokouji trails behind at 124th place with 8 points to his name while Mako-cakes is right behind him at 125th palce and 7 points to his name.

    Kyou and Kotomi have secured their place in the tournament with superior moe (1st and 2nd by a large margin). Chiaki Minami is a potental entry at 14th place, though Haruka is amazing is far behind around 33rd place. Nai was docked for fraud and still is in 28th place. The top 17 nominations will be in the tournament along with the top 16 place winners from the various SaiMoes of 2006 and 2007.

    This is of course mostly useless information…it is late and I’m not thinking very well with the dizzing pace of 20 new pages of Kyonko and company in 12 hours.

  63. So, here’s the thing.

    These walls of text, all these comments, I read ’em all. Which, in hindsight, was a bad move, as I just finished Gurren Lagann. Spoilers, such as so-and-so’s death and their impact on the story should of been avoided. I’m the type that the writers aim for – I really can’t predict what was to happen at the end.

    Yes, you heard right, I finished Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann just now.

    So, was it a bad idea for me to vote for Haruhi before seeing the fullness that is Gurren Lagann? Would finishing seeing the show affect my vote? Do I regret voting without finishing the opposing force?

    Well, yes and no.

    As a lot has been said, I’m not, nor in any power to repeat anything that’s been said. Personally, I agree with most – KyoAni did have a firm story to build on. Therefore, Haruhi came out to be somewhat calculated gamble. Gainax, on the other hand, took the risk to make a completely new story. And it paid off. I agree that Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann will go down as Gainax’s finest moment yet.

    However, as it’s been said, I don’t think I’ll remember a lot of Gurren Lagann aside from “drill that will pierce the heavens” and “who the hell do you think I am?”. Kudos to Gainax for making a story and going through with it, but I think I’ll remember Haruhi a lot better than Gurren. Why? Well, first is that taste differs for person to person – you can’t really force it, nor change what an individual likes or dislikes. Each to their own, right? Second, I suppose what someone said above holds true to this reason as well – Haruhi is left open, for the adventures to continue. They are still “on-going”, left in time until KyoAni decides to animate again (this fall, hopefully). Gurren has finished. There will be no more ‘drill that will pierce the heavens’. Third, Kyonko had me half-way over to the base in the first place. Please, Tanigawa, listen to this crowd and write a story where they they swap sexes for a day or something. I don’t care, I want to see Noizi Ito art of Kyonko.

    So I don’t regret my vote. I do admit voting off-handedly was a bad move, but I don’t think I would of changed my vote, given the chance.

  64. TTGL takes my vote because:

    1. It has renewed my waning interest and regard of anime.

    2. It has also destroyed my hopes of finding series which can top it.

    3. Haruhi just didn’t do it for me.

  65. The only reason I’m not feeling jubilant, but more…melancholic, is that Gurren Lagann feels so much more associated with this blog than Haruhi. I love Haruhi to pieces, and I’m happy that it’s winning, but it’s going to feel a bit strange with a Haruhi banner on top of this blog.

  66. When I think of Haruhi, I think “enjoyable… what was it about again?”

    When I think of TTGL… well really, all I need to hear is Libera Me From Hell. Instant tears of GAR will form as I remember Kittan’s last speech, the creation of Chouginga Gurren Lagann, Simon bending space & time, Viral’s sweet dream, fights that shatter the universe.

    What I’m saying is that TTGL has a hold in my heart stronger than any movie, series, book, ANY MEDIA I’ve ever been in touch with. It won’t let go, and I’ll be damned if anything can ever make me forget it.

  67. Well… if we’re going to talk about which anime affected people more, it will have to be SHnY. In my opinion, one of SHnY’s greatest strengths is that it identifies with people’s constant desire to live out their own fantasies.

    Best of all, it provides several points of view for people. Haruhi for those who want to mould the world into their own image, Kyon for those who love the snark, Itsuki for those who like to philosophise, etc… And so it becomes easy for viewers to empathise and get totally engrossed by it, because it can be said to be our “story”.

    TTGL on the other hand, is Simon’s story. Watching his growth and ascension is exciting and fulfilling, but at the end of the day, it is more about sympathy than empathy.

    SHnY is a “what-if” scenario, and that is another of its strength as it allows the audience to fully engage their creative imagination on the possibilities. TTGL’s story is unchangeable and thus will slowly fade away due to lack of fresh input.

    The fan-material generation alone should be an indication on which series has ignited the flames of passion more in anime-fans. Simon may have Spiral Power, but Haruhi empowered her fans instead; and that is why I will be supporting SHnY in this vote.

    God Is A Girl


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