Tengan Toppan Gurren Lagann: A message of hope for the new millennium
(This is actually a series review.)
Yes people I actually spent the Lupercalia (or St. Valentine’s Day to most people around the world) marathoning this show.
…Where do I begin? It’s apparently very hard to start describing the greatness of this show. I could begin by saying it was a great piece of animation from start to finish, had some rather good writing, memorable characters (in both personality and looks), epic mecha porn (lol), and generally lived up to expectations. For me, that means HOLY CRAP THIS SHOW IS GOOD.
Unfortunately, that generic praise only scratches the surface of a series whose awesomeness has to be seen to be believed. It’s that good of a show. Heck, if it made a ton of money in DVD sales, I’d hazard to call it a milestone in animé history. because it has all the hallmarks of it.
I’ll admit it’s not a perfect piece of work. Episode 4 stirred up a massive shitstorm because it was, by otaku standards, a crap episode. Personally, I thought it wasn’t that bad an episode in terms of story. some people complained the post-timejump storyline was weak. I found it a bit typical, but it’s execution was brilliant, the typicalness of it was washed away in a flurry of galaxy-flinging epic robot battle. People thought the ending was WTF, and I don’t blame them. Most of them watched Eva at some point in their lives and wanted something like Eva’s EoE ending (aka Simon kills them all). I’ll talk about that below. And Boota turning human was completely WTF. Cute molehamsters should remain cute molehamsters unless the other form is hawt shotabait.
But going beyond the obvious, there is a message. One that we all should take notice before whining over minor quibbles like episode 4 and the mild weakness of the timejump or even the ending.
It is a message of hope. A message of hope in a new millennium steeped in despair. Despair that was depicted in Eva. If anything, Gurren Lagann tells us a fundamental message: Don’t give up hope. As seen in the series, the cast of Gurren lagann is cast into all sorts of situations that would drive them to despair. From Simon’s initial encounter to the crushing truth about the dangers of Spiral energy, did he sit back, mope in a corner and listen to Linkin Park all day? Actually, he did mope around for a while. But there was always someone to pick him up, tell him that all is not lost, and that as long as he had hope, things would always turn out for the best. Even if he had to be slugged to do so.
Of course the journey would never be smooth-sailing (ROSSIU LIED, PEOPLE ALMOST DIED, SIMON LOSES NIA, KAMINA DIES, KITTAN DIES, etc), life never was all that smooth in the first place. We make mistakes, we fuck up every once in a while. We aren’t perfect beings. However, we can’t just sit around moping forever. We are not like that spineless Ikari flaming pussy faggot. Inside, we are pretty much like Simon, an indomitable fighting spirit that may be dampened, but never broken.
Every scene, every action, it is all scripted to portray hope. Even despair is used to show this. The very same despair that plagues Eva and this world, it is used to show a fundamental truth: Even in the darkest hour, hope springs eternal. Even the ending served to show that. Simon entrusted the future of Earth and the Universe to the people he trusted AND hoped would make the future happen, instead of, let’s say, blowing the Universe up? I know a ton of people wanted this, but it goes to show how steeped in despair these people are. For Simon, the hero of the Universe, to put his hopes on people who, as we have seen, could very well fuck up and fail, is the best embodiment of hope. That, my friends, is the best example to Kamina’s words. Simon kicked reason to the curb, believed in them that believed in him, and did the impossible. It was a most fitting ending.
As a post-Reformation Protestant Christian, I tend to see this outpouring of hope in a completely different light than most people. I have been taught that I am a messenger of good news, etc, but oddly enough, I don’t see many Christians feeling that way. It’s like they know, but they don’t feel that way. It’s a rather strange observation, I admit, but it’s true. It does not matter what denomination the sod belongs to, the general sentiment is the same. Today’s Christian is, unfortunately, sorely lacking in hope and good faith.
What sets Christianity apart from all other religions is a message of hope. It’s the same message shown in Gurren Lagann, but told differently. And yet, instead of kicking reason to the curb and believing in hope (and God), we have become what we feared. We have become like the Pharisees, caring about our outside appearances, but on the inside, we are nothing but depraved creatures. (Don’t lecture me about human nature and instincts, but when things go bad, people revert back to animal instincts in order to stay alive, and when times are good, people resort to their animal instincts to ensure that the good times stay, what does that say about human nature, eh?)
It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Buddhist, or even atheist. The humanist message of hope in Gurren Lagann is meant for all. Watch it, and be forever renewed in the belief of hope.
PS: Post-timejump Ginny is very, very hittable. As is a fair amount of the female cast. But mostly Ginny 😛 have I mentioned I would hit on post-timejump Ginny?
PPS: You may now proceed with the zombie Kamina jokes and about him wanting Simon’s spleen 😛