Monday, May 11, 2015

Gurren Lagann Ep3: Who Do You Think You Are, Having Two Faces!?

"When you screw it in, give it a hard manly twist!"
The adventure continues for Gurren and Lagann, Simon and Kamina with Yoko Littner, as Gurren Lagann in Gurren Lagann (2007). The antics continue in colorful, painterly fashion by the animators of Gurren Lagann in Episode 3, Who Do You Think You Are, Having Two Faces!?. Great question by the way. How many of us didn't wonder that about so-called friends who betrayed us as youngsters? In this case, I suspect the title is an exclamation from the enemy of Gurren Lagann referring to Gurren Lagann's two Gunmen composition.
The animation and images here almost speak for themselves - just brilliant. It's something special when an animation can convey mood, emotion and feeling without having to say too much. Gurren Lagann certainly has those moments but it's also got plenty to say about its characters. And these are indeed characters alright.
The third entry in the series introduces the full-on, near magical, combining of the powerful Gurren Lagann. It's a site to behold and just bursts off the screen with massive, muscular power. Still, all of the adventure and mecha fun is balanced with a good deal of comic timing and unexpected humor.
The third episode is also notable for introducing viewers to an enemy called Viral, a member of the Human Eradication Army, and his Gunmen known as Enki. Viral loses his helmet to Gurren and Lagann which allows for their powerful combination. You might say you can't write this stuff, but somebody has clearly written this stuff.
There's not too much I'll say about this fine episode without regurgitating plot points, but it genuinely operates like an anime drug. Though one scene is notable from a comedic standpoint. It centers on Yoko and Kamina sneaking up on an alien animal to retrieve it for food. This is all about survival. It's the hunter and the prey. Yoko strikes the creature with lethal precision using an arrow fired from her electromagnetic rifle. The animators deliver the scene with comic perfection as the animal stands still, silent, eventually falling over dead with the arrow in its head. It reminded me of a similarly humorous moment in The Last Dinosaur (1977) involving essentially a caveman. You can see that scene here.
The scene is a laugh riot and truly caught me off guard with how funny it was. Scenes like this seem so politically incorrect in today's world which is why I relish the absolute balls of this series even more.
The creative team behind Gurren Lagann were certainly shooting for a guy's guy type of anime and it's moments like these that succeed in spades. It's a thrill to experience the world-building and excitement of a series unabashed at breaking the rules or thumbing its nose at those who might prefer to see it shut down. This is an alternate universe of epic proportions.
Gurren Lagann offers a mixture of macho old school mecha fun coupled with a fairly open approach to new ideas that generates something rather insane. It works. Should this series detour from its already off the rails approach, crash and burn we'll let you know.
Oh, and by God there's fan service to boot.
These are classic Studio Gainax drawings.
Kamina goes all Ninja Scroll.
Okay, yes, delicious - errr, animation.
Some truly glorious mecha images ahead.


El Vox said...

I watched The Tale of Princess Kaguya the other night, and thought it was really worthwhile. If you get the chance give it a look, you might enjoy it. Not terribly complex storyline or anything, but strong emotional story and great art that was different from the norm.

Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thanks El Vox. It definitely has my interest. I have seen the trailer. It looks like a nice film from Takahata.