Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gurren Lagann Ep5: I Don't Get It, Not One Bit!

As we have noted on more than one occasion here at Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic, Gurren Lagann is very much a love letter to the machisimatastic (my word) mecha anime of the 1970s.
Even Gurren Lagann writer Kazuki Nakashima has cited the late manga artist and animator Ken Ishikawa (1948-2006) as a primary influence on his anime world view. Ishikawa was the chief engineer behind such manga and anime as Getter Robo, first established in manga form in 1972.
There was a great desire to create throwback weaponry like the one found on Getter Liger. Thus the latest episode reflects this new drill-heavy universe with, Gurren Lagann, Episode 5, I Don't Get It, Not One Bit!, as the gunmen that is Gurren Lagann sports a drill bit as its primary weapon of choice. Gurren Lagann fights with a bloody drill bit for cryin' out loud. That's quite a bit of fun really!
This screams throwback mecha. The Getter Liger was one of the first mecha toys I ever held in my hot little hand as a kid. It was a wee little diescast gem that fit snugly in the palm of your hands and it was bad ass complete with a drill.
In the Blu-Ray liner notes, Nakashima cites the love of the theme of drills for the series and notes there are a plethora of "drill meacha devotees in this world" noting a love of all things that drill. Who knew drills had such a wild effect on geeks. Though it stands to reason when you consider it a bit. As a geek who certainly enjoys a good drilling mecha let's not forget our love of The Mole in Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds (1965-1966) (here) or the Polar Borer in The Last Dinosaur (1977) (here) and of course a film called The Core (2003) to name a few. It's certainly true. Men love a good drill. I think women enjoy them too. That doesn't sound right.
Ultimately it's clear thematically that Nakashima hoped to create the ultimate statement in drill mecha anime with Gurren Lagann. And given the sheer magnitude of the effort here and no holds barred approach by Nakashima and director Hiroyuki Imaishi it's clear all others within the medium will likely be screwed in their efforts to compete. Clearly, to borrow a phrase from the series, "your drill is the drill that will pierce the heavens." Yes, Gurren Lagann and the series creators are pretty mighty.
The latest episode, beyond the action excitement centers on a wonderful slice of science fiction drama too as Kamina, Simon and Yoko stumble upon another village civilization living underground suppressed by the false teachings of its village leader. Note the creative minds and their artistic vision of the series by switching the color palette for latest installment too.
Clearly enlightened and essentially acting as symbols of freedom, Kamina, Simon and Yoko Littner come crashing down upon this quiet rule-based society where population control is mandatory according to the rules of their little kingdom. With the trio arriving down upon them with their perceived face god, Gurren Lagann, life in the village will never be the same as all are enlightened by the truth of what's beyond their world. Once your eyes are open you can never unlearn what you discover.
I Don't Get It One Bit! is potentially the most potent episode emotionally to date, but, in general, Gurren Lagann rarely shies away from those quieter more sensitive character moments. This is one of the reasons why Gurren Lagann excels as a standout mecha series with heart.
That my friends is a near, would-be snot rocket. The series is always surprising and funny, okay and gross.

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