"Think twice before screwing with Gurren Lagann!!"
"You give up and be happy with that freak bird crest doo hicky."
If you're a kid who grew up on American cartoons, you'll recall the popular Hanna Barbera series The Flintstones (1960-1966) and of course Pebbles and Bam Bam. With each passing episode I am completely enamored with the beauty and care taken with drawing the bodacious, gorgeous Yoko Littner. She is a red-headed gem. In fact, it dawns on me this might be what Pebbles would have looked like had she been drawn by a Japanese animator and was all grown up.
This writer realizes that a full grown adult of Pebbles came to fruition and was animated, but Yoko Littner is indeed the anime version of a mature Pebbles. Yoko replaces the white bone with other bling. But gosh Yoko is pretty darn hot! Jessica Rabbit eat your heart out!
Of course, this may comes as a completely random thought and perhaps even a little kooky, but it all seems sort of fitting when you consider we're covering the wild, unwieldy, unconventional antics of the characters who inhabit the world of the often sensible insanity that is Gurren Lagann.
That journey continues with Gurren Lagann, Episode 7, You're Gonna Do It!!.
The despicable Viral returns with his Enki to battle Kamina and Simon in their Gurren Lagann. Though when Viral arrives the boys are completely naked. Before they battle it is demanded that they put some clothes on. Only in Gurren Lagann.
The mythology of Gurren Lagann is expanded upon significantly through the episodic battle as Viral is supported by a fortress-like giant machine called Dai-Ganzan piloted by Thymilph, one of the four generals of The Spiral King. The great machine projects missiles and is generally a lethal gunmen within the Beastmen's army, empire or as they call it Capital.
The massive ship casts a large shadow over Gurren Lagann. Yet Kamina is undeterred. "We're gonna knock him on his ass because he's big!" "That didn't hurt not even a tingle." "Never retreat, never surrender, never look back, that's mine and Simon's fighting spirit!"
Kamina is so impressively confident in his cock-sure bravado it might just be considered a flaw in Greek tragedy and get him killed. You're never certain if Kamina is just plain foolish, stupid or is so genuinely sure of his greatness and potential that he can overcome the odds he might be taken for nuts.
Gurren Lagann is indeed a series that sends a positive message to the young. Ultimately the message is believe in yourself. As the episode's title suggests, you can do anything if you believe. Now sometimes, as embodied in Kamina, there can come a point where one can be foolish and arrogant and those mistakes or that arrogance can be harmful, misguiding or getting one killed. This is evidenced by Simon and the others urging Kamina to withdraw from battle to formulate a plan. Everyone knows they are in trouble, but Kamina stubbornly refuses to abort the fight despite battle damage to the leg. "What is this a real man can never back down?" It's important to strike a healthy balance when life and limb depends on it.
Kamina insists, "In this world you don't get anywhere running away."
And so that's where the fantasy kicks in as Gurren Lagann despite damage magically repairs itself. It fixes its own leg. It self-repairs. Now self-motivation and belief in your inner self is one thing, but divine intervention is entirely another. That kind of support isn't always an option in the real world.
Support from a small army of other humans who have commandeered gunmen to back up Gurren Lagann in the battle even saving Kamina and Simon when help is needed most.
But the overarching message of the series is one about the triumph of the individual spirit and, also, teamwork as Simon and Kamina are always working together whilst attempting to realize their own individual potential and discover their gifts and talents. It's a rare message in television. And Gurren Lagann offers a loud, bold, colorful pronouncement of those qualities.
Gurren Lagann also delivers that message with tremendous excitement, mecha action and, obviously, great humor, even naked humor.
The episode presents an epic battle, some fine animation and nods to the mecha classics. When Gurren Lagann attacks with a blazing chariot kick one cannot help but recall the characters of heroic mech like Gaiking, Reideen, Danguard Ace and others.
In the end, Kamina steps out of the way and allows Simon personal growth as Simon takes charge with a plan to vanquish Dai-Ganzan.
Kamina takes it even further suggesting they overtake the Dai-Ganzan and literally usurp it as part of their own army to make it their own personal headquarters. They've stolen gunmen before and they will keep stealing to win. Okay, maybe that message isn't necessarily a good one for the kiddies.
There are some sweet personal moments between Yoko and Kamina in the end, the voice of reason, Yoko, explains to Kamina he needs to think things through. Ya think.
As wild and wacky as Gurren Lagann gets, these writers and creators have done a splendid job of their own thinking through their fine, unconventional anime series.