ROW, ROW, FIGHT THE POWAH!!! Gurren Lagann complete simulwatch

ayase

State Alchemist
Oh this day of rest, I bring you a collection of images from the episodes of Part 1 I was able to screencap that didn't make it to the thread, since I've finally worked out how to navigate imgur's horrible new(? I haven't used it in a while) user unfriendly interface to actually create albums. In whatever order imgur feels like putting them, I guess. Hopefully this is less stress on AUKN's bandwidth than uploading them all directly.

I won't inflict my 94 image Adiane folder on you just yet.
 
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Neil.T

Claymore
Episode 16

Do the impossible, see the invisible. Row, row, fight the powah!

Ahh, wonderful.

I really do like the framing device of this recap episode. It seems classically Gainax to show us not just their animation, but also them making their animation, like the scratchy title card right at the start. It's used to brilliant effect straight after the midpoint, too; Simon has come to a grinding halt after Kamina's death, and the animator has too, not knowing what he should write. His hand, which was previously scrabbling to keep up with the pace of the story, is brought to a standstill, the slight unsteadiness of the handheld camera only helping to accentuate the moment. It's an impactful way to look back at a defining moment of the series.

At the end credits, we get to see a selection of early concept art. A textless version of it is available in the bonus features on disc 4 of Anime Limited's Blu-ray set as "storyboard music video".

So yeah, with the end boss defeated at the series' halfway point, what's next? A seven-year time skip, that's what! Simon and Nia are now young adults, and all of our gang have new roles to play in the story. Can't wait for tomorrow's episode.

Back a bit later for some more replies to earlier posts. 🙂
 

Neil.T

Claymore
It's been quite a few years since I last watched this, but he's referring to himself, isn't he?
That was my take on it also, I couldn't remember if this got revealed later.
Realistically, you guys are absolutely right, yes. I'm just determined to tie that prologue into the show proper! 😆

There actually is something more to say about that, but it'll have to wait until late on in the series.

And now on to João. (God I'm loving this guy's posts here. 🔥💥💪)
Having a climax midway through a series is so tight. Very hot. Extremely arousing and such.
God yes. So it is, though. I'm loving your burning-hot passion for this show that just explodes out in your words — so much so that I feel like I'm getting a rigid drill just from reading them. 🌋

(Too much? 😅)

The Lagannzan is maybe the only mecha design in the series I love with no reservations. It's just really appealing, aggressive looking and lean. Strong Eva-03 vibes, too.
Hell yes. It's a great design, so mean and menacing-looking, and yeah, definitely: I get the same Eva-03 vibes as you get.

There's more to say about Lazengann's role in the story, too, but that'll have to wait until after movie #2. Hype. 💪❗❗

Thanks for bringing Back Arrow up, just saw its by Goro Taniguchi so that is definitely getting watched!
I'm really enjoying Back Arrow. I'd keep your expectations on the low side for it, though. As @Professor Irony wrote in the Viewing Journal thread...
it’s got an interesting world and decent enough mecha designs - I just wish the writing was a bit stronger, it often feels kind of corny and by the numbers.

I'd have to concede that, but if all you're hoping to get from it is just some good dumb mecha fun, then I think you're in for a good time, my man. 👍
 
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Neil.T

Claymore
Double-post info-dump. Brace yourselves.

Episode 17

"These are all citizens' complaints. 'The sewers are backed up'; 'taxes are too high'; 'the neighbours are too noisy.' It's all self-centred nonsense; they've completely forgotten what life was like in the cellars."


We've got ourselves a time skip! And a new OP! All our gang are adults now, we've got... a sprawling city?! Gimmy and Darry are now commanders of a fleet of mass-production versions of Gurren Lagann, called the Grapearl Squadron, and we have— Oh my god look at the size of that GIANT ROBOT HEAD HOW BIG IS THE ENTIRE THING???? 😱

But that's for later. For now, going back to the quote in bold above, having toppled humanity's chief oppressor, our motley crew have had little choice but to take responsibility for their unlikely victory and become the administration of the newly founded Kamina City and beyond. Apparently gone are the days of talking big, dreaming bigger and flying by the seat of your pants in a white-knuckle thrill-ride of adventure: it's all about job roles, proper titles, mountains of paperwork and tedious bureaucracy now. Rossiu seems to be the one essentially running the show, with Simon, doubtless credited as humanity's ultimate liberator, not much more than a figurehead. I can see that Rossiu is just trying to hold things together and run a tight ship and all, but... well, he still has a stick up his ass, doesn't he? 😅

This new order and structure extends even as far as the episode's title card with its blocky, angular text replacing the old scribbly, freehand style.

I couldn't help but notice a couple of possible callbacks to earlier Gainax productions in this episode. Yōko blasting off on her flying scooter is somewhat reminiscent of the end of FLCL. Also, and I'm not so sure on this one, I'm wondering if the framing on one shot of the rocket launch is harking back to The Wings of Honneamise. 🤔

And speaking of the rocket, it, the buildings and even a vase in the restaurant where Kittan, Dayakka and co. are seen eating all have faces on them. It seems that everything that the people of GL's world are familiar with has a face. That neatly serves as another reason why this second story arc's faceless new threat to humankind's existence is so unsettling: they're robots without faces, the first of their kind.

The show manages to draw yet more eeriness out of these things by animating them in CG, giving the enemy an unnerving, otherworldly artificiality that contrasts with the more "organic" and "familiar" hand-drawn form of our heroes' robots. It's a clever trick that GL director Hiroyuki Imaishi would later repeat as action director on Darling in the FranXX.

But yes, things just got a bit more complicated in the world of Gurren Lagann because apparently gone are the days where, to paraphrase @Dai, any problem could be solved by sticking a big drill in it. Just look at the horror that's unleashed when Simon tries it now.

I know that this is only going to make this lengthy post even longer, but I'd like to dive back into some of my regular language-focussed episode dissection, because there's a neat subtlety in Japanese during the flashback sequence where Nia recounts Simon's proposal that doesn't carry over in English. It's his line "Kirei ni natta darō?" This directly translates as "[X has] become beautiful, hasn't it?" with X being the thing understood in context. Japanese as a language often omits things already felt to be understood in context from the sentence, but here's the clever bit: Simon knows that he's talking about the city, but Nia doesn't. Because of that, she's left thinking for a moment that Simon might've meant "You've become beautiful, haven't you?" hence her slightly startled reaction before Simon clarifies that he's talking about the view. She actually then looks slightly disappointed for a moment after that. It's a nice touch; it shows that their thoughts are pointing in the same direction but they haven't quite communicated it to each other yet. Simon's proposal makes that jump, but they're still both a bit bloody hopeless in their own endearing ways. 😅

For a final bit of trivia on this episode, there's actually a small continuity error with the scene of Gimmy and Darry fighting Viral in their Grapearls. Gimmy, airborne in the blue mecha, is fired at but is protected by Darry, who shoots the projectiles down in her red machine, which is revealed to be floating below and to the left of Gimmy's. In the next cut, though, the positions are reversed: Gimmy's blue Grapearl, holding a gun, is below and to the left of Darry's. This cut is accompanied by off-screen dialogue from Gimmy, who says "Your sharp shooting's as sharp as ever! Thanks for the save, Darry!" and is framed as if it's the pilot of the red robot who is speaking. Basically, the error makes it seem as if the robots have abruptly switched positions with each other, but not their pilots.

A few cuts later they're back to their original positions, firing away with one gun each. (This comes after another bit of loose storyboarding where Gimmy's Grapearl is seen equipped with two guns in the cut immediately after the one where it had erroneously gained the one it was holding.)

As I suggested earlier in the thread, series director Imaishi does seem to occasionally lose track of the positions of the positions of characters and objects during action sequences (only due to his gung-ho excitement, mind!), a habit which has actually continued into an early scene in his film Promare.

Regardless of any of that, though, the Viral sequence is another highlight of this episode, injecting a nice bit of moral complexity into the mix.
 
Ep 13
(The lack of) Kamina's presence is felt again and not just by Simon and Yoko, as Viral is both ashamed and somewhat in awe of the fact he lost to a "child"! What are humans indeed?
Nia tries to singlehandedly defeat Gurren Lagann with her cooking in fun side story.

Gurren Lagann playing monkey bars
I thought it looked a little like Spidey swinging away.
Wrote this before seeing this:
Heh I saw this more as Spidey Lagann swinging across.

Ep 14
Also, far be it for me to re-ignite the debate over whether or not GL takes place in a far future world with our own historical past, but Lordgenome does make pretty explicit reference to the Genesis creation story
Well spotted 😉
Also, I'll unmask my musing from before:
Beastmen were the cause of the downfall of man
Actually not quite right. It was the Spiral King who says in this episode that he sealed them away, but I wrote this before he was revealed. The conversation as a whole is very interesting:
"young pup of 200 years" obviously suggests general Armadillo is older, maybe the Spiral King's first of his 4 generals.
"they sprout again like weeds" could just be about Team Gurren Lagann, but could be about humans in general and there's been uprisings before?
"I sealed them in the depths of the earth" & "It must be the power of the Spiral" The Spiral King looks very human (is this the clearest look at his face yet?), is he? So only humans can wield the power? Probably only certain ones like him and Simon. And he used that power to create the Beastmen (who get their power from him) and presumably the Gunmen, and seal humanity away.

And unless I'm very much mistaken, this was the episode where we first heard the lyrics that spawned this thread's title.
Is it also the first episode to open without the narrator?

As for the rest of the episode. Very action packed. Team Dai-Gurren gets bigger with the new recruits showing up, but some of those numbers are reduced. I thought for a moment it was going to be a little joke: "here's all these new people, oh, no, there they go!", but Nia saves the day.
That's a large face!

Ep 15
To quote myself from above:
D1tchd1gger said:
He talks as if he isn't, but doesn't seem to have beast-like features like the his generals (and other Beastmen like Viral) did/do, but we've seen Beastmen disguise themselves as human. So what did he mean by guardian of humanity? Saving them from themselves by oppressing/annihilating them as seen in many different sci-fi stories is a usual motivation for the Big Bad.
Also who is the "man who fought like you whose actions would doom humanity'? He could be talking about himself possibly and maybe Simon could, if not careful, end up just like him in a kind of circular fashion similar to the actions of Neo was supposed to just be another cycle in the Matrix.
Could he be referring to the character we saw on-board the space battleship during the short episode 1 prologue?
I thought that was Simon, shrouded in darkness obviously to make you think it was Kamina in a "here's where we are, now we'll tell you how we got here" type of story telling (the one that immediately pops into my head is Grave of the Fireflies). If you look closely it isn't Kamina, but a first time viewer isn't going to pause to have a long look.

Another element that is of interest is the actual opening: the normal opening is entirely gotten rid off, with it being replaced with the events that ended in the previous episode, the opening song appearing at the end of the episode.
That's done quite a lot nowadays. Was it a thing before GL or was GL an influence for this type of thing. I haven't watched too much pre-GL stuff.

Other notes:
Skelton hips of Dai-Gurren after it jettisoned from the rest of it body 😂
And as mentioned great final blow to kill the Spiral King.
The warning at the end seemed to be some sort of environmental parable, although a million isn't that big of a number, but does show that whatever happened humans were nearly wiped out! Doing a little research there was somewhere between 1-4m humans at the end of the last glacial period, between 15,000-10,000BC. Bonus fact Earth reached 1b in 1804 and now stands at over 7b! That's some acceleration, almost (Gainax) Trigger-esque.
 

Ian Wolf

Symphogear
AUKN Staff
Episode 17:

Re your comments @Neil.T - do you think that Viral's shield weapon that he uses is something that is later referenced in Promare, as the lead character uses something similar to fight with.
 

Lordhippos

Adventurer
Episode 17

A lot has changed in 7 years, they have a lot of things that we talk about wanting, such as flying cars. I did note with some satisfaction that they still get stuck in regular traffic jams, and Simon is doing paper work by hand rather than a computer.

Rossiu is such a killjoy, he doesn't know how to relax, meanwhile Simon is sick of being in charge and wants to go off and live a normal life. You know what they say though, best laid plans!

I don't agree with Rossiu's dictatorial approach to governance, but they don't seem to be taking the population warning anywhere near seriously enough. Dragging people out from underground to count them isn't going to be enough, and sure enough they breach the million mark without even realising they are anywhere near it.

Viral makes an appearance but this time he is fighting to defend people, just swapped roles with Simon and the crew more or less.

In my mind, no one can really blame Simon for the outcome of the fight, he could not have known that the fragments would shatter, and the other mechas they had were being crushed. If they left it alone, then the damage could have spiralled out of control. Rossiu was quick to judge though without really having any other ideas in mind.

Side Note: I remembered that they commented that they'd not seen a mecha without a face before, I can't remember for sure, but I don't think the anti-spiral craft have pilots? in which case them not having a face makes sense. The way the Gurren crew has fought so far, the mecha is usually just an extension of the person more or less, legs, body, arms, face etc.
 
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Neil.T

Claymore
For me, the best moment in this episode is when Simon delivers the lethal blow to Lordgenome - because it is actually him rather than the mecha that does the damage.
I must've somehow missed this post of yours before, Ian, probably while hopping between threads. But yeah, 100 percent agree with this.

It's for that very reason why I love one of the big story additions found in movie #2, but I won't talk about that yet, of course.

"they sprout again like weeds" could just be about Team Gurren Lagann, but could be about humans in general and there's been uprisings before?
"I sealed them in the depths of the earth" & "It must be the power of the Spiral" The Spiral King looks very human (is this the clearest look at his face yet?), is he? So only humans can wield the power?
So what did he mean by guardian of humanity?
Also who is the "man who fought like you whose actions would doom humanity'?
Dude, you sure ask a lot of questions for someone who's supposed to have seen this series before. 😜

But these ones I'll try to offer some input on:

Ep 14
Is it also the first episode to open without the narrator?
Well, episode 1 opened without the narrator, of course, but not counting that...

I remember another one or two starting without him, but I can't remember which ones now. 🤔

It is actually something I've been paying attention to because I like the narrator's voice. It adds a pleasing weight to the start of each episode for me.

I thought that was Simon, shrouded in darkness obviously to make you think it was Kamina in a "here's where we are, now we'll tell you how we got here" type of story telling (the one that immediately pops into my head is Grave of the Fireflies). If you look closely it isn't Kamina, but a first time viewer isn't going to pause to have a long look.
(I'll respond to this initially without spoiler blur because I don't think it'll be too much of a problem.)

This is a funny one for me because at no point watching GL have I ever thought that the character in the episode 1 prologue was Kamina. It kind of puzzles me a bit how that perception first arose. 🤨

To me, he looks like an adult Simon and even has the same voice actor, so that's who I initially perceived him to be. And I write that as someone who, hand on heart, didn't know there was a time skip in the story when I first watched it. I don't believe it actually is Simon, though: I have my own idea of the character's identity, but it doesn't mesh with an explanation given by unnamed Gainax staff that's recounted in the article about episode 1 on the Gurren Lagann Fandom site.

Here's that explanation in a spoiler tag. Spoilers for later in the series:
The writers later said that the beginning shows what might have happened if Simon had ignored the Anti-Spiral's final words and caused the Spiral Nemesis. As it turned out, this answer came from a theory presented by fans to the creators.

Source: Episode 1 (Gurren Lagann Fandom site)

I'll reveal my own idea when the time comes in the story.

do you think that Viral's shield weapon that he uses is something that is later referenced in Promare, as the lead character uses something similar to fight with.
Hey, that's an interesting idea. Yeah, Galo in Promare wields an object called a matoi as a weapon:

There's some degree of resemblance there, so I dunno. Could be.

Influences and references travel back and forth all over the place in anime now, especially between productions made by the same staff or at the same studio. (I'm sure it's no coincidence that the name of Galo's weapon is the same as Kill la Kill heroine Ryūko's surname, for example.)

As potential further evidence of that claim, see next point.

I can't remember for sure, but I don't think the anti-spiral craft have pilots? in which case them not having a face makes sense. The way the Gurren crew has fought so far, the mecha is usually just an extension of the person more or less, legs, body, arms, face etc.
You're absolutely bang-on, dude, yeah; they're autonomous. It's another clever way of making an enemy character come across as inhuman. As an example, this is used in the later two Evangelion Rebuild movies for NERV's Evas with a "4" designation. To tie that in even more firmly with your observation, those Evas also lack heads, or if they do have them, they're only artificial decorations.
 
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Dude, you sure ask a lot of questions for someone who's supposed to have seen this series before. 😜
I just checked the "Your viewing journal" thread and it was October '17. I've watched an awful lot of anime since and my memory isn't the best, but I like to leave things for a while before rewatching so I forget the details. Whilst I remember the big points, hard to say now that I've just rewatched but I would say: Most of episode 1 (it's a strong 1st episode), Viral (vaguely), having to defeat the 4 generals (I forgot how), Kamina's death (again how?), Nia (I remember her being in the box) and the Spiral King. All I remember from the second half is that there's a time skip and they go to space. Ooh, and some sort of epic final battle with lasers filling the sky? Sometimes things come back to me as we go along and others are a complete surprise.

I just checked the "Your viewing journal" thread and it was October '17. I've watched an awful lot of anime since and my memory isn't... Haven't I already said this? 🤔
 

João Gomes

Great Teacher
Don't play Danganronpa, people, it's awesome, then you'll want to play the second one and then you'll be glued to it when you get to the final chapters and the simulwatch will start to lag behind. Awful!

I'm watching 17 today, in the meantime @Neil.T, the only drill that can pierce the heavens is a rigid one, so get drilling!!

Pictured, exclusive footage of Neil's drill

tenor (2).gif


I'll get back to the rest in my later post!
 

Dai

Great Teacher
I couldn't help but notice a couple of possible callbacks to earlier Gainax productions in this episode. Yōko blasting off on her flying scooter is somewhat reminiscent of the end of FLCL. Also, and I'm not so sure on this one, I'm wondering if the framing on one shot of the rocket launch is harking back to The Wings of Honneamise. 🤔
Having a mass-produced fleet of mechs based on the show's signature mech reminded me of the sizzlers in Gunbuster.

But yes, things just got a bit more complicated in the world of Gurren Lagann because apparently gone are the days where, to paraphrase @Dai, any problem could be solved by sticking a big drill in it. Just look at the horror that's unleashed when Simon tries it now.
I'm pretty sure he just needs a bigger drill.

Episode 17
Historically, it's often been the case that the people who lead revolutions are the last ones you want in charge of the new regime. While Simon and company mostly don't fall into the category of being as ruthless dealing with their civilians as they were with their oppressors (except you, Rossiu--I've got my eye on you, sunshine), their general lack of competence is... well, not much different from many a country's government these days. If you told me that Jorgun and Balinbow were in charge of developing the UK's Test-and-Trace system, I wouldn't doubt you for a second.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Episode 17 - Dark Side of the Moon
screenshot001.jpg
#DrillEnvy
Fun fact: In order to bring you these screencaps I had to purchase a huge 400mm drillbit and literally pierce my downstairs ceiling with it to cable my router to my PC. Seems fitting.

Seven years' worth of development to unpack here, what hasn't already been covered? Well, the deco-ish urban aspects of Kamina City are cool and all, but look at Kiyoh and Dayakka's house. How such a colourful bunch managed to create such a boring approximation of 21st Century suburbia, I'll never know. But I guess in losing both Kamina and Yoko the new government also lost its two potential members with the most outlandish sense of style.

Simon you hopeless romantic. Nia you bundle of adorable cluelessness. You're perfect for each other. Or would have been...

screenshot007.jpg

And Viral, freedom fighter. Who'd have thunk it? I honestly can't remember if we get an explanation for why he turned around, but he's certainly done with his days of following orders and looking down on humans. Seven years in the wilderness and being on the other end of the boot gives a guy time to reflect, I guess.

Historically, it's often been the case that the people who lead revolutions are the last ones you want in charge of the new regime.
There's definitely a bit of a Che and Fidel thing going on with Simon and Rossiu. Rossiu had a point though, didn't he? Al Gore might not have a winning personality either, but that doesn't mean the global issues he's concerned about that everyone else is ignoring aren't super cereal (and if the people had listened and just kept that population down there wouldn't even have been a second half of the series). Given what happens when Simon tries his hot-blooded approach to the problem at hand, it goes to show that both his ways and Rossiu's cold-blooded ones each have their issues. Liked the shot of Lagann's face cutting to Simon with the exact same expression, shows how entwined man and machine have become at this point.

screenshot010.jpg

their general lack of competence is... well, not much different from many a country's government these days. If you told me that Jorgun and Balinbow were in charge of developing the UK's Test-and-Trace system, I wouldn't doubt you for a second.
Let's not go nuts here, I'd still vote for Rossiu's cold technocracy and Simon's mild cronyism over our lot any day, especially with everything that's been going on at the moment. Giha's former chief might be getting rich off his associations, but at least Simon wasn't lobbying Rossiu to hand him billion pound government contracts for pig-mole steaks. In fact at this point, I think I'd take Lordgenome over our current lot.
 

Neil.T

Claymore
Fun fact: In order to bring you these screencaps I had to purchase a huge 400mm drillbit and literally pierce my downstairs ceiling with it to cable my router to my PC.
"Listen, ayase:
7ff4c72f8902e553c9f122ef6509fba3.jpg

"Yours is the drill that will pierce the downstairs ceiling!!"

Rossiu becoming a dick
Was he ever not one?
Rossiu had a point though, didn't he?
...
Given what happens when Simon tries his hot-blooded approach to the problem at hand, it goes to show that both his ways and Rossiu's cold-blooded ones each have their issues.
My episode 18 post that picks up on Rossiu vs. Simon in terms of the story is coming later, but for my own part, generally speaking I really do see as well where Rossiu's coming from.

I guess, at the end of the day, someone's got to make the hard decisions. Simon is kind of the dreamer, the idealist, whereas Rossiu is pragmatic and methodical (though perhaps sometimes coldly so). Put bluntly, of those two ways of operating, Rossiu's approach to handling the situations that our gang find themselves in is the one that would have the better chances of success in real life; he plays the percentages. Simon's style, on the other hand, is to go all-in and put his faith in one outside gamble. It's characters like Simon, of course — ones who are capable of surprise, of going against the grain and creating a bit of magic — who are usually the most compelling and so are the protagonists in fiction.

That said, I am often rather fond of brilliantly calculating but morally dubious characters like Lelouch from Code Geass, and while reading the manga of Death Note, I often couldn't help but kinda root for Light, so devilishly clever were a lot of his plans.

Maybe that's why I'm not so quick to vilify Rossiu: things are really not so cut-and-dried.
 
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