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

ayase

State Alchemist
Parallel Works 1-14 - Screw the schedule, I’m meeting the deadline

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I did like the "putting the gang together" musical montage (I probably wouldn't have minded if most of the film had been like that...
And so I get my wish. Once again, I really had no idea what to expect from Parallel Works but I loved it. There should be more stuff like this, it’s like a compilation of animated dojinshi that allowed the creators to imagine their favourite characters in whatever scenarios they wanted. Just pure unadulterated fun. So we get numerous genre parodies, Magical Kiyal and Gimmy’s being the finger that will pierce the... ahem.

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Kittan Zero was probably my favourite, it was just so damn stylish. But there was clearly a lot of effort (not to mention budget) put into ones like the aforementioned Kiyal segment and Gimmy, Darry and the Wardrobe (I don't actually know the names of all of them, because Leawo doesn't give me menus, only a playlist). Very impressed with the quality to say these were just shorts. The more abstract ones weren't quite as interesting to me, but they still looked good. Now I badly need to know if there's a good artbook that collects the art from this stuff, because I would surely pay for that. The Samurai one was such a tease, panning over those lovely still images but never showing the whole thing...

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Adiane folder final image count: 135. If anyone was wondering how I managed to fill 10tb of hard drive space, this is how.
 

Ian Wolf

Symphogear
AUKN Staff
Parallel Works, Ep. 12-14 (Simulwatch complete)

I think the Magical Girl Kiyal might be my favourite out of all the Parallel Works, it being the most fun. The 13th one appears to be some Gundam real-robot mecha parody, which would have been better if the subtitles been translated. The Kittan Zero episode added some nice backstory.
 

Neil.T

The Wildcard
I’m meeting the deadline
You might be doing better in that regard than me, then, ayase. I'm aiming to watch all of Parallel Works this afternoon. My posts on the films and on the shorts will be late, though.

It's been a pleasure! Loved the experience and everyone's thoughts and insights.

See ya next time, you bozos!
That's signing off in style right there, João! I hope you'll stick around to read my belated posts, buddy, even if they'll come after the official end of the simulwatch.

Just before I start watching Parallel Works, though:

I'm guessing you meant the short detailing the Spiral King's fight when you mentioned Lagannzan's expanded role in the films, right Neil? It gets me thinking about the chicken and egg because I'd like to know if Yoshinari did this as a PW and it was so good that they put it into the first movie or if it was always intended as the new intro to the movie. In any case, beautiful animation, style and colors, easily the highlight.
I was actually referring to how the Space Grapearls of the series are replaced with giant mass-production Lazengann models called Space Gunmarl, but you rightly point out this too.

As for the chicken-and-egg situation of PW #8, I've found myself wondering about that before as well. 🤔
Wikipedia gives the release date of movie #1 as 6 September 2008, and the short as 14 September of the same year, so they must've been in production at the same time. The relevant page on the Gurren Lagann Fandom page says:

'All You Bastards, Get Fired Up!!' is the eighth episode of Gurren Lagann Parallel Works, revealing Lordgenome's past. Part of the episode is used as the beginning to Gurren-Hen [the Japanese title of Childhood's End].

It's an interesting read.
 

Neil.T

The Wildcard
Five days after the event, my post on movie #1:

Much as I might regret not watching it earlier, it was definitely worth saving for an event like this simulwatch because I can properly appreciate it next to the original.
This is another thing I like about our simulwatching: it does actually turn watching anime at home into a kind of event. In our age of Covid, it's effectively what cinemas are attempting to do too, by offering a set date where a group of people can watch the same thing at a similar time at home in separate locations and then share thoughts on their viewing experience. Perhaps we were ahead of the curve here on AUKN?

The way they worked the old content into the new was, with only a couple of slightly awkward exceptions, pretty damn masterful and some of the changes I even thought were for the better.
This is exactly what I've thought about both films since first watching them. The reworked elements in movie #1 that I particularly liked were things like how Lagann is drilling upwards into Cytomander's buzzsaw rather than into the roof of Guame's fortress, or how the film managed to combine the Nia/Yōko conflict on the deck of Dai-Gurren with the indoor scene of Nia and Simon's heart-to-heart as an ingenious time saver.

I said this before, but I absolutely love the whole Nia rescue sequence in the first film; there's a kind of absolute purity to the idea and the actual animation of it that just really pulls me in every time. (It shows as well that Gurren Lagann was doing those brilliant blue skies with fluffy white clouds before Rebuild of Evangelion was, not to mention incorporating a time skip.) Another highlight of it for me is the part where Simon subconsciously summons Lagann with his sheer determination to succeed.

GIRLFIGHT. You know what I like, Gainax
Indeed. That combat sequence is yet another highlight of the film, and I love the part where Yōko uses her hair sticks (properly called zanzi in Chinese) as a makeshift weapon, also releasing her hair to allow her to access the pistol she apparently keeps hidden in there. Genius.


Moving on to my own separate observations on the two films, the first thing to note is how much more interesting their titles are in English compared to the Japanese. In Japanese they're just subtitled Gurren-hen and Lagann-hen ("Gurren chapter" and "Lagann chapter").

Movie #1: Childhood's End

"I hate to break it to you, but this is Team Dai-Gurren's ship. This is the home that he gave his life to get for us! We're not about to hand it over!"


Yōko's line there is one of the new additions in the movie timeline. The battle royale that gives us that dialogue also does a great job of offering Makken and the other members of our crew their time in the spotlight, something that I think they definitely lacked in the series. Alongside these new elements are the aforementioned alterations from the series; one early example is that Simon finds the Core Drill along with Lagann rather than unearthing them separately.

The different movements of the story are occasionally divided up with eyecatch graphics, like the kind you would typically see before or after an ad break in the TV series. In a superbly-judged moment, the eyecatch that immediately follows Kamina's death has no music, allowing a very tasteful moment of silence.

Another impactful new moment for me was the aftermath of Adiane's death. It shows Viral clutching her eyepatch and conveys how her demise affects him. It's something that the series didn't place any focus on.

I couldn't help but notice that my favourite episode 1 prologue has been replaced with a strikingly similar scene that replaces the Commander with none other than Lordgenome. I'll doubtless come back to this in my post on Parallel Works part 7, from which the animation is apparently borrowed.

To end this post, my favourite unintentionally funny moment is Viral's line in Japanese as he brags about his impressive new mobile fortress. "This is my new power: Dai-Gunzan-Du!" he proclaims. In Japanese it's "Kore ga ore no atarashii chikara: Dai-Gunzan-Du da!"

... ♪ doo da, doo da... ♪ 😜
 

ayase

State Alchemist
or how the film managed to combine the Nia/Yōko conflict on the deck of Dai-Gurren with the indoor scene of Nia and Simon's heart-to-heart as an ingenious time saver.
I can’t believe I forgot to mention that, which was one of the best changes, it worked really well. Simon being in the dark in his Kamina shrine while that all happened worked better than it being on the deck imo since it better reflected his and Yoko’s feelings.
The 13th one appears to be some Gundam real-robot mecha parody, which would have been better if the subtitles been translated.
Yeah, while I’m very grateful to have got Parallel Works on an affordable UK release, the lack of any translation really did hinder both that short and the Sheep-man one somewhat.
 

Neil.T

The Wildcard
Movie #2: The Lights in the Sky Are Stars

"My dream is to cover the whole surface of the world with flowers. ... I'll irrigate the parched earth, plant seeds and make flowers grow. I'll plant trees and turn the brown soil green. And then insects, animals, humans and all sorts of other creatures will live there. I want to make the surface a world that's bursting with flowers and plants and living things."


And this is the touching sentiment that gives old Simon the reason for living his life as a drifter. It's an inspired addition to the story, and that's very typical of movie #2. With a second pass at the material, Gainax have absolutely excelled, creating something that, for my money, is thematically even stronger and a very pure viewing experience.

Let's get into some detail.

The first thing I'd like to focus on is the newly named Cathedral Lazengann and its excellent transforming sequence. We've already covered @João Gomes's "It's gonna punch the Earth" moment, so 'nuff said there. Another part of this new concept is the clever idea to have the robot later "devolve" into the form of a battleship so that the rest of the original sinking sequence from the series can be used as-is. Writer Kazuki Nakashima is, put quite simply, a master of context. He can take a fixed point in the plot and come up with a completely plausible reason for its presence. I mean, if he can come up with an indisputably logical reason for combat uniforms being so skimpy in Kill la Kill, then there's surely nothing he can't sell his audience on!

Next, there seems to be a heavy recontextualising of the Lordgenome back story footage from Parallel Works at work here. In the original animation, it's Lordgenome himself who defeats the Spiral forces, singlehandedly, having turned against them after learning of the danger of Spiral Nemesis from the Anti-Spiral. In movie #2, though, the accompanying narration from Rossiu talks of how the Anti-Spiral, once a Spiral race themselves, "revolted against the other Spiral races", resulting in the Spiral forces led by Lordgenome being "crushed" and Earth falling under Anti-Spiral control. It also relates how Lordgenome "surrendered". This part is careful enough to use footage that shows a bunch of mecha being attacked by an unseen enemy with drill tentacles; in the original short, the tentacles belonged to Lordgenome's Lazengann. Movie #1, however, did already use footage from that same scene, showing Lazengann apparently attacking the Spiral forces as part of its opening scene setter, which was narrated by both Lordgenome and the Anti-Spiral.

There's another later sequence in movie #2 using more of the Parallel Works footage where the Lordgenome head explains that the reason he and his forces could not previously defeat the Anti-Spiral was that they were unable to locate their enemies' homeworld. He also states that the Cathedral Lazengann was "stolen" by the Anti-Spiral and disguised as the moon, being incorporated into their Humanity Annihilation System.

I'm not quite sure what to make of it all. Is the movie #1 opening Lordgenome giving the viewer the "true" story in abstract form, and the later explanations given by the Lordgenome head are partly fabrication? Our heroes only have a biocomputer's version of events to go by, after all, so who can say for sure? There appear to be some contradictions in any case, even disregarding the original Parallel Works short.

Much easier to understand is the really neat 3D wireframe Lordgenome hacking sequence. It allows another shortcut in the story and injects a great bit of humour at the same time. Gainax even got to reuse the bit of animation where Lordgenome's head crashes against the side of his glass dome in another new context!

Then we've got the reworking of the origin of the Space Gunmen. "They were lying around in this behemoth's hangar. Looks like your Gunmen were these things' mobile cockpits," explains genius engineer Layte of their sudden appearance inside the Cathedral Lazengann. It's done due the much shorter timespan that the film storyline takes place over, and gives our gang ready-made kit to reuse in humanity's latest battle against the Anti-Spiral.

This could have potentially created a plot hole, seeing as how the Grapearl Squadron mecha were only designed and built during the seven-year time skip between the two story arcs, but the writing has that covered, too. Back to Layte:

"There weren't any jumbo Grapearls, but I did find some mass-production models they could use: Space Gunmarls."

Giant mass-production Lazenganns. Genius. 👌

And from there, Simon and the gang immediately set off to fight the Anti-Spiral. In the series, the newly acquired Cathedral Terra returned to Earth to allow everyone to regroup and recover, but the film has no such time to waste. The passengers are instead returned to Earth inside escape pods carried by Grapearls in a clever little new cut. (There was a further new cut that featured fire and rescue Grapearls during the earlier scene where part of Kamina City was accidentally destroyed in the first fight against the Muganns. The earliest seeds of Promare, perhaps?) And then we're blasting off! There's no proof that Simon even stops for a p*ss or anything to eat! 😆

Did anyone else notice that when Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann warps, flash forms shape of Simon's sunglasses' star-shaped final form?

We've heard already about the epicness that is the deciding battle against the Anti-Spiral, but... I just love the way it's redone here. The big new element comes when the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is torn apart by the Anti-Spiral's Granzeboma, and allows all of the individual members of Team Dai-Gurren who have survived to reach this far to play their part in their own equivalent mecha. As part of looking back at the series and re-evaluating what's important in order to turn Gurren Lagann into a pair of films, Gainax have evidently decided that the strongest theme of the story was not of sacrifice, but the idea of something being more than the sum of its parts, and I applaud them for giving the minor characters a bigger role to play this time around.

For the sake of balance here, though, is it perhaps fair to suggest that these action-heavy parts are quite hectic and aren't always the easiest to follow?

In any case, similar to what I said in my post on episode 27, the final fight then builds everything back up, this time to ultra-colossal proportions, before bringing it back down and ultimately settling the fate of the entire universe on the outcome of a punch-up — on which of the two brawlers just has that one extra grain of determination. The animation in this part is among the best I've ever seen in my life; it's so scrappy and passionate and has so much life and movement that it can barely contain it all. My gratitude to every individual who had a hand in it. What an absolute privilege to witness it.

I notice that the the Japanese dialogue for the final battle also seems to be all-new recordings, including for the previously existing lines. This is often typical of anime compilation films; Madoka Magica and Code Geass also spring to mind as examples.

After the new epilogue set about by Nia's last wish, all that's left is the end credits. There's even a moving moment to be found there as Nia's flower disintegrates and Simon comes to a halt before picking himself up again and continuing, now as an adult.

👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏
Bravo, Gainax. You've got yourself a fan for life with just this film alone.
 

D1tchd1gger

Idolm@ster
Parallel Works 1
Medieval Times
Fun alternative universe, or dream world as we see Viral's wife here from his dream world.

Playin' Pachinko
Took way too long to set up the fairly cheap gag.

Feudal Times
Liked the art, but the cuts were way too rapid and seemingly used to cover the limited animation.

Role Reversal
Team Gurren Lagann as the bad guys? I wish someone had bothered to translate the text! Using Google translate I think the text at the end is supposed to be like they're advertising this as a coming OVA, but the last line is "not really" disclaimer.

You're Finger is the Finger That Will Pierce the Anus!
Umm, yeah, that was a thing!

Modern Times
The cast get a bit more real world make over. Simon's a by-stander and Kamina is in Lagann with a more shaggy Rossiu joining in. I think the blonde is Yoko, although the clothes are more Nia like.

The History of Lordgenome
A lot of this made it into the film(s). I guess this is the full version.

7 was probably the best, but a lot of it is in the film(s). 1 & 6 were pretty good and 4 was OK. Liked the art of 3, I always wonder why someone hasn't used that old Japanese style and used it for an anime? 2 and 5 weren't great.
Apparently 7 isn't 7, but 8. 7 sounds a bit random though, a live action with not much actual action. Couldn't find it, but did find the music on YouTube:
6/10

Parallel Works 2
The Sense of Wonder*
Nia is a bird in a gilded cage. Wasn't quite sure if she was discarded, like the show, or was rescued, but either way it was pretty neat and I liked the song.

Row, Row, Close to the Edge
Psychedelic weirdness. Liked the mash-up of the songs.

Dai-Gurren, Good Bye*
Seriously, no translation! I tried Google Translate again and got the jist, but it took me fookin' ages!

Now the forum's done that annoying thing where it's stopped saving and I lost all my thoughts for the rest! Puts disc in again and sits through the annoying unskippable company idents again 😠

Big Buildings*
Another psychedelic one, but with more of a discernable story.

Cute Girls Doing Cute Gurren Lagann Things
Nia and Kiyal are best buds at school, but enemies in their magical girl personas. I thought at first it would be a fake OP, but kept going. Would watch if it became a real thing!

GUNNxMENN*
Seems like a encyclopaedia of Gunmen.
Glad I didn't even start to translate this one as there's whole sentences of text.

Kittan Zero*
Kittan gets his gunmen and his sisters get a load of fan service!

*Actual titles
Overall the stories seemed a bit more substantial. 2 & 4 were a bit too weird and 6 completely pointless without the translation, art and animation were good though. I enjoyed the others with 1 & 3 being quite melancholic and 5 & 7 bringing the energy. Hard to say which is my favourite.
7/10
 

Neil.T

The Wildcard
Nice video, but why was it not in the Anime Ltd. release?
I'm guessing it's probably got something to do with it being live-action. 🤔

For example, I know that the Madman/MVM Blu-ray of Serial Experiments Lain doesn't include the episode-ending live-action snippets featuring Lain's voice actress because they apparently needed licensing separately, so Madman didn't bother. It probably cost too much for what is was, so perhaps it was the same for Parallel Works #7.
 

D1tchd1gger

Idolm@ster
I did, so I had it ready
Cheers. Interesting, seems they were going for a Koyaanisqatsi type thing. ~imagines what it would have been like if they actually did some animation to that piece of music~
why was it not in the Anime Ltd. release?
Because it's not anime!? 🤷‍♂️

MAL have it on their database, which makes their decision to ignore one of the episodes of Ekoda-chan, which did have some actual animation in it, a bit contradictory.
 

D1tchd1gger

Idolm@ster
[tries to sound knowledgeable about something that's not Gurren Lagann]

😳👍❗
Yes! That's... exactly what I was just thinking.
A "musical" featuring time lapse segments to music written by Phillip Glass.

Sample:

The most famous piece is this one. There's not much time lapse in this segment, but it is of clouds (around the 6 min mark):

It's been used in lots of other things, but the one that stands out for me is when Rockstar used it in an ad for GTA IV (and then on one of the radio stations):
 

Neil.T

The Wildcard
Parallel Works by numbers:

1. In Another World With My Giga Drill? Again, it's a shame that the scene-setting captions at the start aren't translated.

2. The first katakana of the word "pachinko" in the episode title is written all the way over at the left side of the screen to leave the word chinko, which is Japanese for "penis". Oh, Gurren Lagann... 😅

I remember that @Ian Wolf mentioned that he was a fan of this one, but I've never been especially fond of it myself. It plays out as a series of concept designs for a GL pachinko machine; perhaps director Suezen is a pachinko player in his spare time.

3. This Edo-style episode reminded me slightly of the Japan Animator Expo short "Yamadeloid". We've got realistically styled characters here, including the Gainax cameo girls from the bath house episode. The period setting is appropriate enough, given that Gurren Lagann wears a samurai helmet, and it also allows for some good old traditional Japanese rope bondage.

4. From old East to Old West. Viral's horse has Enki's crest as its mane. Kamina sitting on a throne of stone is rather reminiscent of the front cover of volume 4 of Kodansha Comics' English-translated Akira manga.

5. Gimmy steals clothes and defeats Gurren Lagann using kanchō.

6. The official English title is "To Hell With Combining!" but as the title in Japanese is "Gattai Nante Kuso Kurae", it's actually closer to "Combining can eat sh*t".

*7. As mentioned before, the actual seventh episode is missing from the Anime Limited/Madman Blu-ray. The rest are renumbered as a result.

7. This one I already talked a bit about in my post on movie #2. The use of colours to represent the different factions is very striking: green for Spiral, red/brown for Anti-Spiral, and then blue for Lordgenome's new age of tedium.



8.
@D1tchd1gger already described this one well; it's Nia reimagined as one of Lordgenome's girls, a caged bird. I like the character makeovers.

9. If this short reminds you of the labyrinths in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it's because it's directed by Gekidan Inu Curry, who were also responsible for those sequences in Shaft's dark magical girl story. The "Lasen" referred to at the start is just an awkwardly spelling of rasen, the Japanese work for "spiral".

10. I like the art style but, AGAIN, if only the speaking character's dialogue were subtitled in English, EH? 🙄

11. This is one of only three shorts (the following being another) to not be soundtracked by music from the show. I'm not sure if the golden skull with bat wings is supposed to be a reference to Ōgon Bat.

Interestingly, the high-contrast lines that move across the surface of the sentai hero in this short are rather reminiscent of the effect used to depict "life fibres" in Kill la Kill.

12. Kiyal's magical girl reimagining. This one has the anime cliché-mongering down pat. Respect!

13. This is in my top two. It scares me to think, though, that the misspelled "Gren Ragun" could even have ended up as "Glen". 😅
My kingdom for a translation.

14. This is the other one of my top two. It's very stylish indeed, directed by future Kill la Kill character designer Sushio. This is the other short that contains another piece of original music. I love the massive message spelling "F*CK" (not censored in the short itself) etched onto a falling boulder! 😂

I also love Kiyal's dorky hairstyle (as well as Kittan's, natch!). Her double-V victory pose is pure Mako from Kill la Kill. Kiyō's yo-yo weapon is probably a reference to Sukeban Deka, aka Yo-Yo Girl Cop.

The Adiane-like character is introduced by her on-screen caption as Kodiane. (ko is a Japanese prefix meaning "little" or "young".) Given that her eyepatch is over her right eye, as opposed to Adiane's left... Little sister, perhaps?

It's all brilliant stuff, this short — action-packed and exciting. If you'd told me when I first saw it that it was a Studio Trigger tribute to Gurren Lagann, I'd have believed you without hesitation.

The AL release seems to have the second set of Parallel Works shorts in a different order from the original. Wikipedia has "Kittan Zero" listed as the first of the second batch.


I enjoyed Parallel Works the most that I ever have on this viewing. The whole thing kind of puts me in mind of the basic concept of studio Bones' Space Dandy, which I also enjoy. In the latter, creators are offered the chance to make an episode where anything goes, so long as it features the central characters. In Parallel Works, even that stipulation is somewhat flexible and results in some nice variety.

Just to catch this one thing before wrapping up:
GUNNxMENN*

*Actual titles
The actual title of this one is "Gunmen Symphonia". Full title list here:
[Under "Gurren Lagann Parallel Works"]


For my upcoming final contribution to this simulwatch, I'd like to offer my own quite personal take on what Gurren Lagann means to me. I'd love it if y'all were to give it a read, folks. To be continued...
 
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ayase

State Alchemist
The Lights in Sky are Stars

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Whoa. That's a lot of new stuff.

The most obvious and welcome change is that finally, Nia is done justice as a character through her diary entries to Kamina, a better sense of her struggle against fate and her passionate battle to defend Simon herself. This is the Nia who we were first introduced to rather than the plot device she became in the series' second half, and her loss at the end now feels that much greater. So much so that I couldn't help but well up a little at old man Simon's request to the villagers to plant flowers at the end there.

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How is this not a meme?

The film also does a very nice job of making Simon and Rossiu's relationship feel a bit tighter. Watching them build Kamina City together was a nice unexpected addition. And rather than simply having Lordgenome expo-dump everything about the Anti-Spiral conflict and Humanity Annihilation System, it seems this time Rossiu has figured out some of the puzzle pieces on his own, which would make sense if he's been obsessing over Lordgenome's warning for seven years. It also feels like Simon understands Rossiu's reasoning better during and after his imprisonment this time around and the trimmed time-line around his arrest, trial and imprisonment makes it seem more like an immediate reaction on Rossiu's part rather than anything more devious.

That said, it no longer makes as much sense that Rossiu would feel like he had done things that would warrant his early retirement, since in this version of events he wasn't aware of the fate that would befall those underground, didn't make the decision to leave people behind on the Arc-Gurren and went, along with everyone else, into the heart of Laser Moon Unicron to try and stop it rather than remaining unconvinced that it could even be stopped. So that change I'm not so sure about, because it comes off as more of a melodramatic action on his part, which isn't really in his character. It no longer has the same impact, either of the emotional or fist-to-face kind.

screenshot026.jpg
Recognition for my man Kittan, that's what I like to see.

The complete redo and re-ordering of the final battle was quite the thing to behold. Once again, I felt the spiral gauge dip a bit when all the secondary characters survived this time around (undoing some seriously heroic sacrifices and their associated emotional impact in the process, Kittan got to go out like even more of a boss though) but it was soon re-filled in appropriately spectacular fashion by having the Anti-Spiral tear Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann to pieces, only for everyone to reform those pieces into their own individual dream machines. Yes, I'm sure it made Gainax's licensing department a whole bucket-load of cash from the model kit makers, but that didn't make it any less awesome. As was Simon just beating the Hell out of the Anti-Spiral with his fists, which made for a nice parallel of his fight with Lordgenome. By the end, I think I can say I genuinely did prefer this climax, and not just for the official nudes (but they certainly didn't hurt).

So we've made it, finally, to the Earth (not) shattering end. In anticipation of our great leader @Neil.T giving his closing remarks, I'd like to briefly offer my own. Gurren Lagann is not just a show with passion and one obviously created with passion, it's a show that celebrates passion in all its forms as a virtue, which is fantastic. Too often, being excessively passionate about anything is seen as a negative thing. Not so in Gurren Lagann’s world. The show lives on a mantra of: Get excited. Get angry. Feel deeply. Live for something. Die for something. Do not allow yourself to be ground down by the twin evils of boredom and despair. And most important of all, as the cast have yelled directly out of the screen at us twice now, is...

screenshot027.jpg
 
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Neil.T

The Wildcard
In anticipation of our great leader @Neil.T giving his closing remarks, I'd like to briefly offer my own.
Hahh, I ain't no leader, ayase. I just tried to keep the good thread Gurren sailing on a course that was always pointing forwards, much like the show itself. Yourself and @João Gomes were always there pushing me along: I had to step up and try to make my own posts measure up to the high standard you were both working to. I like to think that, between us all, we got to experience something that none of us could've by ourselves with this simulwatch. It became something more than the sum of its individual parts, again much like what we see happen again and again in the show itself. That's a large part of its manifesto, along with this:

The show lives on a mantra of: Get excited. Get angry. Feel deeply. Live for something.
You get it.


Before I go and write up my own personal take on the series, I wanted to offer up some supplemental material and further reading for anyone still wanting a bit more Gurren Lagann, starting with this excellent manga-styled comedy skit from 2009 called "Viral's Sweet Dream":

There's also a half-length special episode called "My Gurren is Sparkling" that was bundled with the Gurren Lagann Nintendo DS game of the series:
Alas, to this day I haven't seen it.

@D1tchd1gger already mentioned this one, but just for completeness' sake, there's also the Yōko-centric music video "Kirameki★Yoko Box - Pieces of Sweet Stars". The vocals are by Marina Inoue, Yōko's Japanese voice actress:

Sticking with Inoue, disc 4 of the Anime Limited Blu-ray contains a bonus feature called "Yoko goes to Gainax", an interesting documentary where the voice of Yōko visits the Gainax studio and has a go at drawing some in-between frames for a scene involving her character. It's not an easy job! Well worth a look.

For further reading, there's the Gurren Lagann Fandom site, a useful if rather incomplete resource that I've referenced in some of my posts in this thread:

And of course there's your usual network of Wikipedia pages that cover the franchise:

Lastly, and of particular interest to me, is this article that looks at some of the differences between the anime and the films:

Back with my wrap-up post soon, folks. Thanks for reading.
 

Neil.T

The Wildcard
The simulwatch may have already officially ended but, as promised, I'd like to offer anyone who's still reading this thread one last contribution that @ayase flatteringly called my "closing remarks". This is my own quite personal take on Gurren Lagann.


What Gurren Lagann means to me

Gurren Lagann was first unveiled to the world on Japanese TV back in 2007, but it wasn't until mid-2017 that I first saw it, after getting my copy of Anime Limited's Blu-ray collector's edition of the series.

At that point in time, I felt as if my life had gotten away from me. Certain important things were going so badly that I had begun to lose hope and with it anything that resembled an attention span. I'd always relished my anime viewing since it unexpectedly became my new favourite hobby in early 2011, but now everything had come to a grinding halt. Now I couldn't focus on anything I tried to do in my free time without my mind wandering far away somewhere bleak or even outright breaking down into tears.

Being somewhat stubborn by nature, though, I was determined to try to push on with doing something with my days in spite of my awful state of mind. So I took Gurren Lagann off my shelf.

And you know what? It actually held my attention from the start of an episode right through to the end, and sometimes even into a second one. It was still a far cry from when I could effortlessly enjoy six or even seven episodes of something on the bounce, but it was certainly a great start. The key thing was that it gave me something worthwhile that connected my days together again. I actually rather looked forward to seeing how Simon would get on in the next installment of what would turn out to be a very big and eventful journey for him, and I dare say that events starting with the series' eighth episode even helped shape my very outlook on life in the months and years that followed.

From that episode, Simon hit his own rock bottom, reduced to functioning on only a minimal level, but over the course of the next few installments, a chance event and some human kindness gave him the opportunity to do something about his pitiful situation. And he seized it with both hands and pulled himself out of the hole he'd sunk into.

I thought it was an incredible story. I thought that then, and I still think so now: it's genuinely inspiring. In the show, Simon then goes from strength to strength. Back then, the idea of that seemed like pure fiction, but I looked upon it with a kind of envious chuckle nonetheless.

AUKN regulars will perhaps know that I'm also a big fan of Evangelion. I had always considered myself something of a Shinji in life, doomed to always try his very hardest but ultimately fail. Simon was something on the far-flung opposite end of the scale, something untouchable and out of reach: he was a character who had seen the same kind of lows but had pulled through and bettered himself, who had used that little bit of momentum he had been gifted to crash through walls and make it out the other side — who, above all, didn't give up. It felt utterly impossible, but the thought couldn't help but grip me: "Wouldn't it be amazing if I could become more of a Simon instead of a Shinji?"

The thought lodged itself into the recesses of my mind from where I would draw upon it over and again in times that followed, and you know what? I feel like I actually managed it. I pulled through, and things are very different for me in my life now.

If this all sounds rather ridiculous and over the top, then that's good. That's a very good thing. That's just testament to the ability that fiction has to inspire.

So that's my own story and my own experience with the anime series called Gurren Lagann. It's certain that others out there will have had similar experiences and have similar stories to tell that involve a piece of media that actually influenced the course their lives took after discovering it. I think that Gainax gave us something special when they made Gurren Lagann, and I hope that I'll always carry it with me in my heart.


My gratitude goes to all members of Team Gurren for making this simulwatch what it was by contributing to this thread: @ayase, @Birdie Num Num, @D1tchd1gger, @Dai, @Geriatric hedgehog, @HWR, @Ian Wolf, @João Gomes, @Lordhippos and @SkwigglesWorth. Thanks for coming along on this grand journey, folks.

To @Geriatric hedgehog, this thread remains here for when you hopefully acquire your own copy of the movies and Parallel Works. I hope you do, because I'd love to read your thoughts.

I also want to take the chance to pay tribute to our two fallen members of Team Gurren, whom we lost along the way. There was @awadama fever, who only barely made it out of Giha Village, before turning around and heading right back down there. Let's never forget that it was you who was responsible for Kamina being killed, dude, after jinxing him with this little gem:
Kamina is really really irritating. I assume he's going to be a big part of the story, but I wouldn't mind if he got killed off
😛

We also stop to remember @Loris, who seems to have gotten left behind in the bathhouse, and is possibly still there even now! Enjoy that long soak. 😉


Looking forward to seeing some of you again for our next simulwatch, folks! Thanks for reading.
 
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