Gurren Lagann finishes strong but with a bittersweet ending for our favorite driller.
What They Say
Seven years have passed since the final battle against Lordgenome and the Beastmen. Mankind is now thriving on the surface of the planet. Lordgenome's fallen capital has now become humanity's new capital, Kamina City, and lead by Simon and the other members of Team Dai-Gurren. The suffering of the people forced to live underground seems like a distant memory. Instead of struggling to survive day after day, Simon now finds himself dealing with civic duties of keeping the residents of the metropolis happy. However, true to Lordgenome's final words, when the population of humans on the planet reaches 1,000,000 people, an even greater threat falls upon mankind. Now, up against an unknown enemy and obstacles in every direction he turns, Simon must fight against destiny to save the woman he loves and all of mankind once again in the process!
BREAK THROUGH THE KARMIC CIRCLE OF NEVERENDING BATTLE WITH YOUR DRILL, GURREN LAGANN!
Bandai provides a solid stereo track for the Japanese language and an equally solid 5.1 track for the English language. The Japanese stereo track provides plenty of decent effects across the speakers to match the frenetic dialogue and action on screen. No noticeable defects were present making for a great sounding experience.
Originally airing in 2007, Gurren Lagann is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, enhanced for anamorphic playback. The transfer is simply gorgeous and free from any discernible defects. Rich colors accentuate every scene from the dark depths of the pit colonies to the desert landscape above.
Two ordinary DVD cases are contained in a cardboard sleeve. The front of the sleeve bears the Team Gurren logo with the reverse containing a clean, readable outline of the contents of the two discs. The individual DVDs use the same cover art as the single releases.
The main menu mimics the cockpit of the mechas used in the series. Animated clips play in the viewport screens, while a snippet of the theme music loops in the background. Transition delays between menus are negligible allowing for a quick setup and entry into the content.
Both discs feature clean versions of the opening and ending sequences. The first disc also features a thirty minute piece on the making of the 3D models for the Anti-Spiral Mugann. A seven minute interview with Shoko Nakagawa is on the second disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As Gurren Lagann comes to a close, Simon faces the daunting tasks of finding a way out of prison, stopping the moon from crashing into the Earth, and rescuing his love Nia and all of humanity from destruction at the hands of the Anti-Spirals. Old enemies become allies; past allies reunite for the final battle. Lives are lost, but a new path is opened by Simon's drill.
On a visual level, this finale does not disappoint as the entire universe is turned into the battleground and weapons of the Team Dai-Gurren and the Anti-Spirals. It also retains its unique sense of humor, homages (watch for spectacular nod to the Yamato franchise), and fan service. With the fate of the entire universe at stake, Gurren Lagann still retains the ability to inject a well-timed joke, gag, or bounce without breaking the flow of the overall story.
Though, it is the story and its final impact on the character's lives that kept me watching episode after episode. The main theme of the series is to persevere and find your own destiny in the universe. However, the final set of episodes show that sometimes the path you seek requires great sacrifice. Yet, that sacrifice can be easily made, even chosen if you wholly believe in your path. Simon's final sacrifice makes this poignant; he chooses to destroy the Anti-Spirals and ensure humanity will survive at the cost of losing Nia forever. He accepts that death is inevitable for all, and rather than mourn the loss of Nia, he walks the Earth cherishing the time he shared with her.
Gurren Lagann could have thrown in episodes of filler, but it managed to grow the characters and the story with each episode. As the series reaches its climax, each character is someone you want to cheer on, someone you do not want to lose. It may not be hailed as revolutionary like its older brother Evangelion, but it has certainly laid claim as one of the better and more entertaining giant robot series created.
Remarkably, Gurren Lagann kept a consistent level of entertainment to the very last episode. Slapstick humor, hyperbolic action, increasingly powerful mecha, copious fan service – the series could have become a mediocre hodgepodge of these elements. However, it distinguished itself by crafting an engaging story featuring remarkable characters from these elements. I can think of no higher recommendation than noting that as the last credit rolled, I wanted to go back and watch the whole thing again immediately.
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Sanzigen 3D Test Footage, Shoko Nakagawa InterviewLimited Edition: Best Sound CD, Gurren Lagann Manga Vol.1
Sony Bravia KDL-46S4100, Panasonic RP-82 via component video cable, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers