#11 What is your favourite mecha anime?
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Confession time! I’m not actually a big fan of mecha shows… The only ones that I’ve enjoyed are those where the mechas actually take a backseat to their respective shows’ storylines and/or characters, e.g. Neon Genesis Evangelion and Code Geass. In fact, the only mecha show to have wrestled its way into my Top 30 anime is Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (henceforth known as TTGL).
I want it to be known that TTGL’s place in my Top 30 anime is not because it has my favourite mechas. No, that would actually be the Evas of Neon Genesis Evangelion for basically being these big, expensive (yet crappy) humanoid laptops that die mere minutes after being taken off of charge! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Gurren Lagann! It’s a huge, dumb, sunglasses-wearing robot that runs on spiral energy (which is essentially just a byword for testosterone), what’s not to love? But TTGL has so much more to offer its viewers than just its mechas…
Both TTGL’s plot and its delivery are phenomenal. Its core themes, which include striving to achieve the improbable and breaking free from the shackles of oppression, leave you feeling inspired and ready to take on the world! I also love the dichotomy between its goofy and lighthearted opening episodes and the, comparatively intense, remainder of the show. It’s like a punch to the heart, shocking and affecting! When you’ve seen as much anime as I have, very little surprises you anymore. It’s like you develop a resistance to all the usual cliches and plot twists, so it feels so good to watch a show that actually makes you feel something, even if that something feels like somebody’s crushing your heart in their meaty fist! Additionally, I give shows major brownie points for having the guts to kill off important characters (although these are swiftly subtracted in the case of resurrection). It almost always comes as a shock and leaves you feeling like no character is safe! I award even more points if, having killed off an important character, the show is still able to hold up. I won’t spoil the events of TTGL for you, but let’s just say that it scored some major points! Not only did the death of one of its characters transform the entire show’s tone, from upbeat (but kinda superficial) to high-stakes, high-tension viewing, it also shaped its characters’ behaviour, motivations, and personalities in incredible ways.
TTGL’s characters are also outstanding! Kamina is massively likable and charismatic and helps propel the entire show forwards, Yoko demonstrates on multiple occasions that she is more than just a pair of boobs, and Nia adds just the right amount of sweetness to the show (without rendering it sickly). Simon is, arguably, the best of the bunch, though! Watching him transform from an anxious young boy, forever living in Kamina’s shadow, into a brave, self-assured young man, who’s an excellent leader in his own right, is immensely rewarding. Even the side characters are memorable! And that’s not just because of their visual appeal (though I maintain that TTGL’s character design is the best out there). It’s because they all bring so much energy to the show!
Alright, that’s enough gushing for now! Any more and I might as well write a full-blown review! I’m sure by now you get the gist that TTGL is not just a fantastic mecha show, it’s also an excellent show full-stop!
Gurren Lagann definitely leaves its mark even with people who aren’t fans of mecha anime. I’m not the biggest fan of the genre, or of comedy for that matter, and yet this show has a lot of heart and energy and just manages to make itself something worth remembering. I think you are right in that a lot of the joy comes from the characters. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.
Exactly! TTGL’s appeal is not the giant robots, it’s the giant personalities piloting them! I’m glad that you enjoyed my post!
My fav is gundam 00. Good post Ty 😀
You know, I’ve not watched a single Gundam show! There are so many, it’s kind of intimidating! I don’t know where to start!
Try gundam wing, seed/destiny, 00. They aren’t connected and are standalone, so you won’t feel confused.
Thank-you for the suggestions! I’ll add them to my ever-growing (never shrinking) PTW list!
Destiny is a sequel to seed, so you won’t be pressed to remember all the characters etc.
Pingback: Favorite shows I watched in 2018 - They may have come out a decade ago (12 days) - I drink and watch anime