Archive for the 'gurren-lagann' Category

Yoko and her impossible rifle

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

When gun nuts discuss Mateba in Ghost in The Shell, it is interesting, even intriguing. Because the creators actually hired a guy to design realistic weapons for them (it’s in the movie’s credits), one might try to follow their throught process, connect with the show and characters better.

When gun nuts discuss Yoko’s rifle, it’s sad. Gurren Lagann is not Black Lagoon, its creators banished the word “plausible” from their meetings.

Fig 1: Impossible Electromagnetic Rifle.

For crying out loud, a small animal is camping on the penis of a major character in Gurren-Lagann (where a blue elephant would be in a less outstanding production). You just cannot take that show seriously without injuring yourself.

Rethinking mecha

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

It is quite plain that a certain level of anti-mecha sentiment festers among the anime fans. In my recent memory, Impz wrote about it, and so did Steven den Beste. The core belief here is mecha series generally tend to suck because the shiny metal takes the focus away from the characters and the story.

I used to subscribe to this notion, but I am starting to wonder if it’s true at all.

Over the years I saw a number of series and movies with mecha in them, and taking stock it becomes clear that quite a number of them did not suck outright. Here is the cream of the crop:

  • Banner of the Stars: I’m going to go on a limb and consider the assault ship a degenerative mecha. It is crewed with 20, but we only ever see 5. The amount of gizmo obsession going around there can put Macross to shame (I am talking about the cutaway views of VF-1 here). Fans of the franchize discuss solemnly the imaginary properties of weapons and ships in the way Gundam fans do. So it really is a mecha series, but it provides excellent story and characters.
  • Dai-Guard: An underappreciated series with the goofiest-looking giant robot. Surprisingly deep characters and an interesting storyline, and there’s more going on than meets the eye at first. I think I watched it first at a convention when nothing else was available. What a serendipitous chance.
  • Stellvia/Vandread: Essentially twin series in my mind. Decent story and characters in both, although the mecha is not goofy like in Dai-Guard, just impossible and/or magical. Stellvia I watched because I liked the OP; SDB’s relentless advocacy made me watch Vandread.
  • Gurren-Lagann: This I dropped after the 3 episodes to ease my fansubbing duty because I knew it was going to be licensed. But it’s a very decent series with manic action. Bloggage was quite positive.
  • IDOLM@STER Xenoglossia: Dropped too, but it’s on my list to watch if I have money when it’s licensed in R1. Cutest animation; characters somewhat shallow, IMHO; plot is driven by a conspiracy and girlmecha.
  • Macross, or whatever the right name is. I place it undeservingly low on the list, I know. More about it below…
  • Martian Successor Nadesico: Parts are good, parts are bad. Referrential, breaks the 4th wall, uses patterns too much, has filler, and the harem lead sucks. But it still has a certain amount of goodness. I haven’t seen the ending yet.

To be sure, quite a number sucked as well. I didn’t like NGE much (although perhaps I didn’t watch it right), GiTS:SAC was a silly derivative, Sakura Wars the Movie was ruined by the whitewashing of the prewar Japan, Dual was not too bad as far as mindless fluff goes, but failed to resolve the harem, Escaflowne the Movie was goth, Voltron‘s mechanical tigers were ludicros, Macron 1 was just old rank-and-file series, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs ditto, and the less is said about Zoids, the better (except that admitting to watching that should be as embarrassing as to watching Yu-Gi-Oh).

In the end, the final suck ratio is not that bad. Harems produce about the same divide, too, for instance. It may be some kind of Sturgeon law in action. Why single out mecha for punishment then? There’s no rational reason.

But if done right, mecha provides interesting possibilities. My personal favourites would be the ace and power multiplier. They were provided by air forces, especially during the WWII, in the real life, so they are realistic. Anyone with a martial arts experience knows how a stick multiplies power of an adept user, but is dangerous for an inept one. More sophisticated weapons tend to magnify this effect. This is how Galland’s Experten, Bong, Pokryshkin, and Sakai came about. These people were fascinating. All mecha needs to do is take this a bit further (but it has to stop before the progression reaches the absurd if director is any good).

Now that my worldview is adjusted, I’m going to give mecha a fair consideration. In simple words, gotta see me some of dat. But what?

Gundam is obvious. I always avoided it because the franchize was too extensive, with a truly bewildering array of series. But after reading about it on the Net, it appears that there’s not all that much that stands out. I saw some of the W in the U.S. broadcast and the story seemed overstretched. The 0083 looked like having good comedic moments (I wanna hear the following classic in the original Japanese: “Yes, sir!” — “Don’t call me “sir”, you idiot! I’m your enemy!”), but it was too little. Brickmuppet linked an article about 0080 at ANN, which seemed interesting but not quite there. So, after careful consideration, I’m going to look at 08th MS Team for starters and then we’ll see.

I’d love to see Macross too. I saw bits and pieces here and here, and it looked intriguing. But I still cannot figure out what the definitive version is. Also, it’s long in all incarnations.

Finally, I am going to watch the new NGE movie. Maybe Asuka is not such a bad bitch in it anymore. One can only hope.

These three items should do mecha justice that it was denied, and I’m going to keep an open mind in the future (Kaminaaaaaaaaa).

UPDATE: Nick Istre writes:

Just to throw out one hypothesis, it might be a reaction to the sometimes rabid fanbase of mecha? I know a few people who are hardcore mecha fans. Heck, a few of them form the core of “Mechacon” that’s held here in Louisiana.

Could be.

Reader Michael Gardner asks what is GiTS:SAC a derivative of. Of the original movie, of course, which was quite good. Coincidently, the movie didn’t have any mecha (unless we consider a tank a mecha). It certanly didn’t have a mechanical insect with an outhouse stuck to its butt.

UPDATE: Oh, snap. Netflix lists 08th MS Team as “3-disc series”, starting with v.2 (ep.4). It’s not just “availability unknown”, but seems like v.1 never existed. Now what? RACS seems to have v.1 on sale for $12.98… I wish I knew it last week when the previous order went in (I gave up on hunting RahXephon and just ordered a thinpack). Still, ordering a standalone v.1 seems retarded, so I suppose the best course of action would be to netflix v.2, check if it’s any good, then get a thinpack. Hey, the out-of-order thing is all the rage these days since it worked for Haruhi.

UPDATE: Owen insists that I watched Code Geass. In my judgement, it is too fresh to rub with the likes of 08th MS Team, so I added it to the common queue. It is #40 now. I might see it in about 18 months from now if nothing bumps it.

UPDATE 2007/09/10: Fledge makes a post about upcoming live-action Robotech (which is an ugly child of Macross, or perhaps vice versa). I am not holding my breath, because of two words: Wing Commander. Hollywood is capable of trampling any great franchize into dirt.

UPDATE 2007/10/14: Watched 08th MS Team. I torrented the gaps in Netflix’s coverage.

AoMM on Gurren-Lagann

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Actually, in Jason’s post, just as interesting as Gurren-Lagann itself was the Gainax crash narrative as etched in fan’s memories.

I dropped Gurren-Lagann after the ep.3, but the show’s potential was very clear. By dropping early I was just saving on my fansubber’s duty, and continued to live vicariously off the bloggage. So I knew about the death of Kamina, Nia, etc. Since it’s an ADV release, I feel morally justified holding off for a thinpack. Ledford is talking about the feeling of entitlement anyway, might as well take advantage of it.

Kurogane on Gurren-Lagann

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Kuro says (major spoilers! good thing I’m spoiler-proof), in effect, that with Gurren-Lagann, GAINAX buried the spectre of Gainax ending. I’m so watching that show on R1 DVD. It is licensed by ADV (an accident or a welcome turn-around from the age of “sniping”? time will tell). I went and added a gurren-lagann tag in anticipation.

UPDATE: Kurogane added one more post with this:

Also, Simon’s decision to not use the Spiral power to revive Nia and the rest of the Gurren Lagaan when suggested by Gimmy was a very nice touch by the production team, possibly as a way to subtly criticize other studios who might build up emotional impact by killing characters, but waste it all on a cop-out at the end. Simon rightly says that reviving the dead will eventually hinder the ones who follow after, and I can’t help getting flashes of a certain other mecha show that was popular recently.

I’m wondering what mecha show he has in mind, because there are so many. Apropos the revival, the world reset was the thing which displeased me most in RahXephon. If GL avoids it, it’s all to the best.

UPDATE: I asked Kurogane on IRC about it, and he said he meant Gundam Seed Destiny.

Omni on Gurren-Lagann

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Did I write that Kuro posted spoilers? Well, “spoiler” is Omni’s second name. Anyone caring about spoilers should not read his final G-L post, but here’s the conclusion:

Final Thoughts: I originally approached this show with a great deal of skepticism, some of it due to the Sunday morning timeslot this was airing in. Looking back at it now, that sounds really naive since Gurren Lagann turned out to be my favorite series that started in this past spring season. The word “epic” gets tossed around a lot, but I really think that it’s applicable here. Not only was this show incredible from an animation quality point of view, the story just kept growing in scale until they were literally fighting for the fate of the entire universe. Add to that all the memorable characters and inspiring moments, and I have no problem calling this the must-see show of 2007.

Sunday morning slot, indeed.

By the way, his summary gives off major Naruto vibes. Lots of bloggers experienced similar turnarounds because they expected Naruto to be a yet another DBZ clone, and it went far beyond that… for the first 100 episodes. At least Gurren-Lagann has ended, which is a major plus.

SDS on Gurren-Lagann

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Here’s something seen at Towards our Memories, written by a guest-blogger “SDS”. Since ToM is not an ad-supported blog, I’m going to quote the gist of it:

There’s a hypothesis going around that each arc of the recently-finished Gurren-Lagann pertains to an era or decade of giant robot animation. I subscribe to this belief in a rather loose manner, seeing as how actual time tends to bleed and blur the borders and that people don’t all of a sudden decide to start thinking differently when a 9 becomes a 0, but the basic layout is this.

Episodes 1-8: The 70s, the original super robot era. (Mazinger Z, Getter Robo)
Episodes 9-15: The 80s, when things got more serious, when characters became deeper. (Gundam, Macross)
Episodes 17-22: The 90s, when perception was changed, things brought into question. (Evangelion)

If this is the case, then the current decade is the basis behind episodes 23-27. However, with nothing for Gainax to “reference” they can only instead try to give their own message, teach their own lesson, show their own influence.

Actually, there’s more at the source, feel free to check it out. I’ll just add that I had no idea that people took their thinking so far. It’s weird, yet not completely hallucinatory.

The Cross of St. Kamina flag

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

I wasn’t following it closely, but I didn’t have to. Ubu has all the important details.

UPDATE: Animanachronism.

Orion on plushies

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Seen at epic win:

6. Boota

The adorable sunglasses wearing, self-sacrificing mascot of the Gurren-dan would make for a great plushie! I could just sit him next to me on my desk and feel the spiral power flowing as I kick writer’s block to the curb and pierce the heavens with my blogging!

I’m afraid he’ll give Kamina cosplayers ideas. That would be just… ugh.

He also wants the impossible to obtain Guuchiko plushie. Poor man.


Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

I’m on fire working, haven’t seen an episode this year yet. Meanwhile:

MegaDaijobu 1.32 “Manly Tears”, 1.33 “Dubs”.

Regarding manliness, I sip the manly tea.

ADV’s shenagians

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

By now everyone has read about ADV disappearing Gurren-Lagann, which was the only title worth watching in their list of upcoming anime. They better not screw the pooch on that one (via DbD, Chizumatic).

UPDATE: Ubu added a copy of ICV2 article.

Robert of RACS posted his take.

UPDATE 20080130: Now ANN reports that ICv2 article was an example of laphamization.

UPDATE 20080226: They re-listed everything except Gurren-Lagann.