Drill Baby, Drill!

God bless Netflix via X-Box. Without it my life would be 20% less exciting. Recently, I started to watch anime through it, and I’ve been (for the most part) not excited by anything I’ve seen.

Then I started watching Gurren Lagann.

I tried reading the manga some time ago, but I could not get into it. Thankfully, the anime is the opposite. The story is easier to follow, and really entertaining. The plot is pretty basic, and reminds me a great deal of ‘City of Ember’. In the future, humans live underground since it is unsafe to live on the surface. These villages are completely isolated, as they have no contact with the surface as well as other villages. Giha Village, where our story opens in, introduces us to Simon, a young digger who is possibly favored by the head of the village since he is an orphan.

Simon only knows of digging to expand the village, and of little else. His older “brother” Kamina has been (from what we assume) trying to break onto the surface for some time, in order to meet back up with his father. Kamina enlists the help of Simon, but after getting in trouble for attempting to break to the surface, all seems lost. That is until Simon finds a giant face (a mini Gunman), and then from there, all hell breaks loose. A bigger Gunman falls from the sky, followed by a busty young red hed named Yoko. The three escape to the surface, killing the Gunman before he can destroy the under ground village. Once on the surface, Simon is shocked by what is above them, but he knows he can’t go back under ground.

Simon and Kamina are two interesting characters, although both seem pretty typical for this kind of anime. However, they are both fun to watch (especially Kamina). Yoko on the other hand bores me. To me, she’s just another busty girl with a big gun who doesn’t want to be objectified, despite the lack of clothing she wears. The series does need her in it, but she’s rather disposable once things get moving. The other supporting characters add more to the show, especially Leeron, the teams mecha-tech. He is one of the best secondary characters in the whole series, with his overtly flamboyant personality and funny disposition. The antagonists are interesting as well. Most of them are some form of Beastmen, whose main goal in life is to kill any humans who come to the surface. They serve mostly as a way of giving team Gurren something to do (although without them the story is still very interesting).

Overall, this is one of the best anime I’ve seen in a long time. The animation is (for the most part) fluid and top notch. There were a few episodes where it has clearly been cut back a little, but over all the series is visually striking. While I have not heard the Japanese audio track, the English dub is perfectly fine. Dubbing has come a VERY long way since I started watching anime in 1990, and this is one of those series that proves it. I strongly urge you to watch the first episode at the very least, and see for yourself.

-Lauren

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