>DVD Review: Robot action at its best

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There’s not enough cool robot anime these days. Sure, we saw “Aquarion” this year, but “Aquarion” so wrapped up in partnership themes that it got corny very quickly.

Thankfully, “Gurren Lagann” brings “coolness” back in robot anime, with robots with sunglasses, duking it out to a hot distorted guitar soundtrack.

Although the CSULB anime club has previewed this series, it’s worthwhile to remember how the story began. Simon is a digger, who spends his lonely life digging deeper into the earth to escape from the constant earthquakes. His parents died in one earthquake, leaving him as an orphan digger. He lives in Giha village, deep under the earth.

Simon befriends Kamina, a fellow orphan, who claims that he once lived on the surface world with his father. Unfortunately, he was too weak to survive there, so his father returned him to Giha Village.

One day, Simon finds a drill piece and a big face robot with a brain. He fetches Kamina to take a look, but the village leader catches them. However, just when the leader is about to punish Kamina, a humongous robot falls through the ceiling and attacks. A woman with a bikini-top, named Yoko, tries to stop it with her sniper rifle, but her shots are useless. Fortunately, Simon is able to plug his drill bit into a keyhold in the brain robot to activate it and destroy the enemy robot.

After a couple of near-death experiences with enemy robots, Yoko’s surface-dwelling friends save them. They are all in a war against the enemy Gunman robots. Appropriately enough, Kamina is willing to lend them a hand with their robot, named Lagann.

The series is hilarious in the beginning. Kamina eventually decides to take over an enemy Gunman and name it Gurren. In some more funny scenes, Kamina decides to defeat their arch-enemy, Viral, by slamming the head right into the top of the Gurren robot. Hence, it combines to form…Gurren Lagann! The robot even has Kamina’s trademark shades.

While the series is admittedly goofy, it features some of the most entertaining and laugh-out-loud robot transformation sequences in anime history. For example, Gurren Lagann’s transformation sequence wasn’t cool enough, so Kamina spends much of episode four making their combination look as sexy as possible, with flashing lights and everything.

But aside from the goofiness, the series is also astounding for the huge plot twist in episode 8. One of the characters unexpectedly dies, leaving many viewers to wonder how on earth Simon is going to rally his army to save mankind from the Beastman’s Gunman army.

Even if this series is nowhere near as emotionally dramatic as “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” it has lots of spirit. Most of all, it’s the best feel-good series about a character who has to believe in himself in order to kick some major ass.

And by the way, this has the coolest music I’ve ever heard in an anime series. The soundtrack is filled with hot, awesome distorted guitar music and DJ scratches. There’s no doubt that there’s no cooler robot series than “Gurren Lagann.” Best of all, volume 1 of the series features a whopping 9 episodes on two discs for only $27.

For all anime fans who love feel-good anime action, this series is definitely for you.

Image courtesy of kairu90.wordpress.com

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