The gratifying second volume of Gurren Lagann opens with the humans emerging victorious, but ends on the verge of a worldwide apocalypse.
The volume begins with Yoko and Simon mourning the death of their leader. However, the newcomer to the Gurren Lagann crew, Nia, changes the tone of the series for the better.
The girl announces herself as the daughter of the humans’ enemy, Lord Lordgenomme. Although the crew planned to hold her hostage, she wins them over with her polite manners. More importantly, she supports Simon in opposing Lordgenomme’s empire of female oppression.
Simon leads the humans to conquer the beastmen. However, in his dying breath, Lordgenomme hints that the Anti-Spirals from the moon will soon kill all life on Earth to prevent the birth of the Spiral Nemesis.
Even long-time mecha fans probably weren’t expecting an apocalypse from this series. Based on all the times Kamina told Simon to pierce the heavens with his drill, you’d think this is one of the most boring, straightforward anime series ever made.
Thankfully, the series cuts the progressive momentum when alien forces possess Nia. Without giving away too much, the Anti-Spirals are hell-bent on sending their bizarre geometric spacecraft to eradicate entire cities. The big question is whether Simon or anyone will be able to stop them.
If this plot twist hadn’t taken place, I would have written off this series as one-dimensional. Even if the story hadn’t made the transition, I would still highly recommend this anime for its visually spectacular animation style. All the characters are drawn in a Superflat style, with cel shades lacking in depth. When the film is in motion, however, the characters express an immense range of emotions and intense action.
The robots especially leap out of the screen with exaggerated morphing sequences and brutal fight scenes. The most incredible battles take place as the Gurren Lagann team fights against the last of Lordgenomme’s generals. General Guamme, a crocodile/armadillo creature, wipes out numerous mechs in a humongous top-shaped robot which spins a gigantic tornado. The final battles of the war of Teppelin are eye-catching spectacles that everyone has to see at least once.
Overall, “Gurren Lagann” is building up to a thrilling conclusion. I hope I can finish this series soon. I was upset that I wasn’t able to see all the episodes in the CSULB Anime Club. Based on what I’ve seen, this series looks like it will end with a humongous bang.
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