Gurren Lagann: 85%

Gurren Lagann explained | Legacy of NGE

The hidden face of Neon Genesis Evangelion

Gurren Lagann explained

Gurren Lagann: the hidden face of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The Setting.

Gurren Lagann is a mechan-anime series animated by Gainax and co-produced by Aniplex and Konami. The series can be considered as a turning point for the director Hiroyuki Imaishi  and thw playwright Kazuki Nakashima which, later, would have given birth to Kill La Kill (2013) and Promare (2019). The plot focuses on two teenagers, Simon and Kamina, who live in a subterranean village and wish to go to the surface. Using a mecha known as Lagann, Simon and Kamina reach the surface and start fighting alongside other humans against Lordgenome’s forces, before fighting the forces of their true enemy.

Gurren Lagann Explained. A legacy of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The animation of Gurren Lagann is something unique. The characterization of the characters offered by the authors has become a brand signature of their works through time. The context where the storyplot develops is dynamic and as, we have also seen in Kill La Kill, relaxed with light-heart funny moments. However, a number of topics comes directly from a must see of the mecha-series: Neon Genesis Evangelion (NGE).


Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gurren Lagann.

1. Gurren Lagann: another perspective of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The basilar touching point is the mecha-environment. Such as Shinji Ikari, Simon is the chosen on to pilot the Gurren Lagann. Simon becomes the self-confident version of Shinji. In fact, the protagonist of Gurren Lagann is able to overcome the lost of his best friend Kamina, succeding in defeating his mental insecurity. The self consciusness of Simon makes the core drill work better and better. The source of power of Gurren Lagann is the same of Unit 01: the AT field introduced in Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This is the light of my soul. A sacred territory in which no one may intrude. Aren’t you Lilin even aware that your AT field is merely that wall that encloses every mind that exists?”

– Kaworu (NGE)

2. Seele’s Instrumentality plan and Anti-Spirals.

In both series, humanity is depicted with similar qualities. Humans by their natural tendency “Pierce the Heavens“; in other words, they tend to a divine condition. Their will to detach from the earth is the proof of a divine elements inside them. That’s how “the Spirals” in Gurren Lagan behave; as we know, in NGE, people have been generated from Lilith, a god-like creature. Humanity has to hide in the underworld in order to survive to “external”, initallly unknown attacks. Let’s think to the structure of the New Tokyo-3 (NGE) and to the subterranean villages of Gurren Lagann. The enemies in both cases, come from the sky. We have the Angel on one side (NGE), whose intervention is monitored by the Seele’s plan and the Anti-Spiral for Gurren Lagann.

Gurren Lagann where to watch

Gurren Lagann, the final goal: the Primordial Life Fiber.

The main goal of the Anti-Spiral is to destroy the intimate peculiarity of the Spirals: their individuality. In simple terms, they want to annihilate their souls. It’s the same plan pursued by Seele’s: the instrumentality. All human beings should return a “sea of LCL”, in order to restore the condition of the First Ancestral Race (FAR). This topic is of great interest for the authors which have also re-proposed in the form of Life Fiber in Kill La Kill (see our review here). Let’s now focus on some similarities in the characters of Gurren Lagann and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

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Nia Teppelin and Rei Ayanami.A

Nia from Gurren Lagann and Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion it’s the first similarity that comes up to my mind. The two both non-humans girls that fall in love with the main characters. Nia and Rei are treated as disposable tools by their respective fathers (Lord Genome and Gendo Ikari) and thrown away when they become useless. Beyond their supernatural condition they also share the sense of isolation. The difficulty to build up relationships is emphasized in Neon Genesis Evangelion but the audience should remember the scenes where Simon teaches the meaning of feelings to his future girlfriend.

The shared simbolism of Nia and Rei.

In both cases, we attend to the awakening of the two girls against their prescribed fate. Nia rebels against the Anti-Spiral while Rei makes her own decision to save Shinji, avoiding the completion of Gendo’s plan. The mystical component (roods ecc..) is also reminended in the giant Nia of Gurren Lagann.

Rei Ayanami and Nia Teppelin

Rei Ayanami (left) and Nia Teppelin (right).

The Gurren Lagann team: Kamina.

Kamina is probably the most important character of Gurren Lagann. Even though he passes away at the first stages of the anime (episode 8), he becomes the motive for the whole series. His educational contribution to the growing up process of Simon is the key of Gurren Lagann. Kamina can, on one side be compared to Kanji of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Both of them cannot return to their beloved Yoko and Misato. On the other hand, Kamina represent something more to Simon: it plays the father role that Gendo Ikari was never able to pursue with Shinji.

Gendo-Kamina NGE TTGL

Kamina (Gurren Lagann – left) and Gendo (Neon Genesis Evangelion -right) in the same pose

Where can I watch Gurren Lagann episodes?

Depending on your location, you may find Gurren Lagann on these streaming platforms: Hulu, Netflix and Crunchyroll. As happened for Death Note, the episodes are also available on free online website, like 9Anime.

If you’re Italian based you may try to watch Gurren Lagann in the dubbed version on the already mentioned streaming platforms or for free on  AnimeUnity.

Gurren Lagann, the legacy of Neon Genesis Evangelion is too heavy.

Gurren Lagann is a very interesting piece of animation. It’s a new step after Neon Genesis Evangelion in the ’00 era. Even the plot is enjoyable, I consider it a “green” product that has not reached its full maturity. Drawings and soundtracks are the basis for the future success of Kill La Kill and Promare, considering the limited budged for the realization. Probably the complexity of the topics the authors wanted to touch was too much deep and, in that case, the “heavy” legacy of Neon Genesis Evangelion appears a burden.

And you,want do you think of Gurren Lagann?

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The Rankings

Gurren Lagann