01 April 2007

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann 1: Break through the Sky with your Drill!

This latest action anime from Gainax is about a boy, Simon, who lives in an underground city and spend his day drilling tunnels.

Why is Simon doing this sweatshop job? While most of his colleagues drill these tunnels to get delicious food as payment (steak, no less!) from the village chief who wants to expand the small village, Simon has another reason. Occasionally, like today, he finds "treasures" during the work.

When Simon is busy admiring his latest find (a miniature drill), he bumps into Kamina, his self-declared "soul brother". The loud speaking Kamina has a dream of going to the surface, so that he can see the sky and not trapped in cramped spaces like this village. In order to do this, he also has several underlings.

In this latest attempt to go to the surface, they caused quite a commotion and finally stopped by the village chief. The chief demands to know why Kamina is so persistent, as the chief does not believe there is anything above the ceiling of the underground village. When Kamina said he knows from his father that there is definitely something above that, the chief makes fun of his father. The chief also remarked that if the surface really exist, why is Kamina still here. Their conversation is cut short by a earthquake, which makes Kamina mad because no one else wants to do anything about the situation, like trying to go to the surface.

Later on, when Simon continues his drilling, he finds a "robot face" that seems to make his miniature drill glows. After saving Kamina from the village detention to show this finding, they were soon caught by the village chief again. However, this time, a giant robot makes an appearance and attacks the village.

Before the robot can kill Kamina in the fight, a sexy girl with a gun joins the fight. However their attempt of stopping the robot does not work, Simon brings them to the "robot face" he found earlier. After some weird psychological quote-worthy from Kamina,("don't believe in yourself, but belief in me instead :b") Simon is convinced that he can pilot the robot. Using the small drill, Simon managed to start this robot, which surprisingly is very small. :b

Fortunately, despite of the size disadvantage they managed to defeat giant robot enemy and then break the ceiling to finally travel to the surface!
However, their enjoyment of finally seeing the red sky is cut short because two more giant robots makes their appearance.

Gurren Lagann Official Site
Opening theme: Sorairo Days/Sky colored days (空色デイズ) by Shouko Nakagawa (中川翔子)
Ending theme: UNDERGROUND by High Voltage

I think people have a rather low expectation of GAINAX these days, especially after the disappointment that is The Ugly and Beautiful World. I think based on that expectation the first episode is not too bad. This is also a show that target kids as it airs on Sunday mornings, so there won't be any mind-boggling plot either.

Based on the opening, there should be another giant robot for Kamina to complete the chibi-tall robot combo. I just hope they don't make too many "chibi"(short) jokes, like in Full Metal Alchemist. I didn't catch any in the first episode , so that is a good sign :). Overall, this looks like a decent, uncomplicated, but fairly entertaining show.

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