Tagged: Gurren Lagann

“Horse and Rider Are One” in Super Robot Anime and Rahxephon


Episode 25 of Rahxephon begins with Ayato having “become” the Rahxephon, its true form being a giant version of him with design elements of the machine itself attached. This is, one could argue, the “mid-season upgrade” of the machine, its point where its true power is unlocked for the final battle – and there is definitely a final battle at hand, with the Mu controlling earth, TERRA in ruins, Narai-Kanai destroyed and the moments of love-confession and resolution passed. Rahxephon has toyed with becoming a super-robot anime at times, but never committed; some combination of events has always subverted or prevented action catharsis. In a way this is the ultimate in the robot representing the pilot – Ayato has never been particularly comfortable in his identity or at home in this unusual world, and TERRA has never really understood what it is doing – and so the “message” being pressed home is that there cannot ever be proper catharsis. When he tries to be decisive, he misunderstands the situation. When he vacillates, people die.

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Diebuster Made Me Change How I Viewed Gunbuster

[R-R] Diebuster.EP1 (720p.Hi10p.AC3) [82E36A36].mkv_snapshot_04.23_[2014.12.16_21.33.22]

Over time, and several viewings, I have reconsidered my attitude to the classic 1988 OVA Aim for the Top! Gunbuster. It is a well-constructed, entertaining and aesthetically spectacular piece of television, but precisely what it represents – to me, anyway – has changed as my knowledge of anime of its time has increased. Most viewers realise from the major genre shifts throughout that Gunbuster is a wide-reaching pastiche of numerous anime genres rich in visual homage, metatextual humour and made with a dear love of animation as a medium. It is a bildungsroman of sorts which uses genre and narrative scale as a way of depicting the maturation of someone who is almost a neoteny – a series that goes through the ages of anime history while its protagonist remains an eternal child.

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OVA Review (II) – Cool Cool Bye

[RM] Cool Cool Bye [DB8E05F7].mkv_snapshot_00.46_[2013.03.11_00.24.40]

A number of OVAs of the 1980s aimed to be part of long-running series, or to have continuations; examples include Dangaioh, Relic Armour Legaciam and so on. Similarly there were OVAs like ARIEL, which played with the idea of taking an episode or arc out of a non-existent series and presenting it as a standalone adventure (in ARIEL‘s case this is a conscious stylistic choice; the light novel series it is based on is structured like a series of episode summaries for a TV show, and it is very self-aware in its use of the cliches of mecha anime). As a result, the half-hour Cool Cool Bye sits in a strange place between being an unfinished or undeveloped experiment and an intentionally contextless single episode.

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Thinking Points (IV) – Harry Potter Studies, Robocop and Engagement Versus Exploration

The question of whether new media and popular culture can be usefully studied, or is in some way relevant beyond the superficial, is an apparently endless debate and one which is often used as a stick with which to attack academia; universities are accused of devaluing their courses by expanding them to include new media, or studying works of fiction not sufficiently “serious”.

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I Fought The Power, But Who Really Won? (Or, A Detailed Look at Gurren Lagann, Part II – The Remaining Episodes)

NOTE: This article is also available at Super Fanicom here

NOTE: Readers should begin with Part I here

This article forms the conclusion to this retrospective on Gurren Lagann, focusing on how the series, having established a flawed depiction of human bloody-mindedness, then completely shatters any preconceptions the viewer might have in an unsympathetic depiction of the failure of the attitudes presented as having the potential to work in its first half.

NOTE: While the first part focused in some detail on the plot, this second part will go into significant levels of detail which will very likely affect the enjoyment of someone planning to watch it. Be careful!

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Piercing the Heavens or Just Digging Yourself A Deeper Hole? (Or, A Detailed Look at Gurren Lagann, Part I – Episodes 1-16)

NOTE: This article is also available at Super Fanicom here

This article, and a subsequent continuation focusing on the remaining episodes of the series, much like my earlier one on Code Geass, will take the form of an extended retrospective over a complete series; this one concerns the 2007 series Gurren Lagann. The series is well liked for its visual style, soundtrack and dynamic action sequences that throughout the show consistently outdid the previous extremes in terms of scale and spectacle. However, while this spectacle and focus on new, more powerful weapons was a major flaw of Code Geass in that it did not fit the sci-fi world the series depicted, in Gurren Lagann it is integral to the plot and, once the initial adrenaline rush of seeing some new machine or weapon deployed passes, is used to a very different end.

Note: This article will be discussing the plot and ending of the series – do not read on if you do not want to be spoiled about later developments.

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