Despite the title of this post, I’ll try my best to not make it totally inflammatory.
Pretentious fags are no newbies to anime fandom. Hell, they’ve probably been around since before Evangelion (this isn’t to say that Evangelion isn’t a brilliant show, just people approach it from the wrong direction all the time), pondering the meaning behind Kanashimi no Belladonna. These fans all share the same delusion in that they think they’re intelligent. This is one of the worst mistakes one can make, because if you consciously think you’re intelligent, chances are you’re probably dumb as shit. Anime studios sometimes exploit this failing in most people’s brains, and push out shows that stroke and wank their fragile egos to the point of orgasm. Thusly, we get your Code Geasses, your Gundam 00s, your Elfin Lieds, and so on. These same people with defective minds also put-down truly intelligent, and well thought-out works of art, such as Gurren Lagann.
For the sake of this argument, I’ll be comparing Gurren Lagann and Code Geass. This is mostly because I actually do like Code Geass, so it’ll make the argument as fair and balanced as possible… hah.
Code Geass is the latest entry in a series of shows that are meant to wow you with their winding plots, focus on intense strategic planning and ambiguously just characters. But, what people fail to realize is that this is all elaborate window dressing, used to cover up a plot which is quite shallow, and offers nothing in the way striking personal philosophies or ideas. But, the thing is, people are drawn to that. They get all caught up in these seemingly complex stories, and fail to see that there’s not much past that contrived facade. Now, I enjoy all this window dressing myself, but I don’t admire the show and worship it as the second coming of Giant Robo, because I am well aware the show is just a step above your average, everyday popcorn action flick, and nothing more.
Gurren Lagann, on the other hand, is one of the deepest shows I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It’s an allegory for a number of things, and puts forward a lot of inspiring concepts and ideas. The problem is, the pretentious fags tend to turn down shows like these, due the show’s cartoon exterior that doesn’t shamelessly pander to their broken minds. Gurren Lagann doesn’t need the window dressing. It goes all out, and it does it with style. It is the complete opposite of things like Code Geass, in that it presents a seemingly simple exterior, but as the show progresses, some very progressive ideas begin to surface.
Geass is black and white. Britannia is evil, and Lelouch is good. Sure, they try to throw you off by giving him an evil grin, and making him knock off a relative or two, but for the most part, he’s a Good Guy. The show’s philosophy is extremely shallow, and offers nothing of entertainment value past the elaborate front it puts up. Gurren Lagann offers up a story of evolution. The show revolves around the concept of the spiral, constantly growing and evolving, and applies it to a number of important issues. What hit me the hardest was its focus on the evolution of man along side the evolution of the anime industry. Gurren Lagann literally follows humanity as it comes out of the caves, develops modern cities, and eventually brings about universal peace. The anime connection is a bit easier to see, what with each arc roughly paying homage to each different decade of anime since the 1970s, with the final arc defining the future of the medium.
The thing that impressed me about Gurren Lagann was how the show had no true villains. No one was evil. Each time the Gurren-dan defeated whatever major foe they set out to defeat, you always found out that both sides where heading towards the same goal, they just had different ways of going about it. Usually, the villain would strive for universal peace via control, and the Gurren-dan would strive for peace through freedom. In that way, it’s similar to the conflict between the Magnificent 10 and the Experts of Justice in Giant Robo. Both fought for good, just their idea of good. Thusly, Gurren Lagann abandons the typical good vs evil cliche, and tells a far more progressive story, much better suited for our modern era.
Perhaps the problem is, stories like Gurren Lagann and Giant Robo are just ahead of their time. People can’t really appreciate their striking visions of the future, ones which inspire humanity to push forward, into infinity. They’d rather stay stuck in the present, eating up the same old recycled stuff they’ve been fed since childhood. But you know, that’s fine. Because growing up is hard :)