Animax started airing GAINAX's Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann last month and I've been following it with fervor. As a Gundam fan I usually like my mecha anime cut from the "real robot" mold, but Gurren Lagann is undoubtedly an homage to the "super robot" anime of the 196os and 1970s, complete with impossible feats, ridiculous weapons and hot-blooded pilots shouting the names of their attacks before they do them.
2007's Gurren Lagann is notably the polar opposite of GAINAX's other, more popular opus, 1995's Neon Genesis Evangelion. That production was ultimately cold, depressing and apocalyptic - even director Hideaki Anno admitted that the production of Evangelion was part of his therapy. However, its flawed characters and their hang-ups, especially protagonist Shinji Ikari, resonated worldwide and catapulted it to mecha anime nirvana.
Gurren Lagann is different and more in keeping with GAINAX's earlier work, 1988's Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, with less women and hard sci-fi concepts. The titular robot runs on nothing but emotion and willpower, for crying out loud, and can sprout drills out of every part of its body - just witness the "Giga Drill Maximum" attack. Its charismatic chest-beating leader Kamina is no exception, sporting outrageous glasses, spouting epic quotes and barking his signature line "Who the heck do you think I am?!" The show runs deeper than the simplistic rock-and-roll introduction however, as there are three arcs to the 27-episode series that all bring with them their own overriding emotion. All of them are animated with the kind of visuals that would frankly look more at home in a movie than a TV anime, such is their quality and polish.
Mark my words: This feel-good series will be a mecha anime classic someday.
After a long spell of buying other things, I got around to expanding my music collection again. It's been months since I bought any CDs. This time I pulled out all the stops: I bought all the CDs I promised myself to buy on a Post-it note sometime last year. I went and bought CDs from Keane, Hoobastank, Death Cab for Cutie and Snow Patrol.
That's probably the most number of CDs I've bought in a trip to Music One. These should tide me over for a few more months...