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Giant Robots are Moe

What’s got Yoko all Moe?

Chicks Dig Giant Robots

Hey, Chicks dig Giant Robots.

So, this week’s episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (maybe I should start abbreviating it… TenToGuLa? TTGL? What do those crazy japanese people call it?) was rather cool. Again. Lots of nifty action, both in and out of mecha, and the first arc seems to have begun.

So, as we already know, the humans living above the surface have a bit of a mecha problem. Yoko’s village is constantly being pestered by these buggers, and though they seem to be able to hold their own against the Beastmen and their Ganmen, they’re happy to have the assistance of the Loud Crazy Idiot and his little minion boy. Since today is supposedly scheduled to be mecha free, Yoko invites Kamina to go hunting with her. Given her disappointment at Kamina asking Simon come along, it’s fairly clear she’s starting to fall for Kamina’s craziness and wanted some alone time, but at least she puts the kid to good use.

Anyway, while hunting, Kamina finds his prey being stalked by another hunter, Viral, the most human-like Beastman we’ve met so far, as well as the head of one of the Beastmen’s “Human Eradication” groups. An insanely well animated sword vs. cleaver fight ensues before Simon bursts in with Lagann, which convinces Viral it’s time to up the ante and step into his Ganmen, the most humanoid we’ve seen, complete with two faces, one on the chest and one on the top with a huge laser ring. Viral proves to be way more than Gurren and Lagann’s combined strength can handle, and they barely escape with their lives, thanks to Simon drilling a quick makeshift hole. Viral leave, but promises to come
Simon, now shaken to the core at the strength of their most recent adversary, returns to his more cowardly self. Yoko is convinced that Simon shouldn’t be fighting anymore, but Kamina is certain that next time Simon will still pull through for him. The next day, when Viral shows up again, Kamina and the villagers begin fighting back, but the fight quickly proves to be too much for him again. Thanks to some words from Yoko, repeating the “Believe in me” speech from episode 1, as well as not wanting to see his best friend kick the bucket, Simon joins the battle, just in time to divert Viral’s atomic death ray, saving Kamina.

It is at this point that the most hilarious and most awesome moment of the episode occurs. Kamina, reinvigorated thanks to the arrival of his partner, decides to use “That.” And by “That,” he mean combining the mecha. This declaration confuses the villagers and Viral, and appears to turn on Yoko. Of course, when all the combination turns out to be is Kamina jamming Lagann onto Gurren’s head, the mood returns to normal, and Kamina is again shown to be a complete moron. Thankfully, there’s something about that little mecha after all, and the two fuse to form the mighty Gurren-Lagann, a mecha that not only is able to fight on equal terms with Viral, but also decimate his weaponry and steal the laser-firing helmet. Viral decides discretion is the better part of valor and calls it quits.

That evening, the village’s Gay Mechanic Leeron finds out that Gurren has data that can help them find the enemy base. With this information, Kamina and Simon decide to take the offensive. Leeron, convinced they need a mechanic, decides to tag along, and Yoko, clearly falling for Kamina, is encouraged to go along as well. And so, the four set off on their journey.

Thoughts

Kamina and Yoko make an excellent couple, but above even that, the two of them together are continually filling the roles of Older Brother and Older Sister quite nicely for our still reluctant young hero. Simon is still a kid, and rather green around the collar, but it’s clear that Kamina and Yoko’s influences are going to be directing him in a good (albeit crazy) direction. Of course, having Leeron along for the ride might corrupt him a little…

Oh, that’s right, I haven’t introduced Leeron yet. Two new important characters of note.

Leeron

“Hey, keep your hands off Simon.” “So do you want me to put my hands on you, instead?” “I’LL KILL YOU!!!”

It wouldn’t be a new anime season without at LEAST one outlandishly gay character. And although Leeron has yet to prove himself as fun as Busou Renkin’s Pappilion, he’s fitting into the role quite nicely. Gainax’s animation style for this transvestite mechanic allows him to be very flexible, which adds to his foppishness and also makes him a tad creepier. However, he seems like a fairly good guy, so far, and much more serious than his appearance and behavior will let on. He acted as a tsukkomi twice this episode, as Yoko was too busy fangirl-ing out over the big red mecha to take that role today, so he can both be gay and play the straight man. Wow, that sounds weird. I hope he gets his own string of development, all three of the mains are doing great in that category.

Viral

“You’re not too bright, are you?”

Viral, the formal yet downright nuts beastman, appears in episode three with the full purpose of taking on the role of villain. And while he lacks development, he makes up for it with style and attitude. He’s an excellent rival for Kamina, and from his cleaver close combat style to his martial arts and laser nukes with his mecha, he poses a clear threat in and out of his machine. He’s cool. I wonder what else he has in store for us; Gurren-Lagann was just about too much for him.

Next week looks to maybe be an episode with more emphasis on on-the-ground action, but we’ll see. Pink fuzzballs and new characters in the preview.