A Critical Analysis of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Baron from the future (2022): re-reading this, holy moly is it bad. But 18 year old Baron had ambition

A Critical Analysis of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

So recently I just finished up watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann for the second time. Now the last time I watched it I remember loving the series and considering it to be one of my favourites, unfortunately I didn’t remember what happened besides the characters and how it ended. Fortunately I have taken another look at the series and as a more thoughtful and mature person, boy does the series make more sense now. Now what I mean is that this second time watching I see a lot of different things, I never realized until this second watch through this series is loaded with philosophy and existentialism. The characters also progress the story smoothly, clearly letting viewers understand the weight of scenarios and relationships. OK so what are we waiting for, let’s get into the analysis.

Characters Analysis

So I’m really only going to talk about the 3 beginning characters: Kamina, Simon and Yoko.

Yoko is a typical straight man, she serves the purpose of balancing the shyness of Simon and the fire of Kamina. She maintains the relationship together like glue and she is not just a filler character. Now her role is very important, as she takes care of the two boys. She’s the voice of reason and is the leader essentially when it comes to making decisions that aren’t involving combat. Now my issue with Yoko is that she doesn’t have a lot of depth. This is because the story is so focused on Simon and even Kamina, there is no room for Yoko to really develop a character. I also find her giving up on Simon after the death of Kamina, to be quite cold and not something to be expected of her character. So as a character serving a role, she does a great job but in the end, we don’t really get a motive from her or even a “why” to why she fights, it just seems like a teenage girl following her gut. But as she gets older and becomes more mature, she becomes a very smart and respectful human being. Her youth pre-time skip self has lead her to become a very interesting character. She’s a teacher and responsible for many of the saves in the latter half of the series. She’s proved again and again that she is a very reliable character, proving that she is not just a role player but a game changer.

Kamina on the other hand is all about the “why not”. Why not steal a gunmen, why not break through the ceiling, why not become the greatest. His character is so strong that without him, nothing in the story would actually happen. Would you expect Simon to be brave without Kamina? No but Kamina without Simon would still be the effing man. Kamina suffers from a complex where he doesn’t want to be left behind so he’s always the leafter being left behind by his father, he really has no place to go but up, leading himder in front. A to the path of a man, chasing his father’s footsteps. However after the reveal of his father passing away, this just pushes him to become stronger, he then realized to live for himself and to stop chasing his father’s footsteps but to lead the way for his comrades to follow. Kamina is a great character because he literally brings out the best out of everyone. Simon becomes a brave hero during and after his death, Yoko shows emotion because she never really had any and even Viral wants to become an honest competitor and he himself starts questioning the Beastmen race.

However, Simon has something that Kamina doesn’t have, and that’s open mindedness. Open mindedness is symbolised in Lagann and how Lagann is the universal key to combine with any gunmen. Open mindedness is when Simon listens to Kamina even when the village chief tells him not to, it is the universal key to what makes Simon such an interesting character. Kamina was an interesting character because of his x-factor of never knowing what he would do, Simon’s x-factor is not knowing how he would grow and adjust to situations. Now Simon’s shyness and quietness is probably due to the death of his parents and the situation at which he lived. He didn’t need anybody but himself and he always knew he could rely on himself. So when Kamina shows up, that impacted him the most because he was the only open minded person in Giha village. That spurs the story. The passion of Kamina and the open mindedness of Simon.

Is living in a cave all that bad?

Any history or philosophy majors? Well some weirdo named Plato offered his cave allegory. Well you see a big point in this allegory is questioning the belief of “ignorance is bliss” is it better to not have known at all or know but still understand that the world could be totally changed for maybe worse. So essentially, red pill/blue pill. What would you rather do in this case? Live life safe being the king of your hole in the ground? Or risk your life trying to chase a dream that might not happen? Ask Kamina, he’s telling us that there is more to life than a hole, you gotta risk it for the biscuit. Ask the chief of Giha village he’s saying to stay underneath, we have a good life down here, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Philosophy

So what is it that moves this story? What is the one thing that we should all take from TTGP? Well from my analysis, I would have to say it’s open mindedness. Simon always understand the situation and he never leaps, instead he takes baby steps. Simon listens to the opinions of others and understands the many perspectives of those affected, he delves into his own conscience to determine who’s right, who’s wrong.  As Simon lives in his hole everyday, he does what he’s told and he does it well. He understands the scenario, he digs, he gets to eat. He also understands from Kamina that there is a possibility of a new world out there. It’s out of reach for now but there’s always a chance. Kamina is a dreamer, someone that doesn’t exist in Giha village.So Simon made his choice. Go back to doing what he’s good at or start something new and take a risk to become great. He made the right choice, Simon took the red pill. He became a man.

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