5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss Gurren Lagaan On Hulu!

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Earlier this weekend, while doing my rare rounds of looking for more tv goodness in the ever fruitful lands of Huluville, I ran into a title that equates clearly to the recent acquisition of another geek classic, Edgar Wright’s SPACED. The late 90s-early 2000s TV series featuring none other than Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and various members of the cast of future nerdcore classic Shaun Of The Dead movie. As many feel, the sharing of such a seminal tv series has been something of a rarified godsend for those looking for a little added edge to their streamy viewing. And just as SPACED fulfills great gobs of love for geeks of the comic-book & movie persuasions, the discovery of GAINAX’s penultimate 2000s tribute to Robot Anime is akin to an action lover’s gold rush. No I’m not speaking of THAT show, I’m speaking of course of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan.

And why is this reason for celebration? Why is it that the discovery of this series on one of the more mainstream viewing sites such a big deal? I’ve decided to compile some simple, concise reasons as to why missing out on this show could possibly be like missing out on your own wedding or birthday. It’s simply that remarkable. But don’t take the last two paragraphs’ word for it. Read on. Oh yeah. Read on!

1. Hiroyuki Imaishi

If you’ve yet to familiarize yourself with this name, you may as well take that hot handle from the kitchen and burn yourself now. I mean it. An animator well integrated into the GAINAX fold for years has had an amazing career, bending reality in ways that defy physics and belief. If anyone remembers much of the infamous “Bra Bullet” episode of Tsurumaki’s mad as nuts FLCL(1999 – 2001), you’ll recognize the bizarre use of puffy, mutated art that sprouts and bulges as if the screen can’t contain the action. Or how about Dead Leaves(2004), people? The sheer madness sealed within that title is sheer, unadulterated Imaishi from first frame to last as his crew made his anarchic art style into brain-bursting mantra. So his wild vision is well suited for an all-out tv assault, and by 2007, about time it was.(and this all through the watchful eye of storyboard artist extraordinnaire, Osamu Kobayashi)  Imaishi’s work directing Gurren Lagaan, while still mad, serves a truly fitting setting and mythology that asks us to believe anything, and in drooling turn…we do.

2. Giant Frakin’ Robots!

Taking the best cues from decades of giant mecha anime, Gurren Lagaan takes an apocalyptic landscape approach, thereby maximizing the potential for all types of mecha possibilties. It’s a realm of anything-goes Robot-Fu that doesn’t skimp on the wacky. From drill-bit hands, to giant shuriken throwing, to ridiculously combining stunts, and even beyond.(If that’s imaginable) Gundam this is not. This is a show that takes mecha action into places even most adventurous creators haven’t dared to go. And with a studio and crew highly knowledgable in the classics, this is saying a whole lot.

3.  Yoko & Nia

The less I say about this, the better.

4. Notions Of Heroism

A running theme throughout the series is how one generation leaves impressions of adulation and inspiration for the next. As our protagonists grapple with mere survival, they are also conflicted by illusive truths concerning heroism. What does it truly mean when there are none to immediately look to? Through the lead characters of Simon & Kamina, we’re taken through shades of what youth tends to see as heroism, as opposed to what kind of sacrifice is truly necessary to attain such a state. It’s also encouraging to see a recently made show take us through the looking glass of childhood to adulthood, and not make light of such things, while at the same time enthralling viewers with tales of manly derring-do. Anything that is played overtly macho on the surface, is often done so with a tongue-in-cheek attitude so blatant, that when we see other angles later, we are taken on a visceral trip that not merely celebrates badassery, it gives viewers pause to question why it is so.

5. Gainax Steps Up To The Plate

Still saddled with the baggage claims left by Evangelion, it seemed only natural that a studio famous for ripping the Mecha Melodrama a new, gaping one would want to take on sheer action mecha shows. The pedigree with which Gurren Lagaan was written by is also worth noting, as much of the series was penned by playwright Kazuki Nakashima. The man’s use of heroic archetypes, and knowledge of the drama inherent are amazingly put together here, as he understands that the visuals will mark higher than just eloquent oratory. And when his dramatic sides start to flare up in this show, look out. It seems like the working marriage between his words and Imaishi’s hypercharged visuals is one for the books as it all seems so effortless, even when it feels like the show could so easily fly off the rails, and into oblivion.The series builds, and crescendoes in a way that defies even the most didactic anime pioneers. If you want a show that shows more, and says less, and still achieves volumes, this is your show.

Seriously, action fans. Dub or no, this is a can’t miss series.


Author: wintermuted

Part-time wandering artifact, part-time student, Wintermuted's travels from the wastelands of California's Coachella Valley have crystallized his love of all-things soulful & strange. A child of the VHS era, and often working for the anime man, his voyages continue onward in the name of bridging generations of Japanese popular art together. Can also be found via twitter.com/winterkaijyu , as well as wanderingkaijyu.blogspot.com !

7 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss Gurren Lagaan On Hulu!

  1. I cant watch a thing on Hulu or any other online streaming service like Hulu…The reason…Region locked…
    Total fail for Me… 🙁

  2. Yeah. As it stands, the region lock situation is indeed one that has kept many international buddies on the sidelines. However, with enough support stateside (and indicators are looking as if there may be a pay option open to help widen things up in the near future), the service, and others akin to it may help bring more shows like this to greater crowds the world over. I’m just happy that shows of this caliber are being given a chance within this business model. Western fans need to take heed to the advantages this presents, so we’ll see.

  3. I could care less about streaming sites.

    Hope you got some nice freebies from ‘hulu’ though for your work.

  4. This is very much the new and likely to stay business model all companies are gearing for as we head into an era of no (to little) physical ownership. And no, there’s nothing to gain from this at all, except the yearning for better means to sell great series to the world at large. Enthusiasm is free when you get down to it.

    So if you mean “freebies” in regards to getting access to tons of well-sponsored content, and in the highest possible quality, then yes, I enjoy it much!

  5. Ray & uxb– The ideas apparent here are less about any establishment, so much as a fear of anything progressive on top of some wide-reaching fantasy about freebies. Truth is, in the current state of affairs, even if a corporate entity such a Hulu could offer such amenities, it certainly isn’t a time where anyone would even be in any position to bother. Cutbacks are the name of the game today, lest one hasn’t been reading up on matters.
    In short, we’re as non-establishment an entity as can possibly be here. So this is really about shining a light for other fans. All that was in it for yours truly was an opportunity to discuss it. And with that, I can honestly share thoughts on what I find to be a quality series treated as respectfully as possible in the US. So if that makes me a “plant”, so be it.
    To fight any so-called establishment is to clearly understand, and define such an entity. If one cannot, it may be best to bite one’s tongue, and leave it at that. Besides, if one’s not interested, all one need do is click away.
    Either way, I love this series, and couldn’t be happier with the opportunity US fans are receiving.

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