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Gurren Lagann the Movie: Double Feature Blu-ray Set (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 27, 2014 by  



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“Gurren Lagann the Movie: Double Feature Blu-ray Set” is definitely recommended for the hardcore “Gurren Lagann” fan who have been hoping for years to see both movies in HD on Blu-ray.  But I would also recommend it for those who just don’t have the time to watch the complete “Gurren Lagann” series.  Exciting and action-packed films that are highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © GAINAX, KAZUKI NAKASHIMA/GURREN LAGANN-MOVIE COMMITTEE. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Gurren Lagann the Movie: Double Feature Blu-ray Set

YEAR OF FILM: 2009

DURATION: Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- (112 Minutes) / Gurren Lagann the Movie-The Lights in the Sky Are Stars- (126 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 CH, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Created by GAINAX

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Assistant Director: Masahiko Ohtsuka

Series Directors: Kazuki Nakashima

Character Designs: Atsushi Nishigori

Mecha Designs: You Yoshinari

Design Works: Shigeto Koyama

Art Director: Yuka Hirama (BIHOU)

Color Design: Harumi Takahoshi

Director of Photography: Toyonori Yamada

Editing: Junichi Uematsu

Sound Director: Tohru Nakano

Music: Taku Iwasaki

Produced by TV Tokyo, DENTSU, Aniplex

Featuring the following voice talent:

Katsuyuki Konishi as Kamina

Tetsuya Kakihara as Simon

Marina Inoue as Yoko Littner

Yukari Fukui as Nia

Daiki Nakamura as Dayakka

Kana Asumi as Kiyal

Kana Ueda as Kinon

Kisho Taniyama as Kittan

Masaya Onosaka as Leeron

Mitsuki Saiga as Rossiu

Nobuyuki Hiyama as Viral

Rina Satou as Kiyoh

Shizuka Itou as Boota and Darry

 

This double-feature set includes the Gurren Lagann movies Childhood’s End and The Light in the Sky Are Stars on Blu-ray!

Childhood’s End
This is the story of a man who has yet to realize what destiny holds in store for him… Far in the future, humans have lived underground, quietly and restlessly, for hundreds of years, suffering from frequent earthquake and land subsidence. In Giha Village, one such underground community, live two young men. Simon is shy and naive, while Kamina believes in existence of a “surface” world above their heads.

Their destinies start moving drastically when the ceiling falls and a gigantic “Gunmen” and a beautiful girl named Yoko with a superconductive rifle come from the surface. Kamina, Simon and Yoko get on the “Lagann” that Simon digs out from the ground, and jump out to the surface! However, the surface is not such a dreamland as Kamina imagined. The world is reined by the Spiral King and his army. Kamina and Simon, along with their comrades challenge the Spiral King to change the desperate world to the one with hope for the future by Gurren Lagann!

The Lights in the Sky Are Stars
“When the heavens are pierced open, the young man sees a path to the future…”

Valiantly persevering through the traumatic aftermath of previous events, Team Dai-Gurren finally reaches Teppelin, the royal capital, where Simon battles the Spiral King, Lordgenome. Seven years pass after the battle of Teppelin, and humans reclaim the surface of the earth and enjoy an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. However, humanity’s increasing population growth triggers the sudden emergence of an unknown, powerful enemy.

 

Fantastic!  It’s the single word that describes how I feel about “GURREN LAGANN″ and in 2008, GAINAX immediately went to work on two animated films that would capture both storyline arcs in “Gurren Lagann The Movie ~Childhood’s End” and “Gurren Lagann the Movie – The Lights in the Sky are Stars”, two films that are being distributed in the US through Aniplex.

“Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End-” is a compilation of series of events that took place in the first 16 episodes of the popular 2007 animated TV series “Gurren Lagann”, while “Gurren Lagann the Movie – The Lights in the Sky Are Stars-” features the final eleven episodes from the TV series.

The series centers around two characters Simon and Kamina.  Both live underground with a bunch of orphans and due to earthquakes, they developed a system of people using manual drilling holes in order to move around.  But one day, the life of a young driller named Simon discovers a small mini drill underground. Simon is a shy young guy.  Not too confident in himself and hates how his parents were killed during an earthquake.  So, he works hard in order for everyone to live but also to collect whichever treasure he can find.   While continuing his digging, he discovers a small drill and not long after, he discovers a huge robotic face.

As for Kamina, he’s the cool leader of a gang.  He once saw the atmosphere with his father a long time ago and dreams of making it up to the surface but no one underground believes him.  He comes up with a plan to get to the surface with the help of Simon’s drill.  The plan backfires and Kamina is put into a jail.  Meanwhile, a big monster robot-like figure comes out of the sky and lands in the group’s village underground.  A girl sporting a bikini top and tight short shorts with a large rifle starts fighting with the monster robot.   Her name is Yoko and all of a sudden both Kamina and Simon try to assist her.

As the monster grows vicious, Simon introduces Kamina and Yoko to what he found underground.  It happens to be a small robot that Simon takes control of and eventually the three fight the robotic monster and end up defeating it. Also, end up making it above the surface where they discover sunlight, blue skies, mountains and more…monster robots.  It is learned that these things are called “Gunmen” and are piloted by Beastmen who have a hatred towards humans.  The three must survive and outwit and defeat the Gunmen and with Kamina’s leadership and willing to take anything head on with his machismo ego, he calls Simon’s robot Lagann.  Kamina eventually commandeers a Gunmen robot and calls it Gurren.  As a duo, the group find a way to combine their own two mechs and thus Kamina and Simon form Gurren Lagann, which is also the name of the team that will fight for humanity against the Spiral King and their minions.

Throughout the film, we see how both Kamina, Simon along with Yoko leave the underground city and take on various gunmen and together with savvy, intelligent and flamboyant mechanic Leeron, along with other humans they meet along the way, one by one, Team Gurren Lagann take on the Spiral King’s Four Divine Generals: Viral, Adiane, Guame and Cytomander.  And along the way, they meet with a mysterious girl named Nia and leading up to the final battle against the Spiral King.

 

VIDEO:

“Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End-” and “Gurren Lagann the Movie -The Lights in the Sky Are Stars-” are presented in 1080p High Definition (1920 x 1080p).

The character designs by Atsushi Nishigori are fresh and very different when comparing it to other anime series/films.  I truly dig the character designs and the whole anime is quite colorful and looks stylish and pretty cool.  The artist backgrounds to the animation, explosions, character designs, mecha designs and the planning that went in to this series was quite amazing and it looks great in the film.  You will noticed even more detailed artistic backgrounds and animation with the additional new footage added to the film.

Vibrant, colorful and awesome looking!  Of course, with that being said, it would definitely be a plus if this film was released on Blu-ray, but since it’s on DVD, you will see edge enhancement at times.  But for the most part, “Gurren Lagann” was one of the rare anime series that was unique in presentation and Gainax definitely put a lot of time and effort into the creation of this TV series and it’s so awesome to finally watch this series in HD on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for audio, ““Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End-” and “Gurren Lagann the Movie -The Lights in the Sky Are Stars- ” are presented Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo.

Audio is well done as we can hear the dialogue and special effects and music quite clearly through the center and front channels but also hear the various sound effects coming from the surround channels as well.  Overall, a pretty awesome mix and audio is crystal clear in lossless HD.

While the English dub is featured in the TV series DVD release by Bandai Entertainment, there is no English dub featured for both films from Aniplex.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Gurren Lagann the Movie: Double Feature Blu-ray Set” comes with the textless endings.

EXTRAS:

“Gurren Lagann the Movie: Double Feature Blu-ray Set” comes with a slipcase that holds both Blu-ray cases.

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I can’t help but think how awesome the original series was to watch and then to watch it again in the film.  If anything the writers did a great job in editing the second half and in some ways, you don’t feel you are missing much (although I do recommend watching the original series if possible).

From the stylish presentation, the wacky humor, the adult-like humor and perverseness and the imaginative mecha Gunmen robots and attack modes, the battles and the fun characters and the music, there is just too much to like about “Gurren Lagann”.  I absolute found the series to be quite fantastic!

Just how the pacing of the anime series goes from people wanting to get out of the underground and seeking freedom, to the characters fighting to survive and eventually growing up but having to face their own insecurities and also consequence and then furthering their adventures as we see the characters start off young and right to end where they are older adults.

“Gurren Lagann” is one of the animated TV series that you have to watch in completion, all 27-episodes, to realize how unique and how awesome the series truly is. With the release of “Gurren Lagann the Movie: Double Feature Blu-ray Set”, you’re essentially getting parts of the the series including new animation included on each of the two films to form an abridged storyline.

This is quite common in Japan to see a popular TV series and OVA series created into an animated film and the fans look at it as an extra and additional extension to the TV series, others look at it as a less time consuming way to learn about the story of a popular series in two hours versus watching 8 hours of a series.

When it comes to films like this, I’m not a big fan of them because you are losing out important details of the storyline. This first “Gurren Lagann” film is only 112 minutes and the first 16-episodes is 320 minutes of content while the second film features the final eleven episodes and trying to condense around 230 minutes or so of footage into 126 minutes. Naturally, you are missing out on other plots, especially character development driven storylines but the creators did do a good job in focusing on the essentials for the film.   Personally, I recommend watching the entire TV series because this is one series that is too good to just watch the film and not knowing the true storyline of how things developed in the series.

But by no means are the films bad.  They are well-done, well-edited and for the most part, a lot of thought went into how to present the complete series into two films.  And while this is common in Japan for popular series, at least GAINAX went through the effort of adding new animation to the two films.

What I do like about these films and these two releases are how they are geared to the hardcore fans of the TV series. And one thing that I have wanted to see is a Blu-ray release because this series is so gorgeous, it deserved to be featured in HD on Blu-ray with a lossless soundtrack.

But if there is one major caveat if you compare the 2014 Blu-ray set vs. the Aniplex DVD set released in 2010, all of the special features and extras that came with the DVD set are not included.  So, for collector’s purposes, it’s unfortunate that only the older 2010 DVD release came with the postcards and “Parallel Works” special features.

So, I approach this release in two different ways. As a fan of the series, I recommend watching and owning the original series because that is how this series was meant to be seen. I will say that on its own, it’s still a pretty good film but because they skip over many scenes, it’s quite noticeable to the fan of the series. Otherwise, if you have never seen the series, I’m sure this film would definitely be entertaining but at the same time, hopefully it inspires the viewer to go out and watch the complete series.

So, “Gurren Lagann the Movie: Double Feature Blu-ray Set” is definitely recommended for the hardcore “Gurren Lagann” fan who have been hoping for years to see both movies in HD on Blu-ray.  But I would also recommend it for those who just don’t have the time to watch the complete “Gurren Lagann” series.  Exciting and action-packed films that are highly recommended!

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