Gurren Lagann Volume 2 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 30, 2014 by Dennis Amith
A mecha anime from the folks at GAINAX that is imaginative, sexy and explosive. Be prepared for the emotional high and lows of volume 2 as we get comedy, action but also a surprising tragedy that will set the course of the entire series! “Gurren Lagann” is a fantastic anime series that I highly recommend.
Image courtesy of © GAINAX, KAZUKI NAKASHIMA/GURREN LAGANN-MOVIE COMMITTEE. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Gurren Lagann Vol. 2
DURATION: Episodes 6-10 (125 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English
RATED: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: November 11, 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/Kyle Herbert (as Kamina)
Marina Inoue/Michelle Ruff (as Yoko Littner)
Tetsuya Kakihara/Yuri Lowenthal (as Simon)
Yukari Fukui/Bridget Hoffman, Hynden Walch (as Nia)
Daiki Nakamura/Doug Stone (as Dayakka)
Kana Asumi (as Kiyal)
Kana Ueda/Stephanie Sheh (as Kinon)
Kisho Taniyama (as Kittan)
Masaya Onosaka/Steven Blum (as Leeron)
Mitsuki Saiga/Johnny Yong Bosch (as Rossiu)
Nobuyuki Hiyama/Sam Ergal (as Viral)
Rina Satou/Karen Strassman (as Kiyoh)
Shizuka Itou/Julie Ann Taylor (as Boota and Darry)
Team Gurren’s Journey Continues…
Team Gurren is formed with Kamina as leader! The human rebel army continues their journey to the Gunmen’s headquarters, but they are challenged by Thymilph, one of the Four Generals. At the end of that fierce battle, Team Dai-Gurren held the Dai-Gunzan in their control. However, the price they paid for their prize was all too high. Having lost Kamina, their emotional support, the members of Team Dai-Gurren are beginning to lose sight of their goal.
Then, Simon, who blames himself for his bro’s death, is thrown into self-destructive despair. As Simon wanders through the valley, a new container lands in front of him. When he opens the lid, he finds a young girl sleeping inside…
As “GURREN LAGANN” moves on to the second volume (episodes 5-10) on Blu-ray, the direction of the series grows darker after a major character is killed and also Gurren Lagann goes head-to-head in a battle with Viral! And what happens when they take on Adiane, the second of the Spiral Kings Four Divine Generals!
Find out in “Gurren Lagann volume 2” available now on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex!
For those not familiar with “GURREN LAGANN”, the popular anime titled “Tengen Toppai Gurren Lagann” aired on TV Tokyo back in April 2007 and completed it’s 27-episodes by Sept. 2007 and 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 is called Gurren Lagann.
Vol. 2 consists of the following episodes:
- Episode 6 – There are Some Things I Just Have to See! – There are two versions of episode 6. The unedited version and the OA version which is part of the special features. For the unedited version, the group really smell bad and it seems they met some luck as they are invited to the hot springs with food galore! The group run into their friends, the three women of the Black Siblings and as the group relaxes in the hot springs, both Kamina and Simon can’t stand hearing the women talk about their breasts. Being the horny guys that they are, both men do what they can do get a peek of the ladies nude. But awaiting them is some trouble as well courtesy of the Beastmen.
- Episode 7 – You’re Gonna Do It! – With the defeat of the Beastmen, Viral makes his return but this time, one of the four leaders who pilots a giant Gunmen fortress. While Gurren Lagan tries to fight them, they are joined by some old friends who have followed Kamina’s lead and stolen some gunmen for themselves.
- Episode 8 – Later, Buddy – With Simon’s quick thinking in the last episode, the group manages to get the Gunmen fortress to be trapped. But Kamina wants to take control of the fortress in order to protect everyone and this time have a super combination to create Dai Gurren Lagann. So, one major battle in order to take the Beastmen leader’s mega fortress. But while Simon starts to think about Yoko and tell her his feelings for her, he sees both Kamina and Yoko kissing. So, as they go into battle, Kamina depends on Simon to have Lagann penetrate the fortress but because his emotions all out of whack due to seeing the kiss, it’s going to cost someone’s life.
- Episode 9 – What, Exactly, Is a Human? – With the events of the last episode, everyone is in mourning. Meanwhile, a new character named Nia is introduced. Who is she and why is she so curious about humans?
- Episode 10 – Who Is This Bro? – The group comes head to head against Adiane, the second of the Spiral Kings Four Divine Generals. But retreats when she sees Nia. It appears Nia is the daughter of the Spiral King. Nia appears to be very naive about humans, their emotions, etc. She doesn’t understand why Simon would be depressed over someone who’s dead.
“Gurren Lagann” the series finally gets its release on Blu-ray! The character designs by Atsushi Nishigori are fresh and very different. I truly dig the character designs and the whole anime is quite colorful and looks stylish and pretty cool.
With the series remastered in HD, the clarity of the series is much more evident, colors are much more vibrant and overall animation is much more sharper. “Gurren Lagann” looks fantastic in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the lossless audio, “Gurren Lagann” is presented in both English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo.
I’ve watched both episodes in Japanese and English and as much as I enjoyed the Japanese voice track, when I watch an action-packed mecha, it’s great to finally listen to the audio in lossless Linear PCM Stereo. With that being said, I am very pleased with the English vocal dub. You have quality voice talent with Kyle Herbert as Kamina (does the voice of Son Goku in “Dragon Ball Z”), Michelle Ruff as Yoko (does the voice of Rukia for “Bleach”) and Yuri Lowenthal (does the voice for many video games and anime such as Sasuke Uchiha for “Naruto”) involved. So, whether you listen to the soundtrack in Japanese or English, both are well-done!
Subtitles are in English.
“Gurren Lagann Vol. 2” comes with the following special features:
- Textless opening and ending – For those who love the cool music of opening theme “Sorairo Days” by Shoko Nakagawa and ending theme “Underground” by High Voltage.
- OA Version of episode 6 – With this episode being quite a bit sexual as Kamina and Simon try to get a peek at the women without their clothes on in the hot tubs, this version that aired on the Sci Fi Channel features more of a flashback episode and edited with less focus on the horniness of Kamina and Simon and more about them working together as a team.
“Gurren LagannVol. 2” comes with a slipcase, a double-sided poster and a 16-page booklet featuring interviews and an illustration gallery!
I have always gushed about how much I enjoyed “Gurren Lagann” and five years since watching the series, my appreciation for the series has not waned.
In fact, this latest volume is literally an emotional rollercoaster as it will take you to the highest of highs, with its comedy and perverse humor (especially with the OA episode 6), the adrenalin rush as Kamina and Simon take on Viral with Gurren Lagann to the lowest of lows as a major character is killed off.
Suffice to say, when I first watched episode 8, I was in disbelief, in shock and felt it was a bold move for the writers to pull of such a major tragedy but it’s a death that helps build each character and brings everyone forward. But most of all, taking a different path than what most anime series would do.
But it’s the characters that I enjoy in this awesome series!
The character of Kamina is just so wild and crazy with how he is just so carefree and just doesn’t plan for battle, he just does what he believes in and what he thinks is right and decides at the spur of the moment. He has a way with his words, no matter how crazy it may sound but it makes his character so cool!
As for Simon, he is simply the underdog. He is a major component to the team because he pilots Lagann but at the same time, his fear and his emotions get the best of him.
Yoko, her character is sexy and cool. Sometimes you wonder if GAINAX or the character designer Atsushi Nishigori created such a sexy character for the purpose of being sexy or for the fact that many cosplayers will try to emulate the character and not wear much clothes. Nevertheless, her character is cool as her body features somehow provide the fan service and also gets Simon distracted.
And of course, you have a group of other characters that are starting to come their own and as we become supportive human characters, you take special notice of their mecha (Gunmen). They have a sort of character themselves because they are an extension of the people that pilot them but the amount of power demonstrated by them and what is unknown about the gunmen they pilot is just amazing.
And of course, this anime series is action-packed. In fact, there is a good balance of humor and action and each episode keeps your eyes glued to your television set and when it’s all done, it leaves you craving for more.
As for the Blu-ray release, the picture quality is vibrant and sharpness of the overall animation is much more evident in this HD version versus compared to the Bandai Visual releases from several years ago. Painted backgrounds feature much more detail and the overall animation looks magnificent in HD! Also, the lossless soundtrack is in Japanese/English Linear PCM Stereo, thus the soundtrack sounding much more crisp and clear.
This second volume of “Gurren Lagann” comes with a slipcase, a 16-page booklet with interviews and gallery plus a double sided poster.
“Gurren Lagann” can be described in one word and that is “Fantastic!” And I look forward to volume 3!
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