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Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

May 19, 2013 by  



I can’t help but think how awesome this series was to watch!  From the stylish presentation, the wacky humor, the adult-like humor and pervertedness 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”.   “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition” is definitely is definitely deserving of five stars and receives our highest recommendation!

Image courtesy of © GAINAX, Kazuki Nakashima/Aniplex, KDE-J, TV Tokyo, DENTSU. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set Limited Edition (天元突破グレンラガン Tengen Toppa Guren Ragan)

DURATION: Episodes 1-27

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 LB, Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: May 14, 2013

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)

This is the story of a man who has yet to realize what destiny holds in store for him…

 

In the distant future, mankind has lived quietly and restlessly underground for hundreds of years, subject to earthquakes and cave-ins. Living in one such village are two young men: one named Simon who is shy and naive, and the other named Kamina who believes in the existence of a “surface” world above their heads. The destiny of these two starts moving drastically when the ceiling of their village falls in, and a gigantic “Gunmen” and a beautiful girl named Yoko, wielding a superconductive rifle, come from the surface. Together, Kamina, Simon, and Yoko ride the mecha “Lagann” that Simon digs out of the ground, and fly up to the surface!

Fantastic!

It’s the single word that describes how I feel about the brand new “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set Limited Edition″ released by Aniplex, Inc.

In 2007, GAINAX, Aniplex and Konami would bring a new mecha anime series to television.  Known as “Tengen Toppa Gurenn Lagann” in Japan, the 27-episode series would air on TV Tokyo with a huge following and received positive reviews.

Featuring anime production by GAINAX, “Gurren Lagann” was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi  (“Dead Leaves”, “Eureka 7: Astral Ocean”, “Anime Tencho”), featuring series composition by Kazuki Nakashima (“Kill la Kill”, “Nodam Cantabile: Finale”), music by Taku Iwasaki (“009-1”, “Black Butler”, “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”, “Getbackers”), character design by Atsushi Nishigori (“The Idolm@ster Movie”, “Magi – The Labrynth of Magic”) and background art by Yuka Hirama (“Fractale”, “Gad Guard”, “Tales of Phantasia”, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”).

While a limited edition of the series was released on DVD by Bandai Entertainment back in the 2009 in three parts, many people missed out on the opportunity to get the sets.  With Bandai Entertainment’s presence for releasing anime in the U.S. on physical media having ended in 2012, in May 2013, Aniplex Inc. acquired the rights to release the series via a complete set known as “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition” featuring all 27 episodes, two soundtrack CD’s and as usual from Aniplex, Inc., a large number of anime swag that fans have come to love about the company.

What is “Gurrenn Lagann” about?

The series centered 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.

With episode after episode, the three would gain more people to ally alongside with them and take on the Beast men.  These animal like beings who worked for Lord Genome and would try to kill the humans with these huge mecha robots known as Gunmen.

Kamina, Simon and others in the alliance known as Team Dai-Gurren have been successful in taking control of Gunmen and make their way towards the Beastman Empire in order to take on the Spiral King.  But the King orders  Thymilph, the first of the four divine Generals of the the Spiral King was the first to go onto battle and thus the battle ensued with Team Dai-Gurren winning but losing someone special to them.

As the first half deals with Kamina, Simon and Yoko growing as friends and as a team, the second half of “Gurren Lagann” fast forwards seven years later after the battle with the Beast Men and the Beastman Empire.

Years later, Simon has become the new leader of Kamina City while Rossiu Addai became second-in-command.  The other members of Team Dai Gurren have become officers or employees of Kamina City while Yoko Littner became a school teacher.

But the seven year peace in the planet did not last as the anti-spirals wreaked havoc on the city.  But will humanity be ready to fight again for their survival?

“Gurren Lagann” features a total of 27 episodes.  A summary of each episode (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS):

  1. Episode 1 – Bust through the Heavens with your Drill! The main episodes that introduces us to Simon, Kamina and Yoko.   The three join forces to take on the monster gunmen.
  2. Episode 2 – I Said I’m Gonna Pilot That Thing!! – With Simon having his own robot and more Gunmen showing up to fight, Kamina decides to get a gunmen mecha all for himself which he names “Gurren”.  But they get some support from the people of Yoko’s village and the village’s top mechanic, Leeron (a savvy and intelligent mechanic but who happens to be gay and not afraid to flirt with Kamina and Simon).  But with Kamina and Simon now having their own mecha’s, they name their team “Gurren Lagann”.
  3. Episode 3 – Who Do You Think You Are, Having Two Faces? – With the defeat of the Beastmen and their Gunmen, Simon, Kamina and Yoko go to hunt for some food but while Kamina retrieves some food, he runs into a Beastman named Viral.  A savage warrior who becomes the major rival for Kamina.  But Viral pilots a Gunmen with a second head that shoots out a devastating attack.  Kamina feels that Gurren Lagann can combine and by unifying, they can become unstoppable.
  4. Episode 4 – Having Lots of Faces Doesn’t Make You Great!  – After the battle with Viral,  Simon, Kamina, Yoko and Leeron decide to destroy the Beastmen’s base.  By eliminating it, the group might have that peace that they wanted.  But while looking for food, the group run into another group known as the Black Siblings…friend or foe?  We are introduced to Kittan Bachika, the leader of the Black Siblings who is accompanied by his three younger sisters as they try to eliminate Beastmen.
  5. Episode 5 – I Don’t Get It, Not One Bit! – As the group continues on their travels, they end up in another underground village and brought their by a teen named Rosiu.  But in this village, they have their own strict religion and strict rules in which they can only keep their population  at 50 people or less.    Well, things change when a couple has a set of triplets, thus going over the 50-person mark.  Gurren Lagann receives a new member to the team.
  6. Episode 6 – There are Some Things I Just Have to See! – There are two versions of episode 6.  The unedited version and the TV 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?
  10. 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.
  11. Episode 11 – Simon, Hands-off – The team meets Guame, the third of Spiral Kings Four Divine Generals.  He uses Beastmen disguised as women to fool the crew and ends up taking over their ship and putting the crew underground in prison.  Only Simon and his drilling can save the day and for Nia, she learns why she was discarded by her father.
  12. Episode 12 – Yoko, Will You Do Me a Favor? – Team Dai-Gurren’s fortress needs to be refitted to travel in the water.  So, the crew goes through a little R&R and becomes too friendly with Nia and favoring her over Kyoko.  Kyoko is not sure he can trust her and sure enough, the crew goes into battle against Adiane.
  13. Episode 13 – Eat Up, Everyone – Nia really wants to fit in, so she found a job for herself, to become a cook.  Meanwhile, Cytomander, the fourth of Spiral King’s Divine Four Generals makes his attack on the crew and with Rossiu sick, Kyoko must fill in and be Simon’s co-pilot for Gurren Lagann.
  14. Episode 14 -Well, Met Everyone – The crew arrives near the Beastman Empire but must take on the last two of Spiral King’s Four Divine Generals – Cytomander and Guame to the death.
  15. Episode 15 – I Will Head Towards Tomorrow – Team Dai-Gurren now has one final battle left and that’s against the Spiral King.  It’s all or nothing!
  16. Episode 16 – Compilation Episode – This episode serves as a bridge for between the first arc and the second arc of the series.  It’s literally a special episode condensing major scenes from the first 15 episodes to one episode.  Mainly focusing on Kamina, Simon, Kyoko and Nia.
  17. Episode 17 – You Don’t Know Anything – With Team Dai-Gurren successful against the Spiral King, the series flash forwards seven years later.  The planet has flourished with cities and vehicles, Simon, Rossiu and everyone else has grown up.  People own homes and have their own jobs.  Simon is in his early 20′s and is the Supreme Commander and is bored doing paper work.  Rossiu is the Chief who does all of the work but unlike Simon, holds an iron fist on how the city should be ran and for some members of Team Dai-Gurren are just head employees who answer phones.   They wonder what Lord Genome meant by his final words before he died of a new emanating threat and sure enough, that threat has materialized on the planet.  Meanwhile, something has happened to Nia.
  18. Episode 18 – Tell Me the Secrets of the World – A new evil has appeared on the planet and says that because Earth has reached 1,000,000 people and has used Spiral technology to further their growth, they will now be exterminated.  Simon goes to battle against one of the enemies and succeeds in defeating it but since the enemy is composed of energy, that energy becomes like bombs and when Simon defeated the enemy and it exploded, in essence many people have died, buildings and structures destroyed and people want blood…Simon’s blood.    Nia’s true purpose is revealed and Rossiu keeps a secret.
  19. Episode 19 – We Will Survive, By Any Means Necessary The public is very upset against the government because of the destruction and deaths from the Gurren Lagann attack against the Anti-Spiral and Second-in-Command Rossiu knows the only way they will appease the public is with the arrest and the execution of Simon.  But with another attack on the city by an Anti-Spiral, Rossiu has to release Simon temporarily from custody to fight the enemy.
  20. Episode 20 – How Far Will God Test Us? –  Simon is put into the same prison with his cell next to Viral.  Meanwhile Kittan who is incensed that his sister is siding with Rossiu in the execution and imprisonment of Simon.
  21. Episode 21 – You Are Someone Who Ought To Survive – The story shifts to Yoko as a school teacher who is stern but caring for the kids.  When she finds out what is happening with Simon, she decides that she must return back to Kamina City immediately.
  22. Episode 22 – This is My Final Duty  – Rossiu must make the most difficult choice by trying to rescue as many people he can in a secret spaceship and escape the planet but knowing that many will have to perish from the moon crashing down on the planet.  But on planet, Simon and Viral team up with Gurren Lagann and Arc Gurren as both join forces to form Arc-Gurren-Lagann and stop the Human Extermination System that the Anti-Spirals have implemented.
  23. Episode 23 – Let’s Go, This is the Final Battle – Team Dai Gurren prepares for the war against the anti-spirals.  Meanwhile, Rossiu who is amazed with how Simon is able to save everyone decides that his life is not worth living.  Can Simon get to Rossiu in time?
  24. Episode 24 – I Will Never Forget This Minute, This Second – With the help of Lordgenome, while Rossiu takes command on the planet, Simon and Viral lead several members from Team Dai Gurren to transport right into the Anti-Spirals home world.  Simon had made a promise that he would save Nia and is determined to do so.  Meanwhile, the Team suffers a loss of a few team members.
  25. Episode 25 – I Accept Your Last Wish – Team Dai-Gurren is caught in the ocean of despair set by the Anti-Spirals.  Meanwhile, another major team member of Team Dai Gurren sacrifices his life to save his friends.
  26. Episode 26 – Let’s Go Buddy – Simon,Viral and Team Dai Gurren combine into Super Galaxy Gurren-Lagann in order rescue Nia.  Meanwhile, the Anti-Spiral uses their own memories against them.  But a familiar face from the past is there to help Simon, Kyoko and Team Dai Gurren.
  27. Episode 27 – The Lights In the Sky Are Stars – One of the Team Dai Gurren members decides to take a stand against the Anti-Spiral and sacrifices themself in order for Simon to gain the enemies drill.  Simon, Nia, Viral and Team Dai Gurren put everything they have on the line to become the galaxy sized Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann in the final battle against the enemy.

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Each episode is  featured in 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen.  The character designs by Atsushi Nishigori are fresh and very different.  I absolutely enjoy the character and mechanical designs and the whole anime is quite vibrant and looks stylish and pretty cool.  And it yet makes me wonder why this series has not been released on Blu-ray?

As for the audio, the Digital 5.1 effects utilized in the English dub is actually very well done.  I liked the effective use of splitting the audio of action scenes through the various speaker channels and overall, the audio track for the 5.1 English dub is well done.

The Japanese audio is featured only in 2.0 Stereo but the dialogue and action scenes also come clear through the front channels, the main difference is that the war seems to come alive on the English dub.  As one can expect with the 5.1 soundtrack, very good use of surround channels and LFE, so the dub gets a nod for being immersive and having a better dynamic range.

Both soundtracks feature exceptional acting.  The Japanese voice acting were wonderful when it came to the emotional performance by Tetsuya Kakihara, Katsuyuki Konishi and Marina Inoue.  But “Gurren Lagann” also features a fantastic performance from the English dub cast.  Yuri Lowenthal was perfect as Simon, Kyle Hebert and Michelle Ruff were also marvelous in their acting role as Kamina and Yoko.  It’s important to note that this is the same English dub that was featured on the Bandai Entertainment DVD release in 2009.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set Limited Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • Preview of episode #6 (TV) – (:16) English episode #6 preview with a little fan service.
  • Episode 6 (TV Version)
  • Yoko Goes to Gainax -Study Animation at GAINAX- – (24:48) Marina Inoue, Japanese voice actress for Yoko goes to GAINAX and sees how people create “Gurren Lagann”.  The featurette features Marina  learning the difference between “Key Animation” and “In-Between Animation” and “Composition”.  She actually takes part in doing in-between work for the first time and also, learning some of the jobs the staff did for “Gurren Lagann”.  A very fun featurette!
  • GAINAX Interview – (10:21) A very cool featurette with producer Takeda from GAINAX, GAINAX President Yamaga and assistant director Otsuka on the concept of “Gurren Lagann” and what their goal was in creating this anime series.
  • Sangizen 3D Test Footage –  (15:16) The Sangizen 3D Test Footage is a 15-minute featurette with various preliminary 3D features of the Anti-Spirals destroying city structures, to the combination of the mecha and various fight scenes.  Many were created but only selected footage were used in the final cut.
  • Shokotan Interview – (7:36) The interview with Shoko Nakagawa (aka “Shokotan”) who sings the main theme song was done in the US after her appearance at Anime Expo in Los Angeles in 2008.  Shoko talks about being an otaku and also said that she wanted to become a mangaka while growing up.  Also, her happiness to perform in the US and to meet the fans and much more.
  • Textless Opening and Ending themes – For those who love the cool music of opening theme “Sorairo Days” by Shoko Nakagawa and ending theme “Underground” by High Voltage.
  • Japanese Trailer
  • U.S. Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set Limited Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • Gurren Lagann Slipcase (Rigid Box illustrated by You Yoshinari/Mechanical Design)
  • 2-Tray clear Amaray cases with reversible wraps of original Japanese DVD cover design
  • 36-Page Deluxe Illustration Booklet
  • 2-Sided Poster (Yoko & Kamina)
  • 2-Stickers of Kamina’s Famous Remarks
  • 12 Postcards of Japanese DVD Cover Art & Original Illustration by You Yoshinari (Mechanical Design)

  • Gurren Lagann Original Soundtrack CD’s 1 & 2

DISC 1 (Duration:1:09:45)

1. 仕方ねえ!1分20秒だけ媚びてやる
2. モグラはモグラのままなのか?
3. ラップは漢の魂だ!己を信じて天を指差す怒涛の男・カミナ様のテーマを耳の穴かっぽじってよ~く聴きやがれ!!
4. ブタモグラは螺旋の夢を見るか?
5. ボインVSボイン
6. 燃えてばかりでいいのかい?
7. お前の×××で天を衝け!! ~初めて見た地上ver.~
8. 骸骨になっちまったカミナの親父に寄せる哀歌
9. 狼が来た!!
10. Nikopol
11. 月と星とア・タ・シ
12. 萌えろ三姉妹
13. ああああッ!骸骨がぁ!! 骸骨がぁ!!!
14. お前ら全員燃えてしまえっ!!!
15. お前の×××よ、そそり立て!
16. He is so ×××
17. ラブリーボイン
18. Peeping Tom
19. 髭とハーレム
20. 親父の塊
21. お前なんか信じられっか!
22. 今は準備が必要なんだよ!!
23. 合体なんてクソくらえ!(合体挿入曲第一番 ハ短調アレグロ K2564)
24. 「萌え」っていったい何ですか?
25. お前の×××で…
26. 愛・掴みますI

Disc 2 (Duration: 1:10:37)

1. 愛・掴みますII
2. ラップは漢の魂だ!無理を通して道理を蹴っ飛ばす!俺たち大グレン団のテーマを耳の穴かっぽじってよ~く聴きやがれ!!(Short Start Edit)
3. 旅ってなぁ疲れるもんなんだよ
4. 「萌え」っていったい…?
5. 暗闇の中で何を考えてやがるッ!!
6. BafBaf! そんなに燃えるのが…好きかい?
7. 超合体(合体挿入曲第二番K3845プログレ)
8. 回って回って回って回っ!?
9. 回って回って回って回ってててて…
10. 熱砂の荒野を抜けて大グレン団が行くのだ
11. 愛・掴みますIII
12. 愛・掴みますIV
13. 月日は百代の過客なり
14. アダイ村のデコ助
15. メガネで決めよう
16. どうだ!俺のトランペットは凄いだろ!!
17. ラップは漢の魂……だった…よな…
18. リゾートライフのイロハ
19. ポイズンプリズン
20. 誰かが誰かを恨んでる
21. The Blue monday e”r”ectrical parade
22. “Libera me”from hell
23. Love Conservative
24. お前の×××で天を…
25. お前の×××で天を衝け!!
26.  商品の概要に戻る

For the “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition”, included is the two-CD album “Tengen Toppa Guren Ragan Original Soundtrack” that was released in 2008.  This is different from the Bandai Entertainment vol. 3 DVD release which came with the “Tengen Toppa Guren Ragan BEST SOUND” album which came with the vocal tracks.  The primary difference is that this original soundtrack album comes 51 tracks with the primarily instrumental music featured throughout the series.  The music is composed by Taku Iwasaki and also features music by tarantura and quadtbep.

For anyone wondering if there are any vocal tracks, there are four.  On Disc 1, there is “Kamina’s Theme” (ラップは漢の魂だ! 己を信じて天を指差す怒涛の男・カミナ様のテーマを耳の穴かっぽじってよ~く聴きやがれ!!) which comes with the rap that people hear throughout the series ala “Bro! Bro! Fight the Power!”.   Also, quadtbep’s guitar churning rock tracks “Nikopol” and “合体なんてクソくらえ! (合体挿入曲第一番 ハ短調アレグロ K2564)” are included.

Also, included on Disc 2 is “Libera me” from hell featuring Tarantura and Taku Iwasaki, so you get the hip hop “Bro, Bro Fight the Power!” song but with beats from Tarantura and piano by Taku Iwasaki along with an operatic element.  But if you want the Shoko Nakagawa, HIGH VOLTAGE or Afuroman tracks, those tracks are included on the BEST SOUND album.

But the soundtrack, if you enjoy instrumentals is fantastic.  Tracks incorporating jazz elements, ambient, gentle harp and wind instrument tracks, synth pop, synth choir to heavy hitting rock tracks.  The soundtrack is a wonderful addition to the “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition”.

I can’t help but think how awesome this series was to watch!  From the stylish presentation, the wacky humor, the adult-like humor and pervertedness 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 exciting, a lot of fun, yes a bit perverted but ultimately…fantastic!

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.  But like most underdogs in anime series, it’s the confidence and support that gets them going and Simon turns out to be a fascinating character to watch overtime.

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.

But Team Gurren Lagann are simply fun to watch and to see them engage in battle with the Beast Men but also see other members join the team and see how Team Gurran Lagann grows over time during this war between humanity and the Beastman Empire.

But the series is rather fascinating as the first half deals with humanity wanting to be free and to fight to live on the land, while the second half deals with humanity now thriving seven years later but with humanity in trouble once again.  The way things are for both halves are completely different and it’s like watching two seasons but both are just captivating, addictive and mecha fans and I think also anime fans in general, can get into this series!

While many early episodes feature a bit of fan service, things become less perverted from episode 10 and on.  Granted, the series becomes a bit more dark, emotional and dramatic especially due to Simon’s worsening depression.  So, while there are episodes such as episode 6 that tend to focus on adult humor and fan service, the series gets better overtime in terms of plot and character development.

I’m sure there are people who purchased the Bandai Entertainment DVD sets, that are wondering if there are any significant difference with the Aniplex, Inc. DVD releases.  There are some slight differences.  The episodes remain the same, the post cards that Bandai Entertainment released were fewer than what is included on Aniplex, Inc.’s set, also the Aniplex versions do not have any writing, logos or numbers as the Bandai Entertainment postcards had.

But another primary difference is that the Bandai Entertainment version included the first vol. 1 of the manga (since Bandai Entertainment released manga at the time in the U.S.) and that the CD soundtrack featured was the “Gurren Lagann BEST SOUND” soundtrack (which had the vocal tracks by Shoko Nakagawa, HIGH VOLTAGE and Afuromania).  For the Aniplex Inc. version, you get the “Gurren Lagann Original Soundtracks” (Both CD’s which are primarily the instrumental music tracks).  The Aniplex Inc. version also comes with the 36-page booklet and 2-sided poster and stickers that the Bandai Entertainment set did not have.

So, for those wondering if you should upgrade your Bandai Entertainment DVD to the new Aniplex, Inc. DVD, the answer is no. It’s the same content DVD-wise, just different swag offered by both companies.  With that being said, the question is if the “Gurren Lagann” Blu-ray set will be released in America.  There is an import Blu-ray release that will be available in June 2013 that does have English subtitles, also comes with the “Gurren Lagann” movies and the drama CD’s with a ton of features, but the price for this “Gurren Lagann”Blu-ray Complete Box Set” is $550.

Let’s just hope Aniplex, Inc. considers releasing a Blu-ray release for “Gurren Lagann” as this series just looks too good and sounds too awesome that it’s deserving of a Blu-ray release.

But as far as the DVD goes, picture quality is still very good, soundtrack especially the English dubtrack receives the 5.1 treatment and is a bit immersive as it does utilize the surround channels and LFE.  Both voice acting soundtracks are magnificent, with the Japanese hitting the nail on the more emotional scenes, but when it comes to action, the English soundtrack has the better dynamic range and use of the surround channels.  And the English dub is also well-done!

Overall, the experience of watching “Gurren Lagann” was wonderful!  From the stylish presentation, the wacky humor, 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”.

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.  And of course, this anime series is action-packed but most of all well-acted (both in Japanese and English), awesome animation, great character development and well-written storyline.

“Gurren Lagann” can be described in one word and that is “Fantastic!” but to experience the complete series from beginning to the end, what an experience!  “Gurren Lagann DVD TV Series Box Set – Limited Edition” is definitely deserving of five stars and receives our highest recommendation!






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Comments

  • KingSora1991

    So it’s the same video quality as the Bandai box set? Or does this limited edition have better quality? I’m pretty new to this series so I don’t know much about its releases. I’ve seen a few episodes on Crunchy Roll. Not sure if it’s the same as those because it was on the site before the limited DVD set came out. Just trying to find out which one is the best one for me. I was thinking about the Bluray but its kind of out of my price range right now lol 🙂 Nice review btw.

  • jentonline

    They are pretty much the same. The primary difference is the swag that is offered. But for an anime series such as “Gurren Lagann”, it deserves a Blu-ray release. The Blu-ray is very expensive right now and I can only hope that Aniplex considers releasing it on Blu-ray but a more affordable release.

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