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Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- Limited Edition (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

October 10, 2010 by  



“Gurren Lagann” is an awesome TV series, “Gurren Lagann the Movie – Childhood’s End” is an abridged version of the first 16-episodes of the series.  If you are a hardcore fan, then you definitely want to purchase this release for its limited edition content.  Otherwise, if you have never seen the TV series before, I do recommend watching the TV series on DVD first, to truly enjoy this awesome series.

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

TITLE: Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- Limited Edition

FILM RELEASE: 2009

DURATION: 112 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, English subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 13 and Up

RELEASED: 2010

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 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 quite the dreamland Kamina imagined…

This limited edition includes a bonus disc featuring “Gurren Lagann Parallel Works” Music Videos part 1 (4 videos), a 32-page booklet, a replica of the deluxe Movie Program Book sold in Japanese theaters, and two postcards.

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”.  Of course, it would be impossible to fit 320 minutes into a 112 minute movie, so GAINAX features bits and pieces from those 16 episodes and also included 20-minute of new animated scenes.

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- Limited Edition” is presented in 16:9.  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 along with the new footage, “Gurren Lagann the Movie – Childhood’s End” looks great on DVD and I’m sure it would look even more spectacular on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for audio, “Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- Limited Edition” is presented in Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1.

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 hopefully this title is considered for Blu-ray, as I’m sure it would sound fantastic via lossless. While the English dub is featured in the TV series released by Bandai Entertainment, there is no English dub featured for both films from Aniplex.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

This is where the limited edition of “Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- Limited Edition” shines.  Included are:

DISC 1:

  • Theatrical Trailer – (1:35) The original Japanese theatrical trailer for “Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End-“.
  • Staff & Cast Credits – Standard text-based credits.
  • Aniplex Trailers – Trailers for “Gurren Lagann the Movie -The Lights in the Sky are Stars-“, “Darker than Black – Gemini of Meteor”, “Durarra!!”.

DISC 2:

  • Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 1: RAP IS A MAN’S SOUL! Kick Logic Out and Do the Impossible – A music video directed by Keisuke Watanabe featuring a parallel universe in which Simon, Kamina and Viral must save a princess who was locked in a dark dungeon in a castle.
  • Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 2: BAFBAF! Do You Love to see It…Burn? – An electronic music video bu Suezen featuring a parallel universe in which Viral plays a “Gurren Lagann” pachinko.  (Note: Not listed on the main menu).
  • Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 3: BOOBIES VS BOOBIES – A jazzy music video by Hirokazu Kojima featuring an artistic, painted style of version of the characters in a more traditional Japanese setting.
  • Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 4: DRILL THE HEAVEN’S WITH YOUR XXX!!! – A music video by Ryouji Masuyama featuring a parallel universe in which Viral and Adiane travel to take on Kamina in which the beasts are trying to take on Kamina who appears to be a dictator.

EXTRAS:

“Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- Limited Edition” comes with a slipcase and also comes with a special Japanese collectible postcard featuring Simon and Gurren Lagann.  Also, included is a 32-page booklet, a replica of the deluxe program book that were sold at theaters in Japan (note: booklet is in Japanese).

“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 – Childhood’s End-“, you’re essentially getting parts of the first 16-episodes including 20 minutes of new animation into one film.  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.  So, naturally, you are missing out on a lot but the creators did do a good job in focusing on the essentials.  Personally, I recommend watching the entire series.

What I do like about these films are how they can also be geared to the hardcore fans of the TV series in that you get additional/new footage in the film but also when they are released on DVD, in this case with “Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- Limited Edition”, you get additional bells and whistles with the inclusion of the Japanese theatrical book, collectible postcard and also the parallel works featuring the characters of “Gurren Lagann” in an alternate world shown via music video.

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.

The other way I look at this film release as a fan who supports the film because of the additional animated footage and also you’re getting limited edition Japanese merchandise and the fact is that these limited edition releases didn’t receive a large print run.  So, they are quite collectible for the “Gurren Lagann” fan.

Overall, “Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- Limited Edition” is a film worth watching but only after you have watched the series or if you are the type that will probably not watch the entire series (it’s important to note that if you are new to the series, the three box sets for the “Gurren Lagann” TV series are loaded with special features and a limited edition of the final set which includes a CD soundtrack and the manga).  But as far as this limited edition is concerned, you get a pretty cool postcard and the reproduction of the exact Japanese booklet that were sold in Japanese theaters.

If you are a hardcore fan of the series, you’ll definitely want to get the limited edition version of “Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End” for its limited edition items.  The booklet alone is definitely worth it!

So, “Gurren Lagann the Movie -Childhood’s End- Limited Edition” is definitely recommended for the hardcore “Gurren Lagann” fan and for those who just don’t have the time to watch the complete “Gurren Lagann” series.






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Comments

  • I WANT MY GURREN LAGANN IN DUB *huge cry face*!! Kyle Hebert, Yuri Lowenthal, Michelle Ruff, amazing line up for an amazing series.

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