Just when you are having a decent life, you get caught up in a series of unfortunate events. And just when you thought it’s over, you actually realize that you merely made it through the prologue…
That’s just about how things develop for Simon, a youngster who has a talent for drilling. You heard me right, drilling. Simon lives in an underground village that tries to expand by digging new tunnels but is frequently disturbed by earthquakes. In one of those, Simon lost his parents and is now an orphan. At his side is Kamina, his “soul brother”, as he calls himself. Kamina is obsessed with the idea of a surface and getting there and is convinced that only Simon with his talent can drill a way through the ceiling. As Simon wants to show Kamina something special, they have a chance to try, only to be attacked by a giant robot, which is taken down by Yoko, an arriving young woman with quite the marksman skills. Simon proceeds to lead Kamina and Yoko away, only to find another abandoned robot. With this, they strike back and break through, only to find out that they have gotten themselves into something a lot bigger than anticipated
The Manga was written after the anime and currently only reaches up to the pre-timeskip arcs. So you will have to watch the anime for full-info. Is the manga worth it? Amp to the rescue! It is entirely worth it, an emotional rollercoaster if you’ll excuse the cliche. You won’t be disappointed so I urge you to continue reading and waiting and after that bathe in the rich light shows in the anime, or something like that ;).
So far, about a third of the manga seems to be fanservice in form of Yoko and the Black Brotherhood. Another third are blasting fight scenes (which is quite a lot for a manga) and another third is made of fun and plot. Sounds weird, but actually makes quite the combination, since I’m pretty sure all of us read manga for entertainment and not for gaining deep insights into the ways of humanity or whatsoever. I also like how we don’t have everything explained dead. The plot mostly bases on assumptions, which gives off a nice uncertainty. What surprised me was the main character’s personality. Simon is in no way a hero like Naruto or Ichigo, who just face everything dead on with determination. He’s actually – and that’s a beautiful twist – human.
However, the comic relief becomes quite obnoxious sometimes, but I guess that’s what you get out of a third of fanservice. I just really have problem with the action scenes: Since blasting and smashing are pretty crucial for a fight between robots, the debris sometimes messes up the picture an it’s hard to follow along what exactly is happening, which isn’t as annoying in a colourful animation.
Naruto, Ichigo and Natsu are totally granting on your last nerve with their pure willpower? Then lean back and enjoy this, because so far I haven’t seen an easy win in this series. If fanservice isn’t a problem for you, or you actually enjoy it, you will have a really good time. If you never had fun with “Where’s Waldo?” you might have minor problems with the illustrations, but the text can help you get over that (or you just rewatch the part in the anime, so you know exactly what happens). Also recommended for those who didn’t like the gore-factor of Crimezone!
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
by Kotaro Mori, Takami Akai, Yasuhiro Takeda
Published 2007 – ongoing, Media Works, TV Tokyo
Recommended for: fans who like a good piece of mecha-action!