This part from Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei resonated with me for whatever reason. Ahem.
Holy crap. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
The plot synopsis seemed fairly standard: it’s a story about a kid who’s living under fairly poor circumstances and is going on from day to day. Something happens and the kid goes on an adventure. Standard anime plot. It’s even got mecha and the mecha are powered by fighting spirit or something. At a glance, there’s really nothing that attracted me. And that was true for the first few episodes. I stuck with it until the magic episode that was supposed to determine whether it’s a keeper or not.
To be honest, it was pretty cool, but it really didn’t compel me to watch any further. I mean, I was rewatching a few Ouran episodes instead of continuing on, but I figured I should keep on going, at least until it was clear that it wasn’t good. And so I watched what happened next.
Gurren Lagann is ridiculous and over the top. It’s clear from the very first episode. What isn’t clear is just how far it goes and how awesome it becomes. In my opinion, it started off fairly slow but when it takes off, it shoots off — into the heavens, as it were. If we were to graph this quality against time, it would be exponential. That’s right, the ridiculousness of Gurren Lagann grows as microorganisms and bad algorithms do: really, really fast. There’s no way to describe just how fast it is without spoiling it.
Again, Gurren Lagann starts off fairly standard as far as anime goes. But my goodness, does it end in pure epic. I’m aware that epic is used to describe a lot of things (olol epic fail), but Gurren Lagann really shatters everything that’s come before it in terms of how epic it is. It’s really surprising how epic it gets; there were times when I was fairly impressed, only to have something ridiculous happen again.
I started off fairly skeptical about this whole thing, but it’s shattered all my expectations about it. This really isn’t just another Naruto, it’s something far more special and it’s definitely deserved all the praise it’s got thrown at it.
So recently, I decided to dig deeper into the animus again. The last anime I’d been following was Mobile Suit Gundam 00, which ended at the end of March. By that time, I’d dropped both Naruto and Bleach since their animated counterparts were visually bad and going through a sea of filler while their manga brethren were far more interesting and didn’t have the annoying baggage that the anime is known for.
Of the bunch of series I acquired, Ouran High School Host Club is the one that’s left the biggest impression on me thus far, so I’ll be writing about it first. A large part of it has to do with what happens beyond the anime, in the manga where the plot continues. Of course, this is because of the interesting cast of characters, the hilarious comedic moments, and the awesome writing. What’s interesting about Ouran is that it’s a shoujo manga, which isn’t a genre that I’m into.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised, even though it was weird not being in the target audience. This was made very clear to me as I scoured the Internet for the latest Ouran chapter, forcing me to step into various Ouran forums. But, since I enjoy thinking about and taking apart characters and plot, and Ouran is excellent in both, I’m going to be going into a lot of it here.
One thing that I am fairly unhappy about is the fact that it’s almost inevitable that the whole thing will end in Haruhi ending up with Tamaki. I guess one of the reasons I don’t like this is because it’s fairly obvious and set in stone. But otherwise, I think he’s too ideal and unrealistic — there really isn’t anything wrong with him, other than the fact that he’s kind of slow and his biggest fault is in his trying to keep the dynamics of the Host Club unchanged. Essentially, everything in the manga has been stacked in his favour for him and the only thing preventing anything from happening is his idiocy and refusal to face the truth. I much prefer the Tamaki that just tries to keep the club together.
And this is why I feel like Hikaru and Kaoru got screwed over. Both of them love Haruhi and both of them are aware of it, but most importantly, both of them went through ridiculous amounts of character development because of it. With the realization that they’re both competing for the same girl, they had to struggle against each other. Eventually, this ended in Kaoru deciding to step aside for Hikaru and both of them having their worldview changed from the focus on themselves.
Haruhi is definitely the catalyst for the entirety of their development, since she’s the first person to tell both of them apart. She certainly hasn’t invoked any similarly huge character changes from any other member of the Host Club. And it makes sense for the twins to be attracted to her because of the fact that she knows them so well that she can distinguish them when they’ve been actively stopping people from being able to do so.
I also enjoy the interaction between the twins and Haruhi far more than those of Tamaki and Haruhi. With Tamaki, we get a lot of “olol Tamaki is stupid” or Tamaki acting in his father-daughter mindset, whereas the twins are more like her. It just seems unfortunate that all of this work spent on the twins and all of their internal conflict is going to be flushed down the drain as Tamaki just does nothing and gets a happy ending. In this case, it would seem like not only Hikaru lost, but Kaoru as well, since he stopped pursuing Haruhi to help his brother win her.
As I mentioned before, I’m not the target audience of the manga; that is, I’m a guy. It was very clear that the majority of folks on whatever Ouran boards were for Tamaki and Haruhi and I was in the minority that liked the idea of Hikaru and Haruhi together. It made sense to me when I realized it; girls (the target audience) like Tamaki because that’s his character and that’s the way he was written. Of course, that gives me no reason to like him, and I don’t; I don’t relate to him at all, and I find the twins far more interesting as characters.
Next time, I’ll be going on about Soul Eater or Dennou Coil and even later, possibly Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.