I recently watched Gurren Lagann on the recommendation of my sister and Ian McCafferty (@itmccaf52). Here are some thoughts:
The show is very, very good. I give it a 9/10.
Note 1: Simon and Rossiu
Simon and Rossiu are essentially parallels of Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Santander and their rule over Gran Colombia after the liberation of Spanish America. Hear me out.
After Simón Bolívar won the Battle of Boyacá in 1819, he formed Gran Colombia. But Simón, like the Simon from Gurren Lagann (their names are pronounced exactly the same), had little interest in governing, and he went on to go liberate Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Bolívar left one of his general, Francisco de Paula Santander, to rule Colombia in his absence. Santander, who never liked fighting, started to build Gran Colombia’s bureaucracy and government.
In the show, Simón is the Great Liberator, and while Rossiu does some fighting, he eventually hits the sidelines in the final battle. After the flash-forward, we see that Rossiu and Simon have basically split up the government how Bolívar and Santander did. Rossiu is the Man of Laws (Santander’s nickname), while Simon is the man of action, who goes out to fight the Anti-Spirals whenever he can. Rossiu urges him to stay home and govern, but Simon refuses. It should be noted that Santander and Bolívar had this exact same argument when Bolívar was conquering Peru in the mid 1820s. Simon and Simón were both forced to briefly try to govern.
Eventually, the two men could not reconcile their differences. Santander/Rossiu was too legalistic, too hell-bent on rules and intellectualism for the rash, impulsive Simon, I mean, Simón. Rossiu/Santander kept accusing Simon of acting like a dictator and shirking his responsibilities in favor of playing nice with the idiot warlords who were tearing apart the country. In 1828, Santander tried to assassinate Bolívar and take power once Gran Colombia started to break apart. As you’ll recall from the show, Rossiu does the exact same thing by pressing charges against Simón and sentencing him to death after Kamina City falls into chaos following the #MOON incident.
Unlike Rossiu’s plot, however, the plot failed and Bolívar survived thanks to the intervention of his lover Manuela Sainz (the real hero of this story, to be honest). Santander lost and was forced into exile. Actually, wait, Rossiu’s actions failed in the show because his evacuation plot ran aground. Simon was never executed and escaped with the help of a woman, and then Simon took over for good and Rossiu was exiled. Never mind. The writers totally ripped off that story arc from the post-revolutionary careers of Simón Bolívar and Francisco Santander.
Note 2: The Tennis Nerd
I think that the Four Supreme Generals and Lordgenome are a good analogy for the “Big Five” tennis players of the last five years or so.
Lordgenome – Roger Federer (The King of them all, the GOAT)
Guame – Rafael Nadal (The longtime second and command, also Guame is probably really good on clay)
Cytomander – Novak Djokovic (The flashy, refined air commander)
Adiane – Andy Murray (The elegant counterpuncher, even though Murray is about is elegant on-court as a piece of driftwood. His tennis is elegant though.)
Thymilph – Stan Wawrinka
I mean, come on:
It’s the Stanimal.
Note 3: Kittan is a criminally underused character
Like seriously, that guy couldn’t get more airtime? Even his side character sister got more character development than him.
Note 4: The Entire Middle Arc is Very Good History
The whole part when the former soldiers are trying to run a civilian government after a revolution was too real and complex for a cartoon series about giant robots fighting each other. It’s like the creators of this show read The History of the Rebellion by the Earl of Clarendon and said: “hey, that would make a great seven-part anime series”. Who does that?
The whole scene where the pig-mole denier logs on and has a wealthy chain of diners is very, very real. Yes, even if you win the revolution, the old aristocracy will find some way to worm their way back into power. Say what you want about cockroaches, at least they have the sense to die when they are squashed repeatedly and exiled. Not so for the landed aristocracy. Never trust the aristocrats.
Note 5: I did not cry during Gurren, but I probably should have
If I felt any normal human emotions, I probably would have cried during Gurren Lagann, or at least felt bad for a few hours. I did not. You probably will, and I applaud you for that.
That’s all I have for today. It was fun.