Sat down and watched episodes 10-13 of Gurren Lagann
over the last couple of days, and I must admit that I'm actually starting to like the series. As usual, I'll post my thoughts on each episode:Episode 10
I didn't realize it until now, but I've become quite endeared to the cast of the show. Like I predicted back when the cast suddenly expanded back in episode 7, the masses of supporting characters provide a really tangible sense of camaraderie to Team Dai-Gurren, and it's a hell of a time to see them all bounce off one another in minor interactions, or big scenes like when they all try to save Nia from Adiane. Similarly, I really like the scene where Nia clashes badly with Simon and (especially) Yoko about what happened back in episode 8. There's a lot going on through subtext, and I'm enjoying watching these characters now. Episode 11
Man, I love the messed up direction Simon's gone down the last few episodes. From having tense interactions with everyone else to locking himself away to make rock effigies of Kamina, he's become one disturbed kid. I love it! Too bad he snaps out of it by the end of the episode, though the build-up and explanation does a pretty good job at justifying it.
Once again, there's a really good use of storyboarding here, particularly in how it makes Guame come off as a disgusting pervert. The script does quite well at getting that across on its own, but it's the fish eye lenses and the sense of him leering in each shot that really conveys it. My hat goes off to Yasuyuki Honda for his great storyboards (he also did the storyboards for Episode 13, which might explain my opinion on that episode as mentioned below).
Also, I love Guame's design. I mean, I love the designs of the Four Divine Generals in general (no pun intended), but Guame's in particular is just great. I really oughta see what else the character designer (Atsushi Nishigori) has worked on, since the character designs have been my consistently favourite part of the show so far.Episode 12
We're at the beach now, so I'm not surprised that we're getting some fanservice to go along with the sun and sea. I do like how Yoko's swimwear covers more of her than her regular outfit, along with her annoyance at the crew for wanting her to strip down; and the fanservice doesn't overstay its welcome or become horrendously awkward (no shiny plasticine-skin here, thank God!).
I don't have a lot to say beyond this being a fun, silly romp of an episode, though I must admit that Nia is nowhere near as annoying as I thought her to be when she was introduced. Considering I know her backstory, and that she's had more time to integrate into the cast (and get a haircut that I simply adore!), that makes sense. The voice is still a bit too sweet at times, but I'm fine with it most of the time.Episode 13
Holy shit, this show's actually gotten kind of epic (proper epic, not the 'epic' used to describe mediocre soundtracks by self-satisfied composers)! The fights beforehand always felt small in scale; even when fighting against the Dai-Ganzan, it never felt like anything more than a fairly sizeable skirmish. But in this episode, with bombs being dropped, Gunmen flying around and a whole airborne armada attacking the team, I was legitimately shocked. It's largely thanks to the directing (done by Akitoshi Yokoyama) and the storyboarding (by Honda), which provide a grand scope to the fight unlike anything seen before.
In addition, I like the direction Viral's character goes in this episode; honour-bound warriors, be they good or evil, have always been a character archetype I've liked, and his struggle between defeating his enemy and maintaining his honour influence the choices he makes. Similar to Episode 8, I'm getting a better idea as to why people enjoy this series so much - though in this case, it's more for the spectacle and the grand fights going on than anything else. I was even tempted to keep watching on to the next episode after that cliffhanger; I really was hooked!
So, I'm nearly at the halfway point of the series, and I'm a lot more positive about it now. I'm eager to keep watching through to the end of the series, and seeing what happens next. I'm looking forward to it! (Also, this song is pretty dang awesome!)