Archive for the 'tengen toppa gurren-lagann' Category

Brave Story novel wins little-known ALA children’s book award; also Tokyo Media Arts Festival awards

I have no idea when the award was given out, but the 2008 Mildred L. Batchelder Award winner is none other than Miyki Miyabe’s own epic fantasy novel masterpiece Brave Story.

You’re probably looking at me like I’m crazy and saying “What on Earth is the Mildred L. Batchelder Award and why do I care?” I hadn’t heard of it hitherto this point either, but (according to the ALA award information page I linked above) it’s an award given to a foreign-language book of exceptional merit that has been translated into English. A list of past winners is available, in case you were curious (the only book I recognize off that list is Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord,and I work in a library, so you’re not alone in going “Say what now?”) but, of course, the important thing is that it won an award, which means that at least someone out there is paying attention. Japanese books have won the award before, of course, as that list I linked proves; the difference here is, of course, that the publisher for Brave Story is VIZ Media. Which means that a manga company has won an ALA award. I’m probably the only one impressed by this, of course, due to my librarian nature.

In other award new, spurred by the Brave Story award discovery, I checked Wikipedia for the winners of the Tokyo Media Arts Festival prizes and, lo and behold, two of the four winners of the Excellence Prize are none other than Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann and Dennou Coil. It’s not as awesome as taking home the Grand Prize, like Toki o Kakeru Shoujo deservedly did for 2006, but now people can mention Gurren-Lagann and Kamichu! in the same sentence and not raise eyebrows quite so much. Past Excellence awards winners include Neon Genesis Evangelion, Serial Experiments: Lain, Tokyo Godfathers and Mahou Shoutengai Abenobashi. By contrast, past Grand Prize winners include Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Millenium Actress, Blood: The Last Vampire, the aforementioned Tokikake, and Mind Game (Kemonozume fans are probably rejoicing at this news, all three of them).

I still, however, don’t know if Youhou won a prize in the Entertainment/Interactive Art category. If anyone knows what happened with that, please let me know. It could probably win just on how interactive the fanbase is with the actual source material, in terms of generating content, but we don’t know.

Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann: Modern-Day Gunbuster

Compare:

with:

It’s a bit more than a reference, I think.

While I was watching the concluding episodes of Gurren-Lagann earlier this fall, I was struck with one impression–how incredibly similar to Gunbuster it was. It started off with me just thinking “Man, Gurren-Lagann has as good a payoff as Gunbuster did back in the day.”

That was episode 21. Needless to say, Gurren-Lagann ended up having what may be a much better, if slightly different in style, payoff than Gunbuster.

There’s a genuine basis for the comparison here, and let me explain it a bit. For one thing, the themes of both series are quite similar. In Gunbuster, you had Noriko aiming for the Top, as it were, and helping save the Earth from extermination from the Galactic Monsters, the white blood cells of the galaxy. In Gurren-Lagann, you had Simon and the Gurren-dan leading…a quest to take on the Anti-Spirals as they threatened to exterminate all human life on the planet.

Sound a bit similar to you, too?

I’m fully aware that Gainax actually made Diebuster/Gunbuster 2, but I’m firmly convinced that Gurren-Lagann is the spiritual sequel to Gunbuster. There’s a lot of similarities–Noriko and Simon are practically the same character at times, except one has breasts and the other doesn’t. As well, episode 5 of Gunbuster (you know, the one with HOMING LASER!) seems to have been directly copied for the massive battles at the end of Gurren-Lagann. The concept of a select group of people putting their lives on the line to save the Earth crops up as well.

LIke Gunbuster, which oozed with references and pastiches of even older mecha anime, Gurren-Lagann apparently evolved like this: Gainax staffers, working on planning out the new mecha show, are sitting around a table. Someone says “Hey, guys, let’s make this a show about drills!” (drills, of course, being a Man’s Romance, and a common theme in classic mecha anime). The Gainax staffers share a hearty laugh at this premise, and then sit down and get to work taking it completely seriously and thus Gurren-Lagann was born. WIth such similar initial concepts, and the ultimately strong and moving anime they ended up being despite inauspicious beginnings, it’s safe to say that Gurren-Lagann will probably be as fondly remembered in the hearts of otaku today as Gunbuster was to the otaku of the 80s.

Year-End Anime Awards for 2007

It’s that time of year again.

The air is cold, the night is swift, and Dick Clark is still alive and no one knows why.

Yes, it is the end of 2007, and that means we get the end of the year “best of” awards ceremony. Criteria: the show must have started its broadcast in 2007. So, everything from winter season to fall season is fair game. So here we go!

Best Drama About Drama: Hitohira

Refreshingly original characters, a slight hint of yuri, and some real emotional power drives this series. I kind of glossed over it, and then heard about it from a friend of mine, and then watched it, expecting it to be some kind of mild schoolhouse comedy. Instead I got an incredible and moving drama. It came from nowhere and socked me with both cute and poignancy. How many of your average moe shows get that done, tell me?

Best Space Opera That Was Based on Seventies Manga: Terra e…

A rather inauspicious start led into a flurry of emotions and an actually epic plot, something its contemporary Heroic Age could have only wished it was. Not only that, the anime actually improves on the original manga, making it much more affecting.

Best Show With Immortal Gangsters: Baccano!

I’ve already said my piece about this show, of course, but to review: incredible characterization and a very tightly scripted plot turned this show into one of the real winners of 2007. The whole series would have flopped, in my opinion, had it been 26 episodes, due to the slow pacing that would have been brought on it.

Best Comedy About Little…Things That No One Knows What They Are: Potemayo

The 4koma nature of the manga this was adapted from led to a totally nonsensical anime. And it was good that way. It’s been a while since an anime comedy made me laugh as consistently as Potemayo did, and doing it all without making references is a plus.

Best Show About Drills: Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann

I don’t think I actually have to talk about this one much. I was relatively unimpressed by the first episode for some reason (hype got to me, I think–I kind of expected it to be a hilarious episode, and not an episode of burning passion for some reason) but I quickly warmed up to the series and ended up loving it all the way through. It was, indeed, manly as all get out. And well-paced past a certain point, too.

Best Romantic Drama Wherein There are Numerous Visual Tricks Because Shinbo is Crazy: ef – a tale of memories

I just wrote a post on this since it just ended, so it’s still fresh in my mind, but it’s definitely one of the top-tier series this year. See previous posts on the topic for reminders on why it’s listed here.

Honorable Mentions

“Honorable Mentions”, in this case, usually means “this show is really good but I haven’t actually finished it yet”.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Minami-ke

We got not one, not two, but three rather clever comedies this year, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei being the funniest Shinbo Akiyuki show to date, and Minami-ke being….Minami-ke. All three of them are worthy of note, but I just haven’t finished these two. For shame.

Hidamari Sketch

Notable simply because it marked a point where Shinbo stopped being Pani Poni Dash Shinbo and became the Shinbo I can actually find amusing and interesting to watch. I was apathetic before this show; now I’m as much of a Shinbo whore as the next person. So, uh, yeah.

Lucky Star

I actually did finish this, and it was really fun to watch, and I will be buying the upcoming DVDs, so I can’t really explain why it’s down here. Notable, however, for turning a relatively mediocre manga into a huge otaku phenonmenon. Amazing what Kyoto Animation can do, isn’t it?

CLANNAD

Again, you probably know my stance on this show. The relationship dynamics between Tomoya and Nagisa are great, and the one arc I’ve seen so far has been pretty good. And I hear the Kotomi arc is great.

Moyashimon

Yes, let’s make a show about bacteria! And it will be the greatest thing ever!

Mobile Suit Gundam 00

Nothing’s changed since I last watched an episode. It’s still going strong. 30th anniversaries are wonderful things.

Sketchbook ~full color’s~

The other slice of life show about artists. It’s not as viusally clever as Hidamari Sketch is, but it’s a lot more relaxing and funny, thanks to Team Aria.

Dennou Coil

I still can’t figure out why I’m watching this so slowly. I think I’m trying to preserve the awesome as long as possible. Yeah, that’s it.

Darker than BLACK

I’m still only partway through this, but it’s been fairly good thus far. I don’t think it’ll make it into the top-tier up there, but I like the way every arc is focused around character development over action. It could just as easily have been an straightforward action show, but, instead, it’s a pretty nifty study in character.

Ghost Hound

It’s finally shaped itself up to be a good, creepy show. Even if it’s not allegedly as bizarre as Serial Experiments: Lain, I still like it.

I think that’s everything. As you can see, this year has been quite bountiful with the goods.


NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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