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Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Movie 2: Lagann-hen Anime Cover

Score: 8.58/10

Synopsis

Humans have enjoyed their lavish, peaceful, and prosperous lives for seven years since the day the almighty Spiral King was defeated—the day they reclaimed their homeland, Earth. However, the boon of this lifestyle leaves them unprepared when an unknown, hostile threat arises due to the ever-growing human population. This calamity is the Anti-Spiral—a fearsome enemy with unparalleled power. As the Spiral King's prognosis postulating the destruction of "The Spiral's World" begins to come true, the pieces are in place, and Team Dai-Gurren is ready. With his late brother's hope to see a better future for mankind, Simon—along with Nia Teppelin and the rest of the team—is determined to overthrow the mighty Anti-Spiral in order to revive humanity's lost hope. [Written by MAL Rewrite]

Lagann-hen is an exhilarating production with a setting of monumental proportions, though not without its flaws, which – in some cases – are unfortunately more apparent than in the first installment.

The movie picks up right where Gurren-hen left off, though the opening sequences have been hugely condensed in order to quickly drive the plot into the second arc of the story. The setting expands in Lagann-hen, we travel from Earths surface into interstellar territory, in line with the TV show, although small sections of the story have diverged from the series, some understandably and others disappointingly. Certain new ideas seem extremely rushed, dragging what was a fairly engrossing – if manic – plot downwards. Nevertheless, the scale of the story is as ever admirable and thrilling, though the developmental issues carry over from Gurren-hen, making it clear the Gurren-hen/Lagann-hen film double was more an excuse to cash in on the series, rather than create a coherent piece separate from the TV show. The dialogue, at times, also encountered issues; present simply to move the story along without any natural flow to it.

As in Gurren-hen, the rehashed sequences barely differ – if at all – from the series, but the new scenes go above and beyond. The new ending sequence is a powerhouse of action and zest, which will leave you wishing there was more, but unfortunately, there aren’t as many new additions to Lagann-hen as there were in Gurren-hen. The staff really rely on the climatic sequence to blow you away, and while it may do just that, they don’t really attempt anything deserving of praise throughout the opening and middle acts.

Taku Iwasaki’s score returns for its third outing with no changes, yet the sound and music is a noticeable drop from the first installment. The music felt poorly timed, jumbled and out of place during much of the film, and often it was at such a low volume it may as well have been absent. Even the sound effects, which could have been turned up a couple of notches it give it that extra umph, were disappointing. The sound department manage to redeem themselves a little towards the end with larger emphasis on the music, but it’s a shame an aspect presented so well in the series wasn’t handled better in Lagann-hen.

Developmental issues mean that Rossiu and Kittan are still very much unknown characters to the audience of the movies, and Lagann-hen does little to remedy this. The film makes use of its supporting cast, more so than in Gurren-hen, but extra screen time doesn’t equal development. They are still empty shells with a single trait, which isn’t far below their series counterparts, but disappointing nevertheless as they lack any kind of background or character motivation, and the movie absolutely requires you watch the series in order to comprehend the characters’ depth.

The stand-out segment in Lagann-hen is the climatic sequence, which delivers and then some, and is probably the sole reason to venture into the second installment beyond just re-watching the series. Pushed for time, Lagann-hen is always moving, but even so it begins to tire. Undoubtedly, far more could have been done to create a more coherent adaptation of the series, and it’s unfortunate the studio behind such an enjoyable work would rather cut corners and cash in, than create a comprehensive piece both long-time fans and those new to the franchise can enjoy.

If you're being shaken by the physics in this anime and feel the need to argue with them, you're missing the point. The second recap movie that introduces loads of new mechs to the Gurren Lagann multiverse is just as stunning as the original series was. Be warned as this review contains spoilers to the original Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and the first movie. *The reason I purposely left out individual scores is because I can safely say that I was biased during watching this film, and I will thus be biased towards writing this review. Note: I am pro-Gurren Lagann and all for manly screaming, yelling, pointing, crying, dying, fighting, punching, kicking, galaxy smashing, and most importantly - heaven piercing. The movie resumes from the point where the Spiral King has been defeated and Kamina City is being built. The spirals of Earth have lived peacefully for seven years and, surprise, the cast has aged and matured along with the planet. All is well - Yoko is a school teacher somewhere far-off, Viral the immortal Beastman has been imprisoned, Rossiu is a powerful leader in the new worlds government, and Simon is regarded as the hero of all humans in defeating the Spiral King. Peace is boring, and just as requested an enormous battle begins - no less, right as Simon proposes to Nia. The first hour of the movie is dedicated to story taking place on Earth. Albeit a little choppy, it doesn't lose it's impact. The second hour of the film is the battle for the universe against the Anti-Spirals in space, with an entire newly animated ending full of explosions, outrageous over-the-top screaming, fighting for justice and all that good stuff. If you loved the original series, you won't be disappointed. The animation and art are as beautiful as ever. The colors are vivid and thrilling, bringing the experience of using a galaxy as a weapon right to your home computer. Not much to be said as a lot of the animation is reused, but the new scenes are just as good, if not better, than the originals. The amount of art put into faces and mechs (and mech faces) still amazes me to this day. Do the impossible. See the invisible. Row. Row. Fight the powah. I hope that sums up the musical score. Just kidding! The music renews a fair amount if tracks including the aforementioned, but what's really nice how it's applied. When Sorario Days (the original OP) started playing, I think the back part of my brain stopped working and I submitted to the screen and the anime took over. In summary, the soundtrack enhances the quality to an extent where it can obliterate your senses. Same characters, but this movie focuses in on Nia in its new scenes. No complaints. Some characters that did or did not survive the first series encounter different fates too, so watch out for those. Some also get new mechas, which might I add, are awesome. And of course, the effect of Kamina's manly spirit still resonates as strong in this movie as it did before, even though he plays a minor role in the story. How much did I like this movie? I screamed at my screen for the last 15 minutes of the movie and was carried by the presentation throughout. A truly spectacular movie. There were moments of sadness, moments of joy, moments where it was hard to even blink. I hope this quick review is enough to wet your pallet for another exciting adventure with all your friends from the Dai-Gurren Brigade. This is a good movie to just flop down on the couch with, regardless of age or gender. Taste is a different matter. If you were not a fan of the original anime, this apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, and therefore you most likely won't enjoy this movie as much as I. I gave this anime a 10 because I felt it achieved all things I wanted from it - now you, the reader, have to decide on your own whether it was a 10 or not.

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