Some anime tries to convey real world views that Hiroyuki Imaishi has. Anime often does this through methods such as symbols, themes, and motifs. Doing so allows the viewers to experience a whole new level of interaction, one that is deeper than just watching the movie and feeling the characters. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, in particular, uses drills as reoccurring motifs throughout to convey the theme of spiral energy and evolution, and lead to the idea that the lust of the young can accomplish great feats. (Niner, Anime Secrets) Anime is also commonly known for using the idea of mecha, machines piloted by man, to convey an inherent bond between humans and technology. Gurren Lagann commonly references the spiral through drills and the flow of energy, as well as the idea of mecha through human bond with technology, all to convey that the survival of humanity is in the hands of our youth.
Some backstory is needed to fully understand this conclusion. Japanese anime often uses young main characters that are shunned from society or characters that are struggling, completely in contrast to western anime, where children tend to be "popular". (Lee, 2001) The same is true for Gurren Lagann, where the main character, Simon, is a 14 year old digger that is laughed at and made fun of because he actually likes digging, when the others in the tribe do not. He is trying to find his place in a society that places little value on the potential that children have. Simon later finds a spiral drill core that lets him bind with a lost gunmen, or fighting machine (mecha) like that of Gundam or Zoids, just in time to protect his people from a gunmen that fell into their underground town. He rises above the expectations that society has placed on him and defeats the gunmen, saving his people. Simon uses this power to become something greater and obtain a power that he uses to free all of humanity from the beastmen. The idea of mecha is the core of the anime. People can bind with machines to become better and stronger. Technology generally makes humanity better as a whole, for it gives us the power to adapt and survive in a vastly overpopulated world. The growth of technology spurs human evolution, and allows us to be something better than we are, and this is still true for Simon. Simon represents our children, and in his DNA is the power to combine with technology and overcome all constraints that humanity has placed on him. This is the core of mecha, that humans can bond with technology to become stronger and better, and Gurenn Lagann portrays this through the characterization of a 14 year old boy. Simon demonstrates this when he uses the technology of the Lagann to conquer the biggest threat mankind has ever faced. He binds with the mecha to accomplish feats no other human before him could. He became stronger as a result of his bond with Lagann. He evolved. On the surface of the planet, beastmen terrorize the populace with their own mecha. Simon reaches the surface and is attacked by the beastmen, and though he is too small at first to really do anything about it, he pairs with his brothers stolen mecha to defeat them. Lagann spawns a drill at its base, and thrusts itself into Kamina's machine, letting their energy combine through the drill. Although Kamina dies later in the movie, Simon reaches the king of the beastmen and defeats him, through the use of his mecha and own spiral energy. The very DNA of Simon allows him to bind with the mech. He has the spiral power inside him, in his very DNA, and can release it into the machine. In fact, the very pattern of spiral energy relates back to DNA, as it is generally represented as a double helix in the Anime. (World Lingo, 2010) This power allows him to evolve, beyond the normal abilities of other humans, and accomplish something that his elders could not. He defeats the ultimate threat to humanity, the king of the beastmen, and it is through these actions that humanity can survive and flourish further, recovering from the brink of extinction. Simon uses the technology of Lagann and his own inner strength to continue and be something more than he already is, demonstrating that it is through technology and evolution that our children will grow and continue, and ultimately survive. Using technology, children can overcome the hurdles of their adults and evolve into something greater.
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