Jan 31, 2010
sylvanelite (All reviews)
To write a spoiler-free review of lagann-hen is difficult, especially since there is quite some variation from the show. However, I will write this review on the basis that I don't want to spoil TTGL or Lagann-hen.

First things to say would be, Lagann-hen is a must watch.

To review Lagann-hen I think I should sum up some of the premonitions I had before watching it. I had seen Gurren-hen, and although I enjoyed it, I actually didn't like it as much as the series. Gurren-hen seemed a bit rushed to cover the first part of the series, and was chopped and changed here and there.

So coming into Lagann-hen, I was expecting this to be Gurren-hen for the second half of the show... Boy was I wrong.

Like Gurren-hen it does re-use a lot of images from the anime, however at most points they are in a different order, or given new narration. Large sections were redone completely.

The story is much the same as TTGL, however some minor differences persist. I won't say them in detail, lest I plague this review with spoilers, but I will say that I think the main cast is better represented in this movie. Each character is shown thinking or doing things that may have happened off screen in the TTGL anime. This sheds new light on some characters, while giving others more of a noticeable role. There was not one change I disliked about Lagann-hen. All the good bits were there, and all the bad bits were polished into good bits. Never once did the story feel rushed.

The actual ending of the show is nudged off course from the anime, but not in a way that breaks any of the continuity. It seems like every opportunity Ginax had to make the show better, they took it. Some places it seems almost unnecessary to alter the little things, but the overall effect is an amazing addition of depth to the plot.

As far as art goes, there are only improvements from the anime. The anime itself had great art, but the movie shook that up, turned it around and increased it to something that was a totally new, and increased it to a quality suitable to the big screen. Some of the movie is straight the same as the show, much of it is different. But not once did the animation look out of place. (Unlike Gurren-hen, where some of the new animations seemed a little too noticeable.)

Sound, was brilliant. If I can make a recommendation, listen to this in surround sound. It's not just the sound effects that have been given extra "omph", the entire voice acting matched perfectly, new lines flowed into old ones, narration covered some points and none of it had even the slightest flaw. I was surprised to hear the TTGL anime theme music kick in at the right place, I don't think any other piece of music could have fit there, sure enoguh, Ginax kept it for the movie. Full points here, it's been a long time since any show has had this much music that just screams, raps and wails ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWAH!

Character development was something I enjoyed very, VERY much. This was probably the biggest change to the show. Each character, no matter how minor, was given full attention and detail. Their roles never waned from their original, and only expanded the Dai-Gurren Dan feel. There are some surprising things that the characters go through in the moive, that is not present in the anime, it'll be obvious what I mean when you watch it. The characters are surprisingly human, if you cut them, they bleed, is one of the things the movie makes obvious. But it also shows, you cut a lion and you'll be faced with the claws. Dodge the claws and the fangs are next. The characters prove an unrelenting injection of determination and awesome, that the series did so well.

Enjoyment is next. Woah, did I ever enjoy it! Personally, this movie had me hooked. Having seen Gurren-hen, I was a bit inclined to think "skip" for the first bit and then just watch the end. But no, it had me on the edge of my seat all the way, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen! One of the things that made this movie more enjoyable, was the inclusion of a few jokes here and there. Even at the most serious of times, they put in a little one liner that really brought it down to earth. This is TTGL, after all, was the feeling I got from these kind of moments.

Lagann-hen has to be THE crowning moment of awesome for Gainax, if not all anime. I've seen a lot of mecha shows, I've seen a lot of hot-blooded pilots, cool super attacks and climatic battles, but none scratch the level of awesome exuded by Lagann-hen. Strangely, I'm not over-exaggerating here. But I will admit, Lagann-hen doesn't stand on its own. I don't think Gurren-hen supports it well enough to just watch those two on their own. And if you didn't like the series, then re-watching the ending may not cut it for you. Even though the ending to the movie covers far more plot and detail than the series did (and it did it in less time to). My overall conclusion would be, Lagann-hen is TTGL at its best. I don't think it could be perfected by even 1% more. If you even enjoyed 1/2 episode from the latter half of TTGL, you will enjoy this movie.