Gurren Lagann is a very enjoyable series, which is a once homage of, and evolution of, the first mecha shows. Its action driven, but favoured with comedy, drama and fan service. The basic elements of heroism, totally implausible mecha designs and uncomplicated morality is something which has been done hundreds of times before, although such animes are not common in the UK. The likes of Mazinger Z are still largely unknown to the UK scene. What makes Gurren Lagann brilliant is that while it keeps the spirit of shows like Mazinger Z, it dumps what made these animes so stale. There is almost no stock animation, and no episode formula. What it keeps is a relentless energy that infects every aspect of the show. The characters themselves are optimistic and driven, often far removed from the angst most people associate with giant robots. This style is however an acquired taste and I can imagine someone being turned off by it. However, to do would be a tragic mistake. A great strength of the series is its pacing, and willingness to court controversy. The plot is not complex or notably original, having elements of the coming of age story, the master and apprentice dynamic, and ultimately, the damsel in distress. But by the end of the series, it has reinvented itself three times, and given you three red herrings in the bargain. While you could claim that the series is cheesy and clichéd, you could not say its slow paced and boring; risks are often taken. The first was the one-off radical change in animation style for episode 4, which remains the series only real misstep. Then the series does something that must be discussed despite its status as a massive spoiler, Kamina’s untimely death, an event which honestly made me tearful at the time.