Gurren Lagann: Believe In The You That Believes In You

The Importance Of Positivity And Self Confidence

Imagine, if you will, a world where the human race is nothing but a commodity, a resource for survival. A place where the only thing a person can hold onto is hope, and even that is in short supply. In the world of the anime Gurren Lagann, all of the things that make us smile are in short supply. Forced to live underground, we are introduced to a young boy named Simon, a kid with a drill, hardly the stuff a protagonist is made of….but that is exactly why he’s one of the most important people in the story.

Gurren Lagann was an anime that was released in 2007 and stands as one of my top three favorite anime of all time; a must watch for veterans and newcomers alike. On the surface, the show is about mechas battling it out for humanity’s fate, growing in power and absurdity with each episode, a great draw for fans of the genre. However, as the layers are peeled back, it’s easy to see that this show is one of the most inspirational and relatable shows out there today. So grab your drill and grit those teeth; it’s time to pierce the heavens!

While Simon may seem unsuspecting, it isn’t until he is met by his partner and “big bro” Kamina. Kamina is a loud and confident character who lives to make sure Simon never doubts himself or his ability to punch through his own walls and achieve greatness. In a way, Simon is a lot like us, unsure, doubtful, and rarely confident enough to overcome our personal hang-ups. However, with Kamina representing the inner fire we all have, Simon always digs deep and powers through, so much that he ends up finding a head in the earth and a drill that powers it. From here, the adventure begins!

What makes Gurren Lagann so addicting at first is the consistent growth both with the mecha (named Gurren) and the team that would later be known as team Dai-Gurren. This resistance exists because once Simon and Kamina break to the surface with the young sharpshooter Yoko, they discover the earth is run by a man named the Spiral King. With his army of Gunmen mecha, he polices the world and quells any human uprising, at least until Simon and Kamina arrive. After stealing another mecha (named Lagann) and combining with Simon, the trio begin a rebellion with nothing more than a drive and dream for a better tomorrow for everyone and taking the fight to the Spiral King.

Since the series only lasts for 27 episodes, the story is told in two parts, the origin that is later followed by a time skip. In this short amount of time, we see characters grow and learn their true potential, but none more than Simon, a character we will be sticking with as his experiences perfectly reflect the series’s message. When he is a boy at the beginning of the show, he sees Kamina as this light and inspiration that gives him the strength to continue the fight. He knows that without him, there is no Dai-Gurren. The mecha runs on the energy that Kamina and Simon emit through their will power and confidence; if those falter, so does Gurren Lagann. Sadly, this is exactly what happens when the team decides to take a large ship from the Spiral King. For the plan to work, Simon must take his core drill necklace and bond with the ship; but since he has just been dealt his first heartbreak, he can’t seem to muster the strength to finish the mission.

“Simon! Let’s see you grit those teeth!” Kamina says right before punching him in the face to snap him back to reality. To show just how important and great a character he is, he stopped his fight to find his little brother amidst all of the explosions and gunfire to make sure that Simon never has to doubt himself ever again. But even with all of the chaos and the apparent victory, there is one casualty that rocks the team to its core (Major spoilers ahead). While the battle is won, Kamina is hit with a fatal blow that he hides well from Simon and the team to make sure morale is high. Maybe he knew that, deep down, Simon was the hero of this story and he was merely a part to play. This leads to probably the most important speech in the series.

Let’s see you grit those teeth!

“Listen, Simon, never forget, just believe in yourself. Not in the Simon that I believe in. Not in the Kamina that you believe in. Have faith in the Simon that believes in you…Later, buddy.” The loss hits everyone hard, but none harder than Simon. A kid who was all light and hope has now become lost and unsure. With everyone doubting him but no one being able to pilot Gurren Lagann the same way again, it would take a princess found in a box by the name of Nia to help bring him back to reality. The daughter of the Spiral King, Nia, helps Simon regain the light he had lost, and together again, Team Dai-Gurren is ready to take the fight to the Spiral King. The final bout with the king is tough but not impossible, and following his defeat, the path to rebuilding a world that was lost was underway. Enter: the time skip.

From this point forward, I find it is important not to give too many details away (I already feel bad about Kamina spoiler, okay!). Still, it is important to know that, with the time skip of about seven years, characters have changed, the world has returned to a new normal and Simon, and Gurren Lagann are making sure the people are safe from Gunmen, who still try to threaten the world. However, a new threat emerges with the Anti-Spirals, a threat tied directly to Nia and Team Dai-Gurren. From this point forward, the story shifts back and forth from political intrigue, a love story, and no-holds barred action. The team head to space for a final bout with the most powerful threat the world has ever faced, and in the end, the only thing that stands between victory and defeat is Simon and his drill.

What makes Gurren Lagann so important to me and the world as a whole is that it takes the concepts of positivity and self-confidence and shows just how much of a change we can make to the world with it. A person doesn’t always need money and power to make an impact on themselves and others; all it takes is a tiny drill of hope to plow past the wall of doubt and drive you straight to whatever goal you desire. Gurren Lagann shows us that the only thing stopping you from piercing the heavens and reaching your goals is you. So always believe in the you that believes in yourself and whenever someone questions you, stand straight, grit those teeth, look them in the eye and say, “Just who the hell do you think I am?!”

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