My most favorite TV show growing up was Power Rangers. Though it was cheesy for most, the show provided great fight scenes and amazing special effects (for 90s standards). But my most favorite part about the show was the Megazords. More particular, it was the toy versions that I’d beg my grandmother to get me for my birthday and Christmas. However, one season stood out from all the others. That show was none other than Power Rangers: Wild Force.
The show aired weekly back in 2002. By that time, I had become a fan of the entire series. But this season solidified my love for the Power Rangers fandom.
When the toys started rolling it, I could not wait get my hands on them. By the end of the season, my toy chest wouldn’t close because I had so much toys inside.
I never knew why I loved those toys until a few days ago when I binged Gurren Lagann on Netflix.
As everyone knows, the Power Rangers Megazords came in one piece, but could be taken apart and form smaller individuals pieces, usually in a set of five. What made the Wild Force Megazords so incredible was that I could take a piece from one Megazord and attach it to another to form a new but simple combination. Every weekend, while watching the show, I would constantly change those pieces and make completely new combinations.
Back then, I was the type of kid who loved taking apart stuff to see if I could put them back together. The same thing also applied for toy sets from Power Rangers: Time Force.
Gurren Lagann has a similar concept, except for the “choosing teenagers with attitude” thing and they don’t wear spandex. I will say that their outfits are wonderfully outgoing.
Up until the time of this blog post, I had never watched Gurren Lagann. The reason was their catchphrase: Who the hell do you think we are.
Before you stop reading this post, let me explain from the beginning. About a couple of years ago, I was doing a project involving in the understanding of fan fiction. During my research, I came across fan fiction that would use that catchphrase and I felt something that I never felt before: cringe.
After the end of my project, I made a personal list of all the anime and tv shows that I would never watch. Gurren Lagann was on the top. Recently, I learned that I should not judge the show based on a bad few.
So after I posted what I though about Steven Universe, I watched an episode of Gurren Lagann. After that, I watched the second one, then the third, then the fourth. Soon, I was marathoning the entire series in one sitting. And when that catchphrase came it, it made me more hyped than I’ve ever been since Wild Force. While I was watching the mechs, or Gunmen, fight each other, I learned something about that catchphrase. You have so say it at the right time. For example, the episode starts with [SPOILERS] a giant pirate ship floating in space. They’re dealing with obstacle after obstacle to keep the ship at bay. To make matters worse, the enemy attacks. When a crew member asks the captain what we should do he responds.
“Gurren Lagann, spin on”, he shouts. “Who the hell do you think I am?”
The first time I heard those words in that anime made me surprisingly hyped to watch this show; to learn more about the characters and the world they live in. The phrase can still be intimidating without it being over hyped or bolstered the way other people have used it. It should be used like it’s no big deal. In fact, I don’t believe that it suppose to intimidate anyone.
Whenever the characters used that phrase, it’s always before the fight; the latest being before the climax of an epic fight. It’s rarely used as a way to intimidated the enemy until the finale. And even then it didn’t make me cringe so hard that I’d look like Gilbert Gottfried’s black twin brother. I believe they shout that particular phrase as reassurance that nothing is going to bring them down and that doing the impossible is possible. That reassurance made them confident in themselves. And being confident is the most badass thing anyone could ever do.
But what does that have to do with Power Rangers? The robots and the fighting are the only similarities. the differences depends on which season of Power Rangers I could bring up. Even so, Gurren Lagann is one of the few shows that mixes a great balance of comedy, drama, science fiction, and social commentary. Seriously, this anime has social commentary to issues that still holds up today. Actually, there are tons of messages about love, loss, and public opinion that has the same impact if not more since 2016. And though Gurren Lagann is gear toward an older audience, their creative style and storytelling could serve as a perfect template if Power Rangers ever wanted to make their show for an mature audience.
Not that I’m trying to praise Gurren Lagann; it does have its flaws, most of which are the male/female character tropes displayed in this show. I won’t get to that because it’ll be nitpicking at this point and I really want this blog post to end.
I will state this, going back to the difference between Megazord and Gunmen, some of the logic in Gurren Lagann is completely thrown out the window. When Gunmen combine, some of combinations feels forced. I supposed that’s pretty much the theme of the show: doing the impossible. However, the first time [SPOLIERS] two of the main characters’ Gunmen attempted to combine, the one of them transformed into a head and the big one jammed the head on top. It looked really awkward, but a bit funny.
When they do transform for real, they grow taller and more like an actual mecha. They do eventually explain how the transformations are possible, to a degree, but my mind could never comprehend that until the eighth episode. Usually, I thought giant robots transforming would be one piece connecting another, like how the lions transform into Voltron or the zords combine into a Megazord. Never have I seen it be forced.
Maybe that’s me just think to hard. Either way, Gurren Lagann had my attention and won my respect. I went into this show a skeptic, but came out a believer. It may not look like it now, but I truly believe that one day, humanity will reach to the stars and the heavens. And when that day come, I hope to have my own giant mecha that I can take apart and put back together again.
Until we meet again my friends, peace.