Blu-ray Review: Gurren Lagann – Ultimate Edition

gurren_lagann_review_screenshot (2)

It’s been a long time coming but the wait is finally over, as All The Amime’s Blu-ray release of Gurren Lagann – The Ultimate Edition is finally upon us; but was it worth the wait and more importantly what does it contain? Well lets find out in our Blu-ray Review of Gurren Lagann – Ultimate Edition.

Synopsis:

This is the story of a man who has yet to realize what destiny holds in store for him…

In the distant future, mankind has lived quietly and restlessly underground for hundreds of years, subject to earthquakes and cave-ins. Living in one such village are two young men: one named Simon who is shy and naive, and the other named Kamina who believes in the existence of a “surface” world above their heads.

The destiny of these two starts moving drastically when the ceiling of their village falls in, and a gigantic “Gunmen” and a beautiful girl named Yoko, wielding a superconductive rifle, come from the surface. Together, Kamina, Simon, and Yoko ride the mecha “Lagann” that Simon digs out of the ground, and fly up to the surface!

Our View:

“Just who the hell do you think I am!” a phrase fans of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which is more commonly known as Gurren lagann, will be familiar with; but if you are a newcomer to the series then what exactly is all the fuss? Well quite a lot actually but, amusingly, for all of the wrong reasons. It’s a series that’s completely un-realistic, over-the-top, randomly animated and differs from every imaginable storyline possible with plenty of plot twists; but that’s why we love it, it’s just so different to other series and more importantly it’s completely entertaining from start to finish; combine this with a high definition master and you are in for a truly pleasant ride of action, suspense and drama that literally has no limits.

gurren_lagann_review_screenshot (8)

Ok let’s start at the beginning; After spending all of their life living within the underground village of Giha, Simon and Kamia find themselves on the surface and piloting mechas known as Gurren (the big one) and Lagann (the small one) in order to protect themselves from the giant gunmen piloted by beastmen. At first the series storyline is about discovery and protection, as both Kamia and Simon are ‘personally’ searching for something; whether it be Kamina, who wants to find and be reunited with his farther – who left several years earlier to venture out onto the surface – or Simon, who just wants a place to belong. Of course these aren’t the only things that happen as new friends are quickly made and a dark truth surrounding the planet is revealed; a truth which puts motivation into Kamia’s already burning heart and turns the series to its new focus point; the beastmen.

It’s explained that all humans were forced to live underground by the Spiral King; Lordgenome and that any human who appears on the surface will be executed by the Human Eradication Squad. Because of this Kamia, along with the rest of Team Gurren, venture off in search of the capital so that they can defeat the Spiral King; but while our heroes have guts and passion a difficult long-road awaits them, a road filled with constant battles, tragedy and suspense that will either put a tear or a smile on your face depending the situation. The road is a short one, but every episode is filled to the brim with content – so much so that some fights may seem like they were cut short due to lack of time remaining.

gurren_lagann_review_screenshot (7)

The comical thing with Gurren Lagann is how drastically different it is, as not only is the series (as a whole) different from anything else I’ve seen but each episode is relatively different while staying true to the original storyline of protection and destruction. To me that’s what makes Gurren Lagann stand out from the rest; it sticks to the its core principals but at the same time gives variety in how it’s presented. For instance at one moment It can be your traditional ‘serious-faced’ combat anime but then in another episode we are thrown into a coming-of-age story as we witness Simon grow form a timid digger to a leader. There are traits of other genres as well, such as the controversial fan-service filled episode, to the episodes which throw realism and logic completely out of the window in favour of over-the-top ballistic action. It’s a serious show when it needs to be; but in hindsight it’s all about enjoying the ride and having a laugh rather than the destination; but even then the destination, and its outcome, is just as fun as getting there.

Potential acronyms aside All The Anime’s “Ultimate Edition” release of Gurren Lagann combines the original 27 episode TV Series, one of which (episode 16) is a recap episode, with the two feature-length instalments that yet again re-tell the events of the TV Series. Like I mentioned earlier the series has been re-mastered in high definition and as a result is insanely sharp and detailed – a surprising result considering the series came out around a decade ago. It’s not just the series which has had a visual make-over either, as the English audio has also been upgraded to a 5.1 DTS Surround Sound track, thuss offering a much more cinematic experience during intense fight scenes; which of course Gurren Lagann is filled with.

Extras:

While it may be disappointing that All The Anime had to ‘remove’ some of the bonus materials due to licensing issues, for instance the Nintendo DS Mini-Episodes, there is still a wealth of content included on the discs and to keep viewers occupied for ‘at least’ another hour.

gurren_lagann_review_screenshot (3)

All of the bonus content related to the TV anime can be found on the fourth Blu-ray disc of this Ultimate Edition set and you’ll find the following content included:

  • Yoko Goes to Gainx – Study Animation at Gainax (25 minutes)
  • Sazigen 3DCG Test Animation Footage (15 Minutes)
  • Animated Storyboards (24 Minutes)
  • Clean Opening (Version 1)
  • Clean Ending (Version 2)
  • Opening (Version 2)
  • Ending (Version 2)
  • Clean Opening (Version 3)
  • Clean Ending (Version 2)
  • TV Broadcast version of Episode 6 (24 minutes)
  • Storyboard Music Video (4 minutes)

Those wishing to experience some ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage will surely enjoy the two featurettes; Yoko Goes to Gainax and Sazigen 3DCG Test, as both pieces offer a look at what it was like working on the series from an ‘animation’ perspective. If I recall both features were previously included on the BEEZ Entertainment releases so its nice that they remain included on this Ultimate Edition Blu-ray release. The remaining content on the other hand is just your traditional opening and closing songs, although for some ‘reason’ the second opening and closing song isn’t available in textless form; which is a bit of a letdown.

gurren_lagann_review_screenshot (6)

For those wondering the TV broadcast version of Episode 6 is vastly different to the uncut episode 6 located on the first disc. For starters in this broadcast version of Episode 6 it acts as a flashback, whereby Kamina and Simone recall events of the past five episodes until they realise they can’t here the girls in the adjoining bathhouse. In the ‘uncut version’ Kamina and Simone spend half of the episode attempting to sneak a peek at the girls next-door while at the same time overhear the girls conversation about their impressions of Kamina. Other minor differences include the moment when Kamina and Simone enter the bathouse, whereby instead of being carried over womens boobs they are carried across a pink line. There are a few other, quite major, differences between the uncut and broadcast version but it would spoil the fun of that particular episode.

This broadcast versions of Episode 6 is also available in all languages (English, French and Japanese) but you’ll need to choose the audio before you play the episode; otherwise you’ll have to back out to the main menu and restart it. Interestingly the reason why two versions of episode six exist is because Gurren Lagann’s timeslot had changed to an earlier time-schedule during it’s Japanese broadcast and to meet ‘requriements’ (such as being family friendly) the episode content was removed and toned down. It’s an interesting fact but more importantly its nice to see both included in the set, as its something that could have easily been removed.

gurren_lagann_review_screenshot (9)

Of course these are not the only bonus features to be included within this set; as bundled with each movie is a selection of Parallel Work shorts with each disc containing seven of them. These parallel Work shorts are 5 to 10 minute episodes which see the cast of Gurren Lagann characters out in alternate universes. They may be short, but just like the series they are pretty comical. Since both the movies and Parallel works have ‘never’ been released outside of the Japan they are only available in Japanese with English subtitles; however most of the Parallel works don’t contain dialogue so that’s not exactly anything to worry about.

Specs:

Media: BD 50 x4, BD 25 x2
Region: B
Running Time: 3:16:39 (Disc 1), 3:15:08 (Disc 2 & 3), 1:13:00 (Disc 4), 1:53:15 (Disc 5), 2:07:10 (Disc 6)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English), LPCM 2.0 (Japanese & French)
Subtitles: English & French (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

In short Gurren Lagann takes place within the distance future whereby humans have been forced to live underground by the ruthless Spiral King known as Lordgenome. Any human who does manage to appear on the surface are then ruthlessly executed by the Human Eradication Squad made up of Beastmen and their giant mechas. In attempt to stop this on-going restriction our main heroes Simon, Kamina and Yoko form Team Gurren take the fight directly to the Spiral King in order to retrieve their freedom; while along the way gathering new members and overcoming insane obstacles.

gurren_lagann_review_screenshot (1)

Amusingly this is only ‘half’ of what the series has to offer as the second half of the series sees the ‘over-the-top’ equations blown completely out of proportion as Simon and Team Dai Gurren take on unknown aliens enemies in an attempt to protect earth from a prediction cast down by the Spiral King. It’s one long overdawn battles that sees the power of bonds and believing put to the test in extreme amounts; with plenty of shouting and screaming involved.

Overload of comical and action-packed entertainment aside this ‘Ultimate’ Blu-ray release by All The Anime is pretty well endowed as well as not only is the episodic (and movie) related content presented in 1080p high definition but majority of the bonus content (excluding the two featuerttes) are also presented in HD. The series (and movies) as a whole look visually stunning, especially on a HD Compatible setup, the same can be said for the audio quality across all three audio languages however we did notice the ‘minor’ scene look visual worse than the rest; but this is to be expected during a High definition remastering process. It’s worth mentioning, yet again, that the two movies are only available in Japanese (With English or French subtitles) and that the songs within the series have no subtitle translations for them; additionally the subtitles are ‘locked’ to the corresponding track.

gurren_lagann_review_screenshot (5)

What we have here is a ‘true’ definitive edition of Gurren Lagann; whereby everything available for the UK market has been packed carefully into an ultimate collectors set; this is the set you’ve been waiting for and quite frankly it can’t get any better and it was definitely worth the wait.

Score: review-stars-5

Gurren Lagann – Ultimate Edition will be available on Blu-ray on the 20th October 2014 within the UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

4 Responses to Blu-ray Review: Gurren Lagann – Ultimate Edition

  1. SnowWolf says:

    Sounds like Anime Limited couldn’t find that signs track after all.

  2. Mangaranga says:

    The Second creditless Openings and Endings were not present on the check discs.
    I can only assume that the Japanese licensor did not supply them, so AL worked with what they had and spliced them from an episode.

  3. FVK says:

    Uh, it looks like Amazon aren’t dispatching today. It says out of stock on the product page so this is very worrying…

    • Scott says:

      The set is available; its just “Out of Stock” – Only 2,000 units of this ‘Ultimate Edition’ are being made, afterwhich you won’t be able to get hold of it.

      So did you pre-order it? Or were you just hoping to order it on launch day?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: