[Anime] Gurren Lagann – Episode 5


TTGL

The last time we saw our heroes, they had learned how to combine their robots and were en route to the enemy’s fortress. They are continuing on their way with Yoko riding Gurren along with Kamina since riding on the side-car thing would be ‘murder’ on her butt. Ok, then, I’m sure Kamina won’t be complaining…oh wait, yes he is. They continue with their UST-fuelled bickering while Simon and Roy investigate the ground. Yoko and Kamina, too distracted by their fighting to see where they’re going, end up falling into a large cavern. Simon and Roy join them somewhat involuntarily. ends up with Simon and Roy joining them. It turns out that Yoko and Kamina are in another underground village, which seems to never have seen Gunmen before – apart from the one in their village that they worship as a deity.

Apparently, these are pretty conservative folk – the village leader (nicknamed ‘Forehead guy’ by Kamina) asks her to cover up a bit more. Yoko agrees though she isn’t a fan of outfits that restrict her movement. Also, she looks like a Ku Klux Klan member. It turns out that despite that less-than-perfect manners, Kamina and company are considered ‘celestial’ beings, holy to the villagers. Some villagers, thankfully, are sceptical of Kamina’s holy status and his casual sexual harassment against Yoko isn’t helping. Just then, some guy named UCom just became a dad, but it’s bad news because he had triplets, two boys and a girl. Apparently, this is a problem because it puts the population over 50 which means that two of the villagers must die. Forehead guy, aka Rossiu, is unhappy about this but does not protest the tradition.

Awww, someone’s got a crush ~

A ‘feast’ is thrown for Kamina&co. but given that the village is severely understocked (to the point of starvation) no one gets much to eat. Rossiu comes by after dinner and asks for stories of the outside world. Kamina, in a somewhat blunt way, tries to educate him about the realities of the world. I wonder if Kamina himself is clear enough on what those realities are to try to explain them to anyone else though. Nevertheless, the contrast between this village and the previous two is stark – where Giha village (Kamina and Simon’s hometown) was cut off from the world as well, they were much better provisioned and even Yoko’s village despite the constant attacks had a much more optimistic air to it. This place is safe, but depressing and insufficient. Rossiu reveals the situation used to be worse before the High Priest showed up. Somehow I doubt so but anyway, the High Priest turns up and says that Rossiu is not ready for the truth yet. Kamina shows a deft hand at diplomacy, and proceeds to act as obnoxiously as possible but is ignored by the High Priest. Kamina seems right that the High Priest is bad news though.

Rossiu finds a lever in the buried Gunmen and upon pulling it, opens the robot’s cockpit. He is stopped from going in by the High Priest, which pisses off Kamina even further. Apparently the main reason for Kamina’s dislike of the High Priest is his resemblance (alleged resemblance; I didn’t see it at all) to Giha village’s old chief. However, I think the point here is a bit deeper – like the chief of Giha, this High Priest is being restrictive and dampening down the people’s spirits and given how important spirit is in this world and in this show, it’s almost expected that Kamina, the very embodiment of spirit, should be offended by the Priest’s actions.

The villagers draw straws to determine who gets to survive. It’s not too clear if survival is at stake or just the right to continue staying in the village. Two young orphans draw the shortest lots and are chosen to receive the ‘Gods’ blessings’. The children are chosen to be sent up above to the surface but Kamina knows that it’s basically a death sentence. He continues to insult the village and it’s customs until Rossiu loses his temper and tries to hit him. The High Priest stops him, saying that he should not resort to violence. I like how there’s a fine line to the High Priest – he’s certainly not fully villainous and honestly, given the village’s situation, a lot of what he says makes sense. Kamina’s whole bullshit bravado of ‘I would rather die than do something I don’t want to’ sounds like the words of a man who hasn’t gone hungry for a long time.

It might be the colour scheme

Just then, a Gunmen drops down, calling Gurren Lagann by name. Simon and Kamina jump into action (this being the first scene with colour since they entered the village. It’s a nice touch – spirit = colour). The two robots (or three…does Lagann count as a separate entity?) are evenly matched for the moment but the battle is shifted in Simon and Kamina’s favour when the buried robot fights off the invader. It’s revealed that the High Priest is the pilot of the third Gunmen! So, he’s actually a good guy after all, damn, you can colour me surprised. It’s another nice twist to the character, especially since I was so convinced he would be a simple villain. Unfortunately, Rossiu sees him in the robot but before he can say something, Kamina confronts him. It turns out that the High Priest doesn’t actually know what he was doing –he was just mimicking Kamina. He asks that they leave the village and Simon backs him up. Kamina is confused and disappointed but agrees.

Rossiu asks if they should reveal the truth but the High Priest says that the reality is harsh enough with depriving the villagers of their faith too. Rossiu decides to leave the village with the orphans and the High Priest asks that he take a book of scripture with him. Rossiu says he can’t read, but it’s fine the High Priest can’t either! I like this episode a lot – it deals with the problems of the world in a very real and intelligent manner. It even touches on the moral relativity of the truth and how perceptions of hope are as good as hope itself in some cases. Rossiu and the orphans join Kamina and the gang.

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