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I'm going to preface this by saying I'm normally not a fan of Super Robot mech shows (more of a Real Robot guy myself (Gundam/Macross)) and never really have been (there are exceptions but they are few) so that will tell you just how much I adored this show.
It took me 11 years to finally sit down and watch it (and it's spent many years on my Netflix to watch list (I watched in on CR though) but I finished Gurren Lagann tonight and I have to say I absolutely fucking adored it. I don't understand why it took me so long to finally watch it but god am I glad I finally did. I haven't been this pumped after watching a show since I finished Kill la Kill (funny considering Trigger is also responsible making that gem). I'll admit it was a little rough in the beginning and if it wasn't for Kamina I would of dropped it but man am I glad I stuck through it, it only kept getting better. I'll admit, my taste for shows like this has dwindled over the years and I'm not really into the over the top, ridiculous shit anymore but god this just scratched an itch I didn't even know I had. Sure, I have my issues with the show (some pretty poor character development in some of the secondary characters, story is a little hard to follow after a certain point, some of the mech based science bugs me, and the whole Spiral Energy thing is ridiculous) but god damn do they seem insignificant when put up against an awesome soundtrack, awesome visuals (a little jenky considering how old it is), and a downright stellar main cast.
If it wasn't for my absolute love for Zeta Gundam this might have taken the place as my all time favorite mech anime (you all know me well enough to know how high of praise this is). I can't wait to watch the movies this weekend (yea they're recaps but apparently the second movie makes the final fight even more epic then it already was) and I'm sad to think there is no more of this wonderful show to watch (manly tears were shed at this realization).
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Finally got both movies watched and I have to say for recap/condensation movies they were pretty damn good.
The first one was what you'd expect from a condensation of the first 15 episodes and while it was good some of the changes were kinda weird (like the final battle with the Four Generals, while I like this version somewhat more than the original fights it left out a lot of what motivated Simon to break out of his meek self and into the person he became) and a little off-putting. Overall though enjoyable.
Now the second one was, well I just don't know how to put it because I don't think there is a word in any language that can describe just how pure fucking awesome it was. Again some of the changes were weird and off-putting but that final battle was beyond awesome, probably the most enjoyable 30 minutes I've ever seen in a movie. Pure fucking insanity is the only real way to summarize it.
Without a doubt this is probably going to go down as one of my all time favorite mech anime and anime of all time (nothing will ever beat out Zeta Gundam for top mech anime but this is a close fucking second and Aria will always remain my all time favorite anime but this is close up there (displaced by like 5 or 6 other shows, definitely in the top 10 though)). After watching the movies I just can't talk myself out of buying this now and I must own this for my collection (I just wish it didn't cost so much x.x). I didn't think Trigger could top Kill la Kill for me but they did and did it before Kill la Kill was even created, god damn this show and the movies were amazing (I just wish it didn't take me 11 years to finally watch it).
I never did watch the movies but now I'm going to after reading what you said. I always thought since they were just recaps of the series that it'd be better to just rewatch the series but that second movie must be amazing.
For the final fight alone the second movie is worth watching, it's just that fucking awesome. As I said there are some changes that just seemed weird to me (mostly with story and character flow, they retconned a lot of what happened in the last 3-4 eps and completely condensed the whole Anti-Spiral reveal/Simon arrest into like 10-15 minutes) but the movies are worth a watch (though overall the story is laid out better and the characters progress more fluidly in the series) if you want to say you've had the complete TTGL experience (though they underplay Kamina a lot more than I'd of preferred, he's still a major focus but it seems they really rushed through his arc to get to the more meaty story bits which felt like a complete disregard for his importance (the second movie does a good job and establishing how important he was but it felt really underplayed in the first movie)).