An unholy union of manservice and beastservice
By the twentieth episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, I’d grasped that I was seeing something remarkable, and that my friends had been right to persuade me to watch it. So I wasn’t expecting any more surprises.
What did GAINAX do? Why, they inserted a prison shower showdown, and a balls-to-the-wall, male-bonding one at that. It worked, too, because like everything else in TTGL it was completely over-the-top.
The prison shower has a long and illustrious history as the scene of feuding real and fictional – an anonymous and communal place where felons settle grievances. A shower fight was the perfect testosterone-charged, if slightly homoerotic, way to properly reintroduce Viral. The scene also established that he’s no longer an antagonist, with his goading of Simon serving some useful purpose.
Now he’s not an antagonist, Viral has had a badass-ness upgrade
There was also – before I forget – the superb physical comedy of the birdman being punched through the locker-room wall, a pure Looney Tunes moment.
So thankyou, GAINAX, for reminding me how fun it is to be surprised.