When Gurren Lagann pierced through the anime scene in 2007, it brought over the top antics to the existing mecha anime genre.
By the end of the series, the mechs were large enough to throw planets. In 2013, Kill La Kill premiered. Hiroyuki Imaishi and Kabuki Nakashima created this anime for Studio Trigger. The two men formerly worked on Gurren Lagann together. It maintained the excessive action sequences from it’s predecessor.
Gurren Lagann is a 27-episode anime known as “Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.” In Japan that translates to “Pierce the Heavens, Gurren Lagann” which becomes a running theme throughout the series. Mankind has been forced to live underground on this future Earth. Simon, a digger in this society, and Kamina, his best friend and eccentric older brother figure, dream of visiting the surface world.
Kill La Kill is a 24-episode anime centered around Honnouji Academy and the fearsome student council who wields school uniforms that grant them superhuman abilities and strength. Ryuko Matoi transfers to the school to search for her father’s killer and finds her own sentient uniform called Senketsu to aid in her quest.
With very similar episode lengths, both anime have ample time to introduce us to their cast of characters. Gurren Lagann is led by a passionate Kamina who’s positive attitude and flair for dramatic, powerful speeches really pushes Simon. Without many spoilers, the torch is eventually passed to Simon who leads their assembled rag tag group of dreamers to battle on the surface.
Kill La Kill has a great cast of characters, although not as colorful as GL. The aforementioned Ryuko is the lead with her opposition being the strict Satsuki, the ruthless student council president. The antics between Ryuko’s “Nudist Beach” and Satsuki’s student body results in fights for powerful school uniforms. It’s original and fun.
The characters of each show are eclectic and remarkable. It is quite difficult to choose one true winner here.
Ragyo Kiryuin is not only sickening, but she is a formidable antagonist in Kill La Kill. She is the director of the fictional Honnouji Academy where Ryuko and Satsuki are students. Also, she is the CEO of the Revocs Corporation which manufactures and supplies the majority of the world’s clothing. Revocs sews the clothes with Life Fibers, an organism from deep space. Ragyo’s presence is fiercely frightening. Her theme, Blumenkranz, is an accent on her theatrics.
In Gurren Lagann, Beastmen are the primary antagonist and are led by Lordgenome, known as the “Spiral King.” He ruled over the Earth’s surfaced for thousands of years, but only the opposition during the first story arc. In the second arc, his brain is recovered and he helps the protagonists against the Anti Spiral.
Winner: Kill La Kill
Although Lordgenome succeeded in conquering Earth, Ragyo was more fleshed out as a character with a complex story and relationship regarding the protagonists.
Gunmen vs. Goku Uniforms
Gunmen are the mochas in Gurren Lagann. There are a variety of Gunmen in the series, all with unique weaponry and functions. Humans Spiral Power (fighting spirit) powers the Gunmen. However, Beastmen do not have the capability and must pilot with electricity. Their original, sole purpose was to battle the Anti Spiral and are capable of spaced combat.
High ranking students at Honnoji Academy wear Goku Uniforms in the Kill La Kill universe. They grant their wearers superhuman abilities and powers. The uniforms have Life Fibers sewn into them. A star ranking indicates how powerful the uniform is.
What can I say? I love a good mecha.
The vibe, demeanor and color palette of both anime are similar especially because they share creatives. Gurren Lagann has two outstanding arcs and a story with a fervent vibrancy that touches your soul. Kill La Kill is hilarious fun with a crazy creative plot that knocks your clothes off. It’s difficult to choose between the two since they are basically siblings. However, the one that has the greater mark on the anime landscape would certainly be Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.