Gurren Lagann, the classic series by Gainax, is known for its bombastic attitude, expressed through its animation, characters, and music. But it’s also famed for a certain character’s death. Kamina, who is introduced as an apparent deuteragonist, dies early in the series. It’s a shocking and powerful moment, a rare and bold move that impacts everything that follows, including the direction that Simon, the unsure and anxious character who emerges as the series protagonist, takes. In a sense, and somewhat in the vein of spiritual guardians (think Obi-Wan Kenobi), Kamina remains “with” Simon, guiding him by the life he had lived and words he expressed as Simon makes choices, as he falls and again finds his footing.
Simon, by virtue of Kamina’s influence, rises from the depths (both literally and figuratively), fitting into our theme for Holy Week 2021: Arise. The story of Christianity is of a fallen humanity saved by the executed, and then risen, son of God. Though there is no resurrection through Kamina, his life and death help Simon, and also others that gathered to him, “arise.” After a period of mourning and wandering (think of the disciples scattering after Jesus’ arrest and later hiding from the authorities), and then a fall in to their own bitterness, defeat, and insecurities, something stirs up within them. TTGL is a long road into selfishness, tyranny, and other issues, but ultimately—and because of Kamina—Simon and others move from their lowest estate to a point where they can again stand. While Kamina’s body position upon dying is a kneeling one, Simon is able to complete the movement, arising when his “bro” is no longer able.
This week, as we celebrate the miracle of the empty tomb and how we may arise because of it, we’ll explore this theme in daily posts leading up to and finishing on Easter, when the work itself was “finished.” We won’t beat you over the head with heavy resurrection analogies every day, but hope that as we discuss anime in terms of our theme, that you’ll read our posts and think about your own story as it intermingles with and is covered by Christ’s.
We begin Monday. Won’t you join us?
As we make our way through the week, we’ll post links to each of the articles below:
Monday: Like Itadori from Training, How Will We Emerge? (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Tuesday: A Pancreas-Eating Kind of Love (I Want to Eat Your Pancreas)
Wednesday: Our Last Crusade or the Rise of Something Better Than the Anime (Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World)
Thursday: Arising from Angel’s Egg Deluge (Angel’s Egg)
Friday: Burning Fire & Living Water – Violet Evergarden Reminds Us We Need a Savior (Violet Evergarden)
Sunday: Wonder Grace Priority (Wonder Egg Priority)