On Music and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
May 25, 2009
In music, everything begins with rhythm. From the dawn of time, cavemen used only chantings and clappings to create rhythm in which people of all ages and gender would dance in unison to. At that moment of dancing you might feel the rhythm breaking you down as individuals and creating inexplicable desire to move, sing along and be sweeped into its flow.
A man once described architecture as a frozen music, referring to its power to break down our individual selves and re-organising the way we behave and feel in a certain way. Just as one can’t help losing themselves under that thumping beats and flood of neon lights in rave club, there is also music in great gothic cathedrals in that almost anyone, regardless of his culture or belief, is humbled by their presence and sense something sacred and divine in that perfect rhythm of towering columns, converging gracefully into vaults, as well as that almost ethereal daylights being filtered through stained glass.
Could one also say there is a musical dimension to animation? How many shows have you watched that you could not help but be sweeped by it? I once talked about the musicality behind Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and something very similar can be said about Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. I am by no means a fan of super robot cartoons but I rarely stopped to question hardly any of those ridiculous plot revelations or transformations. Any criticisms that I would have normally raised, including parallel universe/hamster evolution that came out of nowhere, are vigorously kicked to the curb as I couldn’t help but lose myself in that thrill of watching Simon and his friends beating the impossible through sheer will. Music is more than what you hear. It’s that exhiliratingly animated battle scenes and exciting composition of each frames and how they lead one to another in rhythm. Essence of music lies in its power to reconfigure. Power to drill through the resistance of our mind and strike at the receptiveness of our heart, shouting blood-boiling cries of who the hell do you think we are.