Home > Television > Gurren Lagann – Brotherly Love

Gurren Lagann – Brotherly Love

This is part 3 of a series exploring Gurren Lagann.

Part 1Part 2

Ah, Simon and Kamina. When I first saw Gurren Lagann, the thing which made me fall in love with it, the thing which endeared it to me was its true, pure, unashamed portrayal of brotherly love between the two male leads. They are not actually related, but they have a sense of kinship and comradeship which is hard to find in American media.

Kamina is much older than Simon, but this isn’t a case of older-brother worship. Simon looks up to Kamina, but Kamina does not look down at Simon. They love and admire one another deeply, and it shows. This kind of brotherly affection is sorely lacking in western media. There is a much greater understanding for how women care for one another (‘girl-friends’), but not so for men, and it is important to remember that men love in a very different way than women. On several occasions, Kamina attacks Simon, but when he does so it is not out of anger or mindless aggression. He is driving his blood-brother to be the best he can be. One of the ways men show affection for one another is by challenging one another. This is how men bond and this is how fathers teach their children to be the best they can be and Gurren Lagann understands this.

It is this recognition and respect for brotherly love which I myself so love. Here we have two men who love each other as much as any two people could. They would die for one another and they trust one another without question. There is no closer bond than that between warriors, and the bonds of brotherhood, related or not, share many similarities with the bonds shared by warriors. One of the things I so respect the Japanese for is their ability to portray men in this fashion, something westerners often fail at. Relationships like this shown in western media tend to stumble into one of two problems:

1) They come off as homophobic, the men obviously conscious of the possibly gay nature of their behavior, or

2) They come off as actually gay, even when they aren’t.

Now, I have nothing against the gay community, but American media often seems very uncomfortable with the issue of male affection. The narrow media definition of manly behavior leads male-to-male relationships to be less than sincere, which can lead to the above problems.

However, Gurren Lagann does not succumb to this.  It might be because of the age difference between Simon and Kamina, or their lovers or the clearly gay character, but I think that their relationship is believable simply because it is unashamed. There are no awkward ‘man hugs’ here, nor annoying jokes about the characters being accused of being gay. There is just their deep love, and everyone involved accepts and understands it.

Gurren Lagann shows how men can truly love one another in the fashion of brothers. Dedication, caring, helping one another to grow, all this combines with the eternal male thirst for competition to allow men to drive one another to greatness, as warriors do, as brothers do. It demonstrates how, in a world where men are allowed to be men, brothers could and would truly love each other. Such a world would be a far more pleasant place to live.

Tomorrow I will have a look at how Gurren Lagann handles the ideas of warriors and death.

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  1. Taliesin
    December 9, 2009 at 10:38 am

    It is true, look at the Lord Of The Rings movies, they tool away the brotherhood between Frodo and Sam, and Gimli(I love dwarfs) and Legolas, and yet I hear that some still thought that they were Gay, and for some reason, my sister seems to think that Batman and Robin are Gay, can two mean not just have feelings for each other, to they have to be gay for that to happen? I would say that is one reason that many men Hide their feeling, not just for each other, but for everything, they don’t want to be looked at as something they are not.

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