Monday, December 27, 2010


Reaching for the heavens!

She is probably one of the most alluring femme fatales in anime history. And although the series with her as a co-star is no longer ongoing, there is still something intriguing about a sexy girl who carries a really big gun. Yoko was part of the cast of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which was a sci fi mecha anime series, drafted by Gainax Studios and co-produced by Aniplex and Konami.

[Yoko Littner, from Gurren Lagann]

Launched in 2007 over in Japan, it ran for 27 episodes [two explosive seasons] and aired on TV Tokyo. In 2008 it came to the west and was aired on Sci Fi Network [ Now the Sy Fy Channel] and also Animax and Super Channel. Featuring a 14-year-old gifted boy named Simon [pronounced as "See-mone"] and his "big brother" Kamina, Gurren Lagann takes place in a fictional future in which human beings have been forced under Earth's surface and live in isolated subterranean civilizations.

[Simon and Yoko, from Gurren Lagann]

Gurren Lagann Brief Series Review

In this series, buried habitats have been the dwelling of the human race for over a century, thus the people really don't know anything outside of their hive-like underground existence. The surface of the planet [an alternate Earth] is a mysterious feared place, where mechanical monsters and Beastmen roam. One day, young Simon finds a small drill and this special glowing drill is the key to a compact drilling robot, buried elsewhere in his village. And this is a discovery that changes Simon's life forever.
Turns out the small drilling robot is the head for a giant mecha robot, later named Gurren Lagann.

Link to Opening Theme of this anime:

Simon is a young orphan, whose parents died during an earthquake that resulted in a cave collapse. He struggles with inferiority and fears, but he is still a diligent boy with buried talents; for within his timid persona is the heart of a roaring lion, and this later manifests in the series. And his mecha reacts to his swirling courage, drawing strength from his own physical heart and channelling it into the mechanical limbs of the combat robot.

Early in the series after the main heroes are introduced, the bad guys soon attack the subterranean hideout of Simon and his village. And with the help of a mysterious female who appears with a giant sniper rifle, Simon and Kamina [along with their cool little robot that has transformable drill-like weapons] are able to escape their underground habitat, and they breach the surface for the first time in their lives, to behold a bold new world, with an actual blue sky and a distant radiant sun.

Yoko comes from a surface clan of rebels who have been battling the evil Beastmen for a while, so the intriguing surface sights are not new to her. Eventually, the robot body unit of Gurren Lagann is discovered - and Kamina gets to pilot that mech. Later, the two mecha units combine and become a mighty robot. Now this anime series trailer will make more sense to you:

Animated evolution!

This series grows on you. And the characters actually grow and mature as well. The breaching of the surface is only the beginning of the true adventure of Simon, Kamina and Yoko... as they keep meeting new associates on the face of the Earth, and eventually rise into the sky. Their high-tech mecha robot unit, Gurren Lagann, evolves as well; it gains wings from an enemy robot and undergoes a peculiar metamorphosis, acquiring the ability to fly.


[Yoko and Gurren Lagaan. The other giant robot in the background is the  Dai Gurren: a "heavily armed walking battle ship" commandeered from the bad guys, and it becomes the armored transport of the heroes]

Perhaps it the inherent cybernetic upgrades tied to heuristic algorithms, or the presence of a "ghost in the machine"..... I'm not certain of the true origins of Gurren Lagann's advanced adaptive robotic interface, but he has the ability to transform, expand, stretch, and project a wide diversity of drill-like weapons. Some of these can be projected as missiles, while others become similar to the spikes of a porcupine upon the robot's entire outer hull. And he can even generate sword-like weapons from his arms, contrived from sharp custom drills as well. I don't have any explanations for that ability. Yet only the creators of this series truly know the "how and whys" of their robot machines.

A heuristic algorithm is a code programing style for an adaptive machine system, which allows the embedded computer to virtually learn from past mistakes.

Remember Pacman, and the way the ghost drones seemingly got smarter over time, learning what you had done in the past as they strived to corner you? That's the core manifestation of a light heuristic algorithm within the gaming system's mainframe, where elementary motives are aligned like layered programs, similar to the levels in a multistory building. At the basic level, the system's output goes easy on you, and it acts naive/dumb while it observes your user inputs. But at higher levels, it becomes faster and more incisive, and acts in counteractive ways tied to what the system has learned from your own playing tactics.

You often have to reboot or restart the gaming program before you observe what it has learned from interacting with you. But this is the sign of an adaptive system, a near trait of an attentive machine mind. I use this and other concepts in writing about the adventures that unfold in the DSNG sci fi series, where mortal men interact with sentient AIs on a regular basis amidst a futuristic neo-industrial world.

Sexy Redhead

As the anime continued into its second season, Yoko also grew as well. She got bustier :) and most fanboys were delighted at that development.
[Yoko is shown on the left, Playboy bunny style]

She also became a brave commander, having her own giant mecha to pilot. And she was also the crush of a few male characters in the series. But Yoko eventually faces some competition from Princess Nia, a new character who is actually suffering from slight amnesia.

And it turns out that Nia is the daughter of an evil dictator [the King of the Beastmen], who wants to destroy all the "inferior humans".

I don't want to give away too much, but this series also pulls at you emotionally, because some beloved characters die along the way. And that sort of thing really gives Gurren Lagann a realistic appeal, as you watch the main characters struggle to cope with the tragic loss of their dependable comrades.

Not to worry, for those that pass on leave an intangible essence that continually motivates and encourages the living characters to press on and reach for the heavens!

The sci fi anime adventure ends in deep-space in Season 2, with some sort of intergalactic confrontation between the good guys [led by Simon, Yoko and some others] and the Anti-Spirals, an ancient alien race that preceded the humans, who have vile plans for initiating mass genocide per a diabolical plot that involves the moon...
[From left to right, Simon, Kamina and Yoko -->]

Whenever you have the time, visit or  and browse around for Gurren Lagann. Trust me, if you enjoy dynamic animes, you won't be disappointed...

More sexy Yoko fanart by DSNG is Here: HERE!