One the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me one GIGA DRILL BREAKER!

This is the first post in a series as I look at the twelve best anime moments of the year from shows I watched. Key there being watched, as a few of these moments are going to be from some pretty old stuff, but I think they’re damn good enough to talk about at any time. This is a joint ABC blogging project with other contributions from Roxas, CCYoshi, Orion, Owen S, Xerox, Nekoron, Martin, Michael Huang, usagijen, and Moogy. Yeah, there’s a lot of us. If you haven’t watched Gurren Lagann then go watch it right now, as this post contains massive spoilers for GL.

Gurren Lagann is easily the best anime that came out this year for me. It’s an epic super robot story with great characters and a scale as large as the universe, literally. And the character that personified those traits is, of course, Kamina. Kamina has enough charisma and manliness for a million men, and there’d still be some left over. He inargueably drives the story from its beginning. This may be a tale of how Simon grows up, but we’re all really watching Kamina. Which is what makes his eventual demise so tragic.

The moment we all remember.

It was pretty easy to see Kamina’s death coming, he was the mentor character, but at the same time this guy was so larger-than-life that it seemed impossible for mere physical wounds to take him down. If Kamina were to die he would die fighting, fighting until every last atom of him was destroyed. It may not have been that severe, but he did die fighting. Kamina’s death was perfect, as weird as that is to say. Starting with the awe-inspiring speech, the fatal attack, the perfect gattai, heroic last words, and finally the ultimate attack that would come to define Gurren Lagann; everything was perfect. The incredible animation and epic music also helped make the scene into something much greater than a simple animated character dying.

This was a man we all knew and love who bit the dust, and we could all empathize with him. I still get choked up just thinking of the scene. Even with all the great moments that came after Kamina’s death - battle at Teppelin, Arc Gurren Lagann, Kittan’s death, the entire final episode - that was the moment that made me say “This is an anime that deserves to be watched and remembered. This is the anime that will be the best of the year.”