The panel was lead by Hiroyuki Yamaga, Co-Founder and President of Studio Gainax. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a new series by Studio Gainax. The story is roughly about a boy named Simon who has lived underground all his life until one day, a robot piloted by a beastmen comes crashing down into his village. Having discovered the surface, Simon joins the resistance against the beastmen. At the end of the video presentation, Yamaga-san said, "If you want to see how this series continues, you can watch a fansub, I don't really care". Majority of the audience were laughing and cheering at this point. After a continued brief explanation of the series, Yamaga-san left the floor open for questions.
When asked about the inspirations for the series and what the series is based upon, Yamaga-san answered that the Gainax staff were
"looking to create a new robot anime series, one that was less serious than their highly successful Evangelion. They wanted to make a fun anime that wasn’t completely targeted for children nor for adults."
The series first went under planning over 4 years ago (approximately in 2003).
In Gurren Lagann, the main robot of the series uses a drill as a weapon, as well as the character Simon. Yamaga explains that "while Americans may not understand it very well, but boys in Japan, like drills." After the laughter from the audience died down, Yamaga-san explains that of course the drills in the series cannot honestly dig through the ground or deal as much damage without breaking in real life, but again this unrealistic aspect of the series contrasts the more futuristic weapons of Evangelion.
Kamina's Personality/Voice Actors
Another question that was raised was in regards to Kamina's personality. He's a fun character that many people love, and who may have been the inspiration for him. Yamaga-san replied that the characters in Gurren Lagann are actually based upon the personalities of the voice actors. In fact it is Gainax has an unwritten policy to match the character to the voice actors.
Future Plans to Bring More Gainax Staff to Fanime
They are very busy in Japan working on Gurren Lagann, Yamaga-san himself is also working on Gurren Lagann and was very fortunate to make some time to visit FanimeCon 2007. He promises to make all efforts in bringing more members of his staff next year. (Note: He brought over 30 members the next year)
Humans Living Underground
Yamaga-san was unsure but answered that how and why the humans came to live underground would be answered in episode 15, though our sources tell us it will actually be explained in episode 16.
The Number of Episodes
The production value for the series is very high similar to their past project for example the 6th episode FLCL, and 5 episode of Diebuster (Gunbuster 2). Gurren Lagann originally was planned to be a year long series; however, they realized that to keep the current quality consistent, "the project would become too tiring," so they settled for 26 episodes.
The Disjointed Fanserviced Hot Spring Episode 6
This episode was actually suppose to be about Kamina attempting to peek into the hot springs where the girls were, though the episode was edited heavily to fit the Sunday morning appropriateness. The full episode would probably air on a different network in Japan, but for sure the full unedited episode will be on the DVD release. In regards to the cameo appearance of past Gainax characters, the production staff members were chugging out a lot of crazy ideas left and right for fun. Most of these ideas were animated and some of them made the go “whoa” when they finally got to see it in motion.
The Episode 4 Fiasco
As most viewers of Gurren Lagann should know, there was a significant drop in art quality in episode 4. This caused an uproar of disappointment by fans who protested against it on Gainax's site. Several members of Gainax staff replied with rude comments that further agitated the fans. Yamaga responded that he personally doesn't know much on what exactly happened as he hardly uses the internet; he prefers to have a more direct relation with fans in person. Yamaga-san mentions that Gainax Staff Members have the right to exercise their free speech, like all humans, and he stands by that.
The Suggestive Art Style of the Female Charaters
In the past, Gainax has never made a female character with large breasts, and they thought it was time that they did with Yoko. Even though the series is aired on Sunday mornings for younger viewers, for people who wake up and channel surf, they want them to immediately associate the large bouncy breast to Gainax.
It has been revealed a while ago that the busty well figured Yoko of the series is 14 years old. Though can that realistically be possible? Yamaga-san replied that "since the humans have been living underground for so many years, the measurement that they have for time is probably different from ours."
A Second Season
Like any series, the possibility of a second season is usually based on how successful the first performs. "It's kind of like a pachinko machine, you never know what to expect. So yes, it's possible."
Kazuki Nakashima is responsible for the strange wildlife found in the world of GurrenLagann, for example a hippopotamus crossed with grapes. He really liked the fused animals and anything he came up with, the animators had to draw into the series.
Yamaga-san ended the panel with a gift for everyone, a toy drill pendant that Simon wears in the series.