After having watched animes that weren’t on my watch list, I decided to give Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann a go. Because of the mecha elements, I must say that I was biased on not to watch it. But I won’t say that after watching this show I felt a sense of regret for being a stereotypic prejudice guy. The series doesn’t suck nor is it that bad but my enjoyment level was at an okay level. Hey, that is not bad already for a guy who dislikes mecha stuff.

Another thing I supposed that got me watching this was one of the main characters, Kamina. After randomly reading great stuff from all over the internet from time to time, so much so some even turned his character into something that is worship worthy, watching him the first few times I could understand why he is likeable. To sum it up, Kamina is the kind of guy who is passionate, energetic, lets his fists do the talking, has unsurpassable confidence (in what he does at least) and lots of words of wisdom-cum-encouragement. Who wouldn’t love this guy with his trademark pointy sunglasses. He is definitely a character to watch.

The setting is in the fictitious future whereby men have been driven to live underground, never knowing what the sky is. How is that for always having a ‘roof’ above your head? Even if those who have defied tradition and head above ground, death usually awaits them as the wild desert terrains are ruled by beastmen and their mecha called Ganmen (like limbs sticking out of their face or a being without a body).

Episode 1
So it begins as we see Simon of the underground Giha Village and his little mole pet Boota, digging his way to who knows where. As long it is not up. So do you think it’s safe being underground? Not unless you mind the constant earthquakes. However defiant Kamina is always going against the chief’s orders, wanting to break through and escape this enclosed prison like his dad did. They’ll get their chance pretty soon because a Ganmen comes crashing down under as it battles a hot chick (read: dangerously scantily clad sniper woman), Yoko, supposedly from a neighbouring village. As the trio battle the Ganmen, they find a Ganmen in a form of a head. Kamina calls it Lagann and has Simon pilot it since it was his find. Even if Simon is low on confidence, I’m sure this trademark speech will have everyone in awe: “Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me who believes in you”. Wow. Guess that works, eh? At least from a psychological point. Using Simon’s little Core Drill, they pilot the Lagann and defeat the Ganmen as they burst out to the top for the first time seeing the breathtaking view of what it is like to be on the outside. Thus, they take it as an opportunity to leave their village and go on a lifetime adventure. Better to live with dangers than the same old mundane life, right?

Episode 2
The trio head for Yoko’s village, Ritona. I supposed they need to adapt to life on the surface. However it’s back to mecha busting business when 3 Ganmen come looking for their prey as revenge. I’m sure Simon realizes now that the massive earthquakes are caused by the Ganmens’ stomping and the reason it killed his parents. Another reason to power up and fight. With Kamina by his side and Yoko providing back up from afar, I’m sure you can tell victory will be in their hands and will leave the beastmen running away with tails between their legs. Oh wait. Those monkeys don’t have any tails. Since Kamina was victorious in defeating the Ganmen’s chief, he takes over his Ganmen and calls it Gurren. Hey, it even has his trademark shades too.

Episode 3
Kamina, Simon and Yoko went out hunting. There are lots of weird animals here. It’s either they freak you out or laugh out loud at those absurd combinations. Grape hippo? Beaver bat? Oh, this is what it is called evolution, eh? Or is it mutation? Anyway, they meet a formidable enemy, Viral of the Human Eradication Army. Since Viral is putting up a tough fight, Kamina and Simon try out something new. So yeah, both Gurren and Lagann can combine to make more powerful moves and techniques (hence the title name lah). So much so this even surprises Viral as they beat him and take his Ganmen’s helmet. This isn’t the end of Viral yet and you can count on him coming back to threaten our heroes. And being a typical shonen genre, you can also expect Gurren Lagann to power up in the future episodes. Be amazed. Be awed. Wooooh!

Episode 4
The trio along with mechanic Leeron (gay guy?) head out to seek the Ganmen’s base. Along the way, they meet the Black Siblings, brother Kittan Bachika and his sisters, Kiyal, Kiyoh and Kinon. They too are rebelling against the beastmen. As the gang stop by for food, they find that their hunt were actually beastmen (cute little furry balls?). They are able to combine their Ganmen and do some serious pounding but do you think that will be enough to defeat Gurren Lagann? Unfortunately Gurren Lagann draws power from their fighting spirit and will and since Simon and Kamina are dead hungry, they’re losing power fast. The funny part was how Boota snapped off his little tail and butt to give Simon and Kamina the little extra power they need to beat the enemy. It’s mind boggling that a little meat like that could power them up to the max. Must be that good, eh? Why not just cook that little guy. WE DON’T EAT OUR OWN COMRADES! Maybe as emergency food… Just kidding.

Episode 5
The quartet (the Black Siblings parted ways of course) stumble upon another underground village after fooling around. Seems the people here worship Ganmen and they can have no more than 50 people. Anything more, they draw lots to see who the ‘lucky’ one will go up to the surface. Kamina has his suspicions on the head priest. Then a Ganmen comes crashing down. Guess who comes to save the day? However Kamina learns that the head priest was piloting the village’s Ganmen that they worshipped. He thinks he could’ve used his powers to better use. We also learn that this place cannot sustain more than 50 people at a time, thus the reason the priest made it into some religious rule that everyone blindly follows. At the end as the gang leave, the priest’s adopted son, Rossiu Adai along with 2 other kids picked by the lottery, Gimmy and Darry follow the quartet on their journey.

Episode 6
While fighting and chasing a Ganmen along their way through a fog, they stumble upon a hotspring inn and are greeted by bunny girls. They are also reunited with the Black Siblings sisters. However Rossiu remains suspicious. As everyone takes a dip, Kamina and Simon chat till they realize the girls’ section became awfully quiet. In actual fact, they have been captured and this hotspring is one bloody big Ganmen. Simon manages to board his Lagann but Simon’s Gurren got stolen. Yoko is so pissed off that she blasted her way to free herself and the rest. Then it gets all chaotic as both sides fight each other. Naked. Why the heck is Bootan sticking onto Kamina’s crotch?! Natural censor? He must really love that place for the duration of the action. I don’t know how but everyone fits into the Lagann to escape. Rossiu manages to get back Gurren and pilot it to defeat those beastmen thieves. Even if the merging of Gurren Lagann in the end defeats the hotspring Ganmen, another shot sends them reeling. Look who is back? It’s Viral.

Episode 7
Viral is backed by one of the 4 Divine Generals serving under the Spiral King Lord Genome, Thymilph. Oh yeah, Thymilph’s large Ganmen, Dai Gunzan is also his fortress. Freaking huge. So more power battle and it’s like David and Goliath. Can they really win? They’ve always been beating all odds, right? At certain points they may get their ass kicked and almost crushed but that is a cue for our heroes to have their allies turn up in style. He is Kittan and returns piloting a Ganmen he stole. Soon more human allies with stolen Ganmen appear to aid our heroes like that guy from Yoko’s village, Dayakka. Finally their improvisation lands them victory when they trap the giant base and sent the ground underneath it crumbling into the ravine.

Episode 8
Their plan now is to take Dai Gunzan under their control like how Lagann does with Gurren. The newly formed team of Dai Gurren Brigade celebrates their being and that night as Yoko and Kamina chat, the former kisses the latter. Oh yeah. He’s going to pay her back 10 times more when it’s over. However, Simon has been watching and becomes distraught and heartbroken. Looks like he’s got a crush on her. Next day the Brigade begin their assault but Thymilph and Viral are well prepared for them. Though Kamina and co was acting like a decoy to allow Simon’s Lagann to fuse with Dai Gunzan. But Simon’s heart is still reeling from the events he saw so Kamina had no choice but to rush over there to give him a good punch and make him come to his senses. Now he says this: “Believe in yourself. Don’t believe in me who believes in you”. Thanks bro. I feel a lot better with that modified encouragement. As Kamina returns to Gurren, he is suddenly pierced by Thymilph’s Ganmen. Everyone is shocked that Kamina may be dead and Simon becomes furious and rips almost everything apart. Well, Kamina is still alive and merges with Simon to unleash their Giga Drill Break to kill Thymilph and his minions. However at the end of it all, Kamina passes away due to his injuries. NOOO!!! IT’S A LIE, RIGHT?! How can a cool hero like him die?! NOOO!!!! This is a real shocker! How is he going to repay Yoko?! And I was starting to like him…

Episode 9
Though Dai Gunzan is now under their control and renamed Dai Gurren, everyone is depressed over Kamina’s death (I still can’t believe it), especially Simon. Kittan becomes the temporarily leader of the Brigade while Rossiu takes over handling Gurren. As Simon wanders alone, he spots a capsule being thrown off a cliff. Using his Core Drill to open, he finds a human girl named Nia. Sounds like an airhead. The way she is amazed and knows nothing about the outside world shows us how cooked and locked up this poor soul is. They manage to escape back to base when Ganmen came attacking. The rest of the Brigade intend on interrogating her, put her nice personality would make anyone’s heart melt. How can she be a spy of the enemy? At that time, another of the 4 Divine Generals, Adiane attacks them. Nia rushes out to try and stop her as everyone shockingly learns she is the daughter of Genome.

Episode 10
Adiane backs down but upon her return, she learns Genome doesn’t care for Nia and has abandoned her. Viral decides to serve under Adiane to avenge Thymilph’s death. Kittan tries to use Simon to get more info out of Nia as Nia tries to understand this Kamina guy she has never met before but everyone talked about. Lots of clash of emotions but it got Nia interested to know more about them. Soon Adiane returns to finish what she began. She has Nia in her clutches. Eventually Nia’s reasoning with Adiane falls on death ears because that scorpion lady doesn’t care about anyone else. Simon couldn’t start up Lagann and just rush out to save Nia while his other comrades head out in their Ganmen to her rescue because she stood up for them. Adiane’s mecha, Sayrune takes on everyone with ease. Not until Leeron manages to make Dai Gurren move again and she could’ve been flattened and stomped upon if Viral didn’t rescue her. In the aftermath, Simon remains gloomy and thinks he can’t be like Kamina.

Episode 11
While Simon is still depressed, the Brigade receives a distressing but suspicious call from a village under attack by Ganmen. However it is a trap set by another one of the 4 Divine Generals, Guame. Everyone is imprisoned and will be publicly executed. Nia agrees to go along with the armadillo provided he spares Simon. Nia learns the shocking truth how Genome created ‘dolls’ and once he got bored, he throws them away just like her. Everyone else is digging but to no avail. Simon doesn’t give up but after reflecting back on Kamina and his believing speech, Lagann appears from the rocks as they bust out and go save Nia. Guame retreats to his mecha, Genber to attack. But Simon with renewed confidence, now truly believing he is himself and not Kamina, eventually defeats Guame though he manages to escape. Later, Nia shows Simon the many other capsules and gives them a proper burial. Kittan makes Simon the leader of the Brigade and will attempt to head to the beastmen’s capital, Tepperin.

Episode 12
What the hell is this fanservice beach episode for? Apparently Leeron needs to make adjustments to Dai Gurren to cross the ocean and while he is at it, the rest take the opportunity to play. After Leeron adds the neccessary adjustments (just putting large paddles?), they continue their journey but encounter Adiane’s large battleship, Dai Gunkai. The Brigade heads out into action but finds the water to their disadvantage as their mecha aren’t suitable to fight underwater. Adiane takes Nia as hostage and Yoko seems to take pot shots at Nia. However she was targeting Sayrune’s shoulder and causes its arm to fall off and Nia into safe hands. Then the final showdown between Gurren Lagann and Sayrune with the former using his drill powers to kill off Adiane for good. As everyone celebrates their victory, Viral is washed up ashore lamenting yet another defeat.

Episode 13
Rossiu is out sick while Nia tries to help out by cooking for everyone. The final of the 4 Divine Generals, Cytomander attacks Dai Gurren with his Dai Gunten. Yoko temporarily takes over Gurren as the heroes battle the aerial menace. Of course Viral is back and is vengeful than ever. He shockingly learns that Kamina is dead and all this while he has been losing to a kid and a woman. Of course as a warrior, he is still bent on fighting on equal terms with Simon. Their fight is interrupted when Cytomander holds Yoko hostage. He wants Viral to finish Simon off but he backs down, enraging the bird man. Meanwhile Dai Gurren uses the rocks to drive itself up to Dai Gunten and give it a good flying kick. Simon uses this chance to save Yoko and escape. Back in Dai Gurren, we learn that Rossiu’s sickness was due to Nia’s food poisoning. He couldn’t have the heart to tell her cooking sucks when he first tasted it. As for the other crew, get ready to dig in. Yeah, there are more servings so finish up. Can’t say no to a cute girl, eh? But Simon and Boota enjoying it? Elsewhere Cytomander brings Viral to Genome for his execution but Viral wants to know if humans are inferior to beastmen. Genome takes him to a chamber to see lots of beastmen in capsules. Something about them being imperfect and they have to go into hibernation in order to preserve their bodies. He shows Viral a little drill in his hands as Viral becomes determined to know what humans are.

Episode 14
A month has passed and it is the 6th day Dai Gurren began their invasion on Tepperin. They clash with Guame and Cytomander’s forces and expect another big massive mecha brawl. During the battle, more Ganmen appear but they seem to be holding up the flag of Dai Gurren Brigade. Yay! More comrades. Looks like Kamina’s legend has spread far and wide. Cytomander meets his death when his Ganmen is send spiralling down onto Guame’s base, Dai Gundo. However Dai Gundo’s armour is thick so Guame is okay inside. Dai Gundo starts spinning Tepperin to make it an impenetrable hurricane. Too bad for all those new comrades. They died while charging straight into it. Simon and Rossiu counter this by using Gurren Lagann to dig underneath Dai Gundo and drill right through it and killing Guame. As everyone gets ready to invade Tepperin, towers start falling off and it is revealed that Tepperin is one freaking huge Ganmen.

Episode 15
The gang has massive problems trying to get even close to this massive machine. Eventually they crash their badly damaged Dai Gurren into it to send Simon and Nia into Genome’s throne room. Simon faces off with Viral but the latter is overpowered. To Viral’s shock, he learns Genome hasn’t given him a powerful body but an immortal one so he could live forever and tell tales of his legend. Now it’s Genome’s turn to fight as he enters his Lazengann, somewhat similar to Gurren Lagann but faster and more powerful. Simon is not willing to give up and even tries to take control of Lazengann using his Lagann but failed because Genome saw that coming. Of course Simon’s determination is greater and powers up to drill through Lazengann. Then Genome gets out and the fight turns into a fist fight. Though Genome is overwhelming, the turning point came when Simon struck his Core Drill into Genome’s chest, blowing a large hole in his body. Before Genome dies, he warns them about the spiral powers and that if a million ‘monkeys’ rise up to the surface, the moon will bring forth a messenger from hell and spell doom to the world. Even if they don’t know what that means, it doesn’t stop the fact that they have won as Tepperin collapses and all Ganmen under its control seize to move. OMG! They finally manage to do it! And without Kamina!

Episode 16
Because of that, I guess this episode is some sort of a celebration because it is a damn recap episode! Yeah, gather your memories people! Clips and scenes from important events and narration that felt that it was like some sort of movie preview only it lasted for 24 minutes. And yeah, who are those people writing down the short plot narration as the video rolls by?

Episode 17
Seven years have passed in episode 17. Man and beastmen alike are living together in peace on the surface. The kids have all grown up (except for Boota who surprisingly remains that little fart he is). Simon and most of his Brigade form the new government of Kamina City over the remnants of Tepperin and is experiencing rapid development. Wow. All that in just seven years? Simon is the commander while Rossiu the secretary and second-in-command. Yoko has left the city because she isn’t into all that politics and administration. Gimmy and Darry are part of the Grapal Squads, Ganmen models that are taken after Gurren Lagann. Simon proposes to Nia but she turns him down because she took his words too literally that they will become one. Dayakka is married to Kiyoh and is expecting their first child. Viral is part of the rebellion against the government and ironically he claims to be protecting humans that do not want to come out to the surface and prefer to stay underground. Simon isn’t fond of this tactic to force humans out of their comfort zone but Rossiu exclaims this is necessary to keep count of the population if it ever reaches a million. As they ponder the meaning of Genome’s last words (seriously, it took them 7 long years and still not understand?), the events of it start to unfold right after Dayakka and Kiyoh’s daughter are born. I guess that signals to be the millionth human, eh? Looks like Nia becomes that messenger of hell and is from some Anti Spiral thingy and doom to all mankind with some Human Eradication System.

Episode 18
Simon goes around looking for Nia. When he finally does, she explains something about the spiral power brings forth destruction of the universe via evolution and his Core Drill is the symbol of the Spiral Nemesis, bla bla bla. Not that I understand nor interested in. Rossiu revives Genome’s memories as he is now some sort of talking head in a capsule, spewing things about this spiral thingy too. So basically there is this clan called Anti Spirals who fear the destructive powers of the spiral and thus a battle was fought between them and Spiral Warriors that Genome was once part off. The Ganmen created were weapons used to fight them. However they lost and had to head back to their home and their most powerful weapon Lagann was sealed underground. Anti Spiral conquered the universe and implanted some device in which if the spiral population reaches a certain number, some life form extermination system will activate. This is so because that certain number will awaken that spiral power within. Why bother doing this when they could just wipe everyone out if they’re that fearful? Because of that, humans were driven underground and Genome played the bad guy to keep them there. Knowing the rebellious nature of humans, they would still try to go to the surface even if being told the whole story, A to Z. Like Kamina. So everybody’s fight for freedom was actually their doom? Well, their sudden rapid development within the last 7 years is proof of their infinite and expanding power. Leeron’s calculations have him foresee that the Moon will crash into Earth within 3 weeks. It is made worse when Nia announces it publicly and sends everyone panicking. As a taste for what is to come, a few weird ships come attacking the city. Nicknamed Mugan, its energy field nullify attacks and when destroyed, becomes little bomb explosives that do much damage. Simon with Gimmy and Darry improvise to take out the Mugan by shooting all the explosives before it hits the ground. But that is just short term and won’t work if there’re lots of enemies. A group of angry people gather outside the government building. Rossiu tries to calm them down but was pelted with things. Thinking he has to make someone responsible for this, he orders his troops to arrest Simon.

Episode 19
The people are rioting. Those ungrateful bastards. Rossiu puts Simon on trial and the verdict is he is to be executed. Some fair trial he got there. Simon is thrown into jail and Rossiu takes over his position. After a brief visit by Nia (something about absolute despair), Mugans appear to attack other cities and is moving towards Kamina City. Simon manages to persuade Rossiu to let him pilot Gurren Lagann to defeat the menace. However as security, Kinon volunteers herself to pilot Gurren by strapping bombs to herself in which will explode if Simon plans to escape. Rossiu announces about the public evacuation to the underground shelters and those in Kamina City to board a large ship called Arc Gurren. Simon takes on the Mugans but was thrown off guard when Nia appears to bid him goodbye. Luckily Darry and Gimmy appear in time to help do some ass kicking with new weapon technology created by Leeron to avoid the bombs to fall and explode in some shield before it reaches the ground. When it’s over, Simon returns to Rossiu and hands over his Core Drill to him before being sent off to prison. Kittan isn’t happy how Rossiu has changed and put his sister’s life in danger but Kinon stood up for Rossiu. As for Simon, he sees Viral in the same cell. Fate has always got to make them meet, eh?

Episode 20
Two weeks left before the Moon crashes into Earth. Meanwhile Simon gets into trouble when a chicken beastmen fights him as revenge for his fallen Cytomander and blames him for being stuck here. Till Viral steps in as both sworn enemies duke it out. We see Viral’s body heal from all sorts of wounds. The chicken guy doesn’t want to lose out and once again comes between them and got knocked out. By that time the guards have arrived and the onlookers point their fingers at the duo, accusing them of ganging up and beating the poor beastman. Simon and Viral are thrown away in an isolated cell. Elsewhere, Kittan learns the shocking truth that when the Moon collides into Earth, it will cause everything from the surface to the underground to burn for at least a year. Thus, the reason Rossiu is stocking up Arc Gurren with supplies worth 365 days to be able to live in space while waiting for Earth to cool down then and that they can’t save every human on this planet. Playing Moses, eh? Nia appears before Simon and mocks him but a familiar shot comes between them. It’s Yoko and she’s back.

Episode 21
Flashback reveals that Yoko is working as a school teacher in the countryside under the name of Yomako. Seems she is quite popular among the kids and able to hold her class together. Anybody would’ve felt afraid if a teacher coolly throws a warning shot via a chalk that barely misses your face. Yoko always helped a weak kid, Nakim from being bullied. That includes climbing up to the top of the tree with him to give him words of encouragement (because some bullies put his precious bag there). Yoko watched the news of Nia and Anti Spiral’s emergence and one day the community needed to evacuate but a little girl was missing. She is crying alone at the lighthouse when a couple of Ganmen take her hostage and want the people to give up their food in exchange for her safety. That’s when Yoko goes into action and reveals her true self to save her. That’s when she decided to return to Kamina City. She frees Simon who in turn frees Viral and offers him to pilot Gurren. After all this time fighting against it, he finally gets to ride it. Kittan passes back Simon’s Cored Drill as Gurren Lagann blasts off into space (Rossiu had no choice but to move his Arc Gurren and abandon those unboarded as they are under heavy attack from Mugan).

Episode 22
Seems that even in space, Mugans are waiting to destroy Arc Gurren. No escape. Absolute despair. But Simon and Viral arrive in time to protect the ship. Cannons start surfacing on the Moon aiming at Gurren Lagann but Simon uses some long drill to catch it and fire it right back to destroy them. Two large Mugans then appear and things starting to look bleak. So another merging as Gurren Lagann merges with Arc Gurren to form a bigger and badder machine, Arc Gurren Lagann! With its new spinning powers, it drills a hole right through the enemy. Now with the Mugans out of the way, they are planning to stop the Moon from crashing. Seriously? Serious. Impossible is never in their dictionary and have always miraculously get through it no matter what. Suddenly a face appears on the Moon and it hit them it is one giant Ganmen. Seems it was Genome’s flagship called Cathedral Terra when he fought against the Anti Spiral. Simon plans to stop it by entering the Moon’s core. Inside, he is stopped by Nia. Though she remains adamant that she is Anti Spiral, Simon points out the ring she is still wearing. He realized the reason she appeared before him from time to time was to ask him to save her. With that, Simon strikes into the core and prevents the Moon from inching closer to Earth as it transforms into a ship larger than Arc Gurren. Nia mentions that though the eradication system has been stopped, she will return and report to the base of the Anti Spiral. This means war. Nia returns to her normal self for a short while before disappearing. Simon vows to come after her. Arc Gurren Lagann returns to Kamina City as peace is restored to Earth.

Episode 23
A week has passed. Everyone plans to take the final battle to the Anti Spiral (somehow they’ve located their location via Nia’s ring). We learn more about those spiral stuff like since beastmen lack the ability to reproduce, this doesn’t give rise to that spiral factor and thus not a threat to the Anti Spiral. However Rossiu is missing. Seems he went back to his old underground village to reunite with his head priest and kill himself to atone for his sins. Kinon noticed he was acting strangely and told Simon about this as they go find him. Eventually they manage to do so and Simon gives Rossiu a good punch in the face to make him open his eyes. Just like deja vu how Kamina did it to Simon. After that pep talk, Simon forgives Rossiu as Rossiu and Kinon hug each other. Rossiu encourages Simon to leave Earth and promises to manage this planet in his absence. In the end, the rest of the Dai Gurren Brigade decides to do what they do best as they prepare to warp through space in Chou Ginga Dai Gurren (Cathedral Terra renamed. Sounds better like this, eh?).

Episode 24
The gang arrive and they see a large hologram of Nia and are soon trap in their mini universe. The Anti Spiral launches their own battleships, so large that it even dwarfs Chou Ginga. Why do they look like hands and feet with faces on them? Though the gang have it easy taking out smaller enemies, those large ships are immune to their attacks, even Gurren Lagann’s. The only way is for Gurren Lagann to merge with Chou Ginga but Simon and Viral will have to wait since it takes an awful lot of time. While doing that, I guess the producers take this chance to ‘kill off’ some of the characters (okay, maybe I should have rephrased it as dying honourably) as the fighting gets real fierce. At least their deaths are not in vain because they manage to destroy a large amount of enemies and it made the rest ever determined to bring down Anti Spiral. As they are seconds away from merging, suddenly they are being pulled in by the ocean. A sea in space? Well, it’s beyond my imagination that’s for sure. Because of that, everyone starts losing their spiral power.

Episode 25
As everyone is pulled into the bottom, Genome reveals that this Death Spiral that absorbs spiral powers and this place is some sort of graveyard where all spiral rebels fought and lost (lots of Laganns floating around). Boota shows up in Viral’s cockpit to give him a boost of spiral energy. The gang decides to destroy this Death Spiral Machine but they have to do it fast since the ‘ocean water’ is seeping into the ship and the pressure is getting immense. Yoko initially wanted to do the suicidal job but Kittan decides to do so in her place and gives her a goodbye kiss. Kittan manages to fire a missile into the barrier and drills his own drill version into the machine, destroying it. The spiral power comes flooding back to everyone as Simon is now determined as ever. Heck, he has got his own version of Kamina’s sunglasses in the shape of a star! The merger is complete and we see the totally awesome, totally badass Chou Ginga Gurren Lagann! All behold the mighty mecha!

Episode 26
The fight back begins. A voice of the Anti Spiral tells them about the destructive powers and effects of the spiral. Haven’t we heard this before? Anyway Simon isn’t going to care about if he will end up destroying the universe because all he cares now is saving the girl he loves and protecting the universe. His way. Anti Spiral launches some multi-dimension space bending thingy but Simon is able to flush them out and destroy the main ship. Suddenly Simon (and everyone else) becomes trap in Anti Spiral’s illusion. It shows them the alternate world they desire. Something as long as they have intelligence, they can’t get out. Even Boota temporarily transforms into a human form before succumbing to this illusion. After all, the only thing good about this is that we get to see Kamina again. Not just recycled flashback scenes but at least he is there to guide Simon to snap out of this fake dream. Dang, it was good to hear this guy after a long demise. It is obvious which Kamina Simon would choose. The cool one or the scaredy cat one? It’s so obvious. With renewed determination, Simon leaves the dream world and along the way the other comrades too snap out to follow Simon’s glowing Core Drill in the sky. Meanwhile Anti Spiral is interrogating Nia who has fully returned to herself and is siding on Simon’s side. Anti Spiral cannot believe she is defecting although she is made by them and is going to drain her life force. Before that could happen, Simon and co appear right out from her ring and he kept his promise to come save her.

Episode 27
The final colossal battle is at hand and even if Anti Spiral can’t believe the gang actually got out of the dream, this doesn’t mean he can’t put up a good fight. Gurren Lagann merges with Arc Gurren and then with Chou Ginga to form TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN! WOAH! How big and menacing can this transformation get?! Anti Spiral also decides to fight on their equal terms so as to put more despair in their defeat. More pounding, more drilling, more power fights and more bashing all of galactic proportions so much so their fight opened some space-time hole and the whole Earth get to watch a free show of good versus evil right out from the sky. Better than having 3D TV anytime. I don’t know about the possibilities of grabbing galaxies and using them as weapons but heck, that’s what Anti Spiral did. And more talk about both sides ideal. Something about path to extinction, something about how Anti Spiral’s race closed off themselves and didn’t evolve (that’s why they look like simple looking orang minyak) and something about the endless human heart. At the end of it all, our heroes defeat the menace with a drill right through its body with a big bang. Hey, maybe that’s how the universe was created. With that, all previous spiral rebels are freed and chant Simon’s name. As peace returns, a week later Simon and Nia gets married. However the moment they kiss, Nia’s body starts vanishing but they both have no regrets and confess their love to each other (she was an artificial life form created by Anti Spiral so this was expected). Simon passes his Core Drill to Gimmy and before leaving on his own journey. Twenty years down the road, we see lots of the gang really old. Rossiu is still the leader and maintaining the peace among all spiral races. Yoko is now a headmistress, Gimmy and Darry lead the Dai Gurren team, Viral the commander of Chou Ginga and Simon wandering around as a nobody with little Boota. That pet still hasn’t changed in size, eh?

You Better Believe It!
Oh well, I guess that’s about it. As expected our heroes has got to win. Whether or not their spiral powers will go spiralling out of control and bring destruction as feared is another story. I was hoping Kamina would make a return or revived somehow. Just like how some animes bring back dead characters under miraculous circumstances. But I guess that was just wishful thinking. And probably not to make Kamina get too ‘lonely’ for a while, they ‘sacrificed’ some of the gang. So when Kamina died, I was like going, oh, he’s gone, what’s there more to look forward to? However I suppose this whole show isn’t about Kamina. Though it may start out like him being the star and main hero, it’s all about Simon. We see him transform from someone with low self confidence and always hiding behind his brother’s shadow to turn into someone who leads his own destiny and saviour of mankind and the spiral race. Who knows? Things could have remained the same or the events that have taken place may have turned out differently if Kamina was still breathing. It was a little bittersweet that Simon didn’t get to live the rest of his life with Nia. But at least they were reunited and get to exchange vows. I’m still wondering about Nia’s originality. If she was something that Anti Spiral made, how did she end up being Genome’s daughter? Perhaps he adopted her?

With the vast amount of other characters, I should say that they are interesting in their own way. Especially that guy who looks like a clown, Attenborough. He’s some trigger happy fellow who loves firing missiles. I thought he should get killed off seeing everything he does is like a joke but it’s a miracle he is still alive in the end. Sorry that I couldn’t even remember the names of the other Brigade members. Initially Yoko was cool when she fired her sniper gun but as the series progresses, I felt she didn’t sort of have that impact anymore. Rossiu was on the verge of repeating the mistake that his home village did by putting a number and counting every citizen known. But when you’re in that position, it is a tough responsibility to shoulder and I’m sure he has thought of every way possible to reduce the negative impact. And once-villains like Viral and Genome aren’t as bad as they were. If everyone put their powers together and work for a better tomorrow, everything will just turn out fine. Boota was cute in his own way and probably as the mascot of the series, even has his own pair of round shades on all the time. It bugs me how long that little pig mole lives. I mean, even at nearly 50 years of timeline from the start to the end of the series, not only it remains a little creature but still living. How long do such creatures live anyway?

The mecha fights I would say are just destructive and power packed. Sometimes with projectiles flailing across the screen, making the view a big mess and clutter. So much so that everything would have been smashed if there were buildings around instead of the emptiness of the desert. Lots of power fights with power moves and techniques that I myself couldn’t remember but it was fun to see them pull off such a feat. The drawing and art may be cartoonish at times especially during comical scenes. Sometimes when the characters have that absurd look on their face or the scene gets exaggerated, it reminds me of the same in another series, Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai or FLCL. Well it shouldn’t be a surprise because both these animes were animated by the same company, Gainax, so their trademark style is still there. The mid-intermission’s drawing feels like coming out from an American comic book perhaps because of the lines, shading and colour tones used to portray the random poses and mugshots of the characters and Ganmen in the series. I guess with the different types of Ganmen, I should say that the designs of them all make them unique but since I am not into mecha, it isn’t like I’m star-struck with them. Of course the best looking one has got to be Gurren Lagann and its other subsequent forms. If there were other bigger Ganmen, I’m sure there’s a big possibility of another super merge on the cards with more power ups and ‘face lifts’.

This series is quite popular that there were 2 films produced. I read the first movie was some sort of compilation of the TV series from the start right up till the fall of Tepperin. Yeah, like a recap lengthened. My guess the second movie is also another compilation of the events after that. Yup, it is. There were also several short clips called Parallel Works released. Each is animated by a particular animator in the series and is actually music video clips of the characters in several alternate themes like medieval, pachinko or feudal Japan. I saw a handful of them only and then gave up because it wasn’t that interesting. Some are just plain weird. A big majority of the music in the series are rock and R&B based (don’t you feel like jiggling when you hear “Row! Row! Fight the power!”). The heavy rock opening theme Sorairo Days by Shouko Nogawa definitely suits the theme and pace of the series. However I just find her singing voice to be more pop-ish than rock. The first ending theme by High Voltage entitled Underground is also another rock piece but somehow I feel the second ending theme, Minna No Peace by Afromania sounds more suitable to be a football club anthem. I don’t know, that’s what I think.

If Kamina had lived, I guess you could compile a list of his quotes so much so it could rival of those in Gintama. Man, he could’ve been a great motivational speaker! Too bad the series is short and his life was even shorter. Sigh… I just love his believe in yourself lines. Hey, Naruto, take a note on this guy and believe it, dattebayo! Haha! So great that some of his quotes that they used it as the titles of the episode (if you pay close attention, you’ll notice them). Well, at least for the first 8 episodes till his death. Then the episode titles are taken over by Nia (up till Tepperin’s fall) followed by Rossiu (till the end of the extermination system) and finally the final few episodes by Simon. Even the font styles of the episode titles match them like the doodle and scratchy version for Kamina, the flowery version for Nia and computerized one for Rossiu. The other phrase of the series said in nearly each episode is “Who do you think the hell I/we am/are!”. That says it all.

It was hard for me to follow and understand fully about the characteristics of the spiral power and effect so I just accepted things at it was as it goes by. The plot got a little too much for me to handle after the Brigade freed the human race of underground imprisonment halfway through. Well the Dai Gurren team has always been best at fighting so when it comes to ruling and running a country, they weren’t so effective. So when they put plots like Moon crashing into Earth and the existence of Anti Spiral, I was like, yeah, this is going to be more than just mindless mecha action whatsoever. Except for scientist Leeron, the rest of the Brigade are at a full lost (like yours truly) when he starts explaining all those terms and jargons on what is going on. At least he does put it in simple layman terms at the end. It goes to show that they really walk the talk with their fist. To hell with theories. Just smash through everything!

We can learn lots of subtle lessons from this series. Like fighting spirit and love is the ultimate and mysterious power that we draw to keep on going. So never underestimate the power of love. True power also comes when one fully believes in yourself. Of course if believing in others work well, then I suppose that would be fine too. Losing someone irreplaceable seems like throwing a spanner into the works. But because of that, it thrusts us out of our comfort zones and makes us improve and push further ahead. But having said all this, I think I still prefer to hide in my underground (read: my room) and continue digging up more animes to watch. Why risk myself saving the world when somebody else could do a better job? Who the hell do you think I am? Uh oh. I think I need to believe in myself more.

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