[Anime] Gurren Lagann – Episode 2

TTGLSimon & co are in a world of trouble – the two Gunmen from the end of the last episode are hunting them down and Yoko reveals that all three of them jumped her at the same time. It’s interesting that in the face of Simon’s cowardice and Kamina’s frankly useless bravado, she’s the only one with any actual fighting ability. Simon’s immediate reaction is to dig and go back to the safe sanctuary of his underground village – which I think is very indicative of his character but it is also a typically un-Kamina thing to do. Kamina’s motto of ‘A man never runs’ is definitely not a winning strategy in this scenario but neither is Simon’s digging. Kamina decides to face the giant robots but Simon saves him just before he is smashed into pieces. Kamina, being Kamina, is disappointed that Simon won’t fight and asks how long Simon intends to run. This is actually a good question in this scenario – Simon is the only one who has demonstrated the ability to fight the robots but he refuses to try to do so again, insisting the previous time was just a fluke. While I can’t really recommend Kamina’s suicidal manliness, he at least seems a lot more dignified about their situation than Simon’s pathetic running around. Mind you, I say that, but if I were Simon I’d be doing the exact same thing, with much less compunction.

Luckily, Simon is saved from making a decision by Yoko who decides she’s had enough of the other two being useless and decides to starting using her sniper rifle as a shotgun. Simon decides this is a good time to have a breakdown and can’t pilot his Gunmen anymore and Kamina is unable to snap him out of it, and of course, this is also the same time Yoko runs out of ammo. Fortunately, they are saved by Yoko’s friends and bring down one of the robots, revealing a weird black alien inside. They run since the sun will be setting soon – a sign that the robots can only operate during the day? Later, that evening Kamina once again earns big bro points for consoling a disappointed Simon and telling him he did a good job out in the field. They are then joined by an effeminate looking man who is intrigued by Simon’s tiny Gunmen. He also starts flirting with Simon who is baffled as to how to respond.

They watch the stars for the first time and Kamina seems glad that they left the village. Simon shows some deep thinking by wondering how come the stars and moon have names and realizing that it means that people before them used to watch them. It’s not actually a particularly deep thought but the effeminate guy (Leeron) compliments him on it anyway. We then learn that Kamina and Simon are illiterate which amuses Yoko. Leeron muses that people might or not might have lived on the surface long ago – telling us that this is some kind of post-apocalyptic future, which we kind of guessed by this point anyway. Leeron states that he’s neither man nor woman, but rather a ‘beautiful queen’, which we also kind of guessed by this point, while getting all up in Kamina and Simon’s personal space. Yoko is interested in Simon’s…drill bit…and Simon noticing her interest makes the drill bit glow (hardly subtle is it?). Kamina realizes that the Gunmen is powered by ‘male spirit’ which is just so apt for this show and while hilarious, makes me wonder if a Gunmen powered by Kamina would result in infinite energy.

They comes across a skeleton and bury it. Kamina refuses to face the fact that they might suffer a similar face, insisting they will one day ‘pierce the heavens’, whatever that means (it’s not a language thing, Yoko doesn’t get it either). I wonder if Kamina really buys his own bullshit though, or whether he’s running away in his own unique way? Yoko drops some knowledge on Kamina who  is delighted to hear that the surface he yearned for is not what he imagined. Her own people had to migrate above ground after an accident and then had to fight off the Gunmen.

We learn that Kamina’s father left him above ground but told him that a wall-less world is truly a ‘man’s world’. They are awoken the next morning by a routine Gunmen attack – Simon and Kamina panic, Leeron offers them coffee. They called it ‘dirty water’. They go to fight, Simon trying to pass Lagann to Kamina who refuses it. Leeron tells Simon to give Lagann a ‘hard, manly twist’ but Simon can’t get it up can’t power it up. As the attack commences, Simon realizes that the earthquakes that killed his parents were caused by Gunmen like the ones attacking them now. This wave of emotion powers up the Lagann and the fight is on. I can’t help but notice how very similar to NGE (Neon Genesis Evangelion) this is – it’s like an affectionate parody. Simon and Shinji are both meek and cowardly kids forced to fight in their respective mechas. Shinji’s emotional state is a key part of his own robot’s strength just like in Simon’s case. I’ll keep an eye out for this in future episodes for sure.

Anyway, the fight commences and Kamina decides that he will commandeer one of the enemies’ Gunmen for himself. Apparently the enemies are called Beastmen (ok, sure, why not?). This plan fails though because apparently Kamina does not have the manpower (heh) to pilot one. Not until he sees another skull and then gets amped. He then proceeds to kill ten kinds of ass using ridiculously named attacks like ‘Who the hell do you think I am Kick?’ and ‘Lay your hands off my brother Punch’ a paraody of the common Shounen trope. They win the fight and Kamina names his mecha Gurren. Later on, they find the same skeleton from the previous day and Kamina tries to bury it but realizes it is his father based on a bracelet and the episode ends with a sudden, surprising amount of feels.


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