In the face of Adiane’s second failure, the third general Guame begs leave to go after Team Dai-Gurren. He mentions that he and Lord Genome go way back – I’m assuming this to mean that he was the first of the Beastmen that Genome created (there’s no way that a guy named Lord Genome isn’t doing some freaky gene stuff with these half-human, half-animal hybrids). Also, Guame to his immense credit has finally noticed that Lagann is the key to the team’s power and is going after it. Meanwhile, back on the Dai-Gurren, Lagann has been relegated to the rubbish pile because it can no longer be piloted – and also because it’s original pilot has now taken up sculpting statues of Kamina as his one and only pastime. I’m not even kidding. It’s at this point where I can start to see the team’s point. Simon’s emo-phase has gone on long enough, it’s about time that he snaps the fuck out of it and does something. Yoko is especially harsh about it; it doesn’t seem like she has any sympathy for Simon’s petulance anymore.
We get Simon’s point of view soon enough though, when Nia tries to cheer him up. His side is actually pretty touching; he mentions how, not too long ago, he was the village outcast, the loser who was only good for digging tunnels but had no friends and no confidence and how all of that changed with Kamina. Meanwhile, Kittan receives a very fishy SOS message (everyone in the cockpit acknowledges the fishiness of it) but since the SOS message came from three damsels in distress, Kittan evokes the name of the almighty Kamina and sets off to save them. Well, I can’t disapprove; after all, that’s exactly what Kamina would have done. So, they go save the village and learn that it was a trap when the let the ‘girls’ onboard. Guame’s henchmen find Nia who tries one last time to cheer Simon up before being escorted away. Seriously, Simon how many times does the pretty girl have to tell you’re alright before you listen?
Guame meets with Nia after promising the humans (what is Nia exactly?) that they will be public executed soon. A bit of exposition follows in which we learn that Lord Genome has been alive for around a thousand years (did we already know this?) and that creating and raising children is a pastime for him. Nia fell out of favour with Genome because she demonstrated self-awareness (a human trait). Guame has a creepy proposition for Nia – become chief of the female filled village, teach them ‘proper etiquette’ before Genome ‘lavishes his affections on them’. Ew.
As it turns out, the humans are being held prisoner underground, surrounded by bedrock. The humans try their best to dig their way out, but obviously only Simon is making any real progress. Well, I think we all know where this is going. Anyway, it’s a lot better than I thought – Yoko remembers what Kamina said to her a long time ago about how he gets his confidence from Simon’s silent resilience and how Kamina can make crazy, #yolo plays only because he knows he has someone willing to bail him out. I’m not sure why this is resonates so much – it might be that it’s a touching scene and sentiment or it might just be that it’s delivered in Kamina’s voice. Anyway, Simon is remembering Kamina too and drilling faster and faster. He’s not the only one drilling – Lagann is active and has drilled its way back to Simon.
Nia is about to be shot by Guame when the old man (from the hot springs episode) turns up and deflects the gun. Simon follows soon after but by then the old man is gone. Nia is very much impressed by Simon’s knight in shining armour come to save the day antics. Back on the Dai-Gurren, the humans have taken back control but Guame gets his Gember out (that’s his mech guys, calm down) and Rossiu, as usual tries to put up a fight, but is easily beaten. Simon, finally overcoming his issues, combines with Gurren and makes his grand debut as a badass. Putting Kamina behind him, he easily stomps all over Guame and his Gember. As great as it all sounds though, I’m not really sold on the way it was done. Simon’s VA doesn’t really have the same impact as Kamina’s and it sounds like Simon’s voice forcibly broke for that scene. It was altogether way too subdued (in terms of audio) for me to really feel the hype. What is kind of sweet though is that Nia and Simon were piloting Lagann together for that fight and Nia later gives her deceased siblings a proper burial in the sun. Also, to Kittan’s credit, he does hand over the title of ‘Leader’ to Simon which feels a bit weird. Sure, Kittan was as questionable a choice for leader as Kamina, but I had just started warming up to the idea of Kittan as a long-term leader and I don’t know if Simon is really the ‘leader’ type, but I guess it can’t hurt.