The team is confused about what the hell is going on once the Teppelin giant face begins spewing out machines from the sky. The beat a fast retreat, which seems like the best course of action because now that all four generals are down, it looks like it’s time for Lordgenome himself to come kick some ass. After shedding its excess baggage, Teppelin is revealed to be exactly what I suspected it to be at the end of the last episode – a gigantic robot, big enough to dwarf the Dai-Gurren and all the others together. On board the Dai-Gurren, Roy receives news that Tepplelin’s energy signal is in fact identical to Gurren-Lagann’s! This means then, that the gigantic robot is probably Gurren-Lagann’s equal at least as far as it’s physical capabilities go but on the other hand that also means that the Gurren-Lagann is the equal of something that size, so I guess whether this is good news or bad depends on who you think is stronger – Gurren-Lagann or Teppelin. Kindly consider the show’s name before you answer.
In universe though, the humans are from convinced that Simon and Gurren-Lagann are utterly over-powered so, there is naturally cause for concern when Simon decides to go half-Kamina and charge towards the monstrosity. The Spiral King himself makes contact with the ragtag crew while Simon attempts to break through Teppelin’s defences to get to Lordgenome. However, it is Lordgenome who is in fact controlling the massive mecha and he is able to hold off Simon with absurd ease. Still, we can’t count Simon out yet – we’re barely ten minutes into the episode, there’s plenty of time for Simon to discover how grossly overpowered he actually is and wreck the opposition. Nia asks Simon to bring her to her father because her daddy issues have not yet been sufficiently addressed and because it’s possible that she is naïve enough to think that she might still be able to sweet talk him out of genocide and mass slavery. Rossiu thinks that getting Nia up close and personal with her father is a terrible idea but he has clearly no idea what kind of show he’s a part of because while his plan is totally logical and rational it fails to account for the overwhelming energy of Simon’s testosterone and manliness. Still, good try Rossiu, we still love that you haven’t given up on being the straight man. Thankfully, for all their sakes, Simon does realize his own power and decides that going half-Kamina isn’t going to cut it and decides to head right in and because the rest of the characters have the self-preservation instincts of new-borns they decide to accompany him. Clearly, they did not get the memo informing them that they have not receive the promotion to main character, though then again…neither did Kamina. I’ll need a minute to wipe these tears.
While these people are chitchatting, Lordgenome launches Teppelin’s defences and it is just an army of useless cannon-fodder level mook which I believe that the non-Gurren-Lagann elements of team Dai-Gurren should be able to handle easily. It’s almost as if the show decided that the rest of the team is unworthy of accompanying a man as great as Simon (and Rossiu, because technically, he’ll be going along with Simon, but for obvious reasons Rossiu is not in the ‘great man’ tier) and thus as a consolation prize, allowed them to fight the capital’s elite army…that comprises of cannon fodder. Anyway, the whole of Team Dai-Gurren, which is fairly massive by this point, bloated mostly by their own human cannon-fodder, goes right up against the Teppelin forces while Nia wastes no time in getting snuggy with Simon in the Lagann cockpit. Cannon fodder fights cannon fodder and things die. This is all a prelude to the main boss fight, but it’s entertaining enough to watch. Eventually the Dai-Gurren makes a hole in Teppelin and Gurren-Lagann jumps down to confront the bald, badass King Of Earth, Lordgenome.
However, before he can fight Lordgenome himself, he has to kill the mini-boss…er, I mean Viral. I was wondering what happened to Viral, actually. The last time we saw him, he was wondering why the Spiral King left such a terrible flaw in the Beastmen when he could have made them perfect but I guess his presence in this fight means that Lordgenome’s answer satisfied him. Either that, or he received a new body from Lordgenome that will never need to sleep and is thus immortal. Ok, it’s actually the latter option. In any case, Simon beats Viral handily and Viral cannot understand but that’s ok because the Spiral King is such a nice guy, he’ll explain it all for you now. You see, Viral’s body wasn’t meant to beat Simon. In fact, no Beastmen can beat a human with the power of the Spiral. Viral was given his immortal body so he could tell future generations of the glory of the Spiral King. Right, because the best use for an immortal body is obviously as a storyteller. Nia pops out and asks her father why he’s such a dick but he turns the question around and tells her that he’s actually protecting the planet. Anyway, he’s sick of kids beating the adults and decides to bring out his own mecha – Rasengann, because he is apparently, a little blond ninja who dreams of becoming Hokage. Anyway, it turns out this is to be a fight between men – the Spiral King, unsurprisingly enough, also possesses the power of the Spiral and the advantage of decades/centuries of experience over Simon. In the fight that follows, Simon is able to fight for a while, but the difference between them shows eventually and Simon is on the ropes. He decides to merge with the Rasengann but while he tactically abandons Rossiu to die (he’s fine, don’t worry), the Spiral King ain’t no fool so he just catches the tiny Lagann in one hand while stomping the underpowered Gurren with the other. Simon realizes that he hasn’t been going truly full-Kamina yet so decides to pull all stops and directly quote the Prophet of Manliness himself. In the resulting clash, Lordgenome’s Spiral force and Simon’s are equally matched, but then Lordgenome gives no fucks so he just casually walks out of his Gunmen and beats the snot out of Lagann using his fists, because fuck you and your logic.
Simon tries to put up a fight, but because Simon skipped leg day, chest day, back day and every other day, he cannot fight Lordgenome one on one though he is able to make Lordgenome acknowledge his abilities. Still, the one day that Simon never skipped was Balls-of-Steel Day so when Lordgenome is about to deliver the killing blow, he plugs Lagann’s drill key into Lordgenome’s chest, somehow decimating Lordgenome, but not before he can give an ominous death speech – when the planet’s population exceeds a million humans, the moon shall become Hell’s messenger and destroy the world of the Spiral. Before he can explain further, he dies. Well, that was convenient but on the other hand, yay, the Spiral King is dead, humanity is free and all is well in the world. Except, the music and the tone don’t quite agree with me – there is something sinister in the air and instead of celebrating all the combatants (Viral, Simon, Nia and Rossiu) are left pondering the dead King’s words. One of the things that I really like about this series is the way that it can oscillate between utterly ridiculous and dead serious so quickly. The setting is flexible enough (as is the art and the story’s tone) that there is more than enough space for the goofy, the touching, the bombastic and the serious to fit in but what’s impressive is the way the writers/director handles the transitions.
Anyway, Teppelin self-destructs, the enemy Gunmen shut down and Nia bids a tearless, but determined farewell to her father. This appears to be the end of the first half of the series and as Simon and Nia (and Rossiu, who seems to exist just to ruin the symbolism) return to their waiting allies, the sun rises and we are reminded that this is the 7th day of the battle for Teppelin, which ties in surprisingly well with what Lordgenome said in the last episode – mankind was created on the 6th day – because on the 7th, the Lord said, let there be light and there was. There is also a lingering shot of the moon, which is where I guess the second half of the series will focus.