[Anime] Gurren Lagann – Episode 18


TTGL

This episode opens with…actually no, wait. I’m going to talk about the opening again for a bit. It’s amazing how just one episode in, all (or I guess almost all) of the opening is beginning to make sense. Also, in terms of the animation and the visual aspect of it, I think this might be my favourite opening of the series, so far at least. I know openings can hardly be considered cannon but after the last episode, I’m not digging how ominous Rossiu looks in it. And now, back to scheduled programming: there is chaos in the city as panic descends and the new ‘government’ (and believe me, I use that word in the loosest sense possible) tries to hold the panic of the citizens together. Even new dad Dayakka pops in to help out while the twins continue to be useless – even national emergencies can’t change human nature apparently. Rossiu on the other hand is out doing ominous, evil-seeming things – like resurrecting Lordgenome because there is literally no way that could backfire. It’s not clear if he’s a clone or a resurrected original or what, but he’s clearly no threat for now at least – he just yawns and it’s kinda adorable, actually.

Such useful. Many polite. Wow

Simon rushes home to find Nia MIA (sorry, that was just…I’m so sorry). What I mean is she wasn’t at home and he’s obviously worried. This is why you don’t propose, Simon, some women just aren’t cut out to handle it. On a more serious note though, Gimmy and Darry (I still only have the vaguest notion of who is who and yes my name-face association is as bad with anime characters as it is in real life, which might to date be the saddest thing I’ve admitted on this blog) turn up to essentially arrest Simon and order Gurren Lagann back to base. I guess the worst case scenario that I was worried about at the end of last episode is coming true and in a really terrible way. Simon doesn’t back down easily and it’s about to get nasty until one of the two (Darry) talks Simon down, mentioning the Gurren Lagann is still a symbol of humanity’s independence and freedom.   Simon does however leave with Lagann before either of the two can stop him. There’s a (probably insignificant) exchange here which I really liked – Gimmy asks why Simon doesn’t get that the times have changed (which is weird thing to say because Simon literally changed the times himself while these two brats were wetting themselves) but Darry gives an oddly insightful answer; maybe Simon doesn’t want them to change. I think Darry is right on the money but only to an extent. Simon seems to act the way he does because in the past there were literally no consequences. I mean, just look at how the tone of the series has changed. In the first few episodes, these guys look invincible – they were running on pure testosterone but that approach doesn’t seem to work anymore (see the fight last episode for evidence) but can you really blame Simon for not getting that right away? Especially after one fight? And that too a fight in which the brats and their new age fighting was doing literally jackshit? Simon continues looking but can’t find Nia anywhere and it’s all pretty depressing. Nia appears just then though but she isn’t herself.

Insight from brats, I’ve seen it all

Rossiu meanwhile is making idle small talk with Lordgenome and I just can’t shake the feeling that Rossiu is the one looking all evil and menacing despite talking to and standing next to Lordgenome himself. A part of that is because this Lordgenome clone (or so Rossiu claims) is literally just a talking head which really limits his prowess in the menace department. Still, I got to give Rossiu props for asking the big questions – what is a Spiral/Anti-Spiral power? Meanwhile, Nia is casually ripping Simon’s sweet, innocent heart a new one by brutally telling him that he and her are utterly incompatible. Apparently, Nia, an Anti-Spiral, exists to prevent the Spiral Nemesis from taking over the universe. Right, me and whoever came up with these names need to have a serious heart-to-heart. Anyway, Nia reveals that Simon’s drill is literally the symbol of the enemy which is interesting because hasn’t it always been? Last ‘season’, they were up against the Spiral King, whose symbol was also a spiral so this time is really no different, right? Anyway, the power of the Spiral is capable of destroying the universe and based on how it functions based on how pumped Simon gets, I can put that firmly within the realm of possibility. Lordgenome reveals more – the spiral is the power of evolution and change and he references DNA helixes and spiral galaxies as examples, as if that explains anything. It turns out Lordgenome was a Spiral warrior who fought the Anti-Spirals and now I’m thoroughly confused about who I’m supposed to support. Lordgenome does make a better case though – apparently the Spiral warriors lost and were confined to their home worlds. The Anti-Spirals made devices to wipe out Spiral populations if they went over a certain threshold and the Beastmen, the Gunmen and all of it from last season were being assembled to fight the power. Remember how I found it amazing humanity advanced so far in seven years? Nia recognizes this as the power of the Spiral at play and claims that the Anti-Spirals are threatened by this…and suddenly I know that the Anti-Spirals are the bad guy! Thanks for clearing that up! Simon is still worried about Nia and tries to talk her around, but she is no longer the Nia we knew.

Is anyone else getting a very Palpatine vibe from Rossiu these days?

Nia and Lordgenome deliver the same verdict – in three weeks, the moon will crash into the Earth to eradicate the Spiral populations. I actually really like the concept of the Moon as a population control device left behind by advanced alien races and so on. Rossiu wants to keep this information covered up but Nia has already announced it worldwide. Still none of that seems to affect me as much as Nia’s proclamation – she can never be human again. She disappears and more Mugann (the ship Simon destroyed last episode) appear. Simon rushes in blindly again and though his plan of shooting down the explosive fragments works but the population has turned against him for some reason. I should have seen it coming but it’s really disappointing to see. Rossiu tries to maintain the peace but gets a stone chucked at him for his troubles. Clearly, the masses are just as stupid in TTGL as they are in the real world. Rossiu decides to take drastic action and places Simon under arrest.

I want to comment a little on how much this series has changed. Do you remember that one episode where Kamina and Kittan get into a fight while face-rolling ever sorry Gunmen that comes their way? I do too but that universe seems totally different from this one, but not in a bad way. In fact, the new ‘serious’ TTGL that has emerged since the time-skip is so much more riveting that than the first season though a part of me misses the silliness and the simplicity of it all back in the day. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

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