[Anime] Gurren Lagann – Episode 25


TTGL

The team is panicking after sinking into the sea of despair. Leeron explains that the ‘sea’ in front of them is compressed ultra-dense space and it sucking them in but is powerless to pull them out. The ship’s weapons are also ineffectual now because the ‘sea’ around them absorbs the Spiral power. Lordgenome, in his infinite wisdom and usefulness, calls the sea a Death Spiral Field. It almost sounds scientific. Apparently, their Spiral Power is converted into mass. Basically the sea is like quick sand; the harder they try to escape, the denser the field around them gets and the more they are pulled into it. Lordgenome notes that if the SGDG reaches the ‘sea’s’ bottom, they are all dead. Not to worry though, Simon has a plan and it’s one we’ve seen before. He intends to force the engines into overdrive – supply more Spiral Power than the sea can drain. Viral doesn’t get it but agrees anyway, because clearly the strategy of ‘you’re-not-doing-it-till you-overdo-it’ has been working pretty well so far.

 

Oh, Dayakka, when has it ever?

Somehow, (and do note that by this point, I don’t think I even want to know how), Simon is able to summon even greater levels of hype and manliness than ever before and reject the very laws of physics. The SGDG begins to rise but the Anti-Spiral isn’t a stationary enemy; the hands and feet from before enter the water and latch onto the SGDG, pushing it down. I guess I do sort of get the idea behind their design a little better now. Kittan realizes that he needs to go out and shake the hands and feet off the ship but he’s stopped by Gimmy who doesn’t understand how Kittan can be so brave. It’s a pretty touching bit of dialogue too – Gimmy wants to go out guns blazing like those before him but finds himself too scared and hates that he’s too scared but Kittan reveals that he’s terrified too. Fighting tons of enemies in ultra-dense space, who wouldn’t be? Kittan loses his eloquence but leaves Gimmy and Darry with a clear message; Jorgun and Balinbow sacrificed themselves out of choice – there is no need for either kid to think that they owe the dead twins a debt.

Viral, speaking for the rest of us

Kittan flies out, bearing a very heavy death flag. If Kittan dies here, I think it’s going to hit me pretty fucking hard. I don’t like him as much as I did Kamina…or actually, I think I do. He’s more fleshed out in some ways, definitely more flawed and I guess despite everything, the honesty he just showed in admitting fighting is all he’s ever been good at kind of raises him in my opinion. I really, really hope he doesn’t die to these shitty hands and feet. I’m not the only one thinking of Kamina, by the way. Kittan thinks of him too as he leaves, wondering if Kamina could have inspired the youngsters better. He envied Kamina his ability to talk directly to others hearts but admits that the older he gets, he has to admit that Kamina was one hell of a man. The death flag is waving ominously over Kittan’s head and if he does die, I’m going to need a moment or several. Yoko has some words of comfort though – Kittan is neglecting his own contribution. Simon led from the front and Kittan pushed them on from behind. Kittan and Yoko fly out…wait, what? They’re both going? There’s no way that they’re both going to die, right? Unless Kittan dies saving Yoko or some shit like that…

Anyway, this whole business of leadership gets me to wondering about the nature of the leadership in TTGL. Kamina has stated in the past that Simon was the reason to Kamina’s rhyme but by and large, it’s pretty clear that Kamina never really thought things through at all. He was fortunate that he was in a universe that rewarded that kind of balls-deep behaviour with immense Spiral Power but otherwise he was just an idiot who dived too deep every damn time. Yet, there is something inherently attractive about a character that just goes all out every single time – it’s something that we can never do in real life and seeing it happen even in unrealistic fiction like TTGL gives us this vicarious pleasure of breaking free of whatever constraints we have on us. The mantle of leadership fell to Simon and I think it’s very telling that despite Simon’s memorable slump after Kamina’s death, Kittan couldn’t really lead the team at the time either. I understand where Yoko is coming from, but it’s implicit in her statement (and I very much agree) that there are two kinds of leaders, represented by the carrot and the stick (in my mind at least). Simon is the carrot just as Kamina was – he is impossibly larger than life, he always turns up to save the day and he is a beacon of positivity shining out over the sea of depression (quite literally in this case) whereas Kittan is the everyman, he is the common Joe who just tried his best and made it. There’s really nothing special about him except that he is just a solid guy all around. I’m too old and have seen too much to really think that a world of Simons can function – the Simons provide the ideals but it’s usually the Kittans who get shit done.

They learned well

Anyway, back to the episode: the duo make some progress, shooting down the enemy hands and feet but there are just too many. Kittan takes a break from the fighting to hoist the death flag further up its sordid flagpole by asking Yoko to introduce him to her kids when they get back. Dude, don’t you realize shit like this is what happens right before you die in a beautiful, glorious blaze of fire? Still, if it’s happening, it’s not right away since he gets back-up in the form of Gimmy and Darry and together the four of them get most of the fighters off the ship. They notice that the space around them has the remains of thousands of Lagann and the Anti-Spirals reveal that they are not the only ones that have come so far and reveals the history of the Spiral-Anti-Spiral war to them.

And the flag has been drawn fully. Also, Yoko literally has the kiss of death

Now this might be an unpopular opinion, but it feels a little like they’re forcing too much character development into characters right before they die. It’s like they (the creators) realized that the audience might be apathetic to what the creators felt was supposed to be a meaningful death and decided to artificially tug at the audience’s heartstrings right before a tragic event. Take the last episode for example – the death of the minor members of TTGL only mattered because they were given heroic deaths like saving the ship or their team-mates but without that I don’t know if I would have cared as much. I’m not saying it’s terrible the way it is, but ideally the character development of these secondary characters, if it must occur should take place a little more gradually.

Simon realizes that they can’t run from the Anti-Spirals so instead instructs the bridge to point them right at the enemy. It makes sense; after all, the Team works best when they’re fighting. The machine that is generating the Death Spiral Field is located at the ‘bottom’ of the sea and they are headed right for it. They have 5 minutes to blow it before it destroys the SGDG. Their plan is to drill a hole in its shield and then blast away at the machine inside but something tells me it won’t be that simple. Simon is driving himself beyond hard at this point and it’s take a toll on the machinery. He needs a break but Boota (of all things) is there to pick up the slack and generates a fairly respectable amount of Spiral Power by itself. Lordgenome explains that humans aren’t the only lifeforms with Spiral Power – any creature capable of evolution can generate it. They have two Spiral Missiles capable of penetrating the shield around the machine but the first is crushed before it even reaches and Yoko realizes that they will need to deliver the missiles manually if it is to work. She is about to volunteer when Kittan steps in.

Reject logic to make the impossible possible…are these tears in my eyes?

Kittan loads the missile up into his Super Space King and kisses Yoko before stepping out. He is able to penetrate the shield but his Space King explodes before he can fire the missile. It seems like Kittan died for nothing but then it turns out, he borrowed one of Gurren Lagann’s broken drills and is using that to destroy the machine itself. He gets a set of pretty cool final words before dying with the Death Spiral machine. With the destruction of the machine, the ‘sea’ is converted back to Spiral Energy and the SGDG absorbs it back and is ready to transform. The transformation is guided by Simon who emotionally accepts Kittan’s sacrifice and final wish and the episode ends as he transforms the Super Galaxy Dai Gurren into the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann, a single machine with the power of a god.

Some final thoughts as we hit the final stretch:

Damn guys, we lost a good man today. I’m not actually all that sad – Kittan went out like a boss and his last line about recognizing the power of the Spiral felt really on point. I think I first had a problem with Kittan when he was acting all bitchy to Simon after Kamina died but seeing how he died flying Simon’s flag via Gurren Lagann’s drill, I think I can forgive him. I’m really sad that nothing will come of his relationship with Yoko (she really does have a kiss of death) but I like to think that in return, just for a little while, he brought his hype close to Simon levels. He truly did reject the logical to make the impossible possible in true TTGL style. I don’t know where we go from here honestly. There’re two more episodes and we still haven’t really seen the enemy, so to speak. Simon and the rest of the team have powered up as much as they can I think but there doesn’t seem to be a tangible enemy to fight. While it would be a cool idea to pull off (that hopelessness is formless and ubiquitous) I think it would be terrible in execution and would just seem extremely anti-climactic. I don’t think this concern is warranted on my part anyway – these last few episodes have been excellent and there’s no reason to think the pattern won’t continue. I just hope the body count doesn’t keep rising though there’s no reason to think the bloodbath is over…

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