After the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann emerges from the sea at the end of the last episode, Simon begins to unleash his inner beast and fuck some Anti-Spirals up. As always the Anti-Spirals have no intention of going down without a fight. The massive superships, comprised of faces, begin to counter-attack. They begin to power themselves up by consuming whole planets. I actually like how they’re even trying to stay true some scientific principle with the whole energy mass equivalence thing as though people even care about the science at this point. That said though, the image of these mindless, enemy spaceships eating planets whole is not just pretty cool, it also gives us a great visual representation of just how far our heroes have come – they’ve gone from a small underground village to fighting beings on a galactic scale. The enemy’s initial salvo has no effect but the Anti-Spiral pulls more pseudo-science out of its collective ass and throw ‘probability-altering’ missiles that pierce the Gurren Lagann’s armour. The Anti-Spiral talks to them again and asks them if they are willing to achieve victory over the corpses of their fellow Spiral races. Simon doesn’t get what they mean, but neither do I exactly. I’m trying to keep this all straight in my head: basically, the Spiral Power is the power to change and evolve and it is somehow generated by positive thinking and self-belief. The Anti-Spiral is the embodiment of negativity and…stuff…and is anti-evolution because clearly the Anti-Spiral is a hardcore American fundamental Christian. I think that sounds about right…
Anyway, the Anti-Spiral shows the gang the future and the Spiral Nemesis. I don’t exactly understand how this Spiral Nemesis works but essentially it is an event in which the Spiral Power of evolution goes out of control (or rather grows to a point) and results in the universe imploding. Viral instantly suspects that the story is bullshit, which would have been my first guess as well, but Lordgenome correct him – the Spiral Nemesis is real and those who use the Spiral Power as extensively as Simon know at an instinctive level that their power can result in the Nemesis event. Lordgenome reminds Simon that while it’s true the Spiral Power can lead to the end of the universe, it’s also true that he made Nia a promise. Normally, I would call this pretty cheesy but I sort of understand how a personal desire can outweigh something as abstract as the fate of humanity. Simon snaps out of his momentary funk after hearing this and decides he will have both – the universe will be saved along with Nia. Their motto of ‘Reject common sense to make the impossible possible!’ has never been more relevant but I sort of get it now: you’re already dealing with the highest stakes possible, it’s no time to play safe – go hard, or go home.
The fight commences with the enemy using ‘Random Schrodinger Wraps’ and Team Dai Gurren using some other fake science rubbish to counter it. At this point, I’m really not very concerned with the fight scenes themselves because I don’t think the resolution to this conflict is going to come from Simon punching bigger things harder…although if there was ever to be an anime in which that would be a legit method of plot resolution, it would be TTGL. The battle reaches a temporary halt when Simon goes all out and creates a mini-big-bang in the middle of space. They get a temporary victory – the interference from ‘Evil’ Nia is gone and they can now jump to the ‘real’ Nia. However, before they can make the final jump, the Anti-Spiral traps them again. Seriously, this is turning out to be a real pattern; every time the good guys think they’re almost there, the Anti-Spiral pulls some new shit out of its ass.
Still, this one looks promising. Simon has a vision in which he is still with Kamina (it’s been so long since we’ve seen him!) in Giha village. They escape and make a life looting rich Beastmen and living it up in the underground city below Teppelin. Yoko in this alternate dimension is a bounty hunter. It’s revealed the Anti-Spiral has entrapped each of them in their own fantasy dimensions – Simon is living life with Kamina and is happy, for instance. Lordgenome is obviously unaffected by this trick since he’s a machine and all but he doesn’t understand what’s going on. Luckily, the Anti-Spiral makes an appearance to explain it all to him – they are being held prisoner in extradimensional space and as long as they have intelligence, the Anti-Spiral believes they can never escape.
The Anti-Spiral mocks Lordgenome before telling him it’s the end for them now but Lordgenome has a couple of questions – why would the Anti-Spiral go through all this trouble to kill them? Why would the Anti-Spiral not go all out from the beginning and exterminate the Spiral Races instead of letting them barely survive? Apparently, they detected an unknown source of Spiral Power that they wanted to identify before examining, fearing that a gap in their analysis could ruin everything. Except, that all sounds like bullshit. Given the level of technology they’re at, destroying the Spiral Races would have been exactly as easy as Lordgenome said. I don’t quite get it but I guess we’ll know the truth before too long. The Anti-Spiral prepares to kill Lordgenome, but is blocked by Boota the pig-mole who turns out to be the mysterious bundle of Spiral Energy. Boota transforms into human form via the most bullshit science explanation of all time (apparently Lordgenome’s Spiral Power allowed it to evolve, because fuck logic). Anyway, this is a pretty huge plot hole in my book, but it isn’t one that’s going to get in the way of my enjoyment of the story. It also helps that Boota is trapped in extra-dimensional space once he assumes humanoid form, making the entire scene rather unnecessary in my opinion.
Back in Simon’s head, Simon and Kamina have been caught. Kamina is on his knees begging for mercy while Simon stares on confused, unable to reconcile the Kamina he knew with this snivelling loser. The real Kamina appears behind him and tells him to pick the version he prefers. Simon realizes the bowing Kamina is a fake and tells Kamina that his (Simon’s drill is his soul). Simon finds his drill and the vision around him collapses and he ages back to his present age. They part ways, this time for good as Kamina asks when Simon got taller than him in what has to be the most heartwarming scene I’ve seen in ages. The visuals are on point here too – Simon has always been shorter than the Kamina he knew, not just in physical height but also in terms of reputation. For a long time, Simon struggled under Kamina’s shadow but having outgrown the man, shows that he’s finally surpassed his brother and achieved greatness in his own right. Their parting was bittersweet and I really wanted the show to manufacture some way to bring Kamina back to life even if it made no sense at all. Still, I’m glad we got to see him one last time before the plot’s resolution. It was also fitting that he was the one to give Simon the final nudge he needs to bring the Anti-Spiral down.
Simon grabs the drill and bursts out of the dream as Yoko and the rest do too.
Viral’s dream of having a wife and kid actually made me tear up a little, I will freely admit. Like I literally paused the episode, stopped typing and had to take a little break because of a feels attack.
Anyway, the Anti-Spiral is perplexed that Nia is resisting him and realizes that she’s been tainted by the Spiral as well. Nia was not supposed to be self-aware initially but her contact with Simon has granted her self-awareness but Anti-Spiral intends on absorbing her entirely. The idea that Simon can ‘grant’ Boota instant evolution and Nia self-awareness sort of makes him some sort of super-god in my eyes and the whole idea of the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann having enough energy in it to power a few galaxies could just be a subtle indication that that’s the direction that the show’s scale is heading.
Anyway, the Anti-Spiral is about to finish absorbing Nia into its consciousness when Nia’s ring begins to glow with the same reverberation as Simon’s drill. Gurren Lagann emerges from the ring (because why not, we’re probably in the hundredth dimension by now anyway) and the stage for the final battle is set.