So this is it, the final episode. It’s been quite a ride – the last three or four episodes especially have been pretty damn emotional but this is where it’s all supposed to pay off. All the final pieces are in place; Simon has the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann ready, Nia is back to herself although she hasn’t been rescued, technically speaking, and the Anti-Spiral has shown itself and is therefore ready to be taken down. What I’m more interested in however, is how this is all going to end. My instinct tells me that Nia and Simon make it out alright but based on the sacrifices that the last few episodes have entailed, I think we’re going to need at least a couple of major sacrifices before this is done and they better not involve Yoko. Seriously, she’s like the second or third best character in the show and she’s suffered enough. More importantly though, I don’t think this particular fight can be satisfactorily resolved by just having Simon punch the Anti-Spiral to death either – that was fine for all the fights before, but given that this is the final boss, I want to see something more substantial than just another fight. This show hasn’t disappointed at all yet and I have faith that it’ll finish what it started properly.
The episode opens with the Anti-Spiral trying to puzzle out Nia’s behaviour. He calls here the Irregular and says that there’s nothing special about her and that he cannot understand why she would try so hard to protect the humans. I feel like I’ve seen this all before; after all the whole machines gaining sympathy and emotion is hardly a new trope in fiction but in this particular series it doesn’t feel as trite as it might in another. I suspect that it’s because TTGL essentially runs on emotion both figuratively and literally and Nia gaining emotion isn’t just a cheap way of justifying her actions, but rather something that’s been properly developed right since the first half of the show. In any case, we catch up with the last scene from the previous episode when Simon & co. burst through Nia’s ring and there’s a nice, adorable shot of Nia and Simon reunited followed shortly after by a pretty badass one of the whole gang reunited ready to kick some ass.
We are treated to one last, final transformation as the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann reaches the scale of an entire universe and becomes the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The Anti-Spiral acknowledges the human’s prowess and realizes that exposure to this level of Spiral Power is what made Nia an Irregular in the first place. Following what has been the Anti-Spiral’s modus operandi for this entire show, the Anti-Spiral shows up in the distorted, ‘evil’ version of the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann with the intention of the defeating the humans on an ‘even playing field’ which Lordgenome (who’s clearly been hitting the gym) describes as their attempt at inflicting total despair. What I still don’t fully understand is that if that was the aim, then why not go all out from the start before the final form of the Gurren Lagann was even an option? I know that they tried to explain this in the previous episode but I didn’t buy it then and I’m not buying it now. It’s not a huge deal I guess, but it just bugs me (shoutout to tvtropes.org). I do like the explanation for Lordgenome’s sudden buffness and his change from being a biocomputer – apparently they are now in a dimension in which thoughts become real and hence his physical form now matches his mental form. I wonder if this is the reason behind the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s appearance as well.
Lordgenome asks to fight alongside the humans and asks Nia to forgive him for being a terrible father but tells her she’s done well. Now, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s touchy feely moment but how exactly has she done well? Did she not just some episodes previously almost destroy the Earth? And was she not just a prisoner after that? I mean, I like her and all, but I just don’t really see how she’s done that well but then again if we’re comparing how well Nia’s done against the Anti-Spiral versus how well Lordgenome has done as a parent, Nia’s got that contest locked down easy. Viral is glad to see his old master back to his old self – not his homicidal, tyrannical self, his old old self, where he was actually a somewhat decent human being.
A massive (and by massive, I mean, so big that the robots are leaning against multiple galaxies for support) fistfight breaks out between the two robots but neither can gain the edge until Yoko snipes a moon-like body near the Anti-Spiral robot’s head. The moon shatters revealing an Earth like planet within it. The Anti-Spiral explains that it (they?) was once a Spiral entity but just got really depressed at the whole evolution thing and decided that was unnatural and wrong. It rebelled against the other Spiral races and won but in the process locked its own ability to evolve. Now, I’m no expert but under what circumstances would you be worse off having the ability to change to external stimuli than not? Well, I’m sure that the Anti-Spiral thought all of that through carefully. The battle between the two robots gets so extreme that some pseudo-scientific bullshit occurs that always both parties to materialize near Earth. Not a fake, emotional Earth either – they real, original Blue Planet.
The Anti-Spiral takes this opportunity to seize the Earth and hold it hostage but Dayakka (remember him?) isn’t having any of it and Gurren Lagann fights back and land a few hits until the Anti-Spiral robot begins merging galaxies to create Big Bang level energy blast. Even the power of the crew and humanity’s combined hype cannot withstand that kind of blast for long but just when things seem desperate, your boy Lordgenome steps to the plate and sacrifices himself to save the TTGL, telling Nia that if his sacrifice is needed to save the world and humanity, he will gladly give his life. I think this final line and action complete Lordgenome’s redemption. He may have been a terrible ruler and literally worse than Hitler in some ways but within this story and universe, there can be no greater redemption for a character than giving his life for all of mankind. I mean, that’s basically what Jesus did and see how many fans he has. What worries me though is that Nia seems to agree with his sacrifice. I hope she’s not planning any heroics but I’m not holding my breath because she’s beginning to flash and Simon looks worried. Ok fuck this, if Nia dies, this is the worst fucking show ever…
Lordgenome dies but turns into a massive bundle of Spiral Power that he gives to Simon to finish the fight. He proceeds to do just that, overwhelming the Anti-Spiral while delivering a speech on the power of the human spirit (as though fighting off a Big Bang wasn’t proof enough). The Anti-Spiral is finally defeated though as it dies it admits that if this (it’s defeat) is enough to save the universe, then that’s good enough for it. Huh, as far as villainous last words go, that’s a hell of a lot better than ‘Nooooooo’. The threat is finally dealt with and they receive transmissions from imprisoned Spiral Races across the universe and everyone goes home.
Nia and Simon are married and I’m definitely not crying. It’s a gorgeous ceremony but the moment sadly doesn’t last. Simon tells Nia that he’ll never forget her as she begins to disappear, as a product of the Anti-Spiral, I’m guessing. She does get to tell him she loves him before finally vanishing. I’m gonna need a moment here.
Simon holds it together admirably, telling the others they all knew that it was going to happen. He confirms my suspicions that Nia disappeared because she was an Anti-Spiral lifeform herself – a virtual lifeform created by the Anti-Spiral as a very single Viral reminds us.
Gimmy asks why Simon doesn’t use his (literally) god-like power to bring her back but Yoko reminds him that Simon isn’t God. I beg to differ but whatever, Simon has a better explanation – bringing the dead back will interfere with the current future generations. Simply put, he doesn’t want because it would be bad writing, bad storytelling and it would cheapen all my emotions and the sacrifices of the characters.
He gives the drill to Rossiu, telling him it’s in his hands now as he leaves. He doesn’t ask who the hell they think he is (because, clearly, they all think he’s God and they’re motherfucking right) but he asserts that he’s just Simon the Digger now (well, yeah cos you gave fucking Rossiu the God Drill) and that there are other better suited to walk (dig) the path (tunnels) he’s paved (dug). With that, he walks off into the sunset as we close the final chapter of an excellent anime. Hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have and if there’s any feedback please do let me know. I’ll do a quick review/summary of it tomorrow, just as a reflection of my thoughts and feelings about the show as a whole.
Oh, my bad, there’s also a post-credits section. Well, Rossiu is heading an inter-galactic Peace Conference. Hopefully he doesn’t fuck that up. Yoko is now Yomako again for some reason and she’s a principal and still single though like with Rossiu, time hasn’t been the kindest to her. Gimmy and Darry fly the Gurren Lagann now and that just feels right for some reason – seeing the Drill in Rossiu’s hand left a sour-ish taste in my mouth but I’m ok with it being with Gimmy. Viral is like the main admiral of the human fleet or something equally cool, despite the irony of it all. He is also probably lonely and single because this show hates seeing me happy.
Nia’s ‘grave’ is on a hill full of flowers, right next to another, familiar grave with a cloak flying over it. In a random town, we see a kid try to pierce a coconut with a drill, but isn’t having much luck until a hooded figure gives him some advice. He almost asks Who The Hell The Kid Thinks He Is, but stops because he realizes he’s a nobody (this is sooo the Almighty Janitor trope), but tells the kid to follow his dreams as the watch a squadron of Gurren Lagann take off.