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I must say I am impressed by how consistently good this show proves to be week after week. This was probably my favorite episode since the eighth one.



Simon and Nia were both up to mostly more of the same this episode, with Simon being the central element of the battle plan with Nia mostly cheering from the sidelines. Nia wanting to find a way to help out was certainly cute, even though the results don’t seem to have been particularly great. Simon, on the other hand, managed to make the Gurren-Lagann even more powerful by attaching a pair of wings to form the GUNDAM-LAGANN. (It would’ve been awesome if they actually called it that.) Also, I enjoyed the more large-scale battle here; instead of simply being some duels between the Gurren-Lagann and a beastman officer, this was a large battle between everyone on the Dai-Gurren and everyone on the Dai-Ganten, with the “grunts” on both sides doing a fair amount of the fighting. As much as I hate to think about it, I have a feeling that she’s eventually going to be killed. And now it looks like both the Gurren-Lagann and the Dai-Gurren are going to be able to fly. Neat.

Yoko’s character seems to be moving towards playing a more mother/older sister relationship with Simon here (perhaps Misato-like would be the most fitting comparison here, since this is a GAINAX show). This is probably the natural direction for her to take since Kamina’s no longer around, and her having an actual romantic relationship with Simon would be more than a little creepy.

The most interesting character to me this episode, though, was definitely Viral. Him finding out that he had been losing not to Kamina, for whom he had already shown a high level of respect, but to a child was obviously crushing to him, but then later on he shows having grown a respect for humans in general. This drove him to even daringly ask the Helix King a question that does not appear to have an answer that would be pleasant to most Beastmen. I really wonder what the Helix King is going to tell him about humans.

Jaalin said it best, so I’m just going to repeat him: “In terms of sheer volume of enjoyment, the other shows don’t even come close to this.” Also, the title of the next episode is “Farewell, Everyone.” I certainly hope that doesn’t mean what I think it might.

So, the first half of the episode was the obligatory beach portion, and it was pretty much standard fare for such a thing: swimsuits, jealousy among female characters, volleyball, watermelon-smashing, and so forth. I must say I shared in the male crowds’ disappointment in Yoko’s swimsuit, as well as the cuteness of Nia’s. (Oh man, I just talked about a loli being cute. Damn you, #animeblogger)

The second part was pretty much Simon going into GAR mode and beating Adiane up underwater, and then the Daiganzan beating her up above water, finishing her off with a blazing cannon salvo. Once again, Viral survives the ordeal; I’m curious as to what he’s going to do next, since I doubt his failures will be tolerated at the capital.
Overall, another straightforward but enjoyable episode, complete with fanservice, action, and GAR.  It was definitely nice to see Yoko get a little more screen time and development too– she’d been sidelined for a while now.



Best lines of the episode.

 
Seriously, wtf is up with this old man! Let the main characters save their friends themselves, damnit.


Would it be giving GAINAX too much credit to suggest that the lighting in this scene is symbolic of Nia’s bringing light into Simon’s darkness? Either way, I thought it was a nice touch, since this part was pretty much the turning point.

Largely thanks to Nia’s encouragement, Simon finally gets over his grief and lack of self-confidence and kicks some ass. Nia herself was developed a little more here, with the whole “Daddy abandoned me? :(” thing being elaborated on.

The old man saving Nia instead of Simon popping in at just the right time was certainly unexpected. It was probably better than the 100% predictable “Simon pops in at the last possible moment to save the day,” but something about the sequence just felt out-of-place and choppy.

I thought the part in the screenshot above was pretty interesting, showing an almost religious development in the way these characters think of Kamina–they’ve become willing to abandon all rationality and walk into an obvious trap because “it’s what Kamina would do.” It’s a nice contrast against Simon’s eventual self-actualization.

So the Helix King is over a thousand years old. I wonder how long it will be until we find out how he managed to wipe out most of human civilization from the planet surface.

It was a pretty straightforward episode, and there really isn’t much else to say about it. The storyline can go all sorts of ways from here, and personally I’m looking forward to more.


“Sorry… this might sound embarrassing, but I’d prefer it if you waited until after they’ve grown a bit bigger.” 

 

Not unexpectedly, Nia shows a fair amount of personal strength in spite of her severe naivete even while in the claws of the enemy (literally). Somehow, they’ve managed to make her a somewhat interesting character despite the innocent, naive princess trying to convince everyone to stop fighting think having been done numerous times in the past. The conversation involving her, Simon, and Yoko was pretty well-scripted and emotional, with Nia urging the two to get past moping around about Kamina’s death. Her reaction to having been rejected by her father in this episode was a little underwhelming, though.

At the other end of the spectrum from Nia, we’re starting to see Kittan play an increasingly large role in the series. While his character possesses nothing close to Kamina’s awesomeness and overwhelming testosterone, he does to some extent fill in the void left by his death.

Viral’s obedience and submissiveness makes him seem like a much more convincing character instead of just being your run-of-the-mill villain. He’s been a much more meaningful enemy for the main cast than the Spiral (Helix?) King or anyone he’s sent to challenge the (Great) Gurren Brigade. Him letting getting his ass kicked by Adiane this episode was both amusing and another demonstration of his obedient character. Part of me wants him to eventually overthrow the Spiral/Helix King and be the bad guys’ head honcho himself.

Overall, this was another good episode. Hopefully the next one involves Nia remedying Simon’s depressed state.


What’s with the really weird mecha shows this season? Xenoglossia has human x mecha romances, and this one has ones with talking crotches.


Am I the only one who got to this part and expected him to say, “Unfamiliar ceiling…” ?

Another fairly decent episode. Not unexpectedly, it started off in a gloomy mood: the characters all spoke somberly, the weather was rainy and foggy, and the animation in general was very dark and everyone had notably sad expressions– Simon’s eyes in particular stuck out to me. It definitely succeeded in establishing the desired mood (my eleven-year-old sister watches the show with me and she started crying several minutes into the episode).

And then, in sharp contrast to all of the melancholy, we are introduced to Nia, Gainax’s version of Lacus Clyne.

The three remaining generals don’t seem to be as dark and evil characters as I had hoped/expected, though I suppose time will tell.

 
Considering everything else this series has shown us, this doesn’t seem as ridiculous as it probably would in another context.