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Episode 2: I Said I'm Gonna Pilot That Thing!!

 

Review by Scott Richardson

July 29, 2007

 

Summary

 

Simon, Kamina and Yoko barely escape being crushed by the two Gunmen and make a break for it in Lagann. Yoko belatedly warns them that the Gunmen that fell into Jiiha village was part of a group. Kamina seems to enjoy the idea of a surface crawling with Gunmen, while Simon is positively terrified and simply wants to go home. Yoko points out that he did pretty well before, but Simon apparently has no idea how he managed it. Unappreciative of Simon's desire to return home, Kamina gets off Lagann and draws his sword. Kamina taunts the Gunmen, informing them that he will not lose, retreat, or regret--looking forward without turning back is what it means to be a man. Unimpressed, the Gunmen lunge for Kamina, who is fortunately saved at the last second by Lagann, which Simon then puts into a hasty retreat. Sitting calmly in Lagann's hands, Kamina asks Simon how long he's going to keep running. Kamina believes that now that they've made it to the surface they need to throw away what they once were. With the Gunmen rapidly catching up, Simon finally manages to get the Lagann airborne again. Yoko uses the opportunity to take a few shots at the enemy, which manage to slow them down a bit. Simon begins to loose confidence, however, and in response, the Lagann begins to lose power. With Yoko out of ammo and Lagann coming to a halt, things seem rather bad until Yoko's comrades appear. With their combined automatic weapons fire, they manage to overheat one of the Gunmen, causing a furry man-shaped creature to abandon the machine. With the tides turned, the remaining Gunmen picks up his comrade and flees. As night falls, Kamina congratulates Simon on his earlier performance. Simon doesn't think he deserves it, but Kamina knows that Simon is always there to save him. The two of them pause to admire the first night sky they've ever seen in their lives. Yoko notices their interest and tells them that the big one is called 'the moon' and all the little ones are called 'stars'--or so she's heard. Simon finds it strange that they have names, noting that that must mean that people used to look up at them ages ago. A rather effeminate man comes over to admire Lagann, noting that it seems to have an awful lot of power for something so small. Yoko introduces the man as Leeron, their village's multi-purpose maintenance man/engineer/scientist, and asks Simon if he could please use Lagann to help them carry the scraped enemy Gunmen back to their village. Unsure if Lagann will move for him again, Simon looks down woefully at his core-drill. Interested, Yoko leans over to get a better look at it, giving Simon quite a view. Suddenly, the core-drill begins to glow, and when Simon re-inserts it in Lagann's ignition, Lagann powers up without a problem. Kamina notes that Lagann seems to run on spirit. As they make their way back to Littner village, the convoy stumbles upon a set of old human remains. According to Yoko, it isn't too rare to find the remains of humans killed by Gunmen. Kamina remains unmoved as the Littner villagers give the bones a proper burial. He declares that if you die alone out here, a grave is probably more than you deserve. Annoyed, Yoko reminds him that they'll all turn out like that eventually. Kamina denies this, telling her that their journey will continue all the way to the heavens. Confused, Yoko tells him that the surface isn't the wonderful place he seems to think it is--Littner used to be an underground village, but they were forced to the surface thanks to a particular incident. On the surface, humans must face the threat of the Gunmen, which appear almost daily to attempt to exterminate them. When the convoy makes it back to Littner, Kamina and Simon fall asleep almost immediately. 

 

In his slumber, Kamina dreams of the day his father took him up to the surface. His father told him that a world without walls and ceilings is a world befitting a man, but Kamina, still just a child, was unimpressed. His father asked him if he wanted to come with him, but Kamina hesitated. Noting this, Kamina's father smiled and told him to follow him to the surface when he was ready. Simon and Kamina are awoken by an explosion in the distance, and find the Littner Villagers already calmly preparing for the coming Gunmen attack--for them, this is all part of their morning routine. Yoko offers Kamina a small handgun and asks if he knows how to use it. Kamina responds by asking her just who she thinks he is, and accepts the gun. Kamina turns to Simon and tells him that he'll be fighting in the Lagann. Simon isn't really thrilled with this idea, and suggests that Kamina should pilot it instead. Kamina reminds him that the Lagann belongs to him, and moves out with the other villagers. Simon unenthusiastically attempts to activate Lagann, but it still refuses to move for him. Kamina takes up a position in the cliffs along with Yoko. Down below, two Gunmen have already arrived and are preparing for the day's battle. A third Gunmen comes streaking through the air and lands hard nearby, causing the ground to shake. Back at the village, Simon feels the Gunmen's impact and realizes that the Gunmen are responsible for the earthquakes which killed his parents. With Simon's fear suddenly blotted out by anger, the Lagann activates. The villagers lure the three Gunmen into a canyon where they blow up the cliffs in an attempt to bury the intruders, but the third Gunmen, a large red and yellow model knocks the debris away with ease. Impressed by the machine, Kamina announces his intent to steal it for himself--after all, if a beastman can pilot it, there's no way he couldn't. Yoko is rather impressed by his totally baseless confidence. At that moment, Lagann comes barreling out of the canyon. Kamina jumps on board and, noting Simon's rage, reminds him that both a fiery heart and a cool composure are necessary in a fight. Kamina has Simon rush at the red one and with a little help from Yoko's covering fire, they manage to knock it over. Kamina jumps on the Gunman's face and in an attempt to force open the Gunmen's mouth, begins using his handgun as a club, nearly shooting himself in the process. One of the other Gunmen pops up behind Kamina, but Simon manages to destroy its arm with one of Lagann's drills, and then uses Lagann to force the red Gunmen's mouth open. Kamina throws the beastman pilot out, but as soon as he sits down in the cockpit, the Gunmen goes silent. The two Gunmen rush Kamina's defenseless mech and toss it through the air. Slightly worse for the wear, Kamina tries unsuccessfully to force the Gunmen to stand up. Angry at his inability to control the mech, Kamina hits the side of the cockpit, which activates the monitor revealing that he has landed right on top of the grave they had made the previous night. Staring at the unearthed human skull, Kamina tenses up, seemingly forced to face his own mortality. Suddenly, the mech activates, and a re-invigorated Kamina hurls himself back into battle with a "Who Do You Think I Am Kick," followed by a "How Dare You Do That To My Cute Face Punch," both of which hit with such force that they blow off their respective limbs. Using his mech's remaining arm, Kamina picks up Lagann and tells Simon that they'll finish the enemy off with one more blow. Kamina warns Simon to be fearless, and then hurls the Lagann at the two recovering Gunmen, calling it "The Perfect Soul of Man Cannonball Attack!" Despite his horror, Simon manages to get Lagann to sprout a large drill in the direction of the enemy. The Gunmen manage to completely dodge Lagann, which drills its way into the canyon wall behind them, making a U-turn through the rock and popping back out and piercing both Gunmen from behind, causing them to explode. With the battle over, the villagers are more than a little impressed, as Kamina is the first human to ever steal a Gunmen. Kamina tells Simon that he's decided to name his new mech 'Gurren'--and no matter how harsh the surface might be, his Gurren and Simon's Lagann will fight together. Kamina goes back to the ruined grave to re-bury the bones, and apologizes for disturbing them and for what he said earlier. Taking a closer look, however, Kamina notices a familiar bracelet and worriedly begins to dust off the rest of the bones. Discovering his father's cape, Kamina is overcome with grief and yells at the moon. 

 

Commentary

 

After the wild ride that was the first episode, we get a bit more background information in this one. Apparently, at some point humanity was driven underground, and anybody who comes to the surface is forced to deal with the beastmen and their Gunmen--which seem to run on spirit, somehow. Kamina also gets a bit of depth in this episode, what with the memories of his father and his strange reaction to the skull while trying to get Gurren running (perhaps Kamina isn't quite as fearless as he acts). Simon, on the other hand, is still playing the part of the unenthusiastic hero, despite Kamina's prodding. This episode definitely keeps up the energy from the first episode, and Kamina seems to constantly find ways to out-do himself.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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