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Episode 20: How Far Will God Test Us?

 

Review by Scott Richardson

August 21, 2007

 

Summary

 

With only ten days until the moon enters the atmosphere, a rather stressed-out Rossiu is overseeing humanity's evacuation underground and into the Arc-Gurren. Unfortunately, Leeron brings some bad news for Rossiu, who is taken aback by what Leeron shows him. Shaken to his very core, Rossiu wonders if it was really so wrong for humans to desire the surface world. Simon passes his time in jail somewhat peacefully, until he is attacked by a rooster-like beastman, who intends to take revenge for his former commander, Cytomander. The beastman manages to knock Simon off-balance, but just as he lunges in for a killing blow, Viral appears and kicks the beastman into the wall. Viral turns his attention to Simon and asks him if someone who has lost everything will still be able to save his own life. Simon asks him what he's getting at, and Viral tells him that Kamina was able to fight him equally without weapons. Successfully goading Simon into a fight, Viral finds that Simon hasn't lost his touch. Before their fight can progress too far, however, the rooster beastman regains consciousness and attacks Viral with his claws. Viral allows the beastman's claws to stab through his palm, and then grabs ahold of the beastman with the same hand and throws him back into the wall. To Simon's surprise, Viral's wounds heal almost instantly, revealing the extent of what Lordgenome did to him. The fight continues as Viral wonders if it's worth fighting someone so weak. Simon replies that he was just doing what he was supposed to do, causing Viral to sarcastically ask if losing everything was really his duty. It doesn't take long before the prison guards show up to break up the fight, which the prisoners immediately blame on Simon and Viral, causing them both to be shackled and moved to a secure wing. Elsewhere, Kittan attempts to make peace with his sister Kinon, who is overseeing the loading of the Arc-Gurren. Kittan tries to talk about old times with her, but begins to notice the large amount of live-stock being loaded into the ship. Meanwhile, on the bridge, Leeron and Gimbley successfully power up the ship's super spiral engine by connecting Lordgenome's head directly into the ship's systems. As Gimbley makes his way to Rossiu's office to make his report, Kittan ambushes him, throwing him up against the wall and asking him why Rossiu needs to load such a large amount of animals into the Arc-Gurren. Before Gimbley can be forced to answer, Rossiu himself appears and decides to tell Kittan the truth. According to Leeron's simulation, the moon will hit the surface with such force that the planet will be rendered uninhabitable for at least a year--not even those underground will survive. Kittan asks if they're really going to abandon all those in the underground shelters, causing Rossiu to regretfully admit that they do not have any choice. Kittan suggests that they use the Arc-Gurren to destroy the moon, but Rossiu reminds him that if they do that and fail then humanity will go extinct. Rossiu looks Kittan in the eye and asks him if he would really want to take responsibility for that. Rossiu declares that those who choose to fight can't be leaders--that responsibility falls on those who make decisions. Kittan is forced to agree, but tells Rossiu that despite that he can never accept it. 

 

Shaken by what he has learned, Kittan goes to visit Kiyoh and Anne, who are still in the hospital. Upon learning that they plan to stay there for a couple more days before moving to the Arc-Gurren, Kittan explodes, yelling that they've got to go as soon as possible--an outburst which causes the baby to start crying. Kittan retreats to the roof to talk to Dayakka, who has quit his job with the government in order to look after his family. Though he regrets leaving at such a bad time, his new baby takes priority. Kittan accepts this, and notes that the ever-growing moon now seems like a roof on the sky. Suddenly, in the distance, a portal opens up and a massive number of Mugann pour out of it and begin attacking the capital building. Leeron theorizes that they may have noticed the surge of spiral energy when they activated the Arc-Gurren. Grapearls are scrambled to meet the threat, but there are simply too many Mugann to deal with. The hospital is hit as Kittan and Dayakka help load survivors into a truck so they can make a break for the Arc-Gurren. Kittan notices a Mugann coming around the corner behind them, and tells Dayakka to take care of his sisters as he produces a shotgun loaded with spiral bullets. Kittan successfully buys his family the time they need to escape but is nearly vaporized when the Mugann fires on him. To Kittan's shock, Makken's Gunmen jumps out and blocks the beam and then destroys the Mugann with a modified spiral cannon. Reite appears shortly thereafter with a trailer carrying King Kittan and Dayakkaiser, both equipped spiral weaponry. Kittan had believed them destroyed, but Reite explains that a government official brought the destroyed parts to their hanger, where they reassembled and repaired them. Meanwhile, the Arc-Gurren launches and activates its energy shield to help protect the civilians as they board. From the bridge, Rossiu sees King Kittan back in action and is shocked to see how effective the old machine is against the Mugann. As they continue allowing survivors on board, Rossiu is informed that the energy shield will only last thirty minutes. Rossiu is forced to order the crew to finish loading as many people on board as possible in the next half-hour, at which point they will leave no matter how many people they're forced to abandon. Kittan boards the ship and asks Rossiu to give him the core drill, announcing that members of the Team Gurren really aren't fit for the government anyway--they have their own way of doing things. Rossiu tells him that what he's doing is useless, but Kittan doesn't care. After a moment's consideration, Rossiu turns over the core drill, saying that he once entrusted the future to it. With that, Kittan tells Kinon not to die, and leaves to find Simon. When the thirty minutes are up, Rossiu has the Arc-Gurren launch, stranding hundreds of survivors in the ruins of Kamina City. Simon and Viral find themselves left to die by the fleeing guards, watching the Arc-Gurren leave through barred windows. Simon smiles at this sight, noting with genuine happiness that Rossiu did it. Viral sourly remarks that it's boring to see Simon die like this, but Simon tells him that it's alright as long as others survive. Suddenly, Nia appears outside Simon's cell and tells him that Rossiu has actually abandoned a sizable portion of humanity, informing him that when the moon hits, everything on the planet will die--including those underground. And those who escape into space will find that all that awaits them is despair. Simon is taken aback by her words, but suddenly a sniper shot whizzes through Nia's hair. A familiar redhead with a large sniper rifle tells Nia that she's become a rather boring lady while she was gone... 

 

Commentary

 

With Rossiu's plan to save humanity falling apart, Simon and Viral's imminent jail break, and Kittan's re-establishment of the Team Gurren, it seems that this arc is being set up for its climax. Rossiu is nearly ready to fall apart under the pressure of being forced to leave so many people to die, to the point that he's willing to give the core drill to Kittan--something he would have never done a week ago. His compassion for his people is definitely genuine--it's just a shame that compassion didn't extend to Simon, who despite it all still believes in Rossiu as much as he did when they were flying Gurren-Lagann together. The real stars of this episode, however, were the supporting characters. Viral testing Simon in prison to see if Simon's spirit has been broken. Kittan re-discovering his purpose as a member of the Team Gurren. And Yoko's sudden reappearance and cliffhanger-ish showdown with Nia.

 

Overall Rating

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Gurren-Lagann Episode 20 Gurren-Lagann Episode 20

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