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Episode 3: Who Do You Think You Are, Having Two Faces!?

 

Review by Scott Richardson

July 29, 2007

 

Summary

 

As night falls, Kamina regales an eager crowd of villagers with the tale of how he and Simon captured a Gunmen and defeated two others with it. Simon avoids the spotlight, continuing work on Kamina's new Gurren. Yoko approaches him and asks him if Kamina is really okay after finding his father, whom he came to the surface to find, dead. Simon says he doesn't think Kamina came just to find his father--it was more that he was frustrated that he didn't go with him when he was little. The next morning, as Kamina and Simon admire the newly re-built Gurren (now sporting a pair of pointy shades not unlike Kamina's), Yoko approaches Kamina and asks him if he wants to go hunting with her. Kamina agrees but, to Yoko's disappointment, immediately has Simon join them. At the hunting grounds, Yoko explains that Littner Village was built around an ancient weapons warehouse. Eventually, poison gas started leaking out and they were forced to the surface. Ironically, the very weapons which caused them to have to live on the surface are the things which protect them from being killed off by the Gunmen. As she is the best marksman in the village, she was given their best sniper rifle, which is apparently more like a mini-rail gun, capable of accepting almost any kind of ammunition. She offers Kamina a chance to shot it, and he downs a flying raccoon-like creature on his first shot. Kamina descends from their hiding spot to collect his kill, but discovers a second arrow in the creature. Kamina just barely manages to avoid a shot meant for him and is suddenly attacked by a man wielding a large cleaver. Kamina successfully fends off this sneak attack, impressing his opponent, who stops to introduce himself as the commanding officer of the Far East Branch of the Human Eradication Army: Viral. Viral also informs Kamina of two important facts. First: any human that comes to the surface will be annihilated by the Human Eradication Army, and Second: the creature that Kamina is holding is his dinner. Kamina makes a mock-apology, but when he goes to hand over the seemingly dead creature, he squeezes its tail, causing it to regain consciousness and flip out, which temporarily draws Viral's attention. Viral assumes that Kamina is using the diversion to run away, but finds that Kamina has merely used it to draw his sword. Viral commends his courage before attacking with such ferocity and skill that all the untrained Kamina can do is fend off the worst attacks. Fortunately, before the tide can turn against him, Simon comes barreling between the two of them in Lagann, causing Viral to retreat back to his own large Gunmen, Enki. Simon takes Kamina to Gurren, but worries that their opponent this time isn't like the others. With his typical bravado, Kamina walks right up to Enki in Gurren and mocks him by wondering if it's Enki's two faces that makes this beastman so arrogant. Unfortunately, Kamina quickly finds himself wildly outmatched by Viral and Enki--even his and Simon's 'Perfect Soul of Men Cannonball Attack' proves completely ineffective. Enki knocks the both of them hard into a cliff and, having had his fun, fires a large beam attack to finish them off. When the dust clears, however, neither Gurren nor Lagann are anywhere to be seen. With the sun setting, Viral decides that he will finish them off tomorrow. To Yoko's relief, Gurren and Lagann emerge on the other side of the cliff, Lagann having drilled them and escape route at the last second. 

 

That night, Simon, tells Kamina that he wants to go back to their village--with people like Viral on the surface, they don't stand a chance, and Simon doesn't want to die, nor does he want to see Kamina die. With his usual swagger, Kamina tells Simon that his drill is for piercing the heavens, not for running away--tomorrow will be their decisive battle, so he'd better get some sleep. Kamina walks off and runs into Yoko, who asks him to let her pilot Lagann in Simon's place. She doesn't believe that Simon is the fighting type, whereas she is quite used to the battlefield. Kamina declines her offer, reminding her that Lagann belongs to Simon. Angry and worried about Kamina's safety, Yoko demands to know why Kamina believes in Simon so utterly. Kamina confusingly tells her that because he can believe in her, he can believe in him, and conversely, because he can believe in him, he can believe in her--that's what makes them partners. The next morning, Kamina eagerly awaits his opponent while sitting atop the Gurren. The Littner villagers come out to support him, having been extremely impressed by his previous exploits. Pleased with their spirit, Kamina offers to make them all members of the Team Gurren--which is a place where the souls of men gather. Back at the village entrance, Lagann refuses to move for Simon, and Leeron can't figure out why. At that moment, Viral's Enki comes streaking out of the sky, and lands near Kamina's position. Viral commends Kamina for waiting for him rather than simply running away. Kamina retorts by commending Viral for coming to meet him instead of running away himself. The villagers open fire on Enki, but can't even scratch Enki's armor. Viral turns to attack them, but Kamina blocks him in order to protect his new brigade members. Viral begins savagely beating Kamina and his Gurren, easily shrugging off all of Kamina's attempts at counterattack. Seeing this, Simon bemoans their situation as impossible. Yoko turns to him and tells him to watch what's going on out there--no matter how many times he gets knocked down, Kamina keeps on getting back up because he's certain that Simon will come out to back him up. Yoko reminds Simon that Kamina told Simon to believe in Kamina who believes in Simon. Yoko looks Simon in the eye and asks him what he's going to do. Viral tosses the badly beaten Gurren into a rocky outcropping and prepares to fire his beam weapon for the final blow. Just before he fires it, however, Simon and the Lagann pop out of the ground below and take a chunk out of Enki's helmet, which causes the beam to be deflected harmlessly into the sky. Simon tells Kamina that he's more scared than he's ever been--but watching his brother die is not something he's prepared to do. Recovering a bit, Kamina notes that that was very well said, and announces that the time has come for their final move! Simon isn't sure what Kamina is talking about, forcing him to announce that they're going to combine. Everyone reacts with surprise and excitement (except for Leeron who remarks that it'll never work). Kamina tells him not to knock it until they try it and with a flourish, plunges Lagann drill-first into the top of Gurren, resulting in... well, Lagann sitting uselessly in the shattered armor of the top of Gurren's head. Despite this ridiculous state of affairs, Kamina taunts Viral, telling him that now they have two heads, too! Feeling like he's being made fun of, Viral simply fires weapon at near point-blank range. But just as the beam is about to destroy them, Lagann powers up and deflects the beam, while reconfiguring Gurren to act as its body. United, the two machines form Gurren-Lagann. Viral, unable to believe what he's seeing, goes in for a punch, which Kamina immediately counters with a punch of his own, resulting in a cross-counter. Gurren-Lagann proves the more powerful of the two, however, and smashes Enki's top face, knocking its helmet off. Kamina grabs the helmet out of the air and puts it on top of Lagann, which causes it to suddenly gain Gurren-Lagann's color scheme, and asks all within earshot just who the hell they think he is. Undaunted, but extremely annoyed, Viral decides to use Enki's swords, which Kamina shatters with drills that pop out of Gurren-Lagann's fist. Realizing that he's lost, Viral launches all his remaining missiles to cover his escape. Kamina wants to chase him down, but Simon advises against it, reminding him that both himself and the Gurren are still pretty badly beaten up. Simon tells him that it isn't because he's scared, but so that they can win tomorrow. This calms Kamina down, who off-handedly remarks that that is the part of Simon that will save him. That night, Kamina is once again surrounded by villagers listening to his account of the fight, while Simon keeps to himself near Gurren-Lagann. Yoko approaches him and tells him that the two of them really do make a good team, and apologizes for the mean things she said earlier. Leeron interrupts them with news that he's discovered a return program in Gurren, which gives them the location of the enemy base. The next morning, Kamina visits his father's grave and tells him that he'll be going ahead now and takes his father's cape. He informs Dayakka, the Littner village leader, that he and Simon are leaving to find and destroy the beastmen base. Dayakka regrets not being able to go with them, noting that Kamina has really given the villagers something to look up to. Leeron invites himself along, noting that he feels that these two might just be able to make some changes, and being that he's the only one who knows how to repair the mechs, Kamina has little choice but to let him. As Yoko and the other villagers watch, Kamina, Simon, and Leeron wave goodbye and begin to walk off. Dayakka hands Yoko her sniper rifle and some supplies and tells her that she ought to follow her own path--the rest of them can take care of Littner. Without thinking twice, Yoko thanks them all and runs off to join Kamina and the others. 

 

Commentary

 

This is easily the best episode so far. Everything from Viral's introduction to the debut of the Gurren-Lagann itself is done with such awesome, over-the-top intensity that you just can't help but want to cheer the good guys on. Viral looks to be an awesome rival for Kamina and the Team Gurren, and Lagann's power to reconfigure equipment for itself should make for some pretty impressive situations in episodes to come. The comedic bits, like the 'grapeopotomus' and Gurren-Lagann's initial union, the great character interplay between Kamina and Simon, and the fluid and well-executed action scenes all make for one spectacular episode of a series that is shaping up to be one of the best mecha shows in the last five years.

 

Overall Rating

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Gurren-Lagann Episode 3 Gurren-Lagann Episode 3

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