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Episode 9: What, Exactly, is a Human?

 

Review by Scott Richardson

July 29, 2007

 

Summary

 

At the royal capital of Teppelin, Lordgenome meets with the remaining three of the Four Generals, who inform him that Thymilph has been killed and the Dai-Gunzan has been stolen. Cytomander the Swift berates the late Thymilph for negligence, while Guame the Steady is more interested in the fact that the humans have finally started to show their teeth. Cytomander requests that Lordgenome allow him the honor of taking back the Dai-Gunzan, but Adiane the Elegant steps forward and asks that she be given the assignment instead--she and Thymilph had a close friendship and she would like the opportunity to avenge him. Lordgenome, seemingly unconcerned with the entire matter, dismissively gives Adiane what she wants. Seven days after Kamina's death, the rain has yet to stop falling. The Dai-Gunzan, now called the Dai-Gurren at Yoko's insistence, has been adapted as the Team Dai-Gurren's base. Unfortunately, though they've been able to make use of the fortress' facilities to repair even the horribly damaged Gurren, they are still unable to figure out many of Dai-Gurren's systems. In order to drive off the relentless Gunmen patrols, Kittan has been selected to pilot Gurren so they keep Gurren-Lagann in their arsenal. But when they combine, Simon has been hogging the controls in order to recklessly and brutally annihilate their enemies. Kittan confronts Simon about his lack of teamwork, but a very detached Simon simply tells him that he never asked anyone to help him pilot Gurren-Lagann--it would probably be for the best if he just piloted it alone. An angry Kittan tells Simon that he needs to hurry up and come to terms with Kamina's death. Kiyoh tells Kittan he's said too much, and Kittan apologizes. Simon waves him off, flatly saying that since he killed Kamina, he has to become strong enough to do Kamina's share of the fighting. He begins to walk off, but stops next to Rossiu, and accusingly asks him why Rossiu's god didn't save Kamina. In a depressed rage, Simon sarcastically points out that it's because Rossiu's god turned out to be a Gunmen--just like the one that killed Kamina. Dayakka steps in, causing Simon to calm down a little and apologize before wandering off to his room to sleep. In the ship's mess, a few of the pilots wonder who's going to take over as leader. Kittan seems like the only logical choice, as Simon has struck them as completely undependable. If someone that irritating became leader, it'll mean the end of the Team Gurren. Yoko loudly sits down at their table and sharply reminds them that it's not the Team Gurren--it's the Team Dai-Gurren. The pilots scurry off, as Dayakka, obviously concerned about Yoko's state-of-mind sits down and tells her not to be too hard on her stomach. Yoko dismissively tells him that she needs the energy for more target practice--there are still plenty more enemies out there to fight. And thanks to Kamina, they have a place she can practice with her rifle and then go get a hot meal, even in the rain. Dayakka tells her that he's worried about Simon. Yoko pauses for a moment, and then recites the names of some of her comrades who died back when they were defending Littner. To stay alive, sacrifices have to be made, and the survivors must do their best in return. She's always tried to remain true to that, but this time it isn't working. Yoko holds back her tears and thinks to herself that though Kamina promised her something ten times better, her heart just cries ten times worse. The next day, more Gunmen are sighted heading towards the Dai-Gurren. Simon, already in Lagann, wants to unite with Gurren and go out alone, but Rossiu hops on board Gurren to help him out. Simon hurls Gurren-Lagann into battle with little regard for himself or Rossiu, mercilessly dismembering the enemy Gunmen until only one remains. Suddenly, the strain becomes too much, and Lagann's energy begins to overflow, seeping out of Gurren-Lagann's armor. Lagann forcefully separates and runs out-of-control, jumping into a ravine, leaving a stunned Rossiu and Gurren among the remains of their attackers. Kittan and Yoko finally arrive, but there is no sign of Lagann or Simon.

 

Simon regains consciousness and, getting Lagann back up and running, starts searching for a way out of the ravine. Eventually, he stumbles upon some sort of dumping ground filled with large, heavily sealed boxes. In the distance on top of the cliff, he sees a Gunmen throw a fresh box in with the rest and then walk off. Curious, Simon walks up to it and, seeing that its lock is shaped exactly like Lagann's ignition, uses his core-drill to open it. When the steam clears, he sees a beautiful young girl with cloud-like hair sleeping inside. Serenely, she regains consciousness and tells him that it is nice to meet him before asking him who he is. Rather stunned at this unlikely series of events, Simon is unable to answer. Realizing that she is outside, the girl looks around excitedly and happily wonders if this falling water is rain. She pulls herself out of the box and walks over to Simon to get a closer look. With a child-like sense of wonder, she notes that Simon is the same as her--no tail, fangs, or scales. Confused, Simon tells her of course he doesn't have any of those--he's human--a person. Curious, the girl asks him what is a person? Unsure of how to answer that one, Simon simply tells her that a person is someone shaped like they are. Excited at the prospect of other people, she asks if they all look exactly like Simon. The rain finally stops and the sun begins to shine, and the girl suddenly thinks to ask why she's here. Still not sure what to do with her, but sure they shouldn't stick around here too long, Simon offers her his shoes to cover her bare feet. She thanks him and introduces herself as Nia, and then asks what that big thing behind him is. Simon turns to find that the Gunmen he missed has found him. He grabs Nia's hand and runs back to Lagann while explaining to her that if people on the surface don't fight, they will be killed by the Gunmen. He tries to power Lagann back up, but Lagann quickly overloads again, spilling Simon and Nia back to the ground. Not knowing what else to do, Simon grabs his old hand drill and tells Nia that he'll somehow hold the Gunmen back while she escapes. Nia protests, but Simon says that he's sick of seeing people die--if someone has to die this time, it may as well be him. With a serious look on her face, Nia tells him that he must not die and tells him that there's nothing wrong with running. Fortunately, before the Gunmen can finish them off, Kittan and Yoko come to their rescue. The crew of the Dai-Gurren are rather surprised when Simon returns with his mysterious young companion. Nia is overwhelmed by all the different people she sees, and admits to them that she's never seen another person outside of her father--who always told her that the outside world was dangerous. She doesn't know where her home was, nor why she was packed in a box and thrown in a ravine. Dayakka thinks that her obviously over-protective father must be pretty worried about her, but Nia sadly tells him that she thinks she angered him--recently, she asked him why she was born and for some reason he became very upset. Down in the hanger, Simon tries to reason with Lagann, wondering if it finally gave up on him, too. In a fit of rage, he throws down his core drill and asks why he isn't even allowed to avenge his brother. Suddenly, alarms ring out as the Dai-Gurren is surrounded by a huge wall of water, despite being in the middle of a desert. A large ship with an impressive looking Gunmen burst out of the water and lands on the Dai-Gurren's deck. From her Gunmen, Adiane informs the humans that they won't be getting away this time, and smashes some of the deck guns. Rossiu prepares to go out in Gurren, but Simon is still unable to get Lagann running. To everyone's surprise, Nia suddenly runs out onto the deck, stops in front of Adiane's Gunmen and spreads her arms as if to stop its advance. In the name of Lordgenome Lordgenome's First Princess Nia, she orders Adiane to stop her attack.

 

Commentary

 

Kamina's death has certainly had a huge impact on this show, but it's the little touches that really get to you. The opening sequence, which originally showcased Simon, Kamina and Yoko, has been reworked to showcase Simon, Nia, Yoko and the members of the Team Dai-Gurren, completely removing any images of Kamina. While the episode titles used to be Kamina quotes, now they are Nia quotes, and are done in a bubbly pastel font rather than Kamina's sketchy, sharp, black and white font (fortunately, the ending sequence still features Kamina at the end of the line, looking towards the future). At any rate, we get our first look at Lordgenome and the rest of the Four Generals in this episode, and suddenly the world feels that much more threatening towards our remaining heroes. Obviously Simon and Yoko have taken Kamina's death the hardest, both throwing themselves into their work, but now that Lagann has rejected Simon, it looks like things are going to get worse for him before they get better. As for our new clover-eyed main character, Nia, I really hope she turns out to be more that just a cute face. 

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gurren-Lagann Episode 9 Gurren-Lagann Episode 9

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