Simon is passing the time laying on the deck looking up at the clouds when Nia comes over to talk to him. She tells him that, since everybody else has been working so hard, she’d like to find a job of her own. Not able to come up with anything off the top of his head, Simon tells her that since she’s a princess, all she has to do is relax and smile. Displeased with this suggestion, Nia reminds him that she’s not a princess anymore. Before Simon can come up with anything better, Yoko appears and yells at him for not having eaten anything since morning. After all, he’s the only one who can pilot Lagann and it won’t run if he’s hungry–eating is simply a part of a pilots job. Hearing this, Nia gets an idea and happily runs off. Later on, we find Rossiu in the infirmary in bad shape. Leeron can’t find anything specifically wrong with him and wonders if it’s just fatigue–it has to be pretty rough on him, piloting Gurren at such a young age. Later, in the mess hall, nearly the entire brigade is happily awaiting their first meal cooked by their new cook, Nia. Unfortunately, their good mood is ruined when an alarm sounds through the ship. Dai-Gurren’s sensors have picked up a battleship heading straight for them, but oddly, this one seems to be flying through the air, something Leeron isn’t sure how they can counter. Simon prepares to move out in Gurren-Lagann, and is surprised to find out that Yoko will be temporarily taking Rossiu’s place in Gurren. Despite her self-confidence, she pauses a moment in front of the cockpit, remembering Kamina. Sensing her discomfort, Boota leaves Simon to support Yoko. On the airborne aircraft carrier Dai-Gunten, Cytomander the Swift orders all units to move out and strike the Dai-Gurren. Unable to defend themselves effectively from an airborne assault, Dai-Gurren takes a pounding, losing most of its heavy gun turrets. Simon has Dayakka hurl Gurren-Lagann into the airborne enemy formations with Dai-Gurren, and shoots off thin drills into the enemy planes, ‘drill-slinging’ his way through their formation. One of the fighters transforms to avoid being hit, but Gurren-Lagann grapples it with four drills coming out of its back. Simon unites with the fighter, giving Gurren-Lagann flight capability. The brigade’s Gunmen finally figure out how to effectively fight off the bombers as Gurren-Lagann heads for the Dai-Gunten. However, Gurren-Lagann is suddenly knocked away by an unexpected attack from a flight-equipped Enkidu. Viral angrily rushes Gurren-Lagann, telling them that they have no idea how he feels after constantly losing his superiors to them and being forced to bow down over and over just to get another chance to fight them. Simon, still not used to high-speed aerial combat, is barely able to fend off Enkidu’s attacks. Yoko pops open Gurren’s cockpit and takes a couple shots at Enkidu with her rifle, but Viral simply slams into Gurren-Lagann, knocking Yoko out of her open cockpit. Simon puts Gurren-Lagann into a dive, and barely manages to reach her before they crash right into Dai-Gunten. Yoko regains consciousness in Dai-Gunten’s flight sphere room with a worried Simon hovering over her. Enkidu lands nearby and seeing the two of them, asks why he’s fighting against a kid and a woman and angrily orders them to tell him where Kamina is.
Simon tells Viral that Kamina died after the battle against Thymilph. Viral can hardly believe it, and is even more shocked that he’s been losing to a child ever since. He allows Simon to move a bruised and battered, but otherwise okay, Yoko off to the side before they resume their duel. Yoko tells him it’s too dangerous to go alone, but Simon smiles and tells her that he’ll protect her. Simon returns to Gurren-Lagann and walks toward Enkidu, who explains that he just didn’t want to hear anything about losing due to an injured pilot. The engine room suffers quite a bit of collateral damage during their fight, which definitely does not endear Viral to Cytomander. As explosions start to rip across the Dai-Gunten, Kittan tells the bridge crew that this is their chance, but Leeron tells him that they’re almost out of ammunition and they’re running low on power. Kittan angrily argues that they have to do something–they can’t just sit there and watch while Simon is doing all the work. Suddenly, Leeron declares that he has an idea and calls down to the engine room ordering all power to be diverted to the engines. Back on the Dai-Gunten, Simon proves to be more than an even match for Viral, who becomes more and more angry at his inability to defeat a stupid kid. As Yoko looks on, she realizes that Simon really can fight on his own now. Suddenly, Cytomander’s personal Gunmen, Shuzack, bursts through the floor and pins Yoko to the wall with its claws. Cytomander tells Gurren-Lagann to stand down or he’ll kill the woman and then tells Viral to stop playing around and finish him. Conflicted, Viral pulls out his axe to finish off Simon, who calls him a coward–after all that talk, is he really going to settling things like this? After a moment of indecision, Viral sheathes his axes and stands down, telling an infuriated Cytomander that he cannot settle his fight against this human in this manner. Meanwhile, Leeron sets his plan in to motion, overheating the engines in order for a massive burst of temporary speed. Dai-Gurren sprints through a group of Gunmen and tramples up a nearby mountain just in front of the Dai-Gunten. Leaping off the mountain’s peak, the massive battleship swings out its leg in order to land a massive kick on Dai-Gunten. Unfortunately, the beastmen operators see them coming and, in a panic, evade the worst of the kick. But the Dai-Gurren’s helmsmen spins the massive ship around, landing a devastating kick right through the ship’s mid-section, dislodging one of its flight spheres, which Dai-Gurren grabs ahold of and uses to float safely down to earth. The resulting explosion knocks Shuzack of its feet, allowing Gurren-Lagann to swoop in and grab Yoko before making its escape. Enkidu steps in to save Shuzack, but Cytomander warns him that he will not get away with his insubordination. With Dai-Gunten nearly crippled, Cytomander has no choice but to order their retreat from the battlefield. Gurren-Lagann lands nearby and Simon exits his cockpit to make sure that Yoko is alright. As he watches Dai-Gunten limp off, Yoko, filled with a newfound respect for him, tells him that she was in love with Kamina. Simon smiles and tells her that he knew. Later, Yoko checks into the infirmary with only minor injuries. Despite her assurances that she’s fine, Nia brings up some flowers for her. Simon’s stomach suddenly growls and Nia drags him off to partake of the meal she promised him earlier. After they leave, Rossiu finally wakes up and tears off for the toilet. When he makes it back, he tells Yoko and Leeron that yesterday, Nia was practicing cooking and asked him to try some for her. Rossiu relates that the taste was not of this world, but unwilling to hurt Nia’s feelings, he ate everything she put in front of him. Worried, Yoko and Leeron hope the rest of the brigade is going to be alright. Down in the mess hall, the brave members of the Team Dai-Gurren force themselves to eat Nia’s bizarre cooking, pausing to gape in wonder and Simon, who can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. Back at Teppelin, Cytomander brings Viral before Lordgenome as his excuse for losing and suggests the death penalty for Viral’s insubordination. Before Lordgenome can pass judgment however, Viral requests that he be allowed to ask one question first–are the humans really inferior to beastmen? Amused by Viral’s question, Lordgenome tells Cytomander to leave. He leads Viral to some sort of laboratory filled with failed beastmen and explains that in order to properly form beastmen, they have to be put in a deep sleep close to death in order to allow the cells to split and regenerate. What he sees here is what happens when they wake up too early. Viral asks him why he looks more like a human if he’s the one who created the beastmen. Lordgenome displays his red core drill and asks Viral if he really wants to know just what the humans are?
Viral always struck me as the kind of awesome bad guy who eventually joins up with the good guys for one reason or another, and considering that he honorably put away his weapon rather than using a hostage to finish off Gurren-Lagann, it seems pretty much inevitable that he’ll be joining the Team Dai-Gurren eventually. I can’t wait–Viral is such a fun character that it kind of sucks to see him lose all the time. It also seems that Lordgenome is a human who created the beastmen via some sort of genetic engineering, though why he drove humanity underground is still a mystery. Him showing off his own core drill isn’t really a surprise, considering that Nia’s box was opened via Simon’s core drill. It was kind of interesting to see Yoko pilot Gurren in this episode (although, considering Simon’s performance without her, you’ve got to wonder why they really need a second pilot for Gurren-Lagann at all). It’s also nice to see her accepting the fact that Simon has really changed since they first met. And finally, this episode features probably the most awesomely over-the-top battle yet, with the Dai-Gurren jumping off of a mountain to physically kick an air fortress. I can’t really imagine how they’ll top that one.