With a solid fix on Nia’s engagement ring, the crew of the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren launches toward their final battle. They find themselves in a surprisingly colorful and crowded area of space and are shocked by the sight of a huge projection of Nia off in the distance. Recognizing Simon’s voice, Nia happily notes that he really did come for her. She warns Simon that the Anti-Spirals are more powerful than he thinks, but Simon tells her not to worry–they’ll win this battle and take her back to Earth. The projection suddenly fluctuates and Nia seems to be in pain. Lordgenome’s head informs them that Nia’s body is being analyzed for the information it contains about the human race. What he doesn’t understand, however, is why they need more data after all this time. In an attempt to reach Nia’s actual location, Simon tries the Spiral Recognition System again, but they wind up right back where they started. Lordgenome postulates that Nia’s projection is preventing them from locking on to the real Nia. Suddenly a voice which seems to permeate from all directions greets them. The crew is rather surprised by this, but Lordgenome reminds them that this is the universe that the Anti-Spirals created for themselves–of course they would have complete control of it. The voice warns them that their foolish acts will end here, as their glimmer of hope will disappear along with Nia. With that, two bizarre, planet-sized Anti-Spiral warships warp in. The Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren opens fire, but their barrage is easily shrugged off by the warship’s energy shield. Simon orders all Gunmen and Grapearl units to prepare to move out. On the hanger deck, Reite introduces Kittan and the others to their new, massive Gunmen (which will be piloted by themselves in their normal Gunmen, much like Gurren-Lagann and Arc Gurren-Lagann). Kittan is shocked that she could create such things in such a short span of time, but Reite explains that it was mostly the result of the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren’s impressive manufacturing abilities. As the Gunmen and Grapearls launch, the Anti-Spirals send out their own bizarre fighter units, which are shaped like hands and feet with faces all over them. Fortunately, the Team Dai-Gurren forces seem to be more than a match for the Anti-Spiral units, managing to quickly and painlessly clear a path for Arc Gurren-Lagann to strike at one of the Anti-Spiral warships directly. Unfortunately, the warship’s energy barrier over-powers Arc Gurren-Lagann’s drill, causing enough structural damage to force Simon to look for another tactic. Looking back at the impressive set of drills on the Hyper Galaxy Dai-Gurren, Simon is informed by Lordgenome that if he can transform the Hyper Galaxy Dai-Gurren into a humanoid form, the amount of Spiral energy it will unleash would rival that of a small universe. But in order to accomplish such a transformation, a huge amount of Spiral energy must be channeled directly into the core. Kittan tells Simon to head back to the ship, but Simon wonders if they’ll be alright with Arc Gurren-Lagann. Kittan responds by asking Simon who he thinks they are–the members of the Team Dai-Gurren would like a piece of the spotlight, too. Simon smiles and tells them he’ll be back soon with a huge drill.
Arc Gurren-Lagann is plugged into Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren’s core and begins building up the massive amount of Spiral energy required for the transformation. On the battlefield, Yoko begins to worry that these enemies are far weaker than they should be. Other brigade members are also starting to worry, and in response, an order is sent out for all units to re-group closer to the ship. As the Gunmen pull back, the Anti-Spiral units suddenly light up, and with an unexpected burst of speed and power, one Anti-Spiral unit manages to capture Zorthy’s Gunmen. Grapearls begin to fall by the dozens to the Anti-Spiral counterattack as Kidd and Iraak leave to rescue Zorthy. Before they can reach him, however, Zorthy’s Gunmen is crushed by the Anti-Spiral hand. Kidd and Iraak dive into the frey to avenge their fallen comrade just as one of the Anti-Spiral warships fires a volley of missiles at the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren. Almost half of the missiles make it through the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren’s defensive barrage, but are brought down in the nick of time by Yoko and Darry’s sharpshooting. Elsewhere, Kidd and Iraak finally run out of ammo and find themselves surrounded by Anti-Spiral units. Accepting their fate, Iraak radios Simon and tells him not to let a waiting woman cry. Weaponless, Kidd and Iraak rush their pursuers and go out in a blaze of glory. As the remaining Grapearl units return to the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren under Kittan’s watchful eye, Leeron detects a large missile warping in just off their bow. Yoko manages to intercept it just in the nick of time, but is thrown back towards the ship by the resulting explosion. A second missile warps in and is intercepted by Darry, who barely manages to bring it down in time. To Gimmy’s horror, Darry’s Grapearl is caught in the blast and crippled. Almost immediately, a third missile warps in on the other side, and all seems lost until Makken suddenly appears and dives straight into the missile with Moshogun’s sword, sacrificing himself to save the ship. Gimmy catches what remains of Darry’s Grapearl, but is immediately attacked by a large group of Anti-Spirals. Darry tells him to escape by himself, but Gimmy refuses, taking down several Anti-Spirals before losing his weapon to Anti-Spiral fire. Fortunately, Jorgun and Balinbow appear in their Twin-Boukun, destroying a large number of enemy units and grabbing both Grapearls before making a break for the ship. Knowing that Twin-Boukun won’t survive long with so many enemies chasing them, Jorgun and Balinbow toss Gimmy and Darry towards the ship, telling them that they must live on, for their sake as well. Jorgun and Balinbow turn to face their tormentors, and as Twin-Boukun is torn apart by enemy fire, the twins laugh… Simon finally manages to channel enough Spiral energy into Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren’s core, but just as he attempts to transform, a huge gravitational field appears and pulls the ship into a massive sea in the middle of deep space. The ship’s Spiral energy gage suddenly goes dead as Lordgenome realizes that they’ve played right into an Anti-Spiral trap.
The battle against the true Anti-Spirals hasn’t gotten off to a good start for the Team Dai-Gurren. While it’s not surprising that some supporting characters have started dying so close to the end of the series, I was surprised that they killed off six original members of the Team Dai-Gurren–every Gunmen pilot who didn’t have a large role got offed. While each of their deaths were well done, and befitting their characters, having so many of them die in such a short span deadened the impact a bit–they would have really benefited from a bit more build-up. Still, Jorgun and Balinbow’s death was easily the ‘best,’ how totally appropriate for them to go out laughing like maniacs just before Twin-Boukun explodes, taken out nearly the entire pursuing Anti-Spiral force with it. The animation in this episode was spectacular, and I loved seeing all the Gunmen given Arc Gurren-Lagann-sized versions of themselves (the new King Kittan is spectacular). It’s going to be difficult waiting another week to see how this cliffhanger plays out.