Gurren Lagann – 21
With Yoko pointing a gun at her, Nia tells them to give up and says that mankind has no future as she disappears through a portal. As for where Yoko’s been all this time, it seems that around one year ago, she had arrived at a peaceful island town as the new teacher. On her first day, she had encountered a boy named Nakimu who had been bullied by the other boys, but she had suggested that he get up on his own instead of being helped up. As a teacher, Yoko went by the name of Yomako and had looked forward to taking care of the first children born on the surface of the planet rather than under it. She was feared by her students for her deadly chalk throwing ability, but they also loved her as their teacher. During one particular history lesson concerning six years ago, Nakimu had recognized Yoko’s picture in the textbook, so she threw a piece of chalk to quiet him. One day, Nakimu found that some of the other kids had drawn a love picture of him and a girl named Maosha on the chalkboard, and he had quickly tried to erase it as Yoko came into the classroom. Later that afternoon, Nakimu discovered that someone had put his school bag at the top of the tall tree in the schoolyard. Nakimu was in tears because that bag was a keepsake from his father, but he had decided to get it back on his own and started climbing the tree.
Nakimu reached the top soon after Yoko arrived on the scene, but when he realized just how high up he was and started screaming, Yoko ripped up her skirt and leapt up the tree to save him. At the top, Nakimu revealed that he hated being on the island without his father, but he felt that the view from the top of the tree was pretty. Yoko then told him of how she had seen a similar view some time ago with a boy similar to him. She had made a lot of friends after that, and they had faced the future and did their best, though there were people who died too. Yoko felt that it was fine as long as Nakimu kept his memories of his father, and she got him to admit that he didn’t hate his classmates. In truth, all the kids were quite impressed with what Nakimu did, and they all gather around him after he comes down with Yoko. A little while later, Yoko is reading through some papers when the television turns on with the broadcast of Nia and Simon’s conversation about the humanity eradication system. Yoko had watched Rossiu’s speech with the rest of her class the next day, and soon after, they had gotten ready to evacuate.
It was during this time that Maosha’s parents had come running to Yoko because their daughter had disappeared. The other kids had figured out that Maosha was hiding out at the top of the nearby lighthouse, but before Yoko could head there, two Gunmen appeared from the sea and took Maosha hostage. The Gunmen were piloted by two wanted beastmen, and when they started destroying the school and toppled the tall tree, Yoko got angry. Returning to her room, she took off her normal clothes, put on her battle gear, and then arrived back on the scene on her bike to save Maosha. Declaring that she’s a teacher, Yoko proceeded to teach the two criminals about not destroying buildings, not taking children as hostages, and not threatening people with power, all while she made quick work of their Gunmen with several well placed rifle shots. Afterwards, Yoko had gotten a message from Rossiu asking her to get onboard the Arc-Gurren because he believed that she was a person who should survive. Yoko wasn’t too happy with this and decided to head to Kamina City, but before she left, she told her students that she was still their teacher Yomako and vowed that she’d recover the deep blue sky that they loved.
Yoko arrived in the city in the middle of the heated battle between the Gunmen forces led by Kittan and the Mugan, and Kittan had told her where Simon was, so that’s why she’s here at the prison freeing him now. She feels that it’s the Gurren-dan that can somehow manage to get them through this tough situation, and Simon agrees. Simon also frees Viral and tells him that they’re going to save everyone on the planet by stopping the moon. When Viral wonders if Simon is serious, Simon says that he’s always serious and feels that Viral should know who he is. After Viral calls Simon the big idiot of the Gurren-dan, the three leave the prison and are greeted by Kittan and the others. With all the members of the group gathered, including Boota, Reite presents them with the Gurren Lagann and a rocket to lift the others into space. Seeing the Gurren Lagann up close, Viral comments on how it’s stubborn, just like Simon, and to his surprise, Simon invites him to pilot it. Since Simon feels that the Gurren’s cockpit is a VIP seat for Viral to see the fate of humanity, Viral agrees to do it. The entire group then blasts off into space where the Arc-Gurren has met up with tons of Mugan, including two huge ones. At the moment when the Arc-Gurren’s spiral energy is decreasing because all of the people onboard are becoming uneasy, and at the moment when Rossiu is wondering if this is his limit, Simon suddenly tells him not to give up. He reminds Rossiu that his drill is that which pierces through the heavens, and he decides to gattai with Viral – the fated union that twists the two paths of humans and beastmen into one spiral path.
I thought at first that this episode would be a little wasted in exploring Yoko’s past a year before current events and in interrupting the flow of the story, but it didn’t turn out to be like that since they really spared no expense making her look cool and kick ass. A lot of that might just be built-up excitement since Yoko has been absent from the series for so long, but it’s hard for me not to be excited because Yoko’s return also seems to mark the return of the Gurren-dan as it used to be – full of fighting spirit and epic-sounding speeches, as Simon and Viral demonstrated at the end of the episode. I just hope that this won’t be the only focus Yoko gets for the rest of the series, though it now seems all but guaranteed that we’ll at least see her returning to her students once this is all over.
As for Viral, him piloting the Gurren didn’t come as a huge surprise for me since he was probably the best candidate short of resurrecting Kamina. It feels like so long ago that I was thinking that Viral’s continued survival could make him the final boss, but when the bigger mutual enemy appeared, he logically became Simon’s ally. We’ll probably get to see next episode just how powerful the Gurren Lagann is now with both Viral and Simon instead of just Simon, and from the preview, it looks like they’ll be going after Nia. Rossiu also mentions the Arc-Gurren-Lagann in that preview, so it would appear that the Lagann will be joining with Arc-Gurren too.