As a victorious Kamina tells everyone of what happened during the previous battle, Yoko worries about Kamina being okay over the loss of his father. Simon feels that Kamina didn’t come to see his father, but rather he made himself stronger so that he could see his father. The next morning, Simon is seeing the newly outfitted Gurren when Yoko comes and asks Kamina to go hunting with her. She wants a ride from him, but she’s not very happy when he decides to bring Simon along too. At the hunting grounds, Yoko explains that her village used to be a weapons storehouse. She’s the best marksman in her village, so that’s why she gets her special rifle. When Yoko lets Kamina use it, he manages to down a flying creature, but when he goes to retrieve it, he finds a second arrow in it. He suddenly senses an arrow coming for him and dodges it just in time. The arrow is followed by a man attacking him from behind with a cleaver, but Kamina manages to avoid that too. The man introduces himself as Viral, the head of the Far East division of the Human Extermination Army. Kamina pulls out his sword as the two face off, though he’s kept on the defensive while Viral presses an attack.
Kamina finally responds by cutting Viral’s cheek with a hidden arrow. Viral is a little impressed and appears ready to finish Kamina off, but suddenly the Lagann jumps in between them. Yoko also starts sniping at Viral, so he makes an escape back to his own Ganmen, the Enki. Kamina boards the Gurren too, allowing him and Viral to restart their fight at the mecha level. Viral still retains the offensive edge and starts beating up on Kamina, so Yoko and Simon attempt to help. The Enki has no trouble stopping both of them, but this does get the Lagann onto the battlefield so that Kamina can initiate their Cannonball attack. Unfortunately, the Enki is easily able to kick it out of the way and then punches the Gurren into the same place that the Lagann landed. Viral then tries to then finish them both off with a powerful beam attack, but he notices that they’re gone and probably still alive. Since the sun is setting, Viral has to go for today, but he vows to finish this tomorrow. Simon had actually dug them out of trouble, and he later reveals that he was afraid and just wanted to run away. He worries about them dying and says that Kamina will end up like his father, but Kamina declares that Simon’s drill is for digging towards the heavens, not for running away. Having overheard this conversation, Yoko privately asks Kamina to let her pilot the Lagann instead of Simon. She thinks that he’ll run away again, but Kamina explains that he believes in Simon since they’re partners.
The next morning, Kamina is waiting for Viral’s arrival while Leeron is finding that Simon can’t start up the Lagann. Everyone else is backing up Kamina, including Yoko. Viral soon comes crashing in on the Enki, so the villagers open fire and manage to do a little damage before the Enki returns fire. The Gurren steps in, but the Enki trips it and kicks it away. It then blocks a shot from Yoko and continues beating up on the Gurren. Realizing that this is impossible, Simon calls for Kamina to stop, but Yoko makes him realize that Kamina is going to keep getting up until Simon joins him in battle. She succeeds in inspiring him to start up the Lagann and enter the battle right as Viral is about to finish off Kamina with another energy blast. Simon explains to Kamina that he’s still scared, but even more than that, he doesn’t want to let Kamina die. Kamina then declares, to everyone’s shock, that they’ll be combining, and he proceeds to stick the Lagann right into the top of the Gurren. This initially seems to accomplish nothing, but when the Enki fires another energy blast, the Lagann’s eyes light up and powers up the combination. The Gurren and the Lagann then fuse together to form a new, more powerful mecha.
Kamina and Simon are now able to fight Viral on equal terms, and in fact, they even seem to have a power advantage as they are able to break off the top of the Enki and reclaim it as their own helmet. Kamina dubs this new mecha the Gurren Lagann. Viral pulls out the Enki’s swords, but even those aren’t enough to stop the Gurren Lagann and its drill punch. He thus has no choice but to retreat after filling the area with the smoke of a missile barrage. Kamina wants to give chase, but Simon stops him because the Gurren is pretty damaged. Simon wants them to fight another day, and Kamina comments that it’s Simon saying things like that that will save him. In the aftermath, Yoko feels that Simon and Kamina will probably make good partners, and she apologizes for what she said to Simon before. Leeron manages to find something interesting: Gurren’s data has a return point inside its programs. They figure out that this could lead them to the enemy headquarters and decide to go for it. Before leaving, Kamina visits his father’s grave and says that he’ll be going ahead to see what lies beyond in his father’s place. He then puts on his father’s tattered red cape, and a scrap flies off that Simon ends up using as an armband. Kamina and Simon are thus ready to leave everyone behind, though Leeron insists on going with them as their mechanic. The leader of the village knows that Yoko wants to go too, so he gives her her stuff and tells her that she should walk her own path. With this, Yoko joins the others, and the four of them set out on their journey.
This was like 30 minutes of straight adrenaline. It’s a bit light on story, but absolutely great if you want to see a lot of well-animated, stylish action. The animation was incredibly impressive, as was the variety of music. There was even a great comedic moment when Kamina declared that they would gattai (combine) and then he just stuck the Lagann into the top of the Gurren….and nothing happened. Overall, Gainax continues to impress me with this series, and while I hope that they can keep it up, I certainly don’t expect them to deliver this kind of episode every week. Next time looks to be something lighter as they introduce some new characters.