With the volcanoes erupting in the distance, Simon is having trouble sleeping in the Lagann when Yoko brings him something to drink. Remembering all the times that Yoko’s been nice to him, Simon starts to tell her something, but never finishes his sentence because of an explosion in the distance. When Yoko explains to him about the volcanoes, Simon thinks that they’re the same as Kamina in how both flared up from within the earth. Yoko suddenly gets serious as if she had something to say to him, but she changes her mind and tells Simon that it’s nothing. After paying a visit to Leeron and checking out her gun, Yoko brings Kamina a drink. With Yoko standing behind him, Kamina asks her to watch his back in the upcoming battle, and Yoko agrees. She then says his name, and when he turns around, she kisses him. Yoko feels that he really is defenseless from behind, and Kamina embraces her and kisses her back. Kamina then promises to return it to her tenfold if he comes back. Unfortunately, Simon saw everything and runs back to the Lagann in tears. He tells himself that this has nothing to do with him, but he can’t get Yoko out of his thoughts. Kamina finds him curled up inside the Lagann and, not knowing that Simon saw everything, tells him not to worry, encouraging him.
The plan of attack is for Kamina and the others to engage the enemy while Simon tries to combine with the Daiganzan and take it over. The entire force soon sets out with Yoko taking a seat on top of one of the Ganmen. Viral and the other Beastmen are waiting for them, and the battle begins with the Kamina’s force throwing large rocks to crush the enemy. Neither side seems to be winning, and the Daiganzan soon joins in. While he fights Kamina, Viral suddenly notices that the Lagann is missing from the battle. Kamina uses this moment to call out Simon, and the Lagann burrows out of the earth directly above the Daiganzan. Simon digs right into the control room of the huge Ganmen and starts to take it over, but he can’t completely combine with it, so the Daiganzan continues firing its weapons. Rossiu realizes that it has to do with Simon’s state of mind, and the reason Simon isn’t in control is because he still has Yoko’s kiss with Kamina on his mind. Rushing to help, Kamina haphazardly jumps onto the Daiganzan and somehow tumbles onto the Lagann. When Simon opens the cockpit, Kamina punches him. He feels that if Simon gets lost, he’ll be there to punch Simon, so Simon doesn’t need to worry because Kamina will be with him. Simon should believe in himself, the same self that Kamina believes in.
This speech inspires Simon to fully power up the Lagann, and all seems to be well until a blast suddenly erupts under the Gurren right as Kamina returns to its cockpit. From the Daiganzan emerges a new Ganmen with Thymilph as its pilot, and both Thymilph and Viral proceed to tear apart the Gurren. Kamina gets heavily injured and screams in agony as Thymilph spears him from behind. Everyone is shocked at what just happened, and Simon screams for Kamina as the Daiganzan starts running wild. The others try to get him to stop it, but Simon is in the Lagann’s dark cockpit thinking about how it’s useless because he can’t do anything anymore. To Simon’s surprise, Kamina is still alive and throws one of the Gurren’s arms at the Lagann. In an inspiring speech, Kamina reminds Simon that his is a drill that will pierce through heaven and earth and tomorrow. Kamina feels that Simon shouldn’t be hesitating because they’ve won and the huge Ganmen is Simon’s now. Fired up again, Simon is able to control the Daiganzan completely. Unfortunately, they still have Thymilph to deal with, so Kamina wants to combine into the Gurren-Lagann once more.
Jumping off the Daiganzan, the Lagann combines with the Gurren and instantly repairs all of the Gurren’s damaged parts. With their fighting spirit all the way up, Simon and Kamina make quick work of the enemy Ganmen in one multi-directional piercing drill attack. The only one remaining is Thymilph, and the Gurren Lagann is able to stop an incoming blast with its bare hands. It is at this moment that Kamina tells Simon not to forget to believe in himself – not in the himself that believes in Kamina and not in Kamina that believes in him, but in the himself that he believes in. Kamina then throws the Gurren Lagann’s sunglasses that split in two and pin Thymilph’s Ganmen in the air. He follows this up by summoning forth a gargantuan drill and initiating the Giga-Drill Breaker attack to completely annihilate Thymilph and his Ganmen. With the battle over however, Kamina smiles one last time and says good-bye to his friends. Simon calls out to him, but Kamina never responds back. In the aftermath, rain pours down as everyone enters a state of shock over the death of Kamina. Simon recalls that on that day, they lost someone irreplaceable.
It’s official, Gurren Lagann is now my favorite show this season. With a few exceptions, these episodes have consistently gotten better and better, and I really love how the characters and story have developed. I had suspected that Kamina might die this episode after the preview from last week, but the episode still went far above and beyond anything I expected. In almost every regard, whether it was the music or animation or all of Kamina’s inspiring speeches, this had the same quality level that I often see in final episodes, and this is only episode eight. Simply put, this was amazing. I haven’t been this excited about a show since CODE GEASS ended, and that’s saying a lot because of how highly I thought of GEASS.
As I was watching the episode, I got a bad feeling when Yoko kissed Kamina. Their relationship had been developing gradually, but it seemed a bit too early for them to be kissing unless something was going to happen to Kamina. ‘Lo and behold, something did. With Kamina now gone, I’m very curious what direction the show will take. To me, Kamina was the crux of it all, and I’m not sure where we’ll be without him. I imagine this will be particularly hard on Yoko since she had just started a relationship with him and since she had said that she’d watch his back. I have no idea how there can be a happy ending for her, but there’s so many episodes left that anything can happen. Simon will also get hit pretty hard, but the preview shows that he might get to know a new girl named Nia next week. She looks to be about Simon’s size, so perhaps there’s a potential relationship with her in store for him (as opposed to a YokoXSimon mismatch). There’s also the question of who will pilot the Gurren now – maybe Rossiu or Yoko?
Regardless of what happens, my feelings right now reflect Simon’s last line in the episode, “On that day, we lost someone irreplaceable.”