With Adiane’s apparent failure, Guame wants to be sent to dealt with the Daigurren next because he’s interested in the Lagann. At that moment, however, the Lagann is lying in a garbage heap on the Daigurren because Simon can’t use it. Yoko tells Nia that Simon can’t see his own troubles, so doesn’t have a place where he belongs. She feels that they can’t pamper him because he has to recover on his own or else it’s meaningless. Nia goes and finds Simon alone in a room making sculptures of Kamina with his drill, allowing her to understand how much Simon loved Kamina. Simon feels that he doesn’t have any redeeming abilities except in digging holes and remembers how he was derided by his old village. Kamina had been the sole person to not make fun of him, and Simon remembers Kamina’s strength and kindness. He wanted to become a man like Kamina, but he feels now that it’s impossible for him to do so.
Back on the bridge, the crew gets a distress call from a group of girls representing a human village supposedly under Gunmen attack. Although almost everyone suspects that something is suspicious, Kittan thinks that they should go save the village immediately and shuts the others up by saying that Kamina wouldn’t hesitate if he were here. The Daigurren thus starts marching for the village and finds five enemy Gunmen there. After blasting those Gunmen and making them retreat, the group is greeted by a flock of beautiful village girls. They allow the girls onboard to thank them, but when Kittan asks about how there seems to be no men, a bunch of beastmen armed with guns suddenly appear and completely take over the Daigurren. As Leeron and the others had suspected, it was a trap, and Guame is the culprit. One of the beastmen’s goals is Nia, who willingly goes to see Guame as long as they don’t harm Simon. As she leaves, she tells a frightened Simon that he is not Kamina and that she feels he’s fine as himself.
After locking the rest of the crew up until their public execution, Guame meets with Nia and confirms that what Adiane about eliminating her was true. Guame then explains that the Helix King has an eternal life and can create children for entertainment. When he gets tired of them, he throws them away like a doll. Guame knows that Nia asked her father why she was born and reveals that the Helix King hates people having a sense of self, especially since it’s unnecessary for a doll. That being said, Guame thinks that Nia is too beautiful to kill and suggests making her the head of this village so that she can teach the girls here some etiquette before they are sent to the king. Nia thinks that the girls will also be treated as dolls, and when Guame confirms that Helix King will throw them away when he gets tired of them just like he did to Nia, she slaps him. The rest of the team meanwhile is trying to break out of their prison by using their bodies in a brute force way, but they soon become exhausted and beat up.
Despite everyone else’s doom and gloom, Simon alone continues to dig with his tiny drill. This reminds Yoko of how Kamina once told her that it was Simon who always saved him – it was always Simon who didn’t give up until the end. Back then, Kamina had admitted to not being confident and feeling that he was headed in the wrong direction. He had been impatient and had questioned why he didn’t go with his father. Kamina had explained to Yoko that during the incident when he got stuck underground with Simon, he had been bluffing because there was nothing else he could do. Simon was the one who continued digging silently, and Kamina had only supported him with the bravado. It had been luck that saved them, but Kamina had started to believe in this luck and Simon who had drew on it. Thus, whenever Kamina felt discouraged or lacked confidence, he remembered the back of Simon who kept steadily digging, and all of this became part of why he gave Simon the speech about believing in himself. Just as Simon is now remembering those words, his digging finally pays off because his drill starts glowing and the Lagann suddenly bursts through the rock in front of him.
On the bridge of the Daigurren, Nia suggests that Guame is afraid of Simon, but Guame doesn’t even know who that is, so Nia explains that Simon is the person who first helped and who’s always protected her. Realizing that Simon must be the pilot of the Lagann, Guame decides to execute Simon first, much to Nia’s horror. Guame also decides to kill Nia right there because she won’t accept his offer to work for him, but Nia doesn’t think that she’ll die because she believes in Simon just like he believed in Kamina. Fortunately for Nia, old man Coco saves her by knocking Guame’s gun to the side right as he fires a shot. Before Guame can get a hold of what’s going on, the ground starts shaking, and the Lagann emerges from the below the bridge. Nia is in tears because Simon came to save her, and the two blast off into the sky above where Simon tells her that he understands now thanks to the Lagann. Seeing that Simon’s hands are so bruised, Nia gets him to let her take the controls, and the two work together.
Guame meanwhile escapes to his Gunmen called the Genber, and his first opponent is Rossiu in the Gurren. Rossiu, however, stands no chance against Guame by himself, and so the Gurren almost gets eaten by the Genber. Fortunately, the Lagann comes back down with Simon wanting to combine, and they form the Gurren Lagann. Emerging from the cockpit, Simon announces that although Kamina is dead, he lives on as one with Simon inside his chest and back. Simon then declares that he can dig a hole to pierce the heavens, even if that hole is his grave, and if he pierces through then it will be his victory. He feels that he is himself – not Kamina’s brother – Digger Simon. With that, the Gurren Lagann frees itself from the Genber’s mouth, but the Genber responds by trying to crush the Gurren Lagann with an arm full of spikes. Simon, however, manages to break free again and initiates the Giga Drill Breaker attack, completely destroying the Genber. After Guame, who manages to survive, retreats, Nia tells Simon that there’s somewhere she wants him to take her.
That place is the ravine that’s filled with boxes of what Nia now knows contain thrown away princesses. She wants to bury all of them in a bright place, and after everyone helps her do so, Nia admits that her father was everything in the world to her – that’s why she wanted to believe him until the end. As she once again wonders why they were born, Simon gives her a gem that he found while digging earlier. He feels that regardless of her birth and being a princess, the Nia living now is the real Nia, so it’s fine for her to live as herself, and he’ll live as himself too. Kittan agrees with this and gives Simon the position of leader since he was the one Kamina chose. And now that they know the location of the capital, they head straight for there.
It seems like it’s been a long time coming, but it really took Simon only two and a half episodes to get out of his rut and gain that coolness factor that Kamina had. It was nice though to hear Kamina’s voice again one more time, and they paced it so that his flashback speech was the start of this comeback. The fact that Simon was able to pull off the Giga Drill Breaker attack would seem to mean that he has now succeeded Kamina and can now become more than Kamina was. It also probably means that they can now proceed with the series without having to mention Kamina at every turn.
This episode also made me wonder if there was something more to the old man Coco than meets the eye. This hasn’t been the first time he’s helped out, and his mysterious way of appearing at the right moment makes me think that he could be someone special (in other words, more than just an old man they picked up along the way). Maybe he could be related by blood to one of the main characters or something, though of course he could just be the deus ex machina character used to help out in a pinch.
Thinking about it, I’m kind of impressed that we’re at episode 11 and the group is already making their way towards the capital. If this arc ends with them at the capital, then it might not be too far off that we get to see a scene similar to the opening of the first episode that appeared to be in space. Next week, however, looks to be the beach episode and the return of Adiane and Viral.
Incidentally, the insert song this week was Nakagawa Shouko’s happily ever after, and she actually did some Yoko cosplay too.