With the emergence of the gigantic Gunmen that is the Teppelin, the Gurren Lagann and its allies get out of the way of all the falling pieces. At her radar station, Kinon suddenly notices that there’s something that is just like the Gurren Lagann at the Teppelin, so Simon heads up through the clouds to investigate. He sees that there is a tower at the top of the Gunmen, and inside this tower is the Helix King. Simon immediately tries to go in for the kill with the Gurren Lagann’s drill, but the Teppelin uses its massive hand to stop him in his tracks and flicks him away like an insect. The Gurren Lagann is saved when the Dai-Gurren catches it, and with Simon back, Nia asks him to take her to her father so that she can talk with him. Rossiu thinks that it’s unreasonable because the Helix King won’t let them get close so easily, but Simon agrees to it. The others want to go too, but they end up having to stay behind to fight because the enemy has launched huge fleets of Gunmen to stop them. After getting Nia from the bridge, Simon and the Dai-Gurren spearhead the charge forward at the enemy, and they take the first chance they get to go straight for the Helix King.
To get the Gurren Lagann past the massive hand of the Teppelin, the Dai-Gurren crashes into it, blasts a path through with its weapons, then launches it’s pointed front part with the Gurren Lagann riding on it. The combination of all this allows the Gurren Lagann to pass through the massive hand and crash into the Helix King’s tower, but it also leaves the Dai-Gurren in very bad condition. As Simon heads for the Helix King, the rest of the crew ejects the main part of the Dai-Gurren with the bridge and explodes the other part, causing the destruction of Teppelin’s arm. Inside the tower, Simon’s first challenge comes in the form of Viral and the four-armed Enkidu. Unfortunately for Viral, the Gurren Lagann’s first punch breaks the Enkidu’s swords and the second drill-punch blows through it and knocks it across the room. What shocks Viral even more is that the Helix King says that the power given to him isn’t the power to triumph over men. Beastmen in general are no match for a human with the spiral power, and Viral wasn’t given his body that won’t die for fighting. Instead, the Helix King wants Viral to pass down the story of the Helix King’s victory for all eternity as a storyteller.
Nia then gets out the Gurren Lagann to speak with her father, and she questions why he pushed humanity underground and killed those who came up above. However, the Helix King declares that he’s the one protecting the world and is the guardian of the human race. He feels that the world he created is the only path of survival for humanity, and he can’t let them do as they please any longer, so he wants them to die for the sake of mankind. At the exact moment that he finishes saying this, a spike bursts from the ground aimed at Nia, and although the Gurren Lagann is able to deflect it, Nia goes flying off. The Helix King then boards the Razengann, which Rossiu recognizes is the same type as the Gurren Lagann. In the ensuing battle, the Razengann clearly has an upper hand in both speed and power, so Simon uses the Giga Drill Breaker attack. However, the Razengann catches the drill in its mouth and breaks it, and the Helix King has no trouble breaking free and counterattacking. Having been beat all over the place and speared to the wall, Rossiu has lost faith in their ability to win, but Simon tells him not to give up and says that they as the Gurren Brigade kick reason through impossibility.
Simon then borrows a line from Kamina and asks Rossiu to believe in him because he feels that they can still fight. With his drill punch, the Gurren Lagann is able to then break one of the Razengann’s arms, but the enemy Gunmen responds with a drill through the Gurren’s cockpit. It hits Rossiu’s shoulder, but he’s still able to pilot, so Simon proceeds to separate the Lagann from the Gurren. He attempts to drive the Lagann down into the Razengann, but instead of letting the Lagann take over, the Helix King blows up the Razengann’s other arm. Simon, however, refuses to lose and cites how everyone believes in him. He feels that the Simon that Kamina believed in and that he himself believes in will definitely not lose to the Helix King. Seeing the Lagann power up, the Helix King decides to also use all his power and changes the Razengann into one huge drill, but it is not enough to stop Nia and Simon’s fighting spirit from powering the Lagann’s drill through the Razengann. Refusing to give up, the Helix King gets out of his cockpit and starts beating up the Lagann with his own bare fists. Nia gets thrown out of the Lagann’s cockpit in the process, and she can only watch as the Helix King throws punch after punch at an already battered Simon.
Even with Nia saying that she believes in him with all her strength, Simon still can’t seem to win against the Helix King and lets the Lagann’s arms get broken off. As the Helix King picks him up to finish him off, Simon grabs the small drill that activates the Lagann and slams it into the Helix King’s chest. He then declares that he is Simon, the leader of the Great Gurren Brigade – Digger Simon. If the Helix King is the wall that stands in his way, he’ll always pierce through with a hole. With that, Simon turns his drill into the Helix’s King’s chest and creates a large explosion. Because he now has a gaping hole in his chest, the Helix King decides to tell Simon one last thing: when this ground fills with one million monkeys (in other words, humans), the moon will become a messenger from hell, and the helix star will be destroyed. Simon doesn’t understand what this means, but the Helix King just smiles and takes a fall backwards off the top of the tower. After seeing her father disappear and after saying goodbye to him, Nia declares that she’ll head towards tomorrow. The Teppelin then starts falling apart and the enemy Gunmen below stop moving. Simon’s allies all survived the battle, and they’re overjoyed when the Gurren Lagann returns. And thus, on the morning of the seventh day of the battle to capture Teppelin, the capital city fell.
It amazes me how they keep doing it, but this episode probably topped all the previous ones in terms of action and cool things happening, even, dare I say, the episode where Kamina dies. This felt so much like a finale with how Simon took down the Helix King and the OP didn’t play until the very end, but there are a lot of loose ends that signal something more to the story. The Helix King revealed a lot this episode, and if what he said about being the guardian of the human race is true, then you could interpret his final revelation to Simon to mean that he was trying to keep humanity’s population under one million with the Beastmen. In other words, the perpetual struggle between men and Beastmen ensured the survival of the human race from being wiped out by something even bigger from the moon. However, now that the Helix King is dead, there is likely nothing to stop the human population from reaching the one million mark, and that’s probably the direction the next arc of the story will head towards.
I also found it very interesting that Viral’s role changed from being antagonist to being storyteller, at least according to the Helix King. Granted, the Lord Genome wanted Viral to pass on the story of his own victory, but it would seem that, if Viral survived (there’s no reason to believe that he didn’t) and he ends up deciding to take that role, then he’ll likely become on observer for whatever events happen next. Thinking about this gives me an image of Viral ending the series after having told it as a story, but I doubt that’s what’s going to happen. On the flip side, I continue to be disappointed at the minor role that Yoko is now playing, but I guess the story really is more about Simon and Nia now.
Unfortunately, next week appears to be a recap, so episode 17 will be the one to start up the new arc with a new ED and maybe a new OP too. Hopefully, they’ll make the preview of next week’s episode extra long to make up for it a little.