Before Simon had arrived, the black Anti-Spiral figure had told Nia that she was merely a virtual being included in the Spirals’ genes that would awaken when they rose up in revolt. The fact that she was born to a Spiral warrior and loved by a Spiral warrior is just a coincidence. Despite this, Nia had kept faith that Simon would arrive, and soon enough, he does indeed appear through her ring with the Gurren Lagann. Along with him are all of his friends in drill-shaped pods, and the Anti-Spiral is dumbfounded at how they were able to escape the labyrinth of the multiverse. Simon doesn’t care about any of that since they’re the Dai Gurren-dan, and he and the others proceed to form the galactic-sized Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Still surprised that they made it here, the Anti-Spiral decides to fight them with a similar looking galactic-sized mecha whose purpose to give them absolute despair by winning. Lord Genome is the one who explains this, and he’s also gotten his body back temporarily because they are in a super-spiral universe. After a word of encouragement to Nia, he tells Viral that he’s no longer a king – he’s simply a warrior now, just like Viral.
The two galactic-sized mecha then charge towards each other and meet in a clash of the titans. Unfortunately, the Anti-Spiral has the upper hand and punches the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann into a nearby galaxy. Yoko tries to help by creating a huge version of her rifle and pounding the enemy with bullets, but the Anti-Spiral seems unfazed and declares that there is no chance for the Dai Gurren-dan to win since the Anti-Spirals rule this universe. Through her scope, Yoko notices and fires upon the spherical and shielded object resting on the head of the Anti-Spiral mecha. Nia identifies this as the Anti-Spiral homeworld. The Anti-Spiral then reveals their past, including how they started out as Spirals and how they destroyed those with the Spiral power and confined the remnants to a corner of the universe. Along with keeping themselves in an isolated space and sealing their evolution, the Anti-Spirals also kept their ugly appearance as a symbol of their determination. The Anti-Spiral now questions if the Spirals have the resolution to do the same to protect the universe, and as the battle continues, the Anti-Spiral yells that they don’t.
During all this, the Anti-Spiral mecha had destroyed the swords that Viral pulled out, and it slams the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann through several galaxies. The Anti-Spiral feels that the Spirals don’t have the determination, resolution, or sense since they drown themselves in their power – this is the Spirals’ limit, and it’s why the Anti-Spirals must destroy them. With the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann now losing spiral power fast, the crew worries about not being able to protect Earth, and, as if on cue, they suddenly see Earth in the distance. Cybela thinks that this is a distortion of space-time, and Leeron and Lord Genome theorize that this battle has interfered with the spiral transport system, creating a bypass. Amused to see the Dai Gurren-dan’s homeworld, the Anti-Spiral mecha reaches for it. On the planet’s surface, Kiyal, Kiyoh, Kinon, and Rossiu all see the giant figure looming, but right before it grabs the planet, Dayakka and Gabal use a spiral powered rope to grab the Anti-Spiral mecha and swing it around. Even Attenborough manages to get in some hits by unleashing a wave of probability variation missiles.
When the Anti-Spiral comments on how the Spirals are still struggling, Simon retorts that the tomorrow that they’re grabbing is not the one decided by the Anti-Spirals. He feels that they’ll choose their future from the boundless universe, and they’ll fight to the end to protect this universe, including stopping the Spiral Nemesis. The Anti-Spiral doesn’t think that Simon and company can do that, and in order to beat them, the Anti-Spiral forms a ball of energy out of two galaxies and launches an Infinity Big Bang attack. Things look bad for the crew as Spiral power drops throughout the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, but back on Earth, the population believes in how the Dai Gurren-dan won’t let things end like this. Indeed, Lord Genome tells Simon to leave things up to him, and from within the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann appears the Lazengann. Putting it into overload mode, Lord Genome is able to stop the oncoming energy blast, and he tells Nia not to grieve after she cries out his name. Having come here after his soul sank into a sea of despair and weariness, Lord Genome sees creating a spiral life tomorrow as his heart’s desire.
Nia’s body flickers as she agrees with her father, and it causes Simon to realize something. Seeing Simon’s shocked face, Nia reminds him that he came here to do what he must do. Simon knows that they have to win, and Lord Genome helps them out by turning the enemy attack into a giant drill when the Lazengann finally gets vaporized. In his final act, Lord Genome has the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann swallow this drill, giving it off-the-charts amounts of spiral power. The Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann now has enough energy to swing endlessly at the Anti-Spiral even if its arm drill breaks each time. The Anti-Spiral doesn’t understand where they got such power, so Simon declares that they’ve evolved from themselves from one minute ago. Each rotation moves them forward a little more – that’s what a drill does. The Anti-Spiral believes that this is the road to perdition and questions why they’re oblivious to the limit of the Spirals. Simon, however, feels that this limit is actually the Anti-Spiral’s own limit.
Simon then tells the Anti-Spiral to remember this: his drill opens a hole in the universe, and this hole becomes a path for the people who follow afterwards. The wishes of the fallen and the hopes of the people who follow after – these two desires are woven into a double helix, and it will dig up the path that leads to tomorrow. Saying that his drill is the drill that pierces the heavens, Simon charges the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann forward once more, and in the ensuing clash and explosion, the Chouginga Gurren Lagann jumps out. When the enemy stops it with tentacles, the Arc Gurren Lagann then jumps out, and when that too is stopped, the Gurren Lagann jumps out. Not quite able to make it all the way to the Anti-Spiral, Viral has the Gurren throw the Lagann, and this is what ultimately barrels through their enemy. The black Anti-Spiral figure realizes that this is the end, and his final words tell Simon to protect this universe. Back on Earth, the people cheer as they watch the grand explosion, and the space around them returns to its normal black color. Rossiu then radios Simon to inform him that they are being communicated with from across the galaxy by Spirals overjoyed with liberation, meaning that they have a lot of allies in this universe.
In the aftermath, Nia returns home where old Coco welcomes her back and gives her a dress. This is her wedding dress, and she and Simon soon get married in front of all their friends. After they kiss however, Yoko notices that Nia is disappearing. Simon was already aware, and he tells Nia that he won’t forget her, even if this universe is destroyed. Nia feels that it won’t be since that’s what everyone worked so hard for, and she finally says that she loves him. After Simon tells her that he loves her too, Nia completely disappears, and her ring falls to Yoko’s feet. Everyone is worried about Simon, but he’s okay with this because he knew defeating the Anti-Spirals would lead to this since Nia was a virtual being created by them. Gimmy thinks that they should use the Spiral power to bring her and all their dead friends back, however Yoko reminds him that Simon isn’t God. Agreeing that the dead are dead and that they shouldn’t be forcibly brought back, Simon hands Gimmy his core drill and leaves everything else in Rossiu’s hands. He feels that he’s just Digger Simon and that there’s someone more suitable out there to go through the hole that was dug. Putting on his Dai Gurren-dan coat, Simon catches Nia’s ring when Yoko throws it to him, and he walks off.
20 years later, Rossiu and Leeron are discussing the Galactic Spiral Peace Conference, and how the different Spirals have different ways of thinking. When Rossiu wonders how Simon is doing, Leeron reassures him that Simon is watching somewhere. Elsewhere on an island, Principal Yoko listens to a transmission from Nakimu as she waves goodbye to her current students. Nakimu has joined the Gulaparl Corps and is one of the pilots under Gimmy and Darry, the former of whom still has the core drill for the Gurren Lagann. They are headed for the Chouginga Dai Gurren – now under the command of Viral – and the ship will be leaving for deep space as a representative of Earth. That night, in a seaside town, a cloaked man finds a boy trying to drill into a coconut-like fruit and gives him some advice on how to do it. The boy is successful and very impressed by the man, causing the man to start to ask who the boy thinks he is, but he stops midway through the signature line because the boy isn’t paying attention anymore. Realizing that he’s no one now, the man watches as the boy cheers over the sight of the Gurren Lagann and the Gulaparls taking off into space in the distant sky. The boy dreams of going too, and the man describes how all the lights of heaven are all stars. This man is of course Simon, and Boota reminds him that these are the stars where their Spiral friends wait.
The bitter-sweetness of this ending due to Nia and Simon’s fates evoked a lot of emotion in me – if last week almost made me cry, this week definitely did. I had always thought that the two of them would die together or end up happy together. It always seemed like Simon and friends managed to find the way to succeed, particularly after setbacks, so it was a bit surprising to see them end on the loss of a character, even if it was under the happy wedding setting. It also seems unlike Simon to just resign himself to the loss of Nia and to a wanderer’s life (especially since he’s like a spitting image of Kamina in this shot). It’s as if he lost his own motivation to continue on as a leader of the people, though he still holds a lot of hope for the future generations. I wonder why they’re sending this kind of message at the end here after spending pretty much the entire series essentially saying that you can do anything by believing in yourself and trying your hardest. I guess you could argue that he had done what he had to do and left things up to those future generations.
I don’t want to sound too disappointed in this one regard though because I really did enjoy the ending overall. The battle was one of the best this series has to offer since it felt like it was in overdrive from the very beginning, due in part to the massive scale it was taking place on. I did think that using the opening song during the entire latter half of the battle was a bit unnecessary (I would have preferred the “fight the power” song instead), but that’s mainly because as soon as they started playing it, you knew that the good guys were gonna start winning. I also appreciated that the 20-years-after part offered a good deal of closure and ended on a relatively high note.
Final Thoughts: I originally approached this show with a great deal of skepticism, some of it due to the Sunday morning timeslot this was airing in. Looking back at it now, that sounds really naive since Gurren Lagann turned out to be my favorite series that started in this past spring season. The word “epic” gets tossed around a lot, but I really think that it’s applicable here. Not only was this show incredible from an animation quality point of view, the story just kept growing in scale until they were literally fighting for the fate of the entire universe. Add to that all the memorable characters and inspiring moments, and I have no problem calling this the must-see show of 2007.