Part 22: All High An' Mighty With Your Two Faces!
I upgraded Lagann and gave Simon EN Save for reasons that will shortly become clear. As usual, Chain Actions would be nice but a little cheaty. He doesn't really need any Will+. Additional SP would be useful. Topping up his Prevail would be fun, but that's not competing for a slot. Thoughts?
As the Ptolemaios flies over the Dark Continent, Leeron marvels at the variety of mecha it houses. But the beastmens' Ganmen are also strong in a way belied by their comical look, and Leeron admits to Ian and Tetsuo that they've lost comrades to the hunt. Why do they slaughter humans so?
Ian has a more chilling question: now that the Dark Continent is unisolated, what's stopping the beastmen from attacking other parts of the world? In fact, wouldn't they, if they want to exterminate humanity? These are important issues for the exploration team to look into.
Anyway, Leeron came to the hangar to ask his (her?) fellow mechanics for help with Kamina's request - to combine the salvage from the defeated enemy Ganmen of yesterday's battle into a new machine. He wants to be out there fighting alongside Simon! For all Leeron has seen Litna struggle to survive against the beastmen, no one thought to use the enemy's power against them until Kamina. "Oh, Kamina... he may have the power to change the world," s/he murmurs. Have we heard something like that before?
Meanwhile, Yoko is leading some of the pilots on a scouting team to find the beastmen's leader, but Ryoma and Kamina seem to be having a staring contest instead. They've been growling at each other for over ten minutes with no end in sight. Hayato and Musashi assure the others that it's just a couple of manly men sizing each other up - "It's pretty much how Ryoma says hello," quips Hayato.
Kouji is still worried that it could come to real blows, but Ryoma's partners shrug it off. Any well-meaning interference will just piss Ryoma off, anyway, and Hayato figures Ryoma could break Takeru, psychic powers or no.
In contrast to Kamina's intensity, Simon is trying to stay cool and apologizes for his big bro's behavior. Takeru even declares that we'll protect Simon, who seems straight-up glad he won't have to wade into the fight.
Meanwhile, the pseudo-fight is heating up. Lockon invites Crowe to stop the two, and offers up a wager - 20 G if Crowe can hack it. Aoi puts 5 G on Crowe getting smacked, and Aoyama kicks it up to 10 G. Kinoshita has 10 on Crowe's side. Crowe refuses to bet anything himself. He refuses to make money on gambling. Another principle. Even so, Lockon promises Crowe half his winnings. Setsuna and Tieria pointedly excuse themselves as Crowe gears up.
Who the hell do you think I am, anyway?
No clue. I don't hang out with monkeys.
Then crack open your ears and listen up!
The Gurren Gang is feared through all of Jeeha! And this is the unbeatable, immortal Chief Badass with the roaring manly spirit - His Awesomeness Kamina!
Carve my name into your memory. I'm Ryoma Nagare, and no one crosses my path and leaves in one piece!
Crowe not-so-smoothly interrupts and tries to talk them down from a straight fight to a contest, like... digging? Yoko has a much better idea - they'll compete by hunting by a nearby watering hole. Most bodies brought back wins. Everyone's happy, right?
Kamina thinks Ryoma's useless outside his robot (ha!) and takes it up. Ryoma's eager to prove his strength. Let the game begin! Kamina grabs Simon to help. Ryoma picks his own partner, someone "on the same level" as little Simon -
Once they leave, Yoko claims half of Crowe's earnings, which are half of Lockon's. Sure, she can't actually use the G, but she'll trade it back for ammo and medicine. Crowe mutters that this isn't helping him trust women any more...
Simon asks why Kamina is fighting with such nice people. Kamina knows they're good folk too, but he still has to test his strength against Ryoma. It's a man's way.
Then Kamina hears a target and scores a bulls-eye on it, only to find it stuck with two arrows - and the owner of the other arrow is right there!
The toothy man pulls a sword on Kamina and introduces himself as the Human Extermination Corps, East Division Captain Viral. He says he has two pieces of news for Kamina. First, that his job is to eliminate any human he finds on the surface. And second, he's taking that kill for his own dinner!
Kamina draws his own sword in response, and the two fight. Bragging about his training, Viral overpowers Kamina.
But Yoko steps in with cover fire!
Then Ryoma leaps into the fray and challenges Viral himself. To Kamina's fury, Viral runs away, grinning to himself that he'll crush them all. "You're all right with a sword, human! But how about with a robot?"
Now it's time for us to move, but Kamina wants to handle Viral himself, Ganmen or no. He's going to get his own Ganmen, Gurren!
Chapter 11: All High An' Mighty With Your Two Faces!
(Dark Continent route)
The vote universally rejected Aphrodite A. Second place loser was the Shuttle.
After deployment, Viral brings out his own army of Ganmen as well as his own custom model, Enki. Just as Ian predicted, he doesn't care where we came from. We're humans and his job is to destroy us.
Kamina rolls out in his finished mecha. He's all ready to challenge Viral, but...
The machine won't move! Simon even had to push him out of the Ptolemy manually. Kamina is confident that he can just make the thing move with sheer willpower, but the rest of us aren't waiting around - and more importantly, neither are the beastmen.
The win condition is to defeat Viral's Enki. The SR Point is to "clear the map within four turns," but the map doesn't actually end with Viral...
Kamina's Gurren really can't move. All we can do is see its stats.
Spiral Power L1
Hit (10 EN)
Gurren Boomerang (15 EN)
Glassun Cutter (20 EN)
Ace Bonus: Will maximum raised by +30.
Not gonna lie. Gurren would be underwhelming even if it could move. It's already got a Trait that lets it combine with some other robot, but...
Anyway, I'll go over this again later, but robot aside, Kamina is really really good. Yes, his Ace Bonus stacks with Break Will Limit, letting him hit 200 Will without breaking a sweat. He has strong Skills, really good stats, and falls short only in his Spiral Power rank (and Gurren doesn't have a Spiral Drive). He's a legit piloting savant.
Oh well. We'll come back to him later.
Viral's Enki is... actually kind of underwhelming. He's a little higher level, but only a little.
At least stats are really solid and he has a lot of skills. Will+ (Hit) and Morale to ramp up his Will and Guard so that when he reaches the magic 130, he takes less damage.
His drop, a Vernier Unit, adds one square of movement to the equipped machine. Sounds like it's going to Dai-Guard.
Akagi learned Invincible.
After the second kill, stuff happens!
Viral chuckles to himself, and Chris reports the signs of a Ganmen - near the Gurren!
It's an ambush!
Yoko pushes Simon out of the way, intending to take the Lagann out to help, since Simon's a terrible fighter. But Kamina barks at her to stay away from it. It's Simon's!
How can you say that? How can you trust him so much?
That's not the point!
Then what is it!
You're no different. I trust him because I trust you. I can trust you because I can trust him.
As far as I'm concerned, you and he are the same. You're both my partners!
Woooah! Here I come, bro!
Simon deploys and declares that he'll defend Kamina!
But the attack doesn't let up, and Ryoma chews out Kamina for being shown up by his own little bro.
And that's just the kick Kamina needed to get his shit together. With a who the hell do you think I am kick and a stay away from my little bro punch, he cleans up the Ganmen.
Ha. You always get me out of jams, Simon. Thanks!
Me? How could I?
I'm back, suckers! Let's kick these guys out together!
Viral is realizing that those two aren't like all the other humans after all...
Both Simon and Kamina are key units now.
By the way, watch this.
Let's do this, Gurren! You're a real bro for takin' up my spirit!
Our crimson flame is the soul of the Gurren Gang! Burning up everything in our way!
That's a team attack! All the participants - in this case, Lagann and Gurren - have to be adjacent (including diagonally, mercifully), and they all have to fulfill the Will requirements and pay the EN cost. But it only takes one of their turns and they usually do finisher level damage.
"Damn it! Looking at that drill makes me sick!"
I love that beastmen react to Getter-2's drill. It's one of those little touches.
By the end of the turn, there are still quite a few enemy Ganmen left, but some are wounded and the front line is well-advanced.
A couple of dead beastmen later...
Kamina starts trash-talking Viral.
Viral finally decides to step in and get some shit done himself. Kamina grabs Simon and moves in to meet him.
It looks like I'll have to show you how powerless you are!
We'll see about that! Beastman's all high an' mighty with his two faces!
But Viral overpowers Kamina again. Simon is ready to bolt.
But Yoko encourages him to back up Kamina. She reminds him of what Kamina said about believing in him believing in Simon. Or something.
That gets Simon back up and he moves to protect Kamina. "Yeah, I'm scared! I'm still scared! But I'm even more scared of letting you die!" Moved, Kamina declares that he and Simon are going to combine their robots!
Leeron complains that the robots are clearly not equipped for that, but when has logic ever stopped Kamina ?
He jams Lagann on top of Gurren and proudly declares that now he has two faces too. What now, Viral?
The rest of the army sighs and moves to back Kamina up, but Ryoma stops them. He has faith in Kamina and Simon. "I don't know why, but something inside me is just telling me!"
Meanwhile, Viral is just laughing at the pair.
But then, something inside Lagann lights up. It starts actually merging with Gurren. Kamina seizes Viral's helmet and claims it for hmself, yelling about fusions of manly spirits.
And then the fusion completes, forming... you know what, I'll let him handle it.
: Our manly spirits blazing bright! Our courageous fusion! Gurren-Lagann! Who the hell do you think I am? I'll tell you, so get it memorized! Gurren-Lagann!
Everyone else is still wondering what the hell just happened, but Ryoma says not to worry about it. Probably good advice!
Oh yeah, and it's still the enemy phase.
Many Ganmen advance, but the Ganzas just sit tight again, for some reason.
Finally, Viral attacks.
How? How are you suddenly so much stronger?
How? All you did was attach a tiny little Ganmen!
You'll never understand.
I don't even understand! But I'll tell you what I do understand!
Gurren-Lagann is a symbol of the brotherhood between me and Simon! It's the emblem of the Gurren Gang! You can't beat that!
Let's get 'im, Simon! We'll combine our power and kick him into next week!
: Got it, bro! We'll beat him together!
And gets probably more than he bargained for!
Once again we have a whole new unit.
Gurren-Lagann (Kamina, Simon)
Hit (10 EN)
Gurren Boomerang (15 EN)
Glassun Cutter (20 EN)
Skull Break (30 EN, 110 Will)
Full Drillize (50 EN, 120 Will)
(Kamina) Will maximum raised by +30.
(Simon) Deploys at +30 Will.
Gurren-Lagann inherits Combine from its components - the same ability that lets the two combine also lets their combined form divide back into its parts.
Its special gimmick is a command called Switch Control, which lets either Simon or Kamina act as the main pilot and the other step back into the subpilot role. Ordinarily, Kamina is so much better at everything than Simon that he's going to pilot the thing all the time.
Simon's Ace Bonus changes the game, though.
Even without any other skills, being 35 Will over everyone else is huge. Kamina has a much higher cap, and because of his personality and Morale skill, ramps up more quickly, but at the beginning of the fight, this Simon will apply more brute force. We'll be opening fights with Simon and then letting Kamina take the wheel once he's good and worked up. (The two share experience equally, so that's not a factor.)
Brute force is what Gurren-Lagann does best. Like Mazinger, Gurren-Lagann is a monster, soaking damage like it's nothing, dealing it out in spades, and generally not caring about anything. It has Lagann's Spiral Drive and the stats to make excellent use of it to deal out preposterous numbers. When it gets hit, Kamina retaliates with his super high Potential and then makes it back with his regen and, in a pinch, Simon's Guts (Simon really does pull him out of jams).
As a minor aside, Gurren-Lagann can burrow like Getter-2 and Lagann.
I don't think any other robot has as many commands as Gurren-Lagann. In addition to the basic four (move, attack, Spirits, info), he can Burrow, Split, and Switch. And there's another one coming far down the line.
However, Viral has a preposterous amount of battle chatter and I would be remiss if I didn't show it all, even if it warps spacetime a little more. I'll take a turn off and hunt some beastmen.
Also, drag him over towards all the main characters, hopefully.
: Follow my lead, Simon! Super!
: Wha? Um, Inazuma!
Look at that defense.
That's most of the leads set up to chat with Viral.
One of them can right now!
W-why is he so aggressive attacking my Ganmen?
Those pelts aren't gonna go for much, but your combat data's going for a pretty penny.
Nothing personal. You're the ones who started this fight. And now you're gonna help me pay off my debt!
Oh yeah, he's got a shield.
Team B-List picks off a few more Ganmen.
Viral stubbornly attacks Gurren-Lagann.
But it's not time yet.
Now let's relax and demo all that conversation.
He taunts Aoi...
Robots that look like beasts! But I doubt you humans can handle their wild power!
Let's see who's stronger! You beastmen or our beast machines!
We're gonna kick you back into whatever hole you crawled out of!
He has to steel himself against Takeru...
He's reading me... predicting my moves!
He thinks like a wild animal! He's on a different level from the other beastmen!
I'm a soldier of the Human Extermination Corps! I won't fall, not even to a human from the outside world!
He challenges Ryoma...
You've certainly been keeping Kamina busy, haven't you?
You're the man who came at me barehanded. Fine, let's finish our fight.
I'll finish this quickly! I've got another match to get to!
Try! But by my blade, you will rue those words!
This is Watta being Kappei Mk. 2.
We're just here as explorers! Why did you attack us?
My duty is to exterminate all humans!
We won't let you! We'll beat you up until you can't even stand!
He challenges Setsuna, too, but he gets less than he got out of Ryoma.
Well, well. Another swordsman. Let us duel, then!
This is not a game. I don't have time for you.
You have no concept of a warrior's pride! I shall punish you!
You spread war and conflict. You are the ones who need punishment!
He just taunts Kouji, too.
Your machine may be hard and strong, but it cannot stand up to my blade!
We'll see about that! Don't you underestimate me and Mazinger Z!
But it was all a dream. I have places to be.
Actually, since it was a dream, here's Akagi, also getting taunted.
You think your slow, clumsy machine can stand up to my Enki?
Don't take that from him, Aoyama! Hit the throttle!
This is all I've got! It's on you now!
What Aoyama said! Pay attention to him and set up your attacks!
You guys sound like Mr. Shirota!
Enough chatter! Talking in combat will get you killed!
Not happening! If we die here, they could cut PR Division 2!
But seriously, back to work.
So here's something cool about the Split mechanic. When Gurren-Lagann combines, if Simon hasn't finished his turn, he'll take control of the combined machine and give it his full turn - even if Kamina has taken his turn.
Since Gurren and Lagann split next to each other, that means Kamina can attack with the Cannonball attack...
and then Simon can recombine, hand control back to Kamina, and generate ludicrous DPT. There are also tricks the pair can uniquely do with Chain Actions for up to five moves per turn.
This may not look like that much, but remember how much Viral's defense is increased at low HP and high Will.
We get Viral's Vernier Unit.
Viral isn't happy about his loss. Kamina's still willing to play some more...
But we've got bigger, uglier problems!
They attack, but to the team's horror, they are clearly attacking us exclusively and ignoring the beastmen. Viral takes off to inform Lord Thymilf. Kamina wants to chase him, but Simon convinces him to stay and fight off the Invaders. Kamina mutters that that's exactly how Simon always has his back, but won't say anything more.
The Invaders are all around the team and spread out. To finish them quickly, I want to give them all someone to play with to grab counters.
The sparsest area right now is the southeast corner. Let's send some fast units there - Kyrios and the Crusher should do.
And I'll send the other Meisters up northeast.
Reasonably fast and already nearby, Setsuna and Crowe move northward.
Team Frontline likewise spreads to the west.
Dai-Guard moves north in preparation. For what? You'll see.
This dialog warns me that I'm about to end my turn without moving one unit. It's the Ptolemy, which has nothing better to do.
Yes, I'm sure.
One goes for the Ptolemy anyway. Figures.
The Sparkle Barrier stops the damage.
Inexplicably, other Invaders well within reach of Ptolemy ignore it in favor of robots that will
kick their asses.
Or not so much.
Getter-2's evasion kicks in to automatically dodge an attack.
Challenging Mazinger means you hate living.
By the end of the phase, most of the Invaders are out and the few left are wounded.
This one was allowed to live. Do you know why?
A bit of sweeping up later, the SR Point is won well within time. But the team still wonders why the Invaders would show up here. But Kamina and Ryoma only have one thing on their minds - settling their score...
10 PP. Yay!
In the aftermath of the contest, it turned out the two tied - at over 30 bodies apiece.
But it's okay - the two are now fast friends, and each of them thanks the other for firing them up. Ryoma even has a word of praise for Simon, Kamina's fine little bro. What better way to celebrate than barbequeing their haul over a crackling bonfire? Cooked by Kozue, Kouji, and... the Gundam Meisters? They say their missions take them camping from time to time, so they have to learn some survival skills.
Sumeragi uncorks a bottle of her best to help celebrate. After some cajoling, Shirota agrees to a glass, smiling for the first time in the game.
Speaking of sticks and butts, Tieria is sitting out of the BBQ. Setsuna is convinced to have a bit, though. He does like apples. Everyone is laughing, even singing, having a good time, but Tieria just sits and watches.
As Simon sits and thinks, Yoko comes over to apologize to him for what she said and recognize him as a good partner for Kamina.
Crowe asks Hayato what's on his mind. Hayato doesn't tell him, but he's worried about the Invaders. They've always attacked everything without discrimination, but this time they simply ignored the beastmen even though they were weakened...
Now we turn to a very different region of the Dark Continent: the Capitol, Teppelin.
The Spiral King Lordgenome and his generals muse on the breaking of the dimensional barrier and the opening of the continent to the outside world. The "peace" they've always maintained is beginning to crumble. But it was inevitable, and the end (of what?) is approaching.
The general Guame says something more worrying: within our ranks is a power like that of the Taiji, though weak and faint. (This calls back to Z, but there's no need to spill it all just yet.) Lordgenome adds that the hungry destroyers are also here, and the end of all is approaching. The prophecy goes: "And when ten billion monkeys crawl on the earth, the Moon will awaken as the herald of Armageddon and crush the world of the Spiral." The solution: destroy all humans.
Next chapter, Getter, Gurren-Lagann, and Brasta autodeploy. Choose ten other robots to go out. I think that still leaves two robots behind, so if no one has a strong opinion it'll just be the same two and don't worry about it.