Part 32: Opening Stage
With that Heterodyne out of the way, the World Fair is back on the program, and that means Ranka's film debut in Bird-Human as well as a concert from the one and only Galactic Fairy. Much of GOONZ is interested in that second thing, and they're not the only ones - as you can see, Sheryl's face is plastered all over town.
One person's not excited, though! Something about Sheryl is turning Kamina off. The others tell him to watch his back or he'll catch it from all the superfans in GOONZ, not to mention all over the world.
The real thing is enjoying the reminder of her ultimate power, knocking Kouji and Simon off their feet. She says she's incognito, so if we wouldn't mind keeping it down? She can stay to chat for a few, but no photos, and absolutely no touching. The boys are taken aback at her sudden coldness after meeting her back at the shoot. But that's a star's life - when she's in public, she has to keep up appearance, but right now she's trying to enjoy herself, if you don't mind.
Hey hey hey!
Mister, just who do you think I am?
Yeah? Well, who the hell do you think I am?
The Gurren Gang is feared through all of GOONZ! And this is the unbeatable, immortal Chief Badass with the roaring manly spirit!
His Awesomeness Kamina!
I'm Sheryl Nome! Do you have any idea what that means?
The other pilots are immediately reminded of when Kamina met another fiery soul that resonated, let's say, violently with his own. Luckily, those two turned out to be the best of friends. It's just, you know, how it goes with kindred souls of this sort run into each other.
What could I have in common with this big ape?
You sayin' I'm anything like this chick?
This should be fun.
Oh, and Ranka's with Sheryl, but as usual, invisible in her larger-than-life shadow until now. She's super worried that no one will like her song (the one that already made it to the theme song of a major movie release), so it's up to Alto to try to cheer her up. Sheryl butts into say that she doesn't depend on anyone, and if that makes her less cutesie, cool. "I carve my own fate with my own hands." That just gets Ranka even more down.
Yoko, ever sharp-eared, sees that when Ranka compares herself to Sheryl, she doesn't just mean music. But Simon knows what it's like to be constantly overshadowed by someone bigger and cooler.
Look, I didn't ask to spend my off time with an brute like him.
Then don't get right where I'm walkin'!
This is a public road! I don't have to take that from you!
Sorry, but all the roads end right here with me!
You're so stupid! This world revolves around me!
Eventually, Sheryl excuses herself and Ranka to get back to rehearsal. Alto assures them that GOONZ has their security covered.
Someone probably should have given GOONZ the message. After drawing straws, Akira and Akagi are saddled with the actual security work while everyone else enjoys the concert. Kouji jokes that the real loser was Crowe, who won the draw and promptly tried to hawk his seat to one of the losers, and Michel accuses Takeru of cheating the draw with his psychic powers.
Sheryl gives her speech about how music connects everyone across interstellar distances to wild cheers. Takeru believes that outside was the act and this is the real Sheryl. Even Kamina could have no objections to this performance.
But suddenly, the alert comes in - Beastmen, of all things! Ozma reports that they're moving straight for the concert. It's up to us to protect Sheryl and Ranka!
The Beastmen enter the concert with intent to KILL ALL HUMANS!
Excuse me! Just what do you think you're doing?
That's the one!
The female we were ordered by the Spiral King to kill!
You're ruining my concert! Get out of my sight, you beasts!
Y-you aren't afraid of us?
Just who do you think I am?
I'm Sheryl Nome! They call me the Galactic Fairy!
You said it, snobby lady!
Suddenly, the lights go out in the concert hall. And when they turn back on...
Yo yo yo! Hey, Beastmen! Heaven may pardon your crimes, but Kamina never forgives!
We may swear different oaths as we look up at the stars shining in Heaven, but the eyes that see them are the same!
I will defend them on my honor as a man! So says His Awesomeness Kamina, whose name resounds across the world!
The crowd goes fucking wild, and on Kamina's instructions, Simon and Rossiu turn the spotlights on Kamina. Yoko wants to fire a warning shot across Kamina's ear to end this idiocy, but he's actually doing a good job of covering Sheryl. The Beastmen decide to fall back and return with their Ganmen.
All talk, those furballs.
Don't say a word, snob chick.
Consider it my thanks for putting on a hell of a show.
Oh, you do have taste. I misjudged you.
Alto has Ranka, too. All that's left is dealing with that Ganmen problem.
Chapter 18: Opening Stage
Beastmen are on all sides. Gurren-Lagann, an event deployment, is appearing front and center. 21st Century is evacuating the citizens, so we can sweep up the Ganmen with no worries.
Sheryl's contribution is a background music to our fight: 9 PM at Sagittarius.
(True story: the wiki I'm using to keep track of events and things outright says "You should probably set Sheryl's song as the team BGM" in the walkthrough. It's the default stage music, so this just avoids interrupting the song and keeping the BGM one continuous performance. Anyway, in turn, I recommend putting on your favorite version while reading, because it's a Macross stage. Sort of.)
Her song calms the panicking citizens.
And brings out the fighting spirit in GOONZ.
Clear the current round of enemies in 2 turns.
Easy! (This is a tiny, tiny stage.)
Hold on tight, Ranka! Your brother is looking out for your dreams!
I couldn't protect your family 11 years ago, but at least I can do that!
Sheryl! Ranka! If you say you live to sing, then I'll live to defend your songs!
As a pilot... as a member of GOONZ, I will protect you!
Having a Ganmen out of the way gives Kouji a clear path into the north end, where a unit is badly needed. Essentially, he and the fast VF jets are the charge team.
A really concrete benefit to Sheryl's song is that we can roll Godmars right out. Let's do that; Gaia's range leaves much to be desired.
And Crowe can cover this corner.
I don't get to attack twice enough. I should pump Crowe's Skill stat.
Soon, GOONZ is spread out (a bad idea? Maybe!) and the Ganmen are wounded.
In the carnage, just a reminder that Mazinger Z is so powerful it cannot be destroyed.
And on the next turn, GOONZ wipes out the Beastmen.
But the instant they're gone, the Gishin strike!
At their head is Baren, who was ordered by Emperor Zuul to investigate a strange energy signature, but never thought she'd be lucky enough to find Mars here as well. But Mars can come later - her priority is that energy source.
So of course, she opens fire on the concert. Wait, what? Thinking Sheryl dead, Baren turns her attention to Godmars. Takeru wants to know why she attacked Sheryl, but the Gishin won't talk, and the battle is on.
This time, we just have to defeat Baren's Vacuum (no, seriously, I'll explain in a sec) and the rest of the Gishin attack mecha will retreat.
But with no time limit, where's the fun in that?
It's up to Crowe and Takeru to hold out until the cavalry arrives.
Godmars gives absolutely no fucks about the Gishin jets. Why do they even send those, anyway?
Seriously, they do nothing.
By the time Baren makes her move, every single Gishin fighter has been blown out of the sky, and the mecha aren't looking good themselves.
You were a fool to disobey Emperor Zuul, Mars! Now die with your precious Earth!
Why? Why are you so loyal to Zuul?
You must know that if you destroy me and blow up the planet now, you won't survive the blast!
I have sworn my life to Emperor Zuul's will! I will gladly die here if you die with me!
Don't you see? How can he be worth serving if he throws away the lives of his servants like this?
Yes, its body is a fan, that's why it's called the Vacuum. Early giant robot shows were weird.
When Baren and Takeru cross swords, Mika detects another set of bogeys approaching...
It's Baron Ashura, his/her Talos warriors, and Mechabeast Tauros D7! S/he's come to crush Mazinger Z once and for all!
That's their commander?!
It's that half-man, half-woman villain we met in Area 11!
Someone like us?
Ashura has been watching for a bit, and something about the "giant-faced demons" stirs memories deep within him/her, but for now, s/he's got his/her sights dead set on Kouji Kabuto and all who ally themselves with him. "By the will of my lord and master Dr. Hell, I will send all of you to your doom! Charge, army of Ashura!"
They do so, and Baren has no arguments with Ashura. Looks like we're caught between two forces that have no interest in fighting each other.
Simon's about to piss himself.
Grace just barely saved Sheryl, but she's still hurt. She insists she has to sing for everybody. Ranka thinks this is no time to sing, but Sheryl says this is exactly the time to sing. "Alto's team is putting their lives on the line. I have to do my part..."
So Ranka steps up in her place to keep the show going with "What 'bout my star."
As the soldiers and civilians again find themselves drawing strength from Ranka's song, Baren promptly notes a spike in that energy signature she's investigating.
And inspired by Ranka's courage, Simon has an idea of his own. He charges into the midst of the Talos, then causes the earth beneath them to crack and swallow them whole. Enraged, Ashura orders his/her Tauros to destroy Gurren-Lagann, but Kamina switches in for a new move of his own.
I have compiled both of them into a video. Enjoy.
Kamina says it's because Ranka lit Simon's soul, and Simon's fire lit Kamina's!
But despite everything, Tauros is still standing. Ozma orders all units to back up Gurren-Lagann, and like the Vacuum, Tauros will take all the Talos with it when it goes down again.
Tauros ignores Gurren-Lagann (a wise move, probably) to go after weaker prey.
He's crazy tough.
Good try, enemies. Let's get this over with.
Gurren-Lagann has unlocked both of its new attacks, but the MAP version is not nearly as good as advertised. It affects a very small area and doesn't work against flying enemies.
Let's just take down Baren first of all.
Eh, whatever. She's down next turn.
In the meantime, everyone else braces to drive off the Talos and take down D7.
Godmars wipes out most of the Gishin and takes out Baren.
She drops an Adrenaline Ampule, which slightly boosts a pilot's starting Will. Baren croaks out more about how foolish Mars is for betraying Emperor Zuul, causing Takeru to wonder why he and his forces think the Earth is so dangerous. And again, what does that have to do with Sheryl?
On the other side, most of the Talos simply can't reach GOONZ.
Finally, Tauros attacks Mazinger Z directly.
Baron Ashura! I thought I hadn't seen you for a while, but now you're back!
All is in the service of my lord and master Dr. Hell! I will eliminate all threats to his plan!
We'll see about that! Mazinger Z and I aren't the only ones against you!
GOONZ will never let your evil plans succeed!
This won't take long.
Be careful, Akagi! We're in serious trouble if that thing gores us!
Its only attack is charging straight in. Reminds me of someone we know...
Then I've gotta be better at it! We'll take it head on!
Guess that was tempting fate. This is gonna be dirty as usual...
Okay, bro! Let's take him down this time!
That's the spirit, Simon! That kid's song got you fired up, huh?
She's trying her best to be brave! I've gotta be brave too!
Perfect! Let's pay back those two singers! And show the Gurren Gang's power!
Man, there are a lot of different Mechabeasts. I'm pretty sure they're all unique.
Not that I mind getting a fresh batch of data to sell every time, but I wouldn't want to try and complete the set.
That's another dirty trick, attacking when we're all worn out from beastmen and Gishin!
This is war! And I would do anything if Dr. Hell ordered it!
Then go back and tell your boss to learn some manners already!
Tauros drops a Repair Kit. Loot is good!
Ashura takes the rest of his/her Tauros and escapes.
At the stage, both singers are relieved to see our victory. Sheryl tells Ranka she sang beautifully. Her debut is only a matter of time.
Grace chuckles to herself that by sheer luck, she managed to hear Ranka sing from the heart.
Once again, snacks and PP all around.
On Bardos Island, Dr. Hell is aware of Ashura's failure, and Count Blocken offers to take the next job.
But Dr. Hell is aware of someone else trying to hide in his domain. The intruder reveals himself as Zagul, servant of Emperor Zuul. He subdues Blocken and Viscount Pygman with his psychic powers (Pygman mistakes it for his own voodoo magic), and tells Dr. Hell that Zuul is willing to rethink his campaign of world destruction if Dr. Hell would join forces with him. In exchange, Zagul promises "power to fight the gods." As Emperor Zuul knew, that gets Dr. Hell listening...
Simultaneously, Zuul has sent a projection to the Spiral King in Teppelin. He introduces himself as the future ruler of all the universe, which Lordgenome isn't too interested in. Zuul addresses Lordgenome as the Spiral Warrior and says they both feel a great energy rising, the energy of life itself, and they both know what will happen when that energy overflows, and what place the Earth has in the galaxy. If they can harness the Earth's power, they could defeat even... who? An unknown enemy to us, but one Lordgenome never entertained the slightest hope of fighting. If the Spiral King would only help Zuul take the planet, that power could be his...
Lordgenome tells Zuul's projection to get out of his sight. He'll do things his way to the end. "You'll regret this, Lordgenome," growls Zuul. "Just like before."
When he's gone, Lordgenome identifies him as "one who has seen the End." And whatever he's doing, he has to hurry.
For his part, Zuul thinks Lordgenome has been a fool. And he's got his own spy to deal with. Who is it?
It's Marg! You might remember him from chapter 7, an innocent boy who happened to be wandering around Zuul's palace. Except wait, Zuul knows that Marg has it in for him for, um, killing his dad and exiling his brother to Earth. Turns out he's Takeru's biological brother, huh! Anyway, he's been spying on Zuul, which is why he keeps "wandering" around while Zuul's having sensitive discussions, except Zuul knew all along and now he's out of patience with the game. And he has just the punishment in mind. Marg hopes he can see his brother at least once before he meets the same fate as their father.
But our heroes know none of this plotting. Kamina and Sheryl have just come to respect each others' courage and passion.
Ranka's converted Simon over to her side, though. But Simon feels he has to apologize. "I... kinda thought... you were like me. Just looking up to someone from behind..." Ranka may have found her own song, but Simon fought for himself, too, and he was definitely a key to that battle. Anyway, they're buds now. Simon promises to be a good Ranka fan, and Ranka promises back to earn it.
The show must go on (what, was that not show enough), and Sheryl can see that Ranka's learned to look past her (Sheryl) and into her very own future. Aww. She thanks Alto for saving her, Alto thanks her back, and quietly, Yoko tells Ranka to give it her all at him, too. "It wouldn't be fair for us to take sides in this one."
When they leave, Yoko teases Simon that Ranka already has her eyes on a guy. "That's not it at all," protests Simon. Then, under his breath, he sighs, "Besides, I..."
GOONZ is headed out, so Kamina calls to Simon not to fall behind. The kid is all over it, and reminds himself that he can't just try to be Kamina, but to aim to surpass him, just like Ranka.
From New York, Elgan Roddick tells Ohtsuka that GOONZ' next mission will be to take out the WLF terrorist group once and for all. It seems they're based within HRL territory, so our assault will begin with their base in the Taklamakan desert. Both halves of GOONZ will rendezvous and take this operation together.
After Ohtsuka hangs up, Elgan speaks again to someone unseen. "I know. Those who have been following GOONZ' movements will not fail to take this chance. But this is a necessary sacrifice. And I believe they will be able to handle it." He pauses. "Yes, I'm fully aware. But this is the only way."
Oh, and we get more sweet loot - a Sheryl Disc. It is a hella sweet equipment that restores a pilot's SP by 10 each round. Don't be late!