Newten, Cowdrunk, Samjaz, Daotherkenji, Wraith, Catolf, Mediaright… you all weren’t kidding about this episode packing a wallop. Phew… after a couple of the major deaths in DEATH NOTE were spoiled for me through a combination of talkback comments and DVD cover subtitles, it was… novel (that’s the best word) to experience a surprise like this without any idea it was coming. If you’ve been following the show with this column and you want to have the same experience I had, then stop reading right here and go watch the episode, because I’m not going to hold off on any spoilers in my discussion, here.
...done? Good. You were probably as surprised as I was.
Like I’ve said, I’ve been watching this show without any expectations, so I’m experiencing it how Gainax more or less wanted people to experience it. It’s always kind of surreal when things I wonder about in this column get answered by the show. Last time, it was in respect to that bizarre episode (number 5?) that ended up being by a guest director who did such a bad job, it actually got somebody fired. This time, the concerns I raised last episode about this show being a little too light and airheaded, as well as the questions I had about the Yoko/ Kamina/ Simon love triangle have been soundly answered, and in short order.
If this is a sign of what GURREN LAGANN is going to be for the rest of the series, then I’m definitely seeing what all the hype was about, now. This was the first episode where everything clicked. The action was more thrilling, the humor had more bite and the emotional/character/thematic stuff had a LOT more weight to it. As involving as Simon’s Shinji-esque angst and doubt about Yoko’s “rejecting” him was, the pep talks from Kamina were powerful. Like these weren’t trite platitudes - - they felt real. Even if a girl might come between them, even if Simon might just beginning to harbor some envy for Kamina… the knucklehead's still going to be his big bro.
And now he’s dead?!?! WHAT??!?! No, c’mon… he can’t be… not this early… not when I’m just starting to like him this much.
Watch this episode, "Later, Buddy" below for yourself and try to fight back the tears.