Simon, Hands Off is the 11th episode of the Gurren Lagann anime. It first aired on June 10th 2007.
With Adiane’s apparent failure to stop the advance of Team Dai-Gurren, Guame offers to go, because he’s interested in the Lagann. At that moment, however, the Lagann is lying in a garbage heap on the Daigurren because Simon can’t use it. Yoko tells Nia that Simon can’t see his own troubles, so he doesn’t have a place where he belongs. She feels that they can’t pamper him because he has to recover on his own or else it’s meaningless. Nia goes and finds Simon alone in a room making sculptures of Kamina with his drill, allowing her to understand how much Simon loved Kamina. Simon feels that he doesn’t have any redeeming abilities except in digging holes and remembers how he was derided by his old village. Kamina had been the sole person to not make fun of him, and Simon remembers Kamina’s strength and kindness. He wanted to become a man like Kamina, but he feels now that it’s impossible for him to do so.
Back on the bridge, the crew gets a distress call from a group of girls representing a human village supposedly under Gunmen attack. Although almost everyone suspects that something is suspicious, Kittan thinks that they should go save the village immediately and shuts the others up by saying that Kamina wouldn’t hesitate if he were here. The Daigurren thus starts marching for the village and finds five enemy Gunmen there. After blasting those Gunmen and making them retreat, the group is greeted by a flock of beautiful village girls. They allow the girls on board to thank them, but when Kittan asks about how there seems to be no men, a bunch of beastmen armed with guns suddenly appear and completely take over the Daigurren. As Leeron and the others had suspected, it was a trap, and Guame is the culprit. One of the beastmen’s goals is Nia, who willingly goes to see Guame as long as they don’t harm Simon. As she leaves, she tells a frightened Simon that he is not Kamina and that she feels he’s fine as himself.
After locking the rest of the crew up until their public execution, Guame meets with Nia and confirms that what Adiane said about eliminating her was true. Guame then explains that the Helix King has an eternal life and can create children for entertainment. When he gets tired of them, he throws them away like a doll. Guame knows that Nia asked her father why she was born and reveals that the Helix King hates people having a sense of self, especially since it’s unnecessary for a doll. That being said, Guame thinks that Nia is too beautiful to kill and suggests making her the head of this village so that she can teach the girls here some etiquette before they are sent to the king. Nia thinks that the girls will also be treated as dolls, and when Guame confirms that Helix King will throw them away when he gets tired of them just like he did to Nia, she slaps him. The rest of the team meanwhile is trying to break out of their prison by using their bodies in a brute force way, but they soon become exhausted and beat up.
Despite everyone else’s doom and gloom, Simon alone continues to dig with his tiny drill. This reminds Yoko of how Kamina once told her that it was Simon who always saved him - it was always Simon who didn’t give up until the end. Back then, Kamina had admitted to not being confident and feeling that he was headed in the wrong direction. He had been impatient and had questioned why he didn’t go with his father. Kamina had explained to Yoko that during the incident when he got stuck underground with Simon, he had been bluffing because there was nothing else he could do. Simon was the one who continued digging silently, and Kamina had only supported him with the bravado. It had been luck that saved them, but Kamina had started to believe in this luck and Simon who had drew on it. Thus, whenever Kamina felt discouraged or lacked confidence, he remembered the back of Simon who kept steadily digging, and all of this became part of why he gave Simon the speech about believing in himself. Just as Simon is now remembering those words, his digging finally pays off because his drill starts glowing and the Lagann suddenly bursts through the rock in front of him.
On the bridge of the Daigurren, Nia suggests that Guame is afraid of Simon, but Guame doesn’t even know who that is, so Nia explains that Simon is the person who first helped and who’s always protected her. Realizing that Simon must be the pilot of the Lagann, Guame decides to execute Simon first, much to Nia’s horror. Guame also decides to kill Nia right there because she won’t accept his offer to work for him, but Nia doesn’t think that she’ll die because she believes in Simon just like he believed in Kamina. Fortunately for Nia, old man Coco saves her by knocking Guame’s gun aside right as he fires a shot. Before Guame can get a hold of what’s going on, the ground starts shaking, and the Lagann emerges from the below the bridge. Nia is in tears because Simon came to save her, and the two blast off into the sky above where Simon tells her that he understands now thanks to the Lagann. Seeing that Simon’s hands are so bruised, Nia gets him to let her take the controls, and the two work together.
Guame, meanwhile, escapes to his personal Gunmen-the Gember-and his first opponent is Gurren, piloted by Rossiu. Rossiu, however, stands no chance against Guame by himself, and Gurren is almost eaten by the Gember's alternate configuration. Fortunately, Simon contacts his ally and declares that they're going to combine, giving Rossiu the strength to flip Guame's mecha on its back. Moments later, Lagann descends, and Gurren Lagann stands before Guame at last.
Emerging from the cockpit, Simon announces that although Kamina is dead, he lives on as one with Simon inside his heart and on his back. Simon then declares that he can dig a hole to pierce the heavens, even if that hole is his grave-if he pierces through, it will be his victory. As everyone gazes up in awe, Simon proclaims that he is himself - not Kamina - Simon the Digger. His true personality shows. The one he's always had. The Simon that he always was but was smothered beneath fear and anxiety, finally breaks through, with no need for a mentor..
With that, the Gurren Lagann frees itself from the Gember’s mouth, but Guame responds with his Gember Press technique. Remembering Kamina, Simon manages to break free again, stunning Yoko and Kittan as he prepares to use a familiar attack. Pinning his foe with Gurren's sunglasses, Simon unleashes the Giga Drill Break, completely destroying the Gember (although Guame ejects before its destruction). As the human colonies cheer at Simon's victory, Nia tells Simon that there’s somewhere she wants him to take her.
That place is the ravine that’s filled with boxes-which Nia now knows to contain thrown away princesses like herself. She wants to bury all of them in a bright place, and after everyone helps her do so, Nia admits that her father was everything in the world to her - that’s why she wanted to believe him until the end. As she once again wonders why they were born, Simon gives her a gem that he found while digging earlier. He feels that regardless of her birth and being a princess, the Nia living now is the real Nia, so it’s fine for her to live as herself, and he’ll live as himself too. Kittan agrees with this and gives Simon the position of leader since he was the one Kamina chose. And now that they know the location of the capital, they immediately move out to confront the Beastmen-and the Spiral King.
- Simon regains his will to fight, realizing who he is, deciding to become himself rather than try to imitate Kamina. (Kamina's dreams are fully realized. The man that he had been trying to reach in Simon arrives.) Simon takes the reins of Leader.
- Nia learns of her origins from Guame.
- Lagann returns to Simon.
- Simon destroys Guame's personal Gunmen, Gember.
- Team Dai-Gurren learns Teppelin's location, and the Team sets out to conquer it.
- Team Dai-Gurren recieve thousands of supporters, fighter and followers, albeit uknowingly, due to Simon's actions.
- Pre-commercial: Simon (with goggles lowered and drill in hand) and Nia beneath a shaft of light, foreshadowing the former's return from despair, and conquering over negativity. The true Simon the Digger is shown for the second time in the series (the first being the flashfoward Prolouge, though slightly altered).
- Post-commercial: A seated Guame, smoking his pipe and looking smug, with his anteater minions and the Gember in the background.
- The green stone Simon gives Nia at the end is used for Nia's engagement ring and becomes the means of finding the Anti-Spiral dimension.
- Guame's failed execution of Team Dai-Gurren will cause humanity as a whole to begin rising against the Beastmen, leading to the arrival of the large force in Episode 15.
- Guame is the only member of the Four Supreme Generals to survive the destruction of his personal Gunmen. Ironically, he will also be the last General to perish in the defense of Teppelin, as well as the only General to die within a Dai-Gun.
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