"Just who the hell do you think I am!?"
- -Kamina's catchphrase and creed
Kamina (カミナ Kamina?) was a young man from Jeeha Village, the founder and first leader of Team Gurren and deuteragonist of the first arc of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. After his death, his spirit, role and disposition would live on through his best friend and soul-brother Simon.
Kamina is tall and well built, and prided himself on being "manly and tough". He has light blue, short, spiky hair and is frequently seen wearing his trademark sunglasses that cover his red eyes. His skin is tan, and he has tattoos along both of his arms which extend to his shoulders and near his upper back.
At first glance, Kamina is boisterous, hotheaded and arrogant. He demands recognition and seems hungry for greatness, illustrated in his tendency to call himself "the Mighty Kamina" and his signature catchphrase, "Who the Hell do you think I am?!" He is an idealist with tremendous determination, sometimes to the point of ignorance; Yoko has described him as "a man of unlimited stupidity." Kamina is also very perverted, declaring that the urge to stare at beautiful women is the definition of a man.
Kamina is also extremely determined; he never lets anything keep him down for long. Even discovering that his father was dead only solemned him for a night or two (visibly at least). He is also devoted to defending and supporting his friends and loved ones, fighting with all his strength to protect them. In turn, he is very charismatic in the heat of battle, able to inspire even the timid Simon to accomplishing great feats and almost single-handedly set the foundations for Team Dai-Gurren.
Despite his often insane actions, Kamina is fairly insightful, as his bombast and seemingly blind confidence usually mask his true intelligence in planning and combat; he even personally admits that his bravado and fearlessness is to hide his own worries and to support others, and that he thinks people like Simon are the real heroes. He has stated that his drive in the war against the Beastmen was not started for personal glory or vengeance, but a desire to give future generations a world without fear. Despite his often moronic moves, he does have some level of common sense, pointing out that if they fled from Dai-Gunzan, they would be wide open to attack. All this confirms that Kamina has a more complicated personality than his usual behavior would insinuate.
SimonKamina and Simon are extremely close, which shows within the first few minutes of the first episode. Kamina serves as something between a foster father and brother to Simon, insisting that Simon call him 'Bro' ('Aniki', a form used by yakuza). Kamina was the only one to realize Simon's potential, always encouraging and supporting him stubbornly and being the only one to side with the small, ostracized digger. Due to a previous near-death experience, the two developed a bond which allowed them to pull incredible stunts and always come out triumphant; simply put, Kamina's bravado and Simon's power prove to be unstoppable.
Kamina always considered Simon as his 'partner', both in crime (in their antics in Jiha Village) and in battle, which at the beginning basically meant Kamina dragging Simon into dangerous situations. When offered to pilot Lagann, Kamina refuses on the grounds that he would never take his little brother's belongings. Kamina appears to be Simon's role model of courage and manliness and influences greatly on Simon's views on a lot of things about life. Being a huge reliance to Simon, Kamina also strongly relies on the boy and believes him to be the "method to his madness". He also confesses to Yoko that he believes Simon to be the true source of his power and reason for his victories. He is not afraid to tell that straight to his brother when they meet in the dream maze. It's safe to say that Simon loves Kamina dearly and refuses to bid farewell to his Brother saying that he lives on in his heart. Simon is probably the most important person in Kamina's life.
The official Gurren Lagann relationships graph (found in the Basic Drill', the initial guide-book to Gurren Lagann and in Final Drill guide-book, covering the latter part of the series) sets their relationship invariably as '相棒' ( "Partners" in japanese), and the two remain partners even after Kamina's death. By the end it is abundantly clear that Kamina's ultimate goal, besides making the surface habitable for humans, was to motivate Simon to recognize the greatness he saw in him.
YokoDue to her looks Kamina is instantly attracted to Yoko and starts to make advances on her even in chaotic situations. He is severely disappointed upon discovering that Yoko was born underground which leads him to make several snide comments about Yoko's figure and her place on the battlefield. This usually leads to a lot of bickering, but they remain very protective of each other during combat against the Beastmen. Kamina is very tolerant of Yoko's beatings and scoldings, letting most of them fly and even apologizing to her for his behavior in episode six (after a punch to the face). It's a belligerent relationship due to both of the characters unyielding personalities, yet it's also full of reliance, trust and genuine affection. Yoko states she was holding only onto the thought that no matter what, Kamina would always think something out and pull through, and Kamina entrusts his safety in the battle against Thymilph to Yoko. Yoko also appears to be the only person to whom Kamina can reveal his true self as shown in their late-night conversations in episodes 7 and 11, when Kamina reveals his intentions behind the revolution and his hidden fear and doubt. When Yoko kisses him in a confession in episode 8, he accepts her in an embrace and the two kiss yet again. Kamina makes an oath to return her love tenfold which prompts Yoko to giggle and Kamina to blush in confusion. Gurren Lagann's first theatrical feature provides a detail that Kamina rose from his fatal blow upon hearing Yoko's voice over the intercom.
In Part 2, Kamina appears in Yoko's dream maze with a television set that shows her possible future. However, Yoko turns it off and they are shown smiling at each before she thanks him and shoots of to join Simon to rescue Nia. The meeting takes place in the same area as their last romantic encounter suggesting that Yoko's inner desire was to be with Kamina once again.
Pre-seriesAs a child, Kamina's father managed to reach the surface, and although he wanted his son to come with him, Kamina was too scared of the strange world awaiting him, so his father allowed him to stay behind, promising him they'd meet again someday. This is likely what motivated Kamina to become strong and determined. Years later, Kamina decided he was old enough and began to aim for the surface.
At some point in their lives, Kamina, Simon, and a few others from the village were trapped in an unfinished tunnel due to a cave-in. Kamina kept everyone's spirits up with his usual charisma and optimism, but it was Simon that dug them out by tirelessly drilling through the blockade of rocks. Watching Simon, Kamina vowed that he would emulate his "bro"'s determination by never giving up and never showing fear, no matter how scared he was on the inside. He also determined to always have Simon's back, encouraging the younger boy's skills no matter what.
Beastman War arcAs his first act of notoriety, Kamina forms "Team Gurren" and convinces his "soul-brother," Simon, to help him with his plan to drill through the roof of the village and get to the world above. However, the plan fails. Kamina willingly takes the blame for disrupting the peace and is jailed by the village chief. At night, Simon breaks him out to show him an extraordinary artifact he unearthed, only to be interrupted by a large Gunmen that crashes through the village's ceiling. A young girl sharpshooter named "Yoko" descends from the surface and ends up joining Kamina and Simon as they pilot the newly unearthed Gunmen that Kamina names "Lagann." Together, they defeat the invading Gunmen and reach the surface in the process. After the trio breaks through, they meet many enemies and friends as they continue forward. The once two-member "Team Gurren" expands to the size of an entire resistance force aiming to overthrow the Beastman Empire. Kamina leads this force and names it "Team Dai-Gurren". Kamina's largest battle involves the capture of one of the enemy’s moving fortresses belonging to one of the Four Divine Generals, Thymilph. The mission is a success, but not without cost. Heavily wounded (Thymilph not only stabbed him through the chest, almost tearing him in two, he also shoots a beam through him, causing severe blood loss), Kamina combines with Simon to form Gurren Lagann and defeats the Beastman General with his signature move: "Giga Drill Break." Kamina dies in the cockpit, leaving Simon with this: "Don't believe in the Kamina who you believe in. Don't believe in the Simon that I believe in. Believe in the Simon who believes in himself." These words are long remembered after his death, giving Simon the confidence to uphold his destiny as the "one whose drill will pierce the heavens." Kamina is buried in the battlefield where he died, his nodachi stabbed into the ground and his cloak tied to its sheath.
Anti-Spiral War arcAfter the fall of the Beastman Empire, a new city is built from the ruins of the former capital, Teppelin, and is named "Kamina City." A huge statue of Kamina stands at the center of the city in his honor. However, the monument is destroyed after the citizens discover the truth about the Human Annihilation System and revolt against the government.
Later, Simon, under the influence of the Anti-Spirals, witnesses visions of a false childhood where Kamina has Simon drill into banks and jewelry shops to rob them. He is shown groveling at the feet of some Beastmen holding them at gunpoint, begging for his life and urging Simon to do the same. Upon seeing a box identical to the one he first found Nia inside, Simon reaches for his Core Drill to open it and finds it missing. This is when the true Kamina appears, wearing his cloak and holding his nodachi, and asks Simon if he lost his Drill. Kamina then reminds Simon that his drill is his soul, that Kamina and his fallen comrades will live on in him, and that he is the one whose drill will pierce the heavens. Simon is reminded of what he is fighting for, for the sake of Nia and for the fate of the Spiral Universe. This breaks the Alternate Space Labyrinth, allowing Simon to reassemble Team Dai-Gurren and face the Anti-Spirals for the final time. Before he leaves however, Simon shares one last moment to talk to Kamina, who is surprised that see that he has grown taller than him. The two share a last laugh before Simon leaves. Kamina also makes a brief appearance to Yoko when she shuts off the TV that would be her future in the illusion. She thanks him as they both look out and she returns to Simon and Gurren Lagann.
Kamina originally had a nodachi (his sword), that he had stolen from the Jiiha village chief. In episodes 2 and 3, Kamina used a pistol given to him by Yoko, and he also used her rifle to hunt animals. During his fight with Viral, he used his Nodachi, and a hidden arrow that he had picked up from an animal Viral shot, as well as some assistance from Simon and Yoko. Kamina's most valuable weapons were the Gurren and Gurren Lagann. Originally, Kamina couldn't pilot the Gurren as well as a Beastman, which put him at a disadvantage: Viral could easily beat him one on one until Gurren Lagann was formed. However, thanks to training with Simon, by episode 8, he had mastered the controls and was an ace pilot.
- Expert Physical Fighter: As shown a number of times, Kamina's fighting skills are well above those of normal humans. He was able to fight Viral one on one with his Nodachi and, while injured, landed a blow on Viral. He also is shown to be a good fist fighter: one of his punches caused Simon to almost flip over in his seat.
- Quick Learner: Although not very obvious, Kamina is shown to be a quick learner. By episode 3, wherein he begins using ranged weapons, Kamina's accuracy impresses even Yoko, an extremely skilled sharpshooter. Having stolen his nodachi from the village chief in the first episode, he was able to use it rather well, pushing even Viral, an expert in combat (being a beastman and well trained soldier). By his last episode, he had also become a very skilled gunman pilot, able to rival Viral in his piloting skills, despite having only used Gunmen for a short time.
- Mastermind: Kamina, though masked by his hot blooded personality, is a good tactician, contributing to his ability as a leader. His battles often involve a development of new fighting style, unpredictable and well planned moves. He is able to see his opponents' weak points, or the most effective way to beat them - such as hijacking Dai-Gunzan and the Gunzar on the field (which later became Dai-Gurren and Gurren respectively) rather than fighting them, and taking note of the field condition when fighting against Dai-Gunzan for the first time. Compared to the way the Brigade fights after his death, battles during his leadership involved more complex planning.
- Enhanced Endurance and Reflexes: Kamina's skill in a fight relies heavily on his stamina. Kamina has been shown to be able to take blows that would kill most people, and continue fighting. The greatest example of this is shown when he is stabbed twice by Thymilph, yet manages to recover and kill him. This extreme endurance isn't enough to defy death entirely, however: he succumbs to his wounds and dies soon afterwards. Kamina is shown to have great reflexes, at one point dodging an arrow Viral shot at him.
- Fighting Spirit: His 'fighting spirit' is an extremely powerful force in the show. His charisma and bravado inspire his teammates to perform at the top of their ability, and allow him to support the underconfident Simon when his willpower flags. It's also stated that Kamina was killed by Thymilph's first assault, implying that his fighting spirit allowed him to stay alive long enough to ensure the success of the mission and avenge himself.
Kamina's outfit, although not complicated, is flashy and expresses his personality; he wears long, dark-brown pants with two red rings on the bottom, a double-grommet belt tied around his waist, a traditional Japanese sarashi (a protective bandage on the abdomen and forearms), sandals, and he later started wearing his father's red and orange cape, which he then added the Team Dai-Gurren logo to. He also usually donned a pair of flashy, orange, triangular sunglasses that were smashed to pieces during Thymilph's assault. . After his death, his sword was stuck in the ground with his cape tied to it in order to mark his grave.
Kamina's name comes from Kami meaning 'above' in Japanese. This references his desire to go to the surface. Kami could also be read as God, a reference to his unending self-confidence.
- Kamina's catch phrase, "Just who the hell do you think I am?" (Ore wo dare da to omotte yagaru?/俺を誰と思ってやがる？) has been said by many of the show's characters. Simon was the first to say it, followed by the other characters, including Kittan.
- Despite dying in the eighth episode, Kamina is mentioned (whether directly or indirectly) in almost every episode of Gurren Lagann.
- Of all of Kamina's dynamic actions, his famous "Towards-the-Heavens" pose (with him pointing his finger to the sky) has become extremely popular; so much so that it has even been done by Simon, Nia, Kittan, and by Gurren Lagann and King Kittan when doing the Giga Drill Break.
- Of all of Gurren-Lagann's characters, Kamina is considered by far to be the most popular, even after his death.
- Kamina's parents official names are: Joe and Wenny.
- Kamina is also an expy of Sanson, a character from another Gainax anime called Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.
- In the movie adaption Gurren Lagann The Movie: The Lights in the Sky are Stars, it is revealed that Simon himself carved the statue of Kamina in Kamina City.
- Kamina, or at least someone greatly resembling him makes a cameo appearance in Episode 2 of a fellow Gainax series, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. Simon, Viral, Nia, Yoko and Attenborough make cameos in the same scene.
- While Kamina and Nia never meet in the official series, they get along quite well in the Otoko series. Furthermore, he is the only person besides Simon who enjoys her cooking.
- If anything, Kamina gets into even more trouble in Super Robot Wars Z2: Hakai-Hen: Arm-Wrestling Kallen Kozuki over the fact that they both have Mechs named Gurren, trying to get Zero's helmet from a cat to force Zero into owing him a favor (and dragging the entire gang plus Koji Kabuto (Mazinger Z) into a fight with the Black Knights), and other shenanigans.