Of Ganmen and Good Intentions
When Kamina is young, he sees the surface. It is just a memory, and all he can remember of it is his father and an endless blue covering, to him, what appeared to be everything.
Now he can only see grey. The walls are grey, the floor is grey and the ceiling, no matter how he looks at it, is grey. He used to do as he was told. Dig. He didn't know why he was digging, or what he was digging for. This was after he had seen the surface, and when he finds out that when he digs, he gets farther from the surface, he throws away his drill and his shovel. He never really liked them anyway.
Now Kamina wants to climb. He wants to climb toward and even past the ceiling! When he expresses his idea to others he wants to show them the beauty of it, of breaking past the ceiling! They don't see it. They call him an idiot, crazy, out of his mind. Even when he describes the sky he remembers, an endless and majestic, bright blue, the insults continue.
It is about this time that the idea of "Gurren" comes to him. He thinks about it often, slowly shaping it into something he believes will convince everyone of the surface, and especially the sky. At the end of the week, The Gurren Brigade is formed. Its sole member and leader, "is a crazy kid who believes in a surface past the ceiling…"
Kamina is a dreamer. He believes in bigger things besides this pit! But he has no symbol. He has nothing to help prove to everyone what he represents, what he's trying to say. This bothers him. He wants a symbol to call his own, something that speaks about himself. He begins looking for one throughout the village, in the dirt, even in the tunnels he despises. It is during this phase he happens upon a box. He finds it in his own hut, but has never seen it before. It is old. Dust covers it. He opens it. Inside, he finds what he's looking for.
The next day he walks through his village with a new bounce in his step. When his fellow villagers see him, they comment to one another about Kamina's eye where, and how he can see at all. Kamina doesn't hear them. Through his new sunglasses, somehow, everything looks a lot less grey.
The villagers still don't listen to him. They don't want to. They've heard enough. The village Chief has started taking action. He insults Kamina, and pushes him around. Kamina doesn't like the Chief. They argue about the existence of a surface, and Kamina finds himself in jail every time one ends.
His fellow villagers are fools, he finally decides. They will never understand him. They will never understand the surface. They are all just stuck in the pit. The pit has changed them. It's not just a simple change. They've been changed and fed to a point where Kamina can't change them back. He can see the strings on their backs, connected with the ceiling. So that's how it's controlling them.
Amongst all the fools, the entire mole brained puppets, he finds a free bird. He finds someone who might listen. He finds someone who might understand him.
His name is Simon.
Kamina watches Simon, now. He wonders about the little guy. Simon is small for his age. His eyes are wide with a mix of curiosity and wonder. He is a digger, a good one. He digs faster then anyone. He doesn't try to, but he can't help it. He's good with a drill; he doesn't need a shovel. It's not that he doesn't like the shovel. A drill just feels more comfortable in his hands.
Kamina decides to grab his attention one day. "Hey, hey, hey!" he says to the line of diggers on that shift. His voice sings out with an inflated, rather loud, pitch. When Kamina speaks, you know. "You're digging the wrong way! It's up, not down!" He rolls into a hearty laugh that sounds a little fake but isn't.
Simon stares up at him. His eyes are full with a mix of awe and surprise. He's seen Kamina around, sure, but he's never seen him up close! From his hair, to his strange glasses, to his tattoos, to his posture! He glances at the other diggers. They all seem a tad annoyed.
"Go away, Kamina!"
"Yeah, don't bother us!"
Kamina shrugs off their words. "You dumbasses! We're not animals! We belong on the surface!" His eyes find Simon and he leans in close. "How 'bout it?" He asks Simon. "You a mole?"
Before Simon can respond, the outing is interrupted by the Chief. "Kamina!" He sounds angry, which didn't really surprise anyone. "What have I told you about bothering the diggers? There jobs are important! So leave them alone!" The Chief smacks Kamina rather painfully with the end of his sword.
Kamina backs away, waving at the Chief. "Okay, okay!" He walks away. He's done what he's wanted.
Simon watches him go.
Kamina is an only child. He hates the fact of not having anyone to look after. His thoughts drift to Simon. Their paths cross again by the fountain. Simon is staring into the water. His reflection shows a small boy with a dirty face and hands. He frowns.
"What are you doing, Simon?"
Simon is surprised to find Kamina standing beside him. He almost falls in the fountain, but Kamina is there to catch him. "K-Kamina!" Simon looks out of breath. "You startled me…" Kamina slaps Simon on the back. He's smiling. He seems more happy then usual. This worries Simon.
"Don't call me, 'Kamina!' Call me, 'Bro!'" Before Simon can tell him he doesn't have any siblings, Kamina slaps him on the back again. "So? Have you started digging up yet?"
Simon looks toward the ground. "I was thinking about it…" he says honestly. He hesitates, then, "Is there really a surface above the ceiling?"
Kamina grins a big grin. "Of course there is! Just who in the hell do you think I am?"
After a day, Simon conceives. He wants to dig up.
There's something good about the day, Kamina can tell. Simon doesn't agree, but Kamina insists. "Something big is gonna' happen, Simon! I just know it!"
Three hours pass, and something does.
Kamina is a dreamer, and one of his dreams just came true. The ceiling he so despises has finally been broken, but by something else. And like Kamina said, this something else is big.
Two things fall into the pit. One is a monster. It towers over Kamina and Simon; with a menacing face. The other is a girl. She carries a rifle, pretty features and barely any clothing. Kamina's eyes wander. Simon tries not to look.
The girls name is Yoko. The monster is called a Gunmen. They were fighting; they both fell. She wants to continue the fight, but Kamina won't let her. It's in the pit now, so it's his job.. He takes the Chief's sword. A battle ensues. Simon finds another Gunmen buried in the dirt. He, Kamina and Yoko use it to fight the other one. They win, and the force of their victory propels them upwards. Past the ceiling.
To the surface. To the surface's sky.
A month later, Kamina and Simon are sitting in the middle of The Gurren Brigade. Only they aren't The Gurren Brigade anymore. They are the Dai-Gurren Brigade, and they consist of members Kamina has recruited or persuaded during their travels. Kamina leads them. They allow him to. They understand him. Kamina is the happiest he's been for a long time. Everyone is here, supporting him, listening to his proposal to hijack a huge enemy Ganmen.
Yoko is there, too. She watches Kamina intently. She's been doing it a lot lately. She tells herself she can't fall for a guy like him. A reckless, pea brained, lazy, good for nothing… She sighs. She can't deny her feelings. As the meeting is dispersed, everyone gets back to their jobs. Yoko wants to go speak with Kamina, but she hesitates. Perhaps there is something she needs to do, or something someone else wants her to do. There isn't, but she makes one. She tells herself Simon is thirsty, so she brings him a drink.
Simon thanks her. He always thanks her. He's always wanted to thank her. He's not even sure what love is, but he feels that way about Yoko. He watches her like she watches Kamina. He notices she watches Kamina like he watches her. He tells himself she's only wondering what crazy thing he'll do next.
Kamina is surprised when Yoko kisses him. He's also mad that she beat him to their first kiss. He's so mad he can hardly enjoy the first half of the kiss. He relaxes himself, though, and kisses her back. He doesn't have to ask himself if this is right, he just knows. When they break apart, they are both embarrassed. Kamina speaks first.
"I'll pay you back for that." He says to her gently. It is the most serious Yoko has ever heard him be. "I'll pay you back over and over again." Yoko cannot help but giggle at how unromantic it sounds.
Hidden behind a bush, Simon watched the event unfold. He feels heartbroken. He feels betrayed by his own brother. He feels angry toward Yoko. More then anything, he feels sick. He wants to throw up everything Kamina ever told him. He runs away from them, from the scene he just witnessed. He just wants to be alone. He climbs into Lagann, his one shelter. Lagann is the brave face that Simon has a hard time finding.
He lays curled up in Lagann for a long time. His mind is swimming with a thousand different thoughts, but he can't bring himself to digest even one. He doesn't know what to do, and he doesn't want to go to Kamina for help. He can't. Not with his kind of problem. There's a sudden knock on Lagann's canopy. Simon opens it to find Kamina standing above him.
"So this is where you were, Simon," he says. He smiles. "I was starting to get worried." Simon notices the sun is rising. "It's time to go. You ready?"
Simon climbs out of his Gunmen. "Sure…" He tries to put on a brave face, but he can't. He's not Lagann.
Clouds are beginning to cover the sky. Simon vaguely wonders if it is going to rain.
That night, Kamina is dead.
Simon is kneeled over in muddy water. He continuously bangs his fists into the ground. He's getting his clothes wet and dirty at an alarming rate, but he doesn't care. He can't care. He knows it's his fault his Bro is dead. He can't put the blame on anyone else; he's not even going to try. Yoko is standing near him. She's also crying, unable to do or feel anything else. She'll never get the kisses he promised he'd repay her with. The Dai-Gurren Brigade is also near, each hiding their tears from the other. The situation is overwhelming them.
Simon ran out of tears a long time ago. The sky hasn't.
It's been raining for a while.
In the morning, they bury Kamina. His grave is marked with his sword, and his beloved cape is tied around it. An everlasting remembrance.
Simon still can't believe it. He feels distant from the group, from everything. Kamina was the person who held him up. Kamina was there when no one else was. Kamina believed Simon's drill would pierce heaven itself!
But now Kamina is gone.
The Dai-Gurren Brigade has to move on. They have a mission they have to do. Kamina pioneered it, and they have to finish it, even if Kamina isn't around to see it fulfilled. It's all they can do for him now.
Simon will help, too. He feels it's his obligation to his bro. He ends up being the biggest help of anyone, even surpassing Kamina in his own way. The Dai-Gurren Brigade wouldn't have succeeded without him.
Simon is helping to build a city now. Every day, he works, helps in anyway possible. The Dai-Gurren Brigade works around the clock, trying to sustain life for civilization they liberated. Simon leads them now. They respect him, and they understand him. Nia is always by his side, too. Giving him support or a gentle shoulder to rest on whenever he needs one. He thanks her. He's always thanked her.
Yoko stays for a while, but soon parts ways with the Brigade. The truth is she couldn't stand to look at that statue any longer. It wasn't because it was ugly; she just couldn't stand to remember him at every glance. She visits his grave, and talks to the sword that is still planted in the ground. In a way, it comforts her. When she leaves, Yoko wants to start a new life. She has the perfect thing in mind. Simon hasn't been able to contact her.
The city is complete, and Simon, Nia and everyone else live in it peacefully. It's all Simon wants. It's all Kamina wanted.
Simon is the last member of the Dai-Gurren Brigade, and even now, he lies on his bed, old and weak. It's been many years since the city was built, and grew. It's been even more since he broke the surface. The rest of his Brigade have all passed away. He misses them; he can't help it. His family has surrounded him, now. He, faintly, wonders why. His daughter is saying something he can barely understand, and his grandchildren are holding onto her legs. Simon looks up into her face. For a second, he sees Nia. The thought makes him happy.
He can feel himself slipping. He wants to hold on, but it's no use. He's worried about his family. He wants to know if they'll be alright without him. He closes his eyes. Someone is calling to him. At first he thinks it's his daughter. It's not. The voice sounds familiar, but he can't place it.
"C'mon, Simon. Just let go. I'll catch you."
Simon still isn't sure, but he doesn't have a choice. He takes one final breath, and lets go. He falls into strong arms. These feel familiar, too. Again, he can't place it. Simon is surrounded by white. White walls, white floor, white everything! He looks down at himself. He's the old Simon, the Simon he remembers. He turns around.
He sees Kamina standing before him, the Kamina he remembers, grinning that famous grin that is still ever present in Simon's head. He's happy Simon is finally here with him. He's been waiting a long time. He's greeted every member of his old Brigade so far, and even one he hadn't met. He slaps Simon on the back.
"Why'd you hesitate, Simon? I told you I would catch you! Just who in the hell do you think I am?"
Simon grins. "You're Kamina!" He says, putting Kamina's excitement into his own voice. "My bro!"
The two brothers put one arm around each other and laugh. They walk side by side through a blue door Simon hadn't seen. Yoko and Nia are waiting for them. Simon doesn't worry anymore. The things he left behind are in good hands. He feels they always will be.
When Kamina and Simon were young, they not only saw the surface, they explored it, molding it with their own hands. But Kamina reached something before Simon did. Long before. It was the sky.
And he, in fact, found it to be the bluest blue he had ever seen.