Being the first part of Gainax's now infamous 40% arc a.k.a Final Arc, it would seem after holding back so long, they finally pulled out their trademark genocide card and killed off several characters, all at one go. The team ventures into no man's territory, which turns out to be a segment of space which they have total control over(oh shi-)
Right after the encounter with a 3D projection of a very nude Nia who is obviously being tortured(drool), our heroes engage in a battle against the Anti Spiral's main forces, consisting of human-ligament-shaped airships that have faces on them. Spooky.
Mankind's only hope.
And then, the inevitable. After experiencing a suspiciously easy bout with the enemy, the team was caught off guard and some of the Gurren Brigade's finest were killed in combat, excluding the Grappal rookies of course, since they're essentially cannon fodder >_> Despite knowing they were going to die anyway, Zoushi, Kidd and Ailac never once faltered and faced their fate without an ounce of fear. As for Makken, and the twins Jougan and Barinbou, they sacrificed themselves to save the rest of the crew. Manly tears were shed.
RIP Gurren Brigade's Finest.
Of course, their sacrifice was not in vain and Simon took the time bought, to gather enough spiral energy to merge with the Cathedral Terra. Unfortunately he could not unite with the latter in time, as a sudden attack from the Anti Spirals sent the entire vessel crashing...into...an ocean...in...space? Wow.
Obligatory manly power-up scene.
That concludes part 1 of 40%. Although it was sad to see the some of the crew perish like that, I guess it was unavoidable. Also, I was really impressed with the way they portrayed the Anti Spirals; enigmatic sentient beings that can bend time and space itself. Woot. Shin out.