Simon (シモン Shimon?) (pronounced like "Simone") is the central protagonist of the anime and manga series, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. He begins the story as a short, unassuming and lonely young boy, but grows up into a commanding and well-loved man. Hailed for being like a drill, he became known as a legendary hero who overcame impossible odds both personal and universal and now stands eternally as a beacon for the good of all man and Spiral kind.
Simon was born in Jiha Village, one of many subterranean civilizations on Planet Earth in the far future. Unlike other villages, Jiha Village had supplies of fresh water, animals (Mole pigs) for food and electric generators for light. In spite of this, there was an ever-present threat of cave-ins from earthquakes, so the village chief employed diggers from the energetic and maneuverable youth to create new routes for the city to expand. Simon became one of them, and quickly distinguishes himself as one of the best diggers in the village.
At age seven, Simon's parents were crushed before his eyes in a cave-in during an earthquake. The incident traumatized him and gave him a harsh phobia for earthquakes. Simon then delved into his job, far outclassing his peers and thus earning their scorn. Only Kamina, the local gang leader and juvenile delinquent, reached out to Simon. Kamina "recruited" Simon and co-founded Team Gurren, gaining ragtag lackies on the way. Virtually dragging him along on on outrageous schemes, Kamina implored Simon to lend his skills and help them escape Jeeha Village and reach the surface, which Kamina claimed he had visited as a young boy. Though Simon was an outcast, he would always feel more comfortable around Kamina. In one instance, Kamina and the other members were trapped in a small hole caused by an earthquake; everyone was scared, but Kamina's pep talks to Simon motivated the digger to drill a tunnel out of the barricade. After this incident, Kamina and Simon grew so close that they started being called brothers.
One day, during the digging of a new tunnel, Simon discovers a small drill-shaped object that periodically glows, an item known as the Core Drill. On the same day, he unearths a large "face" in the ground. Upon exiting the cave, he's found by local leader Kamina, with whom he tries to escape, without success. The failure results in Kamina being jailed while Simon is let off. While trying to break Kamina out, Jeeha Village is attacked by a large Gunmen while a girl with a gun comes in to stop it.
Heading back into the cave, he shows the face to the girl and Kamina. The face is revealed to be a miniature Gunmen, and the Core Drill Simon dug up is the key to starting it. With the aid of the "gunmen" which Kamina names the "Lagann ", Simon destroys the large Gunmen attacking Jiha and rises to the surface world. Most of the Team Gurren's early successes are a direct result of Simon's work. The highlights of such work, are produced in the capture of the Gunzar (later, the Gurren) and entrapping the Dai-Gunzan in a desert sinkhole, before later controlling it.
Although Simon quickly forms familiar relationships with those in his age group, namely Yoko and Rossiu, and is admired by Rossiu's wards Gimmy and Darry, he often goes unnoticed, or ignored by the older members due to his appearance, with the exception of Dayakka, Kamina and Leeron.
On the night before the raid on Dai-Gunzan, Simon and Yoko spend a couple of moments speaking with each other. The volcano they are looking at explodes, and Simon notes how it seems to him like his brother. She jokingly asks if that was "the old "male-bond" connection going on, or what?", and he replies awkwardly, "No, not exactly." After a brief pause, Yoko hands Simon her coffee and he replies with "Thanks." Yoko is visibly downcast, while Simon obliviously just stares at her bosom. She calls his name and he replies in a manner clearly distracted. She simply observes his face,before looking visibly let down and disappointing. Yoko feigns contentment, saying, "It's nothing. Forget it." She then walks away, wishing him luck on the mission. Simon is left with his scalding coffee. He at some point soon following seeks Yoko out.
There was an underlying mistake in his interactions with Yoko, that due to his age and inexperience, he did not catch: insensitive expectance. He does not reciprocate the interations that she gives him. When she winks at him, he -in bashfulness, but nonetheless- looks off or just stares. There is typically just no response. When she does just about anything he is outwardly unresponsive, perhaps an effect of his then trapped and unrevealed personality. This treatment and dynamic ultimately proves fatal for Kamina when Yoko, apparently oblivious to Simon having possessed any feelings for her, confronts him on that same night. She believed in reliability of the man in him and was dually enthralled with the presence that would come with it, as opposed to an unsure, shy boy no older than her.
Yoko presents these feelings to Kamina with a kiss which he readily reciprocates. Kamina leaves, saying he would pay her back tenfold for the kiss he received. She tells him that she looks forward to it, him replying with a quick, "Sure!" As he slides down the hill, Yoko watches, looking visually pleased with her decision.
The witnessing of the event that happened between Kamina and Yoko upset Simon tremendously and offset his ability to pilot the Lagann, prompting Kamina to intervene with him. While Kamina returns to his then stationary Gunmen, Divine General Thymilph reveals himself and stabs Kamina, ultimately killing him. The guilt from Simon over Kamina's death reduces the morale for the Team Gurren, but it affects Simon to an extreme - mentally broken, bitter and depressed, he becomes increasingly hostile towards foes and aggressive team members (i.e. Kittan).
Few members had any faith in Simon's capacity as a leader and a power struggle begins between Simon and Kittan, ending in Simon soullessly yielding. His psychotic tendencies had an adverse affect on the Gurren Lagann, leading to surges of spiral power that disrupt the mech's basic functioning, causing it to fall apart. The Lagann rejects Simon, deeming him unfit to pilot it properly while in his unstable state.
It is during this time Simon meets Nia, and the two immediately develop a strong friendship. Continually inspired and touched by her kindness and sincerity, Simon regains his composure to fight, renaming himself "Simon the Digger". After this display, he is unanimously elected Team Gurren's new leader. He leads Team Dai-Gurren to Teppelin, where he engages the Spiral King in battle. Despite destroying the Spiral Kings Gunmen, Lord Genome defeats Simon in Lagann and attempts to finish off Simon before Simon stabs him with his Core Drill and turning it,sending a Spiral burst through Lord Genome, killing him. With his victory, Simon returns to his friends. They are free.
Upon defeating the Spiral King and putting an end to the war against the Beastmen, Simon becomes Supreme Commander of Kamina City, the city founded on Teppelin's remains and effectively becomes the leader of humanity and of Earth. During the seven years since their victory, the city flourishes by his and Team Gurren's efforts, bringing a long-sought period of peace.
However, just after proposing marriage to Nia and receiving her acceptance, the one millionth human child is born, triggering the Anti-Spiral Human Annihilation System. Nia, turned into the Anti-Spirals' messenger, reveals to the population the whole truth behind their intentions and their reasons for wiping out mankind. This triggers a revolt from the people of Kamina City against the government, who destroy Kamina's statue and demand Simon's head.
In a maneuver to calm down the angry mob, Simon is betrayed by his second-in-command, Rossiu, who removes him from power and holds a mock trial where Simon is sentenced to death. Incarcerated in the Rinkane Jail until the day of his execution, he ends up meeting his old foe Viral, and after causing a commotion among the prisoners, both are sent to individual cells.
During Simon's attempted escape, Nia appears before him. The ensuing conversation is interrupted by Yoko, who broke into the prison in order to rescue him. Before leaving, Yoko frees Viral at Simon's request and the trio regroup soon with the rest of the reformed Team Dai-Gurren who have finished their preparations to retaliate against the Anti-Spirals. With Viral piloting the Gurren, Simon and his companions rush into space to protect the Arc-Gurren from a massive Anti-Spiral attack, forming the Arc-Gurren Lagann in the process.
After confronting Nia and making her briefly revert to her old self, Simon manages to convince her to let him stop the Human Annihilation System by taking control of the Cathedral Terra and keeping it from falling on Earth. Nia is teleported back to the Anti-Spirals' homeworld, and within the last few moments of her presence as herself, she pleads to him, and he swears to rescue her. Leaving Rossiu at the command of Kamina City in his absence, Simon and the rest of Team Dai-Gurren take control of the Cathedral Terra, renamed the Chouginga Dai-Gurren, and launch themselves into deep space to recover Nia from the grasp of the Anti-Spirals.
Due to a clever feint, Simon is forced to watch the deaths of almost all of Team Dai-Gurren's members when he tries to transform the Chouginga Dai-Gurren into the Chouginga Gurren-Lagann. He nearly dies trying to free the team from the Sea of Despair, which saps Spiral Power and transforms it into pressure. He manages to generate two Giga Drills which the team use to destroy the Death Spiral Machine powering the Sea of Despair, but nearly passes out from the strain.
After Kittan sacrifices himself to free the Chouginga Dai-Gurren, Simon transforms it, spontaneously developing star-shaped glasses in the process. The new Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann obliterates the Anti Spiral's Ashtanga battleships, but the entire team is then trapped in a illusion by the Anti-Spiral King. Stuck in a mental illusion where he digs tunnels to steal Beastman jewelery, Simon is freed by his own mind's manifestation Kamina.Having been for a moment reunited with his brother, he leaves to frees the others.
The remaining members of the Dai-Gurren Dan claim Laganns free-floating in Anti-Spiral space-relics of previous campaigns-and their faith in Simon allows the creation of the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. After an intense battle, Simon kills the Anti-Spiral King with Lagann Impact, accepting the responsibility to protect the universe for all humanity.
After the final battle against the Anti-Spirals, Simon finally weds Nia, but that happiness is cut short when her body disappears due to her Anti-Spiral nature. Simon is not surprised, as he and Nia knew what would happen beforehand. When Gimmy suggest he use Spiral Power to revive the dead and bring Nia and their allies back to life, Simon seemlingly doesn't want, claiming "the dead should stay dead." He then gives Lagann's Core Drill to Gimmy and leaves to wander the Earth with his companion Boota.
During the years he quits the Team Dai Gurren Simon was helping people around the world and as reward he asks them to make flowers grow, to fulfill Nia's dream while wearing her wedding ring as a necklace.
Twenty years later, an elderly Simon, having only a staff tipped with a large drill is seen in the outskirts of Kamina City. He found a boy trying to open a coconut with a drill, and gave a hint to open it. Right after that, they see a group of Team Gurren Lagann gunmen flying towards the space to contact other Spiral beings. When Simon finally reveals his elderly face, a green spiral-pattern left eye can be seen on it. Boota appears from the inside of his clothes to reach his shoulder as he always do, thus ending the story as they stare at the firmament.
Simon is polite, humble, compassionate and brave. At the start of the series, he was a shy, extremely withdrawn boy, finding solace only whilst digging tunnels for the expansion of Jeeha village. He also had a huge fear of earthquakes after losing his parents in one, though this changed when he discovered that the Gunmen were responsible for those earthquakes. After finding Lagann and fighting a Beastman for the first time, he began to come out of his shell but continued to fear the pressure to be brave and fight for the rest of the team. Initially, Simon relied heavily on those around him to inspire him to fight bravely, especially Kamina, who often had to convince Simon to pluck up the courage needed in battle.
However, Simon displayed an uncanny aptitude for combat despite his timidness, and has even enjoyed himself on the battlefield, as seen during the first battle against Thymilph. He is also more than capable of being brave, and refused to just stand around while Kamina got himself killed. Simon is also very level-headed, and often kept the rash and reckless Kamina from making poor decisions; Kamina even remarked at one point that his level head is the only thing that kept him alive.
With nearly everyone having "abandoned" him (at Yoko's urging, as she believed nobody could help Simon overcome Kamina's death but himself), he is at his lowest. Simon is eventually able to snap massively out of his delirium through a combination of his want to change Nia's desperate situation and his own resolve to rescue his crew. Behind him, the Dai-Gurren crew watch as Simon uses his core drill to diligently break through to freedom. It is in that moment that they were witnessing what Kamina saw all along; an unbreaking back that was in silence paving the way to their freedom. Not only were they seeing a man chip away at bedrock, but they were witnessing him chip away at himself and their leader slowly being broken out in front of their eyes. Shortly thereafter, Simon awakens and lays waste to the Beastman opposition. Performing the first solo Giga Drill Breaker shown in the series. From that point forward, the true Simon had awakened and the old Simon was gone. He also accepted that he could never be like Kamina, but that doesn't matter as he can still be his own person. Even after mastering his immense Spiral Power, however, Simon refuses to see himself as a god, and instead thinks of himself only as 'Simon the Digger'.
Later, Simon appears to have, as Gimmy has pointed out, gotten lazier, having fallen into the monotony of bureaucracy, though he wished to return to his hot-blooded life. When Rossiu has him imprisoned after saving Kamina City from the Mugann, Simon seemingly resigns himself to his fate, but shows that he still yearns to fight, shown through his heated battle against Viral in the prison showers. Once Simon and Team Dai-Gurren go to space to rescue Nia, Simon goes through his final evolution. He is much more outgoing and fired-up as opposed to how he was during his tenure as leader of Kamina City. He revels in being able to once again fight alongside his friends. In the final battle against the Anti-Spiral, Simon develops a hybrid personality between himself and Kamina, wherein he leads the team in a hot-blooded assault against the Anti-Spiral using the bravado once exhibited by Kamina without the arrogance or foolhardiness which frequently landed Kamina in trouble against tougher opponents.
Lagann suddenly began to right itself into a practical and functional position atop Gurren, patch up the damages to Gurren's head and transform the Gurren into a much more advanced and capable version of itself, effectively revamping its entire construct. It was at this point that Simon and Kamina were able to fight Viral on even grounds, effectively repelling all of Enki's attacks and besting it in combat. Immediately after the final blow, Kamina stole Enki's headpiece (breaking the head ring in the process) and sat it it upon Gurren Lagann's head, Lagann immediately adapting it to Gurren Lagann's construct. At a later point in the Beastman War, Simon uses his drills in mid-air to to attack and attribute an unnamed enemy flight gunman to Gurren Lagann's back, effectively gaining the mech its very own full-fledged flight capabilities.
After the battle, the Arc-Gurren Lagann was used to hold back the moon as it tried to crash into earth ahead of schedule, and when it was unable to push it back, Gimmy Adai and Darry Adai took its controls using their Grapearls while Simon used Gurren-Lagann to take back the moon. In the movie adaption, Arc-Gurren Lagann instead breaks the hand of the Cathedral Lazengann with its own Giga Drill Break and the mech itself pushes its Giga Drill into the moon's core.
The Arc-Gurren, in the form of Arc-Gurren Lagann, is only seen outside of the Cathedral Terra when Team Dai-Gurren first enters the Anti-Spirals' pocket-universe. Once it becomes the Ultra Spiral Powerplant that powers Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann, it is only seen acting as such within the mech until the end of the series. In the movie adaption, it is only seen acting the Ultra Spiral Powerplant as well, and again only until the end of the series.
Because of its size, the people on board use transportation technology to move around the ship. Its combat abilities are unparalleled by any other battleship-type mecha in the series, sporting an enormous array of missiles, beam weapons and shielding capabilities. It also has the capability to transverse to other dimensions and universes and has the manufacturing capabilities to create hundreds of Arc-Gurren Lagann -sized mecha in a small period of time. During the final battle with the Anti-Spirals, when dealing with larger Ashtanga, Simon channeled enough massive Spiral Power, with aid from the spiral power of those who came before him and hi-jacked it to transform the battleship into a humanoid shape and wiped out the opposition. This Gunmen was named by him, the Transcendant Super Spiral Dreadnought Gunmen Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann (超銀河グレンラガン, Chouginga Guren-Ragan).
It has been confirmed in the data books that the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is 10 million light years in height, making it roughly one hundred times the size of the Milky Way Galaxy. It is the the third largest mecha in anime to date, the other two being the Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and the Super Granzeboma.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann draws jointly on abilities from its many pilots, including Simon's drills, Yoko's rifle, Viral's swords and so on. The actual limit of the mecha's abilities is immeasurable, as it gains an infinite amount of power depending on the pilots' will to win. At points, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and the Anti-Spirals' fight at forces equal to the Big Bang, the battle being so intense it was shown to rip holes through various dimensions showing that the power of each was on a extreme scale. This is furthered by the fact that they can alter the fundamental laws of reality, such as altering probability and creating matter out of thin air (which is no small feat even by the series' own standard, as the various drills and weapons materialized are larger than most small galaxies).
The Super Spiral Space is a multiverse with many universes and dimensions within it. The Super Spiral Space is shown to be thousands of times larger than the Super Tengen Toppa's drill form in terms of area, while individual galaxies within it are shown to be nearly as large as the Super Tengen Toppa. This makes the Super Spiral Space multiverse the size of hundreds of thousands of universes, with the mass of millions of universes.