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Any human on the surface will be completely annihilated by our Human Eradication Army.
Are the humans truly creatures that are inferior to Beastmen? These humans... what the hell are they?!

Viral (ヴィラル Viraru?) is a shark-type Beastman with feline genetics.

Appearance

Viral, pre-timeskip.

Viral's appearance is more humanoid than most other Beastmen, except for his cat-like eyes, shark-like teeth, and large clawed paws in place of conventional human hands. During the first half of the series, Viral wears a brown jacket adorned with shoulder pads and fur collar with matching pants, and bandages from his knees down to his simple black pointed shoes. He had short platinum blond hair that reached to his chin in the front and his shoulders in the back. He also usually kept with him a large knife, resembling that of a butcher's, with which he was very proficient.

Viral, post-timeskip.

During the second half, Viral is reintroduced in brown rags covering his old uniform, though it is now tattered, along with two red belts. His hair had also grown considerably, reaching his shoulders in front and his shoulder blades in the back. After his escape from prison and induction into Team Dai-Gurren, he wore a blue full-body uniform with gold stripes around the waist and arms and a brown scarf that serves as a cloak of sorts, under which he kept hidden his old knife. 

Viral, Epilogue.

After the twenty year timeskip at the end of the series, Viral cut down his hair back to its original length. 

Personality

Viral view humans as Naked Apes.

He is very cocky and headstrong and refers to humans as "Naked Apes." He holds a rather strong contempt towards humanity, which wanes as the series progresses. Viral's most defining trait is a very strong sense of honor. Though he has a bigger sense of self-preservation than his rival Kamina, he will not attack a defenseless enemy or use dishonorable tactics, like taking hostages. Viral is a proud warrior and loves the thrill of battle. It is through this that he came to respect Kamina as the only human to ever match him, and would eventually take up his role as the pilot of Gurren.

After being inducted into Team Dai-Gurren by Simon, he shows that he is able to keep up with their bravado and adds to their short-but-inspirational battle speeches.

Viral is happy of having a family.

Episode 26 reveals some hidden depths to his character when he is shown with a family in a parallel universe created by The Anti-Spiral - reflecting a desire to have a family, even though he dismisses it as a "sappy dream" once he realizes what is really happening. After hearing several theories behind spiral energy, Viral stated: "I don't understand the crap you say but I like and believe it."

History

Beastmen War Arc

Viral's first appearance.

Viral was initially deployed in the Far Eastern Theater of the Human Eradication forces due to reports of rebel forces stealing Gunmen for their own uses. While hunting for food, he runs into the boisterous Kamina, who had coincidentally shot the same animal Viral had "killed". After introducing himself, he attacks the human with a cleaver. Initially, Viral holds the advantage, repeatedly delivering glancing cuts to Kamina's body, but suffers a wound of his own when Kamina slashes him with the head of his retrieved arrow. When Simon (in his Lagann) and Yoko intervene on Kamina's behalf, Viral retreats to his Gunmen, Enki. He manages to overcome Simon and Kamina's attacks (in Lagann and Gurren, respectively), but leaves before the fight ends.

Viral on Enkidu.

The next day, Viral returns to execute his mission as member of the Human Execution Squad, facing Kamina and Simon again; this time however, Viral is defeated by the newly formed Gurren-Lagann. Barraging it with missiles in order to conceal his escape, he swears revenge on Kamina for taking Enki's helmet in the fight.[1]

Viral later returns, alongside Supreme General Thymilph and the Dai-Gunzan, to crush Team Gurren with the upgraded Enkidu. In the battle, he teams up with Thymilph's Byakou to pummel Gurren and mortally wound Kamina - actually pinning his rival with the Gurren's own sunglasses-but was knocked out of the fight by the flailing arms of the Simon-hijacked Dai-Gunzan.

Viral saving Adiane.

With the Dai-Gunzan's capture and the death of his superior, Viral tries to obtain another chance to fight by joining Supreme General Adiane. Although she frequently mistreated him, blaming him for Thymilph's demise, Viral saved Adiane from harm during a fight with Team Dai-Gurren, by stopping the Dai-Gurren's foot from crushing her. He later piloted Adiane's flagship, the Dai-Gunkai, against the Dai-Gurren when the latter tried to cross the ocean to Teppelin. Unfortunately, Gurren Lagann intervened, using a waterscrew-like drill to carry the sinking Dai-Gurren to the surface and ripping off Dai-Gunkai's claws in the process.

Viral crying in rage at Gurren Lagann.

Viral quickly recovered, surfacing the Dai-Gunkai and preparing to attack Gurren Lagann on the deck of Dai-Gurren. However, Adiane stopped him, having decided to force the humans to destroy each other by using Nia as a hostage. Unfortunately, Yoko saved Nia with a precise rifle shot, removing Adiane's leverage over Team Dai-Gurren. When Viral moved to save the General from Dai-Gurren's cannons, Gurren Lagann drilled through the Dai-Gunkai, obliterating it as well. Viral was the only survivor of the fortress' destruction, and from the safety of the shore cursed the Gurren-Lagann, swearing to bring pain and punishment to those who killed his two superiors and robbed him of his honor.

Viral meets Simon.

Viral proceeded to join Supreme General Cytomander's aerial attack on the Dai-Gurren, having outfitted Enkidu with a flight engine to better aid the General of Wind. His battle with the Gurren-Lagann, piloted by Simon and Yoko, eventually brought them to the control room of Cytomander's Dai-Gunten. There, he finally learned of Kamina's death, and the realization that all the defeats after the loss of Dai-Gunzan were from a human child drove Viral to new heights of rage. He immediately challenged Simon to a one-on-one duel in their mecha, but the battle was interrupted by Cytomander. Piloting his Shuzack, the General took Yoko hostage to stay Simon's hand, and ordered Viral to destroy the helpless Gurren-Lagann. However, with Simon decrying his dirty tricks, Viral disobeyed Cytomander, as he knew this outcome would not make him regain his lost pride and honor. Before anything else could happen, the Dai-Gunten was attacked by Dai-Gurren, forcing everyone present to flee.

Viral wants to know about the true nature of humans asked to Lordgenome.

For Viral's hesitation, Cytomander asked the Spiral King's permission to execute him for treason. Viral accepted his fate, but made a last request: to learn, from the King himself, the true nature of the human race. At this, Lordgenome dismisses Cytomander and leads Viral to a room where hordes of Beastmen were kept in stasis. After revealing the truth of the Beastmen's existence and his own motives for keeping the humans underground, Lordgenome made Viral immortal.

Viral defeated by Simon.

Believing his new gift to finally allow him to claim vengeance, Viral uses his modified Gunman, Enkidudu, to attack the Gurren-Lagann when it entered the Spiral King's throne room. However, while being soundly defeated, Lordgenome revealed that the reason he gave Viral immortality was not to fight against Simon - as no Beastman can stand against a sufficiently skilled human with Spiral Power - but to be an eternal witness to the Spiral King's triumph against Team Dai-Gurren, in order to quell further uprisings. As such, Viral watched his king battle Gurren-Lagann in his Lazengann, soon joined by Rossiu as a spectator when the latter was disabled in the fight. After Lordgenome's defeat and the fall of Teppelin, Viral's whereabouts were unknown, but he was presumed dead in the collapse of the Dekabutsu.

Anti-Spiral War Arc

Viral in the second story arc.

Years later, now wearing a ragged cloak instead of his militant garb, Viral resurfaced and caused an uproar with his Gunmen, calling Simon out to fight him, but Rossiu stopped Simon from going after him and sent their Grapearl force instead. Gimmy and Darry take down Viral's Enkidudu and put him under custody. When questioned by Simon about why he continues to fight even after the war ended and before being sent to Rikane Prison, Viral stated that his intention was to protect a human settlement which refused to leave the underground, leading Simon to learn of Rossiu acting without his consent to count and find out how close mankind's population was from reaching the one million danger level. Simon later encounters Viral when he is sent to Rikon to await his death sentence to be carried on. Viral mocks him until the two get into a brawl, leading them to be locked in individual cells and get left behind as the other jailers and inmates abandon the prison.

Viral and Simon team up.

When Yoko arrives to bust Simon out, Viral is also released, and accepts Simon's proposal to join Team Dai-Gurren against the Anti-Spirals as Gurren's pilot. This position is cemented after the battle, when Simon declares him the Gurren's official pilot in a meeting with the Team members; this title goes uncontested. Viral pilots Gurren-Lagann with Simon for the rest of the battle against the Anti-Spirals. When Simon attempts to transform the Chouginga-Gurren in the Sea of Despair, Viral tells Simon to rest when the drill shatters. He explains to Simon that he would help if he had Spiral power. Boota then climbs down and helps Simon power up, much to Viral's surprise. In the Anti-Spiral's illusion, Viral dreams that he has a wife and a daughter (both of whom have cat or possibly wolf ears and tails. Various female beastmen of similar description can be seen in the crowd scenes in Kamina City). Viral also looks much more like a human in terms of the shape of his face in the illusion. Despite being a Beastman (and thus incapable of producing Spiral Power), he obtains a Core Drill while seemingly gaining Spiral Power from Simon when freed from the Anti-Spiral's illusion, being the last to return to Gurren-Lagann.

Viral in the illusion.

In the final battle against the Anti-Spirals, Viral briefly manifests twin swords from the Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann to duel the Anti-Spiral entity Granzeboma. He then helps Simon in defeating the Anti-Spirals by flying out with Simon in Gurren-Lagann and throwing Lagann in order to finish off the anti-spiral. This is likely in homage to Kamina and Simon's first named special attack.[2]

Epilogue

Viral as the new Captain of Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren.

Viral is seen commanding the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren as a representative for Earth in the upcoming Spiral Peace Conference; his appearance stays the same, in spite of the fact that 20 years had passed, due to his immortality.



Powers and Abilities

Beastman Physiology: Beastmen are half animal half humanoid hybrids as implied by the terminology. They are beings created through cloning by the genius scientist, Lordgenome, that harbor some natural abilities.

  • Superhuman Strength: Beastman are beings that were created to be far stronger than that of humans (although, there are exceptional humans). Viral corroborates this statement by kicking a larger Beastman through a stonewall in Lincarne prison.
  • Superhuman Speed: In episode 3, right after Yoko fired at Viral, the latter managed to arrive to his Gunmen in a relatively short period of time. He was even able to keep up in a sword fight with Kamina, who's able to dodge an arrow at point blank range.
  • Bodily Weaponry: Beastman, as mutations of certain animals, retain the animals' natural arsenal. In Viral's case, he has sharp claws from his feline genetics, and his teeth come from his shark origin.
  • Viral quick dodge Yoko bullet shot with his senses.

    Enhanced Senses: As a Beastman, Viral would also retain the incredible senses of the animals from which he had mutated from. As proof of that, Viral was able to spot Yoko from afar, and was therefore able to dodge a bullet in a literal sense; the latter's reaction even implies that she shouldn't have been spotted from where she camped
  • Regeneration: All non-ancient Beastmen have natural regenerative ability that allows them to heal most injuries over a night's rest.

Immortal Body: In episode 15, Viral confirms that Lordgenome had given him a new body that can never die, which grants him new abilities for his survival.

  • Eternal Life: Lordgenome himself states that Viral had been given eternal life like himself, so that he may recount for all of humanity's failure of defeating the Spiral King; to be a storyteller.
  • Viral hand regenerate.

    Enhanced Regeneration: In episode 20, he became wounded by the Bird Beastman's claws, and had large holes in his hands. This damage was immediately fixed, and Viral claims that it is the result of the new physiology given by the Spiral King. In the novelization of this same scene, Viral was capable of regenerating a damaged stomach from the same Beastman who attacked him in the anime.
  • Limitless Stamina: In episode 15, before he commences his battle with Gurren Lagann for the last time, he states that he doesn't need rest, and he can fight indefinitely.
  • Electricity Resistance: In episode 22, he along with Simon aboard the Gurren Lagann, became trapped inside the Kuu-Mugann, so that the 2 pilots could be electrocuted. Moments later, Simon and Viral don't give in, and they manage to escape the enormous Mugann's grasp. It is unknown whether this resistance is due to his new body or if he was always capable of resisting this; regardless, it would be safer to assume it's the former, due to the fact that he showcased this ability with the new body.

Viral Spiral Power.

Spiral Power: Viral had gained the power of the Spiral, moments before the final battle had ensued between Team Dai-Gurren and Antispiral. This was due to being given the same power as Simon, after aboarding the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, as stated in the novelization. As a Beastman with newfound Spiral Power, he is capable of utilizing the ability to evolve, which can be amplified as he retains his willpower or "fighting spirit". In episode 27, Viral, like all other members of Team Dai-Gurren, has fully awakened and has access to infinite amounts of Spiral Power (via being given the same power as Simon), and is capable of using it in any possible way. As all members of Team Dai-Gurren have fully awakened their Spiral Power, he should be just as capable without the use of Gunmen as well; additionally having every capability the Tengen Toppa Series have shown, similar to Lordgenome and Simon.

  • Gunmen Piloting: Gunmen were created by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, for Spiral Warriors to pilot, using their Spiral Power to power and control mecha. Additionally, the condition of the Gunmen is reflected upon the pilots; ie, the pilots feel the pain and retain the injuries. Spiral Power doesn't just power the Gunmen, it also assists the mecha in producing abilities for the user to adapt to certain situations in battle.
  • Reality Warping: In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, he is even capable of manifesting a galactic scale version of his swords. In the movie he had manage to manifest a Tengen Toppa mech of his own, the Tengen Toppa Enki Durga, which has a galactic green flame at its back, insinuating at it being Spiral Power, which also has a green color to it.

Skills

Martial Arts: Viral is a a top-notch soldier of Lordgenome's army, corroborated by his ownership of a Custom Gunmen, which are only given to even a few of the elites. In Lincarne Prison, he was capable of keeping up with Simon, who was stated to have become quite proficient in Martial Arts with only 3 years of training.

  • Viral fighting Kamina.

    Sword Fighting: In episode 3, Viral stated that Kamina was an amateur at using his sword, implying that Viral has actual experience with blades. In his second fight against Gurren Lagann, Viral fought at a much faster pace than he had before, being able to keep up with Gurren Lagann. In the final battle, with Tengen Toppa Enki Durga, Viral manages to wield a larger number of swords to fight against Antispiral.

Archery: Though he only utilizes this skill once in the series, Viral is shown to be a good hand at archery (presumably with a long-bow, since one was thrown out of the grass when Kamina tried to shoot in his direction). He is able to hit a moving target with great accuracy, and almost shot Kamina with an arrow, only narrowly missing because Kamina dodged at the last second.

Stealth Mastery: In his first appearance, he attempted many attacks at Kamina in the tall grass; Viral was capable of sneaking up behind him, even when the moment before, he was right in front of him. Afterwards, he almost killed Kamina, and would've if not for Kamina's ability to sense killing intent. Even in his mech, Viral is capable of surprise attacking Simon and Yoko in Gurren Lagann. Same goes for the altercation in episode 15, where he would've been able to land a hit on Gurren Lagann, if not for Simon's same ability to sense killing intent.

Viral piloting Enki.

Piloting: Viral is a skilled pilot. He was able to overpower the heavily-defended Littner village, outmatch Kamina in Gurren, and block Yoko's bullet. He was able to overpower Kamina in most battles and was skilled enough to defeat a few Grapearls, which were far superior to his Gunmen.

Equipment

Cleaver: The weapon that Viral used against Kamina in their first altercation, and was never shown again, until episode 23, implying that he has this weapon at all times.

Bow & Arrows: Viral initially used this to hunt animals for food, then shifted the weapon's purpose to fighting with humans, namely Kamina. Although, this weapon has never been used again. Theoretically, Viral used this off screen to hunt more animals for food after that encounter.

Gunmen: Viral owns mecha which he uses in situations where his other weapons may not be of use, especially against more powerful opponents.

  • Enki: The first version of his Custom Gunmen.
    • Crested Helmet: Enki has a crest on its helmet which fires a beam officially named the Enki Sun Attack.
    • Enki Swords: Enki also has swords at the side of its hips which he claims he only uses when he takes a fight as an actual challenge.
    • Arm Shield: Has a built in shield in its arms to protect itself from incoming attacks. This was used against Yoko, when she fired a bullet towards Viral.
  • Enkidu: The second version of his Custom Gunmen, which has a sickle on top of its head, rather than a helmet with a crest.
    • Sickle Blade: This is used as a sword as well as a throwing projectile, which presumably can be reformed at the top of Enkidu's head.
    • Enki Swords: Enkidu still retains its swords at the side of its hips which he claims he only uses when he takes a fight as an actual challenge.
    • Arm Shield: Has a built in shield in its arms to protect itself from incoming attacks. This was used against Yoko, when she fired a bullet towards Viral.
  • Dai-Gunzandu: This is Viral's very own Dai-Gun, which is a variant of the original Dai-Gunzan. Similar to Dai-Gurren, Dai-Gunzandu should also be capable of self-destruction.
    • Canons: Similar to Dai-Gunzan, Dai-Gunzandu also has a multitude of canon's to fire at enemies nigh-omnidirectionally.
    • Gunmen: This Dai-Gun is also capable of throwing Gunmen to any desired location within its range, for the Gunmen to attack.
  • Enkidudu: The third and final version of his Custom Gunmen, which doesn't don anything at the top of its head this time.
    • Enki Swords: Instead of having 2 swords like usual, Enkidudu owns 4 swords for each of its hands to utilize.
    • Arm Shield: Has a built in shield in its arms to protect itself from incoming attacks. This was once again used against the Grapearl in episode 17.
  • Tengen Toppa Enki Durga: The Tengen Toppa version of the Enkidudu; a galactic scale version, manifested by Viral's thoughts. Used to fight against Antispiral with Granzeboma.
    • Tengen Toppa Enki Swords: A galactic scale variant of Viral's signature weapon.
    • Pistols: Tengen Toppa Enki Durga wields multiple galactic scale pistols, which were used in the midst of his swordfight against Antispiral's Granzeboma. They were also used to fire against Granzeboma along side most of the team.

Etymology

Viral and Simon as rivals.

Viral's name comes directly from the word "viral", tying in with the Beastmen's genetics theme, but there are other theories about his name's origin. One is the fact that it can also be an anagram for "rival", referring to his constant rivalry with Kamina, which transferred to Simon throughout the series until near the end. Another possible theory comes from the Nikopol Trilogy of comic books written by Enki Bilal, as Enki is the name of Viral's first Gunmen and "Bilal", pronounced in Japanese, sounds like "Viral". Supporting this theory is Viral's theme song, which is titled "Nikopol", on the anime's soundtrack.

The name of Viral's Gunmen may be tied to the Sumerian deity Enki, though it is much more likely that there is a deliberate connection between his second Gunmen, Enkidu, and the character of Enkidu from the Epic of Gilgamesh. The myth consists of Enkidu ('Enki's creation'), a man of the wild who seeks to challenge King Gilgamesh, a mighty warrior, but who later befriends him and assists him in in his travels, which may be a reference to Simon and Kamina, as he initially wanted to beat them but later joined Simon to save the universe.

Trivia

  • Viral is the only character in Gurren Lagann to have his own unique theme song play in the show itself. The song, "Nikopol", plays every time he makes a entrance as a villain, though after he sided himself with Team Dai-Gurren, the theme isn't played again. Other characters have songs associated with them, some of which (most notably Kamina's theme, "ラップは漢の魂だ! 己を信じて天を指差す怒涛の男・カミナ様のテーマを耳の穴かっぽじってよ~く聴きやがれ!!", sections of play during each of the show's eyecatches. Not to be confused with ""Libera me" from hell", which is the 'death song' of the series) are played during the anime, though not necessarily during a character's time on screen.
    • This theme song sounds similar to Points of Authority by Linkin Park.
  • In the original ADV Films dub, Viral was to be voiced by Vic Mignogna, who told a Gurren Lagann fan that he would have given Viral a rather Gollum-like voice, high and raspy.
  • According to the illusion, Viral had gained the ability to seek love and find the urge to have children, much like all Spiral beings strive for. While being a Beastman and sterile, it is possible that while Lordgenome granted Viral immortality, the result most likely had him infused with Spiral Power as well. For example, by the time Simon had been piloting Gurren Lagann by himself, it had been running entirely on Spiral Power (as it no longer needed an electrical charge like the Beastmen's Gunmen). Viral had the ability to pilot Lagann because he had been given the ability to use Spiral Power by Lordgenome. This unlocked in him the need to have a family ("Love changes the universe!" such as Leeron said). However, he still couldn't control his Spiral Power nor did he know he had it, so he was unable to help Simon initially when transforming Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann. Fortunately, Simon appeared in Viral's fantasy, and when Viral snapped out of it, he gained a Core Drill, signifying his unlocking of Spiral Power. Eventually, Viral learns to master his power, creating the Tengen Toppa Enki Durga in Lagann-hen's take on the final battle against the Anti-Spiral.
  • Viral shares the same Japanese Voice actor (Nobuyuki Hiyama) with Hiei from the anime YuYu Hakusho.
  • Viral shares the same English Voice actor (Sam Riegel) with Clovis la Britannia from the anime Code Geass.

Quotes

Any human on the surface will be completely annihilated by our Human Eradication Army.
“Now then… I’ve come to reclaim my helm! That’s what I wanted to say, but before that… put on some damn clothes!”
Are the humans truly creatures that are inferior to Beastmen? These humans... what the hell are they?!
Welcome to prison life, supreme commander.
Join with yesterday's foe to smash fate, and grab tomorrow's path with our own hands!
Destiny Combining: Gurren Lagann!! JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!
The screams of life echo across the galaxy!
Raging Wave Combining: Arc Gurren... Lagann!!
You spout a bunch of crap, but this is crap I can really get behind!
Our seething blood will determine what will be!
And defy all who would stop us, to grab hold of our path!
JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE?!?!?!

Gallery

Main article: Viral/Gallery

References

  1. Gurren Lagann anime: Episode 3
  2. Gurren Lagann anime: Episode 26
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