Gurren Lagann and the Spiral Nemesis
Welcome class, today we will be examining the 2007 Gainax classic Gurren Lagann. Yes, I know it is a super robot show, running on the power of guts and awesomeness, but there is a small sliver of cosmology that can be examined. Cosmology is the study of the nature, structure, and fate of the universe. What we will be looking at today is the Spiral Nemesis, the event that spurs the anti-spirals into taking actions they did in the show. The spiral nemesis as described in Gurren Lagann is that the overuse of spiral power will somehow cause the universe to collapse into a black hole. So what exactly is a black hole? While they were first postulated in the late 1700’s it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that any real time, effort, and research was put into the topic.
A black hole is an area of space time where the force of gravity is so extreme that all surrounding light, matter, and energy are pulled into it. This is due to an extreme amount of matter being condensed into a small area, image an object the size of the Earth, but with a mass thirty times that of the sun. This essentialy warps the space time around them creating the massive amounts of gravity seen in black holes. One more thing to note about black holes is that they can grow over time, the more mass the black hole absorbs, the larger and more powerful it becomes.
Stars are basically giant thermonuclear furnaces floating in space, and as they age the hydrogen that fuels them is gradually turned into heavier elements, or blown out into space. Thus overtime they lose mass and grow in size. This causes the star to become unstable leading to a supernova, which is a fancy term for an enormous explosion. What happens after the explosion varies depending on the size of the original star. In super massive stars many times the size of the sun, the remains of the star shrink down condensed by gravity into a small area and become a black hole.
In order to examine the spiral nemesis several facts are going to be put to the side. One is spiral power, the power of evolution, awesome or whatever else you want to call it. This power also breaks the law of conservation of energy. Real life humans have no special energy they can call forth so we are not going to worry about where it is coming from. Second, spiral power has three basic uses, as a power source, an energy beam/ blade/ shield, and the creation of matter. It is the third use, the creation of matter, that concerns us today. Also there seems to be no limit to the amount of matter that spiral energy can create given by what we see over the course of the show. Oh and it also breaks the law of conservation of matter to a degree, but more on that later.
If Simon, or some other life form with spiral energy, were to create an extremely large ship or gunman out of spiral energy, that construct could begin to influence the objects around it. This is due to the simple fact that the more matter you have the more gravity you have. Gurren Lagann does not ignore this as they make a point of moving the moon back into orbit after taking over the moon sized battleship that was going to destroy the Earth. This would be needed to keep the tides and weather patterns stable. What is not discussed is the effect that two moon sized objects would have. This, however, is a bit of a moot point as the battleship soon leaves for the final battle.
Do I think that the characters in Guren Lagann would be dumb enough to accidentally create a black hole using spiral power? No, not really. However, the extra matter they create could accidentally wind up fueling a black hole, making it bigger and bigger to the point where it would be a problem. This I do see as a possibility. Now I know what you’re thinking, but Mr. Meharg couldn’t they just convert the matter back into spiral energy as seen several times on the show?
Yes, they could do that, but there is still the problem of how would the spiral energy affect the universe of Gurren Lagann. This is a real concern because while the characters can seemingly create spiral energy out of nothing, they can’t seem to destroy it. The evidence for this is the gravity well machine that the anti-spirals used as a trap. If it was possible to destroy spiral energy don’t you think the anti-spirals would be doing it to prevent the spiral nemesis? The reason all of this extra energy floating around the universe is a bad thing is that scientists aren’t really sure what kind of an effect it will have.
You also might have heard of dark matter and energy; these concepts were first thought of by scientists to help explain some discrepancies discovered in energy readings of the real life universe. The short hand version is this: astronomers have observed the Milky Way and other galaxies behaving in a particular fashion; however, the amount of matter that these large celestial objects have is much less than they should be based on current theories. To put it another way— imagine a tiny little smart car smashing through reinforced concrete walls like a main battle tank. This of course makes no sense, so one of the scientific theories that came about to explain this was the idea of dark matter and energy. This is matter and energy that we cannot currently detect that must be there to explain the phenomenon that we can observe.
More information on Dark matter
And on black holes
So what does this have to do with the Spiral nemesis in Gurren Lagann? Well, a lot when you consider the Big Crunch. The Big Crunch is a theory where dark matter and energy cause the universe to stop expanding and begin to shrink. Basically a giant black hole sucks the entire universe into itself. This shrinking continues until all of the matter and energy in the universe is compressed into a tiny ball. This ball then becomes unstable causing another big bang, thus the full name of the theory is the big crunch/ big bounce.
In closing the Spiral Nemesis is based on current knowledge of black holes, and when you give the Gurren Lagann universe the benefit of spiral power, I have to call it confirmed.
As for whether or not it can occur in the real world, I have to say currently busted, because there is very little scientific information on black holes, dark matter/ energy, and how it could affect the universe.
Please leave any questions or comments you have in the comments section below.