Pretty much everything Ira Gamagoori does in the first episode. Probably the best is when the unnamed student in the beginning is fleeing down the stairs, and through a window in the stairwell you can see Ira simply falling while laughing like a madman. When the kid reaches the bottom and flings open the doors, Ira is already there. Remember, folks: you cannot escape the Disciplinary Committee.
Ryuko's fight with Boxing Club Captain Takaharu is pretty much set up entirely to prove that Ryuko is a badass. First she shrugs off every single one of Takaharu's hits, even after he takes off his "soft gloves". Then she dodges right through a storm of jabs and unleashes a brutal combo on the poor guy that destroys his uniform, finishing it all off by using the Scissor Blade to fling him at Satsuki, who is way up at the top of a nearby several-story building. Despite a wall of One-Stars and three of the Devas leaping in front of her, a splat of blood still manages to get through and mar her cheek.
Tsumugu putting Ryuko against the ropes not once, but twice! The second time, he even lets her transform!
Even after getting shot and tattered, Senketsu musters the strength to jump up to Tsumugu's face and tell him at point blank:
Senketsu: Don't you dare lay a finger on Ryuko. Do, and I'll make you pay.
Again, he stares dead in the eyes of the man who has the very weapon to destroy him (and has already heavily weakened him, mind you) and, giving absolutely zero fucks, threatens him in earnest. Even better? Tsumugu actually hears him and is convinced that Senketsu isn't just some parasite.
Sanageyama gets many points in this episode worth mentioning:
He gets to show off his skills for the first time by transforming his uniform into a huge suit of armor.
The determination he shows by sewing his eyes shut just so Ryuko won't beat him the same way again takes guts. It even impresses Satsuki, who had earlier dismissed him for his lack of resolve.
In his rematch with Ryuko, Sanageyama becomes the first ever character to utterly destroy her at her full strength and not even suffer a single scratch. The only reason she gets away is because his own uniform overheated, but only because Sanageyama was far too powerful. In short, he becomes a rare second consecutive Wake-Up Call Boss after Tsumugu from the previous episode.
Ryuko endures a beating from 2-stars Mako for hours just so that she would come back to the light
Mako dons a Two Star Goku uniform. Even before Ryuko transformed out of Senketsu, she got quite the beating.
Don't forget, despite the massive beating Ryuko got, Mako was holding back all along, as revealed at the end of the fight when she punches the ground out of frustration and creates a HUGE crater.
The sheer power of Mako's uniform utterly dwarfs the average Two-Star uniform, which by this point have turned into little more thanElite Mooks if even that, being curbstomped by Ryuko left and right. Not bad for an "underachiever", no?
Gamagoori shows off the powers of his uniform in a scene ripped straight out of Inazuman.
Ryuko climbs up one of the five towers laid out by Satsuki by running straight up it without having transformed. Take note that other students with one-star uniforms are shown as being unable to reach the top. The only other students able to reach the tops of the other towers are the Elite Four.
Gamagoori: I can't defeat you, but I won't lose to you, either! Satsuki: What did you say? Gamagoori: You can't make me kneel before you. If you intend to use force to conquer this school, I'll take all of it on myself. I will show you that there are those who will never yield to force. That is my resolve!
Just before the fight between Gamagoori and Satsuki, it is shown that Gamagoori skipped his own graduation ceremony to confront her, for which Satsuki berates him. Gamagoori replies that if she intends to rule his school by force, he will stop her at all costs, for that is his task as Student Council President, even on the last day of school and even if it means skipping his own graduation.
Senketsu demonstrating that Three Star Goku Uniforms aren't the only clothes that can get secondary transformations!
The end of the fight against Inumuta. He's pushed back Ryuko to the edge of the ring, since Ryuko is unable to find him because of his Invisibility ability. So what does Ryuko do if she can't go up to her enemy and beat the tar out of him? Why, attack the ENTIRE arena at once, of course!
The fact that she can locate a Goku uniform's Life Fiber, the one that powers the entire thing at that,with a glance is awesome enough on its own. She even comments about the uniform's poor stitching because of this.
Ryuko completely losing it at the end of the episode, while both terrifying and sad considering the circumstances, is a sight to behold. She is so enraged that the pin in her glove simply shoots out without her even touching it.
The final moments of Isshin Matoi, Ryuko's father. Nui had ran him through with the Scissor Blade he developed and was about to finish the job, when she got distracted by Ryuko's arrival. In that single moment, Isshin detaches half of the blade and retaliates, cutting out Nui's left eye. This is the only time so far where she hasn't been sporting a sickening smile.
Satsuki sees the hell being raised by the battle between Nui and Berserk Ryuko, and then orders the Elite Four to evacuate the students while she intervenes.
Satsuki also delivers a scathing verbal beatdown to Nui by implying that she still hasn't gotten over getting her eye cut out by Isshin and is projecting her desire to get revenge by targeting Ryuko. Afterwards, Satsuki banishes Nui from the school without hesitation.
This really is Satsuki's episode. While Nui spends the entire fight against Berserk!Ryuko dodging and defending, Satsuki goes on the offensive almost immediately, matching all of her power blow-for-blow, eventually expending enough raw strength combined to evict five stone pillars directly through Honnouji's walls. This is implied directly afterwards to not even be her full power, as she then goes into a blue-aura power-up sequence to counteract Ryuko's red. We haven't even gotten started on these two as far as their power is concerned.
Mako delivers perhaps the most epic Cooldown Hug ever when she swims through... weird star stuff and hugs, then slaps the shit out of a berserk Ryuko.
Anything to do with Ryuko's Roaring Rampage of Revenge, but special props to saving Mako (once more) by giving her assailant a face full of bike tire.
The Osakan Student Council President, Kaneo Takarada, refusing to give Sanageyama an inch, physically or philosophically, all while being a hammy over the top goofball.
Mako threatening a Takarada trooper to shoot her with Takarada Conglomerate bonds and catching it while still in the air. Made even more impressive by the fact that she is a No-Star while the money guns proved effective against One-Star Uniform users. She then spends the rest of the episode using the money that was shot at her to have the nice big spending spree throughout Osaka that she really wanted.
Mako: Don't you dare get between Mankanshoku Mako and something she wants!
Ryuko gets to fight Satsuki again, without wearing a transformed kamui. Which Satsuki does. She then takes back her glove, and it takes both Satsuki and Jakuzure to fight her. Oh, and at that point, Ryuko doesn't have her scissor blade any more, so she's still not at full power. She compensates by disarming Satsuki and pointing her own sword against her.
To drive the point home, Ryuko was able to hold her own against a transformed Satsuki without Senketsu. Then, even after she finally got Senketsu back, Satsuki still had a rather clear advantage...and yet, with some quick thinking on Senketsu, she was able to make a comeback at the last second and end the fight with a draw. This officially makes her the only character to come even close to giving Satsuki a hard time in a battle, let alone actually have a chance of winning.
You're all forgetting the fact that she actually LANDED A DIRECT PUNCH on Satsuki's face! AND Satsuki is forced to create a Mexican Standoff just to make the fight a draw.
In the meantime, Aikuro and Tsumugu are fighting Sanageyama and Inumuta respectively (though it's not shown in great detail, Aikuro, a Non-Action Guy until now, manages to survive a fight with Sanageyama, the strongest of Satsuki's henchmen). Gamagoori doesn't get to do much, because he's too busy glaring at Mako.
The fact that Mako was able to stare down Gamagoori, who was now in an upgraded version of his Three-Star uniform, and not even flinch is many levels of badass on its own.
Not only does Mako stare Gamagoori in the eye without flinching, she actually moves closer to him so she can give the mummy looking giant of a man a good hard stare.
Senketsu rapidly narrating the "recap episode" in less than a minute.
Doubles as Nightmare Fuel, but the pilot of Satsuki's helicopter is suddenly revealed to be Nui Harime. When asked how she got there, she simply states that she goes wherever she wants, and nobody can stop her.
Made more frightening by the fact that she was present during the whole Satsuki-Ryuko fight. We don't get to see her only after she reveals herself because she only came as a spectator. Given that she was dressed as Satsuki's helicopter pilot, she probably was there since the beginning.
Barazo and his family Take A Level In Badass by confronting Gamagoori right on his speech podium and demand to know what happened to Mako and Ryuko. Barazo even gets an Art Shift to a much cooler-looking design and his voice changes with it when he demands to know if they're alive or not — and if there's going to be a catering at the Grand Festival.
Barazo's glare actually makes Gamagoori step back! Quite an achievement for the, till now, comic relief character.
Remember, Barazo Mankanshoku has done things like steal blood from his patients and is reputed to have more deaths than recoveries under his belt. Gamagoori should be afraid.
Nui Harime serves as an excellent foil to the rest of the gang, showing how far they've grown. Not only can Ryuko match her pound for pound, to the point where she's genuinely worried, but the Elite Four actually manage to get some hits in on her, even if they have to work in tandem to do so!
Awesomeness on the Elite Four's part diminishes when you look back and realize that not one of their hits caused any damage, and Nui was still not fighting seriously against them.
Ragyo shows how much of a Magnificent Bitch she is. Not only does she survive Satsuki's attempted assassination, she beats the ever loving shit out of her. Satsuki had never lost a fight before this episode, at worst tying with Ryuko back in their fight from Episode 16, so seeing her utterly trashed is a sight to behold.
Before Ryuko managed to break out of Ragyo's mind control, she was fighting on equal footing against a transformed Satsuki without activating Senketsu. Apparently, the mind control undid some sort of mental limiters she was putting on her natural power.
Ryuko breaking out of Ragyo's mental control. Her red forelock cuts off the life fibers binding her brain!
That's just the start for that scene, Ryuko then proceeds to fracture her own skull to tear the thread out of her brain. There is blood running down that side of her face afterwards.
And then we learn that she lived through Ragyo subjecting her to ridiculously grotesque medical experiments and then leaving her for dead not long after her birth. If anyone's the Determinator here, it's her.
It may not appear as much considering the superpowered stunts other characters pull but Soroi, an elderly man, carrying the entire strike force sent to Kiryuin manor on his back was pretty badass.
Also, the Mankanshoku family continues eating after being un-cocooned. Everyone else in the stadium was a zombie at that point.
Mako's evacuation efforts: When just telling everyone to leave doesn't work, she jumps in the family truck and puts her beloved snacks on the line to lure the civilians away. Since when could she drive, anyway?
Satsuki definitely deserves a mention. This episode is a culmination of years of preparations, gathering allies, equipment and manipulating herself into the perfect position to overthrow Ragyo. She had all her bases covered and was prepared for pretty much everything. The only reason she failed was because she didn't realize just how much of an inhuman monstrosity her mother was.
Nonon Jakuzure appearing in the standard-issue outfit of Nudist Beach, wielding half of Satsuki's Bakuzan to save Mako's younger brother.
Uzu Sanageyama overseeing the evacuation of his former delinquent cohorts. Even though his efforts cost him his Goku Uniform.
Isshin Matoi is Soichiro Kiryuin. Faking his own death from an RPG blast then completely changing himself up to posture.
Satsuki has been enduring a month-long torture session. The stinger shows that she has had a way to escape the whole time. She just wanted some info on what Ragyo was planning.
A minor one, but Mako's brother staying in town in hopes of trying to save Mako and surviving for a month is nothing to sneeze at.
When Mako is eaten by a COVERS it becomes ginormous as a representation of her power.
A group of Kanto delinquents letting COVERS eat them on purpose to wreck havoc from inside. Even if they failed it was still a great show of badass and courage.
The first major thing Ryuko does in this episode? She obliterates an entire army of COVERS with a single stroke of her scissor blade WITHOUT wearing her Kamui, AND managing to rescue the people stuck inside the COVERS at the same time.
How does Ryuko get into the Honnouji Academy? Using a cable car (again) to fling herself over the walls, burst out of the car with her motorcycle and destroy any COVERS waiting for her.
Ryuko manages to catch and fatally impale Nui, while wearing a huge grin. Nui makes a pained, scared expression and seems to be dying, but then laughs it off to reveal her ability to Ryuko. "Just kidding"!
Satsuki can take down COVERS while naked, with her hands tied and using only sharpened toe nails as a weapon.
The Elite Four and Satsuki manage to silently communicate which makes their eyes glow.
Followed by an awesome rescue.
Satsuki puts on Senketsu in order to stop her sister who's been brainwashed by Ragyo and Junketsu.
Ragyo casually dodges a missile by tilting her head.
The reveal that Nudist Beach has their own goddamn aircraft carrier. Its launch sequence is also pretty neat.
A retroactive one for Satsuki considering the revelations of this episode. Every time Satsuki fought Ryuko with Junketsu active she was essentially fighting two battles. The one against Ryuko and the one against Junketsu trying to Mind Rape her into obedience.
Ryuko finally snaps out of her Heroic BSOD and brainwashed state, then throws her Scissor Blade, impaling Nui, launching her several meters into the air, and ultimately suspending her from the deck by her ribcage. She's just as stunned as you are.
She then essentially rips her own skin off in order to remove Junketsu so that she can put Senketsu on again. The last shot of the episode has her drenched in her own blood, with more of it raining down on her, and pure determination in her eyes.
Satsuki gets Nui angry.
Naked Satsuki is also able to fight Nui on the same level as she last fought Ryuko while both were using their Kamui. Regular human she may be, but the girl has resolve, just like she says.
All of five minutes after putting on Senketsu for the first time, Satsuki fights Ryuko by using both of Senketsu's Senjin and Shippu forms... and then combines them into Senjin Shippu.
The fact that Satsuki was able to synchronize with Senketsu is pretty awesome in itself, considering the strain it puts on her, as well as their mutual desire to save somebody they care about, that is, Ryuko.
Ryuko wearing Junketsu is terrifyingly awesome. Satsuki lands two blows the whole fight, and neither does more than make Ryuko angry. She effortlessly destroys Satsuki's transformations while delivering a No Holds Barred Beat Down on Satsuki far surpassing the one Ragyo laid on her. She gives a Hannibal Lecture deconstructing Satsuki's entire life and attitude. She even ignores the Elite Four's strategy because she was sewn into Junketsu.She even dodges Mako.
Despite being cut to shreds with the Sword Scissor, Senketsu was still able to pull himself together and throw himself back into the fray when he sees Mako in danger.
When Ryuko is advancing murderously on Mako, her family all assemble to form a human shield.
Ryuko's synchronization with Senketsu, it's something straight out of a Super Robot series. The power of her transformation literally blows Nui away.
Not only that, Senketsu gets one alone. After Mako gives him a lift so he can synchronize with Ryuko, Nui moves in to eviscerate him with both scissor blades. He responds by detaching his skirt to let the attack fly through him, and leapfrog off her head.
At first it looks like bad news because Nui now has both Scissor Blades, but Ryuko turns the situation around in mere seconds: She avoids all of Nui's attacks, gets both Scissor Blades back and then uses them to lop off and absorb Nui's arms.
Nui's initial attack of using both Scissor Blades to shoot an X-shaped Sword Beam is easily deflected with a single, unflinching backhanded block... as in, Ryuko doesn't forcefully backhand it away, but the simple act of raising the back of her hand is enough to deflect it into the water.
The counterattack against the COVERS, during which Gamagoori takes Dual WieldingUp to Eleven by using NINE Vacuum Fists at once... and getting off a pretty epic series of "kyu" punsnote The words for "nine", "rescue", "vacuum", and others in the attack name he comes up with all contain the "kyu" syllable in Japanese. in the process!
Satsuki agreeing to take a punch from Ryuko at full power, despite the fact that, because she has no uniform, the hit could kill her. Gamagoori and then Sanageyama take those punches, yelling at Ryuko for not using her full power.
Gamagoori: Such half-assed punches are not worthy of Lady Satsuki!
The Elite Four defending Satsuki and their epic speech of their Undying Loyalty.
Sanageyama: We, the Honnouji Academy Elite Four, are Lady Satsuki's irresistible spear! Her unyielding shield!
Gamagoori: If you want to strike Lady Satsuki, strike us! But you'll find that we don't yield easily!
Hououmaru even gets a moment, being able to speak so calmly while a geyser of blood spurts into her face, and talking down to a complete psychopath who just went off her rocker, at that.
Finally getting to see Sewing Club President Iori Shiro transform into his Three-Star(!) Goku Uniform, Tailor's Regalia.
Fight Club President Mankanshoku Mako is back.
Ryuko and Satsuki's synchronized sisterly Kamui transformation, accompanied by the triumphant return of "DON'TLOSEYOURWAY".
Fight Club President Mako tops Gamagoori's 9 Vacuum Fists with 999 of them, and adds even more "kyu" puns!
Iori making damn good on his statement from the previous episode that he alone is enough to provide Goku Uniforms for a whole army.
The Elite Four get their ultimate Goku Uniform upgrades and kick tons of ass.
Sanageyama's Secret Unleashed—HE'S NO LONGER BLIND!
Inumuta making a glorious return to the frontlines, at last!
Gamagoori prevents Ragyo's swords from hurting Satsuki by blocking the attack with his arms.
In order to get to the Original Life Fiber, Ryuko lets herself get cut in half by Ragyo, giving just enough defense so that her Life Fibers aren't completely severed. Then Satsuki continues fighting Ragyo in order to buy time so Ryuko can heal and dive into the Original Life Fiber.
In a last ditch effort, Aikuro turns the ship into a GIANT NAKED DAGGER, bent on stabbing right through the Primordial Life Fiber. But unfortunately, the ship's losing power fast. The only functioning turbine left isn't spinning too quickly and they can't accelerate fast enough. How does this get fixed? Through sheer Heroic Willpower courtesy of Mako Mankanshoku and the other Club Presidents, they all run and spin the turbine to power up the ship, even to the extent of leaving the water and rocketing through the air. With their forces and Ryuko's power combined, they all destroy the Primordial Life Fiber!
"Sanbika", the insert song from a few of the bigger moments in the first 12 episodes (namely the Episode 3 Satsuki fight, the Fight Club montage, and Senketsu Mubyoshi/Sound Negation), makes one last appearance during this scene
And to top it all off, when Ragyo is going off on This Cannot Be!, Ryuko retorts by saying something fairly close to what the Team Dai-Gurren would say, all while she, Satsuki, Mako and the Elite Four replicate the Asskicking Pose from the final episode.
Ryuko: "Cause being incomprehensible is kinda our thing!"
Ryuko, Satsuki, the Elite Four, and the Two-Star Club Presidents face-off against Ragyo to reclaim Honnouji Academy.
The accompanying shot of EVERY SINGLE LIVING PROTAGONIST (including all of Nudist Beach and Honnouji Academy's generics, numbering in what must be the thousands ) standing together at full power, ready for the final battle to save the world. This is Gurren Lagann at a whole other level.
The entire epsiode qualifies, as it is simply one long, extended, continuously escalating battle after the fashion of the Anti-Spiral King fight.
First off, Ragyo has everyone paralyzed due to Shinra-Kotetsu's Absolute Domination...except Gamagoori, who moves despite this, all while carrying Mako and rest of the Elite Four to the battlefield. Then, when Nui attempts to kill Mako, he takes the blow for her, screaming his title as the academy's shield and growing in size with every punctuation.
After Gamagoori seemingly dies by Nui's hand, she attempts to go for the finishing blow before being stopped by an underwear-clad Ryuko, also breaking free of Absolute Domination. Because she's neither human, nor life fiber.
Ryuko then directs her attention to Ragyo, and tries to take her on by herself to no avail, as everyone is absorbed into the revived Original Life Fiber. When Ragyo gloats about all of this, she's suddenly impaled by Senketsu, who's also able to move for similar reasons to Ryuko. He then activates Shippu Senjin of his volition, and turns into what couldn't be more of a Shout-Out to the ''Giga Drill Break'' and removes Rei from Ragyo's body, stopping Absolute Domination in the process.
It's at this point the full version of the second opening Ambiguous begins playing. Ryuko walks up to weakened Ragyo donning Senketsu. Both of them declare in unison that the real power behind their Life Fiber Synchronize is that they are neither human nor clothing, and give Ragyo the most epic headbutt ever. Then Satsuki tosses her one half of the Scissor blades, while she wields the other and they do an epicAss Kicking Pose before cutting Ragyo down together. It has to be seen to be believed.
While this is going on however, Mako and the rest of the Elite Four try to destroy the transmitter before the Life Fibers cover the planet. Nui tries to intercept them... until a familiar maniacal laughter descends from the sky. Gamagoori surviving his apparent death, proceeds to leave his last mark on the series nearly the same way he debuted back in the first episode: He rips open the barrier covering the transmitter with his bare hands, and grows a second face on his stomach through the power of his Goku Uniform, and gives the opening for Aikuro and Tsumugu to blow it up.
Gamagoori ripping the barrier open counts for some extra awesome for Iori. This is the same type of barrier as the one Satsuki used during the Naturals Election. Mikisugi stated that it is so powerful that even Kamui user would find it hard to pierce it. That's right, Iori created a uniform capable of reaching the power output of a Kamui.
Through The Power of Friendship, Ryuko and Senketsu absorbs the Life Fibers from everyone's Goku Uniforms and turns into his ultimate form: Senketsu-Kisaragi. Senketsu finally opens his right eye as well.
Ragyo is defeated by a Chekhov's Gun fired in the FIRST EPISODE: The real reason Senketsu absorbed Life Fibers was to increase his absorption ability to steal Absolute Submission from Ragyo.
A dark example, but Ragyo choosing to end her own life and stay true to the path she chose rather than surrender is pretty damn awesome in its own way.
Before that, Nui also goes out on her own terms by cheerfully decapitating herself, reverting to a mass of life fibers and merging with the Original Life Fiber in order to power up Ragyo. Everyone was expecting her to be killed by an opponent, so for her to pull a stunt like this is her final grand moment of Trolling.
Satsuki soldifies her position as the mightiest Cool Big Sis by catching Ryuko falling at terminal velocity in mid-air and managing to safely slow her down together with the rest of the cast.
Every named character alive at the beginning of the series other than Nui and Ragyo is alive at the end.