Kill la Kill – Episode 11

Were you expecting some funny announcer? Too bad! It’s me, Bobduh. Can’t keep that shit up all season!

You guys excited? I’m excited. Ryuuko looks excited. I guess we’re all excited. The Elite Four likely defeated, new characters introduced, the secret behind Senketsu possibly revealed – we’ve got all kinds of crazy shit on the table. It’s a battle between Satsuki’s ideals, Ryuuko’s hot-blooded spirit, NUUUUUUUUDIST BEEEEEEEACH, and a new challenger, and I have no fucking clue where they’re going with this. Let’s Kill la Kill!

Episode 11

0:08 – Last week’s post kinda demonstrated this by example, but I’m loving how this arc is playing up the performance element of this show’s message. I haven’t actually finished Utena yet, so I can’t say all the ways this show is riffing on that one, but this is a clear common theme – as much as you want to control your identity, identity is always going to be partially a social construction, and that construction cuts both ways. From what we’ve seen so far, it seems the show is arguing that being allowed to conceal yourself is a luxury and almost inherently a weakness, and that true strength requires discarding the shame of hiding your naked self. Of course, that’s a pretty binary way to treat appearance, and so far Ryuuko has not really gained respect from the ever-present crowds in spite of her resolve – every time she stumbles, the spectators and camera itself treat it like a peep show. That doesn’t really seem to be defensible as a coherent point with the information we have so far, and a lot of what this show does really is just pure, ridiculous fanservice, but the fact that the show makes its obsession with casting these battles as a show-within-a-show with a specific audience so blatant seems to indicate we’re still likely going somewhere with this

Kill la Kill

0:38 – Yep, those big letters really do just pop up in the real world. I love hot-blooded physics

1:01 – Our new challenger gets a solid drills/10

1:07 – Wow. That title. Guess we’re getting pretty direct about this stuff, huh? Awesome

2:48 – Some characters take the performance stuff more seriously than others

Kill la Kill

2:57 – This show has gotten very surreal very quickly. Those are some powerful uniforms!

3:00 – The heart-shaped holes in the clouds are a nice touch

3:31 – I’m glad we have Mako to keep things in perspective

3:35 – Oh my god these two so adorable stahp it

Kill la Kill

4:10 – This is not Ryuuko’s signature move Ryuuko’s signature move is running at things and hitting them

4:46 – This is a pretty gorgeous little sequence. Kill la Kill’s splashy, jagged, extremely loud style really works for stuff like this

5:14 – Do your best, Mako-chan

5:55 – Ryuuko showing some rare shounen awareness. Or is this just another expression of her secretly villainous nature?

Kill la Kill

6:09 – Again drawing our attention to our connection with the spectators. The show admits it’s following familiar patterns, but where will it go with that? Or is it just a passive element of the show’s sense of humor and self-awareness

6:50 – Damnit Mako!

6:57 – More shows should use this lighting trick. We’re already watching anime, you don’t have to make your visual vocabulary subtle – make it evocative as hell

Kill la Kill

7:21 – Of course.


8:23 – I like how Nonon keeps getting mad and going off-script, then abruptly returning to the affectation she actually wants for this performance

9:05 – Gamagoori bears this indignity like a champion

Kill la Kill

9:42 – Seriously these two are the best couple of the year

10:29 – We’ve actually reached DBZ-level beam spam. I like that the soundtrack implies Ryuuko’s literally fighting back with her victory music

12:02 – Satsuki inches closer to her master plan! Man, all sorts of secretive machinations this episode

13:31 – Nothing gets past Mako

15:07 – Yeah seriously who didn’t see that coming

Kill la Kill

16:05 – That design is pretty great

17:15 – Mom’s theme song is definitely my favorite piece in the soundtrack. Also, Satsuki may be the sun, but her mom is apparently on a whole other level

17:23 – She is leaning on her own title text

17:37 – Now she is reaching across the split screen

Kill la Kill

17:48 – Wow, actually being condescending to Satsuki. We’ve entered a new world, it seems

18:22 – Here is a girl who seems to have actually chosen her representation, as opposed to being forced to accept a kamui for power. I like how they used that “make the villain massive” trick with Sanageyama and then immediately subverted it, too. She’s playing by entirely different rules from the world established thus far

20:16 – It’s barely even a joke if they make their love this obvious

21:04 – Gotta love these shots

Kill la Kill

21:26 – Satsuki… relying on Ryuuko? What sorcery is this?!

22:11 – Oh dear

And Done

Holy shit! We’re there! No more time-biding, no more secret plans – our killer has finally (possibly?) been revealed. And in true Kill la Kill fashion, it’s no grizzled murderer – it’s a girl who likes pink frilly dresses and doesn’t need no goddamn uniform to do some serious murdering. It’s looking like this first half will end right where we expected – with Ryuuko’s original goal made meaningless, and the true scale of Satsuki’s conflict revealed. Get ready for war!

11 thoughts on “Kill la Kill – Episode 11

  1. Well to compare Kill la Kill symbolism to Utena. KlK is much more condensed with every issue showed being a different facet of the same theme. While Utena is a bit all over the place with it’s messages delivering a different idea almost every episode with only the vague thematic of growing up holding everything in a knot. I guess that it’s mostly due by the fact that KlK is a contuining story while Utena was very episodic in nature. I really don’t know where I wanted to go with that… eh

    Other than that, that Nonon fight was much more thrilling than expected. I also love that they confirmed that the light is really emmenating from Satsuki by showing her mother. Also I felt that Mako revealing the whole thread of fate thing out loud was unnecessary (unless it actually has an impact in the futur that needed this). This episode pretty much confirms an alliance with Satsuki in the futur which makes me very happy.

    • Utena

      Yeah, it’s definitely juggling all kinds of ideas. I’m about halfway through right now, and so far I feel there have been some interesting, consistent threads throughout, but a comprehensive post on that show would require as many sub-acts as the show itself.

      Satsuki alliance

      It’s finally happening!!!

      • Yea each act has it’s own overarching thematic for Utena. I guess the main difference would be that Utena is mainly about it’s themes while KLK only use them to enrich it’s story.

  2. Poor Sanageyama really is Viral’s spiritual successor. That proud warrior who just wants another battle with the protagonist, but the plot moves right past him. The next time he is relevant in a battle, he may as well be fighting on Ryuuko’s side.

    • Hah, I actually loved Viral – his reunion with Simon was one of the best “manly friendship” moments in that show. We’re certainly not done with Sanageyama, or the Elite Four in general – personally, I’m really excited to see us reaching the point where Ryuuko likely allies herself with Satsuki’s army. The scenes of Mako hanging out with the Elite Four have been some of my favorites so far – I find them much more compelling as a bickering family than as distant villains.

      • In the few months I’ve been following this blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that a bickering family is one of your favorite things to see on screen period.

        • That is probably true! Although we have also just had some great bickering family stories lately. Maybe bickering in general is my weakness – I was also a big fan of that in OreGairu.

  3. On the subject of Nui being able to choose her own representation, note that in the shot where she’s leaning on her title text, her foot is positioned to block the camera from seeing her underwear. this could just be because the pose looks cool but maybe its an extension of her fourth wall breaking. she wont even let the omniscient camera objectify her.

    • I definitely wouldn’t put it past them – considering how much she’s breaking the fourth wall, they could deliberately be setting her up as the first character who fully embraces how everything they’re doing is its own kind of performance. But then again, that pose also just fits with her hyper-cutesy persona, so who knows. This show is self-indulgent enough that we can’t really assume every choice is an extremely purposeful one.

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