I am goddamn excited you guys. After a long, continuously baiting first season, a defiantly resolution-lacking finale, and two more episodes of buildup, I am ready for this universe to fucking explode. I already know they’re going big this episode, and I couldn’t be happier to hear it. Let Ryuuko find her own philosophy, let Satsuki’s master plan be revealed, let the entire narrative erupt into an impromptu musical number – just do something crazy. Something I haven’t seen before. If this is following in the Gurren Lagann model, then this episode should herald the end of Kill la Kill Part One, and I’m ready to see it go out in a blaze of glory.
0:06 – Ah yes. That music. That backdrop. We’ve entered hell itself, and no narrative paradigm will survive
0:48 – And they cut the OP short! Classic trick, of course – it’s shorthand for “things are really serious this episode” for a reason, it conveys urgency while also tripping the audience up just as they’re about to relax. But it’s also a very “Kill la Kill” thing to do – this show constantly sets up expectations of classic narrative/pacing beats just to catch the audience off guard. Like how they destroyed the “safety” of Ryuuko’s finishing pose during the fight with the Elite Four, or set up the Sanageyama fight only to trip the audience, or baited this “find the Senketsu fragments” narrative only to resolve it in ten minutes. Kill la Kill may not have the most innovative larger structure, but it knows all the tiny rules well enough to keep breaking them for deliberate emotional effect, all in service of keeping the audience tuned in and on their toes
1:06 – We’ve reversed the classic image. How many times have we seen Ryuuko on the right staring up towards Satsuki in the distance? Enough that it’s become visual shorthand at this point – this is how heroes square off against their oppressors in the language of Kill la Kill. And of course our Osaka villain is making use of the classic pyramid-hierarchy imagery the show can’t live without
1:11 – A clear difference between the two of them. Would Satsuki ever refer to herself as the “REVOCS Corporation’s heir”?
1:40 – I love how much fun the show has playing with these title cards. Their own family names towering above them is a fitting metaphor
3:30 – This friggin’ show. Love that background splash of color
3:37 – No wonder Satsuki hates this guy. I may think her philosophy is convenient bullshit, but she believes in it – believes that her use of strong tools is only a reflection of her own strength
5:22 – Continuing with our usual perspective games, Nonon’s torso is now half the size of Gamagoori’s ear
5:30 – Gamagoori plz
5:51 – Yeah, that’s sweet. I always thought Sanageyama’s suit was too bulky for his style. And if these guys are getting outfit upgrades, maybe Ryuuko…
6:23 – Love the friendly banter between these guys. The Elite Four got much more fun after being knocked down a peg
7:32 – And now he’s violating a crab-mech’s butt. Well, that happened
8:27 – Great shot. And more silly games with perspective – Ryuuko’s bike is actually closer to us than Satsuki’s sword, but of course they make the sword look as if it’s inches from our face because Satsuki’s Just That Tough
Cute that he’s actually taken aback by Mako being there, though. Trigger know what the fans love!
9:30 – Fair assessment
10:33 – “If one piece is missing, the whole is useless.” This show is so stuffed with potential partial interpretations (politics! philosophy! representation! sexuality! adolescence!) that it seems silly to indicate any single thematically-charged line, but if this were a show where the ideas actually lined up in a coherent way, that’s certainly a line I’d be keeping in mind
11:58 – These are the dumbest mechs I’ve ever seen. And I have seen some pretty stupid mechs
12:06 – Ah, these lovely colors
13:06 – This is a fun episode
14:24 – So much for an outfit change 🙁
14:39 – Nice shot
15:34 – Man, they are really pushing GamagoorixMako today. Also, again we see that Mako’s time-out spotlight isn’t just a visual flourish, but an actual spotlight other characters can also see
15:53 – That is a great still shot
16:05 – That’s… still not a philosophy
17:03 – What a line to bring up now. But it also proves the limited nature of Ryuuko’s argument – yeah, Satsuki’s ambition has costs, but she also still has people she trusts – she has everything Ryuuko fights for and her own personal ambitions besides
17:37 – This sequence is goddamn impressive. Someone mentioned on twitter that that “climbing the exploding tower” sequence was all CG, but I think for the first time I actually wouldn’t have guessed it. It pretty much all comes down to the direction – incredibly active camerawork keeps everything fluid. Nice work, Trigger
17:50 – Again. It doesn’t even look that bad in the still frames, but in motion it sings
18:47 – DON’T MAKE HIM DO IT, MAKO
18:50 – Goddamnit Mako you are the best
21:57 – I love this. This actually does align with her speech from episode 3 – “no means I take to achieve my goal are impure, because my goal itself is pure.”
22:16 – Damnit Gamagoori
22:39 – Thank you.
I was gonna say – all that work destroying Senketsu, invading the schools, repairing Senketsu, and dueling Satsuki, and nothing of importance actually happens? Nudist Beach gets revealed only to be immediately destroyed without affecting either the plot or themes in any meaningful way? Senkentsu’s destruction and subsequent rebuilding is only used to illustrate “friends are great”? Team Rocket just fuckin’ blasts off again?!?
Yeah, not exactly happy with any of that. But at least now maybe things will move forward? Hopefully.
That said, that was certainly a fine episode as far as pure spectacle goes. The Elite Four look very cute in their new outfits, the Ryuuko-Satsuki fight was likely the best-directed fight in this series so far, and the show continues to lead us all on with the promise of Gamagoori and Mako’s forbidden love. It wasn’t really the episode I wanted, but it was certainly an episode of Kill la Kill.