Alright, secrets time? Can we have some secrets time now? Because I could really use a little narrative/thematic momentum here. Last week promised us shocking revelations, and delivered… well, a boilerplate shounen “I fight for my friends” speech. Which, as several have pointed out, is honestly all I probably should have been expecting – Ryuuko’s always been simpleminded and belligerent, I really shouldn’t have been expecting some nuanced philosophy to counter Satsuki’s craziness. Her most cogent argument was basically “the ends don’t justify the means” – whatever your aim is, you shouldn’t go trampling cities over it. Which doesn’t really mean anything, in the abstract – we need to know what Satsuki’s aims actually are before we can discuss whether her actions are justified. If I want a pizza and am willing to pay for one, the ends justify the means – if Satsuki’s pizza is “saving the world” and her method of payment is “beat up some rival schools,” then yeah, I’m all for it. But so far her philosophy is too questionable and goals too vaguely defined to justify anything, so hopefully this episode will directly address that.
Alright, enough rambling. Let’s Kill la Kill.
2:10 – Never forget 2-star Mako! Still the show’s best costume
2:28 – Clever. They’re going down parallel runways – implying fashion, performance, and the fact that they’re not actually set against each other. Efficient visual storytelling!
2:43 – A common argument I see raised against Kill la Kill as fanservice is that if it is, it’s very bad fanservice – it’s not a “sexy” show, the outfits manage to be as unappealing as they are revealing, and the fanservice shots are often just absurd and played for comedy. This doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me, though it also doesn’t really change anything by itself – unless the show makes good on its own ideas, the difference is kinda irrelevant
3:59 – Well this is always a good sign. More scenes shot from Satsuki’s perspective as co-protagonist, more signals that her philosophy of subjugation to her will is unsustainable. Rage alone couldn’t sustain Ryuuko, and pride alone can’t sustain Satsuki
4:24 – No talk of “I will use any tools I want” here – instead, it’s “if Ryuuko forces me to do this to myself, I will.” I like Satsuki better when she’s not performing her philosophy for the crowd
4:47 – And again, not something you’d expect Great Leader Satsuki to admit. Like her little jab at Nonon last week, her private comments to those she trusts continuously reveal she does recognize and value the support of others, and isn’t really all about one’s own strength defining their relationships
5:34 – It’s like Nui exists to mock the values of everyone else. First with Ryuuko in 12 and 13, and now she’s mocking Satsuki actually being honest with her subordinates
5:48 – Pride is important because pride’s all she has. She has little actual power over her world so far, so she must spin the actions of her mother in a way that preserves her own dignity and the respect of those who value her
6:15 – Great shot. I like the crab leg poking out of the river
6:23 – This shot is beautiful
7:15 – Oh Mako
8:11 – Beautiful transition, and of course hammering in how Ryuuko and Satsuki mirror each other. They even have Ryuuko dive into red water to have Satsuki emerge in clear blue
9:36 – Well yeah, this is all kinds of fucked up. Very purposeful here, though – this is obviously supposed to read as assault, as an unwilling surrender. Satsuki is willingly honest and “naked” with those she cares about – but to her mother, the respect afforded through clothes is a gift she can take away at any time
11:05 – Mako admiring the scenery
11:38 – Oh god Mako stop
13:12 – Right, of course. Clothes are aliens, obviously
13:16 – I like how they appear before the fiber godhead in towels, not real clothes. And also that their towels can pass for robes of worship
And yeah, none of this seems like Satsuki’s scene at all. Obeying her asshole mom is bad enough – now she’s supposed to be the servant of the Alien Fiber God?
14:10 – Goddamnit
14:26 – That’s quite an impression
15:02 – I can’t believe they’re actually providing an in-universe explanation for this stuff. You’re a funny show, Kill la Kill
So now clothing is not only the source of power, but also knowledge and human society in general. That certainly puts a damper on Satsuki’s self-made-man philosophy! And also makes Ryuuko’s much more relevant, since her mutually beneficial friendship with Senketsu is now actually a counterpoint to the “threat” of clothes
16:54 – Yep. And goddamnit that pose
19:22 – No false advertising this time! The original of Life Fibers, Ragyo’s diabolical master plan, the creation and purpose of Nudist Beach, and the importance of Ryuuko and Senketsu. This episode isn’t fuckin’ around!
20:30 – Oh man, that look. The worst look
21:28 – Awesome. Nicely builds off the questions Senketsu’s been asking all episode – have I just been using Ryuuko, why was I born, etc.
Also, that long gag of Mako falling asleep was wonderful. What would this show do without her
22:13 – And Ryuuko takes off Senketsu to defend him, not relying on his strength to support her ideals. I think we’re really getting somewhere this week
22:36 – TUNE IN NEXT TIME
WHEW. FINALLY. God DAMNit does that feel good. We finally, finally, finally got the episode I’ve been waiting for since 11 – the one that opens the plot, the one that changes the scale, the one that actually maybe provides the context necessary to figure out what this show is even talking about. The explanation for Life Fibers is pretty suitably absurd, and everything else just kinda falls into place around it – works for me. Ryuuko’s philosophy is given more purpose and actually tested in a way that makes good use of the clothing motif – definitely works for me. The show even seems to be actively hinting at the cracks in Satsuki’s philosophy, too, and hell, this episode even had a lot of great visual gags. I have a great deal more confidence in this show than I did a week ago – this was the episode we needed, and I think it pulled off everything it had to. Very ready to see what happens next.