Kill la Kill – Episode 20

A little behind on this one, meaning my impressions have already been somewhat infected with a tide of “RYUUUKO ;_____;” on my twitter feed, but I’LL TRY TO IGNORE THAT. Currently, I’m actually kinda pissed with Ryuuko – I’m hoping last week’s ending was a false cliffhanger, because if not, this’ll be the fourth time Kill la Kill has trotted out the “Ryuuko has to learn to trust Senketsu” conflict. Which doesn’t really work for me – not only does bringing this back up kind of invalidate the character growth of the prior conflicts, it also just makes Ryuuko seem like a pretty unsympathetic character. Which is fine, if that’s what they’re going for, but I didn’t get that impression – I assume I’m supposed to actually be invested here, not just exasperated. Ryuuko’s always been kinda one-note (Satsuki is far and away the most interesting character in this show), but having that note be “a belligerent jerk” is, well, pretty bold.

But apparently this episode is RYUUUUKO ;____; so I guess I’ll be eating those words soon enough.

Episode 20

0:11 – I mean yeah, I get that you’re upset, but…

Kill la Kill

0:22 – THANK YOU. Count on Mako to put a stop to this nonsense

0:27 – Pretty much. I love her Ryuuko-eyes


1:04 – Ooh, I like the title. This gonna be heavy on the performance stuff, then?

3:13 – Well this got weird pretty quick. We in Ryuuko’s head now?

Kill la Kill

3:32 – Fantastic effect. We’re getting some great fluid animation here, too. And of course Ryuuko is always in the antagonist colors – red and black, contrasted against blue and white

3:44 – Welp, guess they’re actually there. Which also isn’t that surprising – this show runs on toon logic, it figures that the villains would be hiding in the shrubbery, waiting for the hero to run into an identity crisis to jump out and start cackling

3:48 – Speaking of cartoons. NOT EVEN MY FINAL FORM

4:07 – I’m actually okay with how they’ve embraced Ragyo’s one-dimensionality to basically make her a Disney villain. In a show as silly and transparent as Kill la Kill, a villain who just loves evil is pretty appropriate

Kill la Kill

4:18 – And away they go, off to their secret lair of evil

4:41 – I just don’t see how this follows up on basically anything the show has done so far. It talked briefly about representation, family has been kind of a thing, there’s the stuff about performance and resolve, and Ryuuko’s character arc was about her controlling her anger and finding a positive purpose. Where does “being clothes makes me a monster” come into any of that? She was certainly fine with Senketsu, and was even willing to fight against Nudist Beach on his behalf. So…

5:16 – Yeah, we got that, Sanageyama

5:29 – That’s actually a decent link to performance. Though it doesn’t really mean anything, at least not yet

6:43 – Nice shot. This still seems like a temper tantrum, though, so the sad music is basically just making this feel even sillier

Kill la Kill

8:07 – Mako will hold this show together

8:48 – I like that they make this distinction. No-one’s allowed to look at Satsuki when she’s not being represented on her own terms

10:06 – IT’S TIME (it’s always time)

10:20 – The secret weapon is his penis? You know, that wouldn’t even surprise me at this point

10:41 – Aw, nice to see this guy again

Kill la Kill

11:03 – That’s awesome. Getting more Gurren all the time. This song is great, too

11:47 – YOU CAN’T TEAR THEM APART, NONON. Gamagoori’s bigness still getting more absurd every episode

12:13 – A true hero

12:15 – So they’re making a giant sewing needle?. Guess that settles what the school will be turning into…

12:50 – Ryuuko knows how to make an entrance

Kill la Kill

13:20 – THE ANSWER IS SHUT YOUR STUPID FACE. Nui feeling much more confident now that Ryuuko’s back to berserker mode

15:04 – Some clearly intentional symmetry with both sisters down to their skin and swords for this fight. Both of them at their most fundamental, I guess

15:26 – Untrue, of course. Satsuki’s demonstrated it with her butler and Elite Four, and Ryuuko herself has demonstrated it with Mako, her family, and Senketsu – you don’t need a blood link to have a family. We’re woven together, we don’t start out that way


15:52 – They sure know how to make violence pretty

Kill la Kill


16:40 – Goddamnit Nui you are abusing this metaphor

17:53 – Satsuki also holding this show together

19:12 – Oh man, the wedding dress from the first ED. Well played, Kill la Kill. So we gonna have brainwashed villain Ryuuko now? She has always looked the part

20:31 – Man, Ryuuko is one confused kid. I like how they’ve accented her crazy-eyes to make them the inverses of Junketsu’s

Kill la Kill

20:41 – The most deadly of all opponents

21:37 – Figures Satsuki realizes this show’s fights are about emotional resolutions, not actually defeating opponents

21:57 – Yeah, she’s a little too good at this

22:11 – Fantastic

22:31 – And we finally get the reversal of the usual shot – Satsuki and Ryuuko still on their usual sides of the frame, but with Ryuuko looking down at Satsuki. Pretty familiar

Kill la Kill

22:41 – Yeah, let’s get that last shot too

And Done

Man, this is gonna be fun. I still think they had to fudge Ryuuko’s character development a good deal to get her here, but clearly “here” is an awesome place to be, so I can’t complain too much. For an episode so focused on setting up the next one, there were some real exciting bits there, helped a great deal by the well-chosen sequences of high quality animation – that first exchange, Satsuki’s escape, and then crazy Junketsu Ryuuko. I really liked the little visual parallels both between the sisters and between this and the early episodes, and it looks like we’re settling on one of the show’s more reasonable and consistent messages: using fibers as a cute metaphor for family and human connections. Plus the music this episode was really great – I’m not sure if they’ve been holding a few tracks in reserve or not, but it felt like there were a lot of great pump-up songs that I don’t remember hearing before.

So yeah, character-arc complaints aside, that was a really nice episode. Very ready for Ryuuko and Satsuki’s first fight as siblings!

16 thoughts on “Kill la Kill – Episode 20

  1. Just wanted to say that thanks to your posts like these I’m actually noticing more of the art and composition in shows, and I spent 8 damn years in high school/college critiquing art on a weekly basis so that says something. XD And from what I’ve been seeing it looks like they have been holding some songs in reserve, I’ve listened to the OST on youtube and didn’t recognize a few and some people on twitter were saying the same, second OST when?

    • Thanks! Yeah, I’ve also heard we’re getting a second OST, which probably means even more new songs to come. I feel like there were three or four in this episode alone, so I’m sure there are gonna be some great ones for the actual climax.

  2. Satsuki looks so great in Senkentsu.

    I’m worried about how this fight will end, mostly because it depends on reasoning Ryuuko angst.

    And yea fiber has connections between people has shown in the first OP. Ryuuko anger are linked to her ”losing” these connections and gaining new ones she didn’t wanted, thinking she can’t escape them, ”threads of fate”. It fits this theme but it reminds me of the berserk incident a bit too much and feels contrived has you said.

    • I think episode count constraints alone kinda necessitate a quick resolution to this conflict – it feels like this fight was set up largely because it sounded like an awesome idea, and if that’s the guiding principle, we’re gonna have to also get Ryuuko and Satsuki fighting on the same side soon enough, too.

      • To be fair to KLK, it has always run its fights fast and abrupt; it would be a bit novel if Satsuki vs Ryuuko even took the whole episode. If anything I wonder what twists KLK will be doing to fill up the remaining episodes. It’s not like it’s KLK’s style to spend four episodes fighting its way through an obvious series of (mini)bosses to an obvious endpoint.

  3. For what it’s worth, I felt convinced by Ryouko’s flip-out in this episode. Remember that the last Ryouko was awake for she had just gotten a lecture about how life fibers were the root of all evil and were going to eat the world. And now much of her life was revealed to be a lie, she’s not really human, and she’s part of that thing that’s going to eat the world. I don’t think the core issue is Ryouko trusting Senketsu so much as Ryouko coming to terms with what she is herself. She’s switched over to the classic ‘I am a terrible monster, I deserve to be alone’ mindset.

    (And I think that’s why Mako’s lecture didn’t snap Ryouko out of it this time; Mako was talking about the wrong thing. Instead of talking about being friends with Senketsu, she should have been talking about how the life fibers don’t really change who Ryouko is and how Mako feels about her and so on.)

    • I’d agree with that. She wasn’t so much berserking as she was trying to commit suicide. Mako failed because this was the first of Ryouko’s problems that she did not immediately and fundamentally understand.

      Also, I’m going to be pretty upset if Mako dies next episode.

    • I suppose Ryuuko caring about her identity as a person is a symptom of growth from the first few episodes – feeling insecure about finding a place for herself is certainly a better issue than simply wanting to tear other things down, even if she’s acting on that insecurity in a very belligerent way. And it does make sense that Ryuuko would be more vulnerable to Ragyo’s comforting lies in that kind of situation.

      • I read what Ragyo was doing as less ‘comfortable lies’ and more ‘forcible mind-rewriting’ with a side of mind control. The show did explicitly cut to a shot of Ryuuko crying after it showed us the fake memories.

        • Well yeah, but they play into exactly what Ryuuko’s most insecure about. Ragyo’s powers are basically whatever the show wants them to be, but it helps that they’re being expressed in a way that appears to take advantage of Ryuuko’s current weakness.

    • Add to that that the whole reason behind her original motivation to enter this battle was avenging her father. A father that she now knows had lots of secrets, a different name, had experimented on her and set her up as a weapon for his personal revenge crusade.
      Plus I didn’t feel like she was angry at Senketsu – she just couldn’t stand seeing him. Kinda like having a loved one or a friend associated with some very traumatic experience (for example, a son who killed another in a completely accidental way) – you know it’s not their fault, but you probably still can’t be together with them in the same carefree way that you used to.

  4. I saw the whole Ryuuko temper tantrum thing as less of an issue about her not trusting Senketsu, and more about Ryuuko not trusting herself. She’s basically having an identity crisis (which, let’s face it, is what anime characters do best), and she can hardly bear to even look at Senketsu because she’s deep in the heart of self-loathing, and having Senketsu around is worse than looking in a mirror. At least, that’s what I got out of the whole thing.

    What else I got out of this episode:
    – Ryuuko always looks like such a bad-ass on a motorcycle. She should have one with her at all times.
    – While Junketsu looks awful (I assume on purpose) on Ryuuko, that school uniform on Satsuki already looks amazing. I can’t wait to see what changes are made to Senketsu’s look once he transforms.

    • In retrospect, I agree, it’s definitely more Ryuuko’s deal with her own identity than anything related to Senketsu specifically. And yeah, Ryuuko clearly needs a motorcycle at all times.

  5. Ryuuko’s crisis there didn’t really bother me that much honestly. Yeah the reasons don’t make a whole lot of sense and yeah I think her character hasn’t been the most well developed but at the end of the day I think I just like Ryuuko. I just like the whole cast actually. Ryuuko may not be the most interesting of the bunch (in fact she might be the least interesting, at least when compared to Satsuki or even Senketsu) but she’s fun, even when she’s going batshit insane. Like you said, her reason may not make much sense but it’s brought us to a Ryuuko and Junkestsu vs Satsuki and Senkentsu brawl. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t totally hyped to see what kind of madness happens next episode. We got four episodes left Trigger, let’s see some crazy.

    • That actually may be part of it – I’m just not that interested in Ryuuko, and find pretty much everyone else more interesting. But I’m certainly on board to see her beating the crap out of things!

  6. Yeah, Ryuuko went to find herself (or something like that) and ended finding a new wardrobe (and a Ragyo treatment too, all in one!).
    It´s funny, though, how she went to that byke shop full of crappy motor scooter, then she got a super motorcycle (maybe it was in reserve) and went on her eternal travel in search of an objective.
    Maybe the real message for her is to… not think too much in your objective (or lack thereof) or you will turn into into a Bakemono bullshit teenager.
    Also, maybe they are touching the berserk issue again, why not? after all, I don´t feel it was settled last time, in fact, it was kind of left aside, for the urgency of Ryuuko getting Senketsu back. Yeah, it may seem contrived, but hey, at least they didn´t forget to…mmmh, solve that? or whatever is going to happen with that.
    So, yeah.. KICK HER ASS, SATSUKI!!!

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