Kill la Kill – Episode 21

Well I was planning on saving this episode for tomorrow (I’ve done my posts for tonight), but friggin’ twitter won’t shut up about whatever nonsense happens, so I might as well run through it before all my actual reactions are spoiled. Ryuuko’s gone Ryuuserker™ for the seventeenth time, and is now wearing Junketsu of all things. Satsuki’s countering with Senketsu, though her ability to counter Life Fiber-synchronized Ryuuko will likely be more dependent on Sister Power than any, you know, actual power. But that’s pretty much how it’s always gone in this show – fights occur at random and are resolved however the show feels like resolving them. So now that we’ve established once again that analysis is useless in the context of this ridiculous show, let’s Kill la Kill.

Episode 21

0:05 – This is gonna get weird real fast, isn’t it

Kill la Kill

0:18 – Welp

0:36 – Is Ragyo’s head on a butt what is even

1:07 – Hey here’s one of those new songs. Or I guess just a variant version of Ragyo’s old one

1:29 – DOES THIS ANSWER YOUR QUESTION. Sakura Trick’s lead is diminishing

1:42 – Oh is that what that means cool thanks

Kill la Kill

1:45 – A very close family

This actually does all draw a fair contrast with what they’ve done with Satsuki. In Satsuki’s self-chosen family, everyone respects her right to chose how she’s represented and treated. Here, boundaries don’t exist, and sexual assault is just how you say hi

2:13 – Hur hur

3:59 – Great shot. Awesome seeing Satsuki in Senketsu – even her posture is totally different

4:05 – Yep. Satsuki all standing tall and proud, Ryuuko leaning forward and looking down, not owning her high ground the way Satsuki does

Kill la Kill

4:44 – Sanageyama those weapons are very silly

5:27 – Agreed. Where Satsuki swallows her pride and plots her next move, Ryuuko throws a temper tantrum and fucks everything up. Satsuki’s the hero in word and deed

6:08 – Some decent animation here. Or actually just well-chosen key frames, something this show knows how to make the most of

Unsurprisingly, Satsuki’s pretty much immediately better at thinking of attack combinations with Senketsu

It may seem like I’m ripping on Ryuuko a lot here, but that’s only because yeah, I’m ripping on Ryuuko. Satsuki’s both a more interesting and a more sympathetic character, and I want her to kick Ryuuko’s petulant ass

6:50 – Ryuuko you a dick

Kill la Kill

6:57 – Ryuuko you’re currently wearing assless chaps. People who live in assless houses shouldn’t throw stones

7:01 – SEE GUYS IT WASN’T FANSERVICE AFTER ALL (that was a joke it’s totally gratuitous fanservice)

7:13 – I love it when the show does this frame-wars thing. I wish the show went even wilder with its fourth-wall breaking, actually – a nice detail here is that she’s not looking where Satsuki is, she’s actually looking directly from one frame to the other

7:41 – Ryuuko’s face is so well-suited to villainy

Also, it kind of shows how Ryuuko’s never had a philosophy of her own that she can so effortlessly jump to parroting Ragyo’s line. It’s never been more than “finding a family” and “protecting who I care about” – well, what if her actual family is a bunch of assholes? Satsuki’s always lived with that as a given, and so she’s been forced to decide whoshe really is, and what she represents. And she, the one who’s always had an actual family, has long known that the family you choose can be more meaningful than the one you’re born into

Kill la Kill

9:36 – Though it’s pretty much always been this way. Posturing and performance are pretty important in Kill la Kill

10:22 – Heh, cute callback

10:34 – They all get lines relevant to their characters? Yeah, that’s pretty adorable


13:05 – Mako’s got this

Kill la Kill

15:13 – Riding the sun itself. Ragyo wins the light wars!

15:31 – Crazyeyes buffet this week. And as always, the shot’s composition is gorgeous – I particularly like the bolt of red lightning formed by Senketsu and Ryuuko’s hair streak, along with the sharp angles basically pushing Satsuki and Senketsu out of the frame

15:51 – This will be… her greatest challenge


16:07 – Bless your heart Gamagoori

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16:16 – Oh my god her Ragyo so great


17:32 – Great expressions by both of them here. This show’s drawing style is loose enough for characters with such different cartoon DNA to actually interact pretty gracefully

18:38 – Seriously though. Mako’s the best thing in this show, the fans would never forgive you

19:26 – Their greatest weapon, the Mako punch

Kill la Kill

19:50 – Actually laughed out loud at that. This show sure respects its own dramatic moments

20:24 – Nice shot

21:56 – And there’s the last beat. The appearance we choose

And Done

Whew! Exciting episode! Ryuuko is kinda permanently in my bad books at this point, but everyone else was on firethis week. Satsuki both stuck to the great personality she’s developed so far (stand tall and proud, but do whatever it takes to achieve victory) while also showing a ton more spark and emotion than she’s ever let herself before. Mako once again saved everybody through heroism and guts. And Nui made a bunch of ridiculous faces. This episode was light on animation, but stacked with great single shots, and Mako’s invasion of Ryuuko’s dream world was funny, endearing, and a nice visual effect. And now we’ve got three straight episodes of the dream team actually being assembled!

…unless Ryuuko somehow manages another change of heart in the next episode and a half, that is. Hopefully her long-suffering friends will keep her from losing her goddamn way.

22 thoughts on “Kill la Kill – Episode 21

  1. Will you do an overall review once this show is over? I’m curious to see what your thoughts on this show are as a whole.

    Really glad that Mako survived so we can put the whole “Mako dies” thing behind us. She’s the comedic character guys, there’s no reason to kill her off. It’s not like TTGL, the character there was destined to die from the beginning and needed to die so the protagonist could grow. And while Ryuuko definitely needs to grow as a character too (well actually she needed to a while ago) killing Mako is not the way to go about that. Plus there would be literal riots in the streets if the best part of the show were taken away.

    • Yep, I’ll do a review! It’ll probably actually be more of a “traditional review” than most of the essays I write – if I tried to lean on this show for a consistent thematic read, it’d almost certainly collapse on me.

      • Glad to hear! And yeah, I love the show but I don’t think it lends itself very well to the thematic essays you write like Kyousougiga or Eccentric Family did.

  2. Okay, I can breathe easy now. Mako lives!
    On a different note, your analysis of Ragyo’s twisted little family was spot on. And even though the moment made me uneasy and Nui is eeeevil… her reaction to Ryuko’s little kiss was priceless.
    Not as priceless as Mako surviving (and that dream bit) though! Roll on ep 22.

  3. Well this episode managed to make Ryuuko freak out a bit more reasonable for me.
    Kinda hoped it would be tied more to the whole story but they still managed to end the fight in a satisfying way.

    Also while I like Mako I wouldn’t mind if she had died. It kinda feels like shes living in her own universe outside the show already.

    Its possible they will collect Jenketsu and change it for Satsuki next ep. So that whole creating/choosing your own appearance thing would also play there. I like how you said that she created her own family that respect the way she wishes to be portrayed.

    Kinda weird how clothes who cover and protect are represented in a assaulting and sexual light. I guess its to illustrate when you let clothing choosing your image for you and thus your only a marionette but still..

    And again I see more Kill La Kill fanservice has style (or an easy way to shock the audience) than being supposed to be arousing.

    • Oh and also Senketsu getting rip into shred and then going on Mako and mumbling something about how he used her blood was strange..

    • One thing I should have mentioned in my post that actually does play into the themes nicely is that Ryuuko would rather be dead or naked than let anyone choose her appearance for her. Great cathartic moment there.

    • Did this episode justify the fanservice? Yes and no. While there is a method to the madness, there’s still a good number of pandering camera angles throughout and the fact that I might it more amusing than the usual fanservice doesn’t change that. TRIGGER is mainly just having a lot of fun out here in the spirit of Go Nagai, but this is a way of letting them have their cake and eat it too. In other words, this will do little to nothing to change the minds of the people who were uncomfortable with the fanservice in the first place.

      On the other hand, the Ragyo stuff is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable with the juxtaposition of pleasure and borderline rape. Ragyo is equating being a slave to someone else with “enjoy it to the fullest”, which is later repeated by Ryuko during her fight with Satsuki “The pleasure of being worn by Junketsu is out of the world!” Despite the ominous music playing, Ragyo’s henchmen respond to becoming slaves of clothing, not with fear, but with “This is most pleasant” and “How wonderful!” Giving into your pleasures is glorifying the submissive behavior of fascism, not unlike how the Mankanshoku family was corrupted by greed in Episode 7. This also puts Satsuki’s approval of Mako at the end of the episode in a new perspective, being that she’s all about resisting her mother’s pleasurable ways. “Humans aren’t as weak as you say they are! People can suppress their desires through sheer willpower!”

      • This episode doesn’t actually change the fanservice at all, and neither has pretty much anything the show’s done previously. To “justify” it, it has to be not fanservice – it has to be critical to what the show’s actually saying, like how Monogatari is actually a show interested in talking about sexuality. Just saying “I get more powerful when I wear less clothing” does not change the fundamentally exploitative and objectifying nature of the concept – it’s an excuse for fanservice, not a transformation of it.

      • Oh it has been justified and it does link with the ”themes” you’re just not content with it due to your own system of criticism (which is alright but its different then what you just said). They do are exploitations in representations but still serve their purpose. (I wear less clothing so that it is the real me which is seen, I don’t hide in fear of others, self-acceptance blah blah you know it, you just don’t think it’s really well done)

        • There’s a big difference between “justifies” and “offers justification for.” The show has connected the outfits to various ideas at various times, but I don’t think it’s come close to actually justifying its choices.

  4. Me again lol. After Ryuko’s introspective trip in the mind about her identity issues, the scene ends in a downpour of bloody rain which is similar to Shinji’s situation in episode 16 of Evangelion. There’s somewhat of a link in gaining false happiness by conforming to how others want to perceive you, but that might be stretching it. Although, “It doesn’t matter what others think!” and this one is unintentionally convenient, but still lol: “You can’t live by spinning only a thread of happiness”.

    • Also, not sure if this is intentional, because Junketsu has been usually described as the representation of purity. On the other hand, I just realized that Ragyo technically robbed Satsuki of her purity in Episode 18. The purity has since been tainted by Ragyo and bestowed upon Ryuko. Anyway…

      “At Japanese weddings, brides will often wear three or more dresses throughout the ceremony and subsequent celebrations with a traditional kimono, white and color dress combinations are popular. White is used because in Japan it symbolizes death – in this case, the bride becomes dead to her family. The bride will eventually remove her white kimono to reveal another colored one – usually red – to symbolize her rebirth into her husband’s family.”

      So, Ryuko rips off her white wedding dress and is showered in red blood. Now, she has been reborn to wear Senketsu, whose distinguishing color is also red.

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