Kill la Kill – Episode 22

Well here we are. Ryuuko’s latest existential tantrum has been resolved, Satsuki and Mako remain better friends than she deserves, and Ragyo is off cackling to herself somewhere. Things haven’t been going the best for Kill la Kill lately – the narrative has kind of rambled, and Ryuuko has sort of undeveloped. Fortunately, we’ve still got Satsuki to be an actually good character and Mako to be entertaining. And if we’re approaching the ending, Kill la Kill can once again lean on what it does best – pure aesthetic spectacle. Last week’s episode was heavy on iconic key frames but incredibly light on animation, so I’m guessing they’re saving up for some serious pyrotechnics to come. This show has had plentiful ups and downs, but I’m ready to see it end strong.

Episode 22

0:24 – Yes. Thank you. That is a perfectly acceptable start to an extremely lengthy apology. Goddamnit Ryuuko did you lose your way

Kill la Kill

0:29 – Nui gets all the best faces. Pinned to the wall by a sword-scissor? Don’t let that get you down!

1:14 – Jesus, they animated the shit out of that sequence. Go, Trigger, go!

1:19 – Can’t handle all this smirk

1:27 – That’s pretty nice

Kill la Kill

2:18 – As always, the OP itself pretty much tells you everything that won’t just be thematic food coloring.Appearance, performance, control of identity

3:47 – Another fun visual effect. Like with the frame-in-frame wars, sacrificing the illusion of transparency and accepting it’s obvious you’re “watching a show” allows Kill la Kill to use all sorts of ostentatious tricks most shows would find too immersion-breaking. It even kinda works thematically, since putting on a performance is one of the central routes to power

3:54 – Goddamnit Senketsu, hold out for a better apology than that! She called your entire race monsters! She said you looked tacky!

Fuckin’ teenagers man

4:03 – Pretty sure Nui just cut open the shot transition

Kill la Kill

4:13 – Oh shit Ryuuko’s completing her character arc whaaaaat. Took one crazy detour into character-flipping, but looks like she’s back to realizing family isn’t decided by blood

4:39 – This episode’s doing a lot of good work. Ryuuko losing her way for the last couple episodes really came out of nowhere character-wise, and even seemed to go against her prior values and moments of growth, but like with the meaningless school trip, it looks like the show is righting itself. I guess they really wanted to have that role-flipped Ryuuko-Satsuki fight, even if it meant taking a characterization detour to get there

Also this ship’s not doing so well

5:01 – Pulling things together nicely. Everyone should have their own weird identity, smoothing out the wrinkles with Covers is no good

5:07 – Yes Nui

Kill la Kill

5:32 – Nui physics are the best

6:10 – Oh my god this fucking show

6:27 – Oh hey, threads acquired! Almost thought the show had forgotten that was even a thing

6:39 – Nui the cutest

Kill la Kill

7:54 – Yes Gamagoori I’m sure she’s very impressed

9:06 – Really like this shot. All the focus drawn to the crazy gash of Nui’s mouth. They use all sorts of neat tricks of presentation and animation to make Nui seem “wrong,” which is even more impressive in a show where everyonegets their share of cartoon physics

10:00 – Ryuuko’s just kind of a dick

10:05 – Yeah seriously you’re not doing yourself any favors here

10:09 – Ryuuko, virtually the entirety of your characterization has been “dim-witted” and “prone to violent rage.” Glass houses etc

Kill la Kill

10:45 – Like last episode, they’re doing a bunch of direct echoing of earlier events. And also like last episode, it’s not really ringing as meaningful for me because these events don’t mean anything, or don’t build naturally from the show’s overall arc and ideas. Satsuki and Ryuuko switched places last episode purely because Ryuuko was momentarily going crazy because she’s not a consistent character – Satsuki’s forced to “prove her strength” this episode purely because Ryuuko’s a dick. Neither of these events echo any greater symmetry or irony of their characters – they’re callouts just to be callouts, provoked not by the graceful structure of the story, but by one character basically ordering the callouts to happen. It’s not like Satsuki is being taught the hypocrisy of her old superiority here – she always knew that her power was performance, and has always stated she’ll do whatever she has to to achieve victory. This isn’t a revelation for her – this is just another thing she’ll tolerate because she’s a goal-oriented person who understands her goals occasionally require indulging the whims of a child

Basically Ryuuko sucks. You getting that? I’m saying Ryuuko sucks

10:55 – Another nice shot. Satsuki and the sun

Kill la Kill

11:59 – Gonna have to fight through her whole family, Matoi

12:34 – And the last bus finally pulls into the station

13:15 – This lengthy explanation suddenly makes me realize the show expects us to actually like Ryuuko at this point.

13:35 – Aw shit, Satsuki hits on her own longtime contradiction. No more 1984-speak for her, I think – it’s much easier to champion individual accomplishment when you’re not also stamping people into line

Kill la Kill

14:05 – And yours are half-assed and disappointing!

14:19 – Hurraaay for family

14:34 – This is incredibly adorable

15:50 – The master at work

16:23 – This seems like a messy point to make. Satsuki’s always been a pragmatist, so they’re having to play some catch-up here to kind of retroactively create a character arc for her to be at the end of. Satsuki kind of necessarily started this show too fully articulated as a character for all this “now I finally see” stuff to ring true. Her episode three speech already demonstrated she’d use whatever means she needed, she can’t suddenly be discovering the folly of false pride now

Kill la Kill

16:50 – Everybody gets one!

18:19 – Elite Four best sitcom

18:28 – Spell out dem themes all day

18:58 – Looks like we’ll be getting that giant academy-uniform after all

20:09 – Has this entire series existed for just this adorable moment. Both of their faces ermahgerd

Kill la Kill

21:21 – And we’re finally there. You took your goddamn time, Kill la Kill, but I’m happy we made it

22:35 – AND THE CROWD GOES WILDThis is the right kind of fanservice

And Done

Man. That episode did so much work. Ryuuko’s character arc was slammed back into place, issues of individual identity and choosing your family were actually directly addressed and resolved, and we finally got all the adorable buddy-buddy family stuff the show’d been baiting for TWENTY FUCKING EPISODES. I think they had to fudge the numbers a bit on Satsuki’s character development to make this episode look graceful, but the end result was absolutely fine. This wasn’t the most entertaining episode of Kill la Kill, but it was likely the most important one of the entire series – they managed to stick the landing moderately well on enough of their ideas that the ending will actually work. Nice fuckin’ going.

31 thoughts on “Kill la Kill – Episode 22

  1. YES. was really glad of all the work this episode did. The links were doable it was just not well introduced in the show itself prior. Though some stuff is still a bit sketchy to me.

    Ryuuko punch talk made me facepalm and it kind of hurted.

    Also seems to me that Satsuki speech was about stuff she had already realised a while ago. She always seemed in good term with the elite four.. Seem to me it was more directed towards dumb Ryuuko.

    Also that sister-service oh man.

    And Satsuki not reacting to the nudist beach talk was gold.

    • Satsuki is so done with everyone else in this show. She finished her arc two seasons ago, now she’s just humoring the rest of the cast. Satsuki for president.

      • Yea it always felt like we just discovered more about her but she was always remaining the same. The helicopter episode comes to mind, no one was surprised of her acting nice outside nui.

  2. Ha, did you notice Gamagori eating the Mako croquettes at 14:34? I didn’t care too much for Tsumugu’s line at 16:23 either, but I liked how they kinda lampshaded that he was a useless character after all with “you’re ignoring me?”

    • I think that’s the point, his line didn’t make much sense and was quite dumb, hence Satsuki didn’t even bother answering XD. It was all lampshading. Hooray for Tsumugu, Kill la Kill’s Yamcha and new world champion of Worf Effect-ization!

      • As if the previous episode wasn´t enough indication of his uselessness, I mean, he was thrown off board like..what? 5 times, who cares, he just appeared to make transition for things to happen afterwards. Not even his precious tuned DTR works for anything! Poor guy, he was so interesting back in… episode 5? like eons ago!

  3. I have to say, I didn’t especially like this episode (meaning that for Kill la Kill, it was merely above average as opposed to fantastic). There were definitely some very cool moments, but I felt that the episode as a whole almost entirely abandoned prior characterisation in order to let everyone have an extended “we are now all good friends” scene. In particular, Satsuki’s abrupt switch seemed really off to me – I just don’t buy that she suddenly saw the error of her ways and is now more than happy to get along with everyone simply because they all have a common enemy. And while I get that the show needed some kind of tension release, I think it took things too far.

    • ” I felt that the episode as a whole almost entirely abandoned prior characterisation in order to let everyone have an extended (blah)”

      Find the right (blah) and you have pretty much described the majority of KLK. Still the show I’m looking forward to the most though.

    • Personally, I thought Satsuki was always happy to get along with everyone – she just also had a central goal she was working towards, and so everything else was secondary to that. This episode felt like some historical revisionism Satsuki-wise.

      • Didn’t she kind of have to revise her way of thinking “She isn’t yours to give, defeating my mother is MY lifelong ambition” after how taking on Ragyo alone proved to be ultimately ineffective? Sure, she was happy to have Ryuko helping her cause, but she wasn’t willing to share the finishing blow with Ryuko. It was still just Satsuki’s ambition instead of it being THEIR ambition. You mention the OP lyrics in your write up and it’s there too “A new day will dawn for us”, not just Satsuki. These girls can’t “be one in spirit” or make a legit team effort if Satsuki is still looking down on Ryuko.

      • Honestly I think that line was more of a stereotypical shounen way of saying “yeah, good idea, go ahead” than anything. Had there been no Nui I doubt Satsuki would have refused Ryuko’s help. She’s not a Vegeta, she can be reasonable and is fundamentally a pragmatist.

      • Well, that’s exactly what Ryuko said, which Satsuki just responded to with her usual condescendence. I think the point of episode 18’s callback where Satsuki is lying naked and defeated against the wall just like the kid from the first episode was to demonstrate that she was in the wrong and couldn’t beat the system by following the system, which was just verbally communicated in 22.

      • But it’s perfectly possible to have a central goal and still actually come across as a nice/happy person. And while Satsuki is an awesome character, I don’t think she came across at all as either of these things prior to this – whereas the latest episode practically had her farting rainbows (at least in comparison to her former vibe).

  4. It finally occurred to me watching this episode that Ryuko and Satsuki reminded me of Kazuma and Ryuhou from the show sCryed. They have several similarities and go through a similar story arc.

    I get the whole Ryuko being a dick, but it seems appropriate to her character. She is the emotional one while Satsuki is the cerebral one. Like in other shows, I start off rooting for the emotional protagonist because he fights with the strength of his courage, even in the face of cold undeniable logic. However, it can reach a point where the shounen hero is being a brat who refuses to listen to reason. Ryuko hit that point several episodes back. While I didn’t expect her to go as crazy as she did, I think this episode successfully set things right.

    I disagree with Artemis that the characters changed abruptly. A lot of time has passed in the show between the revelation of Satsuki’s uprising and the events of this episode. There were many little moments in the second half of the series that revealed Satsuki changing (her interactions with Nonon and her butler). Her speech was her explaining to her dumb sister that she is not the same person, and wants to set things right between them. Her intentions were never malicious, but the means she employed came off that way.

    I totally loved that 16:23 moment. Satsuki totally brushed him off. Tsumugu is introduced as this mohawk and muscles badass commando, but it just ends up as comic relief. Time and again, he gets dissed by a high school girl on a mission.

    • I don’t think I see those little moments the same way you do – I didn’t see them as Satsuki changing, I just saw them as evidence of who Satsuki already was. Though she started off somewhat more cold, it seemed clear pretty early on that she actually did value the people around her. I feel like almost everything we’ve learned about either of the sisters was fairly established by around the 13 episode mark.

  5. Ryuko’s not a consistent character.. Obviously because she went through more development that Satsuki.. If you think Ryuko sucks then that’s fine it’s your opinion.. But after everything Satsuki put Ryuko through she deserved a good lick to the face.. Her high and mighty attitude barely changed even after she was saved..

    Ryuko isn’t dumb she just views thinks I’m a simple way.. Obviously she had made mistakes but then again she’s a 17 year old girl.. Satsuki has done idiotic crap.. Her plan was a fail from the start and calling others “half-baked allies” was retarded.. Takarada had a much better plan than Satsuki but apparently gets attacked..Satsuki might be the more consistent character but to say she’s a better character than Ryuko or the best character in the show? Can’t agree to that

    • I actually do think Satsuki’s the best character in the show, but honestly I don’t think she’s a particularly great character, either – I find her interesting enough, but she’s very static. This show doesn’t really have great characters.

  6. Satsuki still did the whole ‘child-murdering fascist reign’ thing. She probably deserves to get punched a little more

  7. I completely disagree with you on Ryuuko and Satsuki; Satsuki had literally no real character arc and Ryuuko didn’t “undevelop” at all. Ryuuko is the single character in Kill la Kill with something resembling humanity and the only character that is ever given moments of introspection. Satsuki’s development was the ultimate in “show-not-tell”. We see ON SCREEN what Ryuuko’s struggles amount to, how she thinks how she overcomes them and she is even granted interesting imagery to go along with it. Ryuuko started friendless and purposeless; she gained friends, she decided to fight for people other than herself, she understood the root of her own desire for revenge, she overcame her hatred of Nui, she decided to risk her life for the sake of Senketsu, she wants people to consider Senketsu’s own feelings, she is willing to help Satsuki fight against Ragyou.

    She was just shocked by the Life Fiber reveal because it played right into her original number one flaw: abandonment-driven self-hatred; Ryuuko’s dad left her behind when she was 5 for no real reason (as far as she knew), she was bullied in school, she didn’t have any kind of friend or someone to have a meaningful conversation with before meeting Mako and Senketsu. That’s even what Ragyou’s entire “mindrape” was about and definitely the main plot-point of the upcoming confrontation with Ragyou.

    Satsuki’s struggles are completely physical and as a result she has little to no actual psychological depth. There is nothing interesting left in her dynamic with Ragyou because it literally amounts to “I’m weaker but I want to defeat you”; she IS crowd in Ryuuko’s battle against temptation and her mirror. I guess it’s fine because she isn’t the protagonist and will most likely do nothing but give Ryuuko something to protect but she is in no way shape or form a better “character” than Ryuuko.

    • I really don’t feel what you describe as Ryuuko’s “number one flaw” was much of a thing in the series until it suddenly became one in the last couple episodes. And that came after a number of resolutions regarding Mako and Senketsu pretty much already being her family, so… I just couldn’t really buy it as a coherent continuation of her arc.

      As far as Satsuki goes, yeah, she’s essentially static. That’s not great, but I still prefer it to Ryuuko, who I just feel is both less interesting and less consistently written.

      • It was her number one flaw; rewatch episode 8. You will see them bringing up again on both episode 23 and the finale when Nui turns out to be the last enemy standing and they turn it into a deeply personal battle as Nui’s loneliness becomes a reflection of Ryuuko’s own loneliness.

  8. Fucking Trigger and their disgusting Makoservice. Literally ruining the industry.

    At this point I’m just looking forward to what craziness occurs during the finale. KLK’s strongest feature is it’s entertainment value, which admittedly is pretty high. And while I agree that the character’s aren’t necessarily the strongest… at all really… I still like watching them. I’m still probably going to miss this show when it ends. It’s been a rough ride, but I don’t regret sticking with this show.

    Once more though, FUCK YEAH! FIGHT CLUB MAKO!

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