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.
0:24 – Yes. Thank you. That is a perfectly acceptable start to an extremely lengthy apology. Goddamnit Ryuuko did you lose your way
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
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
4:13 – 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
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
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
10:09 – Ryuuko, virtually the entirety of your characterization has been “dim-witted” and “prone to violent rage.” Glass houses etc
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
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
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
16:50 – Everybody gets one!
18:19 – Elite Four best sitcom
18:28 – Spell out dem themes all day
20:09 – Has this entire series existed for just this adorable moment. Both of their faces ermahgerd
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 WILD. This is the right kind of fanservice
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.