I am going to offer one controversial opinion this week. Ready? Here goes. Don’t miss it.
This is the first week I genuinely feel disappointed in KILL la KILL.
This was not a bad episode. It wasn’t even “average”. Compared to a lot entertainment it still ranks quite highly on re-watchability. No, what I mean by disappointed is that there was an abrupt, not even spoken of, transition from last week’s story to this week. On top of that, the story presented was not one that should have been a baby’s first moral fable.
Well, maybe not as controversial as I hyped. Hey! Full circle! Just like episode 7.
Yes, this was the week. Mako fans were to tune in and be awed. Well. In part we did get an interesting Mako story that elevated her to a more complete character beyond being Ryuko’s cheerleader. …Or did it?
Well, first, let’s discuss the reset button. We left Ryuko in tough straights against Sanegeyama last week. It had seemed like something in the status quo would be resolved this week. Either a final showdown with him, or some new rule for Ryuko to overcome. Instead…instead it just kinda disappeared. He’s still sporting the blindfold. But what about the fact Ryuko ran like a punk? She doesn’t seem concerned at all. We didn’t really get any lip service regarding what the state of things was left at. It just seems like more of the same: Kids from clubs challenging Ryuko to fights and her being little concerned about it.
The reset button aside…I was disappointed that this episode did not delve into the subject matter more deeply. This could have been a full character arc, set up over a few episodes. There could have been a more complete analysis of the subject matter instead of a moral more suited to My Little Pony.
Instead, we see Mako get power, abuse power, become corrupted (or rather, her family), and their return to emotional values in about 15 seconds over the course of the episode.
My Little Pony.
We really could have had an arc here. Something that wowed us with the drama of Mako and Ryuko slowly drifting apart. Maybe put Mako into the villain camp, not forever, but even just a handful of episodes. It would have been the truest symbolism to see Ryuko wandering the streets for a place to sleep at night without Mako in her life providing her a home and friends. She would truly be lost without Mako’s friendship, and I don’t know if this episode did the job of getting that across like they wanted to. Those elements existed, but mostly on the end of Ryuko feeling less fulfilled. I didn’t get a sense of how deeply that ran, how she dreads living the life she had before Mako. I know it’s there, but I don’t feel connected to the event.
Mako’s family also became corrupted far too quickly. Maybe that was the point? That after falling so fast they could be redeemed as fast? I certainly do think money has that sort of influence. When your family income is less than 10k a year, you can’t imagine life of someone who makes 30k, just like they can’t fathom 100k. And it works in reverse, tell people how little you earn and they seem shocked, like a human being couldn’t live on it (personally, I’ve had a single suburban lady tell me they spend more on their dog in a year).
I particularly liked the satire present in how Mako’s dad simply gets a job doing what he did when poor, just charging much higher rates and society thinking him more important than he probably was. Magnifique.
The action in this episode was amazing. The fight between Mako and Ryuko was excellent. It almost made up for the lack of emotional investment in the affair, since we knew it was coming about five minutes into the episode. But only almost, I was still disappointed it was happening so quickly, and even more disappointed when it was over before the credits. I wanted it to go longer…but for what we got it was competent.
And, perhaps the reason this little tale did get cut short, Satsuki is moving into phase 2 of her master plan. What will that entail? Well she’s whittled her forces down to the elite corps. I look forward to the revelation of the master plan in the coming week(s).