KILL la KILL: Episode 18

You take the good, you take the bad…

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Well the one thing KILL la KILL managed to remember this time was how to make their fights cool. Yes, there was an absence of the terrible play fighting of the Raid Trip arc.  Not the actual subjugation, if you’ll recall, I loved that part, but the Satsuki-Ryuko fight was so…boring…words I’ve used way too much for a show as wacky as KILL la KILL over the past few weeks.

The episode dives right into Satsuki seemingly anticipating each of her mother’s moves.  Not only is the new and improved Goku uniform able to withstand Ragyo’s minions, but Inumuta is able to free the spectators.

And of course Nui, who praises Satsuki’s accomplishments.  But that doesn’t stop her from diving in to have her own bit of fun.  But not without Sanegeyama standing against her for his rematch. Okay, let the guy have his chance to stand tall.

Naturally our heroes…our, um, “thus far” heroes, are finding it a little hard to swallow that they have the share their tent with Satsuki of all people. Satsuki simply shrugs it off that she won’t take half-measures as allies. Only those truly powerful are useful in her fight against Life Fiber.  Remember this point, it’ll be important later.

It doesn’t stop Satsuki from drafting the strike force into her little army for the battle ahead.

Surprisingly, the new and improved Goku uniforms seem to be handling quite well against Nui.  At the very least she isn’t shrugging them off. They seem to at least be on par with Ryuko last time.  She’s paying attention, but not really breaking a sweat.

Arguably the most adorable moment comes when Gamagoori drafts Mako into evacuating the stadium.

Ah, now it’s time for the dramatic speech.  Satsuki explains her reasons for turning on REVOCS.  And they have to do with her father. Seems when he showed her Junketsu, he not only said those words about her wedding dress, but about everything. All the terrible things about Life Fibers that Ragyo was planning.

Satsuki is told when she puts on her wedding dress, she will become a slave.  Subtle.  Satsuki was apparently an experiment to fuse a Human with Life Fibers like Ragyo, but her body rejected them.  So Ragyo turned her attention to her newborn second child.

…Nah…nah they wouldn’t.  People were calling that back at episode 1…Trigger wouldn’t be that…nah…

This act convinced Satsuki’s father that Life Fibers just made monsters of people.  Ragyo is unconvinced, but it seems Satsuki has outmaneuvered her again, and her forces infiltrate the family estate to take out the ball of yarn the Original Life Fiber.

This gets Ragyo’s attention, and she pulls on her fighting gloves.  Well, she pulls out the puppet strings, and everyone wearing Life Fiber…that is…all of Satsuki’s army except the student council…become her mindless minions.

And she’s especially interested in Ryuko for that purpose, who starts mixing it up with Satsuki.  Satsuki tells her forces it doesn’t matter who is against them, consider them all enemies.

Well leave it to a Kiryuin to piss off Ryuko until she’s able to overwhelm Ragyo’s power.

…naaaaah…

Nui steps in now. So Ryuko decides to leave Ragyo to Satsuki, while she handles the Grand Tailor.  And for once, Nui seems to be unsure of how someone is able to match her blow for blow.

Ragyo taunts Satsuki in the meantime, belittling her quest for revenge for her departed father and dead little sister.  Satsuki claims that Ragyo’s fusing with Life Fiber made her lose perspective that all great endeavors have a basis in personal aims. Absolutely, Satsuki, you and Ryuko prove that point a thousand times.  And she cuts off her mother’s head.

Well that tears it.  Quite literally.  The Life Fibers start to move of their own accord.

And Ragyo is, naturally, not dead.  She proceeds to play repeat of Episode 3, where Satsuki berated Ryuko for “not truly wearing” Senketsu. Ragyo trounces Satsuki completely, even disrobing her and taking back Junketsu as her COVERS reinforcements appear in the sky.  Life Fiber Override: Kamui Junketsu.

…Wait, Override? Someone who’s fused with Life Fiber can’t Synchronize?  Ha! Shows you, lady! You really are corrupted by the very existence of Life Fiber inside you!

When she rips out Ryuko’s heart and sees it’s fused with Life Fiber…

…You really are, aren’t you? Goddamnit, Trigger.  Sigh…yes, Ryuko and Satsuki are sisters after all.

Or at least that is the presumption.  There are still several details which don’t fit exactly…let’s discuss them shall we!

One, I can’t say I am too happy about Ryuko having what is essentially chosen blood. I loathe chosen blood heroes, because right off the bat they are the hero because no one else can be.  They can still be good characters, they still have to demonstrate admirable traits (sometimes), but on the whole it really ruins a lot of tension.  And kind of negates all that nonsense about Ryuko fighting for others instead of herself, if she only did it to hop through plot holes to get her to the stage.

That is my first gripe.

On the plus side KILL la KILL seems to be slightly elevated because it leaves the door open that Ryuko is still special because of her Life Fiber Synchronize.  Ragyo, for all her power and all her platitudes about being a demigod, still needs to Override her Life Fibers.  But this could be as simple as the fact that Isshin designed Senketsu FOR Ryuko.  We still don’t have that kind of evidence that Junketsu is anything more than a randomly stitched together Kamui.  I fear that’s where it will ultimately end up, but I hold out hope that Ryuko’s spirit is to blame.  But the burden of proof is on Trigger for that, to acknowledge it in some way.  Hell, it may even be a red herring, buuuuut that seems unlikely since we SAW the Life Fiber inside Ryuko’s body.

Second point, though Satsuki may be noble in her goals, she is still her mother’s daughter.  Her attitudes towards Nudist Beach and Ryuko are no different than her mother’s attitudes about her failed second child.  “If it isn’t strong enough, it’s useless to me.”  And yet she still holds her mother in contempt for that action.  Maybe there’s a story here about how Satsuki IS corrupted by her proximity to the Life Fiber, even if she isn’t fused with it.  It would be a nice bit of character development (because I can’t see the budget lasting a seven episode battle royale, so we’re going to have to segue at some point) to see her grow more compassionate, to see that there are other ways of doing things.

…Oh. My. God! And you know exactly who her sensei would be in such matters, right? No not Ryuko. Mako! I would love to see a Yoda-training session where Mako teaches Satsuki how to take it easy. Make it happen, Trigger!

So not only has Satsuki lost Junketsu, but Bakuzan as well. I’m curious to see where this goes, having been stripped (…no pun intended) of everything she knows.

Third Point: Is Isshin Matoi Satsuki’s father under an alias? It’s not really that important, but I’m curious. And how did Ragyo fuse with Life Fibers when Satsuki was a failure?  It seems like that was an accident, as if the Kiryuin family had understood the method, they’d have passed it on. Pretty important, right?

This week was a mixed bag.  The action was spot on. I can’t express my relief that, at the very least, the action is entertaining in KILL la KILL again.  That’s kind of a big sticking point, y’know?

At the same time, as they try to draw all these story threads into focus, they just make it more confusing.  Again, their symbolism is all over the map, what with wedding dresses making you slaves, and Ragyo giving Satsuki basically the same speech she gave Ryuko in their first battle.  And how Ryuko and Senketsu are fully synchronized! Why? Shush you, there is no why.

Unless it’s just as simple as Ryuko doing what Senketsu was always meant to do: Fight Life Fibers.

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