KILL la KILL: Episode 21

I’m only observing that the two girls wielding scissors kissed…yeah.

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Does Ragyo actually exist to do anything other than molesting her children?  I know this isn’t the right instance to bring this up but it is just overshadowing her character at this point.  Which is a shame, because here it COULD have been the most effective, between Ragyo’s obsession with beauty, obsession with Life Fiber, and having her new prodigy daughter…I’m just saying it is very consistent with her to pull the sex card HERE.  But by burning all those points on Satsuki it lacks the character-impact here that it should have, and I’m more looking at my non-existent-watch asking “Okay, Ragyo, how much longer til you’re finished?”

Because yes, we’re doing a slight rewind to see why Ryuko is fighting our heroes now.  And I kind of want to say “motherfucking called it!”, but I would have to take an asterisk next to my name or something.

Ryuko is overwhelmed by pleasure.

And I’m going to adopt the stance that this is not a cheap cop out.  Because as we’ve established, Ryuko is a miserable child.  She’s been alone, neglected, used, she has no friends, at least until Mako arrived.

Say you grew up abused and isolated (though I doubt very much Ryuko was abused so much as neglected).  What would pleasure be like? Some people are so unaccustomed to human touch that every little thing, even hugs, are painful to them.  It’s such a shut in mind that the idea there is outward connection there is alien to them.  But to truly experience it without that baggage?  How many people would be able to resist the temptation to adopt it all the time, even if you only seriously entertained the offer for a limited time?

Back in the present, Satsuki transforms and the usual back and forth between the pair we’ve come to expect is thrown at us like it’s dramatic somehow.  The only thing dramatic here is that Ryuko is kicking Satsuki’s ass without much hassle.  It is so boring, the only thing that elevates this fight is Ryuko’s facial expressions.  They still look so wrong on her features that I am loving every little glare.  But the “drama” of this battle is lost(“Did I mention I have iron will yet?”). Thank god this is probably the last time the pair will duke it out.

And we finally, FINALLY get an explanation as to our scantily clad heroes.  The less skin contact Life Fiber makes with the skin the less chance they will be overwhelmed like Ryuko currently is with Junketsu. Unfortunately, Satsuki isn’t linked with Senketsu like Ryuko, so Senketsu is slow to respond to Satsuki’s commands.  But luckily the plan isn’t for her to win, but to lure Ryuko into position with the Elite Four to have Gamagoori use his toy to separate her from Junketsu.

When Nui saves Ryuko.  …My mouth feels weird.

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Nui brags that Ryuko can never be removed from Junketsu, as it’s sewed directly into the Life Fibers inside her body.

Meanwhile Ragyo absorbs her board of directors into the ball of yarn to…do something. I really don’t give a shit if she doesn’t have her fingers buried into a teenager. Stop judging me. It’s just a distraction from the far more interesting action on the ship.

And hope seems lost, but Satsuki observes if Nui really WAS so certain of Ryuko’s loyalty, she’d have given her the scissoring…I mean the purple scissor blade.  Her plan is for Senketsu to remove Junketsu, and Mako tries to shove him inside Ryuko….INTO A WOUND, god.

If KILL la KILL is trying to make some statement about women’s rights as some people think they want to, I’d question the choice of forcibly ripping the hero’s clothes off to save her.

But Mako gets sucked into Ryuko’s mind…uh…somehow.  She expects to find Ryuko ready to run…but she isn’t.  She’s bitter and raises her blade at Mako, telling her not to interfere in her happiness.  Mako says fine, if she really is willing to submit to Junketsu just to be happy, she should kill Mako right here and now, as the ultimate act to prove she isn’t her Ryuko anymore.

Ryuko obliges.

So, the “21 I Die” crowd isn’t…wrong, exactly, but how does this count? Just more proof Trigger is trolling people who look too hard.

How you feel about this next scene is going to depend on how you view “the truth”, and honestly your view of Ryuko.  Basically, if you wanted her to be more interesting than Ash Ketchum, you’ll probably be disappointed.  If you have no such expectations, well, let the “I AM STRONG!” chant begin! But wait, won’t that kill her? Pffft, of course not. Trigger’s really getting sloppy, I never expected them to play such a lazy attempt at wringing non-existent drama.  Ryuko is a hulking monstrosity that could destroy mankind, and her powers impress even Ragyo and co.  She is betraying her friends and destroying the last chance for the Human race to survive….it’s ALREADY important enough that she takes off Junketsu. We don’t have to ADD “Oh, and did I mention SHE’LL DIE? MWAHAHAHA!” to the equation, and certainly not so tacked on.

This was a bad way to cliffhanger your character development. From the LOOKS of things, Ryuko is just pulling a pride moment.  It may be that killing Mako, even in her head, caused her to come to her senses.  Or maybe it’s something else entirely.

Mako plays Jiminy Cricket, again. At this late point in the series I can’t help but feel  we needed something more from Ryuko.  Her flimsy pretense for opposing Satsuki (and then Ragyo) really needed to be reinforced somehow. This was a great chance and we seem to have missed it. Unless we backpedal two minutes next episode to see inside Ryuko’s brain again. I mean part of the problem Ryuko has been having is she is too easily influenced by the outside world, and just because Mako is positive to Ragyo’s negative does not really say good things about Ryuko’s character. You know the thing that gave Jiminy Cricket some dramatic tension was that Pinnochio didn’t always listen to him.

Sigh, my sarcasm is again more fitting than intended.  Mako is helping Ryuko turn into a real girl.

 

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2 thoughts on “KILL la KILL: Episode 21

  1. There’s been a lot of parody this week, and I think that the whole sewing Ryuko with Junketsu and not giving a damn about it it’s exactly that – a parody of how an action anime works.
    Does she really need more motivation at this point? Ragyo is the reason of basically everything wrong that has happened to her. Should there be more to it? 🙂
    I agree though that Ragyo could be more fleshed out. Her one-dimensionality hurts.

    • Even if I bought into the idea that KLK was trying to parody this episode (and I don’t think Trigger has earned the respect of assuming that without proof), it is probably more accurate to say they are trying to be subversive to the material.

      But regardless of the intentions or excuses, when something sucks, it just sucks, it doesn’t matter if it’s doing it ironically. There are lots of ways to subvert and parody elements without copying them piece by piece. The goal is to be entertainment, not a Saturday Night Live skit. I’ve accepted that KLK does things for rule of cool, but they’re starting to fail at even that.

      KLK’s current staff interviews and other promotional materials have not emphasized the parody over the other elements, merely the ENERGY and SOUL they imbued into their creation. And then I think of “The Room” and how people who do bad work will twist it around, after people assume it could ONLY be so bad on purpose, and will spin it “Oh, yeah, that’s totally what I was going for.” So even if we DO get commentary I’d be hard pressed to take it at face value xD

      As for Ryuko having reasons, I don’t mind if she does or doesn’t have a motivation, but whichever way it goes needs to be -clear-. She had a vague moral compass dragging her to oppose Satsuki in 16 (when she thought she was the enemy), which led to her existential crisis, which leads to this episode, and undoing it all simply…because it’s supposed to. 80% through the series, the hero really should have a handle on her motivations by now. It’s like…when Luke Skywalker goes after the Emperor, it’s not established the death star works, but that just raises the stakes, it doesn’t ultimately matter, because Luke is already there for reasons we give a damn about. The only thing I would find satisfying about a Ryuko/Ragyo fight right now is avenging Satsuki’s injustices.

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