Back when Kill la Kill first started airing seven weeks ago, Mako Mankanshoku came as a pleasant surprise to me. Now that we've finally had an episode with the spotlight on her, my opinion remains unchanged.
Mako gonna Mako.
I don't think that episode seven is nearly as strong as the past few entries, but I do believe it does a good job of giving some insight into the type of character Mako is and why Ryuko is so drawn to her and her family.
In earlier episodes it was established that the higher your uniform rank, the more comfortable your living circumstances become. This week we get to see that system in full force, as Mako and Ryuko found the Fight Club and beat their way through club leader one after the other in an effort to make use of Satsuki's system and improve the Mankanshoku family's quality of life. The Elite Four, in particular Jakuzure, can't seem to wrap their heads around why Satsuki is permitting them to get so close to the inner student council circle. Satsuki stresses that if a club leader is defeated by Ryuko, it just means they weren't worthy of having a Goku Uniform in the first place.
Meanwhile, through hard work and a whole lot of fighting, Ryuko and Mako have pretty much gone as high up as they can without challenging the Elite Four directly. With the upgrade in living however comes a drastic change in family dynamics, and Mako's family begins to quickly drift apart. Ryuko finds herself questioning if this is really what she wanted all along, leading to her decision to quit the Fight Club. Mako takes this rather poorly, and Satsuki uses the opportunity to give her a two star Goku Uniform. An all out battle ensues, but the power of friendship wins out.
Can we please take a moment to talk about how goddamn rad Mako's Goku Uniform look is? It's a nice throwback to the bancho/yankee designs that permeate so much of older manga and anime, and having her fight with her fists was a nice change of pace. In a show filled with weird powers and weapons, it's refreshing to see a character just throw down for once. The actual battle proper is brief but explosive, though it had the unfortunate side effect of leaving me wanting more. I'll be horribly disappointed if Mako never gets another chance to be a badass; Ryuko could use the back up.
Elsewhere, I felt like the dramatic bits were hit or miss. A lot of it worked for me; the finale in which Mako stops short of punching Ryuko and falls to her knees crying was genuinely moving. Some parts however suffered from underdevelopment, primarily due to a lack of time. My biggest problem with this particular story is that it needed more space to breathe. The Mankanshoku family goes from rags to riches in the span of a few minutes, and we're not given enough time to appreciate how big the difference in living quality actually is.
That being said, I do think this was a good enough Mako-centric episode that manages to flesh out her personality. The audience is shown just how much she cares for the people around her, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness. On the flip side, Satsuki is further portrayed as a puppet master of sorts, manipulating Ryuko and Mako into destroying the weak clubs and giving her the chance to rebuild from the ground up. I suspected early on that the villain of the week format wouldn't stick around, and it looks like that's the case.
Episode seven of Kill la Kill may not be the best of the bunch, but it's still an entertaining romp in which one of the best characters has a real chance to shine.
Bring on the Gamagoori.
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