Annotated Anime: Kill la Kill Episode 09


Phallic imagery for everybody!

While the first chunk of this past week's Kill la Kill was dedicated to the build up, the back half dove further into Gamagoori's past with Satsuki as well as the duel with Ryuko.

In many ways it was a lot like episode six in that the battle was the clear focus here, and as a result TRIGGER delivers another fun 20ish minutes of entertainment.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was just a bit disappointed that the battle element was played straight; I was expecting Nudist Beach to run interference. [Editor's Note: NUDIST BEEEACH!!!!]

Let's take a look at the highlights.

Things go down as Gamagoori unleashes the full power of his three-star uniform against Ryuko and Senketsu. Teased in last week's episode, the suit transforms Gamagoori into a kind of BDSM showcase of sorts, complete with terrifying mouthpiece and heavy doses of bondage. It's creepy and funny, but visually stunning in how different it is from everything that's been on the show thus far. By taking in the damage it sustains, it can then release that energy outward and transform into a mech suit of sorts that reminded me of War Machine a whole lot. I'm starting to get the feeling that Kill la Kill is a quasi super robot show of sorts.

In true S&M fashion, Gamagoori is capable of inflicting pain on himself even when his opponent is not, thereby giving him a limitless source of attack energy. His armor is resistant to Ryuko's scissor blade, so she ends up having to find a different means of dropping the giant. This was probably my favorite part of the episode if only because we get to see Ryuko and Senketsu use actual battle tactics to get out of a sticky situation. It's gotten to the point where her brute force, street-fighting style isn't going to get her very far, and it's nice that Imaishi and co seem to recognize that. 

There are a few really cool cuts of animation in the fight among the normal TRIGGER shortcuts, but the sense of speed is still there in full force. Sharp lines and dynamic framework continue to cover most of the shortcomings in the animation, though I think the consistently strong artwork is also carrying a bulk of the load. It's no secret that anime is a medium of limited animation. The biggest difference between shows in this day and age is the way in which teams work with that concept. I don't fundamentally believe a lack of animation is a bad thing, but if you're going to show me stills, I want them to be drawn well and at least be interesting from a composition standpoint. I think this is where TRIGGER has really excelled with Kill la Kill.

This week's flashback unsurprisingly focuses more on Gamagoori and Satsuki, this time highlighting the exact moment that the former was taken in by the latter. Rather than trying to win against an opponent much stronger than himself, he instead shows the resolve to simply not lose. The shot of Gamagoori using Satsuki's sword to hold himself up, all the while being knocked unconscious is a powerful one. It's not hard to see how he won her favor, which makes her refusal to abandon him at the end of the episode that much more poignant. Based on the way Satsuki treats the two and one-star students, it's not hard to visualize her as somebody willing to cut all losses if necessary. This is certainly the case for the foot soldiers, but she's clearly invested in the Elite Four. I was also rather fond of the cool choice to make Gamagoori seem gigantic in comparison to Satsuki.

I don't think that episode nine did anything particularly special, but I enjoyed the dive into the past and the wacky battle between Ryuko and Gamagoori. Things are looking up for our heroine after her first Elite Four victory, but I find myself doubting whether or not that will continue for much longer.

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Elliot Gay
Elliot GayContributor   gamer profile

Elliot is an associate editor for Japanator and can be found contributing to Destructoid on occasion. He lives in Japan and can be found on Twitter @RyougaSaotome. more + disclosures



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