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Annotated Anime: Kill la Kill episode 19

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Everybody get naked

The sheer amount of nudity in Kill la Kill episode 19 is mighty impressive. Nearly every major and minor character appears naked this week, barely batting an eye. 

Respect.

A whole lot more went down, as the plot took several huge steps forward in some pivotal ways. Tides were turned, scripts were flipped, and sides were changed, as Kill la Kill blazes toward its final destination.

Also: Gamagoori x Mako lives on.

Much like episode 16, this week's Kill la Kill was appropriately heavy on exposition and light on action (and animation). The show is better off for it though, as the main players step to the side to allow the secondary cast to get some breathing room. Following the battle against Ragyo, a month has passed and Covers has conquered most of Japan. Nudist Beach and the Elite Four have teamed up in the hope of saving the people being absorbed by the alien menace. Ryuko has been in a coma since having her heart ripped out of her chest, and Mako gets absorbed by a Covers uniform. The world is slowly falling apart, but Satsuki's followers, Aikuro, and Tsumugu refuse to lay down and die. Small battles take place all across Japan as the heroes try to save as many people as they can.

Despite the beating she received from Ragyo last week, Satsuki is alive and well but being held as her mother's prisoner. Back in Osaka, Covers launches an attack against Nudist Beach's base, prompting the Elite Four (minus Inumata), Aikuro, and Tsumugu to head out to the battlefield. Mako is recovered from one of the uniforms, and Ryuko finally wakes up in an explosion of rage. Twisted by her messed up genes or perhaps the revelation that she's essentially an immortal monster, she rejects Senketsu and goes all cray cray.

This week's Kill la Kill places the focus on Nudist Beach and the Elite Four following 18 episodes of nonstop conflict between the two factions. With the truth out in the open, there's no longer any reason for them to be at war. I can't even begin to describe how refreshing it was to see their forces united, rather than dragging out a pointless internal conflict. When Aikuro brings up the possibility of having worked together from the start, Inumata simply tells it like it is, and everyone moves on. I can appreciate that sort of brevity in a genre that often lacks it.

The characters that benefited the most from this week's focus shift were easily the Elite Four. While we've had episodes that were dedicated to their individual stories, this is the first time that they seem to push the narrative forward. Bringing them together with Nudist Beach gives each character the chance to be more than just another lackey. The various exchanges with other characters were delightful; I was particularly fond of Aikuro correcting Inumata about the DTR. That's quickly becoming one of my favorite running gags in Kill la Kill.

I know I'm fairly alone in this, but I've been very fond of Nonon since her first major appearance in the show, and I find her bitingly cynical personality to be a nice contrast to the rest of the former villains. The fact that she's voiced by Mayumi Shintani (FLCL's Haruhara Haruko) only sweetens the deal. In the current set of circumstances, her aggressiveness works as a funny straight man to the rest of the cast. Romi Park continues to do an incredible job of bringing Ragyo to life. I had initially assumed that I'd be incapable of separating her from her Edward Elric performance, but she's turned Ragyo into such a maniacal, devious, and yet grounded villain that I can't help but be impressed.

The real show stealers this week however are Mako and Gamagoori. In particular, the latter and his promise to save her from Covers was oddly moving. Despite how comical Kill la Kill often is, I think it's done a stellar job of developing character relationships over a long period of time. Gamagoori and Mako have been interacting with one another since very early on, and each time the tone of the exchanges changes ever so slightly. Mako gets a little bit more brave, and Gamagoori becomes more and more incapable of figuring out how to deal with her thick- headedness. 

The animation took a huge drop this week, but strong layouts and good direction save the day. Kill la Kill has been on one helluva streak since the new year began, and I can only hope they keep riding the wave of momentum. Hopefully we're not stuck with nutty Ryuko for too long, but given the way this series often unfolds, I wouldn't be surprised if the conflict solved itself next week.

Here's to hoping.

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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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