Annotated Anime: Kill la Kill episode 21


In which Ryuko stops losing her way

Last week's Kill la Kill predictions proved to be true.

I think ultimately the last thing anybody wanted was for this particular mini-arc to get dragged out for longer than a handful episodes. In a show that is often very fast paced, it was especially important that we didn't get stuck with a renegade Ryuko for too long. With the show coming up on its climax, Imaishi and his team needed to bring her back to the side of light and make her a contributing member of the party again sooner rather than later.

Thank goodness it turned out to be sooner.

Ryuko and Satsuki once again meet on the battlefield, though this time the sides have been switched. With the heroine currently under the control of Ragyo and her henchwoman Nui, things aren't looking good for the resistance. Even using Senketsu's power, Satsuki can't seem to get one up on the Junketsu-equipped Ryuko. Things get about as bad as they possibly can as the latter pummels the former into a bruised mess. Fortunately, as is often the case, this is all part of Satsuki's plan to get the Elite Four into a good position to attempt to suck Junketsu off of Ryuko. The plan seems to go swimmingly up until Nui appears, explaining that any attempt to forcibly rip the uniform off of will result in the death of the wearer. Despite things looking fairly grim, Satsuki refuses to give up hope.

With Nui still wielding half of the scissor blade, Satsuki concludes that Ryuko's condition isn't quite as rock solid as Ragyo would have everyone believe. If things were risk free, there'd be no reason to keep her from wielding a complete sword. Satsuki manages to create an opportunity for Senketsu (and Mako) to dive into Ryuko and take a stab at bringing her back to the good guys. After pleading with her to wake up from this nightmare, the two are ejected from her body in an explosion of blood and light. Ryuko, still equipped with Junketsu, appears to be unchanged despite the last ditch effort made by her closest friends. An amused (and likely relieved) Nui turns her back to her only to receive a scissor blade through the body. With the little she-devil impaled on the wall and shocked, Ryuko tears Junketsu off and announces that she had to do it so that she could wear Senketsu once more.

And just like that, the series is back on course. If her final statement is to be believed, it looks like Ryuko has also made sense of the mess in her head. She's hardly my favorite character in Kill la Kill, but I do like her enough that it was refreshing to see this arc come to a close with the speed that it did. It helps that this week's episode continued the recent trend of letting the supporting cast shine. Outside of Tsumugu who has been sinfully underused, most of the cast gets a moment or two in the effort to take back Ryuko's mind. The Elite Four have a brief but fun sequence in which they manage to push her back against the wall, a fun reversal on the many times the audience has cheered against them. I suspect that Kill la Kill will be a fun show to rewatch just because of the dichotomy between the first and second halves. 

More importantly, can we just take a moment to talk about how goddamn great Satsuki has been in the past six or so episodes? Her cockiness and hubris have morphed into a forward moving determination to stop her mother from taking a wrecking ball to the Earth. It's fascinating to me how all of the traits that made her seem like such a cold monster have been flipped into positive parts of her character. This is even reflected in the behavior of the rest of the cast; Aikuro and Mako are quick to praise her decisiveness and tactical abilities. If the first half of the show was about watching Ryuko slowly uncover a scheme bigger than her petty revenge, the second half has been about Satsuki rising up against the most oppressive power in the world.

Everyone's favorite Mako also gets a hefty piece of screen time this week as she teams up with Senketsu in what was probably the most amusing moment of the episode. I have to admit that a part of me hoped she'd pull the tab on the uniform and transform one last time, but alas, we can't have everything. Instead, we get the solid little sequence in which she and Senketsu convince Ryuko that this isn't the future she wants. I like how Mako has gone from being this joke character to somebody completely necessary to more than a few members of the cast. Shout outs to the always evocative wedding dress soaked in blood imagery as well.

As has been the case for the last seven-ish weeks, the final five minutes delivered hard. Ryuko impales Nui in the most satisfying of ways (please die next week), and proceeds to tear off Junketsu while screaming that she has to get naked. I think that quite nicely sums up Kill la Kill in a nutshell. 

We just gotta get naked.

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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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