Annotated Anime: Kill la Kill episode 23


The final battle begins

To quote a good friend of mine after watching episode 23, "my body exploded and then came back together."

With Ryuko back on the side of good, Kill la Kill dashes full throttle toward its climactic conclusion, bringing out all the heavy guns.

Our heroes finally unite as one, old characters (and looks) make dramatic comebacks, villains are shown their place, and nobody loses their way. The characters have reached the point of no return.

Let's get this party on the road.

Ryuko and the gang wage all-out war against Ragyo, using everything in their arsenal to try and take down the gigantic flying Life Fiber. Mako once again dons her Goku uniform, vowing to protect the Naked Sol even if it costs her her life. Iori steps in and finishes the Elite Four's brand new three-star Goku uniforms in time for them to assist Mako on the battlefield. In the skies, Ryuko and Satsuki team up against Ragyo, though things aren't going so hot. The Revocs Corporation CEO has her own dual swords which she uses to make quick work of the sisters. Ryuko ends up getting cleaved in half and falls into the ocean before Mako's very eyes.

With Satsuki on the ropes and the battle seemingly all but lost, Ryuko bursts forth from the sea below and dives deep into the giant Life Fiber. As it turns out, this was all a ploy to draw Ragyo's attention away from her youngest daughter. Ryuko and Senketsu reach the core but find that their power alone doesn't seem to be enough to destroy the massive alien. Back on the Naked Sol, Aikuro uses his final trump card to turn the ship into a gigantic dagger. Under attack from Covers, the ship is gravely damaged, losing the ability to thrust itself into the Life Fiber. Enter Mako, who manages to inspire the newly revived club presidents to run alongside her to power the ship's generator. Naked Sol is launched high into the sky, and together with Ryuko it obliterates the Life Fiber. With Ragyo's plan in shambles, the team prepares to meet her on the field of battle one final time.

I'd like to comment briefly on last week's episode of Kill la Kill seeing as I missed the chance due to being somewhat incapacitated. There were lots of great character moments that helped to flesh out the cast and their relationships with one another. Satsuki became a much more humble leader, even going so far as to change the Japanese she used to address others. While there'd been a lot of working together in the lead up to 22, that episode was the first time that both teams truly came together as one united force, no exceptions. This idea of course bleeds into this week's Kill la Kill, which takes things up to level one billion (100% accurate number).

Now on a first name basis, Ryuko and Satsuki work in tandem to bring down Ragyo. There's no silly bickering, no signs of conflict, and no struggle between the two. With the truth having been revealed, there's no real reason for the two sisters to be at odds. In Satsuki's case, this was the once-thought-to-be-dead sister who she was fighting to avenge. For Ryuko, she's the sister that was manipulated just as much as she herself was. They're both victims to a twisted family. I adore that they've embraced how ridiculous this situation is, summed up perfectly when Ryuko holds Mako in her arms proclaiming their creed to the nearly defeated Ragyo.

Speaking of Mako, she had some really great scenes in Kill la Kill 23. I utterly adore this character for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is her arc of development over the course of the series. What started as a complete and total joke character (often the brunt of physical humor), slowly and steadily became one of the most charming and sincere personalities on the show. Her lack of friends but complete faith and trust in Ryuko was initially off putting, but as time went on Mako began to show that she was willing to put herself in the most dangerous of situations just to support her friend. Things really came to a head in the last handful of episodes, with Mako stepping in to try and bring her best friend back to the side of justice. Her willingness to don a Goku uniform to protect the makeshift home that Ryuko had found is a testament to how much she cares. Mako may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but there's no doubt that she's the most earnest of them all. She's spent much of Kill la Kill sitting behind Ryuko and forcing her way into dangerous situations, making her moment this week that much more satisfying. This time she was going to be the one to come to Ryuko's rescue with her own power. 

Other characters get plenty of love this week. In particular, Ragyo continues to chew up scenery anytime she's onscreen. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed watching a villain just do their thing every episode. She's an intimidating presence with a very compelling design. Romi Park's performance continues to captivate, and I can't wait to see Ragyo get what's coming to her next week. The Elite Four are still just as entertaining, only now with some great new uniform designs. I love that they all started out in bulky mech-like suits, and in their final forms are damn near naked. It ties into the series theme quite nicely and also reflects on the fact that Nudist Beach and Satsuki's army have become one.

It's been a long road, but the final episode of TRIGGER's first original series is finally upon us. Some people hate Kill la Kill, others love it, but I can firmly say that I've enjoyed myself the entire time. The colorful cast, crazy narrative, and visual style have kept me on the edge of my seat for 23 weeks in a row. I can only hope that Imaishi and his team can close things out with class. 

I'm rooting for you, Studio Trigger.

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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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