Kill la Kill Ep. 20: Existential crisis

kill la kill 2001

Damn, look at the paint job on that bike.

Episode summary: Mako tries to reason with Ryuuko, but the latter refuses to listen to anything that anyone has to say. She hates herself and intends to fight Ragyou all on her own. The rest of Nudist Beach resigns themselves to the fact that they’ll have to carry on without Ryuuko. Thanks to Inumuta, they discover that Satsuki is being held prisoner beneath Honnouji Academy, so Aikuro launches Operation Rescue Satsuki. In the end, they manage to save her without a hitch, but then again, it doesn’t really seem all though Ragyou was actively preventing them from doing so. Instead, our villain focuses her attention on bending Ryuuko to her will, which she manages to do rather effortlessly. Ryuuko is forced to wear Junketsu, which she then uses to attack her former friends and allies. Satsuki and Senketsu reluctantly team up in hopes that they can stop Ryuuko.

Notes & analysis:

• Fictional characters always claim that they’ve been living a lie just because they learned something new and unexpected about themselves. I gotta say I never like how this often plays out in most stories. Basically, Ryuuko doesn’t think she’s human because she’s part Life Fibers. But who cares? That’s just one aspect of her totality as a person. Everything she’s done up to this point — her memories, her accomplishments, her friendships, her values, etc. — is what should actually matter to her. Would you really throw it all away just because your heart is not made up of flesh and blood? And the companionship that Senketsu has provided her, is it worth nothing now just because Life Fibers are wreaking havoc elsewhere? I guess I’m disappointed in the direction that Ryuuko’s character arc has taken at such a late stage in the game. Had this occurred earlier in the series, I would’ve been more receptive to Ryuuko’s existential crisis.

• Ragyou taunts, “He treated his own daughter as but a mere tool.” But to be honest, if I end up being a tool for saving mankind from the enslavement of mass commodification, I don’t think I’d mind it too much.

kill la kill 2008

• And once more, we return to Honnouji Academy to do battle.

• Well, if Trigger wanted to make Ryuuko unlikeable, they succeeded. I just don’t know where she’s coming from whatsoever. Against Aikuro, she accuses, “Deep down, I bet you were laughing at this freak of a girl.” C’mon now, is she really going to be this irrational at the 11th hour? I know it must be a shock to learn that someone like Ragyou is your mother, but this is just too much for me. Unfortunately, I can’t exactly root for Satsuki either because she’s fascism personified. At the end of the day, that leaves me with only Mako to cheer for.

• Oops, I guess I forgot about Senketsu. Other than the way he forced Ryuuko to wear him in the very first episode of the series, Senketsu has done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, the girl doesn’t agree. “I’ve never been human to begin with,” Ryuuko whines, but humanity isn’t the end all and be all of the discussion. The capacity to care and love isn’t exclusive to humanity. After all, I’m pretty sure our pets are perfectly capable of loving us (unless they’re cats). So it’s just too bad that our heroine hasn’t recognized something this obvious by the twentieth episode of the series. It really makes you feel as if all the time she’s spent with Senketsu was for naught. In Ryuuko’s eyes, Senketsu is guilty by association, which is just a shame.

• I mean, I’m sure she’ll come around before the story ends, but I’m just sayin’… I could tolerate this temper tantrum of hers had it occurred earlier in the narrative. At this point in the series, however, the conflict just feels contrived so that we can squeeze in one more battle between her and her friends. It would’ve been so much badass though if Ryuuko had shrugged it all off and said, “Who the hell cares what I’m made of or where I came from? I know who I am!”

• “Senketsu wasn’t the weapon created to kill his brethren!” Ryuuko argues, “It was me!” That’s true from a certain point of view. But you could also say that her purpose in life isn’t to kill the Life Fibers at all, but merely to prevent them from destroying mankind. She can either be a weapon against the Life Fibers, or a shield to protect those that she cares for. It’s really up to her. Unfortunately, our heroine’s existential crisis is preventing her from realizing that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

• And thus Ryuuko returns to her life of being a wanderer. Or a ronin, if you will. In one fell swoop, she regresses back to how she started at the beginning of Kill la Kill: an angry loner hellbent on revenge. All that’s changed is her fighting capabilities. In that sense, she’s the one reducing herself to nothing more than a tool than anyone else.

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• It’s interesting how Mako can now understand Senketsu even if she doesn’t actually know what he’s saying. I previously said that I think these two characters are the only ones in the show that I can relate to. I don’t think it’s an accident, therefore, that Mako now has the ability to understand Senketsu just shortly after the latter voiced his desire to follow Ryuuko no matter how much she rejects him. Despite Ryuuko’s immense hatred for both herself and Senketsu, the Godrobe won’t allow it to deter him from supporting his best friend in her greatest battle. I would thus speculate that perhaps he and Mako can now understand each other because they share a similar wavelength in terms of their love for Ryuuko. As the saying goes, love is a universal language.

• Ugh, Satsuki’s toenail scraping against the floor of her cell is like listening to nails going across a blackboard. Please stop. Finally, I’ve heard something more grating in this anime than Nonon’s voice.

• Somehow, Takarada makes a return to the narrative, and not only that, his conglomerate used every last penny in its coffers to equip our heroes with the S.S. Naked Sun, an impressive-looking ship by any measure. I guess if we’re going to use Life Fibers to fight against Life Fibers, it’s not too much a stretch to fight money with money. I mean, I’ll admit that my Kill la Kill posts have had a rather Marxist bent to them, but I don’t consider myself a communist or anything. I don’t think money is evil. Yes, greed is evil, but money is just money, and everything in moderation is the key to life. After all, I think we can all agree that Ragyou’s brand of capitalism is ultimately no good for anyone. If Satsuki represents political fascism, then likewise, Ragyou represents the truth of economic fascism.

• In defense of Mako, Gamagoori says, “Not even [Nonon] can pull out the earplugs she wears, for they are the earplugs of the heart.” Okay then…

• I’m caught in a bit of a quandary here. Despite still being bound by her wrists, Satsuki has no problems taking down any of the humanoid Life Fibers in her path. She thus feels the need to explain to no one in particular that her fake tonails are actually “made from the same material as Bakuzan,” and thus they are “more than enough” to defeat Ragyou’s army. At the same time, however, if she hadn’t explained this to us, we’d have no clue why her toenails can suddenly shred through Life Fibers so easily. So what is a writer to do? Shrug. Maybe it would’ve been more elegant for Satsuki to say nothing until she meets up with her allies. They will naturally ask, “Lady Satsuki, how did you manage to free yourself from your prison and fight your way through all the Life Fibers?” Satsuki can then give them the explanation instead of what she’s doing now, which is to apparently talk to no one in particular.

Or better yet, just have Satsuki think those lines in her head.

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• “You’re lonely, aren’t you?” Nui asks, as she taunts Ryuuko, “You believed you were human, but you were kept alive by the same Life Fibers you considered your enemy. In that case, who exactly are your allies?” Yes, I’m repeating myself, but I just have to say that this dilemma is just so silly at this juncture in the narrative. Ryuuko’s allies are the ones fighting for justice. On the flip side, Ryuuko’s enemies are the ones committing evil deeds. It doesn’t matter what she or anyone else, i.e. Senketsu, is made of. All that really matters are the actions that people personally choose to take.

• Huh, I guess Nui too has a heart of Life Fibers like Ryuuko. Don’t tell me she’s also Ragyou’s daughter. Or better yet, maybe she’s a clone of Ragyou.

• “The only difference between us is that you grew within Lady Ragyou’s belly, whereas I grew within an artificial womb made of Life Fibers. That makes the two of us soul sisters.” Okay then. But wait a minute, does she nevertheless share a part of Ragyou’s DNA? Yes, she developed “within an artificial womb made of Life Fibers,” but the fetus had to come from somewhere, right? Its origins had to be human, right? I mean, she does bleed, which means she is part human. I wonder if Ragyou’s so twisted that she would make love to the Life Fibers and thereby create a hybrid. With anime, you never really know. But then again, Ragyou seems particularly proud of Ryuuko in a particularly motherly sort of way. Although they are allies, one can’t say the same for Ragyou’s treatment of Nui, so if we are to judge from that and that alone, it doesn’t seem likely that Nui’s even partly blood-related to Ryuuko. Still, you gotta wonder where that fetus came from…

• Plus, why does everything else about Nui heal up quickly except for, y’know, her left eye?

• It’s only fitting that Ragyou passes Junketsu on to Ryuuko. We’ve learned from last week’s episode that Ryuuko’s been the favored daughter all along. Remember, Satsuki has no Life Fibers within her:

What’s been lost in all this sibling talk is how Satsuki must now feel after hearing all of these revelations. Somewhere deep inside her, I think she’s coming to the realization that she’s always been the inferior child. After all, Ragyo created a new baby simply because she felt Satsuki was too old for that experiment the evil woman attempted to fuse her children with Life Fibers. Granted, Ragyo thought the experiment failed with Ryuuko too, but as we can see from the start of this week’s episode, this isn’t the case. Ryuuko’s heart is living proof that the experiment — or some future iteration of it — ultimately succeeded. Not only that, Isshin, a.k.a. Souchirou to both Satsuki and Ragyo, escaped to raise Ryuuko in secrecy.

One thus can’t help but feel pity for Satsuki; it’s hard not to think she was abandoned by her own father. Of course, you can argue that he did what he thought he had to do. You can also argue that he put his faith in Satsuki to remain strong despite having to be in Ragyo’s care. But if you put yourself in Satsuki’s shoes, it’s hard not to feel as though she has been betrayed by her own father.

In some twisted corner of her mind, I’m sure Ragyou believes Satsuki rebelled against her because her firstborn daughter has “inferior genetics,” i.e. she not part Life Fibers.

• In a way, it’s kind of like playing with dolls, isn’t it? “You get to wear the pretty dress first. Okay, now take it off. Now you you get to wear the pretty dress.”

kill la kill 2002

Note how Ryuuko’s now blushing, though. Does it bring anything to mind? It should:

“Humans are such fragile beings. When we’re naked like this, anxiety overcomes us. It makes us want to hurry up and cover our bodies in the wonders known as ‘clothes.’” — Ragyou

• Ragyou then brainwashes her younger daughter. When Junketsu finished attaching itself to Ryuuko’s body, it feeds her visions of what her life might’ve been like had she stayed by her mother’s side. Of course, this is all hogwash. I doubt her life would’ve been this peachy:

kill la kill 2003

But it’s clear what Ragyou’s attempting to do. She wants Ryuuko to believe that her father had betrayed her. Due to her father’s actions, she’s grown up without knowing the love and care of a family. This is why our heroine has been so protective of the Mankanshoku family to begin with. They’re the only family she knows. Of course, from our vantage point, we can clearly understand Souchirou’s actions; he had to do what he did in order to form a resistance against Ragyou’s plans for world domination. Still, Ryuuko’s mind is very clouded right now by her negative emotions. From her point of view, she had to go away to a boarding school only to return home to see her father murdered right before her very eyes. Then even after she made all these friends — in particular, Mako and Senketsu — she feels as though her father’s legacy, i.e. the scientific research that allowed him to fuse her body with Life Fibers, is ultimately responsible for her loss of humanity and thus her friends as well. Ragyou’s just hammering home on Ryuuko’s insecurities. As a result, the girl now believes that she could’ve had the pure love of a mother all along, and trust me, practically no one denigrates the pure love of a mother. Again, from our vantage point, we’re like, “There’s no fucking way Ragyou could ever love someone like that.” ‘Cause let’s face it, it was Ragyou who threw Ryuuko away in the first place. But again, Ryuuko’s in a vulnerable state of mind as evidenced by the tears streaming down her face:

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Plus, having Junketsu choke the life out of you probably doesn’t help.

• So much for the S.S. Naked Sun. We just got introduced to it, and it’s already getting destroyed.

• For what it’s worth, Ryuuko with Junketsu is her worst look yet. No wonder Senketsu will win her back in the end. Style above all, yo. But in all seriousness, what we have here is the familiar case of one of the good guys being lured to the dark side, and his or her allies will now have to somehow convince our protagonist to return to the light. Hell, this same thing is also happening in Mahou Sensou, which we all know to be a terrible anime series. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not drawing this comparison because I want to say Kill la Kill is shit. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that originality isn’t everything. Instead, it’s how you choose to utilize these tropes in order to craft a story that is authentically yours. A trope can completely bomb in one show, and succeed in another.

• Man, this episode has been full of insert songs.

• And as Ryuuko’s foil…

kill la kill 2005

…it’s only fitting (no pun intended) that Satsuki will now don Senketsu in order to stop her sister from destroying everyone and everything she once held dear to her heart.

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30 thoughts on “Kill la Kill Ep. 20: Existential crisis

  1. watanabe43

    Y’know, if I found out I was immortal with a bunch of supapowaz I don’t think I’d be wallowing in self pity. I hate to say it, but the plot holes are coming thick and fast and I suspect Trigger are making this up as they go along. Asspull upon asspull.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I agree I wouldn’t wallow in self-pity, but how is that a plot hole? Or are you referring to something else?

      Reply
      1. Boytitan

        Think this is a case of wrong terminology on his part. This is simply a case of minorly bad story telling. A better route to go would have been to have Ryuuko feeling betrayed by her fathers lies and thus creating a rift between her and senkentsu during battle due to manipulative words from her Mom and Nui taking advantage of her feelings in battle making her and Senkentsu desync leaving the door open for her mom to have Junketsu take control of her. No plot holes just bad story telling especially when better options existed.

        Reply
        1. watanabe43

          Sorry, I wasn’t clear – by plot holes I mean for example Ryuuko spending the series getting beaten up then slowly recovering when she has been fused with life fibres all the way through. Or Nui (permanently) losing an eye to Dr. Matoi but having no issue with literally being chopped into slices this episode. Okay, Ryuuko maybe needed to ‘awaken’ to her potential but the indication is Nui having known all along.

  2. Boytitan

    I don’t think Satsuki is even capable of feeling inferior. She might finally even have a change of heart now, Her whole rebellion was started due to her sisters supposed death now that she knows her sister is alive she most likely wants to protect her. Also spot on Kill La Kills does nothing original it just for the most part uses existing tropes and tells them very well for the most part sometimes it can be meeh. Like Ryoko going bad currently she should by no stretch be mentally fine but she is angry about the wrong things her mind should just be distressed about her father lying to her she should not be in a full blown rage about being part life fiber. There was a way to tell this story better to get to this point.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I don’t think Satsuki is even capable of feeling inferior.

      Well, I’m not saying she’d feel inferior necessarily, but that at least some doubt would creep into her mind. But yeah, I agree her resolve is too strong (as opposed to Ryuuko’s) in the end for to be too affected by all these revelations.

      Her whole rebellion was started due to her sisters supposed death now that she knows her sister is alive she most likely wants to protect her.

      She’s been butting heads with Ryuuko all series. Do you think she’d suddenly feel all big sister all of a sudden?

      Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Do you think Satsuki will override Senketsu?
    By the way, I actually like this version of Junketsu more than the original.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Do you think Satsuki will override Senketsu?

      If I had to guess, probably not, but honestly, I have no clue what it’ll be.

      Reply
  4. Di-Dorval (@Di_Dorval)

    I just feel like we already went over this with Ryuuko and like you said the whole dilemma feels forced. I don’t really know how theyll manage to make her come back to her senses without being a replica of the berserk event.
    Though I trust trigger to find a way.
    Also Senkentsu really suits Satsuki.

    Once again I have no idea where this anime is going and what it tries to do.
    It still has that impressive sense of presentation I love so much.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Also Senkentsu really suits Satsuki.

      He isn’t horrible on her, but I think her longer face makes her less suitable for Senketsu than Ryuuko.

      Reply
  5. higgsbosoff

    I actually thought Ryuuko’s breakdown might make sense to an extent. I think the point isn’t just that she discovered she’s not human (which is an age-old trope – which in itself might constitute a good reason for Trigger to throw it in, considering how meta-referential this show is), but that she lost all faith in her father and those who surround her. And her whole motivation to begin with was to avenge her father after all. Of course she’s spreading her angst a bit to who does not deserve her (like Senketsu), but that’s just her moping. In a sense, this is a consequence of her never truly going beyond her original motivation; whereas Satsuki’s determination is rock-solid.

    I also think the dream sequence was delightfully creepy. The marriage especially. It reminded me a lot of Utena, in fact: this is Ragyo trying to teach her daughter her “place”, the place of a “princess” who obeys, smiles, and marries a good man. The whole thing is brutally twisted by the reality of Ryuuko being strangled by Junketsu and by the fact that the good man is actually a bundle of glowing alien threads.

    Line of the week: “Don’t add yourself to my growing list of siblings!”.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      And her whole motivation to begin with was to avenge her father after all.

      No, that was her motivation at the start of the series. When she got Senketsu back at Osaka, she gained a new motivation. She wanted to stop the injustice that she thought Satsuki was committing as well as to protect her friends. I thought her character development would then naturally extend this to “I’ll stop the injustice that Ragyou is committing as well as protect my friends.” I understand losing faith in one’s father can be traumatic, but like I’ve said, had this happened earlier in the series when she hadn’t built the mental support necessary to aid her, I’d understand it. But by this point in the story, with all her new friends, allies and even her new family (if you consider the Mankanshoku family), it just feels like they’re forcing to her to ignore all of this just to squeeze in one final conflict for Ryuuko to personally deal with. It’s just a regression of her character arc right back to the beginning of the series when she’s worked so hard since then.

      Reply
      1. higgsbosoff

        I never found this character arc TOO convincing to begin with though. Yes, she cared about her friends, but that would be… Mako & family, basically. She doesn’t care about Nudist Beach, she never trusted them much. She doesn’t care about the Elite Four, they used to be her enemy. And now she’s not fighting against Satsuki anymore – actually she has to accept her as an ally of sorts because the enemy is now Ragyo. Despite the idea that her friends might still be in danger (and she’s actually been out for a while there, so she doesn’t really know how bad the situation is), this battle has slowly transformed into something she can’t relate to anymore. She’s never been very “good” imho – neutral at best. She only cares for a few people, and right now after all it’s not like she’s not trying to protect them somewhat. She wasn’t violent with Mako, just saddened and bitter. She still has her aim focused on her actual enemies, it’s just that she’s too angry to wait and plan, she just wants to stab something and get over with it. The only friend she truly “betrayed” is Senketsu, and even then she said it’s mostly because he remembers her of her own condition. So it’s not Senketsu’s fault, she’s admitting that herself, it’s just her own weakness.

        And anyway as I mentioned I am convinced this trope is in here BECAUSE it’s a trope. Kill la Kill is primarily aiming at being a distilled version of all that is shonen and fighting anime, so this kind of moment was basically impossible to avoid. I think it’s one of those moments we love to hate – we know they might be coming at a moment’s notice, but they are also so familiar we can at least realize they’ll soon be over and it’ll be business as usual.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          She’s never been very “good” imho – neutral at best.

          If this is true, then it throws everything about the Osaka trip out the window, which is just a shame in my opinion. That was supposed to be the major breakthrough of the first half of the series, and it’s being rendered all for naught just so we can have the two sisters swap outfits for a few episodes.

          right now after all it’s not like she’s not trying to protect them somewhat.

          I disagree. Her actions are selfish and only serve to undermine their efforts.

          Kill la Kill is primarily aiming at being a distilled version of all that is shonen and fighting anime, so this kind of moment was basically impossible to avoid.

          Distilling tropes doesn’t mean Trigger couldn’t have done something with this particular trope to avoid it coming off as contrived. Trigger has been good at adding their own flavor to the classic tropes throughout most of the series, but I’m not getting it here. I’m just getting a tired trope presented as is, and I’m not going to accept “Oh it was inevitable” as a suitable excuse. This is perhaps another case of how maybe a story would’ve ended organically a few episodes earlier, but because of anime’s rigid format, things have to be stretched out in order to fit the desired “proper” length.

        2. higgsbosoff

          True, but I guess maybe they see it differently. After all the same thing happened in TTGL too. Either way, it’s not bothering me *too much*. But I can see how you’re probably right about the format problem, it might as well be that this series would have been better off making the battle at Honnouji its final clash.

        3. E Minor Post author

          Either way, it’s not bothering me *too much*.

          Don’t get me wrong, I like the show. I wouldn’t write this much on KLK if I didn’t. But at the same time, I write about everything that comes to my mind when I watch KLK. So I can see why people misconstrue one criticism as a huge criticism on my part. But from a different perspective, it is merely one small part of everything I’ve written about the show thus far.

        4. higgsbosoff

          Yeah, I just wanted to point out that it still feels justified to me compared to how much it’d annoy me in other contexts (for example, in Valvrave, Haruto’s griping about being not human was often ridiculous – though the whole show was, so yeah). It could be me automatically cutting some slack to Kill la Kill though. It’s easy to forgive the heroine sulking a bit when she does so while playing Easy Rider on that ubercool pink chopper.

  6. watanabe43

    Can anyone explain the joke with Sangeyama and “The enemy awaits at Honnouji!” (followed by elite four saying he spoiled it)? Neither sub I’ve seen translates what I assume is a pun?

    Reply
    1. brianwuzhere

      The history of the Honnouji Incident was already used to foreshadow Satsuki’s (Akechi Mitsuhide) betrayal of Ragyo (Oda Nobunaga) at Honnouji Academy/Temple in episode 18. This is just a more blatant reference, directly quoting Mitsuhide.

      Reply
  7. Ryan R

    I think you’re missing the real main reason for Ryuko’s change of heart here.

    I suspect that Kill La Kill’s writers simply wanted to do a Senketsu!Satsuki vs. Junketsu!Ryuko fight, with the added bonus of Satsuki now being in the “hero” role and Ryuko now being in the “villain” (or at least antagonist) role.

    Now, how do you arrive at such a fight? Well, first you’d need either a falling out between Ryuko and Senketsu or you’d need Senketsu to be stolen away from Ryuko. But the latter wouldn’t make much sense since Ragyo would likely have too much pride to rely upon the creation of her estranged husband (that creation being Senketsu). So falling out it is! Now, what half-way reasonable pretext can you have for Ryuko “breaking up” with Senketsu?

    Well, like it or not, major protagonists suffering an existential crisis due to finding out that they’ve “lost their humanity” is nothing new to anime. See both Madoka Magica and Valvrave the Liberator. It worked for those shows so why shouldn’t it work for Kill La Kill?

    I suspect that was the thinking here – “Wouldn’t it be cool to have Senketsu!Satsuki vs. Junketsu!Ryuko?!” And, honestly, it *is* a cool fight concept, imo.

    Well that plus having Ryuko and Senketsu “break up” means that we’ll (hopefully) get some nice emotional reunion scenes later on.

    Reply
    1. Ryan R

      One more thing – I’m surprised that a guy that’s made some interesting arguments against transhumanism would have such a hard time seeing why this would bother Ryuko a lot. If the mere idea of transhumanism is one that you find troubling or undesirable, then surely discovering that you *are* a transhuman (as Ryuko now is) could be emotionally devastating, making you do things you may well later regret.

      Reply
      1. Eli

        The issue is that the “transhumanism” aspect just… blatantly isn’t being addressed by the narrative. At all. Ragyo and her comments about “godhood” are the element that comes closest to actual, ideological transhumanism, and she’s the capital-V villain who doesn’t even have a clear motive.

        Soooo… basically, we’re getting the cheapest possible way of addressing “transhumanity” in fiction, which is that a hero/heroine was made transhuman against their will and uses the power to fight for the sake of plain, ordinary humans. Spiderman, Superman, the Fantastic Four… Matoi Ryuko.

        The problem being that once you bring up the fact that she’s just a superpowered nigh-unkillable badass delinquent heroine with a good personality and cool hair highlights… the angst just stops making sense. “Oh God, I’m even awesomer than I thought! TIME TO RAGE OUT!”

        Well, ok, that is Ryuko’s response to everything.

        Reply
    2. E Minor Post author

      I think you’re missing the real main reason for Ryuko’s change of heart here.

      I’m not missing it. I just don’t acknowledge it. Wanting to have a cool fight is not a good enough reason to have a character regression at this late stage of the narrative.

      See both Madoka Magica and Valvrave the Liberator. It worked for those shows so why shouldn’t it work for Kill La Kill?

      You made that assertion. Not me.

      One more thing – I’m surprised that a guy that’s made some interesting arguments against transhumanism would have such a hard time seeing why this would bother Ryuko a lot.

      I didn’t simply say I couldn’t see it. You’re ignoring a very important nuance to my argument:

      Everything she’s done up to this point — her memories, her accomplishments, her friendships, her values, etc.

      I mean, I’m sure she’ll come around before the story ends, but I’m just sayin’… I could tolerate this temper tantrum of hers had it occurred earlier in the narrative. At this point in the series, however, the conflict just feels contrived so that we can squeeze in one more battle between her and her friends.

      I understand losing faith in one’s father can be traumatic, but like I’ve said, had this happened earlier in the series when she hadn’t built the mental support necessary to aid her, I’d understand it.

      Hell, everyone is. Kinda funny actually.

      Reply
  8. capricorngenesis

    Nui’s eye might have not regenerated because it could have have permanently severed a separate banshi (assuming multiple can exist and are in life fiber/human hybrids). As for Ryuko not having her powers earlier in the show, it is either psychological or was somehow activated by Ragyo during their fight. Or all of this is bullshit. Maybe.

    Reply
    1. Eli

      Ryuko *did* have “her powers” earlier in the show. She just wasn’t shounen enough to use them.

      From the people who brought you Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann…

      Reply
  9. The Real Sugoi Sugoi

    Hey, E Minor! Long time no see!

    Last time I commented on this site of yours was when you did your review of the first five or so episodes of “Aku no Hana.” That was, what, nearly a year ago? What the hell happened to you? Where have you been?

    Judging by the sheer amount of regular new content in the first two pages of this site alone, it seems that you have been doing regular reviews of shows from this season as of late. Has something happened in your personal life so that you now have more time to review anime? Or do you simply just find this season’s batch of anime shows more worthwhile to write about? Regardless, I’m glad you’re back.

    Anyway, I’m pleased that you can write soberly, critically and frankly about this show. A vast majority of KLK bloggers I’ve encountered thus far seems to be unable to give this show anything but the most unquestoning of worship and adulation. And even when they do present skepticism, they follow up with hand waving and excuse making of the most pathetic sorts for the flaws of this show.

    It might just be that I don’t read enough anime blogs, but as far as I can tell (and as far as I know), you are pretty much the only person who sees through the bullshit excuse of storytelling that this show has to offer. I certainly hope I’m wrong and that there are other people out there writing entries like yours and criticizing the show. I mean, just visit popular sites like Random Curiosity or check out various online forums to see the kind of mental gymnastics people perform to defend this show’s shitty sense of storytelling.

    Perhaps this irrational adulation has to do with cognitive dissonance?

    In the months before this show was released, so many people hyped this show to be the one that will “save anime” (whatever the hell that means). They looked at the cast and crew and saw that the people working behind the scenes were responsible for one of the most beloved shows of the past decade — namely, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. They liked the previews. They adored the show’s concept.

    Then the show premiered. Then they saw that the animation quality was extremely uneven; that so many animation pieces, like Satsuki’s speech-making scenes, were blatantly reused to save money; that so many of the episodes were godawful filler; that the characters were silly, one-dimensional caricatures; that the show relied on cheap, exploitatative humor to make audiences laugh; and that the narrative was very unfocused in terms of direction and equally cynical in terms of spirit. My guess is that these people had to find some mental way to reconcile the sad reality of this show (on the one hand) with all the hype they’ve built up for this show (on the other hand).

    I could go on and on, but your simple observations pretty much show how dumb this show is. For example, in your review of the previous episode, you pointed out that Satsuki’s rebellion against Ragyo, despite having allegedly been planned all of her life, ended up very poor in execution, due to her stupidity in using Life Fibers against a person who can control Life Fibers. And in this review of the latest episode, you point out that the dilemmas the show creates are “so silly at this juncture in the narrative,” as well as being contrived.

    Also, you say:

    > But don’t get me wrong, I’m not drawing this comparison because I want to say Kill la Kill is shit. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that originality isn’t everything. Instead, it’s how you choose to utilize these tropes in order to craft a story that is authentically yours. A trope can completely bomb in one show, and succeed in another.

    But because Kill la Kill has failed to use these old tropes in a creative and authentic manner, doesn’t that automatically mean it’s shit?

    One last thing:

    I don’t know if you’ve mentioned what I’m about to say in your reviews of the earlier episodes, but the thing that changed Kill la Kill from a show that merely irritated me to one that I really hated was in episode 16, when AIkuro basically spends the entire episode revealing the truth behind everything.

    What offended me about this episode was that it was the director’s not-so-stealthy way of cynically making excuses for himself for not moving the plot forward earlier in the show. The director was basically inserting himself in Aikuro in that episode. Aikuro tells Ryuko that it would have been useless for him to tell her the truth about Life Fibers early on in the plot, because she wouldn’t have believed it. That is perhaps the most audience-insulting manner of making excuses for yourself that I’ve ever seen in television. It was the director’s pathetic and cynical way of making excuses for all the meandering narrative and constant filler that characterized the first half of Kill la Kill.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Good to see you around again. I’ll respond to your comment eventually. It is quite long but I’m sure you knew that already.

      Reply
    2. E Minor Post author

      What the hell happened to you? Where have you been?

      Real life called. It said I had student loans and rent to pay.

      Has something happened in your personal life so that you now have more time to review anime? Or do you simply just find this season’s batch of anime shows more worthwhile to write about?

      Well, it’s never the slate of anime that keeps me away. Even a terrible season can be blogged about. I just had my various reasons for going on hiatus. You can find some of them here.

      A vast majority of KLK bloggers I’ve encountered thus far seems to be unable to give this show anything but the most unquestoning of worship and adulation.

      Well, they’re fans first and foremost. To put it bluntly, some of them are only fans. Because of this, I’m not annoyed by it.

      stuff about the show’s quality

      I’m not going to say that the show’s airtight in its narrative — hell, I quibble with quite a bit in just this episode alone — but I do enjoy quite a bit about it, especially its subtext. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say the characters are “silly, one-dimensional caricatures,” but I agree they’re not exactly deep and multi-faceted. For me, the anime’s appeal is mostly conceptual. I enjoy the anti-capitalist strains — whether or not they’re intentional — that you can tease out of it. And as such, I view the characters more in what they represent than anything else. In terms of character development, I think Trigger definitely fell short of the mark. If you read some of this post’s comments, you’ll see me butting heads with a couple people regarding this. But still, I find the show interesting as a hole, and maybe you can understand where I’m coming from if you read my very first post on the series. Then again, maybe not.

      But because Kill la Kill has failed to use these old tropes in a creative and authentic manner, doesn’t that automatically mean it’s shit?

      I think the show’s entertaining enough for what it is. It’s the subtext that I’m more concerned about than whether or not it manages to achieve originality in the tropes it utilizes. Again, I go more in-depth about the show’s subtext in earlier posts. You may or may not agree with me, however.

      What offended me about this episode was that it was the director’s not-so-stealthy way of cynically making excuses for himself for not moving the plot forward earlier in the show.

      Was it cynical? I can’t discern that personally. But I do agree that the show definitely lagged at times, especially around the episodes preceding Satsuki’s trip to conquer rival prefectures.

      Reply

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