The bigger they are…

Kill la Kill
Episode 16: The Girl Can’t Help It

With last week’s episode wrapping up the first half of the series, we reach the bane of all anime. That which makes the hearts of viewers sink…the recap episode. A time when a series takes a break and looks back at the moments that we all just recently saw and still clearly remember. Luckily for us, Kill la Kill isn’t any ordinary anime series. Instead of the tedium of a full episode compilation, the series said, “Screw that noise,” and blazed through every crucial detail before the opening song even began. Awesome. Now onto the episode proper!

The episode begins fairly powerfully by revealing to us that not everything is coming up roses with Satsuki and her Kamui. Though it has been hinted at before, we get to see a little more clearly just how bloodthirsty and overpowering Junketsu is. Having made her defiant exit, Satsuki falls to her knees after being forced to use Junketsu for an extended period of time. The Kamui even needs to be sedated before Satsuki can remove it, at which point it is nailed to the wall. This serves to further express the stark contrast between Ryuko and Satsuki. Following her own motto of sheer dominance, Satsuki must fight to remain under control of her clothing, whilst Ryuko and Senketsu stand outside of the norm and possess a friendship with each other. Just to showcase how draining it is for Satsuki to remain herself, after combat she is left so tired and sore that she can’t maintain her signature scowl without effort. Let that sink in for a while. In all honesty it’s strange to see her without it. It almost makes her seem more…human.


Class is in session

Making good on his promise, Mikisugi brings Ryuko (and Mako) to the HQ of Nudist Beach…which is actually a beach. Who’da thunk? Anywhere, it’s time for Professor Mikisugi to reveal the truth about the Life Fibres…and it’s a doozy. Did you ever wonder why only humans wear clothes? Why we decide to cover ourselves in fabric, when every other creature on the planet stays naked? Many believe that it’s a sense of shame that humanity developed somewhere along the way. A thought that made us ashamed to bear all in everyday life. Well my friends, they were wrong. The truth behind clothing, behind mankind itself, is far more sinister than you could possibly believe…and it starts with aliens. That’s right, Life Fibres are not of this world. Something from beyond the stars that crash landed on our bright blue marble and changed the course of evolution forever. These sinister threads forged humanity’s path, creating creatures capable of wearing them so that they could absorb the sweet, sweet electrical impulses that fire within.


The clothes make the man

With the slew of revelations that are thrown around in this episode, Senketsu is noticeably affected. Having not known his purpose for so long, the news that he is an alien destined to injure Ryuko hits him hard…or at least it did when that was all he knew. Shortly after, he is informed that he isn’t even a true garb of Life Fibres, but an artificially created weapon. One designed to snuff out the kind from which he was based. Though this news comes as a shock to him, it is in fact Ryuko who takes it to heart. Standing up for forced protagonists everywhere, she is infuriated that Senketsu is simply considered a weapon, designed to kill his own. A messed up premise. Though ultimately she’ll probably end up fighting to save the world, it’s pretty badass to see someone receive the call to action and slam the phone back down. It was also nice to finally get some answers about Senketsu, what with him being such a crucial character. It’s interesting to note that his fight against Life Fibres, originally thought to be out of character for a Kamui, are in fact his entire purpose for being. Consider his world officially turned upside-down.

While tensions flare in Nudist Beach, the Kiryuin household is also having a day of truth. Ragyo reveals to Satsuki the presence of the Life Fibres along with their source: the Primordial Life Fibre. The ball of twine that has caused so much trouble. A war is coming. One that nobody is prepared for. Worse than that, humanity carries its enemy on its shoulders, completely unaware of what horrors await. You’ll never trust clothes again. It’s definitely interesting to note that throughout the episode, Satsuki adopts a different role, a lesser role. Compared to her mother, Satsuki seems more misguided and angry than the unfallible tyrant she has been portrayed as thus far. What with Junkestu threatening her each time he is worn and her mother’s apocalyptic beliefs, Satsuki is brought down to the level of human. It’s kind of unnerving, in a nice way. There’s also a sense of fragility and uncertainty in her that is openly explored in the bath scene with her mother who has zero boundaries. Like none. At all.


Ryuko bares all

So a rather crucial episode this week, wouldn’t you agree? We finally learnt the truth behind the wonderous and deadly Life Fibres and in turn the origins of Senketsu. So add “artificial alien weapon specifically designed to defeat his own species” to his list of credentials. Ryuko got another chance to prove why she’s so badass and we saw a side of Kiryuin not often glimpsed: weakness. Not in a combat sense, but as a human. One with emotions and facial expressions other than anger and contempt. Ragyo on the other hand…a different story entirely. I’m interested to see just how the lustrous woman fits in to the whole Life Fibre Override of the entire planet. But before that, it’s time for the Cultural & Sports Grand Festival. Sure it sounds fun, but if Satsuki is shocked by something, you’d better be careful. I sure hope Ryuko and Senketsu will be around to fight for the world once more. We don’t have a lot of other options…

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  • Anastasia

    We’re good into the second half of the series. That episode must have been the best one in some time. Ep. 15, while action-packed, had less impact on the series.

    I love how Ryuuko called bullshit at the “Chosen One” trope and I can’t help but think that her outburst wasn’t just for Senketsu’s sake (while it indeed addresses what other series would brush off: how would a sentient weapon feel if it’d have to kill its brethren?), albeit it definitely took a large part: it was also for HER sake. Her father, brilliant scientist and freedom activist he may be, but a good father he is not; he did throw his daughter away from him and planned her whole life without her knowledge, much less consent. No, Ryuuko is expected to fight, whether she wants it or not, in a war that will definitely have casualties and it will change the world forever. And she has no say in it. In other words, Isshin expects Ryuuko, his own daughter, to be as much of a weapon as it is expected of Senketsu to be. It’s messed up.

    As for the bathing scene, it was uncomfortable and as messed up as well to watch and I think it was meant to be so. Ragyo is a villain and villainous things she will do. However, there is something more there. Ragyo opened Satsuki’s chakra points, but she did so in a way that dominated Satsuki entirely. We know that Satsuki has no shame in her nudity from ep. 3, but she was clearly uncomfortable in that scene. It was the first time we saw Satsuki not only lose control, but be submissive to someone else’s power. Satsuki has been someone who looks from above until now, and then Ragyo came and dominated her while also providing her with a way to make her stronger. That’s how abuse works: you make sure that the victim thinks of the actions as beneficial in some form to them.

    Interestingly enough, it doesn’t even look like Ragyo will be the final boss here: that big ball of alien threads, if activated, would easily dominate everything and everyone. As Ragyo said, the Kiryuin are just “the mouthpieces” of COVERS. They are the Apostles, while COVERS is… God?

    That festival sounds ominous. I wonder now, if the Academy is just a test drive to see what would happen if the Life Fibers were to awaken around the world. Just an experiment before the main event and goal: enslave humanity.

    Man, the stakes have gotten much higher with just one episode.

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