Kill la Kill
Episode 21: Incomplete
Poor Ryuko. She’s had it rough hasn’t she? Having finally succumbed to the fear within her heart during last week‘s slew of traumatic events, her life has taken a drastic plummet into the depths of madness. As an unlikely duo stand before her, Ryuko has just one final chance to save her soul. Lest she be consumed by an evil that humanity cannot truly fathom.
From her brief encounters with Satsuki, we knew Ragyo was very “hands on” with her daughter. While seemingly a blatant attempt for some more risque anime visuals, Ragyo’s actions did in fact have plot relevance. Her crossing of even the most primal of maternal instincts, proved that she hold not one iota of compassion for the child she bore. Rather, she would utilise even sexuality in an attempt to dominate Satsuki and bend her to her will. That being said, we only ever saw brief moments of this. Brief, uncomfortable moments. But not this time. Ragyo turned these tactics on Ryuko and, with some assistance by Nui, spent copious amounts of time well within her personal space. This assault worked so thoroughly that, despite the rage outwardly present on Ryuko, she happily accepted Junketsu. Very happily. Part of Ragyo’s mental manipulation seemingly involves twisting her subjects until they derive pleasure from Life Fibres, and with how interwoven Ryuko and Junketsu have become, it’s no wonder her friends can’t break through and free her from her emotional prison. So complete was the control that Ryuko kissed her sworn enemy Nui “for luck”. Something that obviously gladdened Nui, possibly lending to the newly revealed fact that she possesses unique Life Fibres that repel others, hence the purple colouration. Assumedly, it is also this fact that grants her the power to sever Fibres with a finger, whilst also serving as a source of jealousy towards Ragyo and Ryuko who can both correctly wear a Kamui. It’s a very strange dynamic these characters share. Unbelievably interesting, but strange nonetheless.
This being said, these unfortunate circumstances also serve to alleviate any lingering doubts regarding Satsuki’s allegiance and willpower. Think about it. Satsuki lived with Ragyo for a majority of her formative years. Not only did she resist being persuaded into a Life Fibre slave, she managed to resist the power of Junketsu, even claim it as her own for a time. Hence the garments desire to slaughter her. Poor Ryuko was broken in no time at all, though Ragyo did mention that her existential crisis played a major role in the swiftness of her corruption.
During their fight, it becomes clear just how much Satsuki and Ryuko have changed. Ryuko berates Satsuki for pointlessly clinging onto Bakuzan, completely ignoring the reason she herself wields the Scissor Blade. Based on the methods by which Ryuko changed, her vocalisations seem to be in open defiance to her old self. The being that she has come to see as a lie, a monster that lies somewhere between human and Life Fibre. But not this Ryuko. Though having truly become a monster, she is so torn up and twisted that she has come to justify her each and every action, thrilled by the pleasure of Junketsu. Thanks for that Ragyo. Ryuko even attacks Senketsu, calling him a “knock off” and “ridiculous”, a complete 180 from her usual self. This insult does however serve as a segue for us, finally revealing why Senketsu is so revealing when synchronised with his wielder. It’s actually quite simple, as synchronisation forges a close bond between human and Life Fibre, a lower surface area reduces the chance that the Fibre will overpower its wearer and consume their soul. It is to this same effect that Junketsu is so prevalent on Ryuko now, concealing every inch of skin it can muster with eyes set on Ryuko’s essence.
As Ryuko continues to dominate Satsuki throughout their battle, some interesting callbacks are made to previous moments of philospohy. In one instance, Ryuko notes Satsuki as “a princess standing on top of a sand castle”, harking back to Jakuzure’s first meeting with the former President. It is in fact this very insult that sparks Jakuzure’s rage, along with the Elite Four’s plan. However, their goal to free Ryuko from the clutches of Junketsu is halted when Nui reveals the truth. Ryuko isn’t wearing Junketsu, they’re sewn together. Evidently, Ragyo is able to control Ryuko’s own internal Fibres to an extent. Either that or Junketsu is simply that hell bent on dominating it’s wearer. Btoh are definite possibilities.
It’s interesting to note that Nui also serves as an unwary testament to the strength of “old” Ryuko throughout the episode. As Satsuki so cleverly explains, were Nui 100% trusting of her new ally, she would have handed over her half of the Scissor Blade to Ryuko. The sheer fact that she continues to wield it shows that she doubts Ryuko’s loyalties, meaning that hope still exists. It’s a pretty awesome screw you speech to the annoyingly untouchable Nui, who is visibly angered. The last time that happened she lost an eye…
In a final testament to the overwhelming strength of friendship, with a healthy does of stubbornness thrown in, Senketsu and Mako delve into Ryuko’s twisted subconscious to free her from Ragyo’s lies. In parallel to their very first meeting, Senketsu leaps at Ryuko with the intent of forcing himself upon her. However, this time we understand his intentions and Senketsu himself understands the feelings he possesses for his friend. Set within the church her non existent wedding is taking place, we see a grown Ryuko clinging to any thread of happiness she can find, even if it means being locked within a falsehood. It is only after Mako and Senketsu visibly bear the effects of her rage that Ryuko understands the truth and forces her way out of Ragyo’s clutches. Violently. Though still stitched to her body, Ryuko tears Junketsu off of herself in the truest expression of rage, regret and understanding she has ever shown. Directly contrasting her mindset from the previous two episodes, her determination now stems from her desire to once again don Senketsu and fight as one.
So with Ryuko now free from the prison built within her mind, the Kanto Vagabond is burning with fury once again. Though she most certainly holds a great deal of hatred for her own weakness, hopefully she can surmount her fears and stand against her mother. And let’s not forget the Ultimate Kamui that’s still looming in the shadows. Though with Nui currently “indisposed” as she is, the future of this weapon hangs in the balance. That being said, with Ragyo and the Original Life Fibre en route, even the Ultimate Kamui may pale in comparison. Either way, Ragyo’s final strike is about to begin…
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