Kill la Kill – 02

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After her battle with Fukuroda, Ryuuko passes out from blood lost to her uniform, which she names “Senketsu.” She wakes up in Mako’s house in the slums and spends the night there. Satsuki awards tennis club captain Hakodate Omiko a two-star goku uniform with orders to launch an armed suppression in the guise of an interleague match. The next day Ryuuko steps in to protect Mako from Hakodate’s hazing, but cannot get Senketsu to activate, and gets beaten, and falls down a sewer.

She wakes up in the office of her homeroom teacher Mikisugi Aikurou, who confirms to her that her father Isshin made her uniform, called a “Kamui”, which is awakened by her blood and can surpass goku uniforms. He gives her Seji Tekko, a glove that will help her easily activate Senketsu, and sends her up to battle Hakodate. Athletic chair Sanageyama Uzu makes Ryuuko fight Hakodate in a tennis match, and after some faults, Ryuuko is victorious. Satsuki comes down to cross swords with her, but low on blood, Ryuuko retreats.

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As you can see above, this series wreaks havoc on the desire for as concise a summary as possible. It quite literally has about four episodes worth of your typical shounen anime stuffed into one episode, liberally seasoned with kooky violence, creative fanservice, and avant-garde environments. It covers a lot quickly and doesn’t stop and wait for the audience to catch up, but those who keep up are rewarded to an experience quite unlike anything else this season; the same thing that can be said of greats like FLCL and Gurren Lagann. They take anime conventions and stretch, contort, and julienne them to their limit and beyond.

Kill la Kill is window-lickingly insane in its presentation, but it’s also audacious, backing Ryuuko into some pretty dark corners this week. The first instance involves Mako’s father, a back-alley doctor who sure looks like he’s dry humping her when she wakes up (the whole Mankanshoku family scene was a trip and a half) As for Mikisugi, he seems to have her best interests at heart, but he should probably choose his words more carefully (and not strip in front of her). Like Ryuuko’s new uni, this show digs into you and doesn’t let go until you’re winded…but quite satisfied.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

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Kyoukai no Kanata – 02

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When the dreamshade escapes, Mirai chases it all over the neighborhood as Akihito follows. She finally defeats it after great exertion, and it turns into a jewel-encrusted rock. Akihito invites her to join the literature club, but she declines. The next day he takes her to an appraiser for the rock, but she isn’t home, so he introduces her to Shindou Ai, a dreamshade with human form. Akihito asks around for information on the shade Mirai fought, including his senpai Nase Hiromi, but no one has answers for him until he listens to a “thought letter” from his mother that the appraiser, Shindou Ayaka, decodes. Ayaka also gives Mirai 1000 yen for her rock. Mirai treats Akihito to dinner, but then announces they can no longer associate, because she killed someone in the past.

Ah, the episode which confirms that despite any concrete perverted or debauched behavior on the part of Akihito, he’s still going to be insulted and ridiculed on a regular basis by virtually every female in the show. Seriously, there was a point at which you gotta say “lay off the guy already!” Sure, it may only be affectionate ribbing, but a sizable chunk of the dialogue is given over to this kind of banter, and in addition to being a shade (no pun intended)…overweening. If you’re going to put a full court press of verbal abuse on the male lead, at least make him deserve it. As it is, Mitsuki and Mirai chide him for stuff he doesn’t even say or do. Of course, if the point of all of this is to make us sympathize with an otherwise smug Akihito, it succeeds to a degree – as does the revelation that he has a very bizarre mom.

This week he sees Mirai in full-on Spirit Hunter Mode (the battle is intense, but not quite on the same level as Chu2Koi when it was firing on all cylinders). He merely observes and doesn’t assist. We learn he’s made a deal with his weird senpai not to “stick his nose where it doesn’t belong” in exchange for being left alone. Having to sit on the sidelines while people may get hurt when you have the power to intervene doesn’t sound quite like the “fun life” Mirai says she can’t allow herself to have. We’re not going to pre-judge her situation, but in most cases like this (and having watched plenty of Railgun) isolating oneself from everyone else only makes one weaker. Then again, after killing someone, maybe Mirai doesn’t want to be stronger.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Coppelion – 02

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The Coppelion meet Kawabata Mitsuo and his wife Yukiko, ex-convicts living in the radioactive zone after escaping from prison in the meltdown chaos; Mitsuo is searching for Miku, his daughter from his late first wife. The girls determine that Mitsuo and Yukiko argued about sending an SOS, and Yukiko took Miku hostage. Ibara enters a condemned hotel and finds Yukiko and Miku on an upper floor, but the hotel collapses and Yukiko falls to her death. Mitsuo dies from radiation before the girls can reunite him with Miku, but she still thanks them anyway for their efforts.

After the first week established that birds, wolves, and the like still thrive in the region rendered uninhabitable to humans, this week revealed that some humans have tried to do the same, and not all of them want to leave, despite the radiation. The first such people we meet are in a complicated, unenviable position; rescue would mean breaking up the family because Yukiko and Mitsuo are criminals who still owe debts to society. They were able to somehow scrape together a living, but then the supply trucks ceased. Yet however pure Mitsuo’s love for Miku, or good his intentions, subjecting her to a bleak, shortened life in that radioactive hellhole simply wasn’t fair to her.

Mitsuo ultimately came to realize that, but Yukiko simply couldn’t bear to lose another child, and was even messed up enough to threaten to shoot Miku if Ibara tried to take her; such were the twisting, traumatizing effects of their desperate way of life. Faced with human tragedy more complex than they’d ever perceived, the Coppelion girls reflect on their existence as test tube-grown “dolls” or “puppets” whose edict is to go where ordinary humans can’t and save people. They learn that not everyone they encounter can – or wants to – be saved. But they also learn that they’re not just automatons; this encounter affected them, stay with them, and inform their actions on future missions.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)