Nagi no Asukara – 07

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The students complete the Ojoshi-sama, and Hikari takes it upon himself to make sure they hold a real Ofunehiki. Everyone hands out flyers and collects signatures, but when Hikari asks his dad, he refuses. Hikari and Tsumugu are able to gather representatives from both sea and land, but the meeting ends in a fight, and the ojoshi is destroyed. Akari and Hikari both decide to leave Shioshishio, but when Uroko-sama tries to punish them, their father begs him to show mercy, and they escape to the surface.

At the start of the series, Hikari felt very much as his father did, that the surface people could not be trusted or reasoned with. But that prejudice was handed down, not the product of a lifetime of dealing with them, as his father has. Once Hikari was forced to the surface for school, actually got to know surface people,  befriended some, and worked with them to build the Ojoshi-sama, he started to change. When he saw how much Akari had invested in Itaru and Miuna, he changed more. And when his father coldly rejected his plans for rapprochement with the surface, it was the last straw.

It was a poignant moment when Akari told her father what her mother said, about loving him even if he was form the surface. You can tell he knows that was true. His children may be fed up with his stubbornness, but we cannot fault him for, as Tsumugu says to Chisaki, being only what he can be. He has to balance love for his family and his desire for their happiness with the responsibilities of a high priest of a village that doesn’t have much time left. If his own children succumb to the lure of the surface (albeit for different reasons), what hope does the village have? Certainly not much, but a village preserved by isolation, suppression of free will, and force may not be worth saving.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Hikari’s initial motivation for holding the Ofunehiki seems clear: he wants Manaka to be happy no matter what, even if he thinks she continues to drift away from him. Later, he’s fueled by his father’s bull-headed obstinancy.
  • Manaka notices Hikari’s different attitude, and worries about things changing, but Chisaki is there to tell her that sometimes change can’t be stopped. Chisaki remains mopey, meanwhile; we hope she speaks up to Hikari soon.
  • The petty bickering of the men at the meeting contrasted sharply with the cooperation and comraderie of the students—more proof that amity often skips a generation.

Kill la Kill – 07

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When students start starting obscure new clubs to go after Ryuuko, she forms a Fight Club, naming Mako president when she sees the level of paperwork involved. As Ryuuko piles up victories, the club rises in stature according to Satsuki’s merit-based system, and Mako’s family moves from the slums to the middle-class neighborhood and eventually, to their own manor and the lap of super-luxury. The Mankanshokus start to drift apart.

When Mako sees how their newfound wealth is corrupting the family, she resigns from the club. Satsuki awards Mako a two-star goku uniform and orders her to fight Ryuuko. Mako obliges, beating Ryuuko to a pulp, but at the last moment pulls back the killing blow, aiming for the ground instead. She and her family beg Ryuuko for forgiveness, and they return to the slums. Satsuki admits to her elites that she allowed Ryuuko’s club so she could identify which weak teams to purge in the next elections.

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Every time the Mankanshoku’s appear on the screen, it’s like shotgunning a can of the late, lamented SURGE cola; they’re a jolt of energy and a ton of fun to watch as they go about their lives, a veritable tornado of love-tinged activity that Ryuuko’s very much glad she’s in the middle of, after a lonely childhood. It’s even better when we watch them inspect their new middle-class digs with mirthful amazement; thanks to Ryuuko, their quality of life has improved. And mind you, they’re not gaming Satsuki’s system; they’re playing by the rules…and winning.

But then Ryuuko wins more; Mako gets shrewder and more ambitious; the family moves to an opulent mansion and everyone has separate evening plans, and the family cohesion Ryuko treasured melts away in a cauldron of avarice. Now Ryuuko eats alone again. And there is never enough champagne or Godiva chocolate. Mako is, to borrow a Gainax title, Aiming for the Top!, so when Ryuuko gets in the way, she’s threatening Mako’s status and her family’s, and becomes the enemy. It’s an audacious turn of events—Ryuuko forced to fight her best friend, who happily dons a bad-ass two-star goku and goes to town.

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But the situation is made perfectly plausible by all that preceded it. Whether you’re born into wealth or have it heaped upon you like Mako’s family, it can very easily make you its slave. That’s what Satsuki was hoping for: another family ensnared in her system built upon greed and obedience through fear of losing it all. She didn’t get that, but the system still stands, and even worse, thanks to Ryuuko and Mako, Satsuki knows exactly what to do to make the forces protecting that system even stronger. So while Ryuuko and the Mankanshokus are cool again, Ryuuko’s future trials are only going to get tougher.

Like Mako’s family (briefly), this episode had it all. It grabbed and held our interest. It made Ryuuko the architect of her own near-downfall through a seemingly harmless choice. It rocketed us along with the family during their meteoric rise, not skimping on the details of the ritzier life they gain. It slowed them way down when they grew rich and stuffy. Perhaps most impressive was Mako’s transformation from kooky comic relief sidekick to serious foe who doesn’t hesitate to turn on Ryuuko despite all they’d been through. It was a veritable windfall of magnificence, and our favorite Kill la Kill to date.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

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