Mother of God, what the heck is going on here? Kill la Kill is looking down on our Plebeian rating system! We’ve watched and written a lot of anime in the last few years, but it’s been a long while since we’ve seen a show string together so many awesome episodes in a row, including the two best episodes of the Winter (so far at least), back-to-back. Last week it threw a hundred balls up in the air; this week we learn all those balls were actually bombs, and they all get blown the fuck up.
Where to begin? Satsuki’s wholly terrifying upbringing, in which Ragyo used her as a life fiber test subject, tossing her baby sister away when she didn’t fit the genetic bill? Might as well, because that was the last straw for Satsuki’s dad Souichirou, who started Satsuki’s lifelong vendetta against her mom. It did look like her dad kinda stood by and let this crap happen to his children, but ultimately Ragyo killed him for opposing her. Junketsu was her inheritance: the garment with which she’d exact her revenge.
And so there you have it: Satsuki isn’t just after power, or the salvation of mankind; all that’s just a means of getting back at moms. The whole time she was looking down on Ryuuko, she was harboring the exact same base thirst for revenge. We’d always seen Satsuki and Ryuuko as two sides of the same coin, and we’d entertained the possibility they were really related, but the nature of the reveal knocked us back in our seats: Ryuuko was that discarded baby sister who ended up surviving. Her body is imbued with life fibers, just like Ragyo’s.
The tables in this episode must be sturdy, because they’re turned more times than an Ikea furniture testing facility. It’s a whiplash-inducing back and forth between Satsuki vs. Ragyo; the Elite Four vs. Nui; Satsuki’s Army vs. Satsuki, Ryuuko, and Nudist Beach; Nui vs. Ryuuko; Zombie Ryuuko vs. Satsuki; Satsuki’s katana vs. Ragyo’s neck. Everyone experiences victory and defeat, but nothing is permanent and there’s always another twist lurking. We’re left with both co-heroines out of commission, Ragyo in Junketsu, a sky full of angry COVERS, and the entire supporting cast left to pick up the pieces. This is finale-caliber shit going down, with nearly a quarter of the show left to go. Hold on; we’ve got a live one!
Rating: 10 (Masterpiece)
- Yup, all of Satsuki’s conflicts against Ryuuko were a means of testing whether she’d be a worthy ally. Everything she does seems to condescend to Ryuuko…but as she’s the elder sister, it makes perfect sense!
- Mako reunites with her family, who weren’t bothered enough by being imprisoned by their clothes to even pause their gorging on free food. We love that family.
- Good to see the Elite Four back in action. They do seem stronger.
- Gamagoori orders Mako to help evacuate the crowds. We like their relationship.
- We liked how Satsuki and Ragyo got into a bit of a light shine-off.
- This episode and/or the last didn’t deserve 10s? Leave it out. We couldn’t rank ’em lower if we tried. We’re merely puppets of the producers at this point.
A lot of sewing has to get done for the play the girls will be performing at the culture fest, so the group decides to spend the night at school working. Yuu only really agrees because Haruka will be there, but Shizuku also decides to stay because Kotone’s there. The rationale is, why go home and be alone when you can spend more quality time with the girl you love? It’s a no-brainer.
The second half jumps to the day of the festival itself (there’s no gratuitous sleepover hanky-panky scene), and like Yuu last week, Haruka is left out of the lurch and finds Mitsuki stealing her Yuu-time away. When she finally meets up with her, she’s hurt, but ultimately lets it go, as she appreciates that it’s Mitsuki’s last festival.
Yuu rewards Yuu’s forgiveness on a secluded balcony where they kiss for the entire duration of a rock concert, and then…simply keep on kissing. Combined with their rolling around on the floor of the room where they shared their first kiss, the makeout quota is most assuredly met this week. Moreover, their matching hairstyles during this scene is another symbol of their steadily progressing love.
Additionally, Haruka’s hair crumbling Laputa-style was awesome, and the entire concert scene was nicely animated—both the band and the couple behind the curtain. Sakura Trick has proven nimble at balancing breezy, relaxing school slice-of-life with energetic yet convincing romance, and guided us through the dreaded “festival episode” with deft efficiency.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Bodacious Space Pirates, part of the excellent Sci-Fi trio of two winters past, delivered exactly what its title promised: highly entertaining sci-fi swashbuckling with a lovable cast of colorful characters, decent production values, and a great sense of overall scale and adventure. We always looked forward to the ED, not because the episode was over (that was sad) but because we liked the ED theme so much.
It’s called “Lost Child” by Momoiro Clover Z, with featured booming base (a good subwoofer is recommended), a slick beat, and vocals that switch from highly distorted rapping to crisp, clear belt-outs. The visuals are pretty straightforward, showing the different sides of Marika and then some very simple walking forward but the music is what drives it.
Koko may have sent Banri off to his hometown with her full trust and blessing, and it’s good to see her obsessional tendencies haven’t vanished with the flip of a switch, as he visits her apartment to smell his bed. But here’s the thing—and we say this having had nothing but love for Nana thus far—that whole scene kinda felt like padding, and both the Exorcist pose and Yakuza guy were really random. We did, however, enjoy how easily and quickly Koko got Nana to TAP OUT. Girl doesn’t know her own strength!
Once we got to Shizuoka, things got more encouraging. We really felt Banri’s increasing anxiety as they near the reunion: this was a big deal. But the dodgeball game, in which everyone wore a name tag for Banri’s benefit, was a classy gesture. We also totally believe that Linda would use Banri’s new-found interest in the past as an excuse to settle a long-standing dodgeball score. We also liked the subtle details like Linda telling Banri to drop the “-senpai”, since they’re at the reunion as classmates of the same year, or how a lot of the classmates’ reminiscing revolved around Past Banri’s devotion to Linda—though they only refer to her as “some girl.”
With Banri and Linda walking around their hometown alone at night, it’s easy to get carried away by all the dramatic and romantic potential scrounged up by such a scenario. The episode decided to play it relatively safe and sedate, with Banri acknowledging that he wants to live and be himself: the past and present, the good and bad. Linda says she’s happy with the way things are too, but here, as throughout the episode, we got the feeling she’s still holding back; that a part of her still can’t accept the way things are. She even seems to hint at it, but then Banri runs to the bridge.
There, he has a flashback to the fall, envisioning his past self stopping him from saving him. In the process he drops and shatters the mirror Koko gave him, which is so overt an omen we’re tempted to believe it’s a red herring. But if returning to the place where he was split in two has a restorative effect on his memories, it’s not unrealistic (though not particularly scientific either) to imagine his present self becoming compromised or overpowered, even to the point he loses his feelings for Koko. Meanwhile, all this time Linda’s been concealing her feelings for Banri, but the time may come when he figures it out on his own.
Rating:7 (Very Good)