Kill la Kill – 21

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This show’s propensity to ratchet the intensity to dizzying elevations and then keep it up there for weeks is unparalleled this season; nothing else comes remotely close. This whole episode was a case in point: it never takes its foot off the gas for a minute, and yet there’s somehow ample fuel to spare. In the case of the stakes involved and the dwindling options of the good guys, it may just have been the most stressful yet exhilarating episode yet, and we could tear our eyes away any more then Junketsu could be easily torn from Ryuko’s body.

Frankly, after watching Ryuko’s wild ride, we started to wonder if it would have been preferable if Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader was strictly a matter of the suit making him evil. That’s certainly what goes on here: Ryuko’s rage and self-loathing give Junketsu the opening it needs to wear her completely (that and Ragyo and Nui made sure it was altered to her unique and exacting biology). What’s more, Junketsu continues to mess with Ryuko’s mind as it wears her, lifting the weights of her lifelong emotional burdens and just making her feel better than she ever has.

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However, as Satsuki neatly puts it, it’s only the bliss of slavery, and Ryuko is one more human (or at least half-human) brought under the heel of the Life Fibers, who are mobilizing for world conquest now that Revocs has achieved 100% market share. Wearing Senketsu despite being unable to communicate directly, Satsuki puts up a hell of a fight, especially when you consider she’s been hanging by her fingernails without food or water for untold days. The battle is everything we had hoped for; moreso, since Satsuki isn’t simply dueling with Ryuko out of her own pride and honor.

That’s because she never intended to defeat Ryuko with Senketsu alone. Ever the well-prepared big sister playing a game of chess, she reveals herself as nothing but bait to lure Ryuko into the right spot at the right time so the Elite Four can maneuver her into a position of vulnerability. The gambit fails, but it’s one hell of a good try. Satsuki creates one last opening, through which Senketsu and Mako slip into Ryuko’s consciousness—don’t sweat the metaphysical details.

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Once in there, Ryuko’s about to get married to Junketsu once and for all, but Mako bursts in, Hollywood style. With her there in color and the dreamworld in monochrome, confined to a small frame within the frame tangled with life fibers, it feels far more like a prison than a paradise. When Mako tells Ryuko to go ahead and kill her, and with a casual flick of her scissor, Ryuko appears to do just that, for a moment our hearts sank. Puppet slave or no, there’d be no coming back for Ryuko if that happened.

As it happens, the act merely ejects Mako and Senketsu out of there. It’s only when Nui gets that same scissor through her sternum that we learn they were successful in cutting the strings after all. And yet again, a conflict that could have carried many an excellent show to the end is essentially resolved when the old Ryuko emerges from the tatters of Junketsu. This show is moving way to fast for the Evil Ryuko to be the final plot. There’s still a world to save from the Life Fibers, after all. Maybe at last the new-found sisters will work together side-by-side.


Rating: 10

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Stray Observations:

  • Needless to say, this episode is your usual Kill la Kill Klinik of imaginative angles, expressions, body-positions, explosions, and giant floating letters.
  • Mako’s performance art-like “explanations” (always beginning with “Hallelujah!”) have been a comic standby for one time, but they’re employed well here and have yet to get old.
  • They’ve had inferior resources for a while now, but you’ve gotta rally behind the tenacity and teamwork of the Elite Four (plus Shirou).
  • The explanation for why Senketsu is “skimpier” than Junketsu is the same reason Nudist beach don’t wear clothes: less surface contact with the skin means the human wearer is less likely to fear enslavement. MAKES SENSE TO US.
  • Call us crazy, but we’re starting to feel some sympathy for Harime Nui’s plight. While she’s a similar hybrid being to Ryuko, she’s unable to synch with any clothing. In the same vein, for her whole life she’s been a servant of Ragyo, unable to synch with anyone else, or with a normal life, for that matter. If the show intends to redeem rather than destroy her, it’s a transformation we’d be interested in seeing. Ragyo is probably a lost cause, however.
  • If you han’t noticed by now…Yes, we are no longer rating this showIt is rating us.
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Sakura Trick – 09

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Ah, the inane phone conversation of inordinate length between lovers. When can’t stand not being around someone but talking in person isn’t possible, it’s a serviceable if imperfect option. Contact is contact, even if it’s just of the audio variety. Yuu gets on Haruka’s case for holding her up for dinner (being late for dinner being a serious matter in many households), but she doesn’t hang up, either, and far more time goes by than either of them thought. They even end up exchanging kisses on the phone.

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Mitsuki’s crush comes into play both when she’s jealous that Yuu is talking to Haruka, and when she sees the two linking arms on the street. When Kaede and Yuzu cross her path, she wrangles them into a plan to get her to link arms, though says she wants to do it with Yuu, not Haruka. They tail the couple, and Kaede discovers them necking under a playground structure. Mitsuki doesn’t see or hear anything, but when she starts to run off and trip, she gets the close contact with Haruka she’d been hoping for all along, so it works out.

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Even the phone call and the arm-linking stories weren’t enough to fill a whole episode, so Trick changes gears in a bonus third part in which we learn about Yuzu getting her scooter license and Kaede playing various tricks on people (cementing her role a\s the trick in Sakura Trick) All this is to say, no one suddenly reverted to a state just after falling from a bridge, no one cut their hair out of frustration from their unrequited love, and no one dumps someone like a ton of bricks. You want that kinda nonsense, you need to watch something else!


Rating: 6 (Good)

 

Weekly ED: Deadman Wonderland

We liked Deadman Wonderland, though we thought it ended without resolving a few things we would have liked to see resolved. Like Danganronpa, the characters were stuck somewhere where they essentially had to fight to the death, only there were no trials, and the character design was more conventional.

Anime seems to have a love affair with slowly spinning Ferris wheels, and the ED of this show had one too. This show was dark, horrific, bloody, and sometimes downright cruel and sadistic, so it’s an interesting (but not unappreciated) choice to give the ending such uplifting, hopeful, wistful music (“Shiny Shiny” by NIRGILIS).

The Ferris wheel – which could be a symbol of the characters going around in deadly circles, unable to get off – it’s so beautiful in the sunset, combined with soaring, emotional vocals you forget that wheel is part of a demented death factory. As the credits roll, we see the characters in their past lives, most of them better times.