Kill la Kill – 23

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It certainly looked like Kill la Kill pulled out all the stops for its penultimate episode, but there’s a very good chance it’s saving a crapload of stops for the finale. And while we hate sounding like a broken record, this outing continued to maintain the quality andmomentum of the previous three, so despite actively seeking notable demerits throughout our watch, we found no reason to lower our rating…so we won’t.

Lord knows there’s a lot to get through, but Kill la Kill dives into it all with gusto, snatching up some previously thrown balls while throwing up new ones and shooting (or bisecting) others. The good guys’ neat two-pronged plan goes pear-shaped fast as Ragyo, not a villain to be trifled with, figures out the plan and intercepts the Naked Sol with her gourd-shaped original life fiber. But the mission hasn’t changed for her daughters: take it, her, or both out.

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That proves difficult, as Ragyo is armed with life fiber blades and her wounds heal immediately. The girls slash at her mercilessly to no avail. There’s even another gut-wrenching moment like the moment we thought Ryuko killed Mako, when Ryuko’s triumphant theme abruptly stops and she’s cut the fuck in half. Thankfully (and unbeknownst to Ragyo), some of Satsuki’s long-game strategery rubbed off on Ryuko, as they use their mothers’ low opinion of them against her. Their strategy pays off, and the original life fiber is incapacitated.

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While all this is happening, the supporting cast is doing their part. Back in her Goku uniform (and it feels so good!) Mako quickly frees humans from their Covers by the barrel-full as she gets recharged with her mom’s croquettes. When a boss-type Cover appears, the Elite Four take over sporting their ridiculous new regalia, an interesting merging of the Nudist Beach and Goku styles.

While the sisters, who are really getting along now and don’t snipe at each other at all this week, are doing the heavy lifting, it’s made clear from the get-go that they’d be in trouble without the help, support, and love of their friends. From Satsuki’s Elite Four showing up to shield her from Ragyo, to Mako, along with all of the club captains Ryuko had defeated, providing the human power needed to launch the Naked Sol (transformed into a giant naked dagger) into the heart of the Original Life Fiber, providing her the boost needed to pierce it.

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The episode also makes clear that while the good guys made lemonade out of the ruins of their original plan, they’ve only won a battle, with the war still on the horizon. While they were winning their battle, Nui (who has gone quite insane) was completing Shinra-Koketsu, an uber-kamui for Ragyo (with Hououmaru as her sacrificial human power source). The episode unsettlingly interrupts its own cutesy end credits to announce this.

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While one could dismiss Ragyo and Nui as lame one-dimensional evildoers, to do so would overlook the fact that Nui has lived a cursed life, while Ragyo is essentially a slave to the Life Fibers, carrying out their will, which is more natural biological process than evil plot. We can’t wait to see how Ryuko, Satsuki, and everyone else takes back their school—and their world—from that process. But we’re also sad that this journey is coming to an end.


Rating: 10

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Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren – 11

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It takes him till the eleventh of twelve episodes, but Yuuta finally figures out that Satone is in love with him. Because he’s in love with Rikka (the only girl he’s ever been in love with), he has no idea how to proceed. This irks Shinka to no end, and she’s irked even more when he takes Satone’s assurances that she’s alright at face value.

Having no luck with Yuuta, Shinka breaks out her middle school uniform and Morisummer veil, in a nice callback to the last Lite episode, which reiterated the fact that Satone reveres Morisummer and would therefore be receptive to advice from her on a delicate matter. Basically, Satone has to fight a legendary battle to overcome her despair, with Yuuta, or rather the Dark Flame Dragon within him, as her target.

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On that note, Yuuta first learns about something else that’s been giong on all season: the answer to what Rikka has been up to of evenings. Having read a missive of his (which Satone also read years back) describing how to unlock and release the Dark Flame Dragon, Rikka has set out to do just that. Far from just a means of wasting some time, she considers the task crucial to becoming truly bound to Yuuta.

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For someone who lives with her very doting, scoldy, oftentimes father-like boyfriend, she did a fine job keeping her mission on the downlow until now. It’s thanks to Satone that Yuuta’s able to figure it out. Unlike them, he’s not nearly as in touch with his chunibyou as he once was, but it’s still there, just as it is for Shinka. He knew it would remain a part of his and Rikka’s life; he just didn’t think she’d go so far to realize a dream he’d pretty much forgotten about.

It’s nice to see Yuuta get worried about Rikka and embrace her tightly when he finds her; it would seem he needs to take care of her as much as she needs to be taken care of, lest she stay out in the rain all night and catch a cold that will never end. At the same time, Rikka remains as good a fit for Yuuta as ever, allowing him to straddle the worlds of fantasy and reality, for stepping all the way into the latter just wouldn’t be as fun.

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As for Satone, it’s gotta be tough watching Yuuta perform the ritual to release the dragon with another girl, she does get her battle when it emerges from the blue moon, in a stirring, gorgeous scene. Afterwards, Rikka has an even worse cold but is satisfied she’s sufficienly bound to Yuuta, while Satone seems to be fine, and may indeed be much better than she was behind the facade. Hopefully Yuuta’s learned a little more about women (those with chunibyou, at least, which are the best kind!) and the consequences of leaving his old notebooks lying around to be discovered.

9_superiorRating: 9 (Superior)

Friday Music – Kill la Kill – “Before My Body is Dry”

Following up on Monday’s Ragyo theme, we have Ryuko’s, which is, arguably, even more epic. For the record, we like both; their glorious over-the-topness matches the show perfectly.

But while “Blumenkranz” is a song about resigning oneself to the fact the world is cruel and not knowing what’s real, “Dry” is an upbeat ballad about not giving up. Its lyrics are in English, too, sung by Mika Kobayashi. (The “Don’t lose your way” refrain comes in a 3:21.)

Happy Friday!