KILL LA KILL eps 7 & 8: you’ll never be satisfied with mere victory and happiness.
My deepest apologies for the hold up. Even one week without anime is too long. And I’m not wasting any time getting back in the saddle and catching up. And there’s no better show out right now to motivate me and imbue me with the energy to watch a “butt-ton” of anime than KILL LA KILL. Let’s do this!
I absolutely loved this episode, and its message. It’s funny how a simple idea of getting some benefits out of Ryuuko’s fighting fell right into Lady Satsuki’s hands, as she smoothly allowed the Fight Club to purge Honnouji Academy of its lamer clubs and members, while also nearly assimilating Mako and her family right into her system.
I guess you could say this was Ryuuko’s fault. The Fight Club was originally her idea, but once Lady Satsuki approved it and she saw all the work involved, she’s shamelessly and selfishly tossed it onto Mako. The good thing was that as they continued to win, the family reaped the benefits of their hardwork, which is a bit backwards because generally in real life, the family’s fortunes depend on the work of the parents, not the children. But good things still came to them. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that as they got accustomed to a better life, they began to drop the things that made them a good, close family. The ruckus dinners that the entire family never missed and wholeheartedly appreciated disappeared. It was a clear sign that things had gone askew. The appreciation and contact between the family members seemed much more aloof, and subdued. The looks of intense joy and satisfaction disappeared, to be replaced with content looks of resignation and boredom. Even Mako morphed disturbingly into the very jerks that Ryuuko had so viciously fought before. She began pushing harder and harder, and eventually wasn’t seeing that she was wearing her best friend out, even as she told herself that everything she was doing was to make her family happy, and to never have them fall to the slums again.
But as I said before, things were all according to Lady Satsuki’s plan, as as the Fight Club was on the very cusp of joining the Four Devas in stature, Ryuuko caught on to what was happening and threw in her resignation to the club. And just as she did that, Lady Satsuki gives Mako the most enticing of offers. She offers Mako a Two-Star Ultima uniform to destroy Ryuuko, and a Three-Star if Ryuuko’s defeated. And given the proposition, even the wonderful Mako gives into her desires and viciously attacks Ryuuko. The corruption appears complete, as even Mako’s family shows up to cheer her on in beating Ryuuko. It’s only in Ryuuko’s apparent surrender, that Mako breaks down and gives up to the Two-Star uniform and the Fight Club, effectively killing all the prestige they gained up until this point.
Things were pretty scary there, but all is forgiven in the end. And thankfully, the family is back to normal when they’re kicked back to the slums. As we see a whole new sense of appreciation has washed over Ryuuko for her family.
The key word for this episode I believe is insight. It gives us insight into the world and how it works for Honnouji Academy of course. But we’re also given insight into Lady Satsuki’s mind and opinion of people. Though her opinion was stated previously in this series, we see how she puts it to practical use here, as the very lucrative and direct system that Honnouji Academy uses is capable of quick and total corruption of the human spirit. Being mediocre or average is punished hard in this world. And failure is punished even harder! And it leaves such a stark contrast in a person’s mind, that they see a desperate situation in front of them, even when they’re rich and living in the best of circumstances. And this is because Honnouji Academy gives you something to lose, and nothing in return. In the slums, the soul is purposefully starved. And in a situation like this, once a person starts tasting success they of course want nothing to do with starvation and start doing everything they can to keep their edge and position. Desperation leads to corruption, and corruption eventually leads to this harsh, evil world that they live in now. I can’t totally fault Mako for taking the fall the way she did, but I do feel she deserves a measure of praise for turning things around, even at the last minute. All this will only strengthen her friendship and respect for Ryuuko.
Also, when I mention insight, I’m thinking of the other students of the academy like Mako. Seeing her turn so ugly and corrupt with power shows just how normal some of Ryuuko’s other Two-Star opponents may have been. They may all have been poor, hungry, desperate students like her, corrupted with the power of Ultima uniforms. It’s not far-fetched at all, seeing how Ultima Uniforms have turned students into monsters before. I’m looking forward to seeing how the next episode will feed us a lesson and entertainment at the same time. I’m really enjoying a show like this, that focuses not just on entertainment, but on the human condition in a base way as well.
Is it too much to call Lady Satsuki a “grand-stander”? I wasn’t long ago she held a battle royale for a day and now we get one for an ENTIRE WEEK! Is this crazy woman content to kill off most of her student body, all in the name of natural selection?!
This episode was rather straight forward, but we are definitely seeing progression on this straight road. While most of Honnouji Academy fights tooth and nail for a chance to get a Three-Star Ultima uniform, the Four Devas go their own way, seeing this situation as “personal time”. With Ira especially reveling in this, as it gives him a chance to work on getting a chore taken care of. And everyone leisurely goes their own way, confident that they’ll meet up at the appropriate time in seven days. And in a way, things are the same for those at the bottom, too. Last episode’s antics have taken a toll, but also left an impression on Mako and her family. Being a No-Star, she has nothing to lose and sees this as a personal vacation. Her family aren’t worried about this situation either, learning to be content with their current situation, rather than throw away what happiness they have for short-term gain.
Ryuuko seeing that she has plenty of time to rest until the final big day of the election, she takes a trip to her old home (with Mako in tow). Once there, she tells Mako of her past. It’s a past devoid of a mother from a very early age, and also devoid of parentage and love for the most part because her father took more stock in his scientific research than his own blood. And through this we see how a teased and lonely Ryuuko became an angry, violent delinquent. But through all that growing up, she still didn’t lose love for her father. Though when she finally did see him on his deathbed, she didn’t heed his warnings or stay to listen to what he had to say before going after what she believed was his killer. And in that, she lost the opportunity to gather some important information. And even coming back here now, she’s far too late to find anything of worth underneath the burned out wreckage of the home.
On the way back, she discovers that the scooter she got from Mako’s dad is a piece of crap, and the two of them find themselves stranded on the side of the road. And who is it that comes to their aid when they start hitchhiking? Ira of the Four Devas. He appears to be fresh off getting his license, and is such a man of duty that he won’t allow a little problem like them being rivals to stop him from helping a fellow student. Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished, and that saying is taken literally here, as Ira is attacked by a bunch of punk students gunning for him during the week of carnage. And it’s through this struggle that we see what a fearsome (and kinky) opponent Ira truly is, as well as we learn his background. He came across Lady Satsuki in his final year of junior high. The school was terrorized by a pair of kids who had powerful and corrupt parents. While even as the student council president, he was powerless to stop these guys, Lady Satsuki swooped in and took care of the problem at the root. And it was that moment that secured his allegiance to her. A pretty crazy moment, especially when you consider that those two students were telling a kid to kill himself at that moment, or his dad would lose his job. It doesn’t get more nasty or corrupt than that.
Ira predictably pummels the punks and drops off Ryuuko and Mako, despite his new fancy car being pummeled to hell. With the seven days past, we see the Four Devas, Ryuuko and a medium sized group of students on the main school grounds, as Lady Satsuki finally emerges from her cocoon. With the Four Devas and Ryuuko singled out, the Four Devas propose a change to the rules, requesting one on one battles with Ryuuko in a King-of-the-Hill type of battle. The change is agreed upon, and her first opponent of course is Ira. It will be interesting to see she handles the problem of facing someone who gets off on pain, and seems to have no end to defensive stamina.
End of episode.
Is it just me? Or does there seem to be a love of bondage from some character in most every show I watch. Some shows hide it better than others. This show is as upfront about it as any. That said, Gamagoori Ira is no opponent to laugh at. If anything comes to mind when you look at him, it’s the words tough and resilient. And we also see through their dual flashbacks this episode, that his motives may be more noble than her’s by far. Though their system is extreme and borders of embracing things like facism. Gamagoori Ira seems to only wish for order and fairness in this world, and the power to protect it. Ryuuko only wants to know who killed her father and why he died. We don’t know enough to believe he was a good or bad person so far. We only know that he was driven, and a terrible father. Even Ryuuko herself can’t tell us much about him personally, and she’s the person willing to kill on his behalf. It’s another important insight into the world of this anime. And it leads me further to believe that perhaps Lady Satsuki isn’t the bad guy, or at least she didn’t start out as one. It’s appearing more and more, that in the pursuit of justice and fairness and power, Lady Satsuki’s regime just became these oppressive, elitist fascists.
The further question is one regarding Lady Satsuki. Is she a genius, or a madman? Her disgust with humanity is a disturbing thing, and I worry about what overall plans she may have for it. As the Four Devas said themselves, she tends to do things to the extreme, and all the way. Doesn’t that sound like she’s perfectly content with going to extents that most people would consider “too far”? Well, I guess we’ll see about that later. In the next episode, we’ll just have to see if Ryuuko can withstand another fight with one of the Four Devas.