KILL LA KILL ep9: the Double Standard of Stripper Gear versus Gimp Suits
The grandest of displays of resolve can turn into mere arrogance at the drop of a hat. That I suppose is the lesson to be learned from this episode. Though regardless of the results, I will say I’m impressed by the sheer will of a man to take such punishment on willingly. I just wish he’d keep that kinkiness to his own private bedroom.
So the stage is set for Ryuuko’s showdown with Ira in this first, and maybe last contest of wills between Ryuuko and Lady Satsuki’s Four Devas. After what is basically a five hour intermission before the first battle, and a warning from her home room teacher not to undertake such a foolish endeavor, the battle is ready to commence.
As could have been predicted, Ira immediately transforms into his passive state awaiting Ryuuko’s attacks. And Ryuuko thinks she’s got the situation all figured out after seeing what he can do already. But that’s a foolish mistake, as Ira shows that he can “get himself off” on his own, forcing his Scourge Regalia secondary transformation, and literally giving Ryuuko a spanking (a scene that I found myself replaying several times).
When Ryuuko sees that withholding violence against Ira is futile. She’s goes right for the jugular, and attempts her finishing Thread Stripper technique. But that would be all too easy a conclusion, and the attack fails. Ira informs her that the outer shell of his passive transformation contains no Life Fibers, and that she’ll have to penetrate it and cut his actual uniform if she wants to make any progress.
As Ryuuko continues to struggle against Ira’s cycle of punishment, Lady Satsuki tells her rival that Ira’s resolve is nothing to take lightly. This leads us to another flashback involving Ira’s past with Lady Satsuki.
~CHIME-CHIME, WAVY LINES – TAKE US TO ANOTHER TIME!~
Here we see that Lady Satsuki is outside Ira’s school, and she mentions how she’s shocked that such a studious student like Ira would skip his graduation ceremony. This is when Ira pops and says that he skipped the ceremony in order to confront her, and prevent her from taking over the school using force. He makes himself the final line of defense against her aggression. She attempts to cut him down, but is surprised to learn that Ira has protected himself with full body iron armor under his uniform. He declares that he will never bow to her aggression. And even though he recognizes that he doesn’t have the power to defeat her, he still plans to not lose to her. In the end, Ira manages to keep his promise of not kneeling to her, though he does lose. The young Lady Satsuki is so impressed with his will and resolve, that she accepts him as her shield, and tells him to wait two years while she sets forth her master plan of creating an army from her newly formed high school.
Back in present time, Ira is belittling Ryuuko’s resolve and motives, believing that her quest for vengeance is selfish and petty. He’s pretty much pounding the life out of her with no end in sight, but Senketsu does tell his master that he may have an idea up his sleeve. and so Ryuuko puts her trust into him as they jump back into the battle. Ira manages to ensnare Ryuuko in his flogging vines, and Ryuuko is forced to drop her transformation to escape the trap. Ira then attempts to impale her with a massive thrust of vines from his pelvic region (to say it was phallic would be an understatement). Ryuuko and Senketsu see this as their opportunity and grab on for dear life as their drawn back into Ira’s uniform. Ira and the rest of the Four Devas see this as checkmate, but Lady Satsuki immediately recognizes this as a foolish move. While inside of Ira, Senketsu manages to transform into a bladed form, piercing Ira’s uniform and dealing him a critical blow. Now free, Ryuuko grabs her scissor sword and finishes off Ira.
With the shame of defeat washing over Ira, he attempts to commit suicide, only barely being stopped by Lady Satsuki. Meanwhile, Ryuuko’s homeroom teacher, Aikuro watches on, impressed but not exactly happy about Senketsu’s ability to adapt. Ryuuko’s next opponent is the the bespectacled Houka Inumuta.
End of episode.
For an episode that focused a lot on BDSM, yelling and willpower, the main lesson here seems to be the ability to observe and adapt. It’s something that ironically Ryuuko’s next opponent will specialize in. I do appreciate the show doing as much as it can in its limited time to get us familiar with Ryuuko’s opponents. We get to see that at least some of them have noble, heartfelt intentions. Ira himself is a prime example, at first glance you’d think he was a bully and a brute who just enjoyed hunting down and punishing students. In reality, he’s always been someone who loved fairness, the rule of law and protecting people. Sure Lady Satsuki has twisted him a bit, but his noble hopes and intentions still remain.
When it comes to that flashback, it really really showed how this show doesn’t care about things like staying “on-model”, proportions or scale. Ira’s size and proportions seemed to change with each camera angle, which is OK because the show has made it clear they want to play loose with such things. And it flies because it also doesn’t look sloppy, like say certain scenes from Golden Time that cut corners to an embarrassing level. As is to be expected now, the animation is always fluid and dynamic, flexing and stretching with the narrative. And the flashbacks change in color palette and hue help give the narrative a clear break from its present timeline and these significant flashbacks. There’s just nothing I don’t like about the presentation.
I have to go back to the weirdness of the show though. I can’t avoid, nor ignore it. Again we see the Ryuuko getting her fair share of a beating. Though this time the sexual undertones (or is it overtones) were really, really being played with in this episode. Besides Ira’s gimp suit, with the ball and gag and the flogging, there were the vines being used to flog and spank a near naked Ryuuko at every opportunity. It’s all in your face and daring you to think about the first naughty things that come to mind, while characters in the show carry on like that sort of thing never comes to mind. Though in the middle of the fight, something interesting does come up. It’s when Ira is beating on Ryuuko and begins to chastise her for dressing like a slut. Ryuuko quickly fires back, using Lady Satsuki’s appearance in her godrobe as a counter example. Ira brushes her off as the exception, stating that she obtained that form through training and willpower. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but she looks no different from Ryuuko, with her ass and underboobs all exposed, and her crotch securely hugged by her godrobe. It’s a blatant double standard. And it’s a clear example of why Ryuuko hates Satsuki’s regime.
It’s this clear, unapologetic elitism that gets to her. Not only do they oppress the rest of the world with their strict laws and power, but they don’t apply the same rules to themselves because of their power discriminating merit based system. It’s the double standards in this episode that start to stand out once you start observing. Also, since I’m pounding away at this double standard subject, who is to say that Ira isn’t a slut as well for the creepy, sexual way he’s dressed. He may see it as a way to set an example for his students and display his resolve and integrity, but honestly it’s just damned creepy and weird. Flaunting your repressed sexual energy in battle is not exactly the most chaste thing you can do. Ira is so full of crap because of his love for Lady Satsuki, that he really does look like a fool who can’t accept facts.
I guess I’ve gone off on a bit of a rant, so I had best close this out with a little dignity. Overall,a good episode and interesting fight, I’m looking forward to seeing what Ryuuko’s next opponent can do, and also if he can manage to give Ryuuko a bit more of a challenge. It seems the tougher the fight she’s in, the more turned on I get. Oh great, now here I go with the double standards. Ugh.