KILL LA KILL ep15: it’s the asspocalypse! Run for your lives!!!
This episode was so good this week! *squeals!* Not only are we subjected to glowing nipples, epic displays of guts and GAR, and shown close to twenty minutes of non-stop chaos, but I finally get to see Nudist Beach pop up in earnest. And man, do they have some stupid, ugly mech designs. It’s absolutely hilarious!
This episode is brass tacks all the way, with just enough ridiculous silliness thrown in for flavor. We begin with the stand-off from last episode, as Kaneo Takarada has been giving Lady Satsuki’s army a hell of a tough time up to this point. He stands on a mountain of people, firmly holding the belief that he has the advantage, and that his crushing mounds of funds will galvanize the people to his victory. He is the clown prince of Osaka, and won’t be denied. It’s just too damn bad that this big fish is going up against a shark in Lady Satsuki. With her mere strength of presence, she’s able to frighten the citizens away, abandoning their money for safety. With his hordes of money enamored citizens gone, it appears Takarada is alone and defeated, but the battle isn’t quite over. Out of the ground, Takarada summons a giant golden crab mech. He pummels Honnouji Academy’s grunts and then attacks Lady Satsuki and Uzu directly.
And here is where Takarada’s bravado truly falls apart. The other three Devas arrive to support Lady Satsuki and finish off the last of the resistance from Osaka, and they’re sporting their brand-new Ultima Uniforms, too! Uzu is given his, and in spectacular fashion –
Wait! There’s nothing spectacular about how Takarada was defeated. In essence, he was butt-raped with a wooden practice sword. But he’s such a jackass, that I don’t even feel sorry for him. I just regret seeing all those unfortunate angles.
At this point, Ryuuko shows up to start the second, more important and more exciting phase of the battle. There’s only one piece of Senketsu missing now, and Lady Satsuki has it right on her. Ryuuko bravely hops directly into battle with Lady Satsuki, without any support from the still out-of-commission uniform that has supported her so much up until now. She’s got no chance at victory at the moment, and she’s not the only one who knows it. Tsumugu and his band of rebels, known as Nudist Beach jump into the battle. But Nudist Beach’s arrival to save Ryuuko, and Takarada who they’d supplied with the giant golden crab mech falls right into Lady Satsuki’s plans. This whole school trip, this whole elaborate war, has been a ploy to draw out the resistance group Nudist Beach and destroy them.
As the battle between Nudist Beach and Honnouji Academy rages on, Ryuuko is left pondering how she can take on Lady Satsuki without Senketsu. Without that last bit of clothing, Ryuuko will be unable to transform. She boldly tells Senketsu to use her hand to fill the gap that was left, and despite his pleas to do otherwise he’s worn. Ryuuko asks Senketsu to trust her, as she now trusts him, despite all that has happened in the past.
Ryuuko hops into battle quickly, despite her burning hand. The life energy really is taking a huge toll on her skin, but that’s just a sign that she has to be as quick as possible as she attempts to ambush Lady Satsuki. And the gamble pays off as she rushes her and is able to touch Lady Satsuki’s hand and absord the glove back onto Senketsu. And so the second battle between Lady Satsuki and Ryuuko begins in earnest!
The battle starts off evenly, but eventually Lady Satsuki gains a clear advantage. This time, it’s Senketsu who asks for trust, as he makes a gamble designed to break through Lady Satsuki’s iron defense. Using Senketsu’s blade form, Ryuuko allows him to be cut, squirting blood into Lady Satsuki’s eyes. Ryuuko is then able to parry Lady Satsuki’s blade and take it for herself. Lady Satsuki’s response is to transform part of Junketsu into a blade, leading into a stand-off as both opponents now have sharpened blades at their throats. Ryuuko makes it perfectly clear that she’s down with mutual destruction, but that idea is put on hold as she sees how her friends are in danger and losing to Honnouji Academy. She barters Lady Satsuki’s life in order to allow them to withdraw to safety. But in an amazing show of solidarity and trust, gives Lady Satsuki her sword back as well. Unfortunately, Nonon takes the opportunity to swoop in and decimate Nudist Beach’s base before everyone withdraws. The battle is now over, Osaka and much of the Kansai region in ruins. Aikuro makes his way to Ryuuko and promises her that he’ll fulfill his promise to tell her everything.
End of episode.
Where to begin with this? So very much of this episode impressed me. For one, the action was great! The animation felt a little sloppy in the beginning during the Takarada fight, but by the time Junketsu and Senketsu were donned, the animation really made me feel the passion and weight behind this fight. There’s a scene where Ryuuko is sent flying end over end through the Tsūtenkaku Tower (I assume that’s what it is), where it really felt like I was hurtling through the air with her, and that if she hit something, it would hurt like hell. And really, anytime Lady Satsuki and Ryuuko fight, it takes on a weight and air of importance you usually only see in very high priority, high stakes battles in shounen battle anime and manga. If a nuclear bomb exploded where they were fighting, I’m pretty sure neither would even notice. That is how intense and focused these contests are. I’m grateful for this show’s ability to pull this off, because if these fights didn’t live up to the hype then it would really put a damper on a show this focused on entertainment.
Something else I found interesting about these two is how they’ve basically become buddies after all this time. I mean sure, Ryuuko wants very badly to slice Lady Satsuki’s chest wide open and watch every drop of blood gush out of her still beating heart as revenge for her father’s murder, but they do have what appears to be a healthy respect and even trust between each other. Lady Satsuki has actually relied on Ryuuko’s tenacity and power to help fulfill her plots and improve her soldiers. She trusts Ryuuko to do everything she sets out to do except kill or defeat her. And Ryuuko has shown great respect for Lady Satsuki as a warrior and a person of integrity. If not for the blood lust, these two may have been good friends.
There are quite a few good lines in this episode, too. Ryuuko telling Senketsu that she trusts him (it?) as a friend was a good weighty moment. Seeing Ryuuko give Lady Satsuki her sword back and telling her she trusted her rival not to go back on her word offered incite into their relationship. And of course Mako had some good lines, like the adorable one where she tells Ryuuko that despite being told to go someplace safe, the safest place was next to her. (OMG – so adorable!!)
The Four Devas also finally all get their new upgraded Ultima Uniforms now. I must say, as an upgrade, the use or white as a primary color is quite effective for these suits. We don’t see too much of their abilities in this battle, but I’m sure we will in time. I can’t ignore the fact that Nonon looks like Mega Man boss to me though. Still cute, but also an enticing target. During the battle, you see a real sense of comraderie in the team as they work to help Lady Satsuki. It makes me wonder how valid Ryuuko’s claim of Lady Satsuki being alone really is. Lady Satsuki may not be on the same level of understanding and compatibility of Ryuuko and Senketsu, but the Devas more than made up for it.
Oh and before I forget (which is almost impossible in this case), what the hell was up with those mechs for Nudist Beach?! Is that some really quirky way of not “wearing” the mech suit? Those things look stupid, unwieldy and god-awful uncomfortable. That’s why these things fit right into the series! It fits in perfectly with this series, and that’s what makes me wonder if the animators knew how brilliant these things were when they started drawing them? I mean, god grief – they’re shoved into the tops of their mechs like batteries or – or I don’t know what! It’s so weird to look at! And I’ve seen many a strange looking little mech (petite mobiles, I’m looking at you), but these things are a hilarious train wreck. God knows – if what’s left of Nudist Beach has any more custom equipment like that, then we’re in for a real visual treat. I’m so happy that through fifteen episodes, this show hasn’t lost any of its silly and crass humour.
Going forward, I’m left wondering a few things. Some I won’t articulate now because there’s not enough to base those thoughts on currently. For one, when are we going to see a clash or interaction between Junketsu and Lady Satsuki? I get the impression that she really can’t hear Junketsu’s voice, though I’m sure she knows it is a living being with a very strong will of its own, a will that is constantly pressing on her’s. I seriously doubt that Lady Satsuki is the apex predator in this story, with Nui appearing to be her equal, at least. And her mother looking like she could be a monster in her own right. That leaves room for a power-up for sure. It may also leave room for Lady Satsuki and Ryuuko to join forces, too. It’s presumptuous, but I don’t think Ragyou Kiryuuin will exactly be happy with all this effort that has been put out without a completely dominant position in Japan. Then again, she’s so powerful and so close to total domination that she may not care at all. In one sense or another though, I’m sure there will be a rift between the two, if there’s not already one bubbling under the surface.
There’s a new direction coming for KILL LA KILL. And whatever it may be, I’m already excited for it.
Note: Lady Satsuki’s character design has got to be one of the most badass and intimidating character designs I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the most ridiculous. There’s just something about Godrobe, and the way Junketsu’s eyes just stare without it ever saying anything that really creeps me out. There’s also the knowledge that Lady Satsuki herself is an incredibly proud and intimidating character that brings the whole design together. It all is really impressive, and something I just felt that I had to talk about.