Kill la Kill Episode 3: Throwing Down the Gauntlet
Whoa whoa WHOA, what an episode! Kill la Kill continues to get crazier with every passing week. This week, we were treated to a fight between Satsuki and Ryuko, both of them wearing Godrobes. True to form, the fight was nothing short of spectacular and completely ludicrous.
Satsuki’s family, the Kiryuin’s, and Ryuko’s father were the principal researchers behind the Godrobe and the material which make it up, Life Fibre. This material augments a human’s abilities, making them capable of superhuman feats. Starred Ultima Uniforms contain a percentage of Life Fibre (One Star has 10%, Two Star has 20 and Three Star has 30%), and Godrobes are made entirely of Life Fibre. However, not all humans can handle Life Fibre, and turn into raging beats when they don these uniforms. Strength of will is required to gain control of the uniform and bend it to your will. This explains why the student hierarchy exists and why Satsuki personally selects students who are permitted to wear higher ranking uniforms; not just anyone can wear them.
Part of the research Satsuki’s family performed was the construction of a Godrobe, Junketsu (meaning purity), which was promised to Satsuki as her “wedding gown”. Annoyed Ryuko beat her to the punch, Satsuki dons her Godrobe and subjugates it. Using her Godrobe, she challenges Ryuko to a duel and displays her mastery of Junketsu, thrashing Ryuko. With some encouragement from Mako, Ryuko understands how to fully master Senketsu, and finally begins to fight on even footing with Satsuki. The episode concludes with Satsuki declaring the students of the school be after Ryuko’s head, and if she can defeat them all, she will have the opportunity to face Satsuki in battle again, this time to get the answers about her father she seeks.
This was definitely the best episode of Kill la Kill yet. Some of our questions were answered, we were treated to an absolutely amazing battle and there was some great commentary on the use of fanservice in anime and the male gaze in general. Mikisugi also revealed he knew Ryuko’s father, and has some knowledge of the Godrobes. Who exactly is he, and what is he capable of? At one point he was going to intervene between Ryuko and Satsuki’s fight.
Satsuki and Ryuko’s battle was fantastic to watch. The absolute craziness of it was definitely on par with Gurren Lagann. Explosions were exploding. I mean that quite literally. There was an explosion, which then imploded and then exploded again. That should give you an idea of the extreme level of ridiculousness. It also showed us what a fully mastered Godrobe is capable of. Satsuki sent Ryuko flying through a building simply by tapping her with the handle of her sword. I can’t really do the battle justice just writing about it; it’s definitely something you need to watch yourself and be amazed.
In order to tap into this power, the wearer of a Godrobe must fully accept the Godrobe’s true form, the revealing outfits Kill la Kill has become infamous for. Ryuko was unable to fight on even footing with Satsuki to begin with because of her embarrassment at wearing Senketsu. Satsuki, however, didn’t care. As she so wonderfully put it,
Exhibitionist? Nonsense! This is the form in which a Godrobe is able to unleash the most power! The fact that society’s values shame you only shows how small-time you are! If it means fulfilling my ambitions, I, Kiryuin Satsuki, will show neither shame nor hesitation, even if I should bare my breasts for all the world to see!
Satsuki basically says, “I don’t care that everyone says this outfit is too revealing. That’s just society telling me what is and what isn’t appropriate for me to wear. They can’t do that, no one can. No one can shame me for doing what I need to do to accomplish my goals.” Not only that, Satsuki is strong because she wears a revealing outfit which accentuates her feminine characteristics. Which is to say, Satsuki is strong because she’s female. People can try to reduce her to a sex object, but she refuses to be seen as such. She is more than that, and anyone who says otherwise will meet an untimely death.
Hearing this, Ryuko finally accepts Senketsu’s form, and the revealing outfit. She becomes comfortable in her appearance, and also rejects society’s view that she is being “dirty” or “perverted”. What she wears does not define her. And she becomes stronger for that.
I don’t think the revealing outfits are wholly necessary to communicate this message, but I really do appreciate the message Kill la Kill is sending.
Ryuko definitely has her work cut out for her, not only defeating all the students pitted against her, but also actually defeating the ridiculously strong Satsuki. This episode showed us that Satsuki will do anything to achieve her goals, and Ryuko is going to need to match her determination. Next week looks like it won’t be as fast paced, but I think we all need a week to calm down after episode three. From what we’ve seen so far, though, I don’t think that a “quiet” episode of Kill la Kill will actually be quiet.