Kill la Kill Episode 7: Greed, Station and Exploitation
Tired of continually being attacked by (utterly useless) clubs during her breaks, Ryuko decides to establish a Fight Club at Honnouji Academy, which Satsuki approves. However, when faced with the mountain of paperwork, Ryuko declares Mako Club President to both palm off the paperwork and give Mako’s family the opportunity to climb the social ladder. This works really well to begin with, as Mako’s family enjoy living in relative luxury. However, greed soon consumes the Mankanshoku family, and they grow accustomed to living in opulence. This eventually culminates in Mako being ordered to eliminate Ryuko for a chance to be promoted to a Deva position. Battle ensues, and while it looks like Mako is intent on taking Ryuko out, she eventually comes to her senses and calls out her family on their greed. Satsuki is impressed by Mako’s will, but reveals that she has been using Ryuko over the past few weeks to eliminate the useless students. She now plans to hold an election to restructure the student body so that she can get rid of Ryuko once and for all.
This was definitely one of the best episodes of Kill la Kill yet. Not only did we see some great character progression for Ryuko and Mako, but we gained further insight into how Satsuki operates, the regime she’s created and were provided with a commentary on familial expectation and exploitation of children’s achievements.
As evidenced by the events of this episode, and the plot progression over the past seven episodes, Satsuki is a master strategist who knows how to manipulate others thoroughly. Permitting Ryuko to go free through the academy was simply another way to separate the wheat from the chaff, and permitting Ryuko to form a Fight Club simply sped the process up. Not only that, the Fight Club and Mako’s involvement in it gave Kill la Kill a platform to further explore the regime Satsuki has created. There has been some argument about how Kill la Kill provides a commentary on consumerism and condemns it, an argument which I think bears some weight if we regard a student’s loyalty and aptitude as currency within the Kill la Kill’s universe. This “currency” allows them to climb the ranks and attain a higher standard of living.
However, in a consumerist society, a citizen should be able to climb the ranks regardless of station and without influence from the government. In Kill la Kill, status is conferred by Satsuki, thus it is not truly a consumerist society. It simply adds further weight to the fact that Satsuki runs a totalitarian regime. Masses are controlled and subjugated by the threat of poverty should they rebel, and the reward of luxury should the follow Satsuki and actively contribute to her campaign. It also further demonstrates Satsuki’s feelings that humans are merely greedy pigs who can be easily controlled through their instincts.
Important to note is that status is conferred through the achievement of a family’s children, rather than the parents. And so society’s construct in Kill la Kill provides a commentary on the expectations of students, and how their achievements are often exploited to confer status and superiority. In the setting of Honnouji Academy, a successful student will provide their family with an affluent lifestyle and the right to consider themselves superior to the rest of the population. This is reflected in real life, where many parents use their children’s achievements to assert their superiority or status (something I’ve personally seen, especially in the context of a private school). You know, the whole, “Oh, my child is studying THIS fancy degree” or, “Well my child just did such and such, they’re so successful”. And so children are often pushed to achieve for their parent’s sake, rather than their own benefit.
Kill la Kill decries this, and sends the message that this behaviour is damaging to a child, and can warp the way in which they act, as well as their values. Mako calls her family out on this. The Mankanshokus cheer for her as she fights Ryuko, and actively condone her going against her values and friends for the sake of their lifestyle and status. But Mako sees what she has become, and how her family is using her to maintain their affluence, and rejects the notion. She can no longer tolerate her achievements being used, rather than simply appreciated.
It was great to see Mako come to this realisation, and I think this has only deepened her friendship with Ryuko, who never doubted Mako would make the right choice. Ryuko is confident enough in the relationship she shares with Mako to call her out on her becoming a person obsessed with gaining more and more material goods. And at the end of the day, they’re even closer. Ryuko has an excellent in Mako, who despite her optimism and general head-in-the-clouds nature, has been shown to be very clever and competent when required.
So where are we headed next? Satsuki has clearly been using Ryuko, but will Ryuko realise this? I knew Satsuki wouldn’t be sitting idly by this whole time, and she’s obviously going to be quite pleased that she’s managed to get Ryuko to do all the hard work culling the students for her. The restructure could prove quite problematic for Ryuko, as obviously Satsuki will be reorganised Honnouji in a manner effective for getting rid of our heroine. Knowing Satsuki, she’s going to make things very difficult for Ryuko.
It also looks like we might get another battle with a Deva, specifically Gamagoori Ira. The past few episodes have focussed on exploring specific characters and their relationships with each other, and I’m really enjoying that. I’m especially looking forward to seeing what Ira is all about, besides EXTREME LOYALTY AND DISCIPLINE. How will Satsuki react to his defeat, should he fall to Ryuko? And what spectacular battle can we expect to see next week?