「チャンスは一度」 (Chansu Wa Ichi Do )
“Once in a Lifetime Chance”
In recent weeks, one of the big things I’ve been pondering is whether or not Kill la Kill is truly as good of a series as many viewers (including myself), have said it is. Specifically, I was wonder whether or not I’ve been blinded by the flashy style Kill la Kill brings to the table and thinking it’s better than it actually is as a result. After much thought, I’ll freely admit that I have indeed been blinded somewhat, but it doesn’t make the series any less awesome from my perspective. Because although Kill la Kill doesn’t really do anything subtle at all, it’s so direct that I can’t help but like it—especially since it seems to be an obvious design choice on part of the directors. There’s just a certain charm that being direct gives this series—even though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea as a result.
Point in fact, the entire fight between Matoi and Gamagoori was an obvious reference to female stereotypes, and how people (men in particular) try to mold others (women especially) into the objects they desire them to be. It’s not exactly rocket science trying to decipher the message they’re sending here, but the way they demonstrate it—aside from mentioning it directly in dialogue—makes it vastly different from other series. One can argue some of these demonstrations are merely fan-service, but it’s arguably fan-service done right. That is, if you’re going to include fan-service, the least you can do is make it purposeful. And what Kill la Kill does is both make these scenes a relevant reinforcement of the topic they’re trying to discuss, while maintaining the appeal fan-service gives to those that will ultimately make this series profitable.
Either way, this episode also continues the debate as to whether or not Matoi is more of an anti-hero than anything. In many ways, she is. Her shredding of the order Satsuki and her Academy bring and the personalities of those under Satsuki’s wing can attest to that. At the same time though, it’s not as though Satsuki herself is the cream of the crop either. Because whereas we can see she’s doing all this in order to remake a currently flawed world, we can’t overlook the fact that there are many whose individual worlds were ruined throughout the process. Matoi’s world in particular is one example, and although it wasn’t a result of Satsuki’s direct involvement—at least, from what we know now—it makes it an interesting debate because they’re both fighting for something you can’t fault them for fighting for. It’s a classic “Does the end warrant the means?” debate.
Continuing along the personality front, perhaps the best thing this week’s episode ends up doing is letting us know how Gamagoori ended up the way he did—despite the episode’s obvious focus on the actual fight itself. And it was just a nice touch to see that he was someone who also fought Satsuki at some point—believing that her way of ruling by force was not the right way to go about things. It goes a long way towards showing why he ended up with the Goku Uniform he did, and the dialogue in particular—again, another direct demonstration—emphasizes how he does what he does because he expects others to follow in his example. Whether you believe his philosophy is correct is another story, but I think I can speak for most viewers in that the flashbacks we got this week did a great job in actually making me feel a bit for his character. Up until now, he was just the “ridiculously huge, kind of cool, sadist discipline guy,” and although he still theoretically is, he’s definitely more than that right now.
Looking forward, the King of the Hill “Final Battle” continues next week, and we all know what that’ll entail. Indeed, if there’s one other good thing the formula Kill la Kill uses brings, it’s the consistency in terms of what you can expect, and it should be quite the flashy show next episode as well. Here’s to the next fight and to more epic soundtrack pieces on the part of Sawano Hiroyuki.
Full-length images: 06.