「何故にお前は」 (Naze ni Omaeha)
“Tell Me Why”
I saw the twist coming, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. It needed to happen to keep the story interesting.
A Slow Start
I felt like this episode had a slow start, or perhaps that’s only in retrospect. Going back and scanning the first half, we had, what, Ryuuko and Senketsu learning that Tsumugu has a dead sister (yawn), that Senketsu was made specially for her (didn’t we already know that?), and some awesome Mako & Ryuuko friendship moments, which I will say nothing ill of because they were heart-warming and I awwww’d unrepentantly. Mako’s family also earns points for getting up in Gamagoori’s face, and then asking the right questions: 1) Are Mako and Ryuuko alive, and 2) Will there be food? Hah! Seriously though, it’s good to see they learned from that whole Fight Club incident and are asking those questions in the right order. They do care, just as Mako and Ryuuko care for them. They just siiiilly!
So this episode sees Ragyou and her life fiber worship go into full-on crazy cult mode, complete with a mass sacrifice. I’m not against crazy cults (in stories, obviously), but it felt wrong at first. It’s not that it made Ragyou two-dimensional – she’s always been two-dimensional, though she was so charismatic and stylish that I didn’t much care. In fact, sometimes a two-dimensional villain is good. Like with last season’s Outbreak Company, the two-dimensional villain provides someone who we can freely root against (and in this case, we can root for her death) while not taking time away from more interesting characters. I think of the recent Star Trek reboot (the first one, not that Into Darkness crap), where the villain wasn’t that interesting, but that was okay – the point was to introduce us to Kirk and the others. In the same way, Ragyou works.
The Fated Double-Cross
So what was it? It was the fact that Satsuki was going along with her plans. Satsuki and the Elite Four are interesting characters, so to see them go along with a crazy cult’s mass-sacrifice plan didn’t sit right. The funny thing is, it wasn’t that which made me think Satsuki was going to double-cross Ragyou (I only worked my way through those feelings after the fact). No, it was something more elemental – it wouldn’t be as much fun if she didn’t. Either Satsuki needed to become the Big Bad (trope!) or she needed to rebel against Ragyou and fight with Ryuuko, because a story where Satsuki ended as the Dragon (trope!) wouldn’t have made any sense. Then all that time they spent developing her would have been pointless.
It’s a curse sometimes, being able to read the story so well, but it honestly didn’t diminish my enjoyment of Satsuki’s betrayal. It was just so abrupt and brutal, which I have to respect, though I thought the christ imagery was a bit much. Besides, now that Ragyou looks like a loony clown-jester rather than a noble peacock thing, I’m okay if she dies. Your fashion sense jumped the shark, Ragyou.
The lines in the sand are drawn. Ragyou remains the Big Bad, while Harime Nui is her Dragon with Satsuki, the Elite Four, Ryuuko and the others on the opposing side. I have a soft spot for the old-adversary-team-up plot, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fight together. I can’t help but be worried about when Satsuki’s (lack of) compatibility with Junketsu will rear its ugly head, though.
Zephy will resume coverage as usual next week when he’s done with his big important test or whatever.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Ragyou’s crazy cult tries to sacrifice the entire school, but Ryuuko is there to–erh, Satsuki!? That was your mother! #kill_la_kill 17
- I did like the moment between Satsuki and Soroi though. They’re humanizing Satsuki more and more, which was another reason I didn’t think she’d stay in cult-land.
- I was telling Zephy this the other day, but the OST in this show is so good that even I notice it! Seriously, that Ragyou music gets me excited every time.
- I still don’t feel they’ve taken this as far or as crazy as Tengen Toppa Gurren Langann. Perhaps that’s due to expectations or my experience since then, but I’m never shocked, and the story seems to go oddly slow for something that always seems to be moving. Perhaps it’s because there’s a lot of motion, but not as much action. I’m not sure, will have to think about that more.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Unexpected directions, The market has spoken, I can quit anytime, so I don’t have to, and Admiration & those who try. My current combo counter: 27 days long.
Full-length images: 11.