Who do you think you are, having two faces!?
What They Say:
Overwhelmed by recent events, Ryuko demands answers from her homeroom teacher, Aikuro Mikisugi. Meanwhile, Uzu Sanageyama, Honnouji Academy’s Athletic Committee Chair and on the Elite Four, makes a request of his own… to challenge Ryuko to a duel!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If you’ve been playing the Pokémon games, you’ve probably gotten to the Elite Four by now. Well Ryuko has also gotten to that point, and they’re definitely living up to the name.
The four have been present for all five episodes so far, often being the middlemen between whatever Ryuko is facing and Lady Satsuki herself. But even though Ryuko has fought Satsuki herself, she hasn’t yet faced any of these four up to this point. Now that we’ve seen a good amount of all of them, the one who has possibly been the most prominent, Sanageyama, decides that he’ll be the first to face her directly, and the episode plays out just as you’d expect given that setup.
I haven’t touched much on the Japanese voice talent for this series yet, but I can’t help but give kudos to Sanageyama’s seiyuu, Nobuyuki Hiyama. It’s no surprise that Imaishi decided to call him back after his role as Viral in Gurren Lagann, because that proved his skill in ranging from the proud but subservient soldier and the lovably hot-blooded fighter, and that’s exactly what he’s called upon to deliver once again in Kill la Kill. And it’s hard to imagine no parallels were intended, because sure enough, Sanageyama’s Goku Uniform ends up essentially being a mecha with a face for a body and another on its helm (with a transformation sequence that was even more reminiscent of other mecha from that series), Ryuko gets a sneak attack on him and he adjusts to keep that from working more than once, and they end without either really losing, building a continuing tension between them and causing Sanageyama to dedicate himself to defeating her in the future, showing his one main superior an incredible amount of humility as he promises to redeem himself.
And that’s all fine, because it works very well, and there are enough new ideas that it never feels like the team is just going through the same motions, but simply bringing back elements that the fans will obviously love. Because there’s no doubt that Sanageyama, regardless of any similarities, is his own character, and giving him the Viral setup of sorts just allows more opportunity for him to prove that in the future.
The Elite Four aren’t the only characters of note in this episode, though. Beyond Ryuko and Satsuki obviously fulfilling their respective duties, Aikuro meets back up with Ryuko to show off some nipples and deliver the main humor of the episode (other than Mako doing some amusing measuring) as he tells her the name of his group in exactly the way it should be said. And although minor, we get a glimpse of Satsuki’s mother with a magnificently epic vocal music introduction, giving us the first real feeling that we likely haven’t seen the most terrifying of the Kiryuin family at all.
The Elite Four starts to earn its stripes (or stars, as it were), with the very likable and familiar Sanageyama stepping up to the plate. The fights are as slick as ever, and unlike most of the episodes, this one ends with more of a lingering sense of unfinished business, with Sanageyama promising to be a recurring threat, hopefully in continually original circumstances. This makes the future look pretty exciting, especially with the added element of Satsuki’s family being thrown into the equation little by little.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Toshiba Satellite L655-S5191 PSK2CU-1C301U Notebook PC.