And then, everything changed…
What They Say:
Ryuko’s battle against the Elite Four takes to the skies! Meanwhile, more spectators converge on Honnouji Academy. But who is the mysterious girl strolling through town and what secrets does she hold?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kill la Kill has building toward something big, something far more interesting than the simple little tournament arc it’s been blowing through for the last few episodes. Two things seemed very likely about whatever it was: that the closer we got to the halfway mark of the series, the closer we’d get to a major game-changer, and that this tournament wasn’t going to just wrap up with no outside interference. While this episode begins just as the past few have been going, the presence of a mysterious new character wandering around campus interspersed between the seemingly more important fight at hand and the Nudist Beach members showing great concern over Ryuko’s and Senketu’s recent development gave a very strong impression that this girl may be the one to introduce the unknown elements I’ve been anticipating. And she sure was.
To completely overlook the fight that took up much of the episode would be unfair, so I’ll acknowledge that Ryuko completed her battle with Jakuzure. It was largely as expected at this point, particularly in the portions appearing in this episode, but it is worth noting that the music was possibly even more powerful than in the last one, quite literally. Jakuzure’s use of Beethoven’s “Fate” as a weapon clashing against Ryuko’s newfound ability to create a pure tone caused as much interesting battle mechanics and sound design as it did jiggling on Ryuko’s side. The use of a vocal song that again blends the notion of background music versus insert songs is very nice as well, although in this case the motif of it representing Ryuko’s power and changing volume to correspond with her struggle doesn’t quite jibe with the “pure tone” that she’s supposed to be producing.
But as fun as all that was, it was hardly interesting at this point in the game, so it’s good that the series doesn’t waste any time after setting Ryuko up for her fateful rematch against the final Elite Four member and the one she’s had the most interaction with, Sanageyama, to bring in the dramatic interruption of our mysterious newcomer Nui Harime, sporting a deceptively innocent appearance that only makes it more terrifying when she shows what she’s made of. Even before that, though, she proves to be one of the most fascinating characters to watch with how she’s used, as she leans on her obligatory giant red introduction title to touch Satsuki from a faraway distance thanks to camera angles and effects.
Then the big guns come out, and in a short period she gives us a laundry list of reasons to place her among the most dangerous characters in the entire series. I can’t be sure if it was only the same in the translation, but her words against Sanageyama as the same “naked ape” his closest counterpart Viral always loved to call people is something I’d like to consider a callback to the team’s last big collaboration. Satsuki clearly knows just how problematic Nui is, and you can already see the inevitably of her eventual cooperation with Ryuko forming as she instructs Ryuko to carry out the battle with her instead, but from a noticeably different perspective than how she wanted her to fight the Elite Four. When Ryuko doesn’t seem comfortable with going all out in a fight against someone with no special clothing, despite seeing just how powerful Nui is anyway, Nui pulls out a little something that the entire series has been leading to, particularly for Ryuko, and that sets things up for some major carnage next time.
But this is all only halfway through the series, of course, and while there’s no doubt that Nui is a force to behold, the scenes of Satsuki’s sinister mother and the people she directly commands, tying into Nui’s appearance at the academy, introduces perhaps an even greater threat for the rest of the series, one that may be even more deserving of the big climax of the first half.
Kill la Kill treads a little more water in the most inventive and fascinating way it knows how, but before continuing on that note decides that it’s finally time for some really big changes to start going down, leading into the end of the first half that will almost definitely prove to be dramatically different from the second, in a way very familiar to those who know what Imaishi and Nakashima did together last time. It’s got that sense of new and exciting potential that the series had in the beginning, and with the way this episode sets things up, it should at least lead to a few very intense episodes to come.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Toshiba Satellite L655-S5191 PSK2CU-1C301U Notebook PC.