Kill la Kill Episode 21 Notes – Killing My Heart is My Punishment / On Lying to Win.

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

I set up an alarm clock in the middle of the night in order to watch this, and I actually woke up, unlike last week. Go me!

Anyway, Ryuuko hates herself. Ryuuko hates herself enough that she’s self-sabotaging her life, turning on her allies, going into something she knows is a trap, almost akin to suicide, because she wants to be punished. All of this is about Ryuuko running away, under the guise of fighting the problem head-on. Ryuuko’s world had been turned upside down, so she was an easy mark for conversion and lies by mama-Ragyou. She was just so lonely, because if you hate yourself, you can’t let others in either.

Well, now it’s time for friends to fight one another, it’s time for a sister versus sister battle. For the world, for friendship, for family. Will they be able to snap Ryuuko out of it (you know they do), will the go the full distance (Probably stop at the last instant)?

Thoughts and Notes:

1) In the Den of Hedonism:

Kill la Kill Episode 21 notes anime - Matoi Ryuuko

1) “Nui’s body resists all other life-threads.” – A soloist. Nui is a life-thread being, and so is Ryuuko. So Nui’s body resists Ryuuko’s as well? Ryuuko is all about interfacing with her siblings, the clothes, and especially Senketsu. Heck, she and Senketsu share DNA, they truly are siblings, and even with Satsuki, she kept clashing, or in other words, kept coming into contact with her, while Nui had been sent away from Honnouji Academy.

2) “I understand now, people exist for the sake of clothing,” alongside the whole bed-voice, and the sexual imagery, it’s akin to “Humans exist for the sake of sex.” The whole discussion here goes along the theme-line of “Wearing clothes feels awesome, so wear clothes!” so Ragyou’s line about “You’re here to abase yourself before clothes!” feels like entirely the wrong notion. Unless of course we think of submission, or ofreligious belief, and some would say there are marked similarities – you get pleasure and you get comfortedby being there for someone else, who’s also there for you.

3) Locked lips, but with Ryuuko looking demonic, followed with “Something to feel good about.” Ragyou had always been the priestess of hedonism, thus far. I always noted how Ragyou had been hedonism, but Satsuki had been cold and pure, and so she also contrasted with Ryuuko who was hot and rash. So to complete the mirrored image of Satsuki, seems Ryuuko also picked up on her mother’s hedonism. Well, it’s more than that – after everything felt so terrible to Ryuuko, it’s understandable she wanted things to just feel better. But her eyes are still sort of crazy, it doesn’t seem as if she’s truly at peace, but that she’s just hiding behind the fleeting pleasure.

So, I still wonder why Ragyou had attempted to break down Satsuki, because then it’d have been easier for her to be overtaken by Junketsu? Poor Ryuuko, her past, her inner nature, her upbringing coming back to bite her. This message of “The life-threads from within had been her downfall” fits the whole trojan horse scheme of the clothes, but also fits what she had said of herself – in the end, all that matters is how you were born, where you originated, and her origins are that of a monster. Of course, her redemption will require casting aside said notions like an empty cloth.

2) Satsuki’s Lies and the Spirit of Man!:

Kill la Kill Episode 21 notes anime - Matoi Ryuuko, Kiryuuin Satsuki, Gamagoori Ira, Jozakure Nonon, Sanageyama

1) Interesting, the synchronization’s transformation by Satsuki had the evil overtones from when Ryuuko’s rage had her unable to control Senketsu, and Satsuki obviously doesn’t share as close of a relationship to Senketsu, so will she be able to control him? Well, DNA between sisters should be similar enough, I guess.

2) “As long as a single shred remains, it will not back down.” Satsuki is obviously speaking of humanity, not her blades.

3) As the spirit of humanity, Satsuki not only adapts others’ methods, but comes up with her own new variations.

4) And now we even have Satsuki saying how this form is ingenious, an example of humanity’s inventiveness. Wear a cloth, but only have it cover as little as possible. In Hebrew there is a saying, “To walk with, but to feel without,” which is exactly what we discuss here.

Ryuuko picks up on what I noted over the last couple of episodes, however – it is being ashamed, to a degree, it is shameful, of not being able to do what one truly wishes, whether that is wear the cloth completely, or be completely naked. This is the inverse of the episode 3 speech – Satsuki back then claimed she wears the cloth completely by not wearing it, that she is in control of the cloth, but she actually is attempting to reject the cloth, and is unwilling to wear it completely. Satsuki’s position had always been filled with holes, just like her outfit. Satsuki is unable or unwilling to go all out, and she merely tried to rationalize it. Sure, there are reasons, but she still claimed to have been doing something other than she did. Even if her goal of enlisting Ryuuko’s aid required that lie, so Ryuuko will not fight fully covered by Senketsu, so Ryuuko will not get controlled by her clothes. Well, we’ve seen how well thatturned out…

5) Note how incomplete Satsuki and Senketsu’s relationship is, she can’t control him with her thoughts, she can’t transmit her true feelings to him, and she doesn’t trust him to come up with his own plans. She has to announce, and he has to follow her intentions. This isn’t two bodies who work as one, but two people striving for the same goal.

And Ryuuko picks up on it. Again, Satsuki says things, but they’re not actually true. She keeps espousing lofty ideas of how to control her cloth, of how she’s in control, but these are but empty checks.

6) “You’re just a little princess, and your castle? It’s but made of sand.” Silly Ryuuko, the issue is you do not know what Satsuki had said to Nonon. It might be made of sand, but it’s Satsuki’s sand. Even more than that, her true castle is within her spirit. So yes, the castle within her mind is filled with logical holes, but in her spirit? I don’t see any holes there.

7) “So what if her fighting spirit is comparable to none? She’s still a loser.” – You either win, or you die. There’s no medal for “Good effort” here, Senketsu.

8) Teamwork! Ryuuko is alone, for all that she is one with Junketsu, he’s not her friend, nor did we hear him speak. Humans though, they band together.

9) Back to the original setup, showing us how far we’ve come since; Satsuki at the top, Ryuuko at the bottom with the Elite Four as the ones stopping her from fighting her heart’s desire. And yes, I phrased it that way on purpose. Ryuuko, she is still seeking acceptance, she is still looking to prove herself to her older sister.

10) “I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” including prance around half-naked, and lie to you about it, Ryuuko.

11) “That anxiety is the path to our victory.” – Not what Nui is afraid of, but that she’s afraid at all. Will they try to turn Nui to their side, or use the same weapon against Ryuuko that Ragyou and Nui did, that of alienation from her so-called allies? That might break Ryuuko completely, but this is a battle. There might be casualties, even if they’re our little sister. As Satsuki had said, her heart-blade stands firm, and she will make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to win.

3) Who’s Wearing Whom? Time to Get Naked:

Kill la Kill Episode 21 notes anime - Mankanshoku Mako, Senketsu and Matoi Ryuuko

1) This is presented as an escalation – “Ryuuko can’t be separated from Junketsu, or she’ll die!” – but, hadn’t they been prepared to the fact they might have to kill her already? This isn’t raising the stakes, but just reaffirming their dedication to the old ones.

I do have a guess as to how they’d resolve it. This show keeps talking about being worn by your cloth. Maybe when she triumphs, Ryuuko will wear Junketsu, rather than be worn by it? Wearing your clothes, what a revolutionary notion. Yes, it’d be a revolution.

2) It’s Mako-time!

3) Is this surprise, or resentment on Ryuuko’s face? If anything, that face to me is saying, “Who is this insignificant insect my eyes are resting on?” - Is this a way to treat your friendly friend, Mankanshoku Mako?

4) Oooooh, it suddenly makes perfect sense, for Mako to wear Senketsu. Remember what I said and then Ryuuko did about Satsuki not truly being in-step with Senketsu, how they’re not on the same wavelength? And last episode Senketsu had cried in joy, because Mako understands him, without the need to verbalize it. They are in-sync. Could it be, the return of Fightclub Mako, Mark 2? :O

4) Inside a Troubled Heart:

Kill la Kill Episode 21 notes anime - Wedding dress Matoi Ryuuko

1) “Outta my way.” – That sentence shows she’s not completely lost, had she been, she’d have simply killed them immediately.

2) Silly Senketsu, you’re only going to get Mako killed! “If you kill Mako now, that will hurt you the most, and this is why I will not allow it.” Senketsu is protecting Ryuuko’s friends from her in order to protect her. But, see what I said in my pre-episode pre-amble, what I said last week – Ryuuko is trying to hurt herself, she feels she should be punished. You tell her this action will hurt her beyond all others? Her self-destructive tendencies will force her to take that one route, then.

3) This shot is all sorts of hilarious, and creepy. The man-eating cloth is coming for you, Ryuuko, better run!

4) Welp, guess Mako is going to be a part of Ryuuko’s heart as well now? Some would argue she’d always been, that Jiminy Cricket stand-in.

5) With the music, it somewhat reminds me of Kill Bill, as this series often does. Mako is literally breaking down the doors inside Ryuuko’s heart and mind.

6) Don’t get between a woman and her wedding, guys! Well, Junketsu is one’s wedding-dress, isn’t it? To remove Junketsu, we’re going to have to crash this wedding. Time to wake up and realize weddings aren’t all that great, Ryuuko. You can’t submit to others’ will. You can’t become someone’s property. Even if it makes you happy. Anti-marriage, anti-religion subversive themes are what we’re going to go with here :P

Also, with the wedding veil, and the subdued hues, feels more like a funeral than a wedding, doesn’t it?

7) Oh noes. Ryuuko had essentially killed her heart.

8) “How dare you make me wear this outfit?!” - What’s next? You know how the characters keep leaning on their name-blocks? This show likes breaking the fourth wall, is the final moment in the final episode going to be Ryuuko taking on her animators and character designer? :P

9) “Dying is fine by me.” Makes sense. Ryuuko striking at Mako had already been her willing to kill herself, to destroy her heart. We’ve said, didn’t we, that Ryuuko operates on grief and self-hatred, right? So if she’s ready to destroy her life completely, if she’s seeking out the ultimate punishment, why wouldn’t she be willing to kill herself? She was willing to kill her heart before, and she’s willing to do so again, her life-thread-infested heart. Also, this is only her just punishment for being willing to strike down Mako. Better to die than be a puppet.

Kiryuuin Ragyou is a B-Movie Villain:

Kill la Kill Episode 21 notes anime - Kiryuuin Ragyou

  1. “Genesis of the Cocoon Planet!” – Sounds like a bad B-movie sci-fi movie’s title, and here’s our cackling villain.
  2. The promised day is here! We’ll never have to be naked again!
  3. Use Colgate, not only will your smile be white, but your hair will light your path with all the colours of the rainbow!
  4. Speaking of crappy sci-fi B-films, this looks like a crappy zeppelin, a crappy special effects space-craft. Looks like a balloon full of hot air, just need someone to prick it to burst this bad dream.

Shorter Notes / Asides:

Kill la Kill Episode 21 notes anime - Kiryuuin Ragyou, Hohomarou, Harime Nui.

  1. Nui can’t really use Kamui, so she creates them – “Those who can’t do, criticize,” is this a dig on critics? Heh. Then again, it’s sort of the reverse of the usual balance of power, where the model who wears the cloth is valued over the artist who had created it.
  2. You know what the three witches look like in this image? Like aunts who look at a newborn. The newborn is the awakened Ryuuko. Also, “It’s time for climax,” so we’re going to escalate even further, “This isn’t even my final form!”, eh? :P
  3. Well, seems Ragyou had been right, there had been an even greater release of the Kamui.
  4. After being smashed by Satsuki, Ryuuko sits there, all attitude, and that spit. It’s as if she’s a boxer, it’s as if we’re watching a wrestling match.
  5. Nudist Satsuki. Nudists, the ones who wear human clothings.
  6. “Blood for the blood god!” - Is this more or less impressive due to the blood that’s raining here all being hers? Hm.

Post Episode Thoughts:

Kill la Kill Episode 21 notes anime - Bloody Matoi Ryuuko

Well, I might have gone a little overboard this episode, heh.

This episode was fun on the spectacle level, but everyone could see that, and be the judge of that on their own, but what did we have on the thematic level? We’ve had Ryuuko continuing her descent of self-hatred and self-pity, of destroying her life just to feel punish herself for what she had done. Obviously, that road is limited, and you might grow disgusted with yourself at some point. This theme continues what we’ve been seeing since episode 16, with Ryuuko slowly growing more introspective, and being forced to think about who she is, come to grips with her past and family.

Another theme is that of Satsuki’s stances being revealed to have been full of holes. They’re strategic lies and embellished the truth. She spoke from a position of lacking knowledge, and of wishful thinking, and even knowing deceit. Just because Satsuki is so “pure” and as bright as the sun, it doesn’t mean you can just trust her. “Lies are truth!” she had said. She would take lies and turn them into the truth. Satsuki had not been proud of her cloth, and did not use its full powers, but everything is acceptable in order to win. At least she spoke the truth about not being humiliated, because it was all for her cause, and she had no time for such paltry things.

I keep thinking there was another theme, which currently eludes me, hm. There is the small symbolism I choose to interpret about marriage and religion, about the concept of surrendering your agency, your self-hood, for the sake of placating your pains and fears, but you’re free to take it or leave it, just like everything else.

Return to the Kill la Kill Episodic Notes page.

9 comments on “Kill la Kill Episode 21 Notes – Killing My Heart is My Punishment / On Lying to Win.

  1. tuyiooo says:

    “Satsuki had not been proud of her cloth, and did not use its full powers, but everything is acceptable in order to win”

    I disagree with this, ep 20 and 21 show what happens when Junketsu is embraced, does this is what Satsuki should embrace?, it will mean the loss of her own indentity, the loss of control of her own life, Satsuki is willing to use Junketsu powers, but she will never accept become submissive to someone else, in this case the life fibers and the desires of Ragyoo.

    Should Satsuki be proud of a cloth that was made to make her submissive?, Satsuki´s truth is one based in what Junketsu it really is, a submission tool, she is willing to use it for power, but she will never accept even less being proud what Junketsu really is. And lets look what happened in the last ep., Satsuki was worried for Senketsu when he was ripped appart, even if it was for a short time, even it she doesn´t got as much power she had with Junketsu, even if they both could communicate with each other, one could say that Satsuki was actually proud of wearing Senketsu.

    Satsuki control or override Junketsu, because the other way it will be mean to lose her own way, to lose her own identity, using this truth is what let her use as much power as she could from it, it was never a lie, it was different truth from what Senketsu truth is, embrace Senketsu to have you own way, your own identity.

    Satsuki syncronizacion with Senketsu was a forced one, but lets see why is not a real syncronizacion, a difference of Junketsu, Senketsu was made specifically for Ryuuko, which it mean it can only work with her, Ryuuko is the only one that can hear Senketsu, meaning she is the only one that can work with him, but by having a common goal it let them use a temporal syncronization toward their common goal, save Ryuuko.

    I think there is another point here, both Satsuki and Ryuuko talk about what they knows at the time:

    Satsuki “A life fiber symbiosis? thats a fairy tale”, of course it was, thats what Satsuki knew about Junketsu and life ifbers at the time, she didn´t knew that Senketsu can work in simbiosis with Ryuuko

    Ryuuko “You haven´t evolve since wearing Junketsu” – of course, Ryuuko didn´t realized how hard is for Satsuki to wear Senketsu, she was speaking about her how experience with Senketsu.

    i guess, i can resume everything by saying that Junketsu and Senketsu are different beigns that work under different rules and truths, trying to apply the same for both would be a big mistake.

  2. froggykun says:

    This is probably the first episode of Kill la Kill that had my heart beating in suspense because I honestly thought Mako was going to be sacrificed in order to bring about Ryuuko’s redemption. It’s a good thing that didn’t end up happening. So whew! Close call there.

  3. anon says:

    The analysis of Ryuuko’s character development is pretty much spot on. It would be a shame if Ryuuko stays the same on the thematic level towards the end, but I imagine it would also be very hard for Trigger to write a reasonable non-asspull (I don’t think Mako’s comic relief should be here) resolution/recovery from the self-destructive and depressed state.

  4. Toby says:

    “8) “How dare you make me wear this outfit?!” – What’s next? You know how the characters keep leaning on their name-blocks? This show likes breaking the fourth wall, is the final moment in the final episode going to be Ryuuko taking on her animators and character designer? :P”

    I’d expect it’s more likely to be the fanbase. You just know there’s a huge proportion of fans out there who screamed with happiness when Ryuuko showed up in Junketsu…

  5. KlK says:

    ok I don’t get it, whose blood was it that gushed out of Senketsu when Ryuuko sort of tried to cut Mako inside Ryuuko’s fake utopia? Was it Satuki’s blood that Senketsu was using to fight :/??

    • Guy says:

      It was her own heart-blood. She striked against her heart, and she literally cut Junketsu out.

      • KlK says:

        ah that explains a lot -since they WERE inside Ryuuko, that makes perfect sense-, THANKS! I knew I was missing out something :). I was starting to think it was all the blood Senkentsu stores inside him to stay active hahahaha
        Her friends live in her heart. So her heart is her friends, her friends is her heart. and by cutting them she cut her heart. how lovely mufufufu

  6. KlK says:

    And now we know why Ryuuko is diff from other life fibre beings, who only care about their own corrupted pleasures and goals. She lives for the people she holds dear and even puts their happiness before hers (episode 7).
    Her heart is made up of her love for her loved ones and not life fibre threads. So even is she is still sad for her fate, she is going to fight those life fibres for her friends. And that explains why Ryuuko CAN stand up against her own kind because she is simply different from them all. And Satsuki knows all that about her sister that is why she will make peace with her in the next episode. she knows that Ryuuko is NOTHING like their mother. she is HUMAN, so I see no problem here.

    And I think Isshin did Ryuuko a favor by making Senketsu for her. Because if she hadn’t wore Senketsu she would have ultimately been worn by Junketsu. Cover her with goodness before she could be covered by hatred. It’s as if her father was choosing a life partner for her on his own, in order to protect her from choosing a wrong life partner for herself. And thus Trigger explains why arrange marriages are not such a bad thing and that inner beauty counts more than the outer one. Don’t worry Senkentsu you aint ugly haha

  7. KlK says:

    Ryuuko finally understands that and that is why she was so determined to wear Senketsu again!! So now all the issues with our protagonist have been resolved- FINALLY. Her mind is now crystal clear and there isn’t even single shred of doubt left inside her heart. So I’m guessing she is going to go all out in the final three episodes whoohoooo unless— er anyway.

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