(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. This time however there’s a lengthy post-episode section.)
Satsuki is here, in person, to settle the fight of ideologies. Ryuuko is here, to grab control of her life and powers. The two are also on a collision course, or are they? They are to me always allies, so let’s see how they handle this in what is purportedly the finale to the first half of the show, and of course, we can’t count Nudist Beach out just yet.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Satsuki the Liberator. Satsuki the Conqueror:
1) Osaka’s leader does raise a good point. Satsuki can’t expect things to always go her way, and though it seems they do thus far, part of it is due to adapting. The other point is that it seems to me her whole journey is trying to gain (regain?) control of her life.
2) Well, now we see something that Satsuki truly despises, not a front – buying people’s lives with money. Same as when she met Gamagoori. She was born to money, but even if she doesn’t reject it, she finds using it to outright control others loathsome, thus she controls with decisions and the force of her personality. Her main followers follow her for who she is, not even for her material prowess, or her combat strength, but for sheer love for her. Well, maybe not Inumuta.
3) Erm, erm… look at that villain’s face, listen to that villain’s line, right as her music plays. Also, this is so fitting, usually as Satsuki’s music plays she spouts lines fit for villains, straight out of 1984. “It is not money that rules humans. Fear does.” – Nothing here about dignity, but the lack of dignity. Nothing about allies, but every man being alone. And Takarada who relies on others to be there for him now has to face Satsuki, with her ideology of solitary strength. A man relying on others cannot stand to one whose outlook is to be self-sufficient, once they’re both alone. Deprived of his element, he is now in Satsuki’s world.
4) “When you’re weak, use something very strong shamelessly, that’s my philosophy for victory.” – First, this outfit looks ridiculous, right? Would you say it looks as silly as Ryuuko in Senketsu does? Would you say this philosophy is the same one Ryuuko had to adopt in episode 3? She was weak, and thus had to wear Senketsu shamelessly to win? But, as Takarada outright admits, this is only because Ryuuko had been so weak. Satsuki had to do likewise, but she had more strength within her, or did she? Never assume the brave face contains a brave interior.
5) Interesting, in her moment of victory, Satsuki makes it impersonal – she isn’t here for Takarada, but here for the sake of her revolution, to subjugate the city, and more importantly, learn more of her enemies.
2) A Pause for the Allies:
1) “As long as I, Gamagoori Ira, draw breath, no harm will be allowed to come to Lady Satsuki!” – Oh man, you’re so cool, Gamagoori. This is such a shounen show, and these guys are such heroes. Yeah, that was a great entrance. And yeah, it’s always cool when they make Gamagoori huge. He is their foundation, in a sense, the rock to fall back against, even as Satsuki is the spiritual core.
2) And in case you ever thought of them as “villains” or “antagonists”, the easy camaraderie and friendly jibes between the Elite Four should show you, they’re the friendly supporting cast of the show, as much as Mako.
3) Heh, the Fantastic Four are all magical girls, essentially, and that’s so cute here :)
4) Satsuki assuming her regular pose when standing higher than everyone else while riding Nonon is quite funny. Still, they’re friends, that small jibe by Satsuki which shows her relationship with Nonon, even in the midst of a battle.
5) Pouty Mako-chan is best Mako-chan? Still, Gamagoori’s “Even if it’s you” line.
3) Satsuki and Ryuuko – Unequal Equals:
1) “The lioness will use all her strength, even when hunting a rabbit!” – A final fight, which brings us back to what led to the first (“Ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars!”), and “Spirit is the only thing you’ve mastered.” – Well, she knows Ryuuko’s weakness, but let’s see how it goes, and how Ryuuko surprises her. Surely that’s what’s going to happen, right?
2) Honestly, this shot is a shot to end the show with, so in a way it’s fitting before “The Grand Battle” – the two of them, going together toward the sunset, as friends. There’s no one subjugating the other one here, there’s a partnership. Ryuuko knows she has limits, so she depends on Senketsu to cover for her.
3) That’s our Ryuuko, and that’s the expression we like seeing! Well, this means the “No full Senketsu” had already played itself to its thematic point – Ryuuko puts her life on the line, and is willing to go all out. Senketsu is willing to trust Ryuuko, his friend. As we’ve covered that, we can stop having this plot-point, and move to the next one.
4) Satsuki is so calm. Honestly, with the long shape of her face, and her attitude here, it’s no surprise I often call her a “paladin” – she actually reminds me of some 12th century drawings of saints and clergymen. Especially if you compare to the previous point, where Ryuuko is always angry or mocking, rarely calm and collected.
5) Well, Satsuki can be stubborn, and sometimes she needs to re-order reality in order to feel good with herself – She did command all students to stand down and Nonon didn’t, and she blames her defeat on Ryuuko’s “sneak attack”, though it wasn’t truly one, unless she means the blood-spurt, in which case, you only lose your virginity once, so it won’t work again, eh? :P
4) It’s All Symbolic (If You Want!):
1) Well, this seems like a pun on “going commando”, get it? :p Also, if you check their holsters, they could be holding guns, but since their nakedness is their power… but what of the women? Anyway, interesting to note that the archaic term for weapons in Hebrew is “Klei Zain”, and armed is “Mezuyan”, but in modern Hebrew “Zain” is also slang for penis, and “Mezuyan” is slang for “fucked”.
Also, that car sequence was sort of cool. Sensei has all the cool scenes, once he drops his clothes.
2) “All the blood I had was collected in the blade.” – Oh, the possible symbolism, the phallus is being sacrificed, it’s being cut, and cutting the phallus leads to Satsuki’s downfall, as she is covered with blood. More Satsuki losing her virginity, of finally being married off symbolism? If you wish to look at it like that, coming up with symbolism can be fun.
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- Battlefields look like hell, that building even has a smiling face, the face of the “god” that led to all of this – money, or greed, and the building has horns.
- Aaand we cut the OP short. Time to do this.
- The glasses are off, Kiryuin Satsuki. I’d say the gloves are off, but we’re here to settle the issue of one very specific glove, aren’t we?
- Had it always been this way? But when Junketsu took over Satsuki this time the demonic overtones from when Senketsu overcame Ryuuko had been quite noticeable. Might be because she has Senketsu’s glove? Is Satsuki giving in to anger?
Post Episode Notes:
Hm, is this the middle of the road episode? In that case, I don’t quite know where we stand, and it’s an interesting place to look at, if we look at it from a point of view of “the middle”, and as a “turning point” where things supposedly changed.
- Ryuuko hadn’t defeated Satsuki, but she had fought her to a draw, which is at least progress on her part. I believe while this is significant on the “plot-level”, it might be the least significant part.
- Ryuuko broke off with Satsuki, for now they don’t seem frenemies at least, even if they still have some respect for one another. If anything, it seems Ryuuko respects Satsuki more, and Satsuki respects Ryuuko less currently. Giving in to rage and losing to Nui, as well as not managing to defeat Ryuuko had probably done things to Satsuki’s opinion of Ryuuko.
- Ryuuko finally joins the resistance. Before, she’d been fighting against Satsuki, and Nudist Beach had been fighting against Satsuki, but they weren’t truly allies. Now we have Ryuuko joining the resistance in earnest, and her goal isn’t to overthrow clothes, but to not let Satsuki control everything. But knowing what we do of REVOCS, how much is Satsuki really in charge of?
- A change of scenery? Will Ryuuko return to the academy? Will Mako? In wartime, things change, and school is often put in abeyance, where will we go from here, in the literal sense?
Next episode has me really curious now, and we even see Satsuki’s shocked face as she speaks with her mother. I think we’re going to get quite a lot of information next episode, and we’ll see that things hadn’t been what they seemed, I trust we’ll see how they’d been covered.
Ok, after taking stock of what is about to come and what had come, let’s try to think a bit more about this episode. Satsuki conquers Junketsu, which is quite opposed to reveling in the glory of the clothes as her mother preaches, while Ryuuko had moved from being conquered by her cloth (first in episode 3, where she has to surrender to Senketsu, and then in episode 13 where she had been consumed by Senketsu, even as he had been consumed by her (rage)), to forming an alliance with it. The theme of “alone versus allies” is quite strong in this episode, seeing how Takarada relies on his allies by Satsuki forces the fight to be a singular battle, showing allies can never truly be trusted, right?
And then Satsuki relies on her ally to fight Takarada, and her ally to shield her, and her ally-friend to allow her to fight Ryuuko on equal footing, so what is going on here? Satsuki isn’t opposed to allies, to friends. She’s opposed to people serving you due to being manipulated, as any manipulation can then be broken by fear. Satsuki seems to espouse the value of fear, but I’m not so sure about that. I think she identifies the power of fear, she identifies people trying to hide behind other sources of power, the so called “pigs in human clothes” and is perhaps trying to liberate them, even if that means subjugating them first. Kiryuin Satsuki is ruled by fear, so she tries to demolish that which she fears, and become the top-dog herself.
Satsuki is suffering from rich-guilt, or despises her mother for what she embodies. Buying people with money, buying people with power, these are not Satsuki’s methods, yet she aids her mother in her conquest, and in so doing is furthering her goals. We’ve already spoken about her and being “a loyal child of COVERS”, but it’s definitely going to be interesting.
Also, the symbolism of Satsuki as “pure”, especially considering the meaning of “Junketsu” and that it’s her “bridal dress”, and how blood unlocks it, which had always been a symbol of virginity.
But how Satsuki sees Ryuuko, what she wishes from her, and what she wishes for her, as well as herself, these are the real questions, and Satsuki is the most interesting character in this story, and considering how often we see things from her perspective, or see her sitting pensive, I even think she’s the true “hero” of this tale.