(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.)
You guys, last week didn’t deliver as hard as we expected, but I’m actually more excited for this week’s episode than I’ve been for last week’s. Why? Because we might know more, we might finally understand. Also, I like themes,“Clothing as original sin” was a moment of under 2 minutes I wrote over 700 words about. So we’re going to see the history behind Ryuuko’s father and Nudist Beach, and even more importantly, Ragyo and the Kiryuins? I’m so fucking in.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Satsuki and Junketsu are Uneasy Bedfellows:
1) “The tides of war will change drastically from here on out!” – And that’s what I talked about last week, that’s the real “change” thus far – an open war, with Ryuuko and Satsuki seemingly opponents, and for me, it’s for the first time, aside from the first couple of episodes.
2) I touched on it a bit last week, but Satsuki is a very proud person, she will collapse as soon as Ryuuko and her subordinates can’t see her collapsing. But it’s not easy, being her. This feeds into her being “alone” and unable to confide in her so-called allies, or perhaps it’s indeed all about Ryuuko.
3) Look at this shot, listen to these words. Ryuuko is friends with Senketsu, and they choose to fight together. Satsuki restrains her clothe, she doesn’t trust it one bit. She treats wearing it to be an act of last resort. Considering how much Ryuuko had been bled dry when she wore Senketsu without truly accepting him (in episode 3), is it surprising that Satsuki is also tired by her struggle of acceptance? Of course, this isn’t about blood, but the mental struggle.
But, should we choose to interpret this in light of episode 3, then Satsuki talked so much of accepting her cloth, but she only accepted it on the skin deep level, and as such, Satsuki still rejects the cloth for what it truly is. In light of episode 3, it means she rejects her sexuality, and seeing how her theme is often about purity, then the restraining of her sexuality fits. But I think it’s more that she rejects it on the level of the shounen hero, on the thematic level of her mother – It’s her bridal dress, and she rejects becoming the property of another, of losing control of her destiny. But she also rejects clothes as a source of power – just as she had accused Ryuuko of only having power due to wearing her Kamui, not due to any internal source. Satsuki believes true strength comes from within, and she rejects external power.
2) Ragyo the Temptress:
1) Holy shit, but Ragyo is so scary. This face, this expression, these words. I still think of her as the serpent, as the temptress. Clothes are original sin, and who pushed original sin onto humans if not the snake? And she’s the one who tries to spread to one and all these sinful clothings.
She says she will “purify” Satsuki, but I think our first reaction is that this is anything but purifying her. Sounds and seems more like how an abusive parent would “purify” their children of evil thoughts by beating them up.
2) Ragyo says that species that resist their instincts fall into ruin, she is thus also preaching obeying one’s urges. She’s a hedonist. This again ties to the above message. But look, she thinks of clothes as a shield to hide our fragility, our discomfort, which feeds into my earlier message – she sees clothes as lies, as a method to obfuscate and hide who we truly are. Unsurprising, when she named the company “Covers”. She’s spreading lies, she’s spreading the notion of hiding your true nature, and as she even hides the nature and name of her company, she preaches it in every aspect of her life.
Yet Satsuki with her “Pigs in human clothings” doesn’t value clothes that hide who we are, she care about what is inside. How will this child of COVERS reconcile this disagreement? Even in episode 3, she spoke of how she doesn’t care for her cloth and body, because she knows who she is and they do not hide it. Interesting.
3) Clothes are People! – The Truth of the World, Undressed:
1) So, it’s not that mankind is the only one who was smart enough or had the need to develop clothes, but that the only cloth-wearing species could become mankind. This pushes forth the notion of the symbiotic relationship between Ryuuko and Senketsu, and the parasitic(?) relationship between Satsuki and Junketsu.
This also ties well into the “clothes are original sin” – eating the Fruit of Wisdom is what elevated Adam, what created humans as they are, so in this world it’s literally the wearing of clothes that had come first, that had been the Uplift to sapience (see David Brin’s Uplift Universe where a patron species must elevate a pre-sentient species).
But, Ragyo said we feel fragile without clothes. Did clothes turn us into fragile beings, so we’ll be forced to wear them, and be fragile without them? They made us weak and subservient, so we’ll have no recourse but them. Devious clothes. And Ragyo as their priestess is also quite devious.
2) Look at them, they look like a priest and a disciple, like a priest and someone about to undergo a rite of passage. Walk with me as I open the doorways to knowledge! (And knowledge is the original Original Sin.)
3) It looks somewhere between a sun (with small planets surrounding it), and a womb, or some cell that keeps splitting. It looks sick, and not in the “cool” meaning, but like some sort of cancerous growth, with an unhealthy hue.
4) Holy shit. Indeed, this is the “Holy shit” episode that’s the turning point we all expected, not last week. Various sci-fi films and stories have aliens coming to earth and covering it with their matter, to give them sustenance/energy. Do the clothes seek to truly and literally spread all over earth, or is their goal as was said, to spread by being worn? Furthermore, what’s the relationship between clothes with life fibres and clothes without? This alien species needs to cover the earth with itself, not with some random threads, unless of course spreading people wearing clothes acts as a way to hide how it infiltrates the world, how it’s covering it. But still, damn.
4) Where We Go From Here:
1) “Why don’t all clothes have life fibres in them then?” – I love it when shows address my questions, and address the obvious concerns.
2) Ok, some thoughts on this little chit-chat. “Honnouji Academy Experiment” – Where clothes with life fiber threads are worn in the open, and people openly draw on their powers (and in turn feed them energy, as the clothes are awakened? Seeing how many fibers people can handle in their clothes?). “The Festival is ready” never bodes well in anime, when said in such an ominous company. And finally, Ragyo said she increased Satsuki’s compatability with life-fibres, meaning she had reduced her ability to resist them, that which allows Ryuuko to wear Senketsu without being overcome. Ragyou seems to think of Satsuki as a cloth-hanger, rather than as a person, and she must not be allowed to resist her outfit.
“Let us move to the final step of the plan” accompanied by the trademark “Satsuki step” where she puts her foot down before making a declaration, and then that momentous declaration is “Time for the Culture and Sports festival!” I find this amusing. This is just like the “Naturals Election” and the “School Trip”. Innocuous names, but this is COVERS, nothing is as it seems at first glance.
3) This shot is so great, so epic. Yes, Mako is the best part of it.
More seriously, this draws us to a recent message in Log Horizon, and I believe that will be the solution here as well. Senketsu isn’t a tool to be used just as others wish, he has a personality, he’s a person. As such, if you want his help, you’ll have to ask him for it. Ryuuko will have to take his position into account, because otherwise she’s reducing him to the position of a mere artifact of clothing as well. But yeah, he’s been bred to kill his own breed, gotta feel sad for him.
5) Nudist Beach – Home for Lost Puns:
- This show and its puns :p The leader of Nudist Beach says “It’s time I exposed everything to you.” – So, what does that make The Grand Couturier? The grand obfuscator? If we look at the Original Sin, clothes mark knowledge, right? But they mark hiding that knowledge. Those with knowledge, those with power, they hide it.
- Yes, the expression on Ryuuko’s face is priceless. Ryuuko is a straight man caught in the world of puns, and there seems to be no way out :P “It’s time for Skinny Diving” – Trololol.
- Look at Mikisugi, how happy he is, he gets to combine his two passions in life – exhibitionism and being a teacher. Such joy.
Wait, sensei just said “Around two hundred years ago they awakened from their state of dormancy” and “Kiryuin Ragyou made contract with the original Life Fiber, which awakened them from their dormancy.” – That means Satsuki’s mother is over 200 years old :OEDIT: I’m told that’s a translation error, and should be 20 years.
- That teacher… He approaches Ryuuko from behind, and is taking his pants off, and then whispers in her ear. He’s so over the top.
- Ryuuko is once more the straight man, saying the obvious things, “This story is a bit hard to believe.” You don’t say!
1) 70 seconds for the recap of the plot :P Guess it’s time to move new territory now. And thank goodness we didn’t really get a recap episode, heh.
“Breakneck pacing is the hallmark of Kill la Kill” – That’s not actually true. The appearance of breakneck pacing is. I mean, after Ryuuko fought with Satsuki in the third episode many of us thought the school portion, including defeating/allying with Satsuki will end by the 8th episode or so. Gurren Lagann had breakneck pacing, though.
2) New OP Thoughts
- Ok, when it comes to music and art, they’re ok. I wasn’t moved in either direction by the opening, but I suspect it might grow on me as the weeks pass by.
- A lot of talk about severing the strings of fate, then after we see Ryuuko and Satsuki seemingly in control, at the end of it all we see them held by the threads, who control them. They must sever them.
- The two runways run in parallel. They walk the same path, but side by side. They’re not truly in direct conflict?
- They meet where Ragyo is. Ragyo is at the root of everything.
- The OP ends with the scissor becoming one, which is currently held by the two sides. Unity?
It’s just an OP guys, never trust it anyway :P
3) New ED Thoughts – This episode feels like it belongs in another show and somehow invaded this episode. What show? The Mako Show! It definitely shows her how she sees the world. Not my thing, personally, and the previous ED was just growing on me.
Post Episode Thoughts:
I guess if all you care about are the fights, then last episode was more interesting to you then this one, but for me? Oh boy did this episode deliver. Information, interesting information. No, it’s not the really interesting information, which is what Satsuki believes, and what she schemes, and why, but, in the context of the series, it’s exactly what we needed, and exactly what Satsuki had declared in the opening moments of the episode – “Now the lines are drawn!”
And the lines? They’re humanity against an alien invader, and their human lackeys.
Ok, if you believe the lines are clearly drawn, you should read the last few sentences again, because they’re not. Satsuki, bowing down to an alien invasion force, abandoning her free will, allowing these things to subjugate others? Don’t make us laugh. And I suspect with how Satsuki had been all but rearing Ryuuko, that she wasn’t entirely unaware of what is going on, even if she didn’t know the details.
The real question remains, as it had always been, throughout this entire show – “What will Satsuki do? What is Satsuki thinking?” But this episode did set up the pieces, and although we lack information, what is known will force the characters to act, and to show us the truth of their nature.
The show is really setting up its spectacle, its conflicts, at long last. There were nice themes, but that’s the true core of this episode, and what we expected from last week and didn’t get – the show is telling us that its found its direction, that it’s setting its course. If I were a meme-user, I’d say that the show had finally found its way.