January 16th, 2014.
Weaponized Literalism, Literally.
Last episode ended on a very appropriate note, it is now time for Ryuko to find her way, and to show us that the power comes from within, and that she too is a true-blue shounen hero, just like Gamagoori and Sanageyama. Oh, and we might learn more of Satsuki’s plans.
Thoughts and Notes:
Prelude – Home-leaving:
1) People like commenting on the ostentatious things such as leaning or reflecting on your own name-banner, but this shot, the simple things, are often the most striking.
2) Just a girl and her blood-sucking, body-controlling cloth, don’t mind them!
3) A new Ryuko look! Is this a reference to both Kamina and The Bride in Kill Bill? If only the tracksuit had been yellow ;)
4) “Nudist Beach Splendid Naked Officer!” – Hide yo kids, hide yo wives, we’ve got a nekkid man here!
5) And of course, the animation for isolating communication networks is of threads being severed, in case you forgot what happened to Senketsu ;)
First Act – Part 1 – Might Makes Right – Literally:
1) It’s funny, how they shout their titles at one another. Aside from being intensely anime-ish, it’s also intensely wrestler-like, and very Japanese.
2) “To a student, school regulations are heavier than stone! Honnouji’s school regulations are as steel! Ironclad rules!” – I love you, Gamagoori senpai, you have the best lines. The mix-up of thematic and literal in such shows is often worth watching the show for alone, on a spectacle level – the rulebook is made of ironclad rules, so it’s as hard as iron, bites deeper than steel! Heh.
I think I’ve seen something similar once, perhaps in Discworld’s Guards! Guards where Carrot is told to hit a criminal with the full weight of the law, so knocks the miscreant out with a flying rulebook. I loved that sequence.
3) Gamagoori’s flame for Satsuki, the ice mistress, will never be burnt out. It is a light, a beacon, for us all.
Intermission – Give me a Break Already!:
2) “This is just a psychological attack.” – If such assurances were any good, Nonon, you wouldn’t need to make them in the first place.
3) This is another nice shot.
4) This show is so silly. This badass geomage is talking via his hand-puppet… and Nonon was all too happy to burst Inumuta’s pride :3
Second Act – Two Can Play this Game, Kiryuins!:
1) Heh, continuing with cultural messages, we now have weaponized our grandmothers’ ability to spread rumors and cast the evil eye ;)
2) This is nice, this is literalism taken to the extreme. Osaka is also nice because he’s, well, he’s Gamagoori! Gamagoori uses his code of honour, his source of power, as a literal weapon, and so does the Osaka president, weaponizing money! Well, money is sort of a weapon to begin with, but this is taking it even farther! How will you defeat him, Sanageyama?
3) “You can withstand Goku uniforms?” – “The Kiryuins aren’t the only conglomerate around here, don’t underestimate our money!” – This is very interesting. Sanageyama and Gamagoori stress how the fight is about bringing about Satsuki’s vision. Satsuki is an individual to whom her individual nature is paramount, but here, the fight is between the Kiryuins and another conglomerate, between faceless groups. This is a battle of money, not of ideology, this is not Satsuki’s fight.
First Act – Part 2 – Sense? Order of Acts? We’re Wearing Meat, Dude:
1) With weaponizing seemingly harmless items, and turning things as literal as we can, we’re now dressed in meat. Big, juicy lumps of meat. I want meat. Is this supposed to ward us off? I’m gonna pull a Mako on you soon :3
2) Kobe is in bed with both the Americans and the Russians? Those dirty double-dealing bastard! But they have such beautiful meat…
3) Those arm-bands, yes, I know they’re being school disciplinary members, but still.
Had no one ever told you Gamagoori Ira? You do not stand between a girl and the skirt she has her eyes on!
Third Act – Satsuki’s Opposition Resembles Her – Her Methods, Her Spirit:
1) Social commentary? By the by, I wonder what role “normal citizens” have in this world, since in Honnouji their fates seem to rely on that of their student children, but that’s a “school city”, in a way that is phrased alike to “Army town” on purpose.
2) Mako in this one shot epitomizes the philosophy of everyone within this show – on the one hand, she has her feet on the ground, she is clad and stuffed with material objects, with materialism, with greed, withhumanity. On the other hand, she speaks of the desire to go higher, to go farther, she is infused withspirit. On a slightly more general thematic level, this is Satsuki and Ryuko – when they see a strong opponent, when they see a structure that seem tall, they are filled with the desire to climb it and be at the top, even as they clothe themselves with the trappings of power
Had Mako been a tarot card, she’d either be the fool, with one foot about to fall into the precipice (of commercialism, as in the episode where she’d been converted), or more fittingly here, The Magician, connecting heaven and earth.
3) A perfect shot, show it to someone, and he’d think Sanageyama is a shounen hero, who must avoid harming the mind-controlled population.
4) See, I’ve told you earlier! Satsuki can’t let this be a fight between money. Satsuki hates people who use others (even though she often does as well), who use money to bend them to their will. Now it’s personal, as it should’ve always been. You don’t want to anger Satsuki-sama.
Epilogue – This is War, and Less is More:
1) Cool arrival #3 – you know a badass for their ability to crack witticisms in the middle of a battlefield. Now I remember, those colours, the bike, those glasses. Ryuko is Yoko Littner, plus more flesh-covering.
2) As people keep mentioning, this is so very Oda Nobunaga, a sea of flames, and the desire to be victorious.
3) “Less is more! Naked is clothed! Naked is powerful!” – Two options, to Ryuko being more powerful. First, she’s finally fueled by more than an external power-source, but has found her own internal combustion engine. Second, continuing with episode 3’s message – less is more! The less you’re clothed, the more powerful you are! So, the less of Senketsu she has, the more she does? O.O
Post Episode Notes:
Well, it’s very fitting that Osaka is the final showdown. The person there is employing the same techniques as Gamagoori, and in weaponizing money, grandmothers, and citizens, he’s sort of following the thematic step of weaponizing clothes. This is a fight between conglomerates, this is a fight between clothes as the idea, and money. And Satsuki, Satsuki must make it her fight, she must not let it become impersonal, and she must not let it become about overarching goals.
Ryuko is transforming into a fine shounen hero right before our eyes. The question is this though, how will the two lines combine, especially since we know next week symbolizes the culmination of the first half of the show.