I thought Mako would be the final boss, so I was surprised they used her as an enemy so early. But they did so to great effect.
Throughout the show we’ve been aware of the system in the school where club leaders’ families are rewarded with better housing and opportunities, but we’d only seen the lives of the poor students firsthand, through the lens of Mako’s family. By having Ryuko dump the club leader duties on Mako, we see her family rise to the top and the resulting decay of their relationships. Wealth and power do not necessarily make anyone happier.
What I found most strange about this episode was the pacing. In any other show this arc would have lasted at least three episodes. But Kill la Kill wraps it up in one. This is not a complaint: I appreciate the fast pacing. Kill la Kill keeps the viewers on their toes, but it never loses their interest. I’d pick tons of excitement and a bit of confusion over the alternative any day.
At the end of the episode, Ryuuko’s nonviolent response turns Mako around, leading her to anger at her family for failing to stop her.
I think most people (myself included) have taken the importance of clothing in this show mostly as a joke and an excuse for some interesting fanservice. But the more I think about it the richer this symbolism is (the Law of Fives in action, I know). Satsuki’s underlings are controlled by their clothing. They don’t wear their clothing, their clothing wears them. Satsuki herself wears her clothing and dominates it, like she dominates everyone around her. Ryuuko is different, in that she wears her clothing, and her clothing wears her. She accepts and is comfortable with her position, but doesn’t allow herself to be controlled by it.
The most admirable group of all, however, are Mako and her family at the end of the episode, when they toss off their clothing and rip it to shreds. They are truly free, free to apologize to Ryuuko and become reconciled as a family once more.
This reminds me of a story about St. Francis of Assissi. Francis had a vision in which he was told to rebuild a church, so he took some cloth from his father’s store and sold it to rebuild the church. His father was angry, and brought his son to trial. There his father told Francis that he had given him everything he owned and it wasn’t his to give away, including the clothes on his back. So Francis stripped off all his clothes and skipped off down the road, naked as the day he was born and singing. The imagery from Kill la Kill is similar, even if the show seems to be going for the less radical, complementary vision of person and position exemplified by Ryuuko over Francis’ rejection of power.
One final thought: Satsuki refers to the students as pigs in human clothing, and says that their greed will lead to their eventual downfall. But isn’t she the greediest of all?
9 thoughts on “Kill la Kill 07 — The Strongest Enemy”
While it was a nice episode, I think the series should provide a counter example to what happened with Mako’s family. After all, it’s not true that poor people will necessarily gets corrupted if they somehow get a better social standing. The take away here is that they can only be happy if they remain poor, which is a totally misguided message.
Lin, I disagree. It is sudden wealth that ruins people. There are those who build wealth through lifestyle and those who have money fall upon them (lottery winners), don’t know how to behave and fall to ruin shortly afterward.
Keep in mind the Mako family was quite happy as middle-class. That was a fair transition for them. That is the counter example within the show itself!
Draggle, can you explain: “the Law of Fives in action”? I get everything else around it, but LoF confuses me.
“Satsuki herself wears her clothing and dominates it”, ah but she didn’t until Ryuuko came along. She still doesn’t most of the time. Does that mean she considers what is necessary for others, not necessary for herself? Power within, not externalized, and all that?
Implications of clothing are abound. Central theme and symbolism. I’ll have to chew on it.
The Law of Fives comes from the Principia Discordia. It’s somewhat obscure but I mention it occasionally.
When I mentioned this, I was specifically referring to the commentary afterwards:
I think there’s something profound about that statement. Seek and ye shall find.
That’s true, Satsuki didn’t wear her special clothing until Ryuuko came around. I guess she just didn’t need it the power until then. Maybe we could tie this in with how she refuses to rely on others, but wants to dominate everyone with her own internal power.
“Lin, I disagree. It is sudden wealth that ruins people.”
No, you can’t apply a rule of thumb like that to people. Human beings are more complex than that. Not everyone is going to get corrupted, sudden wealth or not. Some people will manage to stay grounded even if they get rich by winning a lottery.
You have a point. I think the idea was more along the lines of that money itself can’t make you happy and can in fact distract you from the things that truly matter, not that people should remain poor. Although I can certainly see how it could be interpreted this way.
Satsuki’s clothes, however, bear the name of “purity”. Satsuki isn’t just greedy. It’s not clear what her motives are, but they are probably somewhat idealistic (if twisted), and thus, “pure”. She manipulates people by raining on them bits of wealth and power, things that for her are only tools to some higher purpose. What that may be, it’s anyone’s guess. But clearly she’s set apart from her subjects, and apparently that’s the root of her fascination with Ryuuko as well – she sees her as an equal, someone who’s driven by more than sheer greed. If this means that she wants her as an ally, or that she is just slowly delaying the pleasure to destroy her with her own hands, it’s still unclear.
That’s a good point. I’m not sure what to make of Satsuki’s “purity” yet. We really know very little about her and what her goals are. From what we’ve seen so far she sure doesn’t seem all that pure though.
She is the only one who sees the world has it is and therefore the only one fit to rule it. It isn’t greed. It is her duty to lead the pigs in humans clothing.
Purity could just means the way she sees herself.
And about Mako’s parents changing trough wealth. I just see them has good people but also a bit dumb. I really see them being easily influenced when thrown in a system they know nothing about.
True, it’s probably not greed, but something worse than greed.
And yeah, Mako’s parents are pretty dumb. I agree with your analysis here.