Spoiler break starts immediately. You know the drill. Do not read if you don’t want to spoil Kill la Kill for yourself.
Only in Kill la Kill, will you see an episode (ep 15) where the antagonist squares off against the heroine in one of the most memorable anime fights in recent history, and then in the next episode, the antagonist gets turned into fanservice fodder by being sexually aroused to an orgasm by her mother inside a hot springs (if I am reading that scene correctly).
Yup, animated lesbian incest, ladies and gentlemen.
And then in the subsequent episode (ep 17) after that, antagonist attempts to murder her own mother by backstabbing her with a sword.
I have sort of predicted Satsuki’s face turn ever since the series started. She is not your archetypical anime villain. She is very calculative, and the viewer is given numerous hints throughout the show that she has something hidden under her sleeves.
Many times, she had the chance to finish off our heroine for good: in episode 3, during the climax of her duel with Ryuko, she uncharacteristically chooses to withdraw her blade, even though Ryuko was completely exhausted from the fight; in episode 12, she retracts her intended deathblow to Zombie-Ryuko at the last moment upon Mako’s interference; in episode 13, she covers Ryuko with a blanket as a mark of respect and dignity to her fallen opponent; in episode 15, she agrees to a mutual stand-down with Ryuko after the both of them had fought each other to a stalemate.
And she very specifically orders Nui Harime, the Grand Couturier, to leave Ryuko alone, or face her wrath.
What sort of clichéd, anime villain would ever leave their nemesis standing? Or even show them proper respect? Now we understand that Satsuki was basically testing Ryuko’s resolve from the start, and training her to be a better warrior. She sends her school club members to test Ryuko’s strength; she later organises the King of the Hill tournament to test both the prowess of Ryuko and her Elite Four. It was rudely interrupted by Harime, but this turn of events also gives us a glimpse at the Grand Couturier’s terrifying power: she can single-handedly defeat a Three-Star Uniform without breaking a sweat, and without the use of Life Fibres. She also manages to hold her own against Ryuko, someone using the power of 100% Life Fibres.
I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the full extent of the Grand Couturier’s abilities, and that her maximum powers are going to be revealed very soon in the next few episodes. Remember, she also possesses the other half of Isshin Matoi’s scissor blade, a very deadly weapon.
Satsuki, for all of her amazing, indomitable prowess as a warrior, realised long ago that she cannot win the rebellion against her mother alone. She has been gathering the strength of her friends and academy students by creating the Goku Uniforms, and she has trained a worthy, but oblivious-to-everything ally in Ryuko Matoi.
And the best part of it all? We still have eight episodes to go. I have no idea how the series is going to end now, but I don’t care. I’m not worried that Trigger will mess it up, because they have already given me everything that I could ask for from an anime: the most exciting animated action I’ve seen since Samurai Jack; headstrong, crazy, and badass female characters; over the top cartoon silliness and hilarity, exactly what a cartoon should be; and a memorable (anti)villain who is just as important as the protagonist.
This is the way to make anime more strong, after all the moe crap we’ve seen for the past five years. And once again, we have to rely on the crazy brains of ex-Gainax members. Anime is finally worth watching again.