2014
01.10

If you turn that frown upside down, she kind of looks like Hajime.

Well, bait-and-switch time begins again. After a two-week hiatus, the show doesn’t do breathers at all. It feels like a huge sucker punch, giving Ryuko half an episode where she angsts about her how she can control Senketsu, only to take that away the moment she gets back on her feet. Like, you genuinely expect her to be back in full form and fight the school because Shinjiro riled her up, but the moment you see what’s behind his bangs, that’s when you remember what show this is. I remember when everybody was thinking Shinjiro would become Ryuko’s love interest or something, but that’s something a boring show would do. This series demands its audience to broaden their imagination with these kinds of moments. In hindsight, could you really look at this lone high school paperboy fighting for free speech seriously? If you did, the reveal was the series laughing at you for falling for that trick. Satsuki’s empire can be oppressive, but to expect them to suppress free press seems a little too cliché.

Speaking of, I’m still thinking that she might be good, or she thinks she’s on the good side to say the least. Perhaps she’s scheming against her mom, whose empire all over the world is portrayed as too strong to need any further campaigning. Yeah, the Kyoto-Kobe-Osaka metropolis sounds like rich territory, but plans in the show never go exactly as expected. Satsuki’s probably got an agenda, while Ragyo’s savvy enough to use Harime to stop any potential backstabbing. There’s too much ambition in each others’ speeches to not see any potential betrayal between the two. And who knows, maybe we’ve been given the wrong idea about Satsuki and what her deal is. After all, she didn’t kill Ryuko despite having every chance to do so. She even gave her a blanket.

And at Ragyo’s end, I’m interested in the “clothing is sin” motif. She admits that what she’s selling to the world is a vice, and admits it with absolute pride. To get to the root, how does clothing define sin? Besides being a sign of straying from God, as Ragyo attests, clothing can lead to decadence. Clothing can define cultures, like the dresses of Queens who want to show they mean business. Clothes can play with the mind, giving a stark contrast to what the wearer actually means in order to screw with people. It’s like how wearing a good business suit can automatically win an interview. Superficiality can be our greatest weapon in the world, whether it be for sport or for bloodshed, and Ragyo offers that proposal when delivering her speech.

So as clothing is sin, where does that put Ryuko? As of the end of this episode, she’s lost Senketsu and is up against an entire army, if not armies if Satsuki does splinter from her mother. But that doesn’t mean she has nothing, since she still has Nudist Beach to go to. Maybe Tsumugu can teach her a few things. He could become a bad guy, but that would be too silly even for the show’s standards. While the show can be random, a close look through can demonstrate a thread connecting things together.

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  1. Great read..!
    Yeah, Ryuko’s swift defeat caught me by surprise too, I’m theorizing here, but my guess is that Satsuki plans to retrieve info from Senketsu, reassemble him, and maybe even patch his eye back up, to indicate he’s now more powerful and more complete, and also put her in a more good-guys position… I could personally see the show taking this direction, I don’t actually think Satsuki plans to keep Senketsu to herself or eliminate him, she’s clearly fighting against her mother and I think she wants Ryuko as her ally, but doesn’t want to do so directly, since it may prematurely trigger a counter move by her mother and whatever enemies there may be since doing so would be an obvious hostile move if she let down her current motives, which are hazy for now, but definitely starting to show some opposition against Satsuki’s mother through several small (and pretty big, really) hints…

    But who knows if Trigger throws another twist in here that turns everything upside down, for all we know, Satsuki’s mother is actually the good guy, and Satsuki herself may just be some unaware self-destructive brat, obsessed with something she shouldn’t be, being the lesser or maybe worse of two evils… Or like we want to believe, she might just be a good guy… Heh, it’s fun guessing the outcome 😛