2014
01.16

*blink*

On this day in 1991, the city Baghdad was bombed, signaling the beginning of Operation Desert Storm…yes, a reference to the Gulf War was the best way to start this review, and if you go down to the comments to correct me on the date, then I only have two words for you: “time zones.” Plus, it was either this or referencing an Algerian hostage situation, and there were no hostages in this week’s Kill la Kill episode.

Following the signature “midway-through-the-show” climactic twist that director Hiroyuki Imaishi inserts into all of his animated series productions, Ryuko finds herself without a kamui and Honnouji Academy finds itself at war with Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka; with the chopped-up pieces of Senketsu divvied up between all the students to boot. As such, most of this week’s episode focuses on the members of the Elite Four working to conquer these cities while our heroine rides like the wind after them in order to put her best friend back together again. Oh, and Mako is sightseeing in Osaka and making people shoot her with money guns. Because that’s how she rolls.

Marquis refers to this as a bit of a breather episode, and I have to agree with him on some respects. There is no serious tension for a good chunk of the episode, with none of the Elite having any trouble accomplishing their goals; with the exception of Sanageyama in the economic powerhouse that is Osaka. Our look into Ryuko’s character following the beatdown by Nui Narime is a lot shorter than I hoped, with a quick re-confirmation that she still dislikes Satsuki before donning an admittedly sweet looking sweatsuit and motorcycling off, wearing some nice shades and the sentient piece of Senketsu as a scarf. Yes, seeing the short skirmishes that Gamagoori and Jakuzure take part in was fun, but it would have been nice to see Ryuko thoughts about where she lies in all this while giving chase. After all, it doesn’t seem like she truly learned much upon losing control two episodes ago. When all is said and done, what exactly is she still fighting for?

The fruitless task of wishing for deep character study in an Imaishi project aside, I’d be lying if I said that this episode wasn’t still fun regardless. The short sequence where Mikisugi drops his disguise as a high teacher and drives off, leaving Mataro befuddled, had me in stitches. And seeing more of this show’s post-apocalyptic Japan was appreciated, since it gave us an even better feel for how this crazy world works and how it continues to compare and contrasts with our own in not-so-subtle ways. All the characters were in top-form, with Mako’s antics in Osaka and Gamagoori’s commanding of his troops against the football players in Kobe being the episode’s greatest highlights for me. And let it be known that I don’t care how half-assed their excuse for Ryuko suddenly having the power to beat up waves of goons is; she kicked ass and looked amazing while doing it.

To close, this episode was enjoyable, which is par for the course. But, I expect something fantastic to occur next week. With the only piece of Senketsu left to grab being in Satsuki’s hands, Ryuko will be forced to truly intervene in the fight for Osaka. Even if Don’t Stop Me Now doesn’t advance the plot too much, it will at least be an action-packed feast for the eyes.

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