Ryuko begins her fight with Nui Harime, demanding a reason for her father’s death. Nui reveals that she killed Ryuko’s father to steal his Sword Scissor, and claims that Ryuko’s hate for her is in fact love. Enraged, Ryuko’s blood begins to boil, sending Senketsu into a frenzy, causing him to consume Ryuko. The twisted form of Senketsu merged with Ryuko loses blood at an alarming rate, prompting Mako to rush for aid. Meanwhile, Tsugumu takes on the monstrous Ryuko and Nui at the same time, but cannot harm either of them. Satsuki steps in with her Junketsu to take down Ryuko, but this is unneeded, as Mako manages to snap Ryuko out of her rage. A few days later, Ryuko returns to Honnouji to challenge Satsuki, but her challenge is turned down on account of Ryuko’s injuries. Satsuki then reveals the King of the Hill battles were a mere ploy to perfect the Ultima Uniforms, and subjugate the rest of the country.
After last week’s episode, I was slightly worried the midseason finale might not be able to deliver. However, in true Kill la Kill style, episode 12 blew all the previous episodes out of the water. The raw emotion, superbly animated action sequences and further plot progression were all superbly executed, and interspliced with excellent humour, courtesy of Mako. The entire episode had me wildly fluctuating between awed, wanting to cry and laughing out loud. Hands down my favourite episode so far; it definitely surpassed episode 3 (even though I still adore it).
The development of Senketsu losing control was different to how I imagined it eventuating, in that it was less about Senketsu becoming driven to evolve further and further, leading to Ryuko’s being devoured, but more about Ryuko’s feelings flooding Senketsu. I think this can be seen through Ryuko achieving Life Fibre Synchronise with Senketsu; her feelings flow through Senketsu, so her blind rage caused Senketsu to go berserk. I imagine this will impact significantly on Ryuko and Senketsu’s relationship; she’s probably going to be quite wary of putting Senketsu back on, or ashamed of herself for losing control as she did. The previews for the next episode seem to indicate this will be the case.
The whole event of Senketsu losing control and wearing Ryuko was amazingly done, both artistically and symbolically. The design of the out-of-control Ryuko was terrifying, and bore an uncanny resemblance to the released form of Eva Unit 01 from neon Genesis Evangelion. Symbolically, it also demonstrated how Ryuko, by giving in to her rage, was no longer functional as a human, and so became an object. Here, clothing.
However, Mako managed to break through this and save Ryuko from herself. Mako’s dedication and concern for Ryuko were moving throughout the episode, but the scene of her continuing to cling to the burning Ryuko was the high point and shows just how close the two have become. Ryuko has gone from indifference to having Mako as an integral part of her life. And throughout all this, Mako still manages to make me laugh with fantastic one liners such as “People die from blood loss!” and “Oh wow, I got a free tan! Lucky!”. Mako really broke out on her own, and it makes me so happy that she is her own character, and not merely a facet of Ryuko.
Satsuki also gained further depth with this episode, casting further doubt over her role as the series’ villain. She may be an antagonist, but I don’t think we can truly mark her down as evil just yet. We now know that the Naturals Election and king of the Hill battle were all just another part of her ultimate plan to perfect the Ultima Uniforms and conquer all of Japan’s schools, but for what reason does she want to conquer the world? I don’t think Satsuki is so shallow to want to dominate the Earth simply to rule. The heart of her plans must relate to Revocs and her mother; they are certainly painted in a much more sinister light than Satsuki. In all likelihood, she will eventually team up with Ryuko to take on the Revocs group, but when remains to be seen. How Ryuko will respond to the coming Battlefield Trip will likely be a big indicator. Will she fight for the other three schools? Warn them of Satsuki? Or become privy to Satsuki’s motivations and agree to help her subjugate the other schools? I can’t wait to find out.
What I do want to know is why Satsuki sent Nui to retrieve the Sword Scissors. My current thoughts are that she simply wanted to make sure no one but herself was capable of countering Life Fibres. But that just raises more questions. Why was Dr. Matoi creating anti-Life Fibre weapons, but simultaneously housing a Godrobe? Could Senketsu be the Godrobe responsible for devouring Tsugumu’s old flame? Or part of Matoi’s research? surely Satsuki has the answers.
Regardless, what the flashback, and this entire episode, showed us is that Nui Harime is the scariest character in anime at the moment. Perfectly content to stab someone in the stomach while smiling. Her raw power is amazing, too, and shows just how powerful Revocs is. The adults of this world are truly top dogs, and I fear Satsuki may be mere children, and get their butts handed to them.
I am so excited to see what the second half of Kill la Kill has in store for us. The first half has been an amazing ride, and set the stage for a truly special conclusion. I just don’t know if I can wait two weeks for the next episode!