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KILL LA KILL #15 Isn't Too Smart About Setting Up Fights

Episode #15 -- Watch & Learn. It's bad booking!

Once you’ve got a crack team of mostly naked men in speedos cavorting around and showing off their shiny pink nipples, a few beads are definitely getting pushed over on whatever abacus is calculating the gender balance of T&A. KILL LA KILL has definitely gone on to follow through on its aspirations as an equal-opportunity offender.

While I got the biggest kick out of seeing the bad guys fight bad guys in this world’s equivalent of a Legion of Doom/Secret Society of Super-Villains bout, this episode does demonstrate the show’s realer problem…

It’s got no sense of booking.

Listen, let’s discount anything else about pro wrestling that might be of value for a minute. It’s still worthwhile to examine how a federation applies a certain science approach to generating ‘heat’ for any given match. It's a method that's been devised after promoting literally thousands of prior matches.

Want to generate anticipation for the title match at your pay-per-view? Then have the opponents keep trading barbs every week leading up to it, but never let them actually come to blows.

Have these wrestlers fought many times before, though? Well, add a gimmick to the match (cages, ladders, no holds barred, etc.) or add some new stakes (loser has to retire, winner gains entry to special tournament, etc) so it’s at least marginally different than the last bout.

This is the less-flashy things to consider when you need to be constantly ratcheting up conflict. Togashi just relishes in it, to great success. And I’d say the issue with KILL LA KILL is that, in spite of its constantly-enthralling creativity and style, it’s still basically a fight shonen; and it hasn’t really booked its fights properly.

This was the same issue with the repeated grudge bouts between Casshern and Dio in CASSHERN SINS. If you have your heroine and your villainess face off too early, or worse yet, let your hero beat your villain too early, then there’s not a lot of lingering tension to keep you invested in the next fight.

How long ago did Ryuko already vanquish the Student Council? How many times has she had pretty much the same costumed duel with her arch nemesis? How easily was she able to shake off the loss of her powers? Ad were there actually any lasting consequences to her turning into Venom for that moment? When you think about those question, it’s hard to feel like this is adding up like it should.

Watch Don’t Stop Me Now” and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
FoxxFireArt moderator on Jan. 24, 2014 at 5:36 p.m.

All the exposed skin just doesn't faze me in the slightest, whether it be male or female. I'm often confused with how Western culture becomes so uncomfortable with nudity and sexuality, yet seems so unfazed when it comes to violence. We watch violence, even pseudo-violence, all the time on TV, but people suddenly become wild at the idea of a woman breastfeeding in public or partially exposed nipple.

I doubt that Satsuki and her student council will be the real villains of this series. In fact, I can see them becoming allies by the end. Much in the way Viral joined the heroes in GURREN LAGANN. Seeing the tension between her and her mother, it feels as if Satsuki could easily become the Vegeta of this series. You can see that in a scene of almost mutual respect as Ryuko returns the Bakuzan. The correlation chart of the official website lists them as "rivals".

While I don't completely agree with her. I'm oddly starting to understand Satsuki motivations. People can be blinded by greed and act like animals, and people do more often respond more to fear. Look at how much people are willing to give up in their liberties in reaction to fear.

Satsuki has been one of the more effective antagonists that I've seen in a while. Think of all the battles that Ryuko has fought and won, but Satsuki came out of it with a smaller but stronger force. She applies her losses and learns from them.

I really wonder how the real world Osaka is taking this sort of interpretation of being a bunch of greed obsessed fools. You're sort of walking a weird line when you're using real world locations. Sort of like when you nuke a real world city in a comic or movie. How does the audience feel to see their home town be obliterated so violently?

I really enjoyed this episode. I wonder if it's any coincidence that this episode is likely named after one of my favorite Queen songs? It's had some really great visuals, and I got a kick out of the battles. Ryuko's starting to find her mission, and we learn that Satsuki can't hear Junketsu's voice the way Ryuko can hear Senketsu. I really think this is the point of the story where Revocs and Nudist Beach will start playing a larger role.

Daniel_Newton moderator on Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:43 p.m.

Great episode, it was worth the extra wait in my opinion. They even cut the intro and preview short to cram everything in, you don't see that very often.

@FoxxFireArt said:

I doubt that Satsuki and her student council will be the real villains of this series. In fact, I can see them becoming allies by the end. Much in the way Viral joined the heroes in GURREN LAGANN. Seeing the tension between her and her mother, it feels as if Satsuki could easily become the Vegeta of this series. You can see that in a scene of almost mutual respect as Ryuko returns the Bakuzan. The correlation chart of the official website lists them as "rivals".

This. I thought it was fairly obvious when Satsuki's mother was introduced that she will end up being the "real" villain in the end. I can easily imagine Ryuko and Satsuki teaming up to take her on, there are definitely some parallels with Goku and Vegeta teaming up to take down Frieza.

I still wouldn't be surprised if Ryuko and Satsuki are sisters. We haven't seen Ryuko's mother or Satsuki's father, and it would explain why they both have kamui uniforms. Maybe Ryuko's father worked for Revocs but he found out what they planned on doing with kamui uniforms, so he ran away and created Senketsu and the Scissors to fight them.

Tom said:

were there actually any lasting consequences to her turning into Venom for that moment?

Huh? I was under the impression that this was resolved within that episode. Ryuko let her anger take over and basically Hulked out, and Mako snapped her out of it. Now she knows not to let it happen again.

It was further clarified during this episode:

Satsuki: "Have you forgotten that you went on a rampage when you gave in to rage? Have you forgotten the rage in your heart that wants revenge for your father?!"

Ryuko: "I haven't forgotten! But I'm done wallowing in it. I'll never make another mistake like that again!"

Lurkeroon Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.

Kill La Kill still has plenty of time to build up to a new grand enemy. We should know in another 2-3 episodes.

I agree about the fights. I like seeing equal fights, but I don't like seeing the hero just get up and keep going. The tension is not as great as it was in the beginning.

Marshal Victoryon Jan. 24, 2014 at 8:42 p.m.

Posted this in the discussions but I think the show was based on two old phrases. "The cloths make the man." an "The man makes the cloths." It fits each side pov .

FoxxFireArt moderator on Jan. 25, 2014 at 4:41 p.m.

@Daniel_Newton:

The concept of them being sisters seems a tad soap opera. Though, I wouldn't be surprised of some connection. Satsuki's father has only been seen in a vague flashback, and are we really sure that Ryuko's mother really died? I must imagine that Isshin had some connection to Revocs prior to creating Senketsu. Next episode should fill in some gaps, and the preview suggests Satsuki is surprised to learn something.

We've also never learned why Junketsu was originally suppose to be off limits to Satsuki.

Sometimes, I'm confused when I see critques of this series be made when someone is saying something doesn't happen in an episode, when it clearly did; or something wasn't explained, when the dialog does explain it. This series has done many of the same things GURREN LAGANN has in its plot and pacing. Is this because it's a female protagonist?

ZombiePieon Jan. 25, 2014 at 7:40 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

Sometimes, I'm confused when I see critques of this series be made when someone is saying something doesn't happen in an episode, when it clearly did; or something wasn't explained, when the dialog does explain it. This series has done many of the same things GURREN LAGANN has in its plot and pacing. Is this because it's a female protagonist?

I know this isn't directed towards me, but here's my response to some of your points:

  1. I have issues with what all of the stuff that Kill la Kill brings up and then doesn't address in future episodes. Also, to me it's less about what is or isn't mentioned and more about how Kill la Kill goes about presenting itself and its story.
  2. I respectively disagree about Kill la Kill having the same pacing as Gurren Lagann
  3. That's not my issue, and I would like to mention my critiques have never mentioned that or the fanservice.

Anyways I'll write a more detailed response about my thoughts of the episode another time. My brother just recently proposed this Saturday. Also, I need to write something about the hate mail I have been getting on Tumblr from anonymous users. It's insane.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Jan. 25, 2014 at 9:09 p.m.

@ZombiePiesaid:

  1. I have issues with what all of the stuff that Kill la Kill brings up and then doesn't address in future episodes. Also, to me it's less about what is or isn't mentioned and more about how Kill la Kill goes about presenting itself and its story.

How could you know what "future" episodes will and won't explain? Just because something hasn't been explained yet doesn't mean it never will. I've also read complaints about the series not explaining certain things when the dialog clearly does. Including that complaint about the sight gag of Mako catching money, which I still compare to analyzing the physics of Looney Toons jokes.

Mako is an incredibly lazy girl, but she has shown the ability to apply herself as captain of the Fighting Club, drawing out incredibly power of her Two-Star uniform when her heart was into it. In the closing scene of Episode 14, Mako talks about how she's crazy motivated when it comes to money.

It does do many similar things with plot and pacing as GURREN LAGANN. Such as introducing early villains who are not ultimately the final villains. In fact, one of the early villains becomes an ally. New concepts are frequently introduced slowly. Ryuko is slowly evolving and learning her place and mission in the world. Much in the way Simon did. he didn't really fin his place until he finally got over Kamina's death. Both have items of power that fall into their lap by complete chance, and they learn to apply that power in different ways as the series goes on. The time-skip in GL doesn't happen until Episode 17 of 27. The series was almost over by then. This casting is just more female focused here.

I'm rather pleased that the series has, thus far, strayed away from romantic subplots. That's surprising when it comes to having a female lead.

Anyways I'll write a more detailed response about my thoughts of the episode another time. My brother just recently proposed this Saturday. Also, I need to write something about the hate mail I have been getting on Tumblr from anonymous users. It's insane.

For a series that you express such open contempt for, you seem to want to spend a curious amount of time dedicated to focusing upon it.

When there's a series that I don't like, I pretty much just put it aside and ignore it. There's no reason for me to waste time or effort when there are other things to watch and enjoy. For example, I tried out QUEEN'S BLADE and IKKI TOUSEN, but I found them to be a bit gross. I dropped them, because I realized they were never going to be what I personally wanted. I'm under no obligation to watch everything all the way through.

ZombiePieon Jan. 26, 2014 at 1:26 a.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

For a series that you express such open contempt for, you seem to want to spend a curious amount of time dedicated to focusing upon it.

I don't hold the show in contempt! I like 70-80% of the show, and find it to be a visual treat. It's just that 20% that I find irritating, and I spend more time discussing that than what I like because everyone else has already discussed the parts that I like in great detail.

Overall I think this was a good episode, BUT I have concerns. This was an action episode and good on Trigger for realizing that they can direct some really amazing action sequences. The scene on the tower? Fantastic!

However, I liked this episode for what it didn't have as much as what it did have. No stupid ass dramatic speeches about the evils of clothing or commercialism. Battles that don't adhere to the tournament formula. Finally, and this is what I thought was most important, we have Matoi using her noggin to get stuff done. Up to this point she's always had stuff handed to her, and Senketsu still does, but you're finally getting the sense that she's learning. That or she just brute forces her way to the solution which I find tiring.

I hope the next episode is going to be the official reveal that Senketsu is her father...great. It's just that, that wasn't really a secret in the first place

Kino88on Jan. 26, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.
I liked this episode, though honestly I would think this is probably the Last time these two ladies butt heads, At least I hope so, given that there battles are starting to feel a bit samey, I'm still betting that both Ryuko and Satsuki will be teaming up to deal with a bigger Threat, though I am curious about this big reveal there touting for the next episode,
ZombiePieon Jan. 27, 2014 at 1:01 a.m.

I think I have been able to finally pinpoint the fundamental issue that I have with the series. Thus far Matoi has had everything given to her on a silver platter. Senketsu, weakness to opponents, and solutions to her potentially lethal predicaments are all delivered to Matoi with pinpoint accuracy. Now for the first couple of conflicts it was fine considering that she was "learning the ropes," but at this point it's just not jiving with me.

In the previous review I pointed out that I had a problem with how the villains are better characters than Matoi. This is the primary reason for that sentiment. The Four Divas for example, are all technically speaking weaker than Matoi, but they end up using their intellect and technical knowledge to level the playing field. They in turn "earn their worth" in that they are clearly working and making efforts to get where they are. Satsuki also is shown concocting schemes and plans that, albeit oftentimes are extreme, but at least she's the one that comes up with them.

For Matoi the solution is usually whispered to her or there's suddenly a new capability that Senketsu has that effectively addresses whatever roadblock she faces. It just cuts the tension, and now that Matoi has Senketsu back I can't help but be C3PO when I say "here we go again."

hitsusatsu11on Jan. 27, 2014 at 6 p.m.

I liked the episode.

takashichea moderator on Jan. 28, 2014 at 8:46 p.m.

Yeah, I agree about the fights. After seeing Ryuko and Satsuki's first bout, nothing really lives up or had any variety. Would like to see Aikuro and Tsumugu in action or the others.

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