Trigger warning for rape. …Heh, “trigger”…but no seriously, trigger warning.
Another great episode of Kill la Kill. The rushed pacing was slightly more wearisome, but for the most part it wasn’t that bad, and I had no problem keeping up with the story or feeling burnt out by it. The story probably would benefit a lot if it were to slow down, but it’s still not that big of an issue for me. And just like the last episode I love how wacky and stylized the whole story is, and there’s a lot great use of a limited budget; in this episode there actually seemed to be less reliance on CG, but it’s possible that it was just implemented in less noticeable ways.
Probably the most pressing issue with this episode would be the two “rapey” scenes—first with Mako’s dad creepily hovering over an unconscious Ryuko, and later when Aikuro (the teacher) paralyzes a nude Ryuko and slowly strips off his clothes to show off his incredibly sexy body. To be entirely honest I wasn’t really bothered by it at all, and I even it found to be pretty funny—hilarious, even. I only really bring it up here though since using rape (or something with “rapey” undertones in this case,) for humor is always going to seem distasteful, and I can understand why others would find it offensive. And it is distasteful, mind you. I’m not going to try and defend it or anything, just pointing out that it’s there.
A lot of the fanservice in general is rather distasteful for that matter, and It’d be nice if Kill la Kill toned it down, but it’s not really that bad. This is a pretty silly show anyways, so it’s hardly the worst offender of distasteful fanservice. (As opposed to something like Btooom! for example, where it uses rape as both fanservice and a way to be dark and edgy while taking itself completely seriously. And that’s one of of my least-favorite anime, for the record.)
Ah, so there’s something like eight two-star uniform wearers and four three-star wearers; that’s a detail I missed in the last episode, admittedly. And especially now with the handicap of Ryuko essentially having a time limit to how long she can use Senketsu, I can see how the ladder-climbing setup could last for at least a cour. The big problem with that though is the constant threat of the student council ganging up on Ryuko instead of humoring her with “matches,” and twice throughout this episode we had Ryuko running away just before the student council could gang up on her. So the whole ladder-climbing thing seems like it could get pretty repetitive awfully soon, but thankfully the preview for episode three seems to suggest that the plot might steer into another direction.
Interesting social commentary about how traditional Japanese school uniforms are modeled after military uniforms. Kill la Kill is a pretty obvious criticism of fascist governments (that whole bit about the Nazi’s in the beginning of episode 1 was there for a reason,) but now the criticisms towards Imperialist Japan in particular are getting a little more obvious. It’s interesting how there are so many animes with anti-war themes, but you rarely actually see any that directly criticize Imperialist Japan. This is because World War II is very much an embarrassment to Japan, and a subject that still brings up a lot of controversy—which is why there’s even such a thing as revisionist politics in Japan.
As a minor point, the tennis player was probably a homage to Aim for the Ace!, the 1972 shoujo manga which inspired Aim for the Top! Gunbuster. The teacher guy is also a parody of Coach from Gunbuster, which in turn is probably a parody of some character from Aim for the Ace!. Haven’t actually seen Aim for the Ace! for myself, so I can’t really say much about it.