Some interesting conversations have sprung up regarding this episode. I particularly enjoyed this post and the comments therein. I don’t have too much to add to this myself, beyond that I do enjoy the direction of Satsuki and, later, Ryuuko owning their images and gaining all the more power from them. Sexuality is a tricky thing; here in the States, there are many double standards and hypocrisies in our society that color people’s views and tear down and destroy what should really be a pretty positive thing. People having confidence in themselves and their appearance should be the default, and it’s always sad when it’s not, particularly when it is no fault of the person made to feel shame.
There are still definitely skeevy elements to the series, and it still feels a bit like it’s trying to have its cake and eat it, too, with the message of pride side-by-side all the standard anime ogling, but at least encouraging pride and positivity is a decent thing. Fanservice is a bit more fun when everyone is in on it. (Just ask the homeroom teacher!) Even if their outfits still look pretty dumb. (Sorry, I had to indulge in one hypocritical moment there. I probably have no room to speak, anyway, since my fashion sense is rather boring.)
So how about that ridiculous sword fight?! I really enjoyed Satsuki as immovable object in the beginning; I get a kick out of those sequences where the hero tries their hardest to chip away at the villain, but the person on the receiving end of the blows is just so damn implacable that they scarcely need to move to gain the upper hand. There’s a beautiful arrogance in knowing that you are so powerful that it’s but a trifle to win a fight. It’s also enjoyable how the bursts of steam from the kamui punctuate moments in the battle. Those uniforms have their fingers on the pulse of great drama.
The tumble through the school building is rad, too, although Satsuki’s trot inside is … not so much. Probably the only time in the episode the obvious CG really bothered me. But that tumble! Just give me people flying around everywhere and hacking at each other with that dynamic camera, and I will be happy. The sheer power on display during that scene is the grandest thing.
All hope nearly lost before Ryuuko’s comeback. Look at Satsuki hogging all that precious light and color for herself.
If I had to pick a favorite moment in the skirmish afterward, it’s probably Ryuuko demanding that Satsuki spill the beans about who killed Ryuuko’s father before they headbutt and then THEIR UNIFORMS HEADBUTT. I was already all in by that point, but I was extra all in after that. It’s another thing I quite enjoy: hero and villain fighting for onscreen space until they literally come head-to-head and bash each other. Who couldn’t get behind that? Even the uniforms are getting in on this!
Senketsu has been show to house a will of its own, and I imagine Satsuki’s Junketsu is much the same. I wonder if the two uniforms “know” each other and have a hatred for one another that matches the enmity Satsuki and Ryuuko feel for one another? We’ve already got Ryuuko and Satsuki talking smack to each other while they’re battling — I would like to see the uniforms get in on the act, as well. As long as they’re talking trash and not grandstanding on some bullshit philosophy like they’re Gundam pilots or something.
One thing, though: I do wonder where they go from here. The episode clearly shows that 1) Powered-up Ryuuko is exceeded only by Satsuki, and 2) going higher than even 50 percent on the life thread scale brings madness. There will probably be something to make the remaining folks a threat to Ryuuko. I can’t imagine why all that stuff would be shown if there weren’t some sort of trick up the sleeve.
And, of course, I would be a fool if I did not heap yet more adoration onto Mako. Who among us wouldn’t feel more pumped up and confident in ourselves after Mako’s interpretive dance? Hers is a message that transcends written and aural communication. One look and all her feelings are immediately apparent. Mako is a true hero.