After that first episode, this series warranted some extra attention. Despite some concerns on my part, I dove right into this next episode with much anticipation. While the episodes was still good, it still presents a set of concerns that will be hard to overlook.
Quick recap. Ryuko stumbles out after her last battle, passes out, and is rescued by Mako and her family. She suffered from a large amount of blood loss after her uniform, Senketsu, almost sucks her dry. Meanwhile, the tennis club makes plans to use of a tournament to further Honnouji’s plans, which are to takeover of the world. The next day, Ryuko comes across the tennis club captain, Omiko Hakodate, who starts to give her a good beating when Senketsu fails to activate. She escapes into the drains, and is found by her teacher, Aikuro Mikisugi, who explains Senketsu requires her blood to operate, providing her with a glove to help her spill blood. Ryuko then goes to face Omiko which results in a tennis match between the two. Ryuko gets off to a rough start and finds herself at 0-40, but soon manages to fight back with her scissor blade and defeat Omiko’s two star Uniform, winning the match on technicality. Afterwards, student council president Satsuki herself appears before Ryuko to challenge her to a fight, wielding a blade that can cut through Senketsu, forcing Ryuko to escape and bide her time.
This episode finally lays out Satsuki’s plans: to take over the world. She makes reference that the student uniforms are derivatives of the army and navy. And, as such, these uniforms will be used in combat, to forward the Human Conquest and Liberation project. With her monologue in this episode, combined with her Nineteen Eighty-Four doublethink reference in the previous episodes, goes to emphasize a very fascist and totalitarian regime. Much akin to the rise of fascism in Europe, we see a strong personality taking charge, with those she usurps doing nothing to stem evil ambitions. She nurtures a few, in order to spread fear a subjection. It makes her to be a pretty dark villain.
What I find fascinating is the ‘sacrifices’ that Ryuko has to perform in order to gain the strength to fight this establishment.To activate, and maintain, the power provided by her uniform, she has to give an offering of blood. You could say that his offering is and incremental step in sacrificing her life, which is the path that this inevitably leads too. As we see in this episode, the longer she fights the more blood she has to offer. An the method that she offers her blood is interesting as well. The special glove she gets slits her wrist. It gives a very gruesome symbolism that using Senketsu is akin to suicide. Again, some very dark imagery.
The second sacrifice is of her modesty and dignity. While her enemy uses uniforms that are both functional, and covering, her uniform exposes everything to bear. Her enemies ogle her in a very sexual manner, which you would thing would impact her on an emotional level. it’s a level of fan service that I find a bit unsettling. While this is normal in shows like Queen’s Blade and Freezing (shows I tend to avoid), I find it to be almost out of place in this show. She’s the only character who’s uniform is that revealing.
While I’m really enjoying this show, my hope is that some of these more’ ‘interesting’ plot and animation elements come with a purpose. As a viewer, we’ve only been subjected to 72 hours of in-world time, so there’s still much we don’t know. It’s going to be an interesting trip as we work our way through these villains and into the final showdown.