It is time. Time for the ultimate battle royal for Ryuuko. The last few episodes covered the short time leading up to this moment. She’s fought her way to the top, and now she faces her first opponent, who only yesterday assisted her. But can she win by brute force alone?
Before she even goes to her match against Ira, her teacher Aikuro asks her to drop out of the fight. He knows full well that Ryuuko is so blinded by revenge in the search for answers, that she is nearly incapable of fighting intelligently. This rings even more true now that she’s facing a three-star uniform. The brute force tactics she used against the lower tier subordinates wont work against this level of competition. But of course she declines, with misplaced confidence in her own abilities.
And when the battle starts, she is completely neutralized by Ira’s Shackle Regalia/Courage Regalia uniform combination. Her attacks only power him up, and his counterattacks push her against the ropes. The fight is completely out of hand for her. She has become so used to winning on brute strength alone, that she fails to employ strategy in her attacks. Only when Senketsu revels he plan to evolve himself, does the a strategy fall into place, and she defeats him.
Once again, Ryuuko is saved, not through her own strength, but by the strategy of others. Senketsu also saved her in the earlier fight against Uzu Sanageyama, when cutting him into pieces blocked the opponents vision, allowing a win. But against her next opponent, who has been studying her every move, it’s hard to believe she can prevail this time.
This story is primed for a defeat. A resounding, character defining defeat. It’s hard to believe the good times will roll on longer. She’s become a meathead. Rational thought is escaping her, even when faced with good advice. I’d bet my money that the next episode brings the hurt, against an opponent who’s strength she knows nothing about. But the real key to this story will be what comes after, and what defeat forces her to think about, and how she changes because of it.