kill-la-kill

anonymous asked:

Hey! I read almost all your writings on Ryuko and Senketsu (on your 2 blogs ah ah!) And I found it wonderful! Not seriously it is really good work, thank you for exist! (I like this ship more than anything argh). However I have a question that arises in my head recently. In the Ryuko / Senketsu relationship can we speak of "love at first sight" or "crush"? Because I find that their relationship is developed fairly quickly in the series! So I would like to know your opinion on it?

Woah, Anon! That is a lot of essays. Thank you!

As for your question, well, even with all the innuendo, I would still argue that, in canon, Ryuko and Senketsu’s relationship is platonic. To quote myself:

I definitely understand the appeal and significance of fictional relationships gaining romantic confirmation, but Kill la Kill is a series that strongly pushes the idea that a relationship does not have to be romantic in order to be important—and Ryuko and Senketsu are the heart of this concept. They’ll risk their lives for each other without a moment’s hesitation, they’re honest and open with their thoughts and feelings when alone together, they’ll make jokes and statements tinged with romantic and sexual implications, they’re depicted holding hands and going on a date on two official cards, but ultimately, above all else, they always want to be together.

Maybe nobody knows what this means, maybe (probably) they themselves don’t know what this means, but the point of the series isn’t to define it—the point is that it’s valuable no matter what it is, and that its incomprehensibility is beautiful and powerful.

So, I would say that a “love at first sight” or a “crush” regarding Ryuko and Senketsu isn’t the intended interpretation of their relationship, since the intention—in my mind, anyway!—is instead that you don’t have to have this romantic, “love at first sight” situation in order for you to have a valuable relationship with someone.

That said, you might argue for a sort of “love at first taste” regarding Senketsu towards Ryuko, as he notes in episode 13 that he gets a “feeling” from drinking Ryuko’s blood—that grows stronger every time he does so—that tells him that he was born to be worn by Ryuko and Ryuko alone. As it turns out, Senketsu was, quite literally, made for Ryuko, and in this sense, is very much her soulmate, something Mako notes explicitly in the OVA.

However, once more, I feel Kill la Kill aims to say that soulmates don’t have to be romantic! You can be someone’s destined, special person without kissing into the sunset, and what I’ve always loved about Ryuko’s “confession” in episode 22 is that she says that both Mako and Senketsu are “more than friends” to her and that it’s not just romantic love that’s strong enough to save the day and not just romantic love that connotes a meaningful bond.

Ryuko: The word “friends” don’t come close to covering it! They’re something more, something I can’t explain! That’s what Mako Mankanshoku and Senketsu are to me!

I’m probably talking in circles, so I guess I could put it this way: While I wouldn’t exactly argue that Ryuko and Senketsu have a “love at first sight” situation in the romantic sense, there is something right away that draws the two together: familiarity.

Quoting myself again:

Ryuko is (rightfully) very put off by Senketsu when they first meet, but she immediately calms down and (especially in the English dub) drops her “tough girl” attitude as soon as he explains himself and reveals that he doesn’t really know what’s going on at all… just as she doesn’t. As I wrote in my master Ryuko and Senketsu relationship essay:

Oh, Ryuko wants to know Senketsu, alright. Even though she distances herself, even though she’s not looking for friends, she sees something in Senketsu that she feels inexplicably drawn to.

It’s a bit How to Train Your Dragon. She sees herself, in him. Someone confused. Someone searching for answers.

It’s also worth it to note that Ryuko is desperate for friendship and companionship—it’s all she’s ever really wanted. Finding Senketsu is comforting to Ryuko because she feels he’s just like her. Senketsu is stuck in the same situation she is, and he’s just as unsure about it, too. Far from being the wise mentor figure, Senketsu is someone Ryuko can instantly relate to for being on exactly the same page as she is.

Similar reasons can be argued for why Ryuko is so quick to soften up to the (ultimately) traitorous Maiko Ogure as well. Ryuko sees Maiko as someone stuck in the same outlandish situation as she is (No-Tardies Day) and sees that Maiko doesn’t give up, just like she doesn’t! And all that, combined with Ryuko’s strong desire for friends, leads to a quickly-budding “friendship” between her and Maiko. While this “friendship” ends badly when Maiko’s true nature is revealed, the interaction makes an important point about Ryuko’s character: she is quite soft and sweet and wanting of friendship, even if her tough girl, hardass attitude doesn’t let these qualities on. It only makes sense that Ryuko would be eager to be close to Senketsu.

To wrap this up, I will say that if there are any crushes going on between Senketsu and Ryuko, they’re the kind of crushes that neither party is quite (consciously) aware of. After all, this is Ryuko’s reaction when Mako declares that Senketsu is “the one [Ryuko] loves the most!,” and it’s not an “Omg how embarrassing that you found out my secret!” sort of reaction, but instead, “Holy crap is that the impression you get from us, really?”

Similarly, in a preview for episode 11, Senketsu considers who amongst the girls at Honnouji Academy are “his type” and does consider Ryuko, but… concludes by saying that she—and everyone else he thought of—are “too peculiar!” for him. So, in the same way, if there is a crush here, it’s probably unconscious.

And, really, that all brings me back to what I quoted at the very, very top of this long post: Ryuko and Senketsu don’t know how to define how they feel about each other. Ryuko explicitly says so (episode 22): she doesn’t know what Senketsu is to her; she only knows that he can’t be defined as a “friend” alone.

And it just makes me all the more upset about Senketsu’s premature death, because with Senketsu gone, the two of them will never get to sort out how they feel about each other. Maybe Ryuko and Senketsu were crushing on each other and didn’t know it, or maybe they just want to be friends, or maybe there’s one-sided romantic attraction that they have to work through, or maybe they’ll always be this beautiful, incomprehensible, who-knows-what, but they’ll never know, because they were torn apart from each other. Anything Ryuko and Senketsu could have been is lost with Senketsu.

With the weight of the world on their shoulders, Ryuko and Senketsu didn’t exactly have the time to sort out the nature of their relationship—and it’s not like it mattered in the moment. They cared for each other and they didn’t need to fuss about definitions and words to explain their love. But when they should have been able to relax and really think about their lives and future and relationship, Senketsu is taken away.  

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kill la Kill ends in a tragedy, and a lot of that tragedy is that Ryuko and Senketsu are never allowed to further explore how they feel.