Sayo Yamamoto: Dandy and CG Animation

While a lot of animation is handled by computers these days, an unfortunate number of projects are being done with (in my opinion) underdeveloped CG graphics. Yamamoto has also worked with these tools, and it’s interesting to see the evolution of her expertise.

Yamamoto did the OP series for comedy short Wooser’s Hand to Mouth Life. The CG graphics were rough, but it worked for the short, comedic format. Here she draws upon the world of videogames and genderswapped Mario sisters to work with the geometric shapes of the CG world.

For the ED, the womanizing Wooser frolics with girls in their underwear. The limited animation is assisted by Yamamoto’s use of quick cuts. Again we see the use of patterns for backdrops, but with the aid of computers, the shapes and forms in the background can move as well. She would use a similar effect in…

the Viva Namida promotional music video for Space Dandy. Yamamoto recuts stylized footage from the first three episodes of the TV show with stunning animation work of singer Yasuyuki Okamura dancing. Here, the backgrounds are even more boisterous, recalling the early CG effects of the 1980s.

But it’s not until the ED of Space Dandy, where Yamamoto works again with Etsuko Yakushimaru, that she truly masters CG. Here, the complicated geometric patterns of the animation clearly require computer assistance. But, with her fondness for mixing media types, the effect is that of sidewalk drawings with chalk and markers.

And finally, that’s all of Sayo Yamamoto’s OP and ED animations… for now. From here on, I’m actually going to have to write more!

Sayo Yamamoto: Pop Art and Color

The last post might give the impression that a Sayo Yamamoto OP or ED animation can be determined by sparing use of color and slow, dreamlike movement. This would be wrong. On the other end we have several OPs that are rainbow-hued and filled with frantic movement. There’s a lot of horizontal movement parallel to the camera, and as @j_rod29 reminds me, zooming in and out of buildings and vehicles. Taking a few screenshots from this frantic motion is kind of a losing battle, so watching the actual animation is recommended. Still, you can get a sense of Yamamoto’s use color and composition from stills:

Lots going on here: Color gradients and dot shading, like manga screentone or the ink dots of a Roy Lichtenstein pop art piece. There’s nude Michiko in provocative poses. Tropical vegetation and sometimes flowers frame the characters. We also have speeding vehicles riding along the horizon line. We’ll see more of these!

There’s a ton going on in this opening, but I’ve capped some typical Yamamoto motifs: Kissing. Modified photos of fish used for a collage effect. Princess Nino with crown, surrounded by flowers and eating. Vehicles zooming perpendicular to the camera, foregrounds zooming side to side. More eating! The giant fish eats our couple and then is itself eaten by Nino. Kou and Nino framed by flowers. A zooming spacecraft in a collage of planets and fish.

Sacred Seven’s opening has almost too much color with its iridescent effect. More vehicles, more cameras zooming through walls, more food. Also, the ending sequence has a fight where the camera is again used as a focus of action. Note the hero punching straight at the camera in the 8th shot.

Finally, there’s her opening to Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge, which combines the pop art motifs with the lavish feminine imagery from her Rozen Maiden and Hanamaru Kindergarten animations. Frantic movement is spaced out with lingering visions of tea parties and cake, although there’s hardly enough time to capture all of the detail included.

Up next: Sayo Yamomoto’s use of CG animation.

Sayo Yamamoto: Charcoal from Eureka to Titan

Previously I mentioned how Sayo Yamamoto likes to use what I refer to “mixed media.” By this, I mean that she likes using styles that recall the use of art styles and materials not traditionally associated with animation. Perhaps a reason for this is because she went to a Tokyo design school rather than a focused animation school. One of her favorite materials is charcoal, or at least a reasonable facsimile. I first noticed this when researching a Sayo Yamamoto panel for AnimeFest I did with Chris Kirby (@gokuffy). There’s a strange dream sequence in episode 16 of Eureka Seven, the episode she both storyboarded and directed (which is clearly her preferred method of working). I asked Chris what he thought, as I hadn’t seen any other Eureka Seven episodes, and he said it was clearly out of the ordinary for the show.

In the episode, Renton finds what seems to be a perfectly preserved, abandoned home connected to an underground cave. Hungry, he helps himself to all of the food there. He passes out on the couch and appears to be haunted by the home’s previous owners. The whole sequence is presented in blurry, fluid charcoal images.

The use of this kind of effect in Fujiko Mine doesn’t need much explanation. But she would use the style again in the first opening to Psycho-pass. There’s a washed out effect to the “film” combined with a chalk-like monochrome coloring. Notice how none of the blacks are completely solid.

Yamamoto was also tapped to direct the first ED to Attack on Titan. Notice again the charcoal, the visuals of fluids and air bubbles (just like in Psycho Pass), and the focus on Mikasa, the stories’ heroine, rather then Eren, who only shows up at the end.

We know Sayo Yamamoto worked on Evangelion 2.0, but we’re not sure where. It’s not 100%, but educated observers believe this is the sequence she worked on, and can you blame them? We have a style unlike anything else used in Eva, clearly meant to look like chalk drawings, stark visuals, and all focused on a moment of importance for a prominent female character in the series. If it isn’t Sayo Yamamoto’s work, it’s the work of someone with the same sensibilities.

Next time: Yamamoto’s use of color in MORE of her openings!

Sayo Yamamoto: Butterflies and Flowers

While Sayo Yamamoto only has two series to her name, she’s responsible for a lot of opening and ending animations. They’re always stunning to look at, and often work as theme showcases or practice runs for later projects. One theme she returns to often is flowers, and over the course of her work you can see how her uses of flowers as a symbol evolves into a subversion of a lot of feminine symbols.

Her first ending was for the sci-fi series Texhnolyze. She storyboarded and directed several episodes, but in viewing them, I didn’t (yet) detect a voice that was clearly hers. The ending is different, though, as it’s clearly a Yamamoto work. Here, the psychic girl who sells flowers seems to be silenced by her own goods.

Yamamoto also storyboarded and directed the ED to yakuza schoolteacher anime The Gokusen. Here we see flowers mixed with images of powerful femininity.

Yamamoto was not familiar with the story of Rozen Maiden, and when asking about what she needed to know to direct the OP to the second season, Traumend, she reports she was told “everybody dies”. In response, she created this surreally threatening fairy tale landscape that would be further explored in Fujiko Mine. The ball jointed dolls of Rozen Maiden resemble the Hans Bellmer dolls used in Fujiko’s nightmares.

In contrast, check out the much more pleasant wonderland for Hanamaru Kindergarten’s first ending sequence. Still, it’s not hard to find similarities to Fujiko Mine here, either.

Coming full circle, flowers are once against used as a symbol of silence and control, a prominent theme in Fujiko Mine.

Yamamoto has directed many, many other openings, and I intend to explore those, as well.

Sayo Yamamoto: Panty & Stocking Episode 5

Panty & Stocking is another series that isn’t particularly thematically rich, but shows off a lot of the same visual signatures as Space Dandy. Let’s take a look at episode “Cat Fight Club,” again storyboarded and directed by Sayo Yamamoto.

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Previously I spoke about Yamamoto liking to use collages and styles that suggest mixed media. The opening sequence of the episode further demonstrates this:

As you can see, three of these images are manipulated photo images placed into a collage, and the cats are drawn in an entirely different style.

Another apparent Yamamoto trademark: The frantic search for food. In Space Dandy episode 20, Dandy scrambles from cabinet to drawer, searching for ramen. Here, Stocking looks for her special-order pudding. It’s happened twice, so clearly “looking for snacks” is a theme dear to Sayo Yamamoto’s heart.

The feud over food: not unlike Dandy and Meow in Space Dandy! The first image with Panty teasingly licking Stocking’s face is a personal favorite. The second has the sisters rendered in yet another different art style. Panty& Stocking greatly encouraged these radical shifts in tone. Third, more shameless fan pandering.

Lots of Yamamoto trademarks here: objects in the foreground framing those in the background, but here the foreground is supposed to capture our attention. If we pay attention to the TV… it’s some bizarre animal-headed collage show. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

Different perspectives for different sisters: We look down on Panty’s face as stocking taunts her. We look up from Panty’s slumped position on the couch. Finally, Stocking’s face shown in profile, when she hits the Z sounds in “zettai” and “zenbu”.

Fashion, Panty and Stocking style: Panty in an outfit we’ve not seen before, and Stocking in the trademark Sayo Yamamoto shades.

Urban scenes with lots of neon, looking much more gruesome than those in Michiko and Hatchin. And is that Michiko and Hatchin in the lower right corner of the third image?

Parallel construction in storyboarding. Note that Stocking’s eye is always looking away from the camera. Panty & Stocking also decided to allow Sayo Yamamoto to introduce Stocking’s kinks to the audience: They would become referenced in later episodes.

More Yamamoto trademarks in the combat sequences: Experimental styles, fanservice, and use of the camera as focus for movement and action.

Sometimes the callbacks are easy: Riding along the horizon, just like Michiko and Hatchin’s opening sequence. Note Panty’s new shades as well.

The episode is short, but much like Space Dandy, Panty & Stocking gave guest creators a change to leave their imprint on a tribute to western cartoons.

Sayo Yamamoto: Space Dandy Episode 2

For a convention panel in 2010, I watched a good majority of Sayo Yamamoto’s storyboarding and directing work. Unfortunately, I still haven’t written up a good majority of what I learned about her style. With Yamamoto’s second Space Dandy episode due next weekend, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look at her first episode, “Search For the Phantom Space Ramen, Baby” and some of her prevalent themes and motifs within.

The episode begins with an introduction of Scarlet, starting with her legs. Whether the gaze is supposed to be Dandy or not, the use of “male gaze” shots like these in Yamamoto’s work are a probable reason she has been mistaken for a male director. Preventing us from seeing her eyes gives Scarlet a cold and clinical look.

Known to wear a signature pair of sunglasses herself, Sayo Yamamoto characters and episodes are known to wear oversized sunglasses. In this case, Scarlet’s own glasses are retained but the lighting glare renders the lenses opaque. You only see Scarlet’s eyes when she wants you to. An interesting contrast with the more “male gaze” stylized shots above.

These days, Yamamoto typically both storyboards and directs her work, so the scene layouts are always to her design. On the left, Yamamoto playing with light, and on the right, playing with perspective.

Here we see more of Yamamoto’s provocative imagery, with Boobies waitress’ docking used as a scene transition. While Dandy’s gaze focuses on Honey’s wardrobe, Honey directs the plot by telling Dandy where the phantom ramen might be located.

Another Yamamoto signature dating back to at least Samurai Champloo is the introduction of incongruous artstyles within the main animation “world”. Here we have visuals pulled out of comic books, graffiti, VR displays, and manga. They’re mixed in to the standard anime visuals giving brief glimpses into moments of heightened reality.

In seeming contrast to the above images of sexualized women, Yamamoto presents scarlet here as defiant in body language and dialogue. She’s not taking any of Dandy’s shit. Scarlet’s outfit also resembles the stylish wear of Fujiko and Michiko, presenting a stylish, aggressive femininity to contrast with the earlier eroticized visuals. Or does it?

And action! Yamamoto’s heroines physicality extends to a proficience with violence. In these stills, Yamamoto uses Scarlet’s body language to communicate her prowess.

A different sort of male gaze? Yamamoto likes making the camera a focus of the action. Here, you’re in the eyes of Scarlet’s target. She takes a moment to brush her hair back before dispatching her final opponent.

More mixed media? Charcoals, pastels, and pencils give moments of special intensity a standout look.

It’s hard to notice a lot of Yamamoto’s touches- they’re almost subliminal. Blink and you’ll miss it: A transition with Meow’s skull biting at the camera. A surreal tropical vista almost out of Michiko and Hatchin, and occult symbols surrounding the ramen. An incredible amount of detail for things you may never notice.

The mundane in the midst of the extraordinary. Here the use of different color schemes and a collage-like-cut-and-paste aesthetic gives life to another dimension, rather than a moment of passion. In the oasis of the ramen shop, however, the comfort of normal colors and proportions makes us feel cozy.

Light and shadow make the past more dramatic. A view from behind the ramen shop’s proprietor lets us see the bare simplicity of the food stand, without the curtains. Finally, the space ramen returns to the entropy of the universe that birthed it.

More fun with the camera: A Dandy-eye view of returning from the ramen dimension. Finally, QT gets an iris with photoshopped ramen bowls. In both Fujiko and Michiko and Hatchin, Yamamoto enjoyed using manipulated photographic images for eyecatches, a transition between the live action of commercials and the animation within?

Sayo Yamamoto’s next episode, about Space Dandy starting a band, will be this weekend! Don’t miss it.

Akiyuki Shinbou: Debutante Detective Corps

To understand the madness of SHAFT’s head sellout genius, I took a look at his OAV Debutante Detective Corps. I brought back the following artifacts from the expedition. Please enjoy.

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Sailor Moon Episode Guide, part I

The release of the Sailor Moon Crystal anime guarantees, at last, a faithful adaptation of Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon manga. However, a lot of the fun of the 1992 Sailor Moon series was seeing the talented crew make the most of the monster of the week format by adding comedy or changing the plot altogether. It’s well known that Kunihiko Ikuhara (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum) worked on Sailor Moon, but we mustn’t forget:

  • Junichi Sato (Sgt. Frog, Kaleido Star, Magic Users’ Club, Pretear, Princess Tutu, Ph-Brain, Aria, Ojamajo Doremi)
  • Takuya Igarashi (Ashita no Nadja, Captain Earth,  Ouran High School Host Club, Star Driver)
  • Yoji Enokido (FLCL, Diebuster, Redline, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Star Driver, Captain Earth)
  • Ikuko Itoh (AKB0048, Living For the Day After Tomorrow, Aria, Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth, Magic Users’ Club, Princess Tutu)

It’s an awful lot of talent to work on a single show all at the same time, and the time between manga chapters allowed Sailor Moon to serve as kind of a playground for these creators. So Sailor Moon Crystal will not re-create all of the best moments of the 1992 Sailor Moon Experience. On the other hand, all of the original Sailor Moon series add up to a total of 200 episodes! That’s a serious time commitment.

Allow us, then, to point out the best that 1992 Sailor Moon had to offer. Special thanks to @vestenet for his Sailor Moon screenshot collection.

 

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Episode 3, “The Mysterious Sleeping Sickness: Protect the Girls in Love”

Director: Kazuhisa Takenouchi

Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Why It’s Essential: The anime version of Sailor Moon provided different characterizations for the Four Generals of the Dark Kindgom, and Jadeite, Sailor Moon’s first foe, became a narcissistic misogynist who explicitly hated girls and their silly girly things. Essentially all of his plots to gather energy for Queen Beryl were based around coming up with some sinister fad to ensnare all of the young women of Tokyo with something traditionally feminine: Jewelry, dieting, cute pets, etc. Episode 3 provides perhaps the best distillation of this dynamic. Jadeite, under too-clever pseudonym J. Daito sets up the “Midnight Zero” radio show, where he gets lovesick girls to send him their love letters so he can read them to everyone in broadcast range with a big sneer on his face. The reward for being selected? A flower brooch that drains your energy. The episode also sees Usagi at her most proactive, using the disguise pen in its first anime appearance, taking the appearance of a newswoman, and interrupting Jadeite’s broadcast by sitting right across the table from him and telling everyone he’s a scam. The girl power message is somewhat diluted by Tuxedo Mask having to bail out a Sailor Moon frozen in fear, but Usagi goes from crying in fear to taking on the Literal Embodiment of Misogyny in the span of two episodes. Not bad, Usagi.

 

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Episode 6, “Protect the Melody of Love: Usagi Plays Cupid”

Director: Kunihiko Ikuhara

Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Why It’s Essential: Cut from the American broadcast likely due to Usagi’s provocative outfit, Episode 6 is not only Kunihiko Ikuhara’s first episode, but the single best episode where Usagi flies solo. Ikuhara is clearly a rebel, as he rejects the straightforward “Jadeite’s new fad” approach with a Demonic Audio Tape that is misplaced by the enemy youma. It falls into the hands of a hapless middle-aged jazz musician who has it confused for a song he wrote for his lady love. When Usagi sees the musician being chased by a female vampire, she decides to help him, because “old men deserve to fall in love, too!” Ikuhara plays with a lot of his favorite themes: The border between childhood and adulthood (Usagi uses her disguise pen to sneak into a bar where the musician is playing), gender roles (a female vampire is pursuing a helpless man and Usagi pitches in to help), and fast red cars driving through the night (not every theme is so high-minded). A fantastic episode Toonami viewers will not have seen.

 

[SMC] Sailor Moon 11 (R1 DVD.H264.AC3) [9C3A015E].mkv_snapshot_08.38_[2014.01.07_01.40.01]

Episode 11, “Usagi vs Rei: Nightmare in Dreamland”

Director: Kunihiko Ikuhara

Written by: Shigeru Yanagikawa

Why It’s Essential: If the ominous spiral staircase in the picture isn’t enough of a giveaway, Ikuhara is back. Ami and Rei have now joined Usagi, and Jadeite’s target this time around is the amusement park Dreamland. A kidnapping spree has hit many who visited Dreamland, but no one is able to definitively tie the kidnappings to any park employee. The Sailor Senshi decide to investigate, and find Jadeite is trapping people in the “House of Sweets” in order to steal their energy. On top of Ikuhara’s favorites of playing with age and gender, we also add fairy tales and ridiculous animals this time around. Additionally, many of Ikuhara’s favorite visual motifs show up, including the flowers, horseback-riding princes, and apples of Utena and Penguindrum. On top of this, it’s also an incredibly entertaining episode with a fantastic appearance by Mamoru.

 

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Episode 14, “A New Enemy Appears: Nephrite’s Evil Crest”

Director: Junichi Sato

Written by: Shigeru Yanagikawa

Why It’s Essential: Jadeite is replaced by the far superior Nephrite, and he shakes up the formula a bit. Rather than taking advantage of the naivete of groups, Nephrite targets the private ambitions of a select individual who is due a massive energy upgrade due to the movement of the celestial bodies. For his first target, Nephrite selects a tennis player who is best friends with Usagi’s pal Naru. Ambition, as encouraged by the Dark Kingdom, is a nasty thing, and Naru’s friend becomes violent, ill-tempered, and spiteful toward her former friend. For Nephrite’s introduction, series director Junichi Sato takes the reigns, offering a stylish flash-back sequence and chaotic transformation of tennis pro into tennis youma. Plotwise, this is the first time we see Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask work together in a meaningful way. The plots of both Nephrite and Tuxedo Mask are very different in the anime from the manga, and this is a key starting point for both character arcs.

 

[SMC] Sailor Moon 15 (R1 DVD.H264.AC3) [007EA867].mkv_snapshot_14.11_[2014.01.12_00.04.24]

Episode 15, “Usagi’s Panic: Rei’s First Date”

Director: Kunihiko Ikuhara

Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Why It’s Essential: Ikuhara is back, and he’s brought his animals with him. This episode of Sailor Moon might very well be considered Sailor Moon’s first “Nanami Episode.” Nephrite targets a kindly old park warden this go round, who just so happens to be a friend of Ami’s (Tokyo is apparently a very small world). The park warden’s park is due to be taken over by real estate developers, which fills him with a righteous anger only nature’s animals know how to convey. Rei gets a different motivation: Because the park is so lovely, she intends to ask Mamoru out on a date there before it gets paved over. Her fantasies of how the date will go, followed by the much crueler reality, is much like Nanami and Ringo’s fantasy sequences from Utena and Penguindrum, respectively. The episode ends with nature’s fury in full force, as even butterflies attack, and Luna, too, is targeted by her fellow animals. One of the best comedy episodes of the first series.

 

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Episode 19, “Usagi’s Joy: A Love Letter from Tuxedo Mask”

Director: Takao Yoshizawa

Written by: Sukehiro Tomita

Why It’s Essential: One of the best elements of the 1992 Sailor Moon anime is the relationship between Nephrite and Naru, and episode 19 is the real start of its development. The episode is also great farce, as Nephrite figures that Tuxedo Mask is Sailor Moon’s weakness, and that the best way to draw her out is by writing every single girl in Tokyo a letter signed by Tuxedo Mask. This Tuxedo Mask tells Sailor Moon to meet him at the MS building, named after Nephrite’s alter-ego Masato Sanjoin. The plan ends up going better than expected, as Usagi does decide to fall into such a simple trap, but is heartbroken to learn that Tuxedo Mask loves every other girl just as much as he loves her. Naru is a bit more clever than most, and figures out that Masato Sanjoin is behind the letters, but decides to fall into the trap anyway, due to her love for him. The episode actually ends on a fairly serious note with a moment of honesty between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, cementing their bond. Another key episode for anime-only plot development.

 

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Episode 20, “The Summer, the Beach, Youth and Ghosts”

Director: Kazuhisa Takenouchi

Written by: Megumi Sugihara

Why It’s Essential: I’m probably stretching the definition of “essential” here, but there’s only one episode where Usagi meets Draculina, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Wolfman, and it’s this one. A weird hybrid of beach episode and ghost episode, featuring a non-Dark Kingdom plot about a young psychic girl being forced by her father to use her powers against her will. Absolute filler, and cut from the American broadcast, there’s no better episode for seeing Usagi freak out with bug-eyed faces for 21 minutes.

 

[SMC] Sailor Moon 21 (R1 DVD.H264.AC3) [6C36C1C0].mkv_snapshot_15.24_[2014.01.14_00.29.09]

Episode 21, “Protect the Children’s Dreams: Friendship Through Anime”

Director: Kunihiko Ikuhara

Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Why It’s Essential: At this point it’s clear that all of Ikuhara’s episodes are must see episodes. In this episode, Nephrite targets a female animator working on the Sailor V anime, filling her with jealous ambition in order to beat her close female friend/potential lover. This is one of the most routine of Ikuhara’s episode, and much of the humor is based on anime culture, or hearing Usagi wish she was in an anime (admittedly, still pretty funny). At one point Rei carries a Goldfish Warning bag at one point, as Goldfish Warning was the show Ikuhara and Junichi Sato worked on before Sailor Moon. If anime gags aren’t your thing, the episode features an ambiguously homosexual relationship between two female friends who are secretly jealous of each others’ talent. It’s a clear example of Ikuhara working with a theme that’s too big for the episode that contains it, but it’s not hard to see that elements of Utena found early expression here.

Book of Bantorra Reading Group

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Before she was Ragyo Kiryuuin, Romi Park was Hamyuts Meseta, central figure of the bizarre and fascinating Book of Bantorra. In June, I would like do attempt a group watch of this series, whether over Skype, or on people’s own time, and reported on their blogs.

The blu-ray and DVD complete collection is released on May 13th. The show is also available through Hulu, so it should be easy for everyone interested to find a copy to watch.

If you’d be interested in taking a few hours each weekend to watch 1-4 episodes (of a 26 episode series) and analyze them, or blog about them, please leave a comment on this post or fill out the form and I can think about the best way to go about organizing this discussion.

Conclusion: Blood Rain on Your Wedding Day

I’ve enjoyed the Gamako ship, but I realized what a threat it posted to my reading of Kill la Kill. If the last episode ends with a Gamako wedding, how effective will the show have been at showing an ideological war between parasite singles and their meddling mother? I probably would have excused it as being a “good wedding” as opposed to the more exploitative type Ragyo represents, but hey, the show does me a favor by never going there. Sorry Gamagoori. We still love you.

Let’s review how the ending ties into the themes I believe the show already expressed.

Right from the bat, Ragyo's nice enough to state her symbolism to the audience.

Right from the bat, Ragyo’s nice enough to state her symbolism to the audience.

Even the phallic symbols are feminine. An ocean of blood envelops the lipstick.

Even the phallic symbols are feminine. An ocean of blood envelops the lipstick.

Ragyo clearly reads her mission of forcing her daughters to marry as a mother's true role.

Ragyo clearly reads her mission of forcing her daughters to marry as a mother’s true role.

Anything else is simply AGAINST NATURE.

Anything else is simply AGAINST NATURE.

Mako suggests another possibility...

Mako suggests another possibility…

But Ryuuko herself doesn't quite fit into easy categories.

But Ryuuko herself doesn’t quite fit into easy categories.

Ryuuko acknowledging her adolescence that has occurred throughout the show? Acceptance of her body completes the arc.

Ryuuko acknowledging her adolescence that has occurred throughout the show? Acceptance of her body completes the arc.

Disappointed and defeated, Ragyo chooses to merge with the essential feminine that is Nui.

Disappointed and defeated, Ragyo chooses to merge with the essential feminine that is Nui.

Coupla ways to read this.

Coupla ways to read this.

Fight for the parasite singles, Ryuuko!

Fight for the parasite singles, Ryuuko!

The date is an opportunity for self-expression outside of the confining "wife and mother" role.

The date is an opportunity for self-expression outside of the confining “wife and mother” role.

Equality through nudity. Now Nudist Beach is the most clothed of all.

Equality through nudity. Now Nudist Beach is the most clothed of all.

Satsuki's hair is short - traditionally associated with married women. Moving on from the Kiryuuins? The cost of her use of Junketsu? Or just out of the marriage market?

Satsuki’s hair is short – traditionally associated with married women. Moving on from the Kiryuuins? The cost of her use of Junketsu? Or just out of the marriage market?

Sorry Gamagoori. Mako wins. But look on the bright side - if this were Gurren Lagann, you'd be dead!

Sorry Gamagoori. Mako wins. But look on the bright side – if this were Gurren Lagann, you’d be dead!

It’s a happy end, with both Mako and Ryuuko and Satsuki able to define roles for themselves. Having grown up in her mother’s (and father’s) shadows, Satsuki must learn how to be herself for herself. Ryuuko has accepted her social and physical changes, and Mako is the driving force of the universe.

As the end settles in, and people re-evaluate the show from the beginning, I hope to look more into the ideas Kill la Kill presented.

Even though it’s disappointing there never were any pink hi-tops.

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