Watching Kill la Kill thus far convinces me that Matoi and Satsuki’s relationship goes beyond that usually shared by the hero and her antagonist. Satsuki has always displayed a particular interest in Matoi. I wish to make the case that Matoi is Kiryuin’s closest person to a friend.
This sounds like an absurd statement, especially since Kiryuin places so many obstacles between Matoi and her goals. Also, she may have even been responsible for the death of Matoi’s father. (I rather doubt that, however.) But, Aristotle called friendship the highest good, and everyone desires friends on one level or another. Even as early as episode 3, Kiryuin donning a Kamui might be understood as an attempt to create similitude–an almost essential condition for friendship–between Matoi and herself.
Yet, Kiryuin has a warped understanding of human relationships. Her relationships are based on power rather than love. She is surrounded by henchmen, not friends; though, she seems loath to suffer the loss of her top henchmen. Even episode 6, where she almost abandons Uzu, she quickly forgives his loss to Matoi after seeing a sign of his resolve. By episode 10, two of her henchmen suffer defeats by Matoi, but they appear confident that they can work their way back to her side.
Yet, these kinds of relationships do not suffice for Kiryuin. Perhaps even she thinks that it does, but her spirit must be at variance with this–as is shown by her actions. After all, she busts her favorite tea cup in order to try to land a surprise attack on Uzu! I cannot understand this action but through the lens of playfulness. Uzu, having been conditioned to Satsuki’s quest for power, responds that she did not use her full power. Who uses their full power in play!? But, her subordinates cannot believe that Satsuki might just want to play with them. Indeed, it seems like the closest Kiryuin comes to play is in placing obstacles before Matoi.
Then, Satsuki offers Uzu a cup of tea at the end of episode 6. Uzu declines his offer as tea is now too hot for his now heightened sense to endure. The austerity of this scene suggests how isolated Satsuki is. She sees Uzu, because he comes closest to Kiryuin in power, as the closest thing to a friend she has outside of Matoi. One imagines that a pang of regret or doubts about her conduct ran through Kiryuin’s mind at this moment. One even feels sorry for her. Why have power if it only causes one grief?
Under these circumstances, Matoi becomes Satsuki’s best choice for a friend. And so, we have the fight club episode, where Satsuki attempts to establish equality between the two of them in terms of wealth and understanding the isolation caused by its possession. Lastly, the tournament between Matoi and Satsuki’s top henchmen sees Matoi equaling Satsuki in her ability to secure the same triumphs as Kiryuin herself has achieved. And if Matoi succeeds, Satsuki shall bring her into her confidence concerning her father’s death. Shared secrets are yet another sign of friendship!
Yet, I only wonder whether Satsuki’s mind has been far too warped in her quest for power. Is she capable of realizing that perfect equality is not needed for friendship? That the only result of attempting to gain this perfect equality will lead to the dominance of one party or endless conflict? Will she even decide to renounce her quest for power and recognize that friendship is a higher good? These are just a few things which make watching Kill la Kill interesting!