Matoi and Satsuki: Friends in the Making?

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.
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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.
Satsuki vs. Matoi
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.
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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!

7 comments on “Matoi and Satsuki: Friends in the Making?

  1. Cytrus says:

    In the recent episodes, we see Nonon (who’s one of the closest “friends” Satsuki has, considering that Satsuki addressed her by first name at least once in the series) declare that the day she promised never to let go of Satsuki’s hand, she also promised to “always look at things from the same heights Satsuki did”. So the people close to Satsuki are aware that in order to keep up their relationship with her, they also have to “keep up” with Satsuki’s hunger for power.

    It would make it easier on her relationships if Satsuki could relax that part of her approach to life, though I suspect she has good reasons for her relentless quest for power which will probably be better explored in the coming episodes.


    • So true that Satsuki should stop wanting her friends to keep up with her in power. In the last episode, we even come across someone who is apparently Satsuki’s equal if not better in strength, but that does not seem to make for a happy relationship.

      But, I suspect that Matoi will lose big time to the umbrella girl, and that should keep Satsuki and Matoi’s final battle and possible friendship delayed for a long time.


  2. zeonista says:

    I would not exactly call it friendship. Kiryuin & Matoi are similar in their drive, and their dedication to achieving their goals. The two characters understand each other very well. In Kiryuin’s case there might be some admiration as well, since bushido (even her warped version) demands one must respect all honorable combatants who do their best. However, a burgeoning friendship is not what I would say unites them.


    • Yes, my theory might be a little far-fetched, and if Satsuki does want Matoi as a friend or a comrade, this would seem to be purely one-sided. However, friends are considered the most valuable good after family in this life, and I have no doubt that Satsuki feels that loss.

      Yet, Satsuki is an unfortunately warped individual. It remains to be seen whether the series will end with her befriending Matoi or gnashing her teeth at Matoi’s eventual victory. Yet, from the donning of the Kamui to her encouragement of Matoi’s defeating all comers to her desire to have Matoi understand the isolation caused by a high social status to requesting that Matoi defeat her top generals, it is apparent that Satsuki wants Matoi to be like herself. Normally, we don’t care about making our rivals similar to us (thought they may be initially), but we do try to get our friends to have similar tastes and share the same experiences.


  3. […] Bye Navi touches on), and its hierarchical treatment of friendship.  I was pleased to see that my guess that Satsuki and Matoi would become friends came true.  In many ways, Kill la Kill felt like an Attic tragedy, especially with the internecine […]


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