Sunday, May 11, 2014

Breaking It Down: Satsuki Kiryuin

"Fear is freedom! Subjugation is liberation! Contradiction is truth! These are the truths of this world! Surrender to these truths, you pigs in human clothing!"

Hello, and welcome to the debut installment of Breaking It Down! In this segment, I'll be taking a look at an anime character and do a thorough analysis of their personality, interactions, and other factors.

Today's subject is Satsuki Kiryuin, from Kill La Kill.

SPOILER ALERT! This series will have major spoilers. If you do not wish to be spoiled, this is your last chance.

Satsuki is the Student Council President at Hounnouji Academy, functioning as their leader in the rebellion against her mother Ragyo Kiryuin and the REVOCS Corporation, using the students, including her own sister Ryuko Matoi, as foot soldiers.

Satsuki puts on a ice-cold exterior when addressing her pawns, the students of Honnouji Academy. This reinforces her role as the leader, as does the design of her Kamui, Junketsu, which is designed like a military general's uniform. This aspect of her personality can also be found in her theme, Kiryuu G@ KiLL, a very militaristic piece.

However, this exterior does not necessarily reflect her true personality, as we see in her interactions with the Honnouji Academy Elite Four and her butler Soroi. In these interactions, we see Satsuki in a more relaxed and calm state of mind, indicating a feeling of safety in the presence of these individuals. She will accept and respect those who are willing to give a little, such as when Mako Mankanshoku gave up her Two-Star Goku Uniform in order to live happily with Ryuko again.

Her relationships with others have a wide variety of familiarity or tension. Satsuki shows a very clear hatred for her mother Ragyo, yet would give anything to protect her sister Ryuko.  On the converse of her relationship with Ragyo, we have her aforementioned interactions with the Elite Four and Soroi. These seem to be interactions of comfort and familiarity, as she has known Ira Gamagoori since middle school and Soroi since at least age 5. To Satsuki, anything beats Ragyo's blatant and assumed frequent sexual abuse.

And this is just in the third episode.
If there was ever a pair of siblings that had "sibling rivalry", it's Satsuki and Ryuko Matoi. They fight at least 3 battles to a draw, with neither wanting to give any. In fact, it was Ryuko's appearance at Honnouji that prompted Satsuki to take Junketsu in the first place. Satsuki's general interactions with Ryuko vary in tone as the series continued, but were always intense. Sibling rivalry, indeed.

So what does all of this add up to? It adds up to a girl with an intense hatred for her sexually abusive mother, to the point where she would literally backstab Ragyo and crucify her on Honnouji's tower. The revelation that Ryuko is in fact Satsuki's long-lost sister adds another dimension to this fight, giving Satsuki an ally to fight alongside. Characters such as the Elite Four, Nudist Beach, Soroi and Mako give Satsuki strong emotional support in her fight, which gives her the drive to continue fighting. And when it was all over, once Ragyo was very much dead, she was able to drop the cold exterior for good. The last thing we see Satsuki doing is joining Mako and Ryuko on their date, hair cut short, indicating the start of a new life, post-Honnouji.

Put simply, Satsuki is a rebel waiting for her chance to strike when the series begins. Overall, Satsuki Kiryuin is the kind of person that puts on a cold exterior to the public, but cares deeply for those close to her, such as the Elite Four, Ryuko, and Mako Mankanshoku, all of whom she holds a significant amount of respect for. She will not stand for injustice, and is not afraid to crush those who oppose her, including her own sister. She commands respect, but will gladly reciprocate it under the right circumstances.

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