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This [outfit] is a keepsake from my father. And this Scissor Blade was left behind by the person who killed him. Now you're going to tell me who this Scissor Blade belongs to...Satsuki Kiryuin
~ Ryuuko Matoi

Ryuko Matoi is the main protagonist of the Kill la Kill anime and manga. She is a nomadic transfer student who transfers to Honnōji Academy in search of the other half of a red Scissor Blade she carries, and the one who murdered her father, Isshin Matoi.

She is voiced by Ami Koshimizu in the Japanese version of the anime, and Erica Mendez in the English version of the anime.

Appearance

Ryuko is a teenage girl of medium height. She has mid-length, black, feathery hair and a single red streak on her bangs. Her blue eyes have peculiar gear-shaped pupils with eight grooves around the edges. Her outfit at the beginning of the series is a simple white shirt with a red ribbon tie, a black miniskirt, white sneakers, and a black jacket with white and black-striped, rolled up sleeves.

Her clothes are later replaced by Senketsu, a living, navy blue sailor uniform. Her shirt (Senketsu's upper jaw) is a crop top that bares her midriff. Her sleeves are rolled up and have two red stripes near the rims. She wears a sailor-style collar with red lines tied by a red ribbon. The ribbon also serves as Senketsu's "eye", folding into a triangular shape striped with red and yellow just above her left breast; her right breast is covered by a black "eyepatch" with an X-shaped scratch on it. Her skirt (Senketsu's lower jaw) is held up by three belts attached to her shirt. Aikurō Mikisugi later provides her with a Seki Tekkō (lit. "Red Gauntlet"), a red, fingerless, left-handed glove with a built-in syringe designed for Ryuuko to conveniently draw blood and feed it to Senketsu.

Ep03-synchro
Ryuko's appearance changes when using Senketsu's powers. Her hair becomes more feathery and is accented with red undertones. Ryuko's outfit also transforms into a black, scanty suit of armor with red stripes: her top covers her neck, arms, and upper chest, and is connected to her skirt by three red bands, leaving everything between her breasts and waist exposed. Her legs are covered with thigh-high boots. Senketsu's "eyes" extend into a wing-shaped crest on her chest; his left eye becomes yellow with an orange and red iris, while his right eye appears closed with a red stripe. On Ryuko's upper back is a red, triangular ventilation grill.

Personality

Ryuko displays herself to be a fierce and stubborn girl. She is seemingly not afraid of anything, which is demonstrated by how easily she stands up to Satsuki Kiryuin and demands her questions to be answered. She also shows no fear when she fights with the Boxing Club president who clearly overpowers her. Later on, she is shown to be quite embarrassed when she is forced to fight in her very revealing outfit, though she overcomes her embarrassment in Episode 3, showing that while she is not afraid of fighting to her death, she is quite conscious of her body. She also shows fierce determination in finding her father's killer. Her stubbornness was taken up to ridiculous levels when she managed to free herself from Ragyō's mind control by punching herself on the cheek. This same episode, however, has one of few demonstrations of shock on her part, when Ragyo defeats Satsuki, rips out Ryuko's heart and reveals to be her mother.

History

Ryuko was born from Sōichirō and Ragyō, she has an older sister named Satsuki, bigger than her of one-year, Ryuko has never known her mother, because unfortunately the woman died during childbirth, and her relationship with her father, Isshin Matoi, was strained. It is the half truth however, as while Ragyō indeed still alive, she had cast aside her humanity to destroy the world since discovery of Primordial Life Fiber and even came close in killing baby Ryuko after infusing her with Life Fiber.

Ryuko spent her childhood living in the dorms of Ox Elementary School as her father lived solely for his scientific studies. Six months before enrolling at Honnouji Academy, she received a message from Isshin, and returned to her home, only to find him bleeding to death with a red Scissor Blade plunged into his chest. Isshin removed the blade and offered it to Ryuko, telling her that with the blade she would able to fight in his place and find the killer. Before Isshin could provide Ryuko with further information, she ran off after spotting a shadowy female figure wielding the other half of the Scissor Blade. Ryuko, unable to apprehend the fleeing woman, was left to watch her home burn to the ground and her father with it as the long-haired assailant detonated a previously planted explosive device. Vowing revenge, Ryuko became a vagrant looking for clues behind the woman's identity and whereabouts.

Powers and Abilities

  • Kamui Senketsu
    • Life Fiber Synchronize
    • Fiber Forfeit – After Ryuko defeats her opponent, she destroys their Goku Uniform, allowing Senketsu to absorb the uniform's Life Fibers, adding them to his own power. The Banshi is always the last one to go.
    • True Life Fiber Synchronize – After Ryuko invades the Great Culture and Sports Festival and fights Nui once more, her original Life Fiber Synchronize evolves thanks to her own self-improvement and she becomes completely one with Senketsu. In this state, Senketsu glows with intense power and they reach levels of strength and speed that easily overpower Nui Harime.
    • Scissor Blade – Ryuko's signature weapon is one half of a giant pair of scissors, which she wields as a one-handed, single-edged longsword. The blade is capable of cutting Life Fibers, which are otherwise indestructible. Ryuko alternatively uses it as a makeshift tennis racket during her match against Omiko Hakodate.
    • Decapitation Mode – While using Life Fiber Synchronize, Ryuko can mechanically extend her Scissor Blade into a two-handed sword. Not only is the blade's length doubled in this form, but its strength increases exponentially and is able to slice far beyond its normal range. This ability is frequently used in preparation for a Fiber Forfeit.
  • Natural Abilities:
    • Remarkable Strength: Ryuko is able to take on multiple One-Star students by herself, without the need to wear Senketsu, as seen on episode 1. Also, it appears that she is becoming stronger as explained by Senketsu. Even while only having the scarf, she is still able to defeat numerous students with new goku uniforms and ones with pieces of Senketsu.
    • Life Fiber Infusion: Ryuko is revealed as Ragyo Kiryuin's second child whose body had been infused with Life Fibers, despite it being perceived as a failure by Ragyo then. It is likely that her incredible potential and her natural ability to synchronize with Life Fibers was a result of this.

Comparisons with Amanda O'Neill

It has repeatedly shown that Ryūko's character resembles Amanda O'Neill (a supporting character from the Little Witch Academia franchise which also created by Studio Trigger) in several aspects, namely personality, appearance, and reputation as juvenile delinquents. They said that similarities are even more apparent with Amanda's hairstyle which greatly looks identical to Ryūko's when she is fully synchronized with Senketsu (albeit with orange and amaranth coloration as opposed to black and vermilion). Hilariously, as seen in two of the following images below, they are shown to have identical facial expressions.

Trivia

  • Ryuko's unique gear-like eyes and (and possibly her single red highlight) are very likely side effects of her infusion with Life Fibers.
    • They're also possibly a reference to a character from the creator's previous work, Gurren-Lagann, in which Nia Teppelin had flower-shaped irises, which are further a reference to Nono from Diebuster.
  • Ryuko is revealed to be the counterpart of Sunset Shimmer from the My Little Pony Equestria Girls franchise. Coincidentally, in the Japanese dubs, they had the same voice actress.
  • She shares many similarities to Shadow the Hedgehog, both are associated with the colors red and black. Both have allies that work with friendship and defeat alien symbiotes. Both are up against a threat which is their parent who uses aliens for their bidding and emotionally and physically abuses them (Ragyo Kiryuin for Ryuko and Black Doom for Shadow). Both are related to a character wearing blue and white. Both are delinquents.
  • Studio Trigger outsourced the 12th episode of Encouragement of Climb and added a cameo of Ryuko as a student. There were some slight differences in her physical appearance like her red streak being noticeably blacker compared to her hair and her eye design to look more like other students.
  • Ryuko also made a background cameo appearance alongside Mako and the Elite Four in the Major Lazer episode "Escape from Rave Island".
  • Her English voice sounds somewhat similar to the singer and song-writer Natasha Bedingfield.
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