Medieval Otaku is run by a bookworm inflamed with a desire for learning and for God. The study of foreign cultures, literature, and history eventually led to him discovering anime, which hooked him with the remarkable richness and beauty of its stories and is likely to remain a strong hobby of his for decades to come.
Japes has already written a great article using Kill la Kill which dealt with whether money is the root of all evil. My own article will concentrate instead on how Kill la Kill shows that the mere possession of wealth often produces evil effects in the soul. Read Japes’s article, but ignore his opinion that Kill la Kill is “an amalgam of mediocrity.” Quelle opinion! When one sees all the rich and interesting blog posts driven off of this show, it hardly deserves the name mediocre! Call Kill la Kill frenetic, lewd, vulgar, perverse, ridiculous, or absurd. Say that it borrows and employs its ideas in a maladroit fashion. Call it bad if you want: Chrome Shelled Regios is mediocre, not Kill la Kill!
In any event, Kill la Kill’s main beef with wealth revolves around the fact that it produces isolation and pride. The Kiryuin family suffers from these two ills most acutely. Even the flashback to the beginning of Ragyo Kiryuin and Isshin Matoi’s early life together shows a lack of unity between the two. The two come together only for the sake of Ragyo profiting from his scientific ability and for the purpose of reproduction. (For the record, I do not know how any man could summon enough ardor to produce offspring with Ragyo.) Besides Ragyo’s lack of unity with her husband, she completely fails to notice that her own child conceives a murderous hatred for her!
Basically, each member of the family lives concerned only with their own things, except for Isshin and Ryuko Matoi who escape from the grip of both Ragyo and wealth. When Ragyo’s existence is first made known to us, the fact that Satsuki even has a mother comes as a surprise to the audience—Satsuki cares so little for her after all! On the Kiryuin side, all their relationships are those of utility rather than enjoyment; though, we now know that Satsuki truly loved her henchmen but needed to keep up the appearance of merely thinking of them as useful.
Contrast this to Mako’s family. Lacking wealth and the many diversions offered by its possession, they are all on intimate terms with one another. The force of intimacy is so strong that Ryuko even becomes absorbed into the family circle when she joins their household. Even the family’s strange enthusiasm for mystery meat and peeping Tom ways prove to be no barrier in forming these relationships.
Yet, episode seven reveals the one thing which can break the intimacy of their family: wealth. When Ragyo and Mako advance through the ranks through the success of their Fight Club, Mako’s family similarly advances in status. This results in their losing interest in each other and caring more for what money can buy them. This places pleasurable goods above persons, which should be esteemed as man’s greatest joys—whether one refers to human persons or the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Actually, when one inordinately luxuriates, they love a person, but that person is themselves. This exacerbates the selfishness we inherited from our First Parents.
The isolation and selfishness caused by the possession of wealth warps the soul. Satsuki saves her soul’s integrity through the love of her friends, but Ragyo loves no one outside of herself: she might like certain people for their usefulness, but this is a far cry from enjoying people for their uniqueness. Instead, Ragyo revels in her wealth, which becomes her god. “But, wouldn’t the alien Life Fiber be her god?” you ask. Yes, but the aliens are clothing, and clothing is the meter by which we determine a person’s wealth. Padre Pio once claimed that a woman cannot serve God while absorbed by fashion. To serve clothing is synonymous with worshiping wealth.
This worship of wealth, the choosing of mammon over God, leads to Ragyo making herself God. As Proverbs puts it: “…give me neither poverty nor riches, lest being full, I deny you saying, ‘Who is the Lord?’” (Prov. 30:8-9) From her resplendent white garments to her radiant rainbow colored hair, it is obvious that she regards herself as something divine. Wealth has puffed her up. She sees herself as one with the “divine spool” or whatever the main alien body is called. She neither values human beings nor sees herself as human. She does not know her place—following the first being who did not know his place: the devil. The last time we see Ragyo in the final battle, there are horns on her head.
This is the ultimate danger of wealth: vaunting ourselves so far above our brothers and sisters that we make ourselves our own gods. Few other faults corrupt human nature as easily as love of money. So, St. John the Baptist went into the desert so that locusts and wild honey would be his food and a camel garb his raiment. St. Alphonsus de Liguori names poverty as a step to holiness. Both Mako’s family at the end of episode seven and all the characters by the end of the show doff their clothing, which counts as a bold rejection of money and the isolation produced by it.
This seems to be in imitation of that great lover of poverty, St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis’s father, incensed at Francis selling the possessions he gave him to the poor, brought Francis before the bishop and a crowd of people to demand publicly that Francis give back all that he had stolen from him. St. Francis undressed himself completely before the bishop and a crowd of his fellow townsmen. The bishop, amazed at Francis’s fervor, placed his own mantle over St. Francis’s shoulders until more suitable clothing might be found. Separating ourselves from wealth and the desire for it leads to God clothing us more completely with His grace. A much richer reward than even Satsuki Kiryuin received in gaining Mako and Ryuko as friends through her own rejection of wealth.
Read more by Medieval Otaku on his self-titled blog.
7 thoughts on “Guest Post – Contra Divitias: Kill la Kill’s Opprobrium of Wealth”
Aw quit it. You’re making me blush.
No, you deserve every bit of praise! Not one drop less!
Reblogged this on Medieval Otaku and commented:
Here’s my latest article on Kill la Kill. It was written originally for Beneath the Tangles–well known for its examination of Christian themes in anime. I’m now done writing about Kill la Kill–at least for the foreseeable future, I promise!
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