Ryūko Matoi (纏 流子 Matoi Ryūko?) is the main protagonist of Sonic Storm Adventures of Kill la Kill and Jak's potential love interest. She is a delinquent student who transfers to Esme Academy in search for the twin of the red Scissor Blade she carries, and the one who used it to murder her father, Isshin Matoi. It is later revealed that she is, in fact, the younger daughter of the Kiryūin family, who supposedly died after a failed experiment with the Life Fibers done by Ragyō Kiryūin. It is also revealed that her father Isshin was, in fact, Satsuki Kiryūin's father Sōichirō. Sōichirō faked his death and became Isshin Matoi in order to raise her prior to his death by Nui Harime.
Ryūko is a seventeen year-old girl of medium height with mid-length black hair and a single left-swept red highlight on her bangs. Her blue eyes have peculiar gear-shaped pupils with eight grooves around the edges. Her outfit coming into the series is a simple white shirt with a red ribbon tie, a black miniskirt, white sneakers, and a black & white jacket with 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 with mid-length sleeves that bares her midriff. Her sailor-style collar with red stripes is tied by a multicolored scarf that also serves as Senketsu's left "eye." Senketsu's right eye is covered by a black "eyepatch" with an X-shaped scratch over it (perhaps emulating her father's right eyepatch). Her skirt (Senketsu's lower jaw) is held up by suspenders attached to a belt. Aikurō Mikisugi later provides her with a Seki Tekkō (赤手甲?, lit. "Red Gauntlet"), a red, finger-less, left-handed glove with a built-in syringe designed for Ryūko to conveniently draw blood and feed it to Senketsu.
Ryūko's appearance changes further when using Life Fiber Synchronize with Senketsu. Her hair becomes even more feathery and is accented with vibrant red undertones and horn-like clips. Senketsu himself also undergoes a significant change in appearance after Synchronization; his "eyes" extend into wing-shaped crests jutting out from Ryūko's shoulders and his upper and lower parts transform into a black, skimpy suit of armor with red stripes. The top section of the armor covers Ryūko's neck, lower-jaw, arms, and upper breasts, and possesses a red, triangular ventilation grill centered on Ryūko's upper back. The top armor piece is connected to her skirt by three red strings (two in front, one in back), leaving everything between the underside of her breasts and her waist exposed. Her legs are also covered with thigh-height, high-heeled boots.
When Ryūko wears Senketsu Kisaragi, Senketsu's eyepatch is broken, revealing his hidden eye, his color scheme changes to reddish orange and yellow, the head piece becomes more elaborate like a rabbit's ears, yellow energy bands form a skirt that looks like jaws around Ryūko's waist and her hair becomes blond.
Ryūko has a relatively simple personality: fierce and stubborn. She fears little, which is demonstrated when she directly and disrespectfully addresses Satsuki Kiryūin, demanding that her questions be answered, and when she fights Takaharu Fukuroda even though she is clearly overpowered. Later on she is shown to be quite embarrassed when she is forced to fight in Senketsu's very revealing alternate form, though she overcomes her embarrassment in Episode 3 showing that while she is not afraid of fighting to her death, she is somewhat self-conscious.
She 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 merely punching herself. This same episode, however, has one of few demonstrations of shock on her part, when Ragyō defeats Satsuki, rips out Ryūko's heart and reveals to be her mother.
When Ryūko is brainwashed after being forced to put on Junketsu by Ragyō, her personality changes to be wild and sadistic, destroying everything around her without reason. After she is freed she goes back to her usual personality, but is somewhat calmer and more mature. She also makes peace with Satsuki and is able to fight with her as a comrade, but is still having trouble recognizing her as her sister.
Ryūko's mother is initially presumed to have died after she was born and her relationship with her father, Isshin Matoi, was strained. Ryūko spent her early childhood living in the dorms of Ox Elementary School as her father focused solely on his studies. Without parental guidance Ryūko became a juvenile delinquent, constantly getting into fights and even going so far as to join a gang. Six months before enrolling at Esme Academy she received a message from her father and returned to her home only to find him bleeding to death with a red Scissor Blade plunged into his chest. Isshin told her up front that if she wanted to live a peaceful life, that she should get up and walk away, but if she wanted to 'fight' in his place she should take the blade, for as long as she had it she would surely be able to find his killer. Before Isshin could provide Ryūko with further information she caught sight of a shadowy female figure out of the corner of her eye wielding the other half of the Scissor Blade. Ryūko dashed outside the house but was unable to apprehend the fleeing woman. Before she could get back in an explosive device of some kind detonated and lit the house ablaze. Ryuko watched in horror, screaming for her father, but to no avail. Vowing revenge Ryūko became a wandering vagrant looking for clues behind the killer's identity and whereabouts.
Powers and Abilities
- Natural Abilities:
- Remarkable strength: Ryūko 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. This strength increases after she finds out she is a life fiber hybrid. Without Senketsu she is able to destroy multiple covers with one swing of her scissor blade.
- Life Fibers infusion: Ryūko is revealed as Ragyō Kiryūin's second child whose body had been infused with Life Fibers, despite it being perceived as a failure by Ragyō then. It is likely that her incredible potential and her natural ability to synchronize with Life Fibers was a result of this. Ryūko has also demonstrated resilience and superhuman healing on par with Ragyō herself. An example of this is shown when her heart is pulled out her chest by Ragyō; the heart is simply drawn back into Ryūko's body automatically and the wound seals itself.
Former Powers and Abilities
- Scissor Blade (片太刀鋏 Katatachi Basami?) – Ryūko'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. Ryūko alternatively uses it as a makeshift tennis racket during her match against Omiko Hakodate. She obtains the second half of the Scissor Blade after snatching it from Nui Harime in Episode 22.
- Decapitation Mode (武滾流猛怒 Buttagiru Mōdo?) – While using Life Fibers Synchronize, Ryūko 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 Lost.
- Kamui Senketsu (神衣鮮血?)
- Life Fibers Synchronize (人衣一体 Jin'i Ittai?)
- Fiber Lost (繊維喪失 Sen'i Sōshitsu?) – After Ryūko 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 Fibers Synchronize – After Ryūko 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. After the final battle against Ragyō and Shinra-Kōketsu, Senketsu manages to send Ryūko back to Earth before he disintegrates completely.
- Kamui Junketsu (神衣純潔?)
- Life Fiber Override (人衣圧倒 Jin'i Attō?) - Ryūko is forced to put on Junketsu by Ragyō, which alters her memories, making Ryūko believe that she had been raised lovingly by Ragyō her whole life. As Ryūko is a human fused with Life Fibers, Ragyō believes that Ryūko, unlike Satsuki, is able to draw out its maximum power. Its appearance varies from Satsuki's version in that Ryūko's chest is covered, while she wears a hakama on her lower body. The back parts of her hair are now colored blue, although she retains the red highlight on her fringe. After Mako and Senketsu's final efforts to free her, Ryūko returns to her former self and rips apart Junketsu.
- Ryūko's unique gear-like pupils (and likely 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.
- The back of Ryūko's casual jacket, only seen at the beginning and end of the series, also adorns what looks like a heavily modified Team Dai-Gurren logo.
- According to Shigeto Koyama, in the early concept designs for Ryūko, she had long black hair and an overall physical appearance similar to Satsuki Kiryūin. The fact that Satsuki briefly wears Senketsu later on in the series was a nod to Ryūko's original design.