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Ryuko Matoi

Voiced by: Ami Koshimizu (Japanese), Erica Mendez (English)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ryuko_matoi_anime.png
Life Fiber Synchronized Form 

"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!"
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Our main heroine, a wandering transfer student who comes to Honnouji Academy in search of the truth behind her father's murder. Her investigation sends her on a collision course with the academy's Student Council President, Satsuki Kiryuin, whom she thinks has the answers she seeks. Her only clue is also her Weapon of Choice, a giant red Scissor Blade left behind by the killer.


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    #-A 
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • In episode 13, due to going out of control against Nui Harime in the previous episode. She bounces right back in order to help a student who, in a twist on the usual outcome of this, turns out to be Nui in disguise, who promptly defeats Ryuko and tears up Senketsu.
    • Happens again in episodes 16 and 17. Ryuko refuses to help Nudist Beach take out the Life Fibers after finding out Senketsu was designed to kill them, only to put him on again and agree to help them the episode right after.
    • Once again in episodes 19 and 20; after discovering the truth of her origin and birth, Ryuko abandons Senketsu, disregarding the state of the world and leaving to face Nui and Ragyo by herself. What snaps her out of this one is actually becoming victim to Ragyo's mind control and making a sudden turn against the heroes.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: She gains the combined power of every student's uniform before leaving to face Ragyo for the final time. This allows her to fly into space, while she couldn't do anything but hop angrily after Ragyo and strengthens her regeneration to be able to quickly recover from Ragyo's Shinra-Koketsu powered attacks.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Subverted. While Ryuko is a tough talker and dresses like a delinquent, she's a good person at heart. Throughout the series, she frequently gives warnings to anyone who pisses her off, but many times it's comical in nature, such as giving empty threats to Aikuro and doesn't seem to enjoy violence beyond needing to fight in order to get the answers she wants. Also, while she is at first adamant about murdering her father's killer in vengeance, she ends the series with absolutely no deaths on her hands.
  • Accidental Hero: She saves several students from the COVERS in episodes 19 and 20. However, by this point, she's too angry to care.
  • Achilles in His Tent: After she completely loses her confidence due to giving in to her rage during her fight with Nui Harime in episode 12, she spends her time moping in her room. Eventually, she changes her mind with a little persuasion from Shinjiro, who was ironically Nui in disguise. So she both caused Ryuko to fall into this state and then brought her out of it.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: She reasons that she's immune to Ragyo's Absolute Submission because she's "a little in between human and Life Fiber". Being that she was born with Life Fibers injected into her body, it means she has spent her entire life with the entity that was used to paralyze everyone else and render it null.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Averted, unlike all of the other members of her household. When she and Mako start a fight club which is successful enough for the Mankanshoku family to move up their living standard in Honnou Town multiple times, the other family members becoming increasingly self-absorbed and uncaring. In contrast, Ryuko laments the loss of the bonds they used to share and becomes very lonely. In the end, averting this is what brings Mako back to herself when Satsuki orders the two girls to fight and Ryuko refuses to attack Mako, showing her best friend that she remained unchanged despite everything and that they were all better off with the way things used to be in the slums of the city.
  • Action Girl:
    • She's just as badass as any male Studio Gainax protagonist and cements this in her intro. She's first seen drifting around with a mysterious case on her back, strolling into town and purchasing, then chomping down on a lemon, before Mataro and his gang decide robbing her would be a good idea. This results in a fight so fast that it's done with a black screen and comic marks before we see them bowing to her and begging for forgiveness.
    • This pops up again just a few moments later when she marches into Honnouji Academy, being unfazed by the hanging body, with a warning about defying said academy on him. Once she enters, she immediately picks out Satsuki after she's identified as the Student Council President of the resident Absurdly Powerful Student Council and challenging her. She chops through Satsuki's Mooks and it takes one of them in a Two-Star Goku uniform to make her back down. At first, she backs off, but she once again plays this trope by finding her own super uniform in Senketsu and challenging Fukuroda to a rematch.
    • During her second encounter with Fukuroda, she starts it off in true Action Hero fashion by rescuing Mako before handing Fukuroda a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. He activates his uniform's super mode but his attack literally shatters on contact with Ryuko, who finishes him off once and for all and this is after it has been established that, beyond Satsuki's personal guard, he was among the school's top elite. Ryuko proceeds to challenge Satsuki and agrees to whatever rules Satsuki has to get the chance to pummel her. This really drives home Ryuko's character, since all of these examples occur in just the first episode.
  • Adaptive Ability: Ryuko's synchronization with Senketsu allows her to unlock a variety of techniques to help her overcome different challenges throughout the series:
    • In response to Gamagoori's binding attacks immobilizing her, Ryuko is able to unlock Senketsu Senjin, which, in an aversion of Spikes of Villainy, grows blades out of Senketsu to allow her to shred Gamagoori's binding.
    • Battling Jakuzure, Ryuko finds herself at a disadvantage when her opponent's uniform gives her flight. Focusing her synchronization with Senketsu, Ryuko is able to use her Kamui to fly herself (Senketsu Shippu). This quickly levels the playing field for her.
    • Against Jakuzure, Ryuko is able to block her enemy's sound waves by changing Senketsu into a form that can negate the sound waves and protect her (Senketsu Mubyōshi).
  • Aesop Amnesia: When faced with something that truly shocks her to the core, Ryuko forgets everything she has learned about the Power of Friendship and the Power of Trust in a flash, only to learn the exact same lessons again one or two episodes later when someone manages to talk her out of her Tent (episode 13) or out of her Face–Heel Turn (episode 21). She also basically calls herself out on it by saying that she deserved the pain from tearing Junketsu off her body after the way she acted led to her brainwashed with it in the first place.
  • Afraid of Needles: Despite fearlessly challenging Satsuki in front of all of Honnouji Academy and chopping through her goons without any fear of pain, she acts like a complete crybaby when her teacher is about to draw blood from her, and for good reason. Helps establish her Badass Adorable character by contrasting her brash attitude towards combat with a fear of a mundane medical tool.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Aikuro points out that her prickly personality is fairly typical of a seventeen-year-old. You also have to remember that she's a severely neglected orphan with a Friendless Background.
  • All-Encompassing Mantle:
    • She dons one to hide her embarrassingly Stripperific outfit in the first episode on her way to save Mako. At this point, she is a very Reluctant Fanservice Girl, who is not thrilled at all with Senketsu's appearance, so she uses it for modesty and only takes it off when an attack from Fukuroda shreds it.
    • She later does this again when the revelation that she is part Life Fiber enrages her and she refuses to wear Senketsu, instead opting to wrap herself in her bedsheet... and nothing else. Since the scene is a reference to Tetsuo, a nigh-omnipotent Reality Warper from AKIRA, it hints at how powerful Ryuko is.
  • All Men Are Perverts: There's hardly a single major male character she's met that she hasn't called a pervert, mainly because they keep taking off their clothes or telling her to take off her own. She even calls Tsumugu the "Pervert Club President" when she mistakes him for another one of Satsuki's flunkies.
  • Almighty Janitor: Although it's not given much attention, Ryuko's lack of interest in the politics of Hono Town means she never even attempts to attain status as a One-Star student. Even during her stint in the Fight Club, Mako receives a Two-Star uniform and better living conditions for her family but there's no mention of any sort of direct promotion for Ryuko, who allowed Mako to be the club president and gets the perks from living with Mako's family. Of course, given that the main benefit to attaining status is a better uniform, Ryuko's Kamui means she doesn't have much to gain here.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
  • Ancestral Weapon: It is explicitly stated that Senketsu was created by her father and that he had the Scissor Blades in his laboratory and they were specifically designed to cut Life Fibers heavily implies that they were his creation as well.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Fairly compressed, since the two discoveries come in quick succession but when the ultimate villains of the story are revealed to be the Life Fibers, we learn that only Ryuko and Senketsu have the power to fight them because Ryuko was born with Life Fibers put into her body, making her a superhuman and kin to the creatures she has to kill. Understandably, she is shocked and upset by this revelation but eventually accepts the truth and moves forward, happy with who she is.
  • Anti Anti Christ: She was conceived solely to further Ragyo's goals, but she eventually ends up as mankind's savior and the one to defeat her.
  • Anti-Hero: Unscrupulous Hero -> Pragmatic Hero. While she is a good person at heart, her goals and motivation have little to do with heroism. She is a deeply scarred, aggressive girl who will not sacrifice her own goals for the sake of others, which at the beginning, are limited to avenging her father. As she gets closer to Mako and the Mankanshokus she becomes interested in helping them but she isn't interesting Nudist Beach, who are trying to save the world unless their goals happen to align. Her butting heads with them even leads to her and Tsumugu trying to kill each other. The more heroic part of her character starts to show when she finally accepts her responsibility to help mankind and does everything in her power to save the world and even forgives Satsuki and Ragyo.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • She sees Satsuki as this, being the one who claims to have knowledge about her father's murder. She shows her tenacity about taking Satsuki down by actually joining her school and accepting the many challenges and trials Satsuki put her through. Despite agreeing to Satsuki's rules, Ryuko also takes every chance she can get to take a shot at Satsuki directly, starting as early as the fourth episode. Ryuko again displays her eagerness for combat when she hunts Satsuki down and battles her in Kanto. At this time Ryuko is even more driven to take Satsuki down because she believes it was her who ordered Nui Harime to kill her father.
    • Following episode 17, this role is replaced by Ragyo. At this point, it is apparent that Satsuki is not as villainous as she once appeared and that it was Ragyo who masterminded the death of Isshin Matoi/Sōichirō Kiryūin and just the mention of her drives Ryuko into a frenzy. Her hatred of Ragyo is so intense that she actually abandons her friends in favor of attacking her directly. Even when Ryuko eventually calms down and takes a more level-headed approach to fighting Ragyo, she often reminds Satsuki that they need to "stop mom", directing her fight against Ragyo specifically.
  • Awesomeness Is a Force: For all of Inumuta's Techno Babble regarding Ryuko's powers, Mako is able to boil it down to its purest form: Ryuko-chan is really awesome.
  • Ax-Crazy: When Brainwashed and Crazy, she rivals Nui in her enjoyment of violence and destruction, aggressively hunting down the heroes the first chance she gets and recklessly attacking everyone within striking distance.

    B 
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: With Tsumugu in episode 15, showing her and The Rival finally working together to take out Honnouji students and symbolizing Ryuko's interest in fighting alongside others for a cause besides avenging her father.
  • Badass Adorable: She's a high schooler going up against an entire regime of empowered enemies, all of which she can take on through willpower alone. Having a Sailor Fuku Powered Armor also helps.
  • Badass Biker:
    • First fights on one after Senketsu is shredded by Nui Harime, only empowered by a small piece of him. Getting it lets her keep the show's high-speed tempo as she cuts through swathes of Honnouji students to reclaim Senkestu's parts.
    • Equips a bike once more after a taunt from Ragyo, leads her to viciously hunt down the villains, this time even using the bike as a weapon to grind into the face of an enemy.
  • Badass Boast: Threatens to destroy Satsuki's plans at the end of episode 3. And that's just after their first real encounter when Satsuki was handing Ryuko her ass for a good majority of the fight.
  • Badass Family:
    • Her father was a scientist who was brilliant enough to make a fortune selling patents and inventions if the size of his house is any indication. He also fought Nui Harime despite being just a normal human and even though he was killed was still able to lay all the groundwork for the heroes to stop the Big Bad.
    • Her sister is none other than Satsuki Kiryuin, who shows off just how badass she is when she engages Ryuko in combat and by the respect and fear she commands at Honnouji Academy. On top of that, she's also preparing to take on the biggest company in the world, along with all its superweapons.
    • Her mother is a darker example but Ragyo shows that Authority Equals Asskicking by giving it to Satsuki in a matter of moments in her intro fight and proceeds to plunge the world into darkness using the Life Fibers she has sworn allegiance to.
    • Tragically for Ryuko, this doesn't get played to its full-effect since by the time we find out that her father was a badass, he's long dead and we don't learn who her mother is until it is clear Ryuko and Ragyo will be in opposition to each other. A downplayed version does occur since she and Satsuki eventually team up to take on Ragyo and make an immensely powerful duo, even able to temporarily destroy the Primordial Life Fiber while engaging Ragyo in combat.
  • Badass Normal:
    • She can take out One-Star Uniform-wearers with just the case she carries her weapon in, displaying herself as an Experienced Protagonist by beating down Mataro and his gang, then taking out a plethora of Satsuki's Mooks, only being stopped when a Two-Star Goku uniform is used against her. A flashback of her past even hinted she could beat up gangs of delinquents by herself.
    • Later on, she charges after the Honnouji Academy students during their Tri-City Raid Trip after Senketsu has been dismantled and taken from her, leaving her with only a small piece of Life Fiber-imbued cloth. Despite her disadvantage against Satsuki's army of Superpowered Mooks, she effortlessly chops through them and is able to quickly recover Senketsu's lost pieces.
    • However, this trope is actually subverted, since Ryuko has actually had Life Fibers implanted in her body, which explains the superhuman feats she is able to perform.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Exaggerated, after losing her first uniform. Everything else she wears always exposes her stomach, except when wearing Junketsu, in episode 20 and 21. This is particularly noted with the heavily skin-exposing Senkestu and becomes part of a plot point when it's revealed that minimizing the amount of skin covered by Life Fiber clothing hinders their ability to take control of their victims' minds.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • With Senketsu, although neither of them really counts. Inevitable seeing how Senketsu can't fight by himself but this is essentially their dynamic. They know each other very well, their trust in each other is boundless and they love to banter happily during a fight.
    • As of episode 22 she's working this with Satsuki, who is her actual sister and Ryuko becomes affectionate enough towards her to call her "sis". Immediately following this scene, they take on Ragyo and the Primordial Life Fiber together, at this point, being the only duo strong enough to do so.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: In the final battle with Ragyo, she seems to have no problem breathing while in orbit around the planet, possibly due to the space traveling Life Fibers within her body.
  • Battle Aura:
    • She gets this in episode 4 (and she's not even wearing Senkestu!) when she's about to lay a beat down on Maiko, while menacingly cracking her knuckles and sporting Glowing Eyes of Doom, to get ready for the Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • Later on, Senkestu Kisaragi gives her a glowing gold background, as she gets ready to become the warrior who will save the world and fitting the final fight she's about to engage Ragyo in.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Played for Laughs. After being beaten by Fukuroda, she comes back home and wishes she was stronger. Almost instantly, she gets dropped into the basement where she finds Senketsu who forces himself upon her. That probably wasn't the kind of power up she wished for.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: After finding out that she is actually part-Life Fiber, Ryuko actually falls into a months-long coma and even after she awakens she is very hostile and unwilling to cooperate with anyone, even leaving Mako behind. This gets even worse when Ragyo captures and brainwashes her, making her become outright evil, although Mako manages to snap her out of it. While she was initially placing avenging her father above everything else at this point she is so far gone that she actually makes out with Nui when she asks if Ryuko is mad about her father's assassination. Overcoming this trope represents the final test of character Ryuko needs to go through before she can avenge her father and save Earth.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Ryuko tries avoiding Mako in the first episode, but starts hanging out with her more after Mako's family lets her stay with them for as long as she needs.
  • Being Good Sucks: She asserts her lack of interest in helping Mikiusgi with stopping the Kiryuins and emphasizes that she does what she does out of a want for vengeance, not for any sense of duty for aiding mankind. She sticks to this opinion even after discovering that her father founded Nudist Beach and tailored her and Senketsu to fight Life Fibers. At this point, she becomes enraged that the "heroes" would allow her to stay in the dark for so long and that they would force Senketsu to fight fellow Life Fibers without consulting him first. She eventually renounces this thinking and decides to help Nudist Beach but her goodwill costs her when the final fight with Ragyo destroys Senketsu, taking her best friend from her at the price of saving the world.
  • Berserk Button: She can't stand perverted guys, and will beat them up the first chance she gets, seen during her first run-in with Barazo, which sees her guarding his own daughter against him with her scissor blade. Mikisugi's stripping also really seems to set her off, though this is mostly Played for Laughs. She can't stand Mikisugi's penchant for unbuttoning his shirt, and this persists post-series.
  • BFS: Her Scissor Blade in Decapitation Mode extends a hidden blade within it, increasing the resulting weapon's length to more than double its original size. In episode 25, upon regaining the Rending Scissors that fell from space, Ryuko is able to perform a final move that makes each half of the scissors grow to ridiculous proportions, dwarfing Honnouji Academy's mecha mode!
  • Bifurcated Weapon: The scissor blade can be split into two halves. When the two halves are brought together, they create the only weapon capable of stopping Life Fibers from regenerating.
  • Big Damn Heroes: While it certainly looks like one, her appearing out of nowhere and beating up Honnouji's students during the Kansai school raid is more like she was just passing through. For one, she didn't come to save anyone but to reclaim the pieces of Senketsu, and in the long run didn't really defeat the three armies, merely weakening them. Furthermore, the three schools that were targeted by Ira, Uzu and Nonon still fell.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Exploited, when she has a very intense make-out scene with Nui Harime. Since she was under the influence of Ragyo's mind-stitching, it's more like Kissing Under the Influence.
  • Biker Babe:
    • In episode 14, after Nui Harime shreds Senketsu and Satsuki administers his parts to various Honnouji students for the Tri-City Raid Trip and Ryuko needs fast transport to go retrieve him. Don't ask where she got the bike.
    • Happens again in episode 20, when Ragyo's taunting, coupled with her horror at being part-Life Fiber, she angrily goes to face her mother in a reckless mood, fittingly riding something stereotypically associated with delinquents.
  • Bio-Augmentation: She was born human but her parents implanted her with Life Fibers when she was an infant. This is the reason behind the Super Strength, Super Speed, and Healing Factor that she possesses and as she says, turning her into something not quite clothing but not quite human either and yet both.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Her Scissor Blade becomes fused to her right arm when she loses control and overwhelms Senketsu in episode 12.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: As she goes berserk, she becomes drenched in her own blood. Taken to the next extreme when she rips apart Junketsu, who was forcibly attached to her through Life Fibers, resulting in her standing naked in a geyser of blood.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Episode 21, when she kills Senketsu inside her Mental World. The juxtaposition is inverted in this case, since the wedding dress was part of the imagery Ragyo was using to control her, while Senketsu's blood is what makes her become horrified with what she has become and brings her back to reality.
  • Body Horror: In episode 12, when she loses control of Senketsu and merges with him. Her skin turns a sickly bluish-green color; her eyes become yellow, bloodshot, and bulge (one bigger than the other) and her teeth become huge fangs, one of which sticks right up in front of her face, the others going through her skull, making her "horns"; her head rests atop her massive left shoulder/Senketsu's eye, feeding into her freakishly swollen left arm; her right arm becomes spindly, with her Scissor Blade grafted onto it; her neck is crooked and keeps cracking and spurting blood; her upper and lower body are held together by a gaping, toothy mouth; and her otherwise normal legs have spikes hammered through them.
  • Book Dumb: The first Drama CD has her boldly saying she'll spend a week in the town library to prepare for an upcoming test... only to do nothing but sleep and eat for the week and end up relying on Senketsu to answer the academic questions for her. She shows her street smart side by analyzing Satsuki's intuitive questions, like whether or not Satsuki's eyebrows are big and figures out that based on Satsuki's personality and the setting that her tester does not want to hear that they are.
  • Born Winner: Why is she able to fight increasingly intense battles with students who are literally being trained to fight in a war? Simple, being infused with Life Fibers at birth gives superpowers including regeneration, enhanced speed, and strength.
  • Boyish Short Hair: She has shoulder-length hair, highlighting her status as a Japanese Delinquent in contrast to Satsuki's regal Hime Cut.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Ragyo takes control of Ryuko's mind using her Mind-Stitching ability and makes her attack Satsuki in episode 18 but Ryuko is able to break free by using the red highlight in her hair to cut the Life Fibers controlling her.
    • In episode 20, Ragyo rewrites Ryuko's memories to make her think she loves her insane mother, driving Ryuko to do a Face–Heel Turn. However, the efforts of Satsuki, Mako, and Senketsu have snapped her out of it at the end of episode 21.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • In the first episode, she runs away from Honnouji Academy after being bested by Fukuroda to her father's mansion, and starts tearing up and breaking down. While earlier in the episode she was reluctant to befriend anyone, seen avoiding Mako, this puts her in a state more willing to accept others' help and contributes to her being able to bond with Senketsu.
    • In the fifth episode, after becoming cocky due to synchronizing with Senketsu, Tsumugu manages to defeat her in combat, toning down her attitude. While the pair ultimately lose to Tsumugu, they realize they're both willing to sacrifice their lives for one another and this helps strengthen the bond between them.
  • Bridal Carry: Holds Mako this way in episode 23 after destroying the Primordial Life Fiber. This foreshadows another step in their relationship, which is seen in episode 24 when Mako asks Ryuko out on a date and kisses her.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: The first Drama CD reveals Ryuko finds studying so boring that if she has a week to study for a very important test, she'll sleep the entire time except for when she has to eat and go to the bathroom. Despite this, she's able to analyze what kind of answers Satsuki wants to hear on the test and despite making a mistake about whether or not Satsuki considered her eyebrows big, succeeds with ease. Additionally, when she's fighting Inumuta, she's able to figure out his methodical fighting style and easily devises a way to attack him so that he won't be able to think his way out of it.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Episode 4 revolves around her having to navigate a massive Death Course on the way to school without Senketsu. She still does better than most of the No-Star student body, even when dragging along Mako and Maiko. In episode 14 and the first half of episode 15, she's brought down again because she has to reclaim the pieces of Senketsu from the invasion force, succeeding by the second half.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: A badass who defines herself by her quest to avenge her father's death, Ryuko also has a soft side. This is seen when she gets the hang of using Senketsu and is able to take out scores of Two-Star club leaders in a quick montage, before enjoying her lunch with her best friend, Mako. In a touching scene between the two, Ryuko allows her BFF to feed her a croquette while happily chatting with her.
  • The Brute: Becomes the Kiryuin Conglomerate's one while she's under the influence of Junketsu. When she fights for the bad guys, she immediately charges into combat and simply tries to destroy all the heroes in her path. This straightforward and aggressive fighting style is in stark contrast to Ragyo, who prefers to capture people so as to give the Life Fibers a food source and bodies to produce COVERS and Nui, who enjoys taunting her opponents and screwing with them as opposed to going straight for the kill.
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    C-D 
  • Cain and Abel: Played with. She would have been the Abel to Satsuki's Cain, but the fact that they were siblings wasn't revealed until after they were on the same side. She's definitely this to Nui though, who considers Ryuko her "soul sister" due to be both being bred with Life Fibers. She actually becomes the Cain to Satsuki's Abel, temporarily, when she is mind controlled by Ragyo. In this state, she attempts to take out the Honnouji students and Nudist Beach fighters and Satsuki has already revealed herself as a traitor against Ragyo.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Really struggles to call Satsuki "Nee-san" (big sister), after acknowledging the fact that they were sisters.
  • Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Ryuko always responds with a swift punch to the face whenever Mako's dad, brother, and dog try to peep on her, but she still considers them to be her family. This is most evident when she helps the Mankanshokus become wealthy, only for them to become so self-absorbed in their new lifestyle that they stop spending time with her, and she opens the window while taking a bath hoping they'll at least be there.
  • Celibate Hero: Ryuko is more driven by getting to know/avenging her father than considering a love interest, although in a world where All Men Are Perverts is rampant, you can't blame her. She does agree to go on a date with Mako at the end of the series.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Initially, she's not interested in donning Senketsu again and helping Nagita's resistance. However, that changes when Honnouji enforcers beat up Mr. Mankanshoku in his own home, where Nagita is trying to hide. However, this turns out to be a serious case of an Exploited Trope, since Nagita is Nui in disguise.
  • Character Development: Initially, all that she cares about is using Senketsu to get her revenge, everyone and everything else be damned. After she interacts with Mako, who loves her deeply, and Senketsu, who is nearly permanently killed while serving her, she begins caring about others. She eventually forgoes her revenge altogether and instead focuses on protecting the things that are important to her. A good example of this is when she eventually decides against killing both Nui and Ragyo. Instead, she asks them to give up. Neither accepts this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The red highlight in her hair. It can cut and absorb Life Fibers.
  • Close-Call Haircut: When Tsumugu fires a giant seam ripper at her to stop her following him in episode 5.
  • Color Failure: In episode 18, she becomes stark white while under influence of Ragyo's Mind Stitching, showing her loss of emotion and control until her red hair strand cuts her free and she regains her complexion.
  • Color Motifs: Strongly associated with the color red. She has the personality to match, wears a Sailor Fuku with red accents who feeds off of her blood, wields a red Scissor Blade, and owns several things made out of Life Fibers, which are red in color. This includes the Scissor Blade(s) and her own genetic makeup.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Uses all the advantages and dirty tricks she can get her hands on and never adheres to the rules of Honourable Combat.
  • Combat Stilettos: The sneakers she normally wears are replaced with high heels when she activates Senketsu. This adds to the "sexiness" feel of her outfit which she has to accept to be able to use Senketsu as full power. Notably, Satsuki, who has no trouble using her Kamui, wears stilettos regularly.
  • Confusion Fu: She uses this on Inumuta after she instantly picks up his "analyze-first, attack later" fighting style.
  • Contralto of Danger: Ryuko is a badass who doesn't seem interested in following gender stereotypes. Accordingly, her voice is very deep and serious, which suits her as an Action Girl who kicks ass in almost any fight she's put in.
  • Cool Shades: Sports a pair in episode 14 riding a motorbike, which emphasize that she ready to go on an ass-kicking quest to gather the dismembered pieces of Senkestu.
  • Cooldown Hug: Receives one from Mako after Nui Harime causes her to berserk and mutate over the death of her father. Until this point, Ryuko had become violent to the point Nudist Beach were considering taking her out via a sniper round but the long embrace managed to bring her back to her senses.
  • Covert Pervert: It takes a few episodes before she can keep herself from blushing whenever Aikuro removes his glasses and shows off his manly physique.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Ryuko was born as part of Ragyo and Soichiro's experiments with Life Fibers on children, Ragyo hoping it would create a warrior she could use to enslave humans to the Life Fibers. Instead, Ryuko's abilities and morales made her into the most powerful fighter in the war against the Life Fibers. The revelation that this was done to her also just strengthens her resolve to stop her mother and her evil plans.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After all Nui put Ryuko through in the series, it's really satisfying to see the latter dish this out to the former in episode 22. Even when Nui had both Scissor Blades, she was still completely outmatched and Ryuko manages to take them back with ease. Nui ends up losing her arms as a result, and absolutely loses it.
  • Cursed with Awesome: She takes the discovery that she's part Life Fiber like this, given that it means she was lied to the whole time. On the other hand, her having these powers makes her the only who can stop Ragyo.
  • Cute Bruiser: Which she first demonstrates when Mataro and his gang think her appearance makes her an easy target for robbery... they're bruised and bowing to her about five seconds later.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Has prominent canine teeth, as part of her Wild Child image. The feral fangs indicate a rambunctious and mischevious attitude. She shows this personality through her impulsive thinking and by playing a prank on Sanageyama, making him think he grabbed her breast during a power outage. It also foreshadows her true nature as a Cute Monster Girl, since she's part Life Fiber.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Discovering she's been imbued with Life Fibers didn't make her any less attractive. Similar to Nui Harime, the human component of her human-Life Fiber mixed genes completely took over her appearance.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Despite wanting to avenge him, Ryuko is very resentful about her father being distant during her childhood and eventually sending her off to boarding school to live alone. She eventually finds out the reason behind this was to keep her hidden from her monstrous mother, Ragyo and to work with his organization, Nudist Beach, to save the planet from the same psychotic woman.
  • Daddy's Girl: Played for Drama. Her father was never there for her when she was growing up and her quest for his killer was meant to gain information on him and finally sort out her own life and feelings for him as much as it was to avenge him. The more she learns about the conspiracy he was involved in and her true origins, the more confused and resentful she becomes about everything that has to do with him and his work.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: In episode 20, Ryuko's memories get replaced to make it look like she's been doted on by her mother Ragyo for her entire life, and always been in support of Ragyo's apocalyptic evil plan.
  • Delinquent Hair: Subverted. Even though she's a Japanese Delinquent, she naturally has a red streak in her hair as a result of her Life Fiber infusion.
  • Dangerously Short Skirt: Her combat outfit has a very, very short schoolgirl-themed skirt (the skirt is just about the only thing she doesn't mind about her uniform), and boy is she dangerous. Both her Asskicking Poses and jumps in fights tend to show off Panty ShotS to emphasize this.
  • Dark Action Girl: All courtesy of being brainwashed by Ragyo, where she maintains her brash attitude and happily jumps at the chance to confront her former friends as quickly as possible. Once in combat she shows the same ferocity she always has, just with a morality 180 degrees away from her former self.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Not as obvious as most examples, but let's sum up her past: her mother dying at a young age, her father abandoning her when she was no more than 8 years old, alienated by her classmates, getting into fights and becoming a full-on juvenile delinquent, then, to top it all off, her father also dying under tragic circumstances. Gets even worse when it's revealed in episode 18 that Ragyo is her mother and only had her to use for Life Fiber experiments, and to top it all off Ragyo threw her away to die when Ryuko was just out of the womb.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: She wears a dark-colored uniform, but is nonetheless heroic. In fact, this show uses this to emphasize that Light Is Not Good, as Satsuki and Ragyo the former of whom is only played up to be evil but for most of the show shine like diamonds and Ryuko dons the bright-colored Junketsu she is mind controlled and working for Ragyo.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Played With. She's an Anti-Hero and The Protagonist rather than an Anti-Villain and The Rival, but she has the Dark and Troubled Past of a typical DMG, as her father had essentially abandoned her, and that's not even going into what he and her mother did. Through her interactions with Mako (who can be considered the stereotypical Magical Girl in this example) and her fight with Satsuki following her Face–Heel Turn, Ryuko becomes more heroic and decides to fight for the greater good.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ryuko is quite sarcastic and as the Only Sane Man in the midst of the series' wackiness, she gets quite a few times to show this off. Her best moment definitely comes after she regains her mind after breaking out of Ragyo's control and then proceeding to chop off Nui Harime's arms, leading to the following exchange:
    Nui: MY ARMS! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! MY ARMS! Do you have any idea how valuable my arms are?! I'm the Grand Couturier!
    Ryuko: That's why I chopped ‘em off, dipshit.”
  • Death Faked for You: Her father Isshin Matoi, a.k.a. Soichiro Kiryuin, made Ragyo believe their second daughter died during the Life Fibers infusing experiments, but she actually survived and that baby turns out to be Ryuko.
  • Death Glare:
    • In the fourth episode, after being tricked by Maiko and losing Senketsu to her, Senketsu immobilizes Maiko, which allows Ryuko to get him back, which is proceeded by the visuals changing to show Ryuko towering over Maiko with Glowing Eyes of Doom. Given the lightheartedness of this episode, it is entirely Played for Laughs.
    • FEAR HER. As seen when she is mocked by a COVERS projection of Ragyo and becomes pissed off enough to go hunt her down at Honnouji Academy. Her rage is so intense that she throws Mako aside and nearly kills Aikuro by slicing his DTR apart when he tries to stop her. Unlike the above example, this one is meant to emphasize how enraged and alone she feels and is completely Played for Drama.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Of the stereotypical "edgy" '90s Anti-Hero archetype. In the first half of the first episode, she eats a lemon (with the rind no less), beats up Mataro and his gang, shows up to Honnouji Academy with a sports jacket, short skirt, and sneakers, and instantly declares war on Satsuki the moment she hears of her. This can be explained by her Dark and Troubled Past and Friendless Background. Afterward, she shows a more friendly side around Mako and her family.
    • Of Hot-Blooded characters. More often than not, Ryuko's brash and passionate attitude will get her and/or someone close to her in trouble. Her anger gets the better of her when she comes face-to-face with Nui, leading to her Heroic RRoD, and after the reveal of her past, causing her to cling onto the Jerkass Ball hard and get roped into making a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Subverted. Up until Episode 19, Ryuko was the primary focus, but when she undergoes her Face–Heel Turn, from her Jerkass Ball that begins her dark descent into She Who Fights Monsters to Episode 20, where she becomes Brainwashed and Crazy, the next episode follows Satsuki as the temporarily sole primary protagonist with Mako and Senketsu backing her up until they were able to snap Ryuko out of it and the focal point returns to her.
  • Despair Event Horizon: She crosses this at the end of episode 18 when she finds out that, like her mother, she is infused with Life Fibers. After this revelation, Ryuko refuses to wear Senketsu again and leaves her friends behind. This is mercilessly exploited by Ragyo, who succeeds in mind-raping Ryuko to the point of turning heel.
  • Determinator: Even as she gets beaten and bruised, she refuses to go down if it means keeping her Scissor Blade and Senketsu out of enemy hands.
  • Didn't See That Coming: She was completely prepared to take down Satsuki and Ragyo to save the world from Life Fibers. What she wasn't prepared for was the former betraying the latter, and then finding out that the latter is her mother. The first one she gets over pretty quickly despite the initial shock, the latter...not so much.
  • Dual Wield: In episode 22, Ryuko takes both halves of the Rending Scissors from Nui. Afterward, Ryuko disarms Nui.

    E-F 
  • Edgy Backwards Chair-Sitting: In Episode 16, while listening to Mikisugi's lecture on Life Fibers. The "edginess" of this pose suits her irritable mood and distrustful feelings towards Mikisugi which also works as a build up to when she gets up and rips off Senkestu to tell Nudist Beach that she won't make Senkestu fight against his own kind.
  • Embarrassing but Empowering Outfit: A plot point and the central theme is Senketsu's appearance when he transforms for combat. Upon receiving him, Ryuko is horrified at his flesh-baring look, covering herself with a rag as a cloak when first fighting in him. It takes her a few episodes to realize she has to throw aside her shame of wearing him to unlock his true potential. The reason Senketsu covers so little of her is that the Life Fibers he's made of can overwhelm a user if they cover too much of their body and his design is actually a safety feature.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: A very competent fighter in her own right, but can't take on any Two-Star or higher uniform user without Senketsu. Episode 18 also reveals she was fused with Life Fibers since her infancy, subverting both this and Badass Normal in the process. Until episode 21 reveals that her Life Fiber powers had been dormant until being faced with the fear of death courtesy of Ragyo.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Despite Ryuko admitting that her relationship with her father was very tense, she quickly comes to his aid when he's mortally wounded, and her revenge quest is for his sake. And during her Face–Heel Turn, she's given Fake Memories of her having a loving childhood with Ragyo.
  • Even the Girls Want Her:
    • Mako demonstrates such while encouraging her not to be afraid of getting naked:
    Mako: Your boobs are bigger than [Satsuki's]! I saw them! "That Ryuko, she's got a great rack!" My whole family was talking about them!
    • Nui Harime immediately admits attraction to her after their first meeting, saying she wishes she stayed after killing her father to meet a "cutie" like Ryuko.
    • Her own mother Ragyo brings an extremely dark take on this when she takes advantage of a brainwashed Ryuko and rapes her along with Nui.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Has a penchant for spinning her Scissor Blade around whether she's going for a finishing blow or just bringing it out of its case. Later, she and Satsuki seem to spin into Ragyo when fighting her atop the Primordial Life Fiber, to show how inhumanly fast they're moving.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After the Mind Rape from Ragyo, she wears Junketsu, and in a departure from the norm with this, it covers far more of her skin than Senketsu did. The costume switch is actually implied to play a big part in her unwilling Face–Heel Turn since it covers her entire body because Nui Harime stitched Junketsu to every inch of her and during her fight with Satsuki she mentions that the more revealing outfits leave a person less susceptible to Life Fiber mind control.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: When wearing Junketsu. It's red and makes her look more akin to Ragyo.
  • Experienced Protagonist: While unfamiliar with the secrets of the setting or the power and nature of Goku or Kamui Uniforms, when she arrives at Honnouji Academy, she is already a veteran fighter with her scissor blade. She's also at least somewhat familiar with the kind of tactical situations she has to face in boss fights; she knows to avoid attacking Gamagoori when he's in Shackle form (not that it helps), and she easily comes up with the counter to Inumuta's Awesomeness by Analysis.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: The edges of her irises are surrounded by tick marks resembling stitches, an early clue to her true nature that's only apparent in retrospect.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Does this unwillingly later in the series; after picking up the Jerkass Ball and confronting Ragyo and Nui in episode 20, she gets brainwashed into doing their bidding, wearing Junketsu in the process and attacking Nudist Beach's battleship not long after.
  • Fake Memories: Ragyo implants some into Ryuko, leading her to believe that they've lived a normal and happy life as mother and daughter, thus resulting in her aforementioned Face–Heel Turn.
  • Faking the Dead: In Episode 23, when she and Satsuki are fighting Ragyo, she is seemingly bisected at the waist but actually stopped Ragyo's attack at the last second, keeping her Life Fibers from being destroyed and then throwing her body to the water below, which allowed her the chance to recover and attack the Primordial Life Fiber while Satsuki continued to engage Ragyo in combat.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Senketsu has a multicolored eye on one side and a black eyepatch on the other. She also wears a fingerless glove on her left hand.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Being that her initial motivation was revenge for her father's death, wrath is a major one. This first comes to bite her during Nui Harime's introduction, when the revelation that she killed her father causes her to overexert Senketsu's power to try and fight her. This results in her being reduced to a mindless monstrosity, attacking both friend and foe, even causing Mikitsugi and Tsumugu to consider killing her until Mako manages to snap her out of it.
    • Later, she falls into a coma after the shocking discovery that she is Ragyo's daughter and part Life Fiber. Upon awakening, her anger and hatred lead her to abandon Senketsu and Nudist Beach in favor of confronting the Big Bad alone. Her rashness costs her dearly when she is both physically and mentally violated and brainwashed into a puppet for Ragyo. Her mental enslavement makes her try and fight the heroes and she nearly sinks the Naked Sun, almost killing everyone on board.
  • Fearless Fool: The only thing that ever seems to frighten Ryuko is her skimpy outfit that she has to wear in front of people, while never showing any signs of fearing for her own life. In battle, she behaves very impulsively and even though she can sometimes see the advantage in a tactical retreat when she really gets going in her back-to-back battles against the members of the Elite Four, her recklessness comes back to bite her. After constant fights cause Senketsu to upgrade at an unstable rate, she becomes emotionally susceptible to the point that Nui Harime revealing herself as her father's killer causes her to temporarily mutant horrifically, attacking friend and foe alike. After this Ryuko becomes more cautious in battle but remains steely enough that it doesn't seem possible for an enemy to intimidate her.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Eventually becomes this with Satsuki and the Elite Four, despite being enemies for a long time, they have their fair share of moments hinting at a deeper relationship growing. During the week before Naturals Elections Gamagoori dutifully drives Ryuko and Mako back to Hono Town after Ryuko's bike breaks down. The big kicker comes in episode 17 when Satsuki reveals she intends to betray her evil mother and help humanity fight the Life Fibers. In the final three episodes of the series, Ryuko realizes that Satsuki shares a relationship with her friends similar to that of her own with Mako and Senketsu and they finally move beyond their bitter past.
  • Fiery Redhead: Pushes it normally, since she only has a single streak, but when she activates Senketsu, the entire back of her hair turns red. Personality-wise, she wholly embodies the passionate, outspoken character type, being on a quest to avenge her father and so quick to speak her mind that she'll call out Satsuki in front of her entire school and she'll stand up for her friends in the face of innumerable odds.
  • Fight Magnet: After arriving at Honnouji and giving a Badass Boast of an intro speech, Satsuki's followers all want a piece of her. Initially, the first few episodes have this being one challenger per episode but it gets take to its logical extreme in episode five when Ryuko goes through a montage of Curb Stomp Battles against club leader after club leader. Along with all of this, Satsuki and Sanageyama both step down very early on to have a piece of her and when it gets to Ryuko's fateful matches against the Elite Four, they all admit to wanting to have a go with her.
  • Fingerless Gloves: A single red one given to her by Mikitsugi. It has metal studs on the knuckles and looks biker-style, emphasizing her reckless, badass nature and she often shows her personality with it by doing a visible Fist Pump.
  • Finishing Move: Sen-i-Soshitsu ("Fiber Stripper"), which completely shreds her opponent's uniform.
  • Flawed Prototype: To Nui Harime. Ragyo originally conceived Ryuko to make her into the ultimate Life Fiber/Human hybrid minion but considered her to be a failure and threw her out. Eventually, Ragyo created the more successful Nui, seemingly from scratch using the Primordial Life Fiber, even though she's too unstable to be effectively controlled.
  • Flight:
    • During her fast-paced battles with each of the Elite Four midway through the show, Ryuko is able to absorb high-level Life Fiber threads as she defeats each one of them. While fighting Nonon, whose suit becomes something akin to an airship, Ryuko is able to take advantage of her newfound powers and uses “Senketsu Shippu” to join her opponent in the skies. This is one of the indicators of Ryuko's fast-growing power.
    • For the final battle with Ragyo, Ryuko absorbs the Goku uniforms of everyone at Honnouji Academy, this allows her even more flight power, being able to use Senketsu to chase Ragyo and confront her in outer space.
  • Forgiveness: In the final episode, after defeating Ragyo and stopping her plan of converting the Earth into a massive source of Life Fibers, Ryuko offers forgiveness to her, telling her to come back down to Earth with her like the mother and daughter they are. Ragyo says no.
  • Fragile Speedster: Her speed is top-notch, but her defenses are quite low, evidenced by the fact that she takes damage from attacks coming from three-star Goku uniforms, which are considerably weaker than a Kamui, and the fact that Junketsu can pierce through Senketsu's defense. Her and Satsuki are able to dance around Ragyo's attacks but it only takes a single attack to split Ryuko in two.
  • Freudian Excuse: While Mikisugi sums up her attitude as the result of Age-Appropriate Angst, there's no denying that Isshin's Parental Abandonment is a major reason why she acts so prickly. Judging by her interactions with Mako and her family, Ryuko could've been a full-on Nice Girl if she was shown more familial love as a child.
  • Friendless Background: In addition to suffering from severe Parental Neglect, with a father who was very emotionally distant, Ryuko also admits to Mako that she never got along with her fellow students and grew up very lonely, often getting in fights with other kids and never making any real friends until coming to Honnouji Academy. This plays into her singular motive to avenge her father, since, neglectful or not, he was all she had. Like many shounen series, her companionship with Mako and Senketsu helps her grow as a person and even helps her on her quest.
  • Full-Name Basis: She tends to contemptuously address Satsuki by her full name, and vice-versa. This is dropped in episode 22 when they make amends and switch to First-Name Basis with each other as acknowledgment of being sisters.

    G-H 
  • A Girl and Her X: A girl and her Stripperiffic, Living Weapon, Sailor Fuku, who she meets and allies with in the first episode and realizes that he has the power to help her fulfill her quest of exacting revenge for her father's death.
  • Glass Cannon: In terms of strength Ryuko is one of the most powerful characters in the show. Her biggest problem during her match with Omiko was being able to hit the ball without using so much force as to destroy her racket. Even the Elite Four tend to get messed up as soon as she can get a hit in, with her first match against Sanageyama ending as soon as she was able to strike him and defeating Inumuta as quickly as she was able to figure out how to attack him so that he couldn't hide from it. Despite this, her defenses are fairly weak, despite being a Life Fiber being, as seen when Three-Star Goku uniform users, such as Gamagoori, are able to smack her around despite her Kamui. Also, while another Life Fiber being, Ragyo, shows off her regeneration by shrugging off being sliced in half, all it takes is one solid shot to chop Ryuko in half.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: A heroic version in episode 22, after Ryuko and Senketsu reunite.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:
  • Going Commando: She is completely naked under her robe in episode 20 and doesn't even seem to care. At this point, she has gone well beyond the Reluctant Fanservice Girl attitude she once held because of the anger she feels about finding out about her Life Fiber-heritage. This pushes her into a bitter, anti-social feeling and cares so little about what other people think that she doesn't bother with modesty anymore. Once she gets over it, she accepts having to wear the skimpy Senketsu but does so out of the power it brings to accept her body as opposed to an enraged hatred that leads her to avoid social conventions.
  • Golden Super Mode: When she confronts Ragyo with Senketsu-Kisaragi. The color is used to emphasize the power she has received by absorbing the power of all the Goku uniforms of the Honnouji students.
  • Good Counterpart: To Nui Harime, with whom she shares an immature but otherwise very different attitude. While Ryuko may be reckless and destructive, it stems from anger over the death of a loved one. In contrast, Nui simply loves chaos and suffering and destroys just to see them bloom. Furthermore, Ryuko is a human with Life Fibers injected into her, who was stolen away from Ragyo before she could get hold of her powers and has ended up as something of an ace in the hole for the resistance fighting to save humanity. Nui, on the other hand, is a human who was raised in a Life Fiber womb and corrupted under Ragyo, making her into the evil follower Ragyo had hoped to attain with her own daughter.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Alternates between brash and Hot-Blooded and cold and aloof, but she's still a good person at heart.
  • Guttural Growler: Like the mysterious and dangerous loner she is, her voice is much deeper than most females in the show and it displays how solumn and serious she is. In the first episode we know there's more than meets the eyes just by hearing her talk, even before she pounds the crap out of Mataro and his gang. Notably, when Ragyo is speaking to her in the Lotus-Eater Machine, her voice is a lot less scratchy.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Her black hair is sometimes colored navy blue like Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Ryuko is a Hot-Blooded Japanese Delinquent and has a spiky black bob cut with red highlights. Mako is a Genki Girl and has a neat light brown bob cut.
  • Hair Decorations: Sports a pair of small horns when Senketsu is activated.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: She was infused with Life Fibers as a baby. As a representative of the postive version of this character trope, she possesses the Super Strength, Super Toughness, and Healing Factor associated with Life Fibers but lacks the inhuman thought process and drive to consume organic lifeforms.
  • Half the Woman She Used to Be: Ends up a victim of this in Episode 23 after seemingly being bisected at the waist by Ragyo... although this was an invoked and subverted case to fake her death, as she managed to deflect the attack at the last second to prevent being totally bisected and jumped into the water to recover, then attacked the Original Life Fiber as Ragyo was being distracted by Satsuki.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: As can be expected from a World of Ham:
    • With her most frequent opponent, Satsuki, Ryuko gets set off quite easily by the latter's refusal to give information and her high and mighty Social Darwinist stance. When the two clash, it often results in a screaming match incorporating Say My Name, as they both test the limits of one another's power.
    • In her final battle with Ragyo the two have an epic battle above the Earth itself and fitting of the setting, they proceed to shout their philosophies at each other, Ryuko going by what she has learned on her journey and Ragyo responding with her omnicidal excitement at the chance to wipe out mankind.
  • Handbag of Hurt: She employs her metal guitar case as both a weapon and a shield.
  • Happily Adopted: Well, if you count her living with the Mankanshokus as being adopted. Her biological father and her didn't get along very well and he didn't spend a lot of time with her but Mako's family shows her warmth and almost too much attention but make her smile and feel welcome. Protecting them are a big reason for her deciding to help save the world and in the end she leaves Honnouji with them to go off to a new life.
  • Healing Factor:
    • She's revealed to possess this after Ragyo reveals she is part Life Fiber, who displays it by tearing her heart out before placing it back in her chest, without leaving so much as a scar on her.
    • When she was fitted with Junketsu it was actually stitched to her skin so when she finally snaps out of Ragyo's mind control and tears it off it rips her skin all over her body and she shows no signs of damage other than stating doing so "Freaking hurt".
    • This is seen again to an even further extent when she is fighting Ragyo and gets bisected at the waist but manages to actually take advantage of this and launch a sneak attack after regenerating from the wound.
    • Finally, this is displayed in her final battle when Ragyo's Combat Tentacles pierce her multiple times and leave literal holes in her body but she recovers so quickly they don't even slow her down.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Ryuko finds herself in a funk throughout episode 13 after losing control of herself and dragging Senketsu in a horrific rampage across the school, fearful of putting him through that again.
    • In episode 19, she rejects wearing Senketsu, shunning it, as well as herself as a monster after the huge revelation. Understandable, considering her mother is one Big Bad and the fact that she is not actually a human.
  • Heroic RRoD:
    • In her rage against her father's killer, her boiling blood becomes too much for Senketsu to handle, causing him to instinctively eat her whole. The results are not pretty.
    • Defied in episode 15. She's forced to transform using an only partially restored Senketsu, causing energy leakage that will eventually kill her. However, she snatches the very last piece from Satsuki before that can happen. Really shows how much she has grown as a person.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: She and Mako are inseparable, although the "hetero" part is debatable by the end of the series.
  • Hidden Buxom: While her brash aggressiveness subverts the usual timidity associated with this, she is far more full-figured than her fully-clothed appearance suggests, as demonstrated when wearing Senketsu, and Mako states she surpasses Satsuki in bust size. However, she does initially get embarrassed over being seen in this state, though she puts up with it for the sake of defeating her enemies.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Frequently bleeds profusely in combat. This is particularly notable when she goes berserk and spurts blood perpetually and again when she tears Junketsu off her body, which had been stitched to her skin, showering her in her own blood. Even she seems used to it, as the latter situation only gets her to comically whine that it hurts. Bear in mind, though, she also has enough blood to rival Roronoa Zoro.
  • Hot-Blooded: Her blood literally boils in the heat of battle. This proves incredibly dangerous for Senketsu, sending him into a frenzy and triggering a nightmarish Heroic RRoD, which is only reversed thanks to Mako.
  • Hour of Power: Initially, she can only fight using Senketsu for a limited time since he continually sucks her blood. If she fights for too long, she will eventually collapse from massive blood loss. This changes when she accepts Senketsu and they bond properly.
  • Howl of Sorrow: In the finale and combined with Say My Name, to express her pain over losing Senkestu:
    Ryuko: SENKETSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!
  • Hulking Out: In episode 12, when Nui Harime reveals herself as Isshin Matoi's killer, Ryuko flies into a rage. This trope is combined with Body Horror, as she turns into a green-skinned monstrosity, barely recognizable as human.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • In episode 12, being set off by Nui Harime causes her to overuse Senketsu's power, turning her into a hulking, asymmetric monstrosity that barely resembles a person beyond the basic shape. In this form, she constantly squirts blood and has no control over her actions as her rage takes over.
    • Later on, we discover that she's the younger sister of Satsuki that was infused with Life Fibers and presumed dead. In fact, to drive the point home, her heart is made of Life Fibers, making her embody this naturally all along.

    I-K 
  • I Am a Monster: After finding out that she's half Life Fiber, and pretty much everything she knew was a lie, she concludes that she isn't human anymore and wants nothing to do with Senketsu.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: She usually fights with the blunt edge of her Scissor Blade, only using the sharp edge when she finds herself outclassed. Not that this helps her in her first fight against a Two-Star student.
  • I Am What I Am: She finally learns to accept her Life Fiber-imbued body in her final fight with Ragyo. While they battle, she and Senketsu admit they are neither human nor clothing, yet both and because of this they are able to fully understand their bond so that they can absorb Ragyo's Shinra-Koketsu and save the world from being fed to the Life Fibers. The ending also indicates that Ryuko is able to live happily with herself, alongside her friends after spending so long feeling like a monster.
  • I Am Who?: She's just a drifter seeking to avenge her father's death... but that's not all: she's the child that Ragyo bore to experiment on, making her the second human-Life Fiber hybrid; incidentally, this makes her Satsuki's sister. This causes her some emotional distress, to say the least.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: While it's never said outright, it's quite obvious that she really wants to have them. Despite being a bit aloof towards Mako at the start, she very quickly befriended her and became ferociously protective of her. Also, when she befriended Mako, she seems really happy.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • Has one with Mako in "A Loser I Can't Hate". Mako has become too attached to the decadent lifestyle that running the Fight Club with Ryuko has brought her and is unwilling to let Ryuko decommission the club even though the luxuries they have gotten are tearing them apart from each other. This disagreement escalates to combat when Satsuki provides Mako with a Two-Star Goku uniform and offers her a Three-Star one in return for defeating Ryuko. As opposed to actually being able to bring herself to attack Mako, Ryuko instead allows Mako to punch her until she calms down, refusing to fight back. This almost comes to tragedy when Mako almost beats Ryuko to death but finds herself unable to land the finishing blow, instead crying and hugging Ryuko, letting her destroy the uniform Satsuki gave her and happily going back to her old life.
    • Much later on, Ryuko has one with almost all of the heroic cast. This time, she has been made Brainwashed and Crazy by Ragyo and is fighting on the villain's side. While attempting to talk her down, Satsuki fights her but proves to be little match for Ryuko now that she has realized her full powers as a Life Fiber-human hybrid. When Satsuki is unable to subdue her the Elite Four and Nudist Beach members join in the fight but are still being beaten back by Ryuko, who is threatening to destroy the ship they are fighting on and drown everyone. During the midst of the combat, Mako, in a reverse of the situation above, takes a more pacifistic approach by trying to cling to Ryuko and put Senketsu back on her. At the height of her bloodlust, Ryuko is unwilling to listen but a trip to her Mental World brought on by Mako's pleas eventually cause her to relent and turn against Ragyo's mind control.
  • Icy Blue Eyes:
    • Used to emphasize her Determinator attitude and aloof demeanor. These temporarily become Innocent Blue Eyes when Ragyo's mind stitching makes her think she was raised by a loving mother, who she wishes to please. The change to innocent look implies she's not in control of her actions, as she goes to ruthlessly attack Nudist Beach's ship under Ragyo's orders.
    • During her attack on the Naked Sol, she has an unfettered attitude about carrying out her work, which makes her even more aloof now that she's sided with the villains. When she finally snaps out of it, Ryuko maintains a serious expression but it's much more like a confident, badass hero, who is sure of herself without being distant.
  • Immune to Mind Control:
    • Seen in episode 18, by way of her strand of red hair, which allows her to cut the thread Ragyo uses for her Mind Stitching and quickly returning to her normal self.
    • Subverted when Ryuko fights with Ragyo and Nui after angrily leaving to confront them by herself. This time, the evil duo stitch Junketsu to her skin, which is so full of Life Fibers that Ryuko is unable to fight it off.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: While all females in the show get this at some point, Ryuko's waist is tiny compared to the rest of her body which is already thin as it is whenever she shows it off; which is alot. She's so thin at times (such as shown here) she looks like she can wrap around her entire waist with just her hands.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: In episode 2, she shows her pragmatism by using her Scissor Blade as an improvised tennis racket by holding it from the blade and tying some of Senketsu's thread on the handle. This allows her to adhere to the rules Sanageyama was opposing on her match while fashioning herself a racket strong enough to withhold her hits and not shatter.
  • In the Back: Throws her scissor blade at Nui, which impales her from behind and leaves her Pinned to the Wall, after being freed from Junketsu's influence in episode 21.
  • Indy Ploy: Her stock in trade. Her long-term planning abilities are unimpressive, to put it mildly, but she's amazing at on-the-fly improvisation.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: Even though she was enraged and thirsted for blood, all of the threats she made at Mikisugi and Tsumugu had no substance behind them. Even when she cut DTR in half, Mikisugi was completely unharmed.
  • Informed Attribute: Could turn into Informed Attractiveness if you believe Buxom Is Better. Mako, while giving her a pep talk, passionately proclaimed that Ryuko's boobs were bigger than Satsuki's, as well as mentioning how everyone in her family thinks she has a great rack. Now although few can say that Ryuko doesn't have a lovely figure and an above-average chest, that she is more endowed than Satsuki is something we can only take on Mako's word and her family (sans mother) constantly peeping on her.
  • It Only Works Once: Her strategy for Sanageyama during their initial fight is to take some shreds of Senketsu and use them to cover his line of sight, which works. As a result of this, Sanageyama decides to blind himself so he doesn't rely on his eyesight, which comes as a nasty surprise for Ryuko during their rematch.
  • It's All About Me: She spends most of the series hellbent on avenging her father, and she doesn't really care who she has to beat the crap out of to do so. Also, she often has to think twice before helping someone else. Eventually, her drive for revenge leads her to a one-woman stand against Ragyo for what she did to her, uncaring of what Senketsu thinks of her. she only acts this way when she's forced to act as such, however, and both Senketsu and Mako help her grow out of this mentality, with the former saying otherwise about her behavior.
  • It's Personal:
    • The whole reason she is undertaking her quest. She comes to Honno City with the intent to avenge her recently slain father and immediately questions Satsuki, given her position of power, the moment she gets the chance. When Satsuki does little to ease Ryuko's suspicions, Ryuko decides to outright join the student of Honnoji Academy just to get a crack at information surrounding her father's killer. She aggressively hunts for any opportunity to fight Satsuki and tries to take any advantage she can to get it done, such as exploiting an opportunity in her fight against Nonon Jakuzure to attack Satsuki directly.
    • Her mortal enemy instantly becomes Nui Harime, once she discovers that it was her who was Isshin's assassin. Shortly after meeting Nui, her rage and desire to kill her actually boils to the point that she becomes an abomination, incapable of discerning friend and foe, attacking indiscriminately (until Mako calms her). Meeting Ragyo also drags her into this quest for vengeance, being that she gave the order for Isshin to be killed (along with revealing who and what she really is) and Ryuko's hatred of both of them drives the second arc of the series and at one point even leading her to become corrupted.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Played straight, then subverted. In the beginning, Ryuko has an immense hatred for Satsuki, Ragyo's main representative in the first half, because she thinks she killed her father. When Nui, the actual killer and a closer enforcer to Ragyo, is introduced, all of Ryuko's hatred is thrown onto her. But when Ryuko meets Ragyo, the latter instantly becomes the former's Arch-Enemy, as her mother and the person who was directly responsible for her hellhole of a life.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Ryuko's appearance resembles that of a sukeban or delinquent girl, as seen in her red hair highlight, which evokes dyed hair, and heavily personalized pre-Senketsu school uniform, featuring a shortened skirt, a sports jacket and sneakers instead of the regulative skirt, blazer and dress shoes. Even then, she has some delinquent design cues when wearing Senketsu, as she wears him with rolled-up sleeves. Also, she features the attitude of one, as she has a history of picking fights at school since she was very young.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's an aloof drifter with a serious vengeful streak to be sure, but she's also one of the kindest students in the school and is always willing to lend a helping hand, so long as no one tries to peep on her. In the first episode, she seems to find Mako's friendliness to be annoying, commenting that she's crazy the first time she meets her and dodging Mako's attempt at a hug on their first day of school together. Despite this, as soon as the Elite Four capture Mako and threaten her life, the first thing Ryuko does upon returning is to make sure to save her before turning to fight Fukuroda.
  • Jerkass Ball: At the end of episode 19, after finding out about of her parentage, namely Ragyo being her mother and her father not being the man she thought he was, and that she's not fully human, she awakes from a month-long coma lashing out at her friends over this and eventually abandons them to stage a one-woman assault against Ragyo and Nui.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Deeply kisses Nui of all people in episode 21, under Junketsu's influence when Nui asks if she still wants revenge for Nui killing her dad, which shows just how deeply the Life Fibers have woven their way into her mind.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • She always retreats the first chance she gets whenever she's faced with someone she knows she can't beat. Particularly justified when she starts using Senketsu, as up until episode 3, his power can only last for so long in battle before she gets exhausted.
    • It gets somewhat exaggerated in the manga where she treats running away almost like some sort of special technique. Then again, judging by the reactions of everyone who saw her doing that they might not have even considered that someone can run away from a fight.

    L-O 
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: Especially in the dub, where she drops almost every single bit of profanity except for a Precision F-Strike. This is particularly noticeable next to Senkestu and Mako, whose dialogue is clear of profanity and emphasizes Ryuko's status as a delinquent.
  • Leitmotif:
    • "Before my Body is Dry", a dynamic rock ballad which features lyrics that explicitly state her and Senketsu's motivations, though only her sole half of the song has been used in the show so far.
    • The first half of "斬LLLア生LL" — essentially an orchestral remix of "Before My Body is Dry" — is used many times during Ryuko's awesome or power-up scenes. Notably, it was used many times in episode 14, whenever Ryuko busted in on the Honnouji armies to retrieve Senketsu's pieces.
  • Light Is Not Good: Played completely straight in episode 20, since she's seen wearing Junketsu and displaying maniacal faces after turning heel.
  • Limited Wardrobe: After the first episode, Senketsu is the only non-pajama clothing she owns. She promises Senketsu that her wardrobe will improve right before he burns up.
  • Locked into Strangeness: The red streak in her hair is apparently a byproduct of her Life Fiber infusion.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • Both her father, Isshin and teacher, Aikuro make it clear that she holds some kind of purpose to their plans but fail to give her any relevant insight on to what that may be. Even in Isshin's dying moments, he only gives Ryuko very cryptic advice about what she must do and Aikuro neglects to do anything but say he represents “Nudist Beach”, which irritates Ryuko to no end. It's no wonder that when the truth does come out she's so angry that she's initially very unwilling to help them and even leaves them to face Ragyo alone.
    • Satsuki claims to know the details surrounding Isshin's death but won't give Ryuko any hints as to what her involvement may be. This leads Ryuko to believing that Satsuki is responsible for her father's assassination, especially after she claims to have personally sent Nui Harime to do the job. All this was done to train Ryuko to be able to help fight Ragyo but the harsh treatment given to her by Satsuki leads to a rift between them and makes Ryuko have a lot of trouble trusting her, or even acknowledging the fact that they are sisters.
  • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: She mellows out significantly over the course of the series thanks to Mako's influence. She begins the series as a girl determined to see her Roaring Rampage of Revenge through but ends it a much more forgiving and selfless person, fighting for the sake of humanity and even forgiving Satsuki, seeing that she too has "batshit" people who care about her too.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The end of episode 18 reveals that Ragyo is her mother, and by extension Satsuki is her older sister.
  • Luminescent Blush: Has this whenever she dons Senketsu in the first few episodes until she learns to get over how revealing he is.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Initially subverted. Isshin Matoi was a perfectly sensible and sane scientist, despite his eccentric appearance. Then we find out what her mother was like...
  • Made of Iron: Even when not transformed, Ryuko can take a stupid amount of punishment and get right back up. Episode 18 justifies this: turns out she's a human-Life Fiber hybrid, like Ragyo. This is taken to new heights in the penultimate episode. Ragyo partially bisects her, and she shrugs it off almost immediately.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: In the context of this series, Ryuko counts. She has the ability to transform into what is essentially a "pretty-clothed" superhero, is accompanied by a non-human adviser, and fights bad guys using the powers granted to her by her transformation.
  • Meaningful Name: One of the potential meanings of "Ryuko", is "abandoned child". See this for more details, but watch out for spoilers.
  • Medium Awareness: Not as much as Nui, but she is able to see Mako's thoughts on Isshin Matoi being the founder of Nudist Beach.
  • Mind Rape: Is subjected to one in episode 20. Before Ragyo implants Fake Memories of a happy life, and turns her heel, Ryuko pleads for her to stop.
  • Missing Mom: Her mother died when she was very young. Episode 18 expands on this by explaining that Isshin actually lied to her, her mother is Ragyo Kiryuin who is very much alive.
  • Morality Pet: Later on, she becomes one to Satsuki, who finally found solace with reuniting with her sister.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: In her berserk state. And not just where her mouth should be...
  • Morph Weapon: She learns to make her weapon unfold into bigger forms.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She dresses in a revealing outfit (particularly when she goes into combat) and is frequently put into situations where she has to expose herself. Her first fight using Senkestu against Fukuroda sees her giving an eyeful to a crowd of onlookers and her tennis match against Omiko at one point has her pinned to the wall, upside down with her legs spread, not too mention the amount of Panty Shots she gets throughout the show! Unsurprisingly, she's not very happy about it. See Reluctant Fanservice Girl.
  • Multicolored Hair: She has black and red hair. The red stripe in her hair becomes significant when it cuts through Ragyo's Mind Stitching threads, freeing Ryuko from her control. When she transforms with Senketsu, the underside of her hair turns red too, and it turns blue when she's forced into Junketsu.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: A subtle example; killing Mako in her Dream Sequence is what snaps her out of her Mind Rape.
  • New Transfer Student: She joins Honnouji Academy in the first episode to get answers about her father's death. Like most transfers, she turns out to be a force to be reckoned with and is very skilled at the show's fighting style, even being imbued with the resident phlebtonium. Additionally, this trope shows her defiant character, as she never switches to wearing the Honnouji uniform, instead starting off with street clothes and then switching to Senketsu.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: In regards to Nudist Beach, who are mobilizing to stop the Kiryuin Conglomerate from allowing Life Fibers to devour the planet. Ryuko, however, is only on their side because It's Personal between her and the villains, who are responsible for the death of her father.
  • Not Herself: In episodes 19-21 because of Ragyo Mind Raping her into attacking the heroes on the Naked Sun by rewriting her memories.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • She was believed by the Kiryuin family to have been killed as an infant in an experiment that infused her with Life Fibers. Only her father knew she survived and faked both of their deaths to her mother.
    • She and Satsuki are fighting Ragyo, who uses her swords to chop Ryuko in half. Both halves fall below the Primordial Life Fiber the trio was fighting on, only to reveal she had done this to trick Ragyo and attack the Primordial Life Fiber directly.
  • Odd Friendship: With Mako. Ryuko is the only person in the series that comes anywhere near what may be considered normal, while Mako is such a Cloudcuckoolander that even other people in Honnouji find her strange.
  • One-Man Army: Can take out entire schools on her own before getting Senketsu. Eventually, she takes on entire armies of one-star students (again without Senketsu), and later on takes out an entire army of COVERS in a single swing. Again, without Senketsu. Now just imagine what she is with Senketsu.
  • One-Winged Angel: Inverted, she's The Heroine but assumes such a form to fight Ragyo in episode 24 when she powers up via absorbing the energy from everyone's Goku uniforms.
  • Only Sane Woman: The only character who notices the total absurdity of everything that ever happens in Honnouji, which is only natural, since she doesn't live there. In the beginning, when she is determined to get her revenge and uninterested in making friends, this isolates her from the hijinks-causing people around her. As the series goes on, she learns to appreciate the weirdness and grow as a person, eventually thanking the "batshit crazy" people who care about her she has around her. By the end, the annoyance she felt to it all has been replaced with a soft smile that appears whenever Mako does something wacky.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Ryuko loses ludicrous amounts of blood throughout episode 12. First, she overwhelms Senketsu and crudely fuses with him, causing her to start venting blood. After that, Tsumugu is forced to topple spiked pillars on her releasing enough blood to create a geyser! Then came episode 21, where she rips off Junketsu as if it were her own skin, resulting in an absurd shower of blood.
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    P-R 
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: For the duration of episode 4, since she's forced to go to school at 4 in the morning while Senketsu's being washed.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her mother died when she was little, and she lived in a boarding school away from her father right up until he was murdered. It's still much better than what her biological parents did to her.
  • Pen-Pushing President: In episode 7, the prospect of becoming this is what prompted her to pass leadership of the newly formed Fight Club to Mako instead.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: She and Senketsu are as inseparable as her and Mako, and the fact that he isn't human doesn't diminish their friendship at all. Although, it helps that Ryuko isn't fully human, either.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Her hair gains even more red undertones when using Senketsu's full power. Fittingly, it looks similar to Ragyo's usual hairstyle. The undertones turn blue when she wears Junketsu. It turns completely blonde after she absorbs all the Life Fibers in the Honnouji Academy.
  • Power Limiter:
    • Done unconsciously. During her first two fights using Senketsu, she only has access to a fraction of the power he could grant her due to her embarrassment over how revealing the outfit is. Once she is able to embrace her own body, and thus stop being embarrassed over the outfit, she is able to access his full potential.
    • The details are not explained but it seems like she had another one on her natural power. When Ragyo put her under Mind Control, that limiter too was taken off and she was actually capable of going toe to toe against a transformed Satsuki without even activating Senketsu.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: When she equips Senketsu-Kisaragi, her hair seems to puff out to a longer length than usual. This is probably a Shout-Out to Dragon Ball Z as her power-up makes her hair grow similar to Super Saiyan form.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Before learning how to equip him properly, she passes out whenever Senketsu drinks too much blood.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Ryuko has no qualms about using sneak attacks, or attacking enemies before they are prepared.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: After her true nature comes to light. Ryuko suffers from a brief I Am a Monster moment, but gets over it and decides that even if she's not fully human she'll fight on behalf of humanity.
  • A Protagonist Is Ryu: A rare female example, though the "Ryu" in her name means "stream" rather than "dragon". Other than that, she fits this perfectly with her feistiness and intense rivalry with Satsuki Kiryuin who, ironically, does have the character for "dragon" in her name. This fits, even more, considering that her rightful name is Ryuko Kiryuin.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...:
    • Ryuko and the unfortunate Fukuroda get an idea of Senketsu's capabilities when they have a rematch after Ryuko was previously forced to flee. Fukuroda attempts to land a flurry of punches on Ryuko, who doesn't even bother to dodge them and despite her lack of armor covering shows no ill effect from the boxer's attempts, not even shredding the ragged cloak she was covering herself with. After he turns his left glove into a mess of spikes and launches his upgraded attack, he still can't even move her and she promptly smacks him out of the ring in a matter of seconds.
    • Ryuko herself is on the receiving end of this when she fights Gamagoori, whose Shackle Regalia allows him to absorb her blows and lash back at her with powerful charged attacks. When she tries to get around this by just not attacking him, he begins hitting himself to give the same effect. Fortunately for Ryuko, she's able to recover from his tactics and continue the fight.
  • Purple Is Powerful: When she wears Junketsu, her hair turns blueish-purple instead of red.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Does not appreciate Aikuro's pre-episode 16 You Are Not Ready attitude, and is skeptical that he's told her the full truth after the revelations of episodes 18 and 19 that she's a Life Fiber/human hybrid, she's Ragyo Kiryuin's daughter, Satsuki's her sister, and Isshin Matoi was really Soichiro Kiryuin.
  • Rage Breaking Point: When she finds out Nui is the one who killed her father, she goes into such a furious rage that she nearly dies from the over-exertion.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: By using a wire leash, she can hurl her Scissor Blade as a ranged attack.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Inverted; despite wearing a black and red Kamui, she's The Hero of the story. In fact, during her Face–Heel Turn, she's wearing blue and white.
  • Red Baron: She's infamous as the "Kanto Vagabond" and the "Guitar Case Drifter".
  • Red Is Heroic:
    • Not only is it Senketsu's secondary color but thanks to her being Overdrawn at the Blood Bank she often ends up spurting the color, albeit in a squicky way.
    • After Nui Harime shreds Senkestu she spends her time collecting his pieces while wearing a red jumpsuit.
    • When she dons Senkestu Kisaragi she couples this with gold.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • The vengeful, Hot-Blooded and defiant Red Oni to Satsuki's Blue Oni. While Satsuki is a calm and meticulous planner, Ryuko is impulsive and headstrong, running into situations with the intent to learn how to adapt on the fly. Incidentally, her Kamui (Senketsu) has red highlights whereas Satsuki's has blue.
    • Senketsu also serves as a Blue Oni to Ryuko. When the duo is fighting the Elite Four one-by-one, she wants nothing more than to get it done as quickly as possible, even thinking of fighting them all at once. In contrast, Senketsu warns her that she's going too fast and needs to pace herself but she throws his warning to the side.
  • Refusal of the Call: After knowing the truth about Senketsu, Nudist Beach, COVERS, and the Primordial Life Fiber, she refuses the role because no one besides herself even considered Senketsu's feelings on fighting his own kind.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: She's mortified by Senketsu's skimpy armored form. It later turns out this prevents her from unleashing his full potential, forcing him to drink more of her blood just to stay active, which in turn exhausts her in battle. Once she embraces her own body, she is able to share it with Senketsu more evenly.
  • Retractable Weapon: She can make her Scissor Blade small enough to fit in her pocket, like regular scissors.
  • Right Hand of Doom: Ryuko gains a grotesquely bloated left arm when she gives into her fury and overwhelms Senketsu in episode 12.
  • Rivals Team Up: She and Satsuki finally fight together in episode 22. Although this is somewhat of a subversion as the two had laid aside their differences and found a common goal, rather than a simple Enemy Mine situation, Ryuko continues to show a somewhat gruff attitude towards her, such as wanting to punch her in the face at full force and struggling to call her "sis".
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • She's on one to avenge the death of her father and shows it in the first episode by plowing through legions of Honnouji Academy students, hoping to get any information she can. As soon as she finds out Satsuki is the one running the place, she immediately challenges her and even after getting annihilated by one of her subordinates, she returns as soon as she gets Senketsu to continue her fight. Also, once she does return, she takes the first chance she gets to call out Satsuki for information, only leaving when Senketsu drinking her blood means she's about to pass out.
    • When she first meets Nui Harime and discovers she was the one to kill her father, she lets loose in an out-and-out blood frenzy, becoming so enraged that she literally transforms into a hulking Humanoid Abomination. Her anger is so great that she becomes unable to recognize friend from foe and it even takes Mako a good while to snap her out of it. Even though she returns to normal it shows how close to her heart her vengeance for her father is to the point it can drive her to madness if she's not careful.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: She and Mako share a very close relationship with many ambiguous romantic gestures. This is seen when Mako feeds her croquet, takes every chance she can to try and jump into hugging Ryuko and nosebleeding during her more... revealing fights. The ambiguity really gets stretched thin when Mako asks her out in the finale.
  • Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: The Rude Hero to Mako's Nice Sidekick. Ryuko is very hot-tempered, swears a lot and is quick to get into fights with people. Mako, on the other hand, is her silly friend who likes everyone. An example of their dynamic can be seen when Mikisugi approaches them before Ryuko goes to fight the Elite Four and Mako is (eccentrically) welcoming to him while Ryuko remains snarky and distant. In terms of development, this show follows the idealistic path of this trope, where being around Mako teaches Ryuko to trust and forgive people.

    S 
  • Sanity Slippage: After episode 18, it seems her sanity deteriorates with every episode. It all culminates in her being brainwashed into an Ax-Crazy sociopath in episode 20.
  • Say My Name: Screaming/snarling Satsuki's name is practically her Catchphrase for the first half of the series. Then, in the finale, "SENKETSUUUUUUUU!!!"
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: Wears Senketsu's last remaining piece as one in episode 14, which, being that it has Life Fibers in it, actually adds a bit to her asskicking ability.
  • Screaming Warrior: It's hard to find a fight scene where she doesn't scream every time she winds up an attack.
  • Second Hour Superpower: She taps into Senketsu's full power as early as episode 3 once she learns to accept his skimpiness. She only keeps getting more and more powerful from there.
  • Second Year Protagonist: She's in her second year of high school.
  • Secret Legacy: Twice over. First through Isshin, who founded Nudist Beach and made Senketsu especially for her, and then as revealed in episode 18 she's really Ragyo Kiryuin's lost daughter.
  • Seen It All: Slowly develops into this. At the start of the series, she's as weirded out by Mako's antics as everyone else and can't help but blush at Mikisugi's stripping; later on, she can predict what's going on in Mako's head and is barely fazed by a whole army of nude guys.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Subverted. She may have defeated Ragyo in the final battle, but Ragyo kills herself.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Starting off reluctant, she learns that Senketsu requires her to be mentally accepting of the skimpy outfit he transforms into so that he can work at full power. Despite this, she still won't tolerate guys trying to get some eye candy. That said however in Episode 7 she actually states that she missed all the attention she got from Mataro.
  • Shear Menace: Her main weapon is the half of an enormous pair of scissors that are engineered to destroy Goku Uniforms.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: In episode 7, she deactivates Senketsu and lowers her weapon to get Mako to stop fighting her.
  • She's Back:
    • She recovers from her Heroic BSoD in episode 13 and goes back to fighting the bullies of the academy. Nui invoked this in order to get her back on her feet just for a chance to continue their battle, and even then, Ryuko hasn't fully overcome her fears and holds back, leading to Senketsu getting torn to shreds. It only happens for real two episodes later, when she recovers all of Senketsu's pieces.
    • After yet another Heroic BSoD in episode 19, which was combined with Despair Event Horizon and an involuntary Face–Heel Turn, she pulls out all the stops and breaks free from Ragyo's Fake Memories in episode 21, tearing Junketsu to shreds in the process. She then proceeds to beat Nui senseless in the following episode.
  • She's Got Legs: Accentuated by her Dangerously Short Skirt, which fits into the Stripperific outfit she has to accept having to wear so that she can fully activate Senketsu's powers.
  • Sibling Team: Eventually forms this with Satsuki, although, even after her sister's Heel–Face Turn, Ryuko's Mind Rape and Satsuki's imprisonment push this back into the last few episodes. After some persuasion from the Elite Four, Ryuko finally forgives Satsuki and they team up to fight Ragyo. As the two strongest heroes in the show, they are the only ones strong enough to fight Ragyo in direct combat atop the Primordial Life Fiber and manage to really slow down their mother's plans.
  • Skunk Stripe: Has a single red streak in her dark blue hair. It's also a Life Fiber blade. She gains more of them the more she draws on Senketsu's power.
  • Slasher Smile: As episode 20 demonstrates, Ryuko can pull off terrifying ones. Being brainwashed by Ragyo has a lot to do with it, but still...
  • Smug Super: The more powerful she becomes and the easier she knocks her opponents down, the cockier she gets. Senketsu does call her out in episode 5, but it only barely sticks after Tsumugu and later Sanageyama take her out.
  • Sole Survivor: In episode 24, with Nui assimilated into Ragyo and Ragyo herself committing suicide, Ryuko is the last remaining Life Fiber-Human hybrid on Earth. With the destruction of the Life Fiber planet, it's possible that she is the last Life Fiber-being left.
  • Speed Echoes: Ryuko is fast enough to create these with Senketsu's help.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Via the romaji of her name, one would either put a circumflex over the "u" in her given name or write it as "Ryuuko". Few English subs manage to do the latter, however. The same is true of her real last name, which is often written "Kiryuin" but with romaji indicating a circumflex or two u's.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: She can spin her Scissor Blade fast enough that it can neutralize Gamagoori's whip lashes.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Of several of Studio Gainax's leads, several of whom were designed by Studio Trigger's founders, most notably Simon the Digger from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, who was also created by Hiroyuki Imaishi, leading many to believe that Ryuko is an expy of him. Simon was a Nice Guy who gained the trust of his allies when he Grew a Spine and stopped being a Shrinking Violet, while Ryuko is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who becomes happier when she sheds her aloof personality for her loved ones. Simon was motivated by a desire to impress his adoptive brother, who wholeheartedly praised him whenever he could and had complete confidence in his potential, whereas Ryuko is partially driven by her rivalry with her estranged sister, who antagonizes her in order to make her more powerful. Simon eventually becomes a celebrated hero, while Ryuko is forced into the lowest caste of the social ladder. Simon is The Unchosen One who discovered his powers through complete chance; Ryuko, on the other hand, is a Born Winner who was given superpowers at birth, and her weapons were specifically made for her by her father. Finally, their end-of-series speeches are thematically different; Simon's is about the power of the human spirit, while Ryuko's is about her accepting her own alien blood.
  • Stripperiffic: Senketsu's base form barely covers anything. This is subverted when she wears Junketsu post-Face–Heel Turn, which is the most modest Kamui transformation yet.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: There are two distinct sides to Ryuko's personality: the side that's driven by stone cold vengeance to slaughter the Honnouji Academy Student Council, and the side that just wants to enjoy eating lunch with her best friend. According to Word of God, she was supposed to have an icier side to her personality, but they made her more Hot-Blooded to contrast her more with Satsuki, who, in their own words, was icy enough.
  • Super Mode: When she finally achieves the perfect Synchronization with Senketsu, her hair and the lines on Senketsu begin to glow and she becomes so fast that she leaves afterimages.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: During her back-to-back fights with the members of the Elite Four, Senketsu begins evolving at a rate which alarms even him and she adapts a brash, overly cocky attitude about her newfound strength and seems to over-exert her, although she chooses to ignore the warnings. This culminates when Nui Harime appears and reveals herself to be Isshin's killer, which sets her over the edge and finally causes all the built up power to explode, turning her into a mindless monstrosity, which drains her own blood to function. Her unstable power is so great that it also causes the arena she was fighting in to collapse. She's so horrified by the experience of loss of control that she falls into a 10-Minute Retirement afterward.
  • Super Speed: Nearly every opponent, including Satsuki herself, has expressed shock at Ryuko's tremendous speed while wearing Senketsu.
  • Super Strength: She becomes able to destroy stuff without putting on Senketsu once her dormant Life Fiber powers awaken.
  • Sword Beam: She is able to do this with her Scissor Blade.

    T-U 
  • Technician vs. Performer: The Performer to Satsuki's Technician. Ryuko has no formal training with her Scissor Blade and mostly relies on on-the-fly tactics and her powers to win the fight.
  • Theme Naming: "Matoi" means "to wear" and "entwine", foreshadowing her relationship with Senketsu & the Life-Fibers.
  • Thong of Shielding: Her suspenders ride up her backside just like an actual thing. Some shots show she still wears panties under Senketsu.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: While Mako plays the role of the friendship-obsessed and good-natured character, Ryuko has a tougher image, doing lots of fighting, being of a gruffer nature and cursing frequently. The two are very close and spend a lot of time together and their contrasting views help them grow throughout the series, particularly with helping Ryuko let go of her anger in her quest for vengeance.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She's a tough Japanese Delinquent and a Lady Swears-a-Lot, but when Senketsu encourages her to wear clothes "cuter" than him, she responds she'll wear clothes that will "make [him] jealous". In illustration for Otakon Vegas 2015, she wears a pink hairclip and is apparently good at grooming hair.
  • Tomboyish Voice: She has a quintessential boyish rasp to her voice in both Japanese and English dubs courtesy of Ami Koshimizu and Erica Mendez.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • She was already a badass to start, but she needed Senketsu for her to even stand a chance against Satsuki and her Elite Four. At the start of the series, her embarrassment about Senketsu's skimpiness hindered her fighting ability until she embraced her nudity, she then fought Satsuki to a standstill after getting curb stomped by her. Come episode 14 and 15, after Senketsu is shredded by Nui she goes through Satsuki's entire army to put him back together, and one shot each them in nothing but a tracksuit. She then fights Satsuki again and does far better, even forcing her to retreat.
    • By the time episode 18 has come, she's so powerful that she overwhelms Satsuki without Senketsu, while she is using her own Junketsu and when she does transform she's so in sync with Senketsu that she even overwhelms Nui Harime to the point the latter sports a very uncharacteristic Oh, Crap! expression. This girl is going places.
    • And by episode 20, even when suffering a Heroic BSoD and without Senketsu at all, she can lop buildings in half from miles away, and is finally able to grab and impale Nui, who only survives thanks to being another Life Fiber-empowered being like Ryuko.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Slowly but surely, Ryuko goes from cold, aloof, and revenge-driven to friendly, outgoing, and willing to forgive the people who put her through hell.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Episode one indicates that she has a fondness for lemons, even eating the skin after buying one. This represents her sour disposition as an angsty teenager who is solely driven to avenge her father. It also becomes a point of character when she swaps out the lemon with her wallet to trip up Mataro and his gang, showing she's a person with a sour tendency towards others, being ready for such a bitter situation.
    • As the series goes on, she develops a fondness for croquettes, which are typically seen being eaten by Mako and her family as they all sit down for dinner together. While initially repelled by the ambiguous ingredients within them, Ryuko beings warming up to the Mankanshoku's cooking. This represents Ryuko getting over her bitterness as the food is often eaten with people and when she forgives Satsuki, they all sit down together to enjoy croquettes, having finally bonded with one another.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Her already flustered emotional state from finding out what she really is gets pushed even further by Ragyo's taunting, causing Ryuko to charge off to face her and Nui alone. Unable to fight Ragyo and Nui alone, Ryuko is mind controlled by the duo, leading to her getting raped and brainwashed into fighting her friends, whom she almost kills. Although she does recover from the brainwashing, she was still violated by the sick and twisted Big Bad and her Dragon.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • Her Scissor Blade is the very same one used to kill her father. She actually retrieved it from his corpse and displays it when trying to identify his killer, since she knows they possess the other half.
    • She also considers Senketsu to be this since he was made by her dad and he even becomes a father-like voice of reason to her as their time together goes on.
  • Transformation Sequence:
    • Of the Magical Girl type. True to the form, Ryuko goes through a fanservice-laden sequence as Senktesu takes his combat (and more revealing) form. Once she gets the crimson glove from Mikisugi, it becomes her transformation gesture as she uses it to draw blood to power Senkestu. All of this is complete with Gainaxing and some really trippy background.
    • In the finale, she has one of the Super Mode nature when she uses Senkestu to absorb everyone's Goku uniform and gain enough power to fight Ragyo. This scene is much more drawn out and has everyone holding their arms up like a cross and their clothes turning into the show's characteristic stars, before being absorbed by Ryuko and turning her into a golden and red super version of her usual self.
  • Trauma Conga Line: It feels like episodes 18 and on are dedicated to just how much shit can be thrown at Ryuko. First, she finds out that Ragyo is her mother, in the worst possible way no less. Then, she discovers that she isn't human. And finally she is Mind Raped into wearing Junketsu.
  • Tricked-Out Gloves: Her Crimson Glove, which has a built-in syringe so Ryuko can feed Senketsu her blood and activate his power.
  • Troll: In one instance. During a school-wide blackout in one of the Drama CDS, Sanageyama is left stumbling around Honnouji around until he finds his hand on something squishy. Ryuko irritably asks what he thinks he's grabbing and he freaks out until he discovers he was actually pinching Barazo's cheek. Senkestu comments on how immature of her it was to do that and she responds that she's 17-years-old and likes to act like it when she gets the chance.
  • True Companions: With Senketsu and Mako, though on separate terms since Mako doesn't know Senketsu is alive. Later on, Nudist Beach, Satsuki and the Elite Four also join her circle of friends. Epitomized during her "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Nui in episode 22.
  • Two Roads Before You: After being told the truth about her existence and Life Fibers, Ryuko feels torn between saving humanity and making Senketsu fight his own kind. At first, she's angry enough with Nudist Beach to ignore the fact that Senketsu doesn't mind and even prepares to fight Tsumugu. Thankfully, Mako and Senketsu calm her down and get her in gear to save the world.
  • Tyke-Bomb:
    • Averted. While Ragyo had meant to turn her into this by implanting her with Life Fibers as a baby, Isshin managed to fake her death and sneak her away. In a more heroic version, it's implied that Isshin was raising her to be able to fight Ragyo, as evidenced by his creation of anti-Life Fibers weapons and by informing his organization, Nudist Beach of her existence. Mikisugi even tells her at one point that she and Senketsu were created to stop Ragyo. Predictably, she does not take this news very well.
    • Later, however, Ragyo does have some temporary success by Mind Raping Ryuko into serving her. Although Ryuko is 17-years-old when it finally does happen, Ragyo uses her Mind Stitching to rewrite Ryuko's memories, making her think Ragyo had been a loving mother and causing her to accept her role as this.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Zigzagged. Her father looks old enough to be her grandfather. Then it was revealed that she was actually Ragyo Kiryuin's daughter, which utterly confused the idea that she could possibly be his daughter. Then it was revealed that she actually was his daughter. Not only that, but her father was very good-looking, but purposely changed his looks to hide from his wife.
  • Underboobs: While Senketsu is transformed, particularly emphasized in some scenes, such as when a battle leaves her hanging off a ledge, stretching her suspenders and driving Mako to nosebleed.
  • Uniformity Exception: Nobody apparently told her to wear a One-Star Uniform on her first day or when she gets Senketsu, though the latter case is given an explanation later on.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Ryuko grew up feeling unloved by her father and seeing him die (by murder, no less) drove her even deeper into a dark and cold mindset. Due to this, she lacks the optimism of archetypal heroes and is very pragmatic in fights, having no qualms over taking cheap shots against opponents or fleeing when the going gets too tough. However, despite all this, she isn't willing to leave a helpless student behind, as seen in episodes 4 and 13. Of course, said students pretty much screwed her over...
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Shares this with Senketsu in early episodes. There are few better ways to describe someone wearing a 100% Life Fiber uniform that some subs translate as a "Godrobe," (which, by the way, is probably not an exaggeration) but struggles against people wearing 20% Life Fiber. This comes across in the competitions she is thrown into, such as the second episode's tennis match, where her powerful swings destroy the racket and it takes her time until she can get the finesse down (and arm herself with a racket that can withstand her swing). She and Senketsu get better, though. Lord, do they get better. Especially after consuming all that Life Fiber.
  • Unstoppable Rage: She completely flips her lid when she meets her father's killer, Nui Harime, which transforms her in a very terrible manner that causes her to lose a nearly fatal amount of blood, nearly dying if it weren't for Mako.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Brought about by Satsuki in episode 7, who uses her newly founded Fight Club to weed out all undesirable students at the academy so she can restructure the Student Council to her liking.
    • Happens again after episode 12, where Satsuki reveals that both the Naturals Election and Ryuko's battles with the Elite Four allowed her to create better Goku Uniforms, finally giving her the power to take over all the schools in Japan.
    • Satsuki reveals that initially, her plan was to simply to use Ryuko in her quest to defeat Ragyo.

    V-Z 
  • Vagina Dentata: Her entire waistline turns into a massive mouth with sharp teeth when she goes berserk. Symbolically, this form is applicable for a show with underlying themes of a girl going through adolescence, who has lost control of her actions.
  • Vapor Wear: Played with. Somehow, despite all appearances, she's wearing modest and sensible (especially for this anime) underwear underneath Senketsu, as it miraculously appears whenever he's removed, willingly or not.
  • Wall Run: She can run up vertical surfaces without activating Senketsu, as demonstrated at the end of the Naturals Election. This demonstrates just how much of a cut above Ryuko is from the regular Honnouji students, who have to cling on to the rising pillars for dear life.
  • White Sheep: Her mother is an abusive sociopath who experimented on her, her father helped her mother before making a Heel–Face Turn, her sister took to running a school under a totalitarian regime, and her other "sister" is a remorseless murderer. Ryuko, in comparison, is a perpetually angry delinquent with a Friendless Background.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: Her skirt transforms into a combination of skirt and shorts (shorts in the middle, skirt in the sides) when she activates Senketsu.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Noticeably sports them when under Junketsu's control, being brainwashed to support Ragyo's plan and fight Nudist Beach.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • In episode 6, she faces her first member of the Elite Four, Sanageyama and actually manages to beat him in their first round, where his arrogance gets the better of him and Ryuko defeats him. To show how serious he has become by sewing his eyes shut, he easily defeats Ryuko in their second round of combat at the end of the same episode, indicating Ryuko has a lot more training to do before she can face Satsuki and her bodyguard. Ironically, Sanageyama himself gets worfed by Nui Harime before he can ever have a rematch with Ryuko.
    • Near the end, Ryuko shows how powerful she has become by decimating Nui Harime in combat after regaining Senketsu. This shows just how strong Ryuko has become and the only villain who can stand to her at this point is Ragyo.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: In her final fight with Ragyo, she and Senketsu stat that they understand that they are both not quite human or clothing, yet both. This indicates that Ryuko has come to accept that it is her responsibility, as someone with the power to stop Ragyo, to do so, despite having felt like a "freak" because she isn't entirely human. That she says she is part human also shows she is willing to finally accept working with others, despite having spent so much time isolating herself because she felt hurt by other people. The points she makes indicate that she is finally able to let go of her insecurities and work to make sure the planet and its inhabitants are safe from her tyrannical mother and her insidious plans.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Even in the first episode, Satsuki welcomes Ryuko the chance to fight her if she agrees to join Honnouji Academy and promises to tell her what she knows about her father's death. When Sanageyama wanted to pursue her after she beat Fukuroda Satsuki allows her to leave and throughout Ryuko's time at Honnouji, Satsuki never takes cheap shots at her, despite having the entire school under her command. This makes sense when it's revealed she was secretly training Ryuko the whole time.
    • Sanageyama outright proclaims he refuses to die until he gets even with her. He is the first member of the Elite Four she faces and their rivalry gets played up quite a bit, especially when Sangeyama goes as far as to have his eyes sealed shut to gain a sixth sense and show Satsuki his devotion to another crack at fighting Ryuko.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Ryuko doesn't hesitate to hit Mataro, who is a child, if he peeps her. Mataro is a pervert, and Ryuko does not tolerate perverts. She also beat up Mataro's gang when they picked a fight with her, though she was probably holding back a lot when she did.
  • You Killed My Father: She's looking for her father's murderer. When she does, she goes even further than her already reckless regular personality and berserks to the point that she becomes a monster so blinded by hatred that she attacks friend and foe until Mako manages to make her settle down.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: She has a Grade-A when Senketsu is activated. The budding of sexuality that the look tends to be associated with parallels Ryuko's need to accept the skimpy outfit to be able to use Senketsu to his full power.

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