As far as anime protagonists go, Ryuko Matoi is a rather popular one. She has some amazing moments in Kill La Kill, overcoming her own trials and coming out all the stronger at the end. But this doesn't mean all of her moments in the spotlight are noble and heroic.
While, for the most part, Ryuko is an enjoyable character, she has moments that leave viewers disgruntled and unsatisfied with her choices.
10 Her Cocky Attitude Isn't Entirely Warranted (At First)
All of the strongest protagonists in action-packed anime know what they're about and are confident in their abilities. This is usually once they've proved themselves and faced adverse odds in order to grow. However, Ryuko was very sure of herself from the start.
It's generally more rewarding to see protagonists grow as people, and while Ryuko does adapt her personality as the show goes on, her self-assured attitude never changes. Even when she is getting beaten down at the start of the series, she still acts like she is a force to be reckoned with. She definitely earns this status later in the show, but at the start of the story, it feels a bit undeserved.
9 It's Another Case Of Protagonist Plot Armor
It's a given at this point that some protagonists only avoid certain defeat just because they are the main character. Ryuko gets some of this treatment as well, surviving attacks that would ruin most people and shrugging off difficult situations in record time.
From being utterly destroyed by Nui to having her Kamui cut into hundreds of pieces, Ryuko manages to bounce back from some dire situations. Maybe if she didn't win some high-profile fights with ease and had more time to face the consequences of her low points, she would feel more like a well-rounded hero.
8 She Goes To Desperate Lengths To Avoid Receiving Help
Throughout the story, a lot of characters offer Ryuko help on her mission to learn about her father's death and take down the evils that be. However, a lot of times throughout the show, Ryuko declines their offers and goes at it alone.
The insight from Nudist Beach, the kindest from the Mankknshoku family, and the wisdom of Senkentsu are all snubbed by Ryuko at some point. Maybe the situation could've been handled a lot smoother by accepting some of the aid she was offered by all of these caring individuals.
7 Ryuko Adopts A Strategy Of Fight First, Ask Questions Later
Everyone loves a brutish character. The barbarian-type swings their weapon first and deals with the consequences later. However, the one everyone looks to for guidance and strategy arguably shouldn't act so carelessly, especially when the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.
Luckily, there are more composed characters also leading the way in the show to keep everything on track and strike meaningfully against the villains of the story. Ryuko's approach does wind her up in trouble rather often, so maybe some more calm and calculated thought would've gone a long way.
6 There's Nothing Smart About Being Blind With Rage
At more than one point in the story, Ryuko has a switch flip in her mind and she goes into a full berserk state where she charges her enemy, putting everything on the line on one careless moment. It's admirable how desperate she is for revenge and justice, but at times, she forsakes it all for her sudden instinct to clash blades.
It's not always fun to see a character viewers have followed for a long time throw it all away on an impulse, and Ryuko does this more than once. Some viewers definitely feel a shred of attachment and understanding of her character slip away every time she acts in blind fury.
5 Her Origin Story Is A Bit Disappointing
Towards the end of Kill La Kill, we finally get to learn more details about Ryuko and her father. The events that lead her to Honnōji academy are alluded to throughout the story, but finding out that she was made in a lab and that her father was actually this handsome scientist was a letdown for quite a few fans.
Her link to life fibers and the Kiryuins feels a little bit forced and more of a way to make her insane power levels make sense within the context of the universe. It's especially a rather meek backstory compared to those for other characters in the show, especially her sister Satsuki.
4 Her Goals Were Sometimes A Bit Selfish
Ryuko shows a great lack of care for those who have to live full-time in Honno City, trampling through their houses and making their lives harder under the foot of the Kiryuin dictatorship. Even after seeing it first hand through living with Mako and her family, Ryuko solely focuses on her goal of learning about her father's death more than anything else during the first half of the show.
When a character only cares about themselves, it makes it hard for the viewer to care about anything else either or makes it hard for them to sympathize with someone so solo-minded. Ryuko would've definitely been more well-developed with some introspection.
3 That Part Where She Turned Evil For Some Reason
Towards the end of Kill La Kill, Ragyo and Nui manage to corrupt Ryuko enough to the point where she fights against her family and friends. Not a lot of context is given as to how they achieved this and why it works for so long, so it ends up feeling very off and leads to Ryuko doing some diabolical things.
This truly was a heel turn from out of nowhere, and while it's great for adding tension to the story, it doesn't make a lot of sense for Ryuko's character. If people were split on how to feel about Ryuko before, the episodes where she joins the enemy's side definitely didn't make them warm up to her.
2 It's Silly How Easily Manipulated She Was
Looking back at Ryuko's evil phase again, it really makes no sense how easily she was manipulated into betraying her allies. As it is a canon event that happens in the story, it leaves viewers with no choice but to see her as someone who sacrificed their resolve and mental fortitude for no good reason.
Even though it was a difficult time for her in the story, where she reached her lowest of lows, it doesn't excuse some of the stuff she does while under this mind control-like state. She even makes out with Nui, a character who by all rights she should outright loathe and despise. There's nothing like throwing your motivations and convictions away at the drop of a hat to make a viewer dislike you.
1 She Treats Her Friends Horribly (Especially Senketsu)
While in one of Ryuko's many fits of rage in the show, she ends up casting aside everyone who has stood with her up until that point in her journey. The worst affected by this is her Kamui, Senketsu. She tells Senkentsu that just looking at him makes her feel sick and that she never wants anything to do with him ever again, right before donning a sleeker Kamui right in front of him a couple of episodes later.
These are not the actions of a good friend. Granted, she goes through a lot of trauma up to this point in the story, but her treatment of her allies both when she is and isn't in her "evil mode" is appalling. This was the moment that Ryuko sank to her lowest point in the eyes of many viewers, and for good reason.