KILL la KILL Review — Final Thoughts

KILL la KILL Review — Final Thoughts

KILL la KILL Episode 24Although I had not originally planned to watch this anime, I decided to go ahead and give it a go after it was recommended to me. Further adding to the intrigue for me was the fact that KILL la KILL was being done by Trigger, founded by IMAISHI Hiroyuki and OHTSUKA Masahiko, who came from Gainax.  Gainax has done a combination of serious titles, but also very whacky titles. As such, I decided to take a risk on KILL la KILL. While it may not have been a revolutionary anime that some had hoped for, it was a pretty enjoyable anime just the same.

KILL la KILL Episode 15The premise of the anime is set in a dystopian Japan, where a girl named Ryuuko comes to a high school named Honnouji Gakuin, ruled with an iron fist by “Satsuki-sama” and her Elite Four — Ira (Discipline Committee), Uzu (athletic clubs), Houka (information), and Nonon (music). Since Ryuuko is looking to avenge her father, she immediately challenges the system she believes caused her father’s death. Her initial clash causes her to encounter the living school uniform named Senketsu, which allows Ryuuko to fight with increased skill.

KILL la KILL - 01KILL la KILL starts off mostly as a whacky action-adventure series.  As such, Ira’s giant size and super-deformed moments when he enforces discipline are funny.  There’s also an element of “monster of the week” as Ryuuko fights various club leaders.  However, Trigger does not opt to just follow tropes for the heck of it. Trigger constantly changes things up so that one is never quite sure where the story will go. One that that did become apparent to me was that they had a fairly interesting story, and they were willing to to put twists in that actually made sense to me plot-wise, not just as a cheap ploy.

KILL la KILL Episode 17The cast of characters are highly memorable, thanks to great performances of the seiyuu, but also thanks to the work from Trigger on writing said characters and working them into the story effectively. Satsuki is probably the most fascinating character, not because she’s a “battle babe” (the physique and curves of a woman that’s all woman, while having the abilities to battle any man), but because she’s a samurai at heart. Her minions in the Elite Four initially come off as cliches, but as their backgrounds are explored, one sees that they too are samurai in their own right.

KILL la KILL episode 14To avoid having KILL la KILL get too dark or serious, Trigger has the character of Mako (and by extension, her family) provide a great deal of comic relief.  Even here, Mako’s comic relief is not just rooted in traditional comic relief (though there is some of that, such as when she went on an Osaka food buying spree), but in her protests against things she hears which she vehemently disagrees with.  As such, Mako is not afraid to go up against the giant Ira, nor even the fearsome “Satsuki-sama” if the situation requires it. Trigger also uses these moments to have Mako do certain parody elements in her actions. The result made Mako such a fun, loveable character.

KILL la KILL Episode 20Parody is at the heart of KILL la KILL in addition to telling the story Trigger wants to tell.  The folks at Trigger where obviously highly influenced by Marvel Comics. Honnouji Gakuen and the city around it seems to be based on Madripoor. The Nudist Beach logos on their uniforms were clearly based on the X-Men logo on their outfits. Some of the Goku Uniforms and their powers were based on Marvel characters (Spider-man, Doctor Octopus, Punisher, Wolverine, and more). In addition, Trigger gives nods to the Alien franchise a few times, the Robocop franchise, and other Western influences on top of whatever Japanese references Trigger does.

KILL la KILL Episode 24

KILL la KILL Episode 24While everything leading up to the end of the series is looking to take a different spin on things, I felt that Trigger was pretty much forced to return to a formulaic approach in order to wrap things up with a happy end. This is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. However, I guess I was hoping for the “good end” that was unexpected, but at my age, such an end is going to be very difficult to find, indeed. As such, the ending that Trigger provides works and works quite well, leaving a small window to explore a sequel of they desire, but giving a good “and they all lived happily ever after” moment in case Trigger doesn’t do more (other than the OVA later in 2014, which should be aftermath stuff).

KILL la KILL episode 17My only real problem with the series was the very ecchi content. Yes, having Mikisugi stripping all the time for comedy’s sake was one thing. However, I could have done without the ecchi transformation sequences (a parody of magic girl transformations), and the ecchi forms for Senketsu and Junketsu when worn by Ryuuko and Satsuki respectively.  Even worse was the way over the top incestuous scenes where Satsuki’s mother Ragyou sexually assaults her daughter.  If the point of that was to get me to hate Ragyou, it succeeded. However, I suspect that Trigger wanted cheap sexual scenes to help boost the otaku viewing numbers, thus increase the amount they spend.

In the end, I found KILL la KILL to be a fascinating tale mixing Western elements as well as Japanese elements like the samurai code. If it weren’t for the very ecchi content, I would give this a very high rating instead of just a high rating.

KILL la KILL Episode 20

KILL la KILL Episode 24

KILL la KILL Episode 24

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10 Responses to “KILL la KILL Review — Final Thoughts”

  1. Aki says:

    An anime as epic as gurren lagaan one of the best anime I saw this year ^^

  2. Andarion says:

    Well one can argue about the ecchiness that it was merely a device by which the series told us about puberty, how girls are at first embarrassed and scared of the changes in their bodies. But they should accept them and not be ashamed of themselves. The forms of Kamuis are essentially “How others see me” perspective. How girls are concious of their bodies and how others perceive them. There are many interpretations about that on the net.

    As for Ragyo and her scenes with Satsuki I don’t really see them as fanservicey. They were disturbing to say the least, but then again this is coming from Japan where a large portion of all hentai doujins is about rape in one form or another.
    That being said though, Ragyo’s actions weren’t Purely for the evulz. She aimed at making Satsuki scared and concious of her body to cover herself in clothing. Also to show that She Ragyo was in charge, that she could do anything she wanted to Satsuki. She was essentially a dominative bitch who simply showed others that she was in power.

    Obviously that’s just one of many possible interpretations, but that’s just how I see the whole thing.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      And you are probably right in your interpretations, but I’m just not a fan of ecchi content. Just me. ^_^

      • Andarion says:

        We all like what we like 🙂 Personally I kind of stopped paying attention to the fanservice quite quickly and focused on the awesomness.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Well, when the story is strong enough, I can overcome my own dislike of the ecchi, which is why I kept watching. ^_^

  3. Setsuyume says:

    Yes, quite a good anime indeed! It didn’t really need all the ecchi and fanservice, but they didn’t particulary bother me.

    P.S. When they destroyed the transmitter, it blew up like a champagne bottle LOL

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I hadn’t noticed that when the transmitter blew up. I’ll have to try to remember to go back and look again.

  4. […] While traveling the web recently, I happened upon this nifty image from the ever fun series KILL la KILL. […]

  5. This is a good read i have done today so far, I am delighted to came across it. I’ll be back again to check out other posts as well.

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