After spending all last week marathoning Kill la Kill, I think it deserves a review. And it will surely be an eyeful of one without any restraint. Kill la Kill will probably be one of the most viewed shows of the year, so hopefully my points aren’t completely redundant. Also, if you haven’t finished the series, you can avoid spoilers in…
Admittedly, Kill la Kill’s story is a little difficult to analyze. On the one hand, the superficial concept the show presents has not been explored (at least I’m not aware of another show where clothing is trying to take over the universe). However, on the opposite hand, maybe (definitely) the underlying themes in the show have been done before. That is not to say that this is a bad thing – simply that we should know that we are watching a plethora of other shows wearing different clothes.
From the superficial perspective, Kill la Kill is pretty unique. Initially, the series seems pretty shallow with its copious amounts of fanservice and a plot that seemingly ends with Ryuko defeating Satsuki. By episode 3, however, we should already know that this is not the ultimate goal of the show (hint: if you see the main character fight an antagonist this early in a series, they’re either a lackey or eventually an ally). What follows is a – sometimes convoluted – path toward defeating the entity that provides every character with their powers.
After her fight with Satsuki, the climb to the top resumes as Ryuko continues to fight her way toward a “final” battle with Satsuki. And it really is enjoyable. The fights are put together very well and we begin to understand the characters’ drives a little more as the series continues. The pacing is fast, though not so much that you get whiplash from watching it like in other anime like Kyousougiga and Dead Leaves.
Eventually we get to the climax that I know that I was expecting – Satsuki’s betrayal of her mother and the full reveal of the goals of Nudist Beach. But just because it’s predictable doesn’t mean that it isn’t great in its own right. The majority of the first part of the series is spent humanizing the Elite Four and their relationship with Satsuki, so anything less than the betrayal that occurs would have been squandering potential. The betrayal and the episodes surrounding it, in my opinion, are the best part of the series.
Afterwards, there are 7 episodes left to defeat the monster that is Ragyou which is incredibly unfortunate because we don’t really get much time to view her as anything more than a monster to be destroyed. She seems to have no ambitions other than an insane notion that the Life Fibers should be able to consume the Earth.
So we wrap things up in a very Gunbuster 2 (I’m looking at you Nono) kind of way. Once again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – and definitely fitting in theme. Also, I won’t ever forget the feeling I got from hearing “PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE! CLOTHES ARE CLOTHES!” and then realizing how absolutely ridiculous and amazing what I just heard was.
The only thing Kill la Kill was missing on its outer level was the “kill”ing. As far as I know, nobody “dies when they are killed” in the show at all. Ragyou commits suicide and Senketsu dies in flames while falling to the Earth. Otherwise, no killing at all – who chose the name for the show? Unless of course, “キル” is really “cut”…yes…this makes a lot more sense.
On the general theme level, Kill la Kill draws heavily from its predecessors. Direct references, indirect references and borrowed themes abound. Well, let’s get straight to the point. Kill la Kill is basically a pseudo-magical girl rehashed Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann which is a rehashed Gunbuster. It’s okay since they’re stealing from themselves, but the similarities are huge.
I’ve already mentioned the fact that the finale was very much like Gunbuster 2 (which both series also involved ridding oneself of clothing), but the similarities to Gurren Lagann can’t be ignored. Satsuki is basically Lordgenome, the Elite Four are Lordgenome’s Four Supreme Generals featuring Viral, Ryuko is Simon and Senketsu is Kamina, the Life Fibers are the Anti-Spirals that are laying dormant on the planet, and Ragyou is the big bad Anti-Spiral final boss. Kill la Kill may have different tropes and plot points in places, but the basic story behind the series is simply a remake of Gurren Lagann.
Even though this is the case, it doesn’t really detract from the series too much because, honestly, you were watching this series because it’s fast, enjoyable, fun and it Aims for the Top, just like its predecessors.
In light of that, and the fact that I couldn’t put the series down, I think that it deserves the rating I’ve given it.
While lacking in 100% unique content, Kill la Kill is 100% enjoyment, 100% fanservice, 100% action-packed and 100% worth your time. Have I ever recommended a show with 400% the amazing? I don’t think so.
(EDIT: brought to my attention by a friend that Senketsu is Kamina – Ryuko isn’t both Kamina and Simon – man I’m dumb)