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Kill La Kill Review: A Cut Above the Competition

This time around I decided to be original, so for this blog I'm going to review a popular anime series. Might as well get it off my chest while it's fresh in my mind, so here we go:

Lemme tell ya about Kill la Kill, in case you've been living under a rock for the past half a year. Kill la Kill, created by the minds behind the fantastic series Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann, is set in Japan (shocking). More specifically, a weird pseudo-dystopian Japan.

Our protagonist is the "tough as nails" vagrant student Ryuko Matoi. She transfers to Honnouji Academy in hopes to find any leads on who killed her father. The only lead she has is the killer was a woman with a Scissor Blade. Matoi's weapon of choice is the other half of said Scissor Blade. She, along with the viewers, learns very early on something is up with this school and the town built around it.

"Haircuts are half off today."

The school's students wear uniforms that hold unearthly power, increasing the wearer's strength and power. The Academy's student council president, and our antagonist, is Satsuki Kiryuin. She oversees the entire Academy and rules it with an iron fist.

Does that say "Big Boss Lady'" in the background?

Her Cabinet, so to speak, is called the Elite Four. The Elite Four is made up of Ira Gamagoori, the monstrous leader of the school's disciplinary committee, Uzu Sanageyama, the regulator of the athletic clubs and a fierce fighter, Nonon Jakuzure, the regulator of the clubs that aren't affiliated with athletics (band, gardening, biology, etc.) and longtime friend of Satsuki, and finally Houka Inumata, who's in charge of information and logistics at the Academy. They all wear uniforms akin to a regular student's getup, but hold much greater power.

 

From left to right: Sanageyama, Gamagoori, Inumata, and Jakuzure.

 

Ryuko also met a wide variety of allies in her initial move to Honnouji Academy. The first being Mako Mankanshoku, an energetic and somewhat dim witted second year student that almost immediately befriended Ryuko. She's annoying at first, but she really starts to grow on you. She's easily one of my favorite characters.

She's not sleeping. She's charging her Mako powers.

The next and most powerful ally she made was....a sailor uniform. Named Senketsu. It's not just any sailor uniform, though. Senketsu is alive and holds incredible power, allowing Ryuko to become a virtual killing machine.

This ain't no Versace, I can tell ya that.

Ryuko stumbled upon Senketsu thanks to the efforts of Aikuro Mikisugi, her homeroom teacher that knows more about Senketsu, the nature of those uniforms, and Ryuko than he lets on.

"I'll be right there, guys. I just need to push my glasses up some more."

 

The MINUTE the show starts, sh*t hits the fan. Not to spoil too much, but in the opening scene (one of my favorite scenes), a student is "dealt with" by the disciplinary committee in such a manner that could possibly OBLITERATE a regular human, let alone kill one. This sets the tone of the show nicely, as it immediately shows the scale of the Academy, its inhabitants, and the power of the uniforms, all to a killer (no pun intended) soundtrack. Another thing to mention is the soundtrack is actually really good, and there's a track called Blumenkranz that Stranger and I especially like.

 

This is not an anime that requires much thinking. The story is more or less a means to move from one action sequence to the next. That's not to say the story is not good, though. There's plenty of twists and turns that I never saw coming, and I think some of the dudes I watched this with can attest to that. I can only think of about one or two static characters, while the rest of the cast evolves over the course of 24 episodes, a feat not easily accomplished in television. The writing was also really funny. If being self aware could be an art form, Kill La Kill is the MONA LISA of self-awareness. But like I said, the story kept me invested and kept me coming back every Thursday, so there's something to be said for that.

 

It's worth noting that Kill la Kill is incredibly suggestive. Heck, there's even a secret organization called Nudist Beach. NUDIST BEACH, for goodness sake.

"SO MUCH SCIENCE!!!"

Trigger took the old adage of female characters wearing skimpy outfits for no reason and kind of turn it on its head. Initially Ryuko detested how wearing Senkestu would reveal so much, and is yelled at by a lot of people for showing a lack of decency wearing it in public. Of course, she too would criticize Satsuki for her outfit, but then again for the first few episodes almost all dialogue between them was Ryuko insulting her and Satsuki saying something a stone cold dictator would say. There were parts that crossed the line for me, though (Satsuki's mom. *shudders*), and were just plain uncomfortable, so be on the lookout for that.

 

Now, on to the action. One would think that a show primarily focused on action would reach its peak excitement around the first few sequences before it got stale, but the same can't be said for Kill la Kill. No two fights are the same, and each fight is ridiculous and crazy as well as visually stunning. Watching two people with those overpowered uniforms fight is like watching two Superman/Goku/Incredible Hulk hybrids duke it out, and the trail of destruction left behind makes me question how in the heck Honnouji Academy is still standing and how those students and people in the general area are still alive.

Kill La Kill: So many action sequences and explosions that it keeps Michael Bay awake at night.

There's plenty of nods to earlier shows like Gurren Lagann, but Trigger did a fantastic job making Kill la Kill stand out in the crowd, giving it a unique identity besides "the one anime where girls and guys in suggestive clothing fight with giant swords". It's intense, hilarious, visually stunning, total nonsense at some times, thoughtful and interesting at other times, and in the end doesn't try to be something it's not. You get what you paid for with Kill la Kill and then some, making it one of the best and most interesting shows of 2013/2014.

 

 

Final Score: 9.5/10. If you're a big fan of anime, action, or both, I suggest you give Kill la Kill a whirl. 

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