Risqué outfits, scissor blades, and nudist rebels.
Kill la Kill is probably one of my favorite anime series, along with Death Note and Elfen Lied. Unlike those two series, Kill la Kill is not a supernatural drama with serious and dark tones, but is actually a light-hearted action series with a ridiculous premise. Sure, Death Note and Elfen Lied do not exactly have a "realistic" premise, but they still treat their plot with the utmost seriousness. Kill la Kill is ridiculous and the series shows that the creators and animators know that the premise is ridiculous and roll with it.
For anyone who is even a little bit familiar with Kill la Kill, I want to confess that I originally started watching the anime because of the fan service, but I fell in love with the series because of the awesome story and lovable characters.
Kill la Kill is about Ryuko Matoi, a teenage delinquent, seeking revenge for the murder of her father at the facist school, Honnouji Academy, run by student body president Satsuki Kiriyuin. Ryuko believes that Satsuki is either responsible for her father's murder, or knows the who did, but before she can take on Satsuki, Ryuko has to fight through waves of students armed with goku uniforms that enhance their strength and respective talents.
Fortunately, Ryuko comes across her own goku uniform designed by her father, a sentient being known as Senketsu. Unfortunately, while Senketsu normally appears as a typical sailor school uniform, when Ryuko goes into battle Senketsu turns into a sexy dominatrix outfit. It's Ryuko's battle outfit that establishes the fan service, though the scanty attire adds to one of the themes of the series, embracing one's self without caring what others think. But yeah...it is a very impractical outfit.
Ryuko Matoi is a strong and complicated character, and one of my favorite characters throughout anime and fiction. She is tough and hotheaded, but she can also be self-conscious and compassionate. Even though she never had a close relationship with her father, Ryuko is still devoted to finding her father's killer and fighting anyone who stands in her way.
And it's Satsuki Kiriyuin who stands in her way. I said that Ryuko is one of my favorite characters but Satsuki might actually be my absolute favorite character from this series. Satsuki is elegant and intelligent, but also deadly and arrogant. Satsuki rules over Honnouji Academy with an iron fist (or heel) and she seeks to bring the other schools under her control for some secret motive. But however scary and dangerous Satsuki is, her mother is much much worse.
Though Satsuki's mother appears much later in the series and isn't really important to this recommendation. Satsuki's Elite Four are worth talking about here. The Elite Four are powerful and skilled students that Satsuki specifically chose to help her enforce order at Honouji academy. There is Ira Gamagori, the disciplinary committee chair; Uzu Sanageyama, the athletic committee chair; Hoka Inumuta, the information and strategy committee chair; and Nonon Jakuzure, the non-athletic committee chair. The Elite Four are almost as powerful as Satsuki, completely devoted to her, and will take on anyone who threatens her.
Ryuko has a lot of challenges and opponents to face before she can take on Satsuki and avenge her father, that's why she has Mako Mankanshoku. While Ryuko is tough and confident, Mako is goofy and adorable. She quickly becomes friends with Ryuko and stays by her side no matter how dangerous the bad guys that threaten Ryuko are. In my experience, I've found that Mako is a character that people love or hate. I actually like Mako as a comic relief, but I get why people get annoyed by her random antics.
Now there are a lot more characters in Kill la Kill that are worth talking about, but I don't want to spend this entire post talking about every single Kill la Kill character. Maybe I can do that in a future post, but for now, I'm going move onto what makes the story awesome and some of the problems.
Kill la Kill is an action series with plenty of awesome over-the-top fight scenes that challenge even the greatest shounen anime. Where else can you see a teenage girl fight hordes of henchmen using a giant scissor blade? Only Kill la Kill. Where else can you see someone use a music club as their own personal army? Only Kill la Kill. Where else can you see a group of nudist rebels who are dedicated to fighting the evil of clothes? Only Kill la Kill.
And that's what makes Kill la Kill so awesome. No matter who stupid or crazy the plot and characters get, the series treats everything with the utmost seriousness and you actually start getting invested in the series. You come for the fan service and stay for the plot.
But the fan service maybe the biggest problem with Kill la Kill and will probably push some people away. There is a lot of fan service and it is so much weaved into the plot that it's just not going to go away. I'm usually distracted by fan service and too much makes me cringe (*cough* Eromanga-Sensei *cough*) but I actually stopped noticing the fan service as the series progressed. Though I am also a heterosexual man, so maybe that gives me a kinda bias regarding the fan service.
But if you're still willing to give Kill la Kill a shot, let me tell you about the beautiful and unique character designs and animation. First off, I love Ryuko and Satsuki's character designs. I like how they contrast and even though there outfits are revealing, there is a kind of deadly elegance to their appearance. Secondly, the action and fight scenes are always fast paced and almost flawlessly animated, but what I really love is when the action and perspectives are overblown and characters appear larger than life and perform impossible feats.
For someone who has never watched anime, Kill la Kill can set a good impression if you watch it from beginning to end. The action is intense, the characters are interesting, the plot is captivating, and the plot twists are surprising. I do think that the fan service may just turn people off after just one episode, but I think that if you keep watching you'll find that the characters are more than just eye candy, and that they are complex and lovable.
|- Intense non-stop action.
-Not afraid to poke fun at itself.
-Complicated and memorable characters.
-Awesome story with plot-twists.
|-Lots of fan service.
-Mako can be annoying.
-Plot-twists might be a little far out there.