Kill la Kill Review

This is review number two hundred and seventy two. This anime is part of the Fall 2013 lineup. It’s also literally the most voted anime in my review poll. I included it in by accident and it’s been voted to high hell ever since. Fine. This is my review of Kill la Kill. It’s a twenty four episode anime about a girl with scissors for a sword fighting while half naked. It’s so goddamn insane that I urge you to just skip this long review and just watch the damn thing. Go on, go!!!

Also, the Spring 2014 lineup is open. Vote for your favorite Spring 2014 anime. Just click on the picture on the right of this blog and vote. The Fall voting poll was a huge success that I want to keep doing the poll. Happy voting.

Yeah. Anyways, it has girls half naked beating up each other while the world is being manipulated by evil sweaters. I wish I was not making half of these things up. Let’s read on.

Story

This anime is about a girl named Matoi Ryuko who recently transferred to Honnouji Academy. It’s an oppressive dictatorial school where students are ranked by their status and it’s controlled by a student named Satsuki Kiryuin. She stands atop the academy and rules it with an iron fist. Along with her four generals, she ensures that only the strong can prevail and weak people grovel at their feet. The ranking of the school even affects how you live your life with people ranked with no stars living in the slums while those with three stars live in luxury. Matoi is a brash girl and it didn’t take her long to challenge Satsuki head on. She came to this school for one reason: to find her father’s killer. Satsuki seems to know who the killer is and Matoi is dead set on beating the answer out of her. She’s biting off more than she can chew though because Honnouji Academy is a place where Goku uniforms give students amazing powers. Satsuki welcomed the idea of challenging Matoi but only if the girl can beat every powered up student that Satsuki throws at her. Matoi isn’t deterred. She plans on destroying this academy that Satsuki sits atop at.

Taking the Pants Off

Kill la Kill is one of the most hyped anime of the year. The main reason is because majority of anime fans have this distant love affair with the promising studio behind the show. Studio Trigger is founded by former Gainax employees and they’ve been making people crazy ever since they released their Young Animator Training Project entry. It was hyped as f*ck and the energy flowed onto Kill la Kill. I’ll be honest. I don’t see anything special. It’s still amazing though that this anime got ninety six percent of the votes in my review poll. People really love this studio. I’m guessing it’s the fact that their style is reminiscent of the 90s and they’re specifically catering to western audiences with their fast paced and bold presentation. I get it. It’s amazing and cool. I think people believe that Studio Trigger is prepped to do bigger things. There are certain feats that I think this studio can deliver that are specifically designed to make people crazy again once more. For me though, it’s too early to call. I was hoping Kill la Kill would be this grand anime that would completely blow me away. I’ll admit that the first episode gave me goose bumps but Kill la Kill is basically a recycled version of Tengen Toppan Gurren Langgan but with more naked people. It’s still an amazing and cool show. Studio Trigger basically introduced themselves in this anime. They made a statement that they are finally here and the landscape of the industry is about to change. It’s a strong statement and I love that strong aggressive nature the studio is giving us. If the best they can do though is present a TTGL redo then I worry at how far they’re bloated hype will get them. As I said though, it’s still early to call. I base the success of a studio on the consistency of the anime they produce. Kill la Kill’s intention might be a deliberate TTGL redo to get heads to notice them and I think that plan worked perfectly. It’s now up to Studio Trigger to prove to us that they can back up their bloated hype.

I’m losing track here. It’s hard not to mention Trigger when you talk about Kill la Kill. Anyways, this anime is about a girl named Matoi that has sworn to beat up this awesome girl named Satsuki. Matoi doesn’t back down from a challenge even if she is up against all the students of the academy. Using their super powered uniforms, they plan to prove to Matoi that she is just a stupid girl that has a big mouth. She isn’t scared though and totally confident that she can beat up everyone including Satsuki that towers over everybody in this academy. Matoi is certain of her victory because she has acquired a uniform of her own that gives her special powers. It also blatantly undresses her but it gives amazing skill that it’s enough to get Satsuki’s attention. She now plows through student after student slowly reaching Satsuki so she can get her to tell who killed her father. It’s a fairly big story but with a simple premise. It’s basically Matoi trying to get to Satsuki. As the show progresses, the story expands into something bigger though. It starts out though with a girl that has a scissor blade and a talking uniform trying to beat up all enemies that stands her away. It then grows bigger. It becomes more grand and epic as it progresses. A fast paced brawl in this unusual school eventually explodes in a fight with the whole world at stake.

As I said, the story is huge and this makes it a bit intimidating. It focuses on one thing at a time though and gradually expands into something bigger to make it easier to process. It’s still damn hard to really follow though. It’s a good thing the action can easily cover any short coming of the anime. The show is divided into two arcs and they both have individual plot points. The first arc is about Matoi challenging Satsuki and hoping to beat the crap out of her. There is an amazing character work going on here to make this simple arc look wonderful. The biggest highlight is easily Satsuki. A story of a girl beating up the main bad guy isn’t that unique but most main baddies aren’t like Satsuki. She stands atop the highest point of the school looking down on everybody. She stands tall and proud with her sword sticking out and her face undaunted by anything. She screams awesome by simply existing. The idea that this amazing character would someday go head to head with our brash and arrogant main character easily builds intrigue. Of course, she’s too awesome to touch though. In order to fight her, our main character must first fight a bunch of powerful students that serve under Satsuki. The first arc has a simple structure. Matoi just clashes sword with anyone that she faces. A lot of hard challenges are thrown her way and she tries her best to overcome them as she slowly gets closer to her goal.

The first plot point is about Matoi facing off against various students. She has a target on her head now and a lot of students want to please Satsuki by eliminating Matoi. The first plot point features the enemies she faces. They are all part of the different clubs in the school. I really like the crazy imagination going on here because it gives us over the top action scenes and ridiculously fun characters that you want Matoi to beat up. In the first episode, Matoi faces the captain of the boxing club. They fought in a ring and the captain fights with huge boxing gloves that have spikes and other crazy details in it. The pacing of the anime is already super-fast. Add in the craziness of the characters with the way they fight and you get an over the top action sequence that you won’t find anywhere else. From the tennis club to the musical band club, Matoi fought a lot of them while Satsuki watches them from above. Matoi is considered nuisance but there’s also a sign that Satsuki herself is worried. It didn’t take long for her to try and order her elite four, basically the second strongest students below her, to take on Matoi. Our main character might prove too much of a bother that even Satsuki herself might take her on just to see how awesome their encounter can be.

The second plot point of the first arc is about Honnouji Academy. Sticking to the crazy theme of the show, there are certain rules and events happening in this academy that students are often subjected to. These are really just a way for the anime to inject more insanity into the show. Crazy events, like when students must wake up at four in the morning and reach school before 8:30 while avoiding traps and obstacles created by the academy, gives you an idea just how unusual this academy is. It drives home two points. One, Satsuki’s idea of the strong stands atop is continually practiced throughout the school where students are even forced to fight for their lives. Two, your status determines how you live your life. No star students are constantly treated to abuse while one star or more has things easy for them. I’m guessing there are some deep themes going on in the second plot point where it teaches us that we are often helpless against powerful people. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case because the second plot point often seems a bit disconnected from the first arc. The unusual things at school that the second plot point present often don’t cohesively fit with the main story of Matoi trying to beat Satsuki’s face. Instead, it gives us an insight at how Satsuki’s mind works and how Honnouji Academy functions. Whenever Matoi is subjected through all of this craziness, it often makes her want to destroy Satsuki’s precious academy as well just for the heck of it.

The third plot point is about the Kamui and the Goku uniforms. In the show, students wear Goku uniforms to achieve incredible power. It’s because these are imbued with “Life Fibers” that makes a person stronger and stuff like that. Life Fibers are so strong though that they are only incorporated in a Goku uniform. There is no such thing as a dress completely made up of Life Fibers. A poor soul wearing it would be crushed and chewed alive if they manage to put in on. Oh wait, plot twist. Such a thing does exist. Dresses made of Life Fibers are called Kamuis and Matoi just happens to wear one. There is some complex sh*t going on in the third plot point. Matoi and her Kamui can actually communicate. She named her Senketsu and the dress tells her that the Kamui is something that her father left behind. Donning half of the scissor sword that killed her father and the Kamui that he stashed secretly for her, Matoi vows to find her father’s killer and get her revenge. The first arc is mostly about Matoi beating up people but it also tells of how her awesome dress functions. It drinks some of her blood and then she transforms into a super powered girl with a lot of her skin exposed. Seriously, the anime loves its fan service. I’m guessing that’s a statement from the director. He can tell a story using fan service and it is pretty ingenious. Anyways, the third plot point is mostly about Matoi and Senketsu slowly deepening their relationship. It’s not as prominent as the other plot points but it’s this strong relationship that often gives Matoi strength to defeat her toughest opponents.

Under the third plot point involves a secret organization called “Nudist Beach”. Like the third plot point, it’s just a feint piece of the first arc but there is actually an organization that is against Satsuki’s ideals and the Goku uniforms. They are also alerted when they discovered that Matoi has a Kamui with her. They tell her of the dangers that a Kamui possess and they warn her of the impending doom Satsuki has in motion. Matoi’s teacher is also a part of this group and he actually has some knowledge of who killed her father. He doesn’t tell her though. He doesn’t want to but he still keeps a look out for Matoi. He does his best to save her when she needs it. The third plot point doesn’t matter much in the first arc but it’s actually a big piece of what the second arc is about.

One thing you’ll notice about the first arc is that it slowly strays away from its intended goal. I was often a bit upset that there seemed to be a bigger focus on Satsuki than on Matoi during the run of the first arc. Certain flashbacks are about how different students met Satsuki and these things often reinforce just how goal driven Satsuki is. She comes off as a villain because she often play dirty and she treats weak people as “pigs” but the first arc often build up just how amazing of an individual she really is. It’s as if the anime was trying to convince the audience to worship her as well and I just find the whole thing puzzling. I’m OK with introducing the villain and establishing her goals and stuff like that but I often worry that we don’t see things like these for our main character. There are flashbacks like how her father died but nothing as elaborate as the things we see when Satsuki is introduced. When she was a child, she already has this ideal that the strong should conquer the weak and it’ll often leave you in awe. She is deeply skilled at fighting and she can make any man bow down to her. She is build up as this omnipotent being that no one can touch. I think it’s to make her eventual demise feel a lot more satisfying but the anime slowly stray away from that point. As the show progresses, Satsuki is featured more than Matoi. Her shady plans are elaborated and the dialogues between her and other characters are given more weight. The main premise of having Matoi fighting Satsuki seems to have lost its place. It’s seriously frustrating because the anime denied you of that experience that it promised early on. Towards the end of the first arc, the showdown slowly vanished from the anime’s mind as it turns the story upside down on its head.

The second arc starts out with an invasion by Satsuki to conquer all the academics of Japan. She mostly launched an assault on western Japan and called it a “raid trip”. The whole thing about Matoi trying to kick Satsuki’s butt was thrown on the sidelines. It was slowly forgotten since. The reason is because the story expanded. Satsuki had this plan that involves Honnouji Academy and the Goku uniforms she was trying to complete in the first half. It was all overshadowed by Matoi’s revenge but the first arc slowly unveiled it. Satsuki’s plans for world domination is finally green lighted and we are treated to a bunch of fights that involves a lot of notable characters versus new crazy characters introduced in the second half. This was just a small piece of the second arc though as the story expands so huge that it literally involves the entire world by the time the last episode rolls in.

The second arc has two plot points. The first one is about Satsuki’s plan. This is a deliberately intricate plan that was building up since the first episode. Whenever Matoi fight, someone always collects data. Satsuki would also ask for details about the Goku uniforms and she seems especially ruthless towards people that oppose her. The flashbacks and the various monologues of the other characters would have you believe though that this girl is actually a caring and goal oriented person. By the way she is described, it appears that she is a martyr sacrificing her life for the greater good. It doesn’t make sense because she is arrogant person that would force two friends to fight each other just because she can. What if…it was her plan all along? I don’t want to spoil it but let’s just say that Satsuki is complex and hard to predict. Her plans are even harder to understand. She is secretive and careful. Her plan reached its peak when she launched her raid trip to conquer all the academics of Japan. The audience will now have a chance to see her entire plan in its full form. All the secrets, all the small details and all the perfectly timed procedures are revealed. Her reason for being so anal about it is also smartly revealed. This raid trip doesn’t stop at Japan. It plans to reach the entire world….or that’s what Satsuki would like you to believe.

The second plot point is about Revocs, a clothing company, owned by Satsuki’s mother, Ragyou Kiryuin. She was introduced earlier as this awesome lady that has rainbows radiating out of her hair. It’s pretty ridiculous. Anyways, Revocs is this shady company that uses clothes to enslave people. The second arc is really mostly about this. Apparently, clothes are evil. How? Something about evolution and humans being the only clothed animal on the planet. It’s pretty murky…and ridiculous. It’s basically the same thing you see in TTGL. Remember how humans are spiral beings and some evil creatures that are anti-spiral wants to destroy the spirals. The same ridiculous premise started showing up right around the second arc. This connects to the Nudist Beach. They believe that birthday suits are freedom and they plan to stop Revocs in their absurd plan. Things spiral out of control though and, much like in TTGL, the entire safety of the world is compromised. Matoi and Senketsu are now asked to go kill some evil clothing ass. I’m trying to avoid spoilers but I guess it’s hard to explain the last plot point decently without spoilers. Just think of it as the same ridiculous thing in TTGL. It’s exactly the same, actually. Evil creatures try to conquer the world, a bunch of heroes step up and defend mankind and someone dies in the end. The only difference is that the characters are all half naked as they fight for mankind. With Matoi and Senketsu leading the pack, can humans really defeat a clothing company that is headed by a deranged woman that shoots rainbows out of her hair?

Okay. This is where the anime becomes a bit loopy. Now, by spirit alone, I guess you can argue that the show was so out of control in the first place that a story of a girl fighting another girl can morph into a story of a bunch of people saving the world. I understand the appeal. It stays true to the over the top nature of the show where literally anything can happen. In the first half, it had a musical band fire a clarinet missile and a girl that wears a uniform that sucks her blood and then transforms her into a half-naked pervert. Kill la Kill is insane and the second arc’s unprecedented psychosis isn’t really that much of a surprise. If nothing else, it actually outdid itself in being an epic anime from a first time studio. On the other hand, this is just a Tengen Toppan Gurren Langgan cop out. I was with the show when it was setting up Satsuki’s plan because it was intricate and severely detailed contrast to the out of control nature of the show. The last plot point didn’t really do anything other than lengthen the anime. This is just my opinion but I don’t really think it belonged there. The concept of clothes giving people powers is good enough. You didn’t have to overcomplicate it. It felt forced and, honestly, felt like a group of overzealous animators showing off. There’s nothing wrong with that, really. I’m sure huge fans of the show that hyped the anime to death loved the ending because of all the explosions and fancy colors that appealed to their short attention spans. It’s all good but it just honestly didn’t feel like it truly belonged though.

One of the biggest mysteries in the anime for me is Matoi, our main character. I am whole heartedly convinced that she is a side character. She’s the most important side character. I just find it puzzling that everyone got a flashback. Everyone had time to develop and grow into much better characters yet the most important one never went through all that. She is one dimensional and she isn’t really that likeable. There are flashbacks about her but it wasn’t as personal as any of the other flashbacks. It was as if she is being pushed to the side on purpose. The problem at first is that she talks big but doesn’t back it up. She would brag that she would easily destroy an opponent and it’s her stubbornness that actually costs her the fights. Most characters would train and eventually pick up new techniques. They would learn from their mistakes and become a better person. Matoi is different. She doesn’t grow. I love the fact that the enemy can beat her to a pulp to the point where she can literally die but you expect her to become stronger after that. She doesn’t. She just slashes away. If she loses, the opponent would let her live or she’ll escape. She enters emo mode and runs a self-pity party then gets a re-match where she would win via fluke. Her opponent might make a mistake or her kamui would just mysteriously power up at the time where she needed something new to destroy her opponent. She doesn’t grow by herself. You can’t root for her. Her stubbornness becomes grating later on when she would still get trip up by the simplest of traps. Its mind boggling that she is such a pathetic character. Is it deliberate? I’ll admit. Simon from TTGL is out staged by Kamina but he always has a moment of growth that culminates in an epic comeback. It tells us that heroes aren’t immediate. The path of being a hero is filled with sadness and loss that drives our heroes to be better. Matoi is oddly the same. She is out staged by Satsuki and she has her moment of awesomeness. The only difference is that she doesn’t grow. She didn’t become the reliable hero Simon grew up to. The story just forces her to be one. It’s stupid. I’m thinking this whole lack of development is actually meant on purpose. I’m not sure what purpose it served though. The only thing I can come up with is that Matoi is actually a side character. She is Kamina that wasn’t important in the second arc of the story and Satsuki is the main character that grew into the reliable hero we expected her to be. Either that or Studio Trigger just didn’t took into account her personal development. Even her relationship with Senketsu that could easily fuel the series is glossed over and forced at times.

Satsuki is an amazing character. Throughout the anime, she is fleshed out incredibly well that you will eventually cheer for her. The girl that the main character wants to beat up is actually the most engaging personality in the show. I love the fact that she is strong. Throughout the anime, we see people claim how untouchable she is to the point that everyone worships her. It’ll leave you in awe that a character can be ten degrees of awesome. She is strong but she is also blunt and arrogant. At first, it was the perfect attitude for a villain but the various speeches and selfish acts she does will force you to reconsider. It also doesn’t help that our main character is poorly developed compare to her. As the show progresses, I eventually find myself cheering for her even though I know I shouldn’t. That’s how great of a character she is. Her strong presence and personality makes her a great stand out of the show. I also personally like it when people try to defy her. It doesn’t take long to see those same people back down. This girl doesn’t lose and it’s her great character build up that convinces you Matoi can be the one to finally end her. I also like how she gives us fan service. It gets pretty insane sometimes when you see her and Matoi go at it.

Another character that eclipses Matoi is her best friend, Mako Mankanshoku. In my opinion, she is the second most important character in the show next to Satsuki. Mako is really just an annoying character that has no special power and would often be caught by a bad guy and be held hostage for Matoi to rescue. She is incredibly insightful though. Matoi can calm down whenever she sees Mako because the girl is literally a vase full of flowers with nothing but water inside it. At first, she comes off as a worthless character whenever she would be stupidly unaware of the dangers she is getting herself into and she would have this epileptic moment where she spouts non sense that is meant to be supportive advice. It can be so grating that you dread the moment she appears but she eventually becomes one of the best aspects of the show. Her positive personality contrasts the seriousness of the anime and it often winds the show down. Her brand of stupid-ness is seriously something you will crave as you watch the show. As the anime slowly plunges into the abyss, it’s Mako that often reminds you that this is just a fast paced fun show meant to be enjoyed for its whimsical insanity. I also love her supportive attitude. The whole world might turn against Matoi but Mako would be right there to give her advice that our main character desperately needed. I personally wanted to see her die though. I just thought the anime needed it. Of course, she doesn’t die. It’s actually more like she couldn’t and I find it funny sometimes.

There are a lot of side characters in the show. From the elite four to the Nudist Beach members to the Kiryuin family, the anime doesn’t run out of interesting characters to present. The elite four are the four star generals that run Honnouji underneath Satsuki. In the first half, they are part of the body bags that Matoi tries to beat up before reaching Satsuki. They eventually transform though. They are each introduced decently with their own background and how they came to worship Satsuki. They proved to be important characters later on just like the other mecha pilots in TTGL that died in space. They might not mean much now but their participation later on elevates the show tremendously. The Nudist Beach is a terrorist organization against the idea that clothes rule the world. There are two members introduced as important characters. The first one is Matoi’s teacher, Aikuro Mikisugi. This bastard gave me nightmares. He loves to strip. He would take his clothes off whenever he talks and he exposes her nipples to somewhat glows a purple light. It is f*cking disturbing and it felt like something Shaft would force viewers to see. He doesn’t do much except show support for Matoi early on as he believes she is a key to how mankind can be saved. Tsumugu Kinagase disagrees though. He is this highly skilled warrior of the Nudist Beach. He believes all Kamui are evil and also claims that Matoi cannot control Senketsu. It will slowly consume her and he is convinced she must be stopped before such a tragedy can happen. I love the way he fights. He uses a sewing machine as a machine gun and spun threads as bombs. It’s pretty awesome when you see him go wild that even Matoi had a hard time dealing with him.

Aside from Satsuki, Ragyo is also an amazing villain. Satsuki’s mother is the head of Revocs and she dreams of something sinister. Much like her daughter, she also radiates awesomeness with her colorful rainbows and the fact that she appeared fairly late in the anime indicating she is strong. She is more stuck up than Satsuki and even more untouchable. She also hides a really dark secret that would force Matoi to take her out as well. Ragyo is great but my favorite antagonist is easily Nui Harime. She is the “Grand Couturier” of Revocs. It means she sews cloths in an amazing way but this bastard is also pretty powerful. She is untouchable and her cuteness can get under your skin easily. The fact that she can trash talk so much while the good guys stand helpless is really the reason she is such an effective villain. Even if her opponent can mount a comeback, she’ll just laugh smugly and show a trump card that makes her even more untouchable. It’s really awesome. I stayed up all night waiting for this damn character to die. Seriously, she bugs me that much.

Kill la Kill is one more step into a convoluted mess with awesome animation and also one more step into a TTGL rip off. I was caught off guard by the expanding story but I also admire how it all pieces together in the end. I’ll admit that I am personally not swayed by the hype Studio Trigger is garnering right now but I’ll have to admit that they have a style that can capture anyone’s attention. It’s bold, in your face and surprisingly complex that it’s obvious the studio founder’s time working on FLCL, TTGL and even Panty Stockings with Garterbelt was put to good use. It isn’t a new approach to anime but it’s something I think a lot of people missed. Some studios are really complacent nowadays that they don’t have what it takes to pull off something as crazy as Kill la Kill. As I said before, this anime is a wonderful statement by Studio Trigger. They’re saying that they are finally here and they’re ready to rattle the industry. I love it. It’s easy to fall in love with the hype. As a reviewer though, I am still not convinced until I see their next anime. Consistency is a mark of a successful studio. Silver Link, Brains Base and Bones deliver one great show after another. I’m excited to see what Trigger will produce next. If it’s something as crazy as Kill la Kill then I seriously can’t wait for it to come out. The anime industry really needs more insanity in it to keep it interesting.

Sight and Sound

Character design for the anime is pretty simplistic. Sushio’s design isn’t all that complicated. He doesn’t use a framework and every character has different body shapes. It leans more on the characters looking like a cartoon than intricately detailed anime characters. It’s not a bad thing though because the animation carries the show completely. Despite the designs being formless, they all have some great detail work on them though that would capture your attention easily. Matoi’s design is simple. She has a simple face structure and some black hair with highlights but also a great body proportion that looks great in a school uniform and being half naked while being worn by Senketsu. The design is abundant with imagination and that’s what I like about it. It doesn’t follow any rules but it still has enough eye catching detail to make them look appealing. If they aren’t following a guideline then the characters would look like TTGL characters. I think it’s deliberate on the show’s part as well. If you look closely, Satsuki looks like Rossiu with the way she puts on her serious frown and the way the shape of her face makes her look like a guy. Familiarity makes it easy to follow the fast pace of the show. I personally love the wide range in the design. It combines cartoonish appeal with strict anime appeal and I just love looking at Mako going insane while I appreciate her moe face and her proportioned sexy body.

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The mecha designs are outstanding though. It still has an over abundant imagination behind it but seeing Matoi transform is pretty mesmerizing. A simple school uniform transforming into some sort of mecha just looks amazing. The way the mouth is open to expose some boobs and Matoi’s waist while the scarf resembles an eye is a really wonderful design in the show. Senketsu has a lot of forms and all of them are badass. The Goku uniforms are wonderful as well. They all carry a theme like the clubs they represent but some of them are just plain insane like a mecha suit wrapped in bandages like a mummy. It gives the show some needed variety and it just explodes as you keep progressing. A tank made of marbled beef, robots maneuvered by your pen*s and even disciplinary committee members using the school guidebook as armor are among the crazy things you’d expect from the show that surprisingly has amazing design to them.

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The animation is surreal. This is the part of the anime that I completely fell in love with and I think a lot of people did. It was just insane and fast paced. Fights feel like they’re in fast forward and you’re often just watching two characters go wild on each other. The animation feels a bit odd though. I can spot the CG movements because they look stiff but the character fights feel like it’s done normally. It feels like the frame by frame movements are done by hand and not the usual computer rendered stuff you’d come to expect from anime today. Doing hand drawn frame by animation is just insane. If they did do that then they must’ve wasted a lot of time contracting a lot of in between animators to get the job done. It’s an overly complicated way of animating. The unusual animation could be explained by something else though. Some people say that it’s because the studio had a low budget so the presentation looks a bit rough. I disagree though. I think the rough style was done on purpose to appeal to the target audience of the anime. A proof that the style is deliberate is the background. Its hand painted and you can see the paint strokes in each scene. During the big war in Osaka where the buildings was burning huge red, you can tell it was going old school at how intricate the whole experience seems to be. I’m guessing the animation was supposed to be reminiscent of FLCL while everything else was TTGL. A lot of people loved the nonsensical style of FLCL and the director applied the same insane style in Kill la Kill. So an episode would have characters just going wild as they slash each other and slowly up the ante as the show progresses because it was staying true to the brand of craziness the director is known for.

Another thing you’d notice about the animation is that it often freezes into a picture with a lot of shades in it. It’s another old school style of animation. Most anime back in the day ends their shows with an illustration but Kill la Kill take it up a notch by utilizing it as a form of storytelling. Illustrations often appear during serious moments of the anime to emphasize the gravity of the situation. The fast paced hand drawn animation isn’t the only thing I find amazing. The camera work is also pretty incredible. During the first episode, you’ll notice the anime takes a shot of the slums where the no stars live and then pan up very fast passing through all the other places and then ending up in Honnouji Academy to zoom some more to focus on Satsuki sitting on top of it. The show has a very amazing cinematography that just brags its awesomeness when it has the time. The transformation scenes are a good example of it. When Matoi or any Goku uniform wearing character, they would transform into a different outfit but they undergo a transformation scene first just like a magical girl. These sequences are amazing. The camera pans and zooms intensely. The animation just goes wild focusing on a naked character slowly being dressed in their fighting uniform. It often gives me goose bumps seeing how masterful the complex animation is.

The music is also a huge aspect of the anime. It intensifies a lot of scenes and it sets the mood for all of them. You’d think the fast paced animation is good enough to provide the energy of the show but the music actually the one getting it out of neutral and into overdrive. It has a lot of scores and awesome songs that matches the intensity of a scene and elevates it even more. This anime had Hiroyuki Sawano doing the music and you might remember his music on Attack on Titan as well. He just knows how to make a scene even more epic and I don’t think I’ve ever praised a music personality until now. The anime had a lot of OP and ED. This review is too damn long now though so I’ll stop now. They’re all awesome but some are a bit too normal that it doesn’t fit the high octane energy of the anime.

Overall Score

8/10 “It’s intense and a crazy anime experience all the way. You need to watch this. Seriously, you NEED to watch this.”

Kill la Kill is an insane show. It has incredible characters and an over the top action story that’ll keep you on edge. If you loved TTGL or FLCL then you should check this one out. If you ever wondered what makes Studio Trigger special then just watch the first episode and expect to see your jaw drop. If you’re a fan of action and over the top shounen tropes then you’ll enjoy this show. If you also love massive fan service then this anime will deliver. I highly recommend it.

15 thoughts on “Kill la Kill Review

  1. I dont think people have short attention spans for liking Kill la Kill I liked it but will I say its the best no. Compared to many animes that have been released I found this one pretty decent and I liked it better than Guren Lagan where the main character is special just because he has spiral power and all that crap. I liked Satsuki best too. Did I think the end was good? To some extent? Did I like the evolutionary foot notes? — No, I found it very silly but finding clothes to be evil and fighting them is not so bad I guess. And yes of all the characters iot was Satsuki who had the best development but no one really questioned her and that got me pissed. Matoi’s awkwardness slowly dissipates without much work which also makes a decline to her previous energy. It was ok the anime does make fun of shounen troupes in my opinion but oversexualizing everyone to the point of finding everything funny even in a serious fight. Overall I agree with your rating its an ok anime.

  2. The state of today’s anime industry means that nudity is vital to suck money from those gullible pigs in otaku clothing, as Satsuki would have called them. 😀

    What other 2-cour shows do you plan to look at next? My personal choices from that season would be Strike the Blood(super-powered vampires) and Tokyo Ravens(shaman conspiracy/politics/action).

  3. You didn’t like Matoi? I found her very likeable. Cute too! Much more so than her sister…
    I completely agree that Mako and Ragyo are fantastic ‘side’ characters!
    I really disliked episode 1, I nearly dropped it. To me it’s so different from the rest of the series, but I suppose it serves the purpose of explaining things for the viewer.
    I agree that it’s 8/10 Not perfect, but well worth the effort. The funny parts are the best, as well as the non-fighting plot development parts.

    • I just find it odd that Satsuki is more fleshed out as if it was done of purpose. I would’ve love some background story on her as much as the show gave to Satsuki, who we learned was a goal oriented bad ass going back to kindergarden. The whole plot twist of the anime involving Matoi as not human would’ve meant a lot more if we actually she her act a bit more human. No one charges to a fight like her unless they are aliens and I guess that makes a whole lot of sense now.

  4. This is my favorite show of 2014 so far. I think it’s for the exact reasons you stated. TTGL is my favorite anime of all time, so I guess it makes sense. What I love the most about Studio Trigger is how well they utilize their OST for epic moments. Every time I heard Don’t Lose Your Way, I got goosebumps. I love how everything is blown out of proportion too. I did, however, prefer Matoi over Satsuki.

    • I think any TTGL fan or really, anyone whoever seen the high octane awesomeness of the show will love how it was made even better in Kill la Kill. I’m critical about the story though.
      Interesting, might I ask what made you prefer Matoi over Satsuki…aside from her being the main character. 😄

      • I think it had a lot to do with her being featured more. She created a lot more goosebumps worthy moments, and was portrayed as a badass, but with morals. She also rocked senketsu a lot better. The pre-transformation phase one.

        • ah, good point. Fan service is definitely better for Matoi. 😄
          I felt some of her badass moments were a bit forced though but that’s just me. For some reason, I just really gravitate towards Satsuki more. We need to poll this. RIGHT. NOW.

  5. KLK’s quite an interesting experience, and having loved TTGL (it’s my personal favorite anime), it’s no surprise that I was able to get into KLK so easily. Although they’re similar in atmosphere and style, however, I wouldn’t say they’re the same type of story. There are parallels in presentation and I guess some of the themes are similar, but aside from the basic idea of humanity rising up to defeat outer beings, the main goals of the two shows seemed quite different. TTGL was definitely over the top (and near the end, more so than KLK because, well, galaxy shurikens) yet I always found it to be a tale of growth, development, and rising against impossible odds. A lot of people praise Kamina as the manly spirit that set things in motion, yet I believe TTGL is primarily a story about Simon’s coming of age and rise into both adulthood and his role as a powerful leader that can match (and even surpass) Kamina. KLK felt much less about development, I’m not even entirely sure what to make of its goals. Like you mentioned, Satsuki was a brilliant character and I loved how she was fleshed out in relation to the story’s progression, and while I didn’t really hate Ryuuko’s character, she certainly seemed underwhelming to me in comparison. She seemed much more straightforward and open about her thoughts, though I suppose that could be in part to make Ryuuko and Satsuki serve as foils for each other, which becomes even more interesting in the later stages of the anime.

    KLK is a series I’ve always felt is big on presentation and execution rather than anything else. Not to say its story is bad, but the plot itself is relatively straightforward (mysterious though some of the background progressions may be early on) and development is very much limited, yet KLK was always an anime about the exaggerated style and the over-the-top battles, and in that regard it’s definitely reminiscent of things like TTGL and FLCL. Because of that, KLK was such a blast to watch and I thoroughly enjoyed it week after week (not to mention the glorious soundtrack fit everything perfectly and did a fantastic job of setting the atmosphere). It may not be the most deep or developed of stories out there, but it was one hell of a thrilling ride for me, and that’s what really counts when it comes to entertainment.

  6. Kill la Kill was entertaining but IMO it wasn’t that great lol. This shit was hyped and tbh I didn’t get why? >.> Gurren Laggan is still better though, good review you nailed it.

    • It’s because of Studio Trigger. People love the sh*t out of this studio. They haven’t done anything remarkable so far but a kickstarter funded second episode of their Little Witch Academia gives you an idea how many people is lobbying for the studio to do big things.
      And thank you!!!!
      Let’s watch out for Studio Trigger’s next anime. Consistency is the mark of a great studio so if the’ir next release sucks, then we’ll see just how much people will lobby for the studio then. 😄

Thoughts~

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