Kill La Kill, the newest anime by the creative minds behind over the top mecha hit Gurren Lagann, is all about a girl searching for the person who killed her father. To do this she has a giant scissor-blade and a transforming school uniform. That’s where things get troubling.
In the series’ lore, she slits her wrist to transform because the living uniform feeds on her blood. Thus the time limit for her transformation is until she passes out due to blood loss.
That explanation, however, doesn’t change the fact that slitting one’s wrists is one of the most common ways to attempt suicide (or at the very least self-mutilation) and the anime purposely evokes that image. This is all the more shocking considering that, according to the latest reported figures, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world — 21.7 suicides per 100,000 people. (For comparison, the last measured US suicide rate is only 12 suicides per 100,000 people.)
Yes, Kill la Kill is an action-comedy and of course, it is far from the only popular Japanese property to use suicidal images for shock value — Persona 3 and it’s pistol-like evokers comes to mind, for example. But just because it’s been done before doesn’t make it any less disturbing when you remember that, by associating the images with awesome, action packed fights, Kill la Kill is basically making slitting your wrist seem like a “cool” thing to do. And I admit, that worries me a bit.
To see the wrist-slitting transformation in action, check out the videos bellow.