Kill La Kill's First Half Is Just Pure, Unfiltered Fun

Kill la Kill's First Half is Just Pure, Unfiltered Fun

There is no question that this season's break-out anime is Kill la Kill, the newest anime by the creators of Gurren Lagann. As it reaches its halfway point, it's not hard to see why. It's a series that seems only concerned with one thing: having fun in the most awesome ways possible while taking you along for the ride.

Kill la Kill's First Half is Just Pure, Unfiltered Fun

Good -- Over-the-Top Action

In a lot of ways, Kill la Kill is what comes about when you take an idea and then let your imagination run completely wild. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the series' action scenes. Each battle is stupendously over-the-top. The enemies fight with everything from super-powered tennis rackets and kendo swords, to biology scalpels and musical instruments.

But more than crazy weapons at every turn, Kill la Kill creates a world where even the laws of physics can't keep up. For one thing, strength and speed seem to be subject to willpower and wardrobe alone; and swords can crash with such force that they create an explosion, which then turns into an implosion -- before becoming an even bigger explosion.

All together this makes for an anime that becomes pure eye candy the moment a battle begins.

Kill la Kill's First Half is Just Pure, Unfiltered Fun

Good -- Crazy Comedy

The comedy in Kill la Kill is as over-the-top as the action, and several episodes revolve around comedic scenes instead of action ones. The comedy tends to come in two forms: slapstick or sexual humour. The slapstick works quite well, relying on visual gags (read: the character of Mako) and clever wordplay. The sexual humour tends to work as well, for the most part, as it centres on Ryuko's, the main character's, overt over-sexualization -- though occasionally it goes a bit too far into the realm of pandering. But we'll get more into that later on in the section about fan service.

Kill la Kill's First Half is Just Pure, Unfiltered Fun

Good -- A Totalitarian School-Based Society

The society seen in Kill la Kill is interesting as it explores a totalitarian regime hidden within the guise of a twisted meritocracy. Simply put, nearly everything of the world we see is based around the school and the students' roles in it. Being an average student leaves your family poor and in the slums. By becoming an above average student, you are granted your first super-powered uniform and your family moves to the middle class section of town. Becoming a team captain grants your family a mansion and a life of luxury.

But while this all seems merit-based, it largely isn't. To get more power, you must prove yourself to be better than the people who already have the power. And of course, as those above you already have the power, only someone with an outside edge like Ryuko can advance inside the system -- though she would obviously rather destroy it.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to come from the setup is how it develops the character of the main villain -- the student council president Kiriyuin Satsuki. She clearly believes that her system is fair, that the strongest -- and thus most useful -- will rise to the top regardless. It is her belief that makes the anime's premise even possible -- it's the reason why she allows Ryuko to work her way up the ladder toward a one-on-one duel instead of simply overwhelming her with pure numbers. Kiriyuin truly wants to know on some level if she has been wrong all this time.

Kill la Kill's First Half is Just Pure, Unfiltered Fun

Good -- Taking Magic Girls to the Extreme

As Gurren Lagann was to mecha anime, Kill la Kill is to magical girl anime. That is to say both take the tropes common to their genres, subvert them, and then take them to the farthest possible extreme. In most magical girl anime, the heroes get costumes as a by-product of activating their power. In Kill la Kill, the costume is quite literally the source of Ryuko (and the villains') power.

For another example, magical girls often have skimpy or tight outfits, yet never seem embarrassed by the fact. In the world of Kill la Kill, being embarrassed by your skimpy outfit actually lessens your power. Even the classic magical girl transformation sequence is taken to a whole new level of fan service with its plethora of crotch shots and boob bounces. And speaking of fan service...

Kill la Kill's First Half is Just Pure, Unfiltered Fun

Mixed -- Stupid Amounts of Fan Service

Like everything else in Kill la Kill, even fanservice is taken to the extreme -- Ryuko's costume being the primary example. Really, it is only a little less revealing than a micro bikini -- with only suspenders and a micro skirt to cover up the naughty bits. (Kiriyuin hardly gets off any better with her costume.)

Thankfully, the fan service is a bit more even-handed than I would have expected (though it is still miles from equal) as Ryuko's teacher has the habit of performing a strip show each and every time he dives into expository dialogue.

And while I do enjoy the subversive idea that embarrassment affects power, it seems more like an excuse to present even more fan service than an integral part of the plot/world.

Kill la Kill's First Half is Just Pure, Unfiltered Fun

Final Thoughts

In the end, Kill la Kill is an anime doing everything it can to exemplify the term over-the-top. The action is over-the-top; the humour is over-the-top; the fanservice is over-the-top; everything is over-the-top. But behind the rampant fun this series exudes is a clear knowledge of how to subvert anime tropes as well as dish up a moderate helping of social commentary. If nothing else, Kill la Kill's first half is an incredibly entertaining watch, and it will be interesting to see if it can keep up this pace as it heads toward its finale.

Kill la Kill is currently airing on TBS in Japan and can be seen for free with English subtitles at Crunchyroll, Daisuki, Hulu, Aniplex and Wakanim (UK).


Comments

    i know i love this anime...... though i am very confused by well...... everything. Either way its a great anime for utter confusion and fan service....... and information about uniforms. I do hope they get into the uniform information and that scissor blade a little more. im a no star for life so ill probably just be left out.

    Man, I totally agree with you on every point here.

    Kill la Kill is just amazing. And that fan service stuff, you're right it's mixed -- it almost put me off watching it when the first few costume transforms happened, but then you start to ignore it, as the story also does, until they specifically make a point of it every now and then.

    For anyone who hasn't watched it... You're missing out.

      Yeah, it took two goes, several weeks apart, for me to get into this anime. The first two episodes really put me off. I was more prepared for it the second time and saw more how it made things work, but man, it still makes me really uncomfortable at times.

    The fan service isn't that bad when you consider it as part of the "story".

    Action, check. Good animation in the action scenes, check. Fanservice, check (if you want that). Story, OOPS.

    So, look, I love anime that have great complex stories, and I also love anime that have more simplistic stories. As long as they are told well, it's all good. I'm a bit concerned though, that this story just isn't being told well.

    I'm a huge fan of gurren lagann, so naturally I was excited to see this show. I know TTGL had fan service, crazy action, over the top everything but there was actually a kinda of clever, interesting and reasonably well told story in there.

    Does anyone remember how the first episode started? It started, with a monologue from Simon, in the rather depresses dreary underground life that they had. It was really well crafted as a story for the first episode and actually encapsulated the feeling of the entire series in just 30 minutes. The struggle for freedom.

    Anyway, I don't know, I feel like this won't get there. Been kind of ho-humming about this one this season. Thoughts from everyone - should we stick it out with this one? (Been kind of a weak season generally)

    Could not disagree more, im still baffled at what people see in this show.

    I've tried to watch it twice and was so put off every time, its by far the very worst anime i've watched this season. In terms of my enjoyment there was not a single redeeming aspect in my eyes.

      I guess it depends on what you are looking for in an anime, I love the over the top scenes, characters and interactions.

        You have to enjoy surreality to enjoy this type of show. And you have to REALLY enjoy it to enjoy THIS show. It isn't easy at all.

      Can you at least provide reasons why you do not like this show?

      If you're arguing about not seeing what people see in this show at least have the courtesy and state why instead of giving the "I don't enjoy this, you're all idiots for not agreeing with me." response.

      Last edited 21/12/13 11:55 pm

        The art style is off putting and not to my taste and wildy varies from down right pathetic to acceptable in terms of quality.

        The "comedy" if you can call it that is not funny, its just bad. Slap stick is the very worst kind of comedy and this is from someone who will enjoy a good dead baby/racist joke or anything most pretentious nobs will scoff at, hell sarcasm and satire pretty much anything besides basic slap stick is funny.

        The combat scenes are beyond stupid for lack of a better word. They are all over the place seem to contain near limitless "power ups",they contain almost no unified rules or laws and last all of 30 seconds. It's so bad that there is no point in even having the fight let alone watching them. You can't predict the outcome, or get "shocked" with an interesting or tactical move, there is no strategy overcoming a superior foe it is combat for the sake of combat and outside of flashy over the top and yet still horribly animated visuals it offers almost nothing.

        I could go on about the rubbish plot and what have you and how some people will try and make comparisons to real world nonsense or claim its "so deep if you really look into it". But you can find depth in 2mm kiddie pool if you were inclined to do so.

        Overall the entire show is bad in every aspect to me. We have 0 redeeming qualities, bad humour, bad story bad combat and bad animation, the entire show is terrible.

        You could argue that slap stick is funny, but I maintain anyone who finds the naked gun entertaining is a few wires short. You could even say you dig the animation and find the story passable and that you enjoy the combat but i would argue a perosn that inisits on any of these is probably also enjoying the likes of jersey shore or other reality tv shows and is allergic to good tv and well that's probably enough said.

        And considering I never said anything insulting or name calling in my original post nor did i say or otherwise imply that anyone here was an idiot. But im implying now, that you must be to think this show is a "great show".

    Kill la kill is up there with gurren lagann as my favourite animes of all time so far, i love how ridiculous it is, however i can see how it could be off-putting to others.

    but the main question is, when are we gonna have a fight in space? i hope its soon.

    and yeah, the female fan service is a lot, but you get over it, and the show has a lot of naked dudes in it as well, so equality and stuff.

    Last edited 21/12/13 8:11 pm

      Heh, I still laugh out loud every single time that teacher runs his hands through his hair and just .. transforms.

      I've annoyed my roommate more than once.

    So...

    this is just like Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt then?
    Considering I enjoyed that, would I enjoy this?

    Edit: Old thread, gonna repost on the current one.

    Last edited 05/04/14 5:28 pm

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