Kill la Kill Series Review

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Kill la Kill Series Review

"The art direction is different than any other anime I have ever seen and it’s quite charming."

I’ll admit, when I started Kill la Kill, I really had no idea what the show was about; but I had been intrigued by some of the art I had seen on Tumblr. Of course we all know that we need to take everything on Tumblr with a grain of salt – you should see some of the stuff that linked back to Deviant Art! So, with the kids safely in bed and the volume turned down low enough not to wake the family, I started watching the subtitled version of the show. I have nothing against English dubbed anime, but I wanted the feel of the emotions behind what the characters were saying and sometimes that’s lost in an English translation.

I have to say this: the first few episodes confused the hell out of me. It was only when I realized that the show was about clothing that I fully understood the absurdities and little things that I had found confusing at first. The art direction is different than any other anime I have ever seen and it’s quite charming. I found myself re-watching a few episodes just for the quirkiness of the art direction. If the art was good, the music was fantastic. I found myself looking forward to the opening, closing and transformation scenes. By the end of everything I saw this series as a work of art, with all of the pieces fitting in so well together to create a cohesive story that’s actually a pleasure to watch.

Kill la Kill Screenshot

"Everything in the show is meant to move the story forward instead of stopping the whole thing to reward the audience with a panty shot."
With all of the above stated here comes the caveat: you won’t like this show if you are offended by nudity. That, and strong overtones of incest; but we’ll get to that in a bit. The big pull for a lot of people is what they call “fan service,” wherein they make the characters overtly sexual or put them in sexual situations just for the explicit purpose of rustling the audience’s jimmies. I more than expected this show to have a lot of these, as they did in High School of the Dead. I was very surprised to discover that, despite the excessive nudity, there wasn’t any fan service except for when they included incest. I never thought I would ever write a sentence like that in my life. The naked female form is nothing to be ashamed of and, while there aren’t any nipples or genitalia, it’s presented all within context of the story. Everything in the show is meant to move the story forward instead of stopping the whole thing to reward the audience with a panty shot. There are male characters that get naked too, the funniest being the teacher Aikuro who slowly strips and makes moves on Ryuko when they are alone - so it’s not entirely T & A for the complete show. 

The story paces along at a good clip and speeds up considerably as they near the show’s finale. Near the end I was hooked and could not turn away. I watched the last third of the series in one sitting. Unlike most animes I have watched, every thread (pun intended) is wrapped up in the end. You will find the resolution satisfying and almost heartwarming. The plot is well written and weaved almost like an intricate tapestry (okay I’ll stop with the sewing analogies!), but it’s not something that’s going to tie your brain into knots. Some plot devices are so short that if you blink you’ll miss them.

Kill la Kill Wallpaper

"The story was well written, the art was just fantastic, the music is worth buying the OST, and the characters are well rounded."

The characters are what truly make or break an anime. Mako Mankanshoku is undoubtedly the strongest person in the show and is the voice for the audience. Ryuko Matoi is strong willed but needs to be pulled back at times when her drive for revenge would get her killed. As far as Ryuko’s foil, Satsuki Kiryuin grows as a character and as the audience becomes both familiar and sympathetic with her, the main antagonist switches and Satsuki’s role in the story is changed.

And now for the promised part: the implied or explicit incest scenes. There’s a scene with the mother and daughter that’s downright uncomfortable to watch. You don’t see these characters in the same light after that scene. While some agree that the scene is showing the mother purging the daughter’s chakras to heal her, not many people are that familiar with the Eastern chakra mythos and will see this scene as strictly pornographic/incestuous. Either way, it was made to make the audience uncomfortable and it does that very well. Again, do not watch if nudity or implied incest offend you. My final thoughts on the show are that the story was well written, the art was just fantastic, the music is worth buying the OST, and the characters are well rounded and develop throughout the series. I highly recommend this show to anyone without small children due to the sexual and violent content. 

Review by: Mark Brenner | Review Format: Streaming (Netflix)

A-

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