In my review of Date a Live, I pointed out that anime has this level of absurdity that we in America do not have. Today, we will experience that level firsthand, in the world of clothing and Kill La Kill.
Honnouji Academy, a totalitarian high school ruled by the ruthless Student Council President Satsuki Kiryuin. Using the power of special uniforms called Goku uniforms, Satsuki has launched a conquest of Japan’s schools, conquering every region but one: the Kansai region.
One day, a transfer student appears at the steps of Honnouji. She is Ryuko Matoi, a wandering renegade whose quest for answers surrounding her father’s death has led her to the academy. Here, she must fight to uncover the truth surrounding her, her father, and her new surroundings.
Kill La Kill is nothing short of fast-paced. Intense fights are the norm of this anime; at any given time, something’s going to be blowing up. You constantly have to be paying attention to understand where the plot is going. This is not the kind of anime to spend long periods of time on any one arc, so the plot moves briskly, not fast enough to be confusing, but not slow enough to be dull. I was very impressed by their ability to squeeze a lot of material into a given episode without hurting the pacing.
With regards to the actual storytelling, again, Kill La Kill delivers well. My only complaint is its timing. Sometimes, there will be a joke in the middle of a serious scene, and that can be off-putting, but the anime does its story-telling well, tying up every loose end I could find. About halfway through, the show does a weird shift in its premise, but it works well towards the end of the story, ultimately making it more engaging and interesting.
The Characters: The characters of Kill La Kill come in all shapes and sizes. Some are one-dimensional, but others are very complex. What’s especially impressive is that due to the speed of the show, there’s hardly any backstory and some of these characters are quite multidimensional.
Ryuko Matoi: Ryuko is the perfect example of a complex character in this show. The audience is exposed to so many sides of her. She can be stubborn, kind, hot-tempered, crude, astute, gentle, caring, outspoken, even sullen. Ryuko’s constantly proven to be a very capable and powerful girl, yet not so powerful that she won’t get herself into a predicament without needing help. She has great balance, making her that much more of an interesting and enjoyable character.
Mako Makanshoku: I did not like Mako as a character. She gets better late in the show, but for most of it, she’s supposed to be a comic relief character. Sadly, her attempts to be that relief turn annoying very quickly. They’re thrown in at very inappropriate times. Yes, they were funny, but out of place, ultimately hurting her role.
Final Verdict: Kill La Kill is produced by the same studio that made Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. That means I hold the studio to high standards, and Kill La Kill delivers exceptionally well. It holds itself together and, while inappropriate at times, tells a compelling and enjoyable story
Final Grade: B+/A-