Kill la Kill — Final Impressions

Best Girl Nonon

Image Cred­it: てつくず from Pixiv

Best Girl. Not-So-Best Anime

Okay, guys. I’m final­ly get­ting to this post after an eter­ni­ty of post­pon­ing it.

Most­ly because I’m afraid of the back­lash. My opin­ion of this series lit­er­al­ly goes against what every­one loves and says about it. Heck, instead of talk­ing crap about Sword Art Online, I just sim­ply dropped it with­out a word sim­ply because the rabid fan­boys are coo coo for cocoa puffs. Thank­ful­ly Kill la Kill was­n’t ter­ri­ble to me, just mediocre in com­par­i­son to how much praise it gets, but I still had to wait until the show was fin­ished in order to marathon it instead of fol­low­ing it weekly.

Welp, onto the first and only sad post of the month!


I’ll get this out of the way first: I get that the series is sup­posed to be “mind­less” non­sense (…and now I’m going to get crap from fans that think it’s some deep and thought-pro­vok­ing ani­me), but I hon­est­ly got more enjoy­ment out of Panty & Stock­ing with Garter­belt’s mind­less non­sense, along with every­thing else it had to offer (a nice throw­back to Amer­i­can adult ani­ma­tion and doing that real­ly well) than I ever did with the begin­ning chunks of Kill la Kill. KLK was­n’t unwatch­able, but it was­n’t good enough for me to fol­low week­ly. I just could­n’t bring myself to. It would have felt like a chore if I did­n’t marathon it. Espe­cial­ly the mid­dle arc, which was pret­ty much the most bor­ing you could get out of Kill la Kill.

In all hon­esty, I felt that every­thing Kill la Kill was is essen­tial­ly a low-tier ver­sion of every­thing Imaishi Hiroyu­ki and Nakashima Kazu­ki had done in the past. Yes, unlike Kill la Kill, Ten­gen Top­pa Gur­ren Lagann was nev­er intend­ed to be “mind­less fun”, but you know what? It man­aged to be a loud­er over-the-top action ani­me than Kill la Kill ever was. I can under­stand the con­cept of being into a TV series because it’s a good action ani­me, dis­re­gard­ing the plot and char­ac­ters — and action is always a good source of enter­tain­ment val­ue — but the action in KLK was just real­ly bland to me. It’s the type of thing you can get from ANY Imaishi-direct­ed ani­me, only done bet­ter and on a big­ger budget.


Derp la Derp

On the sub­ject of “bud­get”, let’s dis­cuss the ani­ma­tion. I mean, I don’t intend to give Stu­dio Trig­ger too much shit since it’s their first full inde­pen­dent series (Lit­tle Witch Acad­e­mia being a short and Infer­no Cop being a web series), but there’s no doubt that the ani­ma­tion is pret­ty bad for what it’s try­ing to be. It’s pret­ty much still-frame city and my jaw dropped upon see­ing how bad the CGI was in episode 3 (thank god Trig­ger did­n’t real­ly use CGI much after this). The art style is great, but when you have bad ani­ma­tion, it’s real­ly incon­se­quen­tial. I, who am not in any way part of the ani­ma­tion indus­try — can lit­er­al­ly mim­ic a num­ber of Kill la Kill’s still-frame ani­ma­tions on Sony Vegas/Adobe Pre­miere. Any­one can. And the fun­ny thing is, the ani­ma­tion is actu­al­ly amaz­ing at some points, but there are just so many moments where the ani­ma­tion is jaw-drop­ping­ly awful in com­par­i­son. Stu­dio Trig­ger def­i­nite­ly had trou­ble allo­cat­ing the bud­get even­ly. (That being said, I loved the stu­dio’s ani­ma­tion in Lit­tle Witch Acad­e­mia and wish them the best of luck on Lit­tle Witch Acad­e­mia 2.)

It’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly a bad thing to turn off your brain for a while to enjoy some­thing that’s pure­ly enter­tain­ment val­ue and noth­ing more, but for me, it real­ly did­n’t feel as enter­tain­ing as any oth­er mind­less action shows even when I tried to do that. I admit to enjoy­ing the hell out of Kill la Kill at first because it seemed like an awe­some par­o­dy that was going to go places with that in mind. Heck, the whole set-up just screams par­o­dy, what with the over-the-top zani­ness and the set­ting itself, which poked fun at a num­ber of ani­me series tak­ing place in high school (what made it fun­ny was the fact that the series could have tak­en place any­where, “but because this is an ani­me, it has to be in a high school”). But some­where along the line, Kill la Kill’s direc­tion kind of got LOST and it was increas­ing­ly hard­er to tell if it was a par­o­dy or just gen­uine­ly gener­ic — we start get­ting motifs and symbolism/metaphors regard­ing nud­ists and cloth­ing which isn’t real­ly exe­cut­ed as well as they could have been because KLK nev­er went full-on srsly deep ani­mu (a.k.a. aver­age ani­me with direc­tion), there was a bunch of bull­shit they felt they need­ed to explain with log­ic, etc.

Despite how good this art is, Ryuko is not the best girl

I felt that, even with the bad ani­ma­tion, Kill la Kill could have at least ben­e­fit­ed from bet­ter direc­tion. As a par­o­dy or a show not meant to be tak­en so seri­ous­ly, we’re all per­fect­ly fine with tak­ing things as what they appear to be on screen no mat­ter how insane or sil­ly they are. But when you try to incor­po­rate mean­ing into pieces of the show, you end up turn­ing on our brains again and we start real­iz­ing that our intel­li­gence is being insult­ed. You’re not sup­posed to ratio­nal­ize the plot, the whole premise already throws log­ic out the win­dow to begin with — “peo­ple with super clothes ver­sus oth­er peo­ple with super clothes in high school with a lot of explo­sions and shit” . At first, I fig­ured Ryuko being at Hon­nou­ji Acad­e­my to “avenge her father, who she nev­er had much of a lov­ing rela­tion­ship to begin with” was just a par­o­dy of that com­mon back­sto­ry a lot of angsty pro­tag­o­nists tend to have. It did­n’t make sense, but you nev­er felt as if it was sup­posed to. 

So I would have been fine with, say, a light­ning bolt hit­ting a piece of turd, caus­ing a bunch of oth­er turds to rain down from the sky and infect­ing the cit­i­zens, turn­ing them into an army of human turds. It’s sil­ly and illog­i­cal. It should­n’t sup­posed to be log­i­cal. But when you go out of your way to have the char­ac­ters, like Inu­mu­ta, try to explain how all of that worked out using pseu­do-sci­ence or some oth­er BS in-uni­verse rea­son­ing, it’s like — why are you even telling me this? This hap­pened sev­er­al times through­out the show, which has a pret­ty straight­for­ward plot, fanser­vice, and cast. And because these things were so straight­for­ward, so sim­ple, all of the themes, metaphors, sym­bol­ism in motif (clothes), etc. felt so sore­ly out-of-place (and prob­a­bly gives a bunch of crazy fans the excuse to argue that the show is 2deep4me when it real­ly isn’t).

All of the “flaws”, that could have prob­a­bly been incon­se­quen­tial depend­ing on the nature of the series, end­ed up feel­ing like they were played straight because they decid­ed to do all of that.

Your kek la kek is the kek la kek that will pierce the heavens

This was pret­ty amus­ing, at least

Did the char­ac­ters man­age to be the sav­ing grace, at least? Well, about that… The char­ac­ters weren’t real­ly amaz­ing; in fact, they felt pret­ty mediocre to me. In terms of char­ac­ters, I did grow to like Sat­su­ki start­ing from episode 18 onwards because she had the best char­ac­ter devel­op­ment (which isn’t say­ing much), but the only char­ac­ters that I con­sis­tent­ly liked were Sen­ket­su and Nonon (best girl, but that’s not say­ing much) because their dia­logue at least made me smile. I… guess I liked Ryuuko at first, but then she remained sta­t­ic for a dozen or so episodes before she start­ed awk­ward­ly “devel­op­ing” from angst to “SENKETSU’S THE BEST BRO” deter­mi­na­tion to “FUCK YOU SENKETSU I’M NOT HUMAN” angst to deter­mi­na­tion again the last sev­er­al episodes (char­ac­ter devel­op­ment is great when you don’t try to awk­ward­ly squeeze it all into the tail-end). I mean, I like the Kamen Rid­er par­al­lels with her rid­ing a motor­cyle, don­ning Sen­ket­su as a scarf that one time, being a mod­i­fied human, etc. but that’s real­ly just about it. Mako’s alright, even though I’ve seen her before. I don’t know, she seems to be pret­ty pop­u­lar, but “lol­so­ran­dom” char­ac­ters nev­er real­ly res­onat­ed with me well, to be hon­est. She did man­age to “pop out” in her focus episode and a few times towards the end, how­ev­er, so I’ll give her that. Oth­er than that… not much for me to praise about the char­ac­ters, though I have lit­tle to com­plain as well. There’s noth­ing to talk about besides their archetypes.

Kill la Kill, in short, was a gigan­tic mess to me. I could see how much poten­tial this series had, all from the first episode — both as a mind­less par­o­dy or the next TTGL (an over-the-top ani­me with bet­ter direc­tion), but in the end, it failed to reach any of these expec­ta­tions. There are much bet­ter entry-lev­el ani­me out there, and I’m not so sure why Kill la Kill is one of them. It’s pret­ty mediocre, and while it’s watchable/enjoyable as a marathon, it’s not exact­ly mem­o­rable — and I’d most like­ly have for­got­ten it already if it weren’t for peo­ple talk­ing about it all the time, for some reason.

After all, the best char­ac­ter in this ani­me for me was a sei­fuku. Kill la Kill me.

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