A few months ago, I started to see that my friend Kris was interested in a newer anime called Kill la Kill. Since I get all my anime from the recommendations of friends, this was as good as reason as any to give it a shot. The series was written and directed by the duo behind the well-liked Gurren Lagann (which I’d watched some of) and seemed like it might be interesting. After spending the first few episodes feeling a bit confused, I got completely hooked on the show and enjoyed the rest enthusiastically.
The show starts out with schoolgirl Ryuko Matoi arriving at the famed Honnouji Academy looking for clues about her father’s death, accompanied by half of a scissor blade he created and eventually by a talking sailor uniform named Senketsu. At Hannouji Academy she befriends her fellow student Mako Mankanshoku and must stand up to the strict student council president Satsuki Kiryuin and her group of companions, The Elite Four. Characters wear special uniforms infused with a mysterious substance known as Life Fibers, the central premise of the show. From there the plot progresses to an over-the-top action/fighting storyline with plenty of twists and turns. Having not watched a lot of anime, I can’t claim objectively how unique and different it was, but I was attracted by the creativity of the show. From the premise, to the plot twists to the sweet character designs/costumes, I felt like every episode had something that was, at least to me, new and interesting.
My favorite part of Kill la Kill was the characters. From Ryuko, the show’s hot-headed and volatile protagonist, to the cool and efficient Satsuki, the loyal and hulking Ira Gamagoori, and Ryuko’s dim-witted but loving friend Mako, the the characters were really likable and I wanted to know more about all of them. Since the central premise of the show is about clothing, each character also has several interesting outfits that they wear in different episodes. While the show doesn’t go in-depth with most of the relationships, they all seemed natural and believable and served to support the main storyline. Mako and Ryuko’s friendship in particular stood out as something that helped anchor both Ryuko and the show; I think everyone could probably use a Mako in their lives.
For the positive things I can say about interesting characters or positive themes like friendship and family, the show for me was really just over-the-top, guilty pleasure kind of entertainment. Its humor banks on a solid amount of innuendo and fanservice and the main characters often undergo a magical-girl type transformation into powered-up, revealing outfits. (Oh and the fight scenes can get bloody. Sometimes comedic and obviously animated, but still very bloody.) If you’re sensitive to the kind of thing, Kill la Kill may not be for you, and it’s probably also not for your grandma or little siblings. But if you don’t mind those elements or are willing to look past them for the sake of an otherwise engaging and cool anime, you’re in for an enjoyable show and a wild ride.