Kill la Kill [90/100]

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So with my final impression underway I will try to refrain from spoiler plot points for those that have not seen this show.

Without a doubt in my mind this was one of my favorite anime series to have aired in the Fall 2013 to Winter 2014 timeslot.  That season wasn’t as difficult to figure out what was good and what ended up being horrible unlike the spring and summer season of this year that we’ve had.  Putting aside some of the great offerings of the Winter 2014 season, the Fall 2013 season was for the most part nonexistent.

Kyoukai no Kanata [Beyond the Boundary] was a very beautiful series to watch but the plot was lacking whole heartedly.  Samurai Flamenco was crazy fun with all of the changing of genres yet the ending didn’t feel complete.  Originally I stopped watching Diabolik Lovers only to later finish it after it’s airing and it was one of the worst anime adaptations from an otome game I’ve ever seen.  Galilei Donna had promise with the use of history about Galileo but ended up being too short for how much material the creators chose to include.  Coppelion had pretty background visuals and a neat premise at first but here just like Galilei Donna fell short due to it’s rushed and incoherent ending.  Pupa was a short-lived disaster that was only getting delayed because the television broadcasters were too afraid of airing risky gory animation.  This resulted in the final product of the blu-ray being horribly animated. The only other series aside from Kill la Kill that I can think of that had a lasting impression on me was Kyousogiga.  Talk about an inventive  science fiction and fantasy series- one that takes you to a whole other level.  Reminded me a little bit of Mahou Shoujotai in how the world was very mystical.  Kyosogiga was a really unique show to watch each week!

Hiroyuki Imaishi the director of Gurren Lagann, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and got his start as a key animator for Anno’s Evangelion series left Gainax with Masahiko Ohtsuka to establish their new animation studio. Trigger.  Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the best mecha series I have ever seen it was just written exceptionally well.

Kill la Kill is something of a spiritual successor to Gurren Lagann– without that show I do not believe this anime nor Anime Mirai Projects’ Little Witch Academia would have been made.  Gurren influenced so many themes that Kill la Kill uses throughout its progression- with the overall presentation being ‘intensified’.

Ryuko Matoi the average transfer student with a mysterious past is hell-bent on revenge- sounds simple right?  Uncovering the mysterious other half of her scissor blade only to embark on a journey with oddly-formed friendships and the boldness to show some skin.  She’s a lot like Yoko from Gurren in how she is viewed by the men throughout the series- both anime known for fan service sequences largely incorporated into the plot.  A lot of the times in Gurren while it would come off as extremely funny I felt like it was unnecessary for the heart of the story.  Here it is portrayed as a strong structure as clothing and sexuality became the big message of Kill la Kill.  Incorporating this as the main focus in mind- with the help of Gainax’s animation techniques makes out its visuals to be uniquely engaging and attractive.

This is a series that illustrates the mahou shojo genre fairly well as it piles on with each episode a fierce performance with the intention of being profoundly seductive.  This is where its interesting as Senketsu is the motivational force in pushing Ryuko further and further into something more than just a schoolgirl.  This does however spiral in a huge reveal towards the end- I’d say I was pretty satisfied with that moment.  Very interesting concept to develop clothing as more than what it is- quite the element of surprise for an anime that looks to be your typical action/adventure series.

The big problem however is in how this show portrays its villains.  At first we are to believe its Satsuki Kiryuin and her Elite Four of the student council, but in fact it’s just a mother with the desire to control the world.  This has been done to death in anime series!

The soundtrack, where do I even start? It was quite powerful but it had its share of issues.  Hiroyuki Sawano is becoming one of the most productive composers in the industry- being that he has so much on his list since 2011, and he’s got a ton of works on his plate even this year!  The problem however is how indistinguishable every song is- and it’s not just in this anime that he has done this to- in where he chooses high impact rather than being influentially creative with diversity.  You could paste some of the tracks he’s provided for this show into Aldnoah.Zero and it would have worked just the same.  I will say that he’s got a knack for an explosive style that creates passionate sequences- songs that are very compelling to give a listen to but where there is not a whole lot of substance like composer Yoko Kanno has pulled off.  Zankyou no Terror, Cowboy Bebop, Sakamichi no Apollon, and even Darker than Black were widely varied- I could go on with her list of incredibly mixed compositions!

If Mako Mankanshoku hadn’t been in Kill la Kill I’m sure I would have rated this around a 80 or so.  She is the best character in this series as she personifies the best friend trope so well.  A wacky and playful schoolgirl is just the break this show needed from all the adrenaline pumping action scenes and intense angst-filled drama.  I’d also like to mention how cool Tsumugu was- that’s one hell of a way to give someone an introduction in Episode 5!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 90/100

If you like this you will also enjoy:

– Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

– Basquash!

– FLCL

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