Posted October 21, 2013 by Juabe Inciong in Anime/Manga


Describe Kill la Kill here.

Okay. I’ll try.

So remember Gainax’s “Saturday Morning Cartoon”, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann? The action, the manliness, the throwing of galaxies cause reason took a vacation in that universe, you recall those? Right, now get only the insane action scenes, add Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, two tons of ham, fascism, 70s-80s anime, and the magical girl genre. Put all of those in a bowl, take a piece of dynamite, light it, and throw it in. Do not turn your head away as the resulting explosion blows your face off and debris starts flying. What you saw during this moment of pure destruction is probably like Kill la Kill. Probably.

Kill la Kill Opening

Studio Trigger, composed of artists who used to work at Gainax, in particular Gurren Lagann and FLCL, is debuting with what it seems the craziest anime this season. Kill la Kill tells the story of Ryuko Matoi, who arrives in a post-apocalyptic Japanese city, the center of which is Honnouji Academy, a school under absolute rule by its student council president and the school owner’s daughter, Satsuki Kiryuin. Ryuko, wielding a giant red scissor blade, dropped by the academy to simply ask one question: Where is the owner of the other half of this scissor blade who killed his father. Of course, with her disturbing the peace,  she was easily dispatched by a student wearing the special “Goku Uniforms,” which give its owner superpowers based on his talents (such as gigantic gloves for a boxer). Still determined, she explores the remnants of her dead father’s old lab, only to discover a sentient uniform that wakes up at the taste of blood and forces itself to be worn by her. With a weapon of her own, she sets out on a quest to take down Honnouji Academy one fight at a time, and get the answer she needs.

Kill la Kill Ryuko enters the town

Yes, the previous paragraph sounds ridiculous, even for anime standards. Yet Kill la Kill is just getting started. One of the strengths Gurren Lagann had is its art direction, and Studio Trigger decided that maybe they could push it a but further. Every scene is exaggerated and blown out of proportion. Characters are introduced in GIANT RED BOLD TEXT IN THE BACKGROUND EVERY SINGLE TIME  and the models get all wacky. Animation jumps back and forth between choppy eccentric to detailed and fluid, in particular with the fight scenes, which happen every five minutes or so. The background looks like an homage to old-school anime, and you could see how the faded look of the town juxtaposes with the crazy look of the cast. To top it all off, Ryuko’s uniform, named Senketsu (which translates to Fresh Blood), when activated turns into this:

Kill la Kill Costume

It is so oversexualized and done so shamelessly by Trigger that I can’t even call them out on it. It just makes you go, “WHAT?! Does that even count as clothes? Screw it, whatever.”

So far, Kill la Kill has nothing but high-octane action, with no plans of stopping to focus on annoying things like plot and character development. It might turn off some people who wanted a show with more substance, but really, these are the guys who made FLCL, which up to this day I’m still having a hard time telling people what it is about. The story does move along somewhat, in the midst of dialogue between Ryuko and whoever she is trading blows against. With this “enemy of the week” format, it does remind me of the good ol’ days of shounen anime, though I think artists during those times could get away with making a costume that is essentially just shoulder pads and a skirt.

Kill la Kill Ryuko versus Satsuki

If you want to shut down your brain and have 20-ish minutes of raw entertainment, then Kill la Kill is the perfect show for you. This combination of fanservice and violence that only Trigger is able to produce is something that is simply must be seen to believe.

Stay tuned every Saturday as I attempt to make sense of Kill la Kill, and fail every time, laughing at how outrageous these “school uniforms” can be, and get all pumped up at the non-stop action. Yes, and not the near-nakedness of Ryuko and her astonishingly animated boobs. Definitely the action.


Juabe Inciong