Saturday, January 25, 2014

Down, But Not Out: Kill la Kill

A bit of a retro post here as we check out Kill la Kill.

Kill la Kill premiered as part of the Fall lineup, though it fell through the cracks for me and became one of those shows that I had queued up, but never really checked out.  It has a bit of a prestigious reputation, being another of the brain-children of Hiroyuki Imaishi, director of such works as Tengen Toppa: Gurren Lagann and Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt.  One is a risque comedy about fallen angels with crippling vices, featuring villains themed after almost all the bodily fluids and uses every dirty joke imaginable, and one is a fighting-spirit fueled journey as a boy becomes and man...with mecha (I'll let you guess which is which).

Anyways, Kill la Kill gets one immediate vote of confidence from its older siblings, and another from various friends of mine.  So about a week ago, after polishing off the new episode of Space Dandy and Witch Craft Works (review to come), we at anime night finally put on the first episode of Kill la Kill (about fourteen weeks after its original air date).

Kill la Kill (subtitled by me as "Satsuki Scowls from High Places") takes place in a dystopian city/school called Honnouji Academy, where certain individuals are given special powers by their uniforms, which the student council regulate and extort to control and subjugate the other students and civilians below.  No one can do anything against the oppression because they can't get their hands on a uniform powerful enough (there's a power ranking system ranging from one to three stars) to stand a chance against the council.  If this is reminding anybody else of the plot to the first half of Gurren Lagann, rest assured that you're not the only one.

Anyways, things shake up when a mysterious transfer student, Ryuuko Matoi, rolls into town and essentially pulls a blade on the Student Council president (that girl Satsuki I mentioned earlier).  It's half of a giant pair of scissors.  The other half was used to murder her father and she's looking for answers.  Very much a "loose-cannon-cop-on-the-edge" kind of feel.

So she pulls a blade, gets her shit rocked, but eventually gets her hands on some kind of experimental uniform of her own (it was pretty sketchy, I think it molested her), and starts kicking butt.  Basically the first episode in a nutshell.

Don't take the dismissive nature with which I write this review to mean I disliked Kill la Kill.  I just thought it was an okay show, one that I will probably stick with to the end, but it certainly did not live up to the hype for me.  I think that it rides very heavily on the coattails of Gurren Lagann, using that fame and popularity to boost a show that would have gotten maybe...65% of viewers to stay onboard to one that locks in a whole 90% (these figures are entirely conjecture, none of it is based in fact, just my impression).  Simply put: Kill la Kill was good, but definitely has room for improvement.

Despite my disappointment, Kill la Kill had its fair share of positive points.  I really liked Ryuuko, she was a girl with spunk, but didn't have to act like a hardcore badass all the time.  The funny parts had good comedic timing and the comic relief character was dependably ridiculous.

Even though I would say Kill la Kill was a bit of a let down for me at first, I'm going to stick with it because, like I said, it has room for improvement and time to make that improvement.  I'm also reminded that even Gurren Lagann definitely ended a lot stronger than it began.  So I'm left with hope and aspiration for this show.

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