This is a big ol’ switch of pace from last week’s show, Death Note. Kill la Kill is pretty much everything that Death Note isn’t… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Matoi Ryuko, short 17-year-old rebel punk, steps up to the door of intimidating gladiatorial Honnouji Academy wielding a giant red half of a pair of scissors and demanding to know the whereabouts of the other half. Kiryuin Satsuki, Student Council President and ruler over the whole school (including the buildings and teachers), knows the answer to her question, but refuses to answer. Ryuko challenges her, but learns that she’ll have to go through all of her many underlings first to get to her. This sets our heroine up for a series of progressively more difficult battles as she tries to fight her way to the top.
This much is the plot, and what little more plot there is, is dropped in sneakily between arguments, stand offs, massive fight scenes and comic relief. Kill la Kill is not a show that takes itself, or anything, seriously.
Did you ever watch Sailor Moon, that cutesy girl anime where the pretty young girls have a lip-gloss or a tiara and use it to transform into short-skirted superheroes? Kill la Kill is like a boy’s version of that. Instead of fashion accessories, it’s the clothes themselves that have the power, and the sexier and more revealing the outfit, the more power it gives. Ryuko’s black sailor-suit talks to her, and when it powers up, it yanks up to show a whole bunch of under-boob, straps over the nipples, down to the tiny miniskirt… I could go on, but I presume my lovely editor has provided a picture for you to gawk at. Even the transformation scenes are a bit tongue-in-cheek poking fun at Sailor Moon, because with all the clothing flying all over the place, your eyes are stuck on her boobs, which are jiggling about like crazy.
The whole show moves at a machine gun pace. Everyone talks so fast you have to really pay attention to keep up with the subtitles. There are no pauses to build suspense, it’s just shouting, fighting, winning, losing, recovering, arguing… It’s violent first, and funny second, and nothing deeper under that.
Japanese comic relief characters usually leave me cold and silently praying for the comic character to die a tragic death, but Mako, Ryuko’s instant and super-ditzy best friend, is hilarious. The music when she takes center stage is pretty cool too.
Actually, in the end, I respect their choice of frenetic pacing and action. They know what their audience wants. We want tits and ass and big impressive fight scenes and explosions and comedy, and Kill la Kill practically cuts everything else out and gives us a show. “Here you are,” it says. “Here is a plate of meat. No vegetables, no potatoes, just juicy meat. Enjoy.”
Which I think explains why watching episodes back-to-back leaves you feeling bloated and tired, but with one episode a week, as is currently being aired, it’s a burst of excitement in an otherwise humdrum day. So, if you like epic battles and camera angles that let you catch the occasional glimpse of white knickers under a skirt, then we may have found the perfect show for you. If you want plot, character development, realism, or something more serious, then look elsewhere. Maybe Death Note.