✔️A solid benchmark in Japanese serialised animation. ✔️Bleak yet vibrant, an interesting contrast in style. ✔️Narrative’s pacing, engaging plot and quirky cast of lovable characters.
❌Can we get another season?
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Trigger’s ability to present high quality serialised Japanese animation is astounding. Kill la Kill is an absolute delight from start to finish, boldly displaying a dreary, yet vibrant environment of an overrun town ruled by dictatorship. Its initial presentation hearkens that of the old “Fooly Cooly” aesthetic, with with a little Gurren Lagann, and a touch of Samurai Champloo thrown in. Its narrative is encapsulating, its pacing is perfection, cultivating in an extraordinary action-comedy, that shreds through the standard Shonen. Kill la Kill’s strength’s lie within its strong, “la femme fatale” vibe delivered through our lead character and the antagonist. The series cultural impact has left a legacy that reminds fans of how engaging and creative the medium could be. Its gripping tale of retribution merges with the protagonist’s unintended purpose of protecting the innocent.
I was fascinated by Kill la Kill’s captivating, yet quirky characters. Their unique personalities bought forward the series ability to contextually contrast itself from a serious shonen, to unadulterated amusement. It dignifies Kill la Kill’s capability to enthrall its audience, and entices a binge-worthy ballyhoo for all anime fans that enjoy their wild and wacky, nonsensical plot-lines. With some minor fanservice thrown in for basis, the series highlights its extremities with purpose that ultimately doesn’t leave fans wondering why a seventeen-year old high school girl fights in a short skirt, held up by a pair of blood red suspenders that merely covers her breasts. It will leave you judging your own moralities viewing this, as it did mine. Regardless of any lewd implications, the impetus of completing the entire season solely lies on the extravagance it displays through fluid animation, and pacing.
Taking place in a fictionally bleak Tokyo Bay, that has been occupied by its own local scholastic system. Satsuki Kiryuin, the fearless student council president of Honnouji Academy oversees not only the school, but the entire town of Honno City. Her power is attained through nepotism, as her mother – referred to as “The Queen” by some – is the CEO of Revocs Corporation, an influential textile business owned by the entire Kiryuin conglomerate. Satsuki’s autocracy is enabled by her fleet of subordinates who rely on the progeny’s authority as faith. With each student arranged based off their academic average, they are ranked from mere peasant to a fully fledged superior that serves the direct orders from the council president. She orders higher ranking students to harness the power in military inspired garb known as Goku Uniforms. These give each carrier super-natural abilities that enhance their natural talents of notoriety.
Enter our lead protagonist, Ryuko Matoi. A stubborn, yet fierce seventeen year-old, who is on a self-led pursuit to find her father’s killer. Keeping her Scissor blade close by, Ryuko arrives to the run-down desolate streets of Honno City, discovering a broad scope of characters that are either living it large, or slumming it as back-alley merchants. Her snarky demeanor attracts the attention of the surrounding population, giving her unique appearance and astute temperament. Initially entering the town, she’s flanked by a gang of pre-teen troublemakers who demand she hands over her belongings. After downing the group of meddlesome rugrats, they beg for mercy with the youngest then attacked by his older sister, Mako Mankanshoku. Mako warns the twerps by wrestling her little brother to submission, with the gang making a swift getaway.
Mako attempts to befriend Ryuko before having to make her ride on a getaway train to the academy. Ryuko is enlightened by Honno City’s hostile atmosphere, she then heads directly towards academy. Revealed as Class K’s newest transfer student, Ryuko reluctantly reunites with Mako and is familiarised by her bubbly and eccentric personality. Mako’s identity is perfectly opposite to the vivid and antagonising tones the series embodies. She certainly represents a comical side to the show with her overwhelming charisma, and is easily my favourite character. Her juxtaposition diffuses any serious inflections, but her intentions are to support Ryuko on her expedition. She explains to Ryuko that her current standing within her scholastic ranking is a “no star”. Being a “no star” represents the lowly commoner in the town’s imposed oppression.
Goku uniforms are fitted with the aforementioned star rankings, from one star to three; the higher the star, the higher the class. “Lady Satsuki” awards students based on academic and social abilities. These include grades, physical activities, and association. Disgusted by the subjugated hierarchy, Ryuko confronts Satsuki and questions her father’s status and whereabouts. Ryuko’s inconclusive resolve convinces her that the duplicitous dignitary had murdered her father, based on her recognition of Ryuko’s half-scissor blade. After a failed attempt at thwarting the young dictator, Ryuko retreats to safety while it is revealed by Satsuki, that the Scissor blade was designed to shear Goku uniforms. Ryuko’s teacher follows her home, where she sulks in a run-down, shelterless house over her defeat. With her homeroom teacher gazing from afar, she vows to avenge her father at any cost. The headstrong heroine, then plummets to a secret underground basement, littered in waste.
Wounded, Ryuko attempts to seek treatment, but is halted by the crimson covered debris that calls for more blood. Staggered by her supposed hallucination, she is surprised by a demon uniform that demands she wear him, and to satiate his edacious bloodlust. Against her will, the uniform slips onto Ryuko and lets off an incredible display of power. The academy impatiently awaits the rebel’s return, holding Mako hostage in hopes of baiting her back to the premises. Draped in a dirty cloak, she returns to confront Takaharu Fukurida, the academy’s Boxing Club captain and two-star elite. The two engage in a boxing battle, with the first round ending in Ryuko’s favour. However, her cloak is suddenly stripped revealing her scantily clad Kamui uniform that enables her supernatural powers. The Kamui possesses greater strength than any Goku uniform, and was manufactured by her father, in hopes of taking down the Kiryuin conglomerate.
Rock, Paper, Scissors...
The fluid animation shows Trigger’s commitment in delivering a benchmark standard in Japanese animation. Personally, I had never seen an episode prior to my binge of the entire series, and I could certainly see where Darling in the FranXX draws some inspiration. The aesthetically pleasing design in every set piece and surrounding, the engaging emotion shown between each character and their charming quirks, the dastardly devious adversaries that are confronted in each episode, and its comical timing implemented in various scenarios make for profound character building and narrative progression. The plot’s clarity and pacing is a prime example of how perfect writing can achieve greatness in any form of entertainment. Kill la Kill’s unique story sets a precedence of picture-perfect passion in overall presentation.
It remains inarguable that Trigger have a strong track record with an astounding library of essentials, and Kill la Kill is no exception.
To experience the anime in English dub was a delight, with an incredible array of high-profile and distinguished actors. Erica Mendez (Cells at Work, Code Vein) portrays our crimson clad, hasty heroine and shows her astonishing range in every emotion Ryuko evokes. Christine Marie Cabanos’ (Violet Evergarden, Kakegurui) brings Mako to life highlighting her purpose as comic relief, and displaying her cute, yet confident attitude. Matthew Mercer’s (Critical Role, Persona) portrayal as Class K’s flamboyant pretty boy, homeroom teacher had me howling in laughter, but also engaged with Mikisugi’s mystique. Patrick Seitz’s (Mortal Kombat 11, Dragon Ball Super) booming presence was an all too, yet pleasantly familiar sensation portraying the three star council elite, Ira Gamagori.
We are emphatically treated with the cream of the crop of voice over talent, such as Sam Reigel (Critical Role, Persona), Erika Harlacher (Violet Evergarden, Persona 5), Kaiji Tang (Lupin the 3rd, Persona 5), Laura Post (Persona 5 Royal, Your Name), Carrie Keranen (Persona 5, Danganronpa), Kyle Hebert (Persona 5, Dragon Ball Z), Kira Buckland (River City Girls, Cells at Work), and the legendary Johnny Yong Bosch (Persona 4, Devil May Cry 5). With an assortment of incredible actors, the series itself delivers a stellar, almost untouchable performance by its entire cast. Our eardrums are also adorned by the incredible tunes comprised by legendary Anime, Film and Video Game composer Hiroyuki Sawano. With over a hundred industry credits towards his legacy (Guilty Crown, Attack on Titan, Xenoblade Chronicles X, League of Legends) there was no doubt in the composer’s ability to deliver the tenacious tones that reinforced Kill la Kill’s flawless presentation.
Kill la Kill is unmissable. It’s must-watch Japanese animation. From the moment the opening commences, accompanied by Japanese Rock artist Eir Aoi’s “sirius”, you know that you’re in for a wild ride. The unapologetic aesthetic deify’s the stereotypical female protagonist. Sure, there are some bawdy connotations implied by the Kamui uniforms, but our hearty heroine proudly displays her indelicate costume with confidence. Overall, the series delivers a high-impact, perfectly paced plot with a loveable cast of quirky characters that promises an engaging narrative. Kill la Kill is essential viewing, for anime enthusiasts.
Kill la Kill - Trigger
Kill la Kill is a 2013 Japanese anime television series produced by Trigger. It follows vagrant schoolgirl Ryuko Matoi on her search for her father’s killer, which brings her into violent conflict with Satsuki Kiryuin, and her mother’s fashion empire.