Kill la Kill. Where do you even begin a review on a series like this one? Sure, when it was first revealed and in the weeks leading up to its release it was clear Studio Trigger were creating something different, something exciting, but never once could anyone have predicted that the show would end up being such a big hit. Of course, Kill la Kill being as crazy as it is, it’s extremely difficult to try and put down in words, but I’m going to give it a go anyway!
Our story is centred around 17-year-old Ryuko Matoi who is on a search for the killer of her father. With only one half of a scissor blade to led our young lady Ryuko finds herself at Honnouji Academy, led by the powerful Satsuki Kiryuin, who just so happens to have the other half of Ryuko’s scissor blade. Yes the first part of our story is set around Ryuko wanting to take revenge on Satsuki for the death of her father, a plot line which sees Ryuko enrol in the academy and having to defeat many, many different school clubs (not to mention a group of Elite Four) under Satsuki’s orders before the two girls can properly face off. However, there is a twist. Honnouji Academy isn’t just any normal academy, the council members of the school each wear special uniforms made from Life Fibres which grant them superhuman abilities and powers, as does Satsuki and the members of the Elite Four. Of course this works both ways; Ryuko quite handily has a special piece of clothing of her own in the form of Senketsu, a sailor uniform created by Ryuko’s late father who is also made from Life Fibres, putting Ryuko on even ground with members of the school. It’s not just Senketsu whom Ryuko has on her side though, as our young character also befriends one of the academies students, Mako Mankanshoku. Mako is a bit of an airhead, but she’s loyal and will do anything for her friends and family and takes to Ryuko right away. Trigger do an excellent job with characters right from the off. We have strong female leads and more than enough time to give everyone suitable development which leads to an extremely diverse and lovable cast of characters. Mako, Ryuko and the members of the Elite Four are handled especially well and we get to know each character really well.
So, the first half of Kill la Kill is focused around Ryuko taking on a different club each episode in the hopes of reaching Satsuki at some point. It’s definitely a ‘battle of the week’ anime during this time period, but at the same time it never gets boring. Kill la Kill is completely crazy right from the offset, so much so that you wouldn’t be blamed at all for wondering if the series can keep it up for a full 24 episodes. It’s the fact that the series is so crazy that keeps you drawn into it though, and even though the early episodes all have a similar idea running through them, you never quite know what Trigger have up their sleeve. The studio do a good job of knowing when to drop the battle of the week idea before it becomes stale too, advancing the story on to Ryuko fighting the Elite Four and then Satsuki before leading us into a completely different plot idea of clothes taking over the world – Yes, really. Nothing is too crazy for this series. It’s willing to do anything and everything it wants, which normally wouldn’t work and the series doing it would become a muddled mess, but not Kill la Kill. Kill la Kill is the very anime that defines crazy. In all 24 episodes the show will have you on your toes at all times and never miss a single beat, it’s pretty much perfect in this regard. Somehow the series even manages to tie everything up to actually make sense too, which is quite honestly a credit to it.
As the show was airing a lot of comments went around in regards to the uniforms Ryuko and Satsuki wear and how, for lack of a better term, revealing they are. To be fair the comments made are valid, the uniforms are fairly revealing and far less so for the male characters of our show (ignoring the Nudist Beach members… but the name tells you all you need to know there, really). But at the same time the show never makes this out to be a big thing, they even have Mako crack a few jokes about it. Kill la Kill doesn’t set out to be a fan service heavy anime especially considering that beyond the uniforms it does little else, it’s just one of those things which make it what it is rather than being the sole focus. It does bring up one interesting point though, Kill la Kill is very much an anime anime. It’s definitely not the type of series you could readily show someone who has never watched much anime before, it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to something like Silver Spoon or Sword Art Online which are much better to introduce someone to the medium. Kill la Kill takes all the best bits of anime and puts them together, but in doing so it becomes far too crazy and overwhelming to be used when introducing someone to anime for the first time. It’s just another reason for more seasoned fans to fall in love with the series though.
Trigger aren’t just brilliant with the ideas, characters, and story either. The studio does a simply amazing job with the soundtrack as well, not ignoring that the series has two very catchy opening and ending themes. Sadly the Kill la Kill soundtrack isn’t one that can stand on its own that well, but when heard in the show the tunes never seem to miss a beat. Admittedly the animation for the series isn’t the best either, but it’s an interesting style that Trigger manage to work so well that you forget it isn’t the prettiest of things like what Madhouse or P.A Works turn out. Everything just simply works and comes together brilliantly to make one hell of a show.
It’s hard to put down in words just how crazy, exciting and brilliant Kill la Kill is. If there is one thing I’ve learned from watching it though, it’s that it deserves to go down in history and be remembered for many years to come. It’s one of those shows that everyone needs to see at least once, a true classic that perhaps we never expected. I’m looking forward to seeing what Trigger do next with an original project, it’ll certainly be interesting to see if it can live up to this brilliance.
- Overall 9.5 / 10
- Animation 8
- Story 9.5
- Soundtrack 8.5
- Characters 9.5