Ryuko Matoi is searching for the person (key point) who killed her father. This search takes her to Honnouji Academy, run by the totalitarian student body president Satsuki Kiryuin and attended by Ryuko’s soon-to-be-bestie, Mako Mankanshoku (who’s probably one of the funniest anime characters I’ve seen in a while, just because she’s always turnt way up).
|Mako, you crazy, crazy girl.|
Ryuko suspects Satsuki had something to do with it, so she goes to, y’know, fight her (since this is an anime we’re talking about). Of course, since this is an anime we’re talking about, Ryuko gets her butt handed to her by Satsuki’s minions. After this, she finds a talking sailor uniform who feeds on her lifeblood to power up and give her the tools she needs to kick much butt. This sailor uniform, Senketsu, in order to be all B.A. Baracas and let Ryuko kick much butt, not only feeds on her lifeblood. It also gets more power by how much of an exhibitionist Ryuko is able to be (embarrassment and purity are BIG points in this series). There is a lot more to it, but…yeah.
|Ryuko and Senketsu (the sentient sailor uniform)|
The series itself isn’t bad. It took all the things that I loved about Gurren Lagann and somehow still manage to subvert them even more so. Heck, it even has a few references to Simon and company–probably since Trigger, KLK’s studio, is made up of Gainaxers who worked on TTGL. However, it starts to fall apart towards the end of the series.
One of the complaints of TTGL seems to be that, since it was such an ensemble cast, you forgot about some of the characters until they died all Attack on Titan-style. Kill la Kill does the opposite, in that it possesses a smaller cast. However, I found myself not caring about “Band Girl” (Nonon), Mako’s family, and pretty much everyone who wasn’t named Ryuko, Raygo, Satsuki, Nui, and so on.
|Character designs for Satsuki and Ryuko|
It seems that the producers completely forgot about the rest of the cast once [spoiler alert] we find out that Satsuki was really using her Elite Four (ha Pokemon reference) to train Ryuko to go after Nui (the person who really killed Ryuko’s dad) and Raygo (Ryuko and Satsuki’s technicolored, uber-touchy mom who wants to take over the world for the Life Fibers). In addition, as the series goes on, the absurdity level goes through the roof–and not always in a good way. With a show like TTGL or even a Needless, the absurdity had a point to the plot. With KLK, it seems that we’re, towards the end, treated with the producers asking “hey guys, how much more can we completely fudge up our characters?” The humor and action scenes are always on-point, but the plot loses a lot of steam once we shift from point A to point B. The fanservice didn’t bother me as much as the fact that the series starts out epic and begins to unravel to the point where the ending is beautiful and satisfying, but the “how did we get here” is a bit “meh.”
But, even with all its flaws, Kill la Kill is a perfect Gurren Lagann-like anime for those looking to satisfy their Kamina-fueled, heaven-piercing needs. Is it perfect en masse? Nah. But, it’s still pretty and pretty great to watch.