Author’s Note: This article is spoiler-free.
Trigger Studios, famed for its hit Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, has finished airing its newest series Kill la Kill as of this past Thursday, ending with a thrilling conclusion. The series has been met with critical acclaim, particularly for its animation, and fight scenes. The series follows the misadventures of a young seventeen year old girl, Ryuuko Matoi, as she tries to track down her father’s assassin. The trail leads her to the fantastical Hounnoji Academy, ruled under the iron fist of the class president Lady Satsuki. Without spoiling anything, the series takes several twists and turns throughout its twenty-four episode stint and ends with an immensely emotional moment between two of the main characters. The series begins resting heavily on the two principles of comedy and action to keep itself moving, however, as the series finds itself about three quarters of the way through, things start taking drastic changes, characters and events unfold in entirely unpredictable ways expressing ideas such as love, friendship, loyalty, rebellion and maturity.
Although Kill la Kill is an incredibly impressive series, it is not a “beginner’s anime.” For some just trying to break in to enjoying the medium, or for those that have not witnessed just how crazy anime can be sometimes (see: FLCL), the series may just be too bizarre. With Kill Bill stylized Japanese slamming the screen at every fight scene and character introduction, on top of the mass amounts of innuendo and sexual puns, every episode guarantees at least one moment of pure “Dude, what?!” exclamations. When considering undertaking the series, it is important to remember that there are underlying ideas that the director manages to sneak in beneath the chaos, humor, and action that embodies Kill la Kill.
After traversing through the twenty-four episodes, the viewers are met with a conclusion that is not only thrilling, but also broad in scope and incredibly emotional. The characters develop strongly, and the plot twists are not merely gimmicks to hold viewers. Instead the viewers find themselves drawn towards the overall quirky charms of the characters. Whether it’s the ever faithful Elite Four, the cute and loving Mako, the stern Satsuki, or the fiery Ryuuko, the cast of Kill la Kill keeps the audience wanting more until the very end. Although the plot is complex and highly involved, the characters really drive this series. The way the characters develop their relationships and interact with one another is incredibly gratifying to watch. The audience gets to see possible friendships develop and strengthen, as well as several key moments to suggest budding romances for fans that engage in “shipping” characters. The greatest of these inter-character relationships is easily the way that Mako interacts with Ryuuko. The two are fast friends, however, they quickly develop into something more, and it is incredibly heartwarming to watch.
The final aspect of Kill la Kill that must be considered is the question of whether or not it is truly worthy of critical analysis. There are certainly deeper questions being addressed in the series other than finding out who killed Ryuuko’s father, however, a good part of the series relies heavily on “fan service” and slapstick humor. It takes a little while for the audience to start to notice how the series tries to address femininity, conformity, and what it is to embrace the first and reject the second. However, the mere fact that these questions are being raised by the series indicates that there was a good deal of thought put in to it. Kill la Kill‘s conclusion will likely have audiences who seek to explore how the series tries to represent these ideas thrilled with what the series can evoke. Even without focusing in on these, anyone with a taste in anime will get a kick of out Kill la Kill.
Opinion by Michael Foster