Kill la Kill

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Kill la Kill

Postby bakamatt » Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:50 pm

I've just enjoyed the heck out of Kill la Kill. I watched it on Crunchyroll; I’ll get it on disc just to make sure I can always watch it again. (I may pay the flashback-inducing $30 per four or five episodes it’s currently available as, or I may wait for a season set. At the least, I’ll wait for Right Stuf's 2014 Twelve Days of Christmas sale.)

Comparisons to other shows are always suspect; it wouldn't necessarily tell us anything to know that it was made by the same writer and director as Gurren Lagann. But in this case it does tell us some things: some aspects of Kill are straight out of the GL playbook. But overall the two shows are more than different enough that it doesn't feel like a cheat. Kill la Kill has a tighter story than its predecessor. It’s less goofy, more silly – and I prefer the latter. Also, there’s less tragedy in Kill – not none, but less.

But I shouldn't simply compare it to GL. So: it’s a very high-energy series with a great deal of fighting that is both slapstick and brutal. It has a lot of humor, some of which is parody. There’s much entertaining character development (including a charming if implausible is-it-or-isn't-it romance) and several plot twists, including one big one about half-way through. Some of the cast members work for me well enough (others never quite gel). I was initially put off by the presence of two little girl-ish characters, but ended up liking both of them, one for being a cute stealth snarker, and the other for
Spoiler: show
being the creepiest capricious murderous psychopath since the Joker while preserving the little girl facade.
The show is very cheesecake-y but only occasionally wanders into the ecchi – and those instances are more horrific than sexy.

I like almost all the music, though it’s mostly more rock-ish, less pop-y, than I usually favor.

Pacing is pretty much full throttle throughout; I never finished an episode without wanting to jump straight into the next one. Voice actor casting was sound; I was between fine and downright entertained by them – this is one series I can’t imagine watching dubbed.

For me one standout strength was the depiction of the power of the battles, which was done in many ways. When a character’s taken a particularly hard shot, she tumbles like a rag doll; it looks very harsh. And there’s one particularly effective scene where a character is kicked off the screen while the camera stays on the kicker; we hear an off screen impact and then the screen is crossed by shock waves bouncing back and forth for a couple of seconds – a very clever way to depict the power of the impact without even directly showing it. This may sound like a peculiar criterion to notice, but in a show where pretty much every episode has someone (or some army) getting it ass kicked, it’s nice to have it done with style.

As to down sides, the biggest for me was, as mentioned above, some characters with weak roles. In particular, the members of
Spoiler: show
resistance group Nudist Beach
never stopped feeling like a bolted-on afterthought to me; it just wouldn’t have made much difference if their stuff didn't happen or was made to happen by other characters. Though their leader is kind of funny.

Also, somewhat odd in a show with so much hand-to-hand combat, the fight choreography isn't very interesting. For whatever reason (Budget? Style?) the fights often take one of three forms: 1) split-second close-ups of weapons clashing alternating with combatants grimacing into each other’s faces, 2) silly weapons based on their wielders’ motifs, or 3) scenes in which the combatants are moving so quickly that they just become blurs. The only time a fight got a ‘whoa!’ out of me was when we saw
Spoiler: show
how powerful Nui is, how she effortlessly deflected or dodged attacks.

Finally, the final battle against the Big Bad seemed deus ex machine-y to me: a power was used that left me thinking, “Was I supposed to know about that?” This is, of course, something anime is notorious for doing.

These are minor complaints by comparison with the sheer amount of fun I had watching it. The characters who did work for me, the plot twists, the energy, the humor, the cheesecake, the over-the-top melodrama, and the overall anime-ness guarantee Kill la Kill will be a re-watcher for me.
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