In response to my Where is Your Anime Comfort Zone? post I noticed a trend in the comments that Kill La Kill was the borderline of most people’s anime comfort zone or at least one of the most popular anime with fan-service on that continuum. This was enough justification for me to write a review on this massively over-hyped series. I’m not going pull any punches with this one though, it’s pretty much Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan 2.0: nipple-less fan-service addition. That isn’t to say that there isn’t some good parts to it, just that you have to be able to tolerate a lot of filler and ass-pulls to get to those parts. On a side note: I dropped this show three times before finally finishing it. Hah!
From the ground-up, there’s a black and white dichotomy created between clothing and shame, the “sin” of shame creating the need for clothing which originated from an alien life-form called the ‘primordial life-fiber’, creating a sort of symbiotic relationship which started the idea of clothing. I know, it’s already gone full-retard but this convoluted backstory justifies the powerful Kamui and Goku uniforms, the Revocs Corporation and the rebellious group called Nudist Beach that believe only having no shame can free people from the life-fibers that want to enslave them. In the middle of all this is Ryuko Matoi who is seeking vengeance from her father’s death using a Kamui called Sengetsu. This is until she learns of Ragyo Kiryuin’s plot to use the life-fiber clothing to take over the world and then tries to stop her instead, because reasons. From this contrived story to make clothing the bad guy anyone can see how the plot was designed solely for the purpose of justifying action-heavy fan-service. If not, you will at least see how this anime was formatted to be dragged out way longer than it should have been by the end of this review.
If you think that the plot is retarded thus far just wait until you learn of Ragyo’s daughter, Satsuki, who won’t give up information on Ryuko’s father’s murderer to get her into the position where she could help her rebel against their mother. Even with scenes from her perspective none of this plan is even briefly hinted on or foreshadowed, creating confusion when Satsuki says Ryuko has no ambition when her vengeance is clearly her main objective. However, the fact that Satsuki could have used her knowledge to motivate her towards her own goal without fighting shows how contrived this plot is as an excuse to get Ryuko to fight with the other students wearing Goku uniforms. This leads to the biggest problem in the anime; the fact that all this could have easily been shortened to an anime half the length instead of endlessly repeating the same plot formula for every episode, escalating to levels of ridiculousness that you can only scoff at it until it dwindles down to little more than pretty colors and background noise.
The reason I call it Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan 2.0 is not only because of the slapdash, copy and pasted animation, skin shots and escalating battles but the fact that a lot happens quickly, giving the illusion of fast pacing. I say illusion because, despite the action in each episode, there are many pointless episodes and battles against minor villains where the main character’s failings make the whole series feel like it takes the ‘two steps back for every step it takes forward’ approach, in which it takes multiple episodes to get to where the progression of the anime left off beforehand. This is shown by how episode 3 gives the feel of a final climax before the pointless slog of a mid-section in this anime has even begins. Then she has to fight the elite four, then she has to get all of Sengetsu back together and so on and so forth. These episodes may give a reason for the importance of the many minor characters that the show tries to share the limelight between, but this only gives another reason to fill out the series, taking importance away from the main plot and characters for the sake of literal and figurative exposition.
So now that I’ve gone through all of the bad stuff, I’ll finish off on a high note. If you can get over the anime’s design and inconsistent animation, the use of music with the action is very effective. The building of a community with the characters and the solidarity between them helps bring home the importance to these scenes. The convoluted plot gives just enough of a vague reason for it’s over the top ending, one that anyone who’d watch Gurren Lagaan beforehand would have seen coming a mile away. To conclude, if you want to watch a better anime in which the main feature isn’t action-heavy nipple-less fan-service, watch Gurren Lagann, because at least giant robots are already ridiculous enough for that anime to take it as far as it did. If you have already watched that and want more of the same, sure, give this a try. Other than that, Attack on Titan came out in 2013, so TAKE THAT anyone who claims this series saved anime. It just plain didn’t, okay!
Total Rank: 6.5/10