After the murder of her father, teenager Ryuuko Matoi wanders the land in search of his killer, eventually arriving at Honnouji Academy, a high school ruled by elite students wearing special clothes called “Goku Uniforms,” which grant them unique superhuman abilities. Thoroughly beaten in a fight against one of these students, Ryuuko retreats to her razed home where she stumbles across Senketsu, a rare and sentient “Kamui,” or God Clothes, in the form of a talking sailor uniform. After coming into contact with Ryuuko’s blood, Senketsu awakens, latching onto her and providing her with immense power at the cost of her modesty.
I guess it would be fair to say that my show synopses (I looked it up, that is the plural of synopsis) are not always the most reliable but in this case, it is a barely edited (mostly shortened) version of My Anime List’s description. This one is not for the faint of heart. As the series gleefully careens from “unique” to downright outlandish it seems to relish taking every possible risk it can and overall, these pay off. Although it does strain into weird for weird’s sake territory at times and some of the jokes do fall flat, it remains a singularly creative title that has earned its renown.
An ambitious story dripping with subtext, we could spend all day analyzing the imagery and allegories throughout but I’m a rather shallow kinda fellow, so I’m just going to go with the most surface level interpretation possible. Kill la Kill is a tender and loving tribute to fanservice. It’s also brimming with style. Not only is the series so incredibly stylish in design that studio Trigger will now forever be associated with interesting visuals, but the animation and hyperactive fight choreographies have such flair that you can easily recognize the series from the way the characters move alone. And of course, the show is ostensibly about clothes and their transformative impact not only on the wearer but on those around them. The story literally shows a teenage girl fighting to avoid becoming a slave to fashion…(I’m embarrassingly proud of that pun). Sure there are points to be made about the objectification of women the expectations imposed on young people by society or the importance of being unashamed of being ourselves, but I’ll leave those to better writers and thinkers.
As far as teenage magical girls go, Ryuuko has got to be one of the best. Her voice actress certainly is! There is something just so inherently joyful in how the show celebrates her god given badassery. She is such an exuberant, fierce and unapologetic little punk that you can’t help but to get swept up in her antics. No getting rescued by weirdly distant, formally dressed, princes for her.
Obviously, somebody had some lofty goals when the show was being crafted. It certainly could have been (or in my opinion – is) an argument for anime as an art form but it manages to avoid even a hint of pretense, mostly by piling on the low brow humor and overzealous action. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an experience.
Favorite character: Mikisugi
What this anime taught me about myself: I need to get in shape
“It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or the fourteenth”
Suggested drink: Nude Beach
- Every time Mako harasses Ryuuko – take a shot
- Every time we hear Satsuki walking – take a shot
- Every time there’s an explosion – take a shot
- Every time Mako makes a speech – take a deep breath
- Every time Ryuuko mentions her dad take a shot
- Every time there’s a transformation – grab a blanket
- Every time we see the scissor blade – take a shot
- Every time Mikisugi twinkles – rehydrate (with water)
- Every time Satsuki says her own name – take a shot
- Every time Ryuuko blushes – grab some tissues