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Kill la Kill review: Does this series earn a three star ranking?

Greetings! Railgunfan75 here! I have for you another of my anime reviews. Recently, there have been many interesting anime series which have made their way onto the scene. Last fall, two series have caught my attention among the new releases, one was Log Horizon (which I have already reviewed. The other was Kill la Kill. One of the most talked about anime of this past fall, I have heard opinions about range from either loving the series or hating it. So what do I think of the series?

Promotional image for the series

Ryuko Matoi is on a quest for revenge. A mysterious figure has murdered her father.The only clue left by the killer is half of a large scissor blade. The trail leads to Honnouji Academy, a place where students are granted superhuman abilities from their school uniforms called Goku Uniforms. The uniforms are distributed based on the student’s ability and achievements with the better students receiving the more powerful uniforms. The school is run by Satsuki Kiryuin the student council president and four members of the Student Council called the Elite Four who possess the most powerful Goku Uniforms. When Ryuko arrives she discovers that Satsuki holds the answers she seeks however Satsuki won’t give Ryuko the information without a fight.
Kill la Kill is licensed in U.S. by Aniplex of America. The series consists of 24 episodes with an OVA set to release later this year.
There is one word that one could use to describe this series EPIC! Everything about this series just screams this one word to the audience. The series is certainly a wild ride from start to finish and does a lot well.
Speaking of the wild ride, wild is certainly a way to describe the plot of the series. The story is paced really quickly particularly in the beginning of the series. This is a series where you need to pay attention to enjoy it because there are plenty of blink and you miss it moments. The series quickly transitions from one action set piece to the next with a few quieter moments mixed in. And I mean a few. I personally enjoyed the pace of the show. It was fun to watch a series which was able to tell a story and not waste much spare time doing it. If on is looking for a slow deliberate story, look elsewhere.
The first half is really a frantic battle opponent of the week type of deal. As one might expect, the opponents get tougher and in fact Ryuko loses a few of the battles and learns some things along the way. This first half is full of energy and not much in the way of plot development. The audience is given a few tidbits here and there but the focus id mostly on the battles which take place. Personally, I usually don’t go for this type of story, however I was thoroughly entertained by this one. At the end of each episode, I was always in shock as to what I watched and was curious as to what to what would happen next. How could one not want to know what insane opponent or scenario would be thrown Ryuko’s way? The series opens up of series of plot questions and slowly gives you clues to the answers. This is the way the show keeps you hooked and it works quite well. One thing of note the series tries to do is to use the plot to justify a bit of fanservice. While I give the writers props for trying to be creative with doing so, to be honest the explanation is a little weak. I don’t think it detracts from the series to any serious degree, it is just something interesting and noteworthy about Kill la Kill.
Kill la Kill - 05
Around episode 10, the series starts to progress and transitions to really an excellent second half. After not giving out much information in the first few episodes, the series changes gears and drops explanations and plot twists one after the other. These aren’t just minor twists either, these revelations change the very nature of characters and the plot itself. The plot also becomes more linear and focused in the second half. There are still plenty of completely off the wall and insane moments to be had however these moments contribute to the overall story a bit more and have more of a sense of purpose. It is a bit unfortunate that it takes until the second half of the series for this to happen. Sure the series plays out as one giant story but it wasn’t until the second half of the series where I was truly hooked. While the first half is quite entertaining there is some confusion as to what is actually going on. while I didn’t expect answers right away, the series takes a long time to give you any. Once they started to give us a few answers about midway through the show, the show becomes more interesting to watch. Also the second half really boasts the bulk of the jaw dropping moments.
I will give a warning to potential viewers, do not try to make sense of the overall plot because there are a lot of plot holes if one digs too deeply. The plot is so outrageous and fun that in my opinion the plot problems don’t hurt the series at all. It was meant to be a fun and crazy ride. If you take the series for what it is then there is much to enjoy.
While the plot is certainly crazy Kill la Kill boasts an eccentric cast of characters as well. Unfortunately, a discussion of many of the characters would lead to some spoilers in regards to the true purpose in the plot. Because of this I will focus on only a couple of characters of the cast.
The first character is our main protagonistRyukoMatoi.Ryoko is a surprising main character, she is a tough as nails ready to fight individual. She has made revenge for father’s death her top priority. In the beginning of the series, this is her sole focus. Brash and impulsiveRyuko proves to be ill prepared for what she faces at first.Ryuko is the type of character who acts before thinking about the consequences. This trait causes her trouble throughout the series as the results of her impulsiveness don’t usually turn out in her favor.  Since she is the main protagonist,Ryuko undergoes more character development than most in the series. Throughout the course of her journey, she discovers that she is not as alone in the world as she previously thought. She is a loner type character in the beginning and discovers that she has people that she cares about and that care about her towards the end of the series. She also comes to terms with certain aspects about herself and her past. She is an enjoyable lead character to watch for sure.

The main form of comic relief in the series, MakoMankanshoku provides a nice bit of perspective to the craziness which surrounds her.Ryuko’s only friend through most of the series, Mako is a high energy and positive minded character. Since she is polar opposite toRyuko, the dynamic between the two characters works well. A large bundle of energy herself, Mako is usually the character to helpRyuko deal with the many emotional challenges that she faces. Mako always has some great advice and she delivers it in a unique way. Mako really ends up providing a very human perspective to the problems that faced by the characters and therefore is really the most relatable. While she is not the most intelligent and unwillingly finds herself in trouble consistently, these instances are actually quite entertaining to watch. I never found myselfgroaning when she got into trouble because usually the circumstances are quite hilarious. Their is not much in the way of character evolution or development with Mako and in this instance I find no problem with that. Mako is so funny and so crazy that nothing needed to fixed or changed with her character. I can’t think of many supporting characters which stand out in my mind as much as Mako. By far she is my favorite character of the series.


Mako- the best character in the show

There are plenty of other characters worth mentioning in the series. Lady Satsuki is certainly a character of note as well. Unfortunately a character description would hint at plot spoilers so sadly I won’t be discussing her in detail. I will just say that is an awesome character which I really came to like as the series progressed.
The animation has been the subject of much buzz since the series premiered. I am happy to say that in my opinion, the animation lives up to the hype. It is truly a distinct style which fits with the nature of the series as a whole. I think the best way to describe the anime is as a modernized old school style. The quality of the animation is quite nice like most modern animation but certainly has a retro style to it.The backgrounds are gorgeous and do a great job of setting the mood of the scenes. The character designs are nice and the animators weren’t afraid to take the character expressions to the extreme. It is certainly different from any other animation style to date.
One of the most memorable aspects of the show is the soundtrack . I was blown away by the soundtrack to this series. One major thing of note is that many of the vocal pieces are in English including one of the recurring theme songs “Before my body is dry”. This song is repeated a lot, but it is an epic song none the less. The other musical tracks used contribute nicely and to be blunt just add to the epic nature of the series. The music is a hybrid between techno, metal, and orchestral soundtrack and this hybrid works really well. The theme songs for the series are quite memorable as well and were excellent choices for the series. The voice actors did a nice job. I especially liked the way Mako’s voice was handled. Her voice just fit the character perfectly.
Ranking       Silver
I thoroughly enjoyed the series. The animation and soundtrack are certainly unique with the soundtrack being one of my favorites. There are interesting and likable characters and the plot is quite entertaining. Mako and Ryuko are fun to watch and have great moments. Many of the supporting characters are also enjoyable to watch as well. The plot twists and action sequences particularly in the second half are amongst the most jaw dropping of any series that I have watched. The only thing which keeps it from achieving a top ranking is the fact that the series plot in the first half can be quite confusing and all over the place. The lack of clarity and slow plot advancement in the early hurts it in early on. I had tried to introduce the series to others but it becomes difficult when you have to tell them that plot answers mostly don’t come until the second half of the series. Because of this fact, the series might not appeal to everyone. I achieved personal enjoyment from it and would recommend it to any one who likes a fun action packed series. This is one I would definitely recommend streaming first since this series form of entertainment might not be for everyone. Also no DVD release has been announced at the date of this review though I’m sure one will occur. Once that does happen, I plan on purchasing the series.
So concludes this review on Kill la Kill. Once the OVA is released, I will do a mini review of the episode. In the meantime, I will be attending Anime Central in chicago this weekend and will be posting my thoughts after the con. Also I haven’t decided what will be my next series review as of this time. As per usual any thoughts, comments, complaints about this review please post them below. Until next, this is Railgunfan75 signing off and saying stay geeky my friends!   
Kill la Kill is available for streaming on the Crunchyroll app and website. The series consists of 24 episodes.
UPDATE: As of July 15th, the first volume of Kill la Kill has been released on DVD and Blu-ray from Aniplex of America. The volume contains the first four episodes with both Japanese and English Audio. The remainder of the series will be released at future dates.

2 comments on “Kill la Kill review: Does this series earn a three star ranking?

  1. ahotaku39
    May 15, 2014

    Most people put KLK off on first sight because of the eccentric fans service. But when you get over that one tidbit, KLK’s story has a really deep theme, akin to most Young Adult novels on the shelves these days. If you care to dig deeper into the anime, you’ll find it to be a female version of Gurren Lagann, voicing themes like women empowerment and camaraderie in the face of real-life (but highly exaggerated in the anime) problems that a young girl has to face when becoming an adult.

    Great review! I’ll be doing one soon and I’ll make sure to link it to your review.

    • railgunfan75
      May 18, 2014

      Thanks for enjoying my review! Yeah this series is tough to show people because of the initial first impressions. I was certainly intrigued right away and am so glad I stuck with it. The payoff is SO WORTH IT!

      The ideas about the themes are certainly true and something that I neglected in my review. I did enjoy and appreciate the themes of the story. For example, The reason I like Mako so much is that she is representative of the idea that you don’t need to be powerful in strength but powerful in spirit to make a difference. Thank you for pointing this aspect of the series!

      I look forward to reading you review. Thanks for following my blog and reading my content!

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This entry was posted on May 15, 2014 by in Anime and Manga, Anime reviews and tagged , , , , , .

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