Kill la Kill – 02

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Any thought that Kill la Kill would offer a change-of-pace second serve can safely be dismissed.

OP: “Sirius (シリウス)” by Eir Aoi

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So yeah, that whole thing about exploring character development and relationship drama?  Forget it for one more week at least – episode two was every bit as ridiculous and over-the-top as the first.  It’s mostly fun to watch but I really do hope Imai-sensei follows through on that pledge, selfishly because it’s pretty tough to write much about the stuff we’re getting now, and because I still have serious doubts that this kind of approach can hold up for two cours.

A few new faces added to the mix, starting with Mako and Mataro’s parents: Dad Barazo (Horiuchi Kenyuu) who’s killed more patients than he’s saved, and Mom Sukuyo (Fukui Yukari) is a very bad cook (or at least, one with bad raw ingredients).  It seems as if Ryuuko is going to end up living with the Mankanshoku clan in their hovel in the slums, where most of the city is residing in filth and abject poverty while the elite live at the top of the hill (not dissimilar to the situation in many huge cities around the world).

At school, it seems possible we’re headed for a battle-of-the-week scenario, where Ryuuko faces off with the designated flunky from Satsuki’s disciples (this week it’s the tennis club president).  I rather hope that isn’t the case as it’d get old pretty quickly, given that the results of these mid-boss battles are pre-ordained and obviously only preludes to the eventual face-off with Satsuki herself.  There’s nothing too memorable about the tennis battle if you have Cartoon Network – a lot of fanservice, facial bruising and such.

Indeed, so far KlK is more Panty and Stocking than Gurren Lagann, in that it’s very much a cartoon in the American tradition (or at least, the Adult Swim tradition).  There’s plenty of Gainax bounce and some random posing from Aikurou-sensei to remind that this is, indeed, an Imai-Trigger anime – and indeed, the more abject weirdness like that we get the happier I’ll be.  It’s fun to hear Miki Shinichirou cutting up in ecchi-sensei mode, too, but the rest of the episode feels pretty conventional to me.  It’s cartoon violence, gross-out humor and a lot of fanservice – nothing wrong with those things, but again, can that formula hold up for two cours?

I hate to keep harping on Nakashima Kazuki,, but the mind capable of producing TTGL and Oh! Edo Rocket is surely capable of more interesting material than this, and the best reason to hope we’ve only seen Kill la Kill’s opening act.  Watching the show now still feels like seeing Imai and his buddies cutting up in the studio, having a great deal of fun in the process and trying to do as much mayhem as they can before their parents get back.  It’s amusing, but a little self-indulgent – and I think it’s also reasonable to hold talents like the ones behind this series up to a higher standard than the one generating the laundry list of generic titles which made up most of the anime schedule this week.  Kill la Kill is certainly better than those shows, but it’s not as good as it should be considering who’s behind the camera – hopefully this is a case where Imai is trying to reel in the audience, and only get to the steak once he’s got them hooked on the sizzle.

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22 comments

  1. s

    I think the entire show is an expanded version of the first Demon Sisters episode in P&S mixed with Utena.

  2. T

    I have a pretty different feel on this show. I find this show to be the most audacious, bombastic, high energy, fun show I have seen in a while. I have found joy in almost every second of this show and find generally very entertaining.
    I am pretty sure I can find this joy due to having just blind trust that the staff of this show know what they are doing and will move the show into the more serious direction at the right time. I have absolutely no idea if they ever will but this blind trust is allowing me to love every ridiculous, insane, and generally wacky antic this show is shoving down my throat.

  3. Nothing wrong with that. Though I don't find it all that inspired in the audacious department – it seems like pretty much off-the-shelf Adult Swim material to me.

  4. T

    I could be persuaded to agree with that. I was never really looking for greatness out of this show. I figured that Trigger would go with something that is highly entertaining and high energy so they can drum up viewers and publicity without having to do a high risk show. As long as this can become a quality show that is a successful financially I am willing to let this one go so they can focus on a truly amazing show in the future.

  5. My issue with Trigger is that, to me, they seem overly focused on pushing the right buttons commercially and less on producing great shows. So far, anyway. With the people involved in KlK, I hope it can be more than I see it as right now.

    That said, you certainly don't need to justify loving it to me or anyone else. My opinion is simply my opinion, and this series is certainly popular so far.

  6. M

    Is it any wonder a new studio would want to push the right buttons commercially, starting out? They're aiming for commercial success here.

    I don't think it's fair to expect Trigger to produce high horse shows straight off the bat when they're still learning to run as a collective. Yes this show has big names behind it, but also a modest budget. Besides of which – this is an action comedy (not drama) first and foremost. It's not uncommon for those sorts of shows to hold back on complex character and relationship dorama until after building on a tourney of events. Most action fantasy orientated anime operated in a similar fashion pre age of slice of life/romcom.

  7. S

    Eh. Still thought Valvrave was more entertaining, although, again, that's one thing that's very highly subjective. I agree that it really feels like this isn't going to hold up for two cours, you can only do so much bombast without substance (not that KlK is totally lacking in substance?) before things start to get repetitive, I guess. It still feels pretty fresh to me, for now, although that could be because I haven't seen anything on Adult Swim in years. If Adult Swim is airing KlK esque things, maybe I'll have to watch it a bit more.

    Speaking of which, is Valvrave still on blog schedule?

  8. Yeah, but there are six Thursday late night shows this season I might blog, so it'll likely be a day late most of the time.

  9. S

    Ah, I see. Dealing with a rather full slate on Thursdays. I look forward to your writeup/post, just because it's a show that's so polarizing in a good way, (and sometimes in a bad way).

  10. l

    Forget two cours, I'm done after two episodes. TTGL was effortless in it's ability to be cool and over-the-top. This one just tries way too hard for it's own good, and sort of falls over itself in almost every comparative department. In headphone lingo (cos I'm currently shopping for new headphones on another tab) TTGL was a Fostex TH900, while KLK is a Beats by Dre.

  11. E

    Well, the preview shows the white Kamui (Pureblood) is gonna debut on Episode 3, so the "monster of the week" formula is gonna be broken really damn fast, even if only for one episode.

    It's interesting how Satsuki dropped some interesting expospeak about the entire premise in the Sewing Club monologue, and how several tidbits of background info are carefully hidden within the crazy antics of the characters. Episode 2 even gave away Isshin Matou's design for a small fraction of time while Ryuuko and Freshblood talked about the Kamui's creator.

    All in all, I think the show is progressing really well, I'd even say it's going better than most popular shows this season – Beyond the Horizon's unnatural dialogues irk me to no end, Galilei Donna's premiere was very blandly written, Gunpla seems more written by grade schoolers than aimed at grade schoolers, Tokyo Ravens is cookie cutter, AoBS is as good as RWBY (and that's no compliment)… not to mention Outbreak Company and Noucome are 2 shows that I only can't call wastes of budget solely because I know all too well that they'll sell like pancakes.

    So, you ask if KlaK can keep me glued to my chair for two cours? Hell, I'd even say it could keep me for 4.

  12. K

    Maybe I am being too hopeful but I have a feeling it won't keep this formula up for the entire 2 cour. Heck even the preview seemed a bit different to me.

    But even if they do keep it up for a few more episodes I expect them to switch gears eventually. I really like the series (minus the fanservice) but even I would get bored of this formuka for the whole series.

  13. E

    Maybe it's because I just marathoned a Kamen Rider season (Wizard, in this case… Formula all the way through), but I'm not really seeing this show as abusing "formula". Its devotion to worldbuild no matter what and the swift changes in the way of battling between the very first 2 episodes (something that other shows leave until at least half-way through the cour) tells me they just want to get the tropes out of the way early to get the real show going later on. That the Episode 3 preview suggests the first real fight between Ryuuko and Satsuki will take place right away only strengthens my theory.

    There's another show where I called that they were getting the tropes out of the way in the first episode or 2, and that was Gatchaman Crowds. Now, not many people liked where Crowds headed after the tokusatsu tropes were thrown out of the window, but no one can deny there was a really strong change in pace and structure after the premiere; and I think KlaK is another case of this. We'll see.

  14. i

    Maybe the makers know of the 3-episode rule and are using it. As much silly fighting, fanservice and over the topness to grab as big an audience as possible before getting into some serious stuff which if they had put from the start would have turned off a multitude of less than shallow people. The fact is there's a reason shows like Freezing and the ton of other battle-ecchi shows sell and by grabbing that market early on they can hope to get a few extra yen later on.

  15. M

    Now this is old school, with the Imai punch. Trigger is trying hard to work around budgetary limitations, not unlike Gainax in their early days. The fan-service and conventional approach is understandable at this stage. That said 2-cour is quite ambitious starting out, so kudos to them for getting stuck in.

    FYI, Gainax's 1991 OVA Blazing Transfer Student is the spiritual predecessor to KlK – I'd gathered any big Gainax fan would have already picked that up on that though.

    Here's a link to BTT if anyone's interested:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtxORWdsxG0

  16. j

    Soooo all hopes of her getting more clothes were shattered by that opening. Y u so cheap, trigger :(

  17. M

    Regardless of our feelings on Kill la Kill, I think we can all agree on this. A dog wearing a hoodie is pretty damn cool.

  18. Z

    How can people even compare the animation quality of Kyousogiga with KLK and not think that a totally unfair contest? You have an established powerhouse Toei with bucketloads of ¥ (not to mention revenue from several big name franchises) vs start-up Trigger with not so much ¥.

  19. Y

    Half way through, I felt like I was watching one of those ugly hyperactive American shows (which I basically can't stand). Couldn't get through that second episode. I guess I'm done. I don't get what the hype is all about on that one.

  20. H

    Is this supposed to be sexy anime? The tennis match was better done than the boxing at the least.

  21. R

    I still like this show — or hope that it will become something brilliant. The visuals are still very creative and wild, and I still like hearing the voice of Miki-san. Other than that, there isn't much that I can draw from the show, and I hope that it won't become formulaic and give us a battle a week. I can see the potentials. There are characters to be fleshed out, story to be told, and themes — like fascism — to be explored. This is a two-cour, but I hope that the show will get on the real stuff and show us what's great about it sooner, and I hope that it will tone down the fanservice.

  22. C

    Aw come on, it's just episode two. Many series start really silly and even tedious before revealing themselves. Even Gurren Lagann did so, let's just hope for the better!

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