Yeah yeah, I know that first line is a bit of an age check (I know a few of you got the reference). I find myself more or less in the same boat with Kill la Kill as I am with Kyoukai no Kanata – that is, without much to say about the current episode and on the fence about whether I have strong enough feelings on the show to keep blogging it every week. It also – like Kyoukan – tantilized me with one really good episode, and followed up with a pretty decent one at that. But likewise two episodes out of seven (maybe closer to three here, as the premiere was pretty good) isn’t all that great of a percentage.
There are important differences with KlK, though. First off it’s two cours, which makes the decision on blogging it even harder. I also have much more of a rooting interest in this series given the pedigree – the shortcomings of Kyoukan are hardly surprising ones for a Kyoto Animation effort – and thus, both more stubbornness about losing hope and more disappointment that the show just isn’t connecting. Even given my reservations going in given who the director and writer of Kill la Kill are, I can’t help but dream big dreams. But so far they remain dreams, at least for me.
I certainly didn’t hate this episode (which clearly doesn’t know the first two rules about Fight Club) – I haven’t really hated any of them, though the “late for school” misstep isn’t that far off. But for the life of me, I just can’t see why so many seem to see brilliance in it. I can’t call what we saw social commentary, because it was so obvious and cliched (yes, on an “ABC Afterschool Special” level). The series doesn’t have any genuine drama, and there’s no actual character development whatsoever. Imaishi and Co. are doing their best to compensate for their obvious lack of budget with imagination, chewing gum and duct tape but they’re starting to recycle the same tricks over and over. And the humor, frankly, is pretty basic middle-school comedy. It works sometimes (this was pretty much me after my first meeting with a Toto Washlet) but it isn’t anything inspired.
The bottom line is that this largely isn’t working for me. I’m used to that with most series that sell big (as this one is on-track to do) but given my affection for the body of work of the staff, especially Nakashima-sensei, it comes as a pretty big surprise here. I suppose I’ll take a similar approach to what I’m doing with Kyoukai (and to some extent Outbreak Company) and blog Kill la Kill when an episode seems to be worth blogging, or perhaps a few eps collectively. I can certainly say that no episode of Kyoukan was as good as the fifth episode of KlK, and that gives me hope that there’s something more to this series than what it’s chosen to show us for most of its run to date. But talking about episodes you feel apathetic about just isn’t much fun – for the writer or the reader, I suspect – so I don’t see a lot of point in doing so here, no matter how great the pedigree is. All I can really do is play it by ear from this point on.