Kill la Kill – 07

KlK - 7 -9 KlK - 7 -17 KlK - 7 -19

That was pretty much the most tasteless “Afterschool Special” ever…

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you.

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.

KlK - 7 -5 KlK - 7 -6 KlK - 7 -7
KlK - 7 -8 KlK - 7 -10 KlK - 7 -11
KlK - 7 -12 KlK - 7 -13 KlK - 7 -14
KlK - 7 -15 KlK - 7 -16 KlK - 7 -18
KlK - 7 -20 KlK - 7 -21 KlK - 7 -22
KlK - 7 -23 KlK - 7 -24 KlK - 7 -25


  1. S

    Funny, even though I hold the same opinion towards Kill la Kill –that it’s a mediocre show- it’s for the exact opposite reasons! I thought this episode as well as the “late for school” episode were the very best of the series while 5 & 6 were boring, not imaginative and missed energetic comedy.
    For me, these two particular episode are a throwback to old school cartoons from the 90s relying on wild imaginativeness, black-and-white logic and high energy. Sure, the plotlines and messages were clichéd and predictable, but the strength lies in its comedic execution and KLK excels in it with episode 4 & 7.

    I don’t watch KLK for the plot, because although it has themes like fascism and repression, it doesn’t explore them and are therefore hardly interesting. It’s the reason why I didn’t like the plot-centered episodes.
    I watch it for the sheer craziness, low-brow jokes, moral incorrectness and vibrant slapstick comedy. Unfortunately not every episode incorporates it.

  2. J

    I'm of the same opinion as you. I enjoyed 4 & 7 the most. I thought 5 was terribly boring & took itself too seriously while 6 was just okay.

  3. g

    "I just can't see why so many seem to see brilliance in it"

    it's not hard, most of the appeal here is pretty skin-deep really.

  4. p

    "But for the life of me, I just can't see why so many seem to see brilliance in it."

    I think it's more of a mix of denial and self-deception than actually seeing anything brilliant in this show.

    So many people went into this show with so much hype built up over the months leading to the show's premiere. The gist of this hype, as you clearly already know, is allong the lines of how this show will "save anime," usually written in the form of an exclamation and with all-caps letters.

    That this show hasn't quite exactly lived up to this expectation (to put things lightly) is leading to a lot of what I said above: denial and self-deception.

    Here's something to think about: If the production crew wasn't as prestigious as Imaishi, Nakamura et al., then these various people who are currently in a state of denial and self-deception would probably have already dismissed the show by now.

    What's happening here is not just exclusive to the religious worshipers of Trigger Studios and Imaishi, though; it happens to pretty much any people who are in a state of hero worship. Think of any time a beloved artist comes out with a piece of crap. Most of the fans would try their damn hardest to find ways to view that turd as a nugget of gold. If any other, lesser-known artist would come out with something as crappy as that, they'd get dismissed immediately and without question.

  5. S

    Honestly, no. I like Kill la Kill, it makes me laugh and it entertains me more than any other series this season. Samurai Flamenco is a way more refined comedy (though it feels like it lacks a bit of direction) and well thought satire, but Kill la Kill gives me the biggest laughs – and it's not like those can come out of "self deception". I don't judge KLK the same way as, say, TTGL for now though – I do realize it's a different work and of a different quality. I also think that the clothes related symbolism is there (it's pretty blatant) but that does not make it deep. But assuming that this is a phenomenon born out of worship for Imaishi & co. is baseless. Many people liked TTGL, less liked Panty & Stocking, but I liked both, and I didn't even know who Imaishi was or that there was someone (except for the generic name Gainax) linking those two shows back then. Kill la Kill clearly resembles both of those shows, so it's no surprise that I like it too. My point is, people who likes Imaishi likes this show because it's pretty much like his previous shows. Instead, I think that the problem is that TTGL, being an early work, was more "classic", relatively conventional – after that, Imaishi's style got better defined but that meant that it became also more polarizing (hence what's happening with KLK).

  6. D

    Armchair psychologists strike again!

    Please tell me you weren't serious, because what you've wrote is really freaking retarded. "Mix of denial and self-deception"? "Religious worshipers of Trigger Studios and Imaishi"? "State of hero worship"? Really? Do you also diagnose people by their avatars?

    If you didn't know, "save anime" wasn't ever meant as anything but a joke, it's dumb forced meme, and most people who wrote it were not expecting KlK to be some sort of Second Coming of Jesus that will change the anime industry forever and were just facetious. And KlK has lived up to the expectations, most people enjoying the hell out of it. And no, not because they're in the state of denial/self-deception/other nonsensical bollocks, but because it's genuinely great. You think the show is terrible? Fine, but that doesn't mean that KlK is objectively terrible, didn't lived up to the people's expectations and because of that now everyone is just in the denial. You're not objectivity in the flesh. You're also not a psychologist (and if you are, then you're very, very bad one), so I suggest you to stop embarrassing yourself.

    Also, if the production crew wasn't as prestigious, I frankly would've been even more excited to see where the show is going and what this hypothetical not-as-prestigious crew has in store, because to constantly deliver so much every episode over the course of 7 episodes (almost every new episode topped previous one and episode 7 is the best so far, which says a lot, considering how freaking amazing previous episodes were) you need some serious talent.

    On topic: KlK is brilliant in its execution. True, where the plot of this episode would go was obvious from the very start and the whole "from being good poor people to being asshole rich people then back to being good poor people again" cliché we're all already seen a million times before, but the execution was great. Shenanigans of the Mako and her family, Banchou Mako (is the best Mako), all the jokes and visual gags (Student Council awaaaaaaay, Mako's gratuitously large anime tears and the fact that she cried an entire puddle of water), how Ryuuko took out at least 15 Two-Stars in this episode (monster of the week, you say? Certainly doesn't feels like it.) – all of this was great. Or take episode 4, for example. It was cheap as hell, but Trigger gloriously made up for that using all sorts of cool techniques (well, it's Trigger that made Inferno Cop, after all). Sure, there were a couple of scenes of still frames that could be animated instead (and I hope they fix them on the BD), but even with the low-budget animation they still managed to create an impression of frantic activity. That's not to mention that the content of the episode was hilarious and awesome. Or take Mako. To do her kind of character so over-the-top yet believable and not annoying/quickly tiring is the hard thing to do (I still didn't get tired at all of Mako and her Glorious Inspirational Speeches; Tsumugu's "let me tell you two useful pieces of information" shtick, on the other hand, gotten really old by the end of the episode, the fact that he's one of the least interesting characters so far also didn't help). And I wouldn't say that the series doesn't have any genuine drama and there's no actual character development. Previous episode with Sanageyama had those two things, and they were done excellently. Admittedly, his character development wasn't exactly what I would call deep or intricate, but it was still good character development nonetheless. Regarding the genuine drama, there was also a bit at Ryuuko's house in episode 1 and the last third of episode 5. And regarding character development, both Ryuuko and Satsuki (along with Senketsu) got a little bit (and not so little) of it here and there.

  7. p

    Also, I do agree with your plan on potentially changing the way you review KLK. Just do the episodes you think are worth writing about. Hell, if I were you, I'd give up on shows like KNK and KLK altogether. They've each had seven episodes to draw you in but have failed to do so. I really think you'd be much better off using that time to review something more worthwhile, like Space Battleship Yamato 2199 or maybe even a live-action TV series or movie.

  8. T

    Personally I did like episode 4 for it's sheer and cartoonish insanity, but I also enjoyed episode 5 because something actually worth a damn happened. Ok yeah I may not get nor care for the whole bond between clothing and people but I did like the character who showed up and the idea that there was a third faction. Since episode four I've enjoyed each episode to some degree just nearly not as much as I thought I would, and personally this ep was the weakest for me.

  9. J

    If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that people that see depth in everything with big names behind it and hype it up are usually way off base. To me this show is just about enjoying the spectacle, cutting loose but also letting it take you along for the ride. This show does things in a very old school way, little comedic cues and blink and you miss it sight gags abound and not just one note manzai style comedy that the likes of Kyokai no Kanata which you compared it to seems to revel in. Combine those sensibilities with a lot of over the top boasting by the characters and manic action sequences as well as some amusing performances by the cast and you end up with just good old fashioned cornball fun. I think if you are capable of just enjoying it on that level it's actually quite great, but I wouldn't read into it any more than that.

  10. R

    You took the words from my mind right at the bottom of the thread. I feel exactly the same.

    Kill La Kill is a pure spectacle anime which delivery is unique. The characters may not be the humans beings Enzo is looking for, but for me they are very charming performers that make me smile and be glad for the fact that I'm watching the show.

    Now hype has done crazy things to a lot of people. Even if Kill La Kill were thematically as good as Shinsekai Yori, and visually crafted like Kyousougiga. Little Witch Academia 2 would still have far more chances to do something for "anime", maybe not save anime, but at least start a new trend.

  11. E

    I feel very differently about Kill la Kill than some of you, then.

    Maybe it's my exposition to Homestuck, or other works like it, but I don't really mind the audacity and the cornball this series has to offer; and I can tell that most, if not all, of the episodes have one or two things that make them relevant to the overarching plot (kinda like how it happens with Homestuck, where the pacing is, intermittently, slow as molasses and chock-full of inane ridiculousness one time and then a massive clusterfuck of blink-and-you-miss-it important elements for the narrative on the other).

    It's a shame that most people can't just take this work for what it is and admire it for what it achieves, for it's a show that plays with tropes and expectations at every level, that makes good use of budget, and that keeps delivering exactly what it promises.

  12. M


    Constantly holding this show to the standards of TTGL (and its contemporaries) is setting yourself up for failure. Most of us were never expecting something especially highbrow or deep from this work, but what it lacks for in substance and depth it pays in passion and fearlessness. And that seems like as reasonable a place to be where Trigger is concerned right now. Look at what a success Little Witch Academia was. It wasn't groundbreaking or socially relevant – it just was an honest and uncompromising bit of fun. You'd have to be an extremely self-important critic to knock that one down.

    If this were ep 17, I'd probably share some concern that this episode delivered nothing but a harmless/tedious distraction, but it's only episode 7. It may surprise down the line like TTGL did, but track record so far suggests Imaishi & Co. aren't too concerned about winning over elitist tastes. In fact, it's done more to mock them.

    "talking about episodes you feel apathetic about just isn't much fun – for the writer or the reader, I suspect"

    Indeed. Your best bet would be to review the show at the end of its run rather than judge it in week-by-week increments. Would likely prove a more interesting read to most.

  13. p

    "Constantly holding this show to the standards of TTGL (and its contemporaries) is setting yourself up for failure. "

    Why shouldn't we? TTGL was one of Imaishi's past works. Why can't people hold an artist to the standards of what they've done in the past? Who hasn't done this in their analyses and critiques of works of art?

    "what it lacks for in substance and depth it pays in passion and fearlessness."

    What fearlessness? The fearlessness to fill each episode with cheap otaku-pandering sexual fanservice and bottom-feeding misogyny? That's so brave of Imaishi and his Trigger crew. I would have thought that bravery would mean doing something that was against the grain, with the case of fearlessness in anime being making a popular show that ISN'T misogynistic or filled with degrading sexual fanservice. I mean, it's not as if doing so would be impossible. After all, Trigger did do this short called "Little Witch Academia," which you mention, and which Enzo likes, as he says in the comments section to his "Spring 2013 Preview Poll Results."

    "You'd have to be an extremely self-important critic to knock that one down. "

    But he didn't knock down LWA, as I pointed out above. And even if he did (or if anyone else did), what relevance would that opinion have to the validity of Enzo's (or anyone else's) opinion about how absolutely shitty KLK is? Absolutely nothing.

    "If this were ep 17, I'd probably share some concern that this episode delivered nothing but a harmless/tedious distraction, but it's only episode 7."

    ONLY episode 7? Keep in mind we are already ONE-FOURTH into this 25-episode show already. If this was only episode 2 or 3, I'd understand, but this is already episode 7 out of 25, and it's still garbage at this point (with the exception of the Tsumugu episode). The fact that Enzo is still covering this show up to episode 7 despite not liking it too much has gone way beyond the typical "Three Episode Rule" of anime.

    "track record so far suggests Imaishi & Co. aren't too concerned about winning over elitist tastes. In fact, it's done more to mock them. "

    Apparently, by your logic, rape jokes, misogyny and the like is done to mock elitist taste. Well, if being elitist means being against rape jokes and misogyny, call me the biggest elitist of them all. As I pointed out in my previous comment to Enzo, it's amazing how much some people are trying to rationalize the utter stupidity of this show. The level of bullshit, denial and self-deception they do in order to paint this show as good is mind-boggling.

  14. j

    Ugh, so much wrong in that post.

    I find it cute that after a couple of sexually-high moments you're spouting all this 'rape' BS. As for the mysogyny, face it, it's anime, it's Japan. In fact, I'd venture and say all in all, I think Trigger is portraying women for the better with this show. Every woman here has a strong character – heck, even the Nia-voiced housewife. Look at that Diabolic Lovers harem this season – you should be flaming that (and for good reason).
    Sure they look like strippers in KlK, but then again men aren't exactly portrayed as deep noblemen here (they're also stripped naked when defeated, if for 'nudity' you think of 'discrimination' or 'misogyny').

    They're just having fun man, and people watch it for the laughs. Also, Makulous wasn't thrashing at Enzo either, so no need to start dishing out insults.

    Believe it or not, there are people out there in the world that can watch something for its simpleness and enjoy it. Much like LWA, it's just an "honest and uncompromising bit of fun" (even if by totally different means!). If you think the amount of skin they're showing doesn't let you enjoy it for what it is, that's too bad, but don't start calling others self-deceptive people only because you don't see things like they do :)

  15. C

    I agree with you completely ;3 by the way best episode so far was 4 was so freakin funny.

  16. F

    Never expected anything remotely related to this series being described in the same breath as the ABC afterschool specials – giggled quite a bit at that.^^

  17. C

    i feel to like this anime you have to take it as a comedy first and it is freakin hilarious and i am loving every second of it sure a few jokes fall flat but as for the butt hurt over rape jokes i dont understand killing jokes are fine but rape no way :[ ? anyways thanks enzo for continuing to blog this show even though your opinion on it is the exact opposite of mine i like to read yours

  18. M

    The only thing brilliant about the episode was Satsuki's plan to use Ryuuko to weed out the undesirables. If Satsuki did it herself, she'd risk people losing faith in her totalitarian system. But if she uses someone from the outside while still following the rules of her philosophy, she can do so without worry. And if she drives a wedge between Ryuuko and her only human connection than two birds with one stone. An evil genius in the making and my favorite character at the moment. Though I like Mako too. Her family? Not so much…

  19. E

    This, precisely. However, I don't see Satsuki as a villain. She's playing all her cards face-down and is inscrutable even in hindsight. She's pretty much giving Ryuuko Life Thread at this point, and she was glad after the whole ordeal with Mako instead of disappointed. Something tells me she's got her own plans that aren't aligned much with anyone else's, not to mention she just can't be the one who killed Isshin and stole the other Scissor Blade.

  20. S

    I guess writing your entire review only about your decision to blog or not to blog this series (with a few inserts related to the actual episode or series itself) is fine and all, but it's not really a rewarding read. So consider not blogging it until you have something more to say.

    I think Kill La Kill has a lot to say and I consider a lot of the gags to be truly inspired. It's a non-stop laugh fest and I love it.

    Oh, and I'm a pretty uneducated anime-fan, so I don't know which studio/writer/director to admire or not before I watch it. So much for that pross1989 retarded theory. You should hang out at /r/atheism

  21. J

    You should totally start covering this show again.
    It's totally picked up with episode 16.

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