Anime Review: Kill la Kill (2013)

TL;DR – Ryuko Matoi is hunting her father’s murderer. In the process, she discovers a uniform that has an alien sentient mind, which provides her with superhuman powers.. Together they undertake a journey to not only defeat her father’s murderer but save the world from parasitic aliens that also appear as clothing known as Life Fibres

Review (warning: spoilers)

In fantasy stories, the idea of an inanimate object having a magical persona is not uncommon. Usually, the magical object in question can influence its owner in some way (and not always for the better). A couple of famous examples of this is Excalibur, the magic sword from King Arthur tales, and the one ring from Lord of the Rings. Normally these magical objects are a weapon of some kind.

Kill la Kill takes this idea but applies it to clothing. In reality, they are actually aliens called Life Fibres but they appear as clothing and can be worn by humans giving them powers. It’s a unique take I haven’t seen before and cleverly done as this anime series has “clothing” related themes throughout. For example, the main character, Ryuko Matoi wields a sword that looks like one-half of a pair of scissors. Another example is the organisation seeking to stop the Life Fibres are known as ‘Nudist Beach’ (a clear message against those that wear the parasitic aliens as clothing, and the first time I’ve heard of a paramilitary organisation coined with such a name; a title that is both funny and meaningful).

The art is spectacular and creates a world that has a unique style in anime circles. It’s almost as if artist, Ryō Akizuki, combines traditional anime elements with Looney Tunes creating a funky hybrid that is appealing to the eye. Playful, comedic, complex, gripping, action-packed, sexy are all adjectives you could use to describe the art in Kill la Kill.

Ryuko is hunting for her father’s killer and attends a high school that has a social hierarchical structure based on what ‘Goku uniforms’ (uniforms made of Life Fibres) are won by the students. Higher rank comes with more powerful Goku uniforms.

The story is somewhat convoluted as Ryuko initially believes that the person responsible for her father’s death is Satsuki Kiryuin (the president of the high school student council). She challenges Satsuki and enters a battle royale against various elite students (wearing more and more powerful Goku uniforms). So far so good.

But later it is revealed that it is actually Nui Harime (a member of a global corporation known as REVOCS seeking to take over the world with the parasitic aliens and destroy Nudist Beach) who killed Ryuko’s father. REVOCS also happens to be run by Satsuki’s mother, Ragyo. Ragyo is the true mastermind here, her mission to become one with the primordial Life Fibre and take over earth with all humans being consumed by the alien clothing.

It also happens that Satsuki has a vendetta against her mother and has been scheming for Ragyo’s downfall. The reason for this is that Satsuki knows that Ragyo experimented on her father and younger sister and wishes to avenge their deaths. Do you see the connection?

Yes, Ryuko is actually the younger sister that Satsuki believes to have died. Both realise their goals are one and the same. That is, avenge their father’s death at the hands of Nui Harime who was ordered to kill him by their mother, Ragyo. See, I told you it was convoluted.

The story, while complex, will still have you wanting to binge the next episode. The characters are all unique and colourful, the art is killer, and it all comes together in a final scene to stop Ragyo from causing humankind’s extinction. Crazy and fun.

8.5 out of 10

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