KILL LA KILL's Ending is Limp, Anemic and... Meaningless?

Topic started by No_name_here on March 28, 2014. Last post by zaldar 4 months, 2 weeks ago.
Post by No_name_here (855 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff

Wow. The show couldn’t even commit to a meaningful death scene in its last episode. Again, there are a number of small instances in this episode which demonstrate what’s been wrong with the show in broader strokes…

INDUCTIVE EXAMPLE #1: Gamagoori shaking off his dramatic sacrifice like a corpse sitting up before the theater lights dim in a high school play? That’s more or less what every deadly battle in this show has been like....

INDUCTIVE EXAMPLE #2: the show cuing all of its theme songs, repeatedly, throughout this episode. They lose any impact when you play them that many times - - and that can be said for pretty much all the cool shit in this show...

INDUCTIVE EXAMPLE #3: Ryuko pointing out that Ragyo’s monologues are long-winded and nonsensical. Hanging a lampshade on something doesn’t make its inclusion OK; it just makes it clear that even the show’s crew knows that a lot of on-screen content isn’t actually working...

When I walked away from GURREN LAGANN, I felt good. The story had successfully conveyed a message of self-belief and positive thinking with characters you cared about. The heroes grew as people. Losses were permanent. The themes were poignant and real.

As much I loved spectacle, I did nothing but yawn when Ryuko went Super-Saiyan and battled Starship Ragyo across the cosmos. There was nothing to it. She wasn’t coming to an emotional breakthrough. She wasn’t making some thematic point. She wasn’t even cracking a pointed satirical joke. I was just a lot of colorful lines on paper.

Again, I wouldn’t dismiss KILL LA KILL as merely eye candy. It feels more like watching a particularly creative animation studio’s demo reel. I’ve seen that they have plenty of ideas, and they’ve got serious style, and there’s a ton of personality to their characters, and there’s lively performative energy to their energy to their work. That's all great.

Now, could they please tell me an actual story next time?

Watch "Past the Infinite Darkness" and decide for yourself, then read my comments about the previous episode.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
Post by Lurkero (405 posts) See mini bio Level 7

Once again, Kill La Kill is pretty, but my interest in everything else dropped to zero when Ryuko went super-saiyan. A much better conclusion was desired.

Post by FoxxFireArt (2,640 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

I disagree. Ryuko started this series as a steadfast loner who grew up wanting a family. Her father was distant, and - as far as she knew - her mother was dead. She ends it with a great friend who believes in her, and an older sister. One of my favorite touches was that it was Satsuki's ever shining brilliance that woke Ryuko up near the end, and that it was her sister that risked it all to catch her. Two rivals who hated each other first grew to respect one another, then they became as family. Each got what they really wanted in the end.

This episode even clears up the difference between Override and Synchronize.

The series was themed around the high school experience. As Senketsu says before he dies, all girls outgrow their sailor uniforms. In a sense, Ryuko ends this series as her graduation. The series had a story about two strong women on personal quests with the support of those around them. All while staying away from haphazard love triangles or pointless shipping. Not something you'll find all that often in an anime with two female leads. I once heard about a ranking for movies about women in movies where it mentions how often they have women in stories sit around and talking about little else than the guys in their lives - as if that's the only thing women could possibly have going on in their lives. Few movies ever pass that test. Women are the driving force of the plot in KILL LA KILL, and none of them really chat about the boys. This more resembled a male-focused action series. Both Satsuki and Ryuko end this series as different people than when they started because of the situations they went through in the show. Sounds like a story to me.

The music never lost its appeal to me, and I really liked the uber-powered Ryuko design. It was an awesome scene where Ryuko and Satsuki both used the Scissor Blades. My only complaint about this episode was that it started off in such a frantic manner.

It even has an interesting meta-commentary about people and clothing. Why is it that people feel an uncontrollable urge to avoid nudity? Naked people feel the urge to always cover themselves or avert their eyes to the nudity of others. Yet we don't have a problem with looking at violence. Entire mainstream games are based around extreme gore, but put any nudity in it then people get uncomfortable. Why has our species developed like that? Trigger taking that and making up the idea that it was an alien influence is a fun and original idea.

There was a popularity ranking posted in NEWTYPE magazine. KILL LA KILL ranked #1 in their magazine poll, and ONE PIECE was #8. The same poll ranked Ryuko the #1 female character. Although, I was sorely disappointed that Satsuki wasn't in that poll. She steadily became my favorite of the show bit by bit, and that very seriously surprised me.

I was disappointed at first that they didn't keep with the Gamagoori death, but they won me back with Nonon's come back to him passing out. They instead later shocked me by killing off Senketsu, which is far more impactful.

I had heard that the last DVD volume released in Japan will have a bonus episode. It's hard to imagine what that could be like, now that all your major opponents are gone. Then I remembered that Senketsu ejected Hououmaru from the Shinra-Koketsu. That's likely to be a theme to that.

I can't wait till this series comes out on Blu-ray to the US. I'm just hoping FUNimation picks this up. I've been sorely disappointed in Sentai Filmworks' dubs. This series is marathon worthy for me. I ended this series with a "different" feeling than GURREN LAGANN, but I wouldn't say the value of those feelings were any better than the other. I had a lot of fun.

Post by Dream (7,476 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Moderator

Seriously think you're underestimating Kill la Kill's quality as a series. It's like Gurren Lagann in being an action-comedy homage to an older generation of anime (mecha genre for TTGL, shounen action titles for Kill la Kill) while adding enough elements to it that give it its own identity and a reasonable level of substance.

The show couldn’t even commit to a meaningful death scene in its last episode.

You don't always need many death scenes for an entertaining title, especially if it's oriented as an action-comedy.

INDUCTIVE EXAMPLE #1: Gamagoori shaking off his dramatic sacrifice like a corpse sitting up before the theater lights dim in a high school play?

This was the show poking fun of the bad habit of shounen battle anime hamming up the drama on a character's apparent death before some sort of plot device or twist brings them back from the dead or shrug off a seemingly fatal injury. While such titles play it as something serious, Kill la Kill was getting its kicks ripping apart the tiresome cliche.

INDUCTIVE EXAMPLE #2: the show cuing all of its theme songs, repeatedly, throughout this episode. They lose any impact when you play them that many times - - and that can be said for pretty much all the cool shit in about this show...

This happens with a number of other anime titles that have a long run and not much in the way of diversity for a soundtrack. It's a minor issue, yet I wouldn't consider it a major blow for enjoyment of a series.

INDUCTIVE EXAMPLE #3: Ryuko pointing out that Ragyo’s monologues are long-winded and nonsensical. Hanging a lampshade on something doesn’t make its inclusion OK.

Actually, the lampshade's effective here. In titles where they play said monologues seriously straight, the heroes are dumb enough to stand around while the villain goes about with their monologue talking about how evil they are, thinking they are stronger and smarter than the heroes and/or revealing their evil plans that lead to the heroes blandly remarking on how evil or powerful they perceive. This being Kill la Kill which doesn't take itself too seriously much of the time, the lampshade shows how Ryuko isn't gonna sit around and listen to Ragyo spew monologue.

As much I loved spectacle, I did nothing but yawn when Ryuko went Super-Saiyan (neglecting , no less) and battled Starship Ragyo across the cosmos. There was nothing to it. She wasn’t coming to an emotional breakthrough.

Let's see: she learned the identity of her father's killer, bonded with friends that gave her reason to fight for something besides revenge, came to terms with the shocking revelations concerning her past, developed a more positive outlook on living despite her origins and connected with the older sister she never knew about. If that's not character growth, I don't know how you would define it.

Ragyo and Ryuko's battle was the series getting as grand as it could get for a battle like Gurren Lagann did for the TTGL/ Anti-Spiral match.

Now, could they please tell me an actual story next time?

Let's see: Ryuko seeking answers to finding her father's killer by suspecting Satsuki, learning that someone else committed the crime, the origins of Life Fibers are revealed that are connected to Satsuki's mother having plans of world domination; Ryuko learning of her family connections, coming to terms with it and then aiding Satsuki and the human resistance to deal with Ragyo's plot.

There's a summarized story for you.

Post by LHWKnight (2,725 posts) See mini bio Level 12

Bro this anime is obviously not for you if you can't find any enjoyment. I see you try this for every episode only to usually end up with others explaining why it is more than just as you put it meaningless.

@Lurkero: She did not go super saiyan, in fact if anything her transformation was very good. Not every transformation that glows red or yellow is a Super saiyan ripoff, and if you let something as silly as a transformation effect how you view the story, then you shouldn't be watching shounen at all.

Post by Lurkero (405 posts) See mini bio Level 7

@Dream: @LHWKnight:

While I don't dislike Kill La Kill the same as Tom, I was hoping the conclusion would not be so "tropey". Like Tom said, lampshading tropes doesn't always mean they are excusable. Sometimes it makes for a funny joke, but used in excess it just wastes time. I am also not a fan of Japanese comedy, so there's that.

I enjoyed watching Kill La Kill or I wouldn't have kept watching until the end. The transformation bothered me because Kill La Kill had been using the trope of characters reviving to a healthier state after taking critical blows over and over again. Even in the end it wasn't Ryuko's power that killed Ragyo, it was Ragyo. Powerups and revitalization should be used in extreme moderation. Ragyo being impaled and sectioned (drill style callback to Gurren Lagann) and Ryuko constantly taking all those hits in space bored me.

Did I miss the part where Ryuko couldn't just absorb all the life fibers and turn super-powered earlier? It only took a few seconds for her to fly into space.

Senketsu vaporizing at the end because the power was too great? It seemed so sudden and unnecessary. Other character sacrifices had already been waved so why did they need to sacrifice Senketsu? At that point all the characters might as well have lived.

And when Ryuko was absorbing power from Ragyo she did a long diatribe just as she had criticized Ragyo for doing earlier. I know its difficult to write around explaining what's happening on screen, but it points out why I think lampshading can often be a waste of time.

Kill La Kill is still more enjoyable that 95% of anime, but I am a harsh critic even for things I enjoy.

@FoxxFireArt: Very good summary. I think that says about everything.

Post by Marshal Victory (2,144 posts) See mini bio Level 13

But the sailor unigorm died! that was a death scene!

Nonsenical one can aruge but meaningless is more personal view than any thing else. I really belive the hype this show gended hurt it for some.Most things in live never live up to the hype.

Post by takashichea (11,924 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

I love the contrast between the front page and the Kill la Kill Discussion's atmosphere. Here we're talking about the flaws and defending the series. Over there, it's all fun and whacky because people praise the anime. Talk about their favorite moments and speculating if Mako and Ryuko's relationship is just "friends" or "lovers."

I found myself contracting myself in both front page and the discussion thread. All I can say is that I love and hate this series. If I wasn't too serious and watch it without care, it would be the most entertaining show I watch in the fall season.

Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20

It certainly has felt Tom was overly critical of the series. I enjoyed it overall. The first half was much more fun (much like Gurren Lagann). I hadn't really done any deep thinking on the show's aspects but after reading some user's thoughts and mulling around myself, there is a lot more than the initial experience. A buy in my book.

Post by Kino88 (202 posts) See mini bio Level 6
I thought this climax was fantastic!, Gurren Lahgan was better to be sure, But on its own off the wall terms I really think this show was a fun little doozy,
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,640 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@takashichea:

I think some people may be misunderstanding the use of the word "date" in Japanese. Dates don't always have to do with romantic dating. It can also just be used to mean a scheduled get together. As such, a father could take his daughter on a date, or a brother could take out his sister on a date. Seeing how they also went to meet Satsuki. It was more of a platonic date at the end of the episode.

Post by whiskers (116 posts) See mini bio Level 8

C'mon guys, don't try to dissect it so much. I've just mentioned the Ryuuko and Mako thing based on several observations (not just the date thing) and it can be viewed as implied at best, nothing more.

Post by takashichea (11,924 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@whiskers:

My bad, I was having fun looking at the differences between the front article and discussion. I'm pretty sure my teammate Foxx was joking with you guys. It can be implied just like you said. It was a cute date scene at the end between good friends.

Post by Dream (7,476 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Moderator

A date isn't necessarily romantic, as it can also be an outing with friends and others close to you. It's a misconception among many that a date would have any romantic implications.

Post by SpectroRaphael (49 posts) See mini bio Level 8

Foxx basically said a lot of points I agree with.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I found this much more entertaining than Gurren Lagann (probably because I wasn't a little boy when I watched it and watched them within a year of each other). The characters were much more memorable and I was actually rooting for them while Simon was the only one I cared about because he was basically the only one that had any life to him.

This conclusion also pulled me in more. I was interested in seeing how they would overcome while for GL I just knew that they'll input some spiral power and that's it. That made for a far less exciting conclusion, and throwing around galaxies didn't save it.

Also, character deaths are never necessary for me (especially considering that one of the life fibres basic abilities is regeneration). I could still easily distinguish when the situation was serious. Also, I don't know about anyone else, but it was kind of obvious to me that Gamagoori wouldn't die. That itself would have felt unnecessary, while Senketsu's demise is more reasonable.

Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,746 posts) See mini bio Level 20

I tend to agree the ending was a bit of a let down

Post by Donwun (115 posts) See mini bio Level 12

Well ultimately i enjoyed the show on some level for what it was but i mostly agree with Tom's analysis and found i just could not really connect with the story like most here / elsewhere have

I finished my own YouTube review on KLK to explain further and i also felt i had to give a shoutout to Tom here for his weekly writeups as i have appreciated his insights and thoughts on the series.....as well as many of the other vicers here who have commented

We really don't have to agree on everything folks.....in fact it's always great to see and hear different peoples perspectives on these story ideas

You just can't really get these kind of discussions from traditional western animation........although even now that is even changing more with noticable anime traits

Post by takashichea (11,924 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@Donwun:

I think it depends on how much you analyze/review it. When you review a show, I feel like you finding the flaws and then it lowers how much you enjoy it. I enjoy Dragon Ball Z and Kill la Kill if I turn off everything else. When I start thinking about the flaws, I find the show less enjoyable. Well, it's hard to explain.

Got to admit it was fun to read everyone's varied responses whether positive or negative.

I'll check out that Youtube review. Thanks!

Post by zaldar (1,253 posts) See mini bio Level 15

I am going to have to write a blog post analyzing the hell out of this show and after having watched the end now I know one of three things either (1) you are trolling for hits and comments (2) an alien has possessed your body and you are not the same tom who wrote the original watch and learn episodes (3) you were never the intelligent, well educated, intellectual tom I thought you were.

This show was awesome most definitely had MANY things to say and serves as a wonderful mission statement for trigger and I expect wonderful things from them in the future (and appreciate how they paid homage to gurren laggen in the last episode).

Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,746 posts) See mini bio Level 20

KLK was good and is definitely a candidate for aoty. The beginning was pretty fun and it gradually built up an intriguing plot. I felt the climax of the show was from Ragyos big introduction and Satsuki's molestation in ep 15ish to Ryouko turning evil in 22 (iirc), during that stretch I was genuinely captivated each week. The final episodes after evil Ryouko came back to her senses did feel a little comparatively limp, but not by any means bad. And while the ending seemed grand visually, I can understand how one could find it anemic or even meaningless.

Solid, quality show tho, only critisisms would be slightly tune down the loony tunes aspect and give the gurren lagann imagery a rest.

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