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KILL LA KILL #1 + 2 -- Special Review

This show seriously needs to knock it off with the T&A.

The frustrating thing about a lot of these shows is that - - more often than I’d like - - they’re sort of like a new grad going out to a job interview. Our hypothetical youth is a good kid. He’s got solid grades, he’s qualified for the job and he’s even gone through the trouble of dressing for the occasion. He shows up to the interview with a sharp suit, a fresh haircut, a firm handshake… and the stupidest looking bowtie you’ve ever seen.

How does that protracted analogy relate to KILL LA KILL? Well, the show’s got a lot going for it. The animation is eye-popping, the action is expertly stage, the physical comedy is endlessly fun and, conceptually, it rather brilliantly shoots a dose of ‘preposterone’ into the entirety of anime’s storied sports and high school club genres. There’s so much to appreciate here that I’d love, more than anything, to declare this one of my favorite shows for 2013 already.

Except there’s still that bowtie: an unnecessary accessory that adds nothing and is easy to remove, but nevertheless undercuts the entire ensemble.

Which is to say… I’m in strong agreement with Matt Murphy’s comment about the needlessness of the sexual assault gags, the T&A and the sexual assault gags relating to the T&A. This was never going to be a PC show (and, sure, there’s always a question about why certain acts of violence can be joked about), but when Ryuko’s skimpy outfit is grouped with multiple jokes about her potentially getting molested by an elder while she’s knocked out… it’s difficult to just shrug off.

Hopefully, this is something that Trigger’s worked out of its system, now, and we’ll be done with it over the rest of the series. Still, I’m honestly bummed that I’m going to have to put a proviso on any recommendation KILL LA KILL, as I’ve to do for a lot of other series when I need to remind friends to keep certain contexts in mind when they watch.

What’s most disappointing is that Ryuko is otherwise a very compelling character who’d be just as distinct running around in the tattered uniform she’s wearing in the screengrab above. I can’t help but think it’d require only one cool-headed, dissenting voice of reason at the Trigger office to make these very creative talents think twice about how the impossible cut of her symbiote outfit - - and the numerous upskirt shots showing it off - - would alienate a big portion of a potential audience that'd otherwise be into the show.

Past that, I thought this demonic riff on PRINCE OF TENNIS was rather inspired and, gee, I actually learned something after the whole spiel explained that Japanese school uniforms have been modeled after the military this whole time. Again, I’m dying to see how Ryuko’s upward ascent through the echelons of Goku-wearing despots will play out, but the show seriously needs to dial some of this shit down if I’m going to stick around for much longer. I was hoping to fit this into the slot of regular coverage that TITAN recently vacated, but not if my critiques will have to keep circling around the same uncomfortable complaint.

Watch the first episode, If Only I Had Thorns Like a Thistle…here and watch the second episode, “So Sexy She Might Pass Out” here, and decide for yourself, then hear my previous comments on the show here.

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
Marshal Victoryon Oct. 16, 2013 at 3:54 p.m.

Could not disagree more.When her firends father is over her when she wakes up she beats the hell outa him .Thats the gag she thought he was a molester.It was not like the atempted rape sceen in Btooom! which has every thing your talking about .

When she wakes up at the teachers place we see nothing.Unless you seen a version i did not.

Shes also embaressed by the magical blood sucking vampire uniform in power mode.T&A really? In this show?Seriously old Bugs Bunny cartoons have more T&A than this show .An we sure seen more skin in Attack on Titan.We even had that poor female titan " sexuialy objectiifed" by her posterior ,poor thing.

Not one site i can find lists Kill la Kill as ecchi or henti.Have to now wonder if yall have had one to many "sensitivity" training seminars.Drunk any Kool-aid lately at one of those things?Also have had your eyes checked?

Daniel_Newton moderator on Oct. 16, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.

While I agree that the sexual assault gags were in bad taste, I think the T&A in general is part of that winning Gainax formula and I'd be a little disappointed if it wasn't present in Kill la Kill. Gurren Lagann has Yoko with her iconic bikini top and hot pants and Panty & Stocking has Angels pole dancing to catchy dance music. The "fan service" element in all three of these shows is ridiculous and over-the-top in ways that fit with the insane tone.

And it's not all about Ryuko, don't forget this sexy bastard:

I will admit though, it'd be so great if Matt and Tom's deconstruction theory turns out to be true and Ryuko ends up gaining more clothing and she beats bad guys and climbs up the ranks.

@Marshal Victory said:

Shes also embaressed by the magical blood sucking vampire uniform in power mode.T&A really? In this show?Seriously old Bugs Bunny cartoons have more T&A than this show .An we sure seen more skin in Attack on Titan.We even had that poor female titan " sexuialy objectiifed" by her posterior ,poor thing.

Not one site i can find lists Kill la Kill as ecchi or henti.Have to now wonder if yall have had one to many "sensitivity" training seminars.Drunk any Kool-aid lately at one of those things?Also have had your eyes checked?

I might not agree with all of Tom's opinions but your comments are ridiculous and the last couple of lines are just plain rude. There is clearly a lot of T&A in this show, so much so that Ryuko may as well be wearing a bikini.

When someone has an opinion you don't agree with, try not to personally attack the guy and just focus on expressing your own opinions instead. There's no need for comments like those.

Marshal Victoryon Oct. 16, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.

@Daniel_Newton: Maybe you missed it i have worried about Toms eye sight since Attack on Titan.When he could not tell the characters apart.I can provide links if ya want?The points about Attack on Titan was ridiculous .It was suposed to be.

Again no site that i can find has listed this show as fan service,ecchi or henti.Was that part ridiculous or a personal attack?The bugs bunny cartoon crack well you can go to you tube an find people who go on an on about Lola.

The sensitivity jab can be considered rude i supose.Didnt think of some one adding a contect to it other than actualy going to sensitivity training corses.If you or any one else took it in any other way, I am sorry you or any one else assumed the worst of my comments.

But when its guys "objectification" the prhase "theres nothing wrong with that" keeps coming up.When its "T&A" or "fanservice" its got to be stoped. Sensitivity is set to one side it seems.Thus not fair.But such is life.Back to the ol if you dont like it dont watch it argument.For the record not a bit of the show is "sexy" to me.Those 3 pics just dont do it for me.

Also the same guys who reviewed Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine in a vibrating chair while saying "harder faster" i would doubt they would take my coments to heart so poorly.If so i would be increadably disapointed.Even more disapointing than my atempts at spelling.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Oct. 16, 2013 at 6:58 p.m.
I disagree with much of the criticism of this series. GURREN LAGANN had just as much T&A; in the series. Yoko spent the majority of the series in a small bikini top and tight short-shorts, with her breasts bouncing abound the whole time.

At least this character is completely apparent of her situation. Look at WITCHBLADE. The character Sara would have her clothes shredded to the point of being nearly naked but no reaction. Ryuko has an honest reaction of, "What the hell?!".

None of this comes across as explotative as it does in say IKKI TOUSEN. That's a series that I just couldn't get through.

@Daniel_Newton
That guy teacher cracks me up. You don't see characters such as him in anime often.

@Marshal Victory
The drunk off Kool-aid stuff was over the line, especially when you know the history of that reference. If it makes him uncomfortable, then it makes him uncomfortable.

I personally just don't find this any more extreme than you'll find in many mainstream comics. They either look like swimsuits, or Catwoman in a skin tight suit with a broken dipper that always shows cleavage.
Daniel_Newton moderator on Oct. 16, 2013 at 7:22 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

That guy teacher cracks me up. You don't see characters such as him in anime often.

Yeah, he's an early contender for character of the series in my opinion. He kind of reminds me of Urahara a bit, which is a good thing.

Marshal Victoryon Oct. 16, 2013 at 8:01 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt: Kool aid is referanced to drinking to much of the "sensitivity" arguments..Its used in politics an have seen it used on comic sites.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_the_Kool-Aid is a metaphor commonly used in the United States "that refers to a person or group holding an unquestioned belief, argument, or philosophy without critical examination. It could also refer to knowingly going along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure. The phrase typically carries a negative connotation when applied to an individual or group. " The bold part would apply as i ment it.Any thing other was not ment.Didnt know it was a frowned upon phrase here.In February 2012, "Drinking the Kool-Aid" won first place in an online poll by Forbes Magazine as "the single most annoying example of business jargon

its really not a good example or referance to Jonestown Massacre.For one they drank Flavor Aid. An secondly many were forced to at gun point to drink.So if your being forced at gunpoint its not a unquestionable belief or philosophy without critical examaination.Tho one could sorta argue peer presure .Dont think i would consider any one holding a gun on me as a "peer".

I am asking if we are to that point an their can be no argument of critical examnation then whats the point of having a discussion? This whole "sensitivity"an "sexplotiation" arguments of late do deserve discussion.The irony of having a discussion about T&A in a show where you have looney toon cartoon viloence an deep fryed battered villians seems fairly thick.

Take the teacher pictured above. Cant find on any site, any one complaning about his over the top um display.If the series was really really trying for fanservice on Ryuko she would be acting like that teacher all the time.Which might have been the shows point .The teacher does it an she finds it creepy.An at no point does she act that way.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Oct. 16, 2013 at 8:34 p.m.
@Marshal Victory
1978 Jonestown is the original sourse for that reference. That wiki page you linked even recognizes that. When you use that you're telling someone their position is that of someone who is irrational and blind to reason.

I disagree with much of Tom's criticism on this, but I'm not going to accuse him of being irrational about it. This is nowhere near as odd as what you'd see in say STRIKE WITCHES, where no women wear pants and it goes completely unexplained.

@Daniel_Newton
I don't know about best character of the series, but he's certainly making me chuckle.
Marshal Victoryon Oct. 16, 2013 at 9:27 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt: You should note i asked the question "Drunk any Kool-aid lately at one of those things?" because in the header is says "This show seriously needs to knock it off with the T&A." also for the body of text "Again, I’m dying to see how Ryuko’s upward ascent through the echelons of Goku-wearing despots will play out, but the show seriously needs to dial some of this shit down if I’m going to stick around for much longer."

Their seems to be no room for discussion .Thus a quesiton not a accusation.Trust me when i say if wanted to attack some one it would not be threw a metaphor.

Look back at my post history.Hell i have agreed with Tom more than i disagreed with him.Even defended his points at times when i disagreed with them.We are allowed to disagree an still see some one elses point..An no i dont think he is irationaly politicaly corect .I will quesiton the rational tho of not watching something you like because "T&A." I would ask that same question to any of my friends.If that is rude so be it.

Kinda could see a argument of i like the show. But its use of a skimpy costume makes it dificult to recomend to my friends an profesional associates.That would be a rational argument.A spring board for discussion.But thats not what i read.

zaldaron Oct. 17, 2013 at 12:30 a.m.

As much as I don't like some T and A I think here it is ok. The show is over the top, it is ridiculous, and the T and A is ridiculous as well. *shrug* I mean really can we not have pretty women in shows anymore is it so terrible to think women are pretty and want to look at them? Yes there are OTHER things that make them amazing as well, but beauty is still one of the things that does. IF the T and A was all the show had or was the main draw (like in Strike Witches, or way to many moe shows to name) or it dealt with children (like in vampire bund) I would be right with you...but this is to much like someone getting upset because I tell them their dress makes them look hot.

Finding women pretty is not evil, wanting to look at pretty women is not evil...still I do agree if she starts gaining threads and power that will make it all MUCH better and much more thematically purposeful and so more artistic (aka it will rise about simply appealing to puriant interests...but remember even Shakespeare had to please the groundlings).

takashichea moderator on Oct. 17, 2013 at 12:40 a.m.

For those who think the fan service in Kill la Kill is ridiculous, you should probably check out I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job. (Yu-Sibu for short). They forced fan service down your throat in the first episode. Kill la Kill is a bit more tame than Gurren Lagann.

I'm not good debater.

Fan service is a touchy subject. It should work in moderation to be effective. You don't want to oversexualize women or men. (Though, the doctor was okay with the role reversal.) It gives impressions and people take it the wrong way. High School of the Dead scared most of its audience with fan service. Though, it had a good story. For Kill la Kill, it's not that intense as other shows.

I don't want to go off tangent about fan service.

I enjoyed the first two episodes and its wacky animation. Plus, Foxx's theories about its subtle meaning got me curious.

Marshal Victoryon Oct. 17, 2013 at 2:02 a.m.

As much as i hate to link to this im gona.

http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2013/10/16/fall-anime-scientifically-ranked-by-skirt-flashes

1:Yozakura Quartet (17 Panty Shots)

2:Freezing Vibration (8 PS)

3:I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job. (7 PS)

4:Walkure Romance (4 PS)

5:My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering With My School Romantic ComedyStrike the BloodKill la Kill (2 PS)

8:Tokyo Ravens、Machine Doll (1 PS)

10: Infinite Stratos 2 (0.5 PS)

Kino88on Oct. 17, 2013 at 6:19 a.m.

agreed Tom, too much is just too much, there is no need for them to go that far....

nan0fearon Oct. 18, 2013 at 10:31 p.m.

Ha! Really Tom, you don't think Trigger knows exactly what they are producing? Adhering to your western seal of approval of Japanese anime seems to me like the last thing an avid watcher would want to do.

audio_defecton Oct. 19, 2013 at 3 p.m.

I agree that there's a bunch of needlessness of the sexual assault gags and a lot T&A... but I think that's what makes the series good. Personally, I like seeing production studios who aren't afraid of pushing the limit. Things like FLCL, Excel saga, Dead Leaves wouldn't be in existence if it weren't for breaking a few moral codes.

I don't know. I get tired of seeing moe girls and feminine men T:

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 21, 2013 at 1:38 p.m.

There's no doubt that this is an anime you have to worry about recommending to others, due to its treatment of Ryoko's body. I don't excuse it at all, but I think the titillation is better than outright near-hentai that is standard these days. It's an offense, but for me it's not a major offense.

RealJpoeon Nov. 16, 2013 at 11:49 p.m.

The fan service in KLK adds to all the flare the show is oozing with. To be frank; The fan service is so absurd and hilarious that I could never get hot and bothered which is what most shows with too much T&A strive for.

Pre-Trigger related works always used absurd fan service as a satire on anime as a whole and I think their doing it again, but even better this time. Also the argument that this will alienate most people is kind of mute. Anime will never strive to western sensibilities, they're fine will the Japanese market which can handle not being grossed out by sexual images and the show isn't just pandering to just the otaku audience which is a plus. This may be the best innovation in fan service since Bakemonogatari.

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