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|