Kill La Kill, A Motif, And Four Views

In the year since this site has been primarily text-based, I’ve had an ever-growing tumblr presence. There, where the comment system make no sense, discussion happens through an endless series of reblogs. While this has many disadvantages, it does have one advantage: a comment can be brought to the forefront of discussion. If I make a post, and someone responds to it, I can make another post responding to that comment, and it’s on the front page just like a full post. A lot of people on tumblr hate when I start an epic dashboard-wrecking discussion, but fuck ’em. Also, this isn’t tumblr.


On my last Kill La Kill post, Omo points out that social constructs are a key part of the show’s main theme. After all, it’s set in a world with a rigid class system based on how kids do in school, with a president that has a sort of capitalist(?) view on life. (Only those who fight with everything to reach the top deserve to be there). I wonder if the prez will be asked to, “check her privilege,” at some point, hehe.

AJ the Fourth writes an excellent post on the third episode, similar to my own, but more about how it addresses shame as a social construct. She draws a parallel to Go Nagai’s work, and wonders both if Go Nagai’s decision to draw from the, “culture of shame,” in Japan was his way of being perverse, or if he meant to send a message; and which of those Kill La Kill might be out to do. I’m inclined to say that KlK is not intensely perverted, mostly because it doesn’t feel that way to me. Maybe I’m desensitized, but even Gurren Lagann’s, “ogle this shit,” moments were way more blatant and pandery than KlK’s, which all seem to be in service of something (other than just fans). I could be wrong though, but it’s good that I’m thinking.


Ghostlightning takes it a step further, citing it as not just a social commentary in general, but a direct commentary on the show’s viewers, i.e. late-night anime otaku. As an aside, the realization that this is late-night anime furthers my point that it doesn’t feel quite so perverse. Nothing has needed censoring so far (or is there more to this, regarding broadcasters or something, that I don’t know?), and considering Gurren Lagann was a Sunday morning show, KlK feeling less-perverse is kinda significant. Again though, I could really just be jaded to fanservice. Maybe it’s the way the show doesn’t shy away or cover up its nudity that makes it feel so much less sleazy than most late-night anime.

But back to ghosty’s point—it’s worth consideration, especially in concert with my own ideas that the third episode was a commentary on the show’s own nature. This is a studio of ex-GAINAX staff after all, who were the self-proclaimed otaku-animators, and whose hot-blooded devotion to the medium is considered an undercurrent in the storylines of most of their shows since Otaku no Video.

The reason I wanted to highlight these comments, even though we’re all basically agreeing with one-another, is to highlight how the subtle differences in our approach suggest our own personalities and what we’re bringing to the table. Ghostlightning and I both have an ongoing narrative in examining authenticity, and it’s interesting to see where he applies it on the personal, viewer level, whereas I apply it on the meta, creator level. Also of interest is how for AJ, the message of episode three was how she came to enjoy the show at all, whereas ghost and I were enjoying it even when the deeper concepts were merely suspicions on our parts.

4 thoughts on “Kill La Kill, A Motif, And Four Views

  1. So many posts. Such speed. Wow.

    This is quite the show to elicit so many reactions and discussion.

    What I want to talk about but don’t have the chops to is the swordfight itself, beyond being superbly animated and directed.

    I believe it deserves an anipages style near-frame by frame breakdown.

    • What gets me the most is the use of SCALE. Best exemplified in the scene in episode 2 where the two characters, while stationary, grow in the frame until it’s like they’re face-to-face. The show does a ton of this and it’s utterly masterful. This is the kind of brilliant creative directing that will fly over a lot of heads as just part of the show’s spastic nature, and they won’t see how technical it really is.

      • Fucking shit I will have to watch that sequence again. One moment that does stand out and is part of the scale effect you speak of is the explosion that push the crowd out in the air, suck them back in, then BOOM, all the way out. That shit was sick.

  2. At the end of the day what really gets me about Kill la Kill is that it’s the first anime in a while where the majority of the jokes actually make me laugh.

    This episode was pretty crazy, and I can see why so many people have something to say about it. I didn’t know about that Go Nagai quote in the linked post, and it’s pretty interesting. I kind of wonder where Ryuko’s revenge plot is going after this. When Satsuki says Ryuko has no ambition she’s kind of right, so I’d like to see where they decide to take that.

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