Kill La Kill and Nudity of Concept

Throughout the first two episodes of Kill La Kill, I felt that Matoi’s costume design was meant for something a little more than fanservice. It’s not meant to be a commentary on the audience; sure, everyone who ogles her is represented as stupid, and she usually kicks their asses, but Matoi is nonetheless embarrassed to wear it, and there’s nothing to actively punish the viewer for ogling it. The point is more about saying: it’s okay to have a sexy character design; and rather than be coy about it, it should be a matter of pride.

Kill La Kill is utterly absent of pretention. It seeks simply to be an incredibly badass technical action showcase, and it thoroughly succeeds. Hiroyuki Imaishi is perhaps the most influential and important animator in TV anime alive today, and his new studio, Trigger, has brought his style into its own life. Unlike his previous shows Gurren Lagann and Panty and Stocking, which felt like a blend of a huge number of styles from a large group of contributors, Kill La Kill feels focused and uniform in style. It’s also Imaishi’s best directorial work yet in my opinion; the pace is insanely fast, but it’s also very consistent, unlike Gurren Lagann which could feel all over the place at times. In every technical aspect, Kill La Kill is as good as it could possibly be.

The storyline is simple as they come, and the show pulls no punches in being as over-the-top with action and fanservice as it wants to be, not holding back anything for anyone. Episode three is all about embracing that naked, unashamed nature.

Matoi is embarrassed to wear her armor because it’s scantily clad, and guys are ogling her—but she always holds power over them. She knows that they don’t matter, but she lets it upset her anyways. This shame in the very thing that makes her powerful, ends up being her downfall. Not unlike a show or movie created to be an action vehicle, but bogged down in attempted realism or a pretentious/overwrought storyline, Matoi can’t be the epic fighter that she needs to be if she’s busy being ashamed.

The school president, meanwhile, doesn’t give a single fuck. She knows that she’s amazing, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says. She’s determined and true to herself—able to stand naked in her conviction and say, “come at me bro.” And in witnessing how the president’s determination trumped the opinions of those beneath her, Matoi is inspired to embrace the nudity that brings her power and fight with true conviction.

…did I just blog anime?!

12 thoughts on “Kill La Kill and Nudity of Concept

    • Couldn’t say *nothing*: I want to table Kill la Kill for sure, now, if only because of what you wrote. I think TTGL was trying to get a hold of that aesthetic: not hiding itself, telegraphing itself, and letting that effect wash over the viewer. Not hiding itself was a big part of getting that “let your heart blip, swell with massive emotion, and fight back” idea. I think, though, that Kill la Kill totally is capable of tightening the effect and surpassing TTGL in that regard; the looseness was part of what made the earlier show likable, but this stuff can be fantastic, too.

  1. Yes. Agreed. All points.

    Rewatched ep 3 at least 3x with mechafetish who is rewatching it right now in my living room LOL.

    Authenticity is power.

    Inauthenticity inhibits power.

    Go full Otaku, or gtfo.

    This is not to say there aren’t any consequences to face, only that you’ll be stronger to face them when you’re real about it.

    Check out the preview of the next episode where the commentary says the viewer of such late night anime must face the next day’s commute with all his might because it will be shitty.

    Our lives as dirty Otaku will be shitty, but we fuck ourselves over when we pretend to be other than who we really are, that we don’t like what excites us because it is wrong.

    It may well be wrong, but we suffer more for being half-assed either way.

      • Seriously, it’s more like this: (I just had this long conversation with mechafetish about this in the car LOL)

        We ARE Otaku of various levels of filth. Growing older and experiencing more things allows us to be more than just that. It doesn’t mean we’ve changed really, and especially myself wherein being such never DEFINED the totality of my character.

        I never stopped being the guy who wrote insane blog post series about cartoons. I just didn’t have the chops to do it anymore (and the time).

        But I’ve gotten stronger now, so while I won’t start a blog (LOL), I may write again. I should’ve sent my KLK post to you. I WROTE ONE after watching the first ep, on the anniversary of WRL’s retirement. But I gave it to vuc who hadn’t published it since… and the post is now obsolete based on events of episode 3.

        I won’t cry about it.

        But if I do write something, I’ll let you do what you want with it.

  2. I would approach the issue of shame from the perspective that it too is a social construct. Social constructs are a key component of KLK’s main theme.

    The whole “pretension” thing…KLK is plenty pretentious in my opinion, but your general point stands nonetheless.

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