Friday 4 October 2013

First Impressions: Kill la Kill

Kill la Kill Trigger Anime 2013

I'm a person who gets excited about things quite easily, but there are few anime that have excited my quite like Kill la Kill has. The debut show from new studio Trigger (formed by ex-Gainax staff and responsible for the wonderful Little Witch Academia), Kill la Kill reunites director and studio co-founder Hiroyuki Imaishi with his Gurren Lagann staff mates once again for a high school brawler show that promises their usual brand of over the top action. It may not have a Gainax label attached to it, but these are the guys responsible for some of the best shows they put out in the last few years. My hype level is maximum.

The first installment of this 12 episode series introduces us to Honnōji Academy, where student council president Satsuki Kiryuin and her committee rule with an iron fist and the help of super powered uniforms that grant them extra strength. When scissor-blade wielding exchange student Ryuko Matoi shows up at the school searching for answers about her father's murder, she ends up on the receiving end of the council's power. Later, after stumbling upon a mysterious talking sailor uniform, Ryuko gains power of her own to battle against the council and discover the answers she needs.

Let's honest with ourselves - the high school battle genre is pretty low barrel when it comes to anime. Most series that spring to mind are pretty low on plot, instead focusing on how fast the female characters can have their clothes shredded. Kill la Kill certainly doesn't seem to have any plans to shake off the latter part of that notion, but style is where this show is going to set itself apart from the others. The premise is completely ridiculous yet EXACTLY what you should expect from these guys, making the break-neck pacing and truly absurd fan service much easier to swallow and more importantly enjoy. Ryuko oozes badassery before she's even begun fighting, and her single exchange with the uniform will hopefully lead to an enjoyable dynamic between the two. The episode makes sure to get all introductions dealt with as quickly as possible to get to the main goods - balls to the wall action. Think a super robot show but without any super robots in sight.

Those familiar with the production staff's work will feel instantly at home with the art style, which follows the same template as Gurren Lagann and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. However the use of less saturated colours fits nicely with the gritty world of Kill la Kill, making every bit of bright colour (such as Ryuko's giant scissor blade) count. The exaggerated style also lends itself much better to the speed and fluidity the show is going to require for its fast paced fights.

It's too early to tell whether Kill la Kill can live up to the staff's previous Gainax work, but all signs point to this being one to watch. Imaishi and co. have managed to take what made their talents stand out in the anime world and place in a new setting with a likeable introduction to its inhabitants. Trigger have truly burst their way onto the anime scene and don't plan to take any prisoners.

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