Kill la Kill
Episode 1: If Only I Had Thorns Like A Thistle…
With the pedigree it has behind it, Kill la Kill has been set to be smash hit since before its release. Well, with the premiere episode finally released for it’s adoring public, it’s time to see if people were right in hoping for greatness…They were.
The episode begins in a classroom, wherein the students are leaning about the rise of Chancellor Hitler during WWII…alrighty. This riveting lesson is then interrupted by the appearance of a titanic, pissed off student, clad in white. He announces himself as Ira Gamagoori, Diciplinary Committee Chair. He claims that someone in the room is plotting against Hannouji Academy. The party in question sees fit to throw a tear gas bomb and makes his daring, and ultimately futile, escape as Gamagoori follows. Catching the student, the Committee Chair throws the student into the open are in front of the school.
It is here where the student reveals a Goku Uniform, which he stole from the school. Donning this outfit, he is immediately imbued with incredible strength, enough that he is not immediately eviscerated by the hulking Committee Chair standing before him. Unfortunately, math isn’t one of the uniform thief’s strong suits, as he failed to notice thatthe three stars, emblazoned on Gamagoori’s chest, is higher than the lone star on his…damn. Gamagoori then proceeds to absolutely destroy the uniform thief, throwing him through walls in rapid succession before stripping him of his pilfered power.
With that taken care of, the visuals sweep across the immense city in which Hannouji Academy exists. On the edge of the city stands a new figure. Our protagonist: Ryuko Motoi. Whilst impressively fluid environment animation, it also serves to express the true size of this strange and twisted society. Making her way through the back alleys of the city Ryuko runs into an “anachronistic street gang” comprised of a bunch of children packing some serious attitude. The kids then attempt to pick pocket her wallet, instead they wound up with half a lemon Ryuko was eating…she’s just that good. After accepting their challenge to a fight, and swiftly defeating them, the gang leader’s sister Mako Mankanshoku appears, before making hastily leaving for Hannouji Academy.
It doesn’t take long for Ryuko to ruffle some feathers, challenging the absolute dominion of the president by directly questioning her, in front of the bowing and terrified student body no less. Ryuko reveals her quest to discover the owner of the missing half of her Scissor Blade, the wielder of which murdered her father. To defend the honour of their iron fisted ruler, Fukuroda steps up to the plate, two star uniform and all. Faced with the awesome power of a Goku Uniform, Ryuko struggles in her fight, facing a constant barrage of fearsome punches. Beaten down repeatedly, Ryuko refuses to hand over her Scissor Blade, the one thing she will never relinquish. Seizing an opportunity, and nearby delivery scooter, she makes a tactical retreat. In the respite after the fight, we gain our first glimpse of the other wielders of Goku Uniforms: Athletic Committee Chair Uzu Sanageyama, Information and Strategy Committee Chair Houka Inumuta and Non-Athletic Committee Chair Nonon Jakuzure. Whew. It is also revealed that President Kiryuin actually does know of the Scissor Blade, revealing it to be an anti-Goku weapon.
Taking refuge in her own destroyed home, she makes a sudden trip downward when her mysterious teacher activates a trapdoor, after which he removes his stylin’ aviators and slicks back his hair. You know for cool points. Having reopened a wound on her tremendous fall, her blood seeps into a pile of fabric, at which point an ominous voice longs for more. A possessed sailor fuku then leaps from the rubble and demands that Ryuko wear him…it. The two struggle as the it undresses her, then redresses her…in itself.
Cut back to the school where boxing boy has decided that the best way to lure Ryuko to a fight is to threaten to boil her friend in oil. The gambit works when Ryuko, clad in a badass cloak, makes her epic entrance and frees her friend. After being dealt some punches and a corkscrew strike reminiscent of a particular spiral warrior, she reveals her new outfit…though there certainly isn’t much too it. Angry and obviously embarrassed by her attire, she proceeds to absorb a number of deadly strikes without moving an inch, showcasing the power of her new uniform. Fed up with Fukuroda, she decides to end it with her scissor blade, imitating boxing moves to keep it fair, or rub it in, whatever. Finally, she slices his Goku Uniform to ribbons, quite a feat, visibly shocking the Committee Heads. The episode concludes with Ryuko once again standing up to the president, demanding answers regarding her Half Scissor Blade, having managed to spray blood on her face after launching Fukuroda at her.
Kill la Kill definitely features a unique visual style. Think Gurren Lagann taken to the next level. The animation moves fast and holds no punches. Characters get the absolute tar beaten out of them and they certainly show it. Certain moments possess a sketchy almost chaotic style to them, usually to convey high impact scenes such as The series is also quite fond of zooming and rotating camera angles, representing the speed of combat and the size of the location. It also adds to the flow of combat, and its kind of strange to think how unique this is compared to the normal more fixed angle depictions in other anime.
Ryuko is a total badass right from the get go. If her challenging a totalitarian authority wasn’t tough enough for you, she also snacks on a whole lemon during her trek around the back streets. True sign of toughness there. Her friend Mako is the cutesy anime schoolgirl stereotype ramped up and thrown into fast forward, talking, eating and falling asleep in class all in a matter of five seconds. Essentially, each character is presented as an almost caricature of anime standards, taking personalities so far into the extremes that they can’t help but be awesome.
Kill la Kill hits hard and it hits fast. There’s about ten seconds of duldrum before the action bursts in and it really doesn’t stop. It can be a little difficult to get used to the pacing of this anime, but when you do it’s pretty awesome. Even before that you’ll like it…even if you’re not sure why. Kill la Kill is already proving to be one hell of a series.
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