Wow, it’s been a while since we’ve discussed Ryuko and the rest of the Honnouji Academy goings-on, hasn’t it? Apologies for that, but now that the series has reached its finale, I can finally discuss what I truly though of Trigger’s latest project, and if you should spend the time Kill la Kill asks of you. Now, that may sound a bit harsh, but Kill la Kill was one of the most highly anticipated anime of the last season, so there’s some scrutiny necessary. As I’ve said already, I was not a huge fan of director Hiroyuki Imaishi’s last work Gurren Lagann, so I was hesitant to even check out Kill la Kill, but I’m a sucker for over-the-top, silly action, so I was on-board with Kill la Kill from the get-go. But while Kill la Kill is solid on the animation and action, the plot is rather timid and not doing anything new. That’s, of course, both good and bad, but considering the group this is coming from, the fact it’s not as stellar as it could be in the plot department, is rather disappointing.
You can easily sit down and get through Kill la Kill in a weekend and there is enough for you to like, enjoy, or even love, but there’s little to bring you back for a second helping. The plot is as cut-and-dry and clichéd as you’d expect, and though the characters are a treat, they’re ultimately tired tropes we’ve seen a thousand times over already. The plucky sidekick Maka is adorable and charming, but the rest of the cast on the ‘good’ side is practically brushed aside once the climax rears its head. The villain, whose arrival is one of the best, most flamboyant things I’ve seen in a while, was glorious, and I loved to hate her. She was a throwback to the days of ‘I’m a villain with nearly nothing about being a likable trait, just hate me. My motives are absurd and ludicrous, cheer for Ryuko to stop me!’ So there are indeed positives to Kill la Kill’s otherwise tepid plot, so don’t get discouraged.
I’d be out of my mind to dismiss the soundtrack. Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan, Blue Exorcist) did just such a remarkable job composing the backing tracks and almost character-specific tracks for Kill la Kill. Blumenkranz is my biggest and best takeaway from the first soundtrack, as it’s so perfect for the villain. Every time it’s onscreen, their presence is even more majestic. The slow methodical build, the oddly-fitting German lyrics, and the beauty of Blumenkranz are all just too magical to not talk about. There’s a ton of other terrific tracks too. Ryuko’s ‘theme’ Before My Body is Dry is inexplicably the one most talked about, as I’ve already seen a ton of memes using it as a ‘it goes with anything’ gag. It certainly has an entertaining hook and chorus, so it’s strong, but it’s not the best available.
Studio Trigger did create an interesting world and implemented some cool ideas into Kill la Kill, but plot wise, there’s little to bring one back to Honnouji Academy after graduating. If you want a mindless action show with beautiful animation and graphics, Kill la Kill has it! But don’t expect anything more than that, because Kill la Kill simply won’t deliver on it. That being said, I never regret spending the time with Kill la Kill, but I was hoping for much more, and all it did was leave me wanting. It’s my own fault for getting my hopes up, and I certainly won’t dismiss the next project Trigger has in store, but I’ll be hesitant on hopping aboard the hype train that will ensue. There are indeed inferior shows airing than Kill la Kill, so you could do worse, but you could also do better. A lot better.