68 CommentsFirst Impressions, Kill la Kill / By Shinmaru /

Kill la Kill 1 – Go Nagai’s Wet Dream

kill-la-kill-ryuuko-talkin-mess

A school that seems its own entity, a stronghold against an unforgiving world. An opening lecture on the Nazis followed by a fascistic student council whose powers come from their neatly pressed military-style uniforms. Their leader is the daughter of the school board chairman; she rules with an iron fist. A young girl hellbent on revenge for her father’s murder and who receives her own power-up in the form of a talking school uniform that thirsts for blood (and resembles fetish gear when it’s worn). Oh, and her first act after powering up is to save her new lady friend — who has been hung for maximum revealing potential — from being deep fried. Set the perviness and violence to max and shake it around a bit with that blistering pacing and balls-out visual insanity, and you’ve definitely got something.

For me, I couldn’t help but think that Kill la Kill‘s first episode is the Go Nagai anime everyone has always wanted to make, for the good and bad implied in that statement. This episode runs the gamut of my experiences with Go Nagai adaptations: Uncompromising visual insanity; nutty violence with the goal of ultimate destruction for all; a total disregard for conventional logic; loopy, distinct characters; and a few moments that will probably make at least half the audience uncomfortable. It wouldn’t remind me of Go Nagai if it weren’t actively trying to push my buttons or repulse me in some way, now would it?

(Although I will say it tried to soften things just a bit more than you’d get from Mr. Nagai, who just doesn’t give a fuck.)

kill-la-kill-best-friend-desperate-for-attention

Kill la Kill delivered most of what I expected, though in tremendously fun ways. Even if there’s a bit more CG than expected, everything is stylized enough that a plebe like me doesn’t care much, and the edge to everything is so wonderful to see. More than anything, what screams out to me when I watch stuff from this Trigger crew is the kinetic energy. Everyone’s moving in their own distinct way with their own mannerisms; even something as simple as the athletic committee chair sitting down and crossing his legs sets him apart from the others. (This also makes Satsuki, the boss of bosses, stand out, as well — she’s so stern and statuesque compared to everyone else, with a resolve that’s impossible to budge.) And the fights! The opening scrap with that first unfortunate victim sent rolling around, the initial boxing match that ends with Ryuuko bloodied up in the rain, and the rematch with Ryuuko as unmovable as Satsuki before she strikes.

I’m still all hyped up. Maybe I should fan myself before I continue.

I actually kind of like the girl who makes a move to become Ryuuko’s best buddy, too. Her antics in and of themselves aren’t that funny, but it’s more the air of desperation surrounding her that’s amusing. She goes to this horrifying school where the students are basically subject to the whims of the council, and any attempt to act out is punishable with great humiliation and torture. Does she even have anyone to interact with on a semi-normal level? No wonder she tries to appeal so hard to Ryuuko. Sure she could just be intended to be the regular silly, happy-go-lucky character we see so often, but in this setting that particular character type strikes me as odd. Only someone a bit batty could be so optimistic here.

kill-la-kill-ryuuko-doesnt-feel-your-punches

But whatever. I am a simple man. Give me ridiculous characters engaging in ridiculous battles in ridiculously thrilling ways, and I will be there. I feel like my recent experiences have primed me for Kill la Kill, anyway, since I have been reading the “Stone Ocean” portion of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and that is a whole different level of insanity. (By the way, this is not an invitation to SPOILERS EVERYWHERE, because I’m not finished yet!) My poor heart may give out from all the dokidoki these crazy fighting cartoons and comics are pushing on me. The vapors, they overwhelm me~

satsuki-hair-blowing-in-the-wind-kill-la-kill

 

I don’t have much more to say; I just wanted to pay tribute to this in some way. I’m just a sucker for anyone who stares off into the distance in such a powerful, magnetic way.

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67 Comments

  1. Cobrah
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Watching this before class is not going to be ideal for me. Was pretty jazzed and pumped up throughout the whole thing.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      lol that avatar. Good job.

      Yeah, I’m at work right now and the excitement from this episode still hasn’t quite tapered off, but work is also boring, so my brain feels weird and mushy. This might be a problem soon.

  2. Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I feel like this is Imaishi’s take on Utena. And I am totally okay with that.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Oh Christ, now THAT would be something.

    • Wodes
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      That’s what i got out of the PV, although this episode doesn’t seem to really be going that way.

      I really hope the suit changes its form though. The associations with Borat are too strong for me to ignore.

      • Popka
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        I’m betting it will, with the way it took the fiber from the other suit at the end. Maybe it’ll get less revealing as it takes on more opponents. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        That would be nice, because Ryuuko’s uniform is probably the only part of the episode I didn’t like much. It looks terrible!

      • BigFire
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Ryuko isn’t crazy about how it look either. But from the promotion poster and character design, the non-sentai form of the uniform is slightly less revealing.

  3. gedata
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    This seems like it’d make a super great episodic title. Not much else to say but it may end up matching HxH as my most anticipated show each week

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      We’ll see what happens when I watch the next episode!

  4. Nagisa33
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t help but have the biggest smile on my face and I laughed at how amazingly over the top this was. I loved the intense, unrelenting energy. Great stuff and I can’t wait for the next episode!

    That one character with the sunglasses reminded me of Coach from Gunbuster. Heck, I saw a lot of possible influences here that made me all giddy.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Good ol’ Coach. Norio Wakamoto would definitely fit in well in this series.

  5. Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Revolutionary Girl Utena written by Go Nagai and directed by Imaishi is what I got from this. A bizarre combination that is so far keeping me happy. Just need to see where they take this now.

  6. T1g
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    Yeah I always think of Stone Ocean as the most bizarre part of JJBA.

    Also I like how the glasses guy took off his glasses and suddenly he is like 50x hotter

  7. Popka
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    Imaishi has a knack for making these high-energy shows with a lot of appeal for certain types of people. As much as I like crazy anime, I hope he doesn’t fly off the handle too much here. Trigger needs this, and I want them to succeed. Regardless, I loved this first episode.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure how Trigger could craft an entire series at this level of energy, but maybe they’d see that as a challenge to confront, haha.

      • fEast91
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        Confident that they can. And with the good pacing to augment it too. While it’s been a long time since I rewatched gurren lagann, evwn that isn’t always high energy fight episodes. There’s that beach episode once, and then there’s /that/ feels episode…

        Maybe the challenge would be “how to make a better gurren lagann”

  8. Nagisa33
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Go Nagai, what are his “best” works? I know he has done A LOT but I don’t know what’s the cream of the crop?

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m definitely not the right person for this, because my power level is miniscule, but at least from the outside, it seemed like people enjoyed Devilman the most?

    • Akira Fudou
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      1. The original Devilman manga is one of the best things I’ve read. Anno pretty much admitted Devilman’s massive influence on Evangelion.

      2. Dante Shinkyoku. Nagai literally adapted the Dante’s Comedy poem into manga. He also used a style similar to Gustave Dore’s to recreate an authentic look. It’s not fully scanlated, but it’s VERY faithful, certainly more than the Devil May Cries and what not.

      3. Violence Jack. His longest work at 45 tankobon.

      4. MazinSaga. A darker reinterpretation of his original Mazinger manga. Awesome mecha designs too. Not scanlated.

      5. Susano Oh. Nagai won the 4th Kodansha Manga Award with it. Also, it’s not scanlated either.

      6. Harenchi Gakuen. His first hit. Not scanlated, but the trilogy movies were very popular back in the days.

      • Nagisa33
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        Thanks to both of you. I was looking in to Devilman as the conflict of the Id and the super-ego.

        I’m going to look in to the rest as well! Dante Shinkyoku looks the most interesting as I’ve read Dante’s Inferno. I like different interpretations on it.

      • Akira Fudou
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        Try Gakuen Taikutsu Otoko (Men Who Are Bored of School) if you want to see Nagai’s own KLK. It’s also scanlated. The protagonist is literally a psychopath in it.

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 6, 2013 at 1:55 am | Permalink

        Ignore MazinSaga and read the Original Mazinger (and then the one chapter of Great Mazinger that’s out) before attempting it. Reading a ‘dark and edgy’ adaptation of something as goofy and fun loving and flat out wonderful as Mazinger before reading original is silly if you ask me.

        My personal Go Nagai favorites include Kekko Kamen and the Grendizer manga, which only has like 4 chapters.

        While you’re at it, you can always always always read Getter Robo which is written and drawn by Go Nagai’s best friend, Ken Ishikawa, but the first two story sets (aka Getter Robo and Getter Robo G) are in the same 70’s artstyle.

        What I’m saying here is please read Getter Robo ;_;

  9. Chevalier
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I protest!

    There are not enough robots to make this Go Nagai’s wet dream.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      It is true that robots improve most everything.

  10. Pusswookie
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    The people behind TTGL that form Trigger really love skimpy clothing, manly spirit, and torsos that talk…

    • Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Working as intended then. This is my whole thought process while watching this: “THEY ARE FUCKING BACK FUCKYEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-“

      • Pusswookie
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        I’m agreeing with you so hard right now.

  11. tokwq
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    You hated Golden Time and yet you loved this?! Talk about mainstream..

    • Scamp
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      The Cart Driver has sold out

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t even watched Golden Time yet!

  12. Canary Paint
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Think maybe I wasn’t in the right state of mind and I should watch this first episode again… I thought of Utena as well, but as it is one of my favorites, I could not help but discount this series somewhat because of thinking of Utena. For me, the great depths hidden beneath its silliness was very persuasive whereas kill la kill just seems silly. But like I said… Think I will give it another watch…

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Well, hopefully it grabs you, but you’re under no obligation to like it, of course. It seems to me that the rather extreme nature of everything in this would naturally turn off some people.

    • Wodes
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you on the silliness, but knowing TTGL i’m fairly confident it’s just set-up for a mindblowing genre-shift. TTGL’s first few episodes were nowhere near as deep as the rest of the series, IIRC. A part of me is scared that trigger learned the wrong lesson from TTGL and that this is the equivalent of the matrix reloaded, but for now I continue to have faith.

      • Canary Paint
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Don’t get me wrong, y’all… I adore TTGL, so kil la kill gets massive benefit of the doubt. Now that I think about it… I rarely get into the first episode of anything. I think I started Utena twice before I got hooked by it and it became one of my favorites.

  13. Someone Else
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    PLEASE DO AN EPISODIC BLOG OF THIS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

    • Nagisa33
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I second that request… with a cherry on top (and possibly some walnuts).

      • Shinmaru
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        We’ll see! It all depends on where the second episode goes.

  14. Shikamaru
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    This really reminded me about FLCL with its huge amount of energy. I personally think this episode had a little too much energy. Even FLCL realized that you need to have slow moments at some point. Otherwise the series can quickly become too loud and obnoxious. Still a really solid first episode.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I suppose, though I’m not certain this has the character types to slow down, haha.

  15. Johnny Joestar
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Personally I get the feeling that KLK is Imaishi paying his respect to the people who inspired him.

    Like you pointed out, it’s very Go Nagai-esque in many ways, and like someone in the comments said there’s also a bit of Utena in there.

    The pastel-chalked freeze frames are almost certainly inspired by Osamu Dezaki, who Imaishi is a big fan of, and the boxing scenes blatantly reference Ashita no Joe (which Dezaki directed); the punching angles, Ryuuko’s smashed-up face as she gets hit, etc.

    A fantastic first episode. I’m really looking forward to more.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      I’m kicking myself for not getting the Dezaki stuff. I think it’s because everyone pays tribute to him with the freeze frames, so it’s basically normal anime visual language at this point, haha. And I know Ashita no Joe solely through various anime referencing it, sadly.

      • Johnny Joestar
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, it’s common in anime, but I think his use of them in particular made them famous or something?

        Oh, that reminds me: I looked at the preview and the next episode will have a tennis opponent, so going with the Dezaki theme I’m predicting Aim for the Ace! homages. I haven’t actually watched that, I just know it’s a tennis anime directed by Dezaki. :P

  16. ANON
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    all the best anime have teenagers dangling from crucifixes

    uh, blood lad had that one in its OP, so was it good?

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      “All the best” doesn’t necessarily mean all anime featuring teenagers dangling from crucifixes are good! (That said, I didn’t watch any of Blood Lad, so I have no idea of its quality.)

  17. Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I also liked the school friend’s manic insistence on pretending this was a regular school comedy. Her “you can take this seat, the last guy just died!” and “leaving already, Ryuuko?” after Ryuuko almost gets killed in her first fight both cracked me up.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I can see why people would be irritated by her (and who knows, she may irritate me eventually), but the specific tone of her behavior clashes with the tone of this series in a way that’s amusing.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Why would Uncle Go fap to this? Kill la Kill is literally one of the first works he did. See Gakuen Taikutsu Otoko.

  19. Akira Fudou
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    While Imaishi, Anno, Sadamoto were pretty much influenced by Go Nagai, Kazuki Nakashima, the writer of KLK and TTGL is Ken Ishikawa’s biggest fan.

    Ken Ishikawa was Go Nagai’s best friend and assistant. He collaborated with Nagai on many projects, and his masterpiece was the Getter Robo Saga, which TTGL is very much inspired of. (Nakashima was actually the chief editor on it).

    So while you mention this anime being very Go Nagai, can I suggest that it’s actually very Ken Ishikawa-esque instead? His mangas outclassed some of Nagai’s in complete insanity.

    Watch these and you’ll understand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03T60AksMeI

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Haha, Christ. There’s so much I’m missing by being so terrible about reading manga.

      I heard for a long time that Gurren Lagann took a lot of inspiration from Getter Robo, but because I’d never read it or anything, I didn’t know the extent to which this is the case. A few months ago I watched the OVAs and suddenly it all clicked for me. There’s always something to learn.

    • Akira Fudou
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      The OVAs are all muddled version of his stories and they are also in different continuities too. The director fanboyed a lot when he inserted a lot of material from other Ken Ishikawa manga in them. Personally I think the manga is best since it’s only in 1 continuity, and the story is generally less of a clusterfuck. This blog has the reading order of it (as well as the scanlations) if you decide to check it one day:

      http://getterrobo.blogspot.com/

      • Shinmaru
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Ooh, thanks for this!

  20. Anonymous
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    This anime has honestly changed my life.

    I went into it not expecting much, considering that was hyped to shit. Holy fucking shit, was I blown away. I was hooked, like a baby to a tit with creamy foamy milk. I could feel the energy and hype flowing through my body, bringing light to my dull life. I resonated with Ryuko. I could feel her struggle and her desire to surpass her limitations, something that struck me hard. Everything suddenly stopped when I heard the words:

    DON’T LOSE YOUR WAAAAAYYYYYYYYY

    and I started trembling. That was me, I feel like I’ve been “losing my way” these past years. I haven’t been able to hold a steady job, my grades were starting to slip, and my parents suspect that I’m gay. It was right then and there that I knew that I had to get my shit together. I can’t think of any other anime that has had such a profound effect on me, let alone on the first episode. Tomorrow, I’m going to be a better man. Thank you, Kill la Kill, thank you Trigger. I won’t lose my way.

  21. Ken
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    I like this first episode very much and I have high hopes for it, but I’m afraid it might simply turn into a predictable battle of the week anime. From this setup we can expect to see Matoi battle her way up the ladder of opponents all the way to face the Student Body President who killed her father and get revenge – end of story. If that’s all it is then I’m going to be disappointed. I would just like to see it surprise me with some plot twists and non one-dimensional characters. I enjoyed Inferno Cop and Little Witch Academia so I want Trigger to hit the bullseye with this one.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      A battle of the week series can be fine in its own way if the battles are sufficiently creative. Given the way Gurren Lagann proceeded, though, I don’t think it will be quite so simple as that.

      • ken
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Thats good to hear. I guess I’m one of the few anime fans who wasn’t able to put up with more than four episodes of Gurren Lagann. Let’s see how long I can put up with this one.

        I hope Inferno Cop makes a guest appearance.

      • Rhadamanthys
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        You’ve probably heard this before, but I’d definitely recommend trying to get further through TTGL. The first few episodes aren’t anything special, and they aren’t really representative of the series as a whole.

      • Wodes
        Posted October 6, 2013 at 12:06 am | Permalink

        Please, please get to episode 8 of TTGL. That’s when it gets REALLY good. It literally took me two months to get through the first 8 episodes and a day to finish the series from there.

      • Ken
        Posted October 6, 2013 at 1:48 am | Permalink

        Okay. You convinced me. I will give the rest of TTGL a try, even though the character who dies was spoiled to me 300 times everywhere I go on the internet. I guess that’s unavoidable with a show that’s been out for this long.

  22. Posted October 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    When Eccentric Family came out I said “This makes me watch anime again”, then EF stopped being good… Now this show makes me watch anime again, I’m scared…

    • Ken
      Posted October 6, 2013 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      What bothered me the most about Eccentric Family was the fact that the villain literally got away with murder. He sold his brother and nephew off to be eaten and just ran away to a spa or something. The resolution was meh.

      Anyway, you can play it safe by waiting for a series to be over, read the reviews, and then marathon it. But sometimes it’s fun to watch it weekly live. You avoid spoilers and its like rooting for a show to be good while watching it.

  23. luffyluffy
    Posted October 6, 2013 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    “Go Nagai’s wet dream” is a great way to describe this.

    The first episode really reminded me of Kekko Kamen, actually I think frying Miami is the only thing Princial Toenail of Satan HASN’T tried to do yet.

    I’m incredibly pleased, keep it up Trigger!!

  24. Grey
    Posted October 6, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Woah, this really is fresh. The last time I was impressed by some aesthetics like this was FLCL, and soul taker before that…
    Just hoping the suit changes soon, IT is a little disturbing.
    (I’m still not sure i like the best friend/maniac girl, let’s see)

  25. Billish
    Posted October 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    That was… insane. I gasped at that transformation sequence not only for how awesome that character model was but how natural – and by that I mean lunatic – it seemed.

  26. yuukisama2001
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I watched the first 4 on Aniplex’s new streaming site and in many ways after the first episode the first thought that comes to me is that Kill la Kill has many qualities that are reflective of Go Nagai. Hot blooded heroes, demonic possessions that give you godly powers, over the top action, crazy side-kick butt monkeys who worship the cool ass hero and of course the shameless fanservice. This was why Re:Cutie Honey worked because Imaishi knew just what Cutey Honey could have been vs what it was back in the 1970’s. Then there’s Kekko Kamen. Just imagine if Imaishi decided to reboot that? You have to admit Imaishi is really a new face pusing quite a bit of envelopes, you either like his stuff or you hate it. But the important thing is despite the insanity and fanservice can we take home something that will make the series worthy? Will we be able to say he lived up to putting this story together from beginning to end despite releasing the bull in the China shop? I’m starting to think Imaishi will be synonymous with “over the top”. I don’t think I’ve seen any animator that pulls off what he can do. His work is a harken back to the old days of OS robot shows of the 70’s and 80’s, with some new revivals from the 90’s (ie. Mazinkaiser, GaoGaiGar). I’d be curious to ask Imaish where does he draw his inspiration from.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      >Re:Cutie Honey worked because Imaishi knew just what Cutey Honey could have been vs what it was back in the 1970′s.
      Are you implying that the Cutie Honey 70s manga wasn’t as over the top as Imaishi’s version?

      >inb4 original anime
      The 70s Cutie Honey anime has nothing to do with Go Nagai.

      RE:Cutie Honey is tame in comparison to what Nagai actually came up with to entertain his readers.

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