Trying to sum up what happened in this ending is both difficult and yet surprisingly easy. So Lady Gaga wants to cover the world in alien clothing and have humanity give itself up to clothes, but then her daughter and her sailor uniform, who are both part human and part clothing(?), kill the mother and then everyone gets naked. That’s the difficult bit out of the way. Now comes the easy part of explaining what this is supposed to mean and symbolise: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Lots of fun, but otherwise clothes and stuff.
Before I get into this little tirade, I want to first make it clear that I really enjoyed watching Kill la Kill. It was a blast week to week, particularly when they got more creative with the battles. The fights with the Elite Four were my favourite parts of the whole series, particularly the battle with the music conductor and the two of them flying around the battlefield paying no attention to the rules of warfare. That and Mako cracked me up week after week. It will definitely end up on my top 10 anime of 2014 at the end of the year, barring an extraordinary miracle and we get tons of absolutely amazing anime.
That said, you know that feeling you get when you finish an awesome anime and your life feels a little bit empty afterwards? Like moving on from this will leave a hole in your heart where those characters lived for the past 6 months. Saying goodbye to the series feels bittersweet because of the great times you had but now it’s over? I got none of that from finishing Kill la Kill. Not even a sliver, and I get that feeling sometimes from finishing anime that aren’t even that good. I got bits of that from finishing stuff like Kamisama Dolls and Hanasaku Iroha. Kill la Kill? Oh, it’s over? Welp, guess we’re moving on.
I had no attachment to anything that was going on. Not any of the characters and certainly not the plot. Satsuki’s change from villain to hero feels quite silly looking back on it. I wouldn’t call the hellish conditions enforced by Satsuki, where she had people collapse in molten lava to get to school, as the actions of someone merely misguided who just needs to see the light. The only way they were allowed to do it was by introducing a villain even more stupidly evil. Matoi is pretty one-dimensional and spent the series mostly just yelling a lot. Coming to terms with who she was made for a decent enough arc I’ll grant her that. With no emotional attachment to the characters and nothing invested in what happened to the plot, my enjoyment feels superficial.
I’ve heard the argument that I shouldn’t have even been expecting any great story or characters from Kill la Kill. It was never that kind of show. You should just accept it for what it is and have fun because that’s clearly what it’s trying to do. Which I partly agree with. I do think they were trying to make engaging characters and didn’t really achieve that because the writing wasn’t up to scratch but Kill la Kill was definitely made with the intention of just having lots of fun explosions and naked people. It was tonally consistent in that regard. And indeed I did have fun with it and mostly only viewed it on that level. But you don’t hand out a prize for someone doing the high jump over a bar 50cm off the ground. I enjoyed Kill la Kill, but my enjoyment wasn’t that high due to Kill la Kill’s own limitations. I’m excited to see what anime Trigger do next (or the anime after next, since their next is a crappy light novel adaptation). I just hope they hire a better writer next time.