From studio Trigger, who brought you the equally bombastic and visually enthralling Gurren Lagann, is the explosive shounen satire Kill la Kill. Its distinctive art style is simultaneously throwback and novel in a series that’s the animated equivalent of ADHD. Put simply, Kazuki Nakashima’s brainchild centres on vagabond high schooler Ryuko Matoi searching for her dad’s killer. Armed with her scissor blade, she comes to Honnouji Academy where the students, led by the dictator-like Satsuki Kiryuin, wear Goku uniforms which grant them abilities and strength.
The third and final entry in the collector’s Blu-ray editions may only contain the last five episodes (plus the OVA), but fortunately it’s the best part of the series. The climactic collection is packed with familial revelations in the violent melodrama of Ryuko’s life. Over the course of her vengeance quest, Ryuko wins the viewer over with aplomb as the figurehead of a motley crew of characters as ridiculous as they are loveable.
Although the series winds up the overblown tropes of shounen (the convoluted action and transformation sequences in particular), it has its pervy cake and eats it. Sure, it frames the outrageous outfits and unflattering transformations as satire, but it’s still there and present like the harem shows relishing echhi it purports to lampoon. It’ll put off plenty of viewers but, taken with a pinch of salt, it’s pretty hilarious just how excessive the creative team take it.
Despite that, Kill la Kill is deceptively clever, offering a skewering look at the darker side of the fashion industry and, if you can look past the gratuitous fan service, body image. It’s inflected with themes of homogenisation and identity, alongside the usual suspects of friendship and perseverance, but you’d be fool to take it completely seriously.
At this stage in the series, Kill la Kill has shed a lot of its goofy skin and sticks to its convictions, morphing into something altogether darker and more unhinged, an apocalyptic and psychedelic tale that doesn’t scrimp on light relief or the imaginatively concealed nudity. It’ll set you back a small fortune, but with the best of the series to hand, plus the OVA and art booklet, you’d be hard pressed not to snaffle it up.
Special Features: Kill la Kill Digest Naked Memories by Aikuro Mikisugi / Clean opening / Clean closing / OVA Episode 25 / 132-page booklet
INFO: KILL LA KILL – COLLECTOR’S EDITION PART 3 OF 3 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: HIROYUKI IMAISHI / SCREENPLAY: KAZUKI NAKASHIMA / STARRING: AMI KOSHIMIZU, RYOKA YUZUKI, ROMI PARK, YUKARI TAMURA / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 29TH