Kill la Kill Episode 1 [First Impression]
Revenge, super powered uniforms and masses ruled by a cold-blooded school girl. What more could you ask for in an anime?
First off, can I just say WOW. What a huge first episode! From the get go, Kill la Kill kicks it into high gear. Everything about this episode was high intensity: the colourful characters, the art style, the cinematography and of course, the actual plot.
We open with a fairly innocuous classroom scene, but quickly come to realise the show is going to be anything but innocuous when a massive foot kicks the door down and in walks a platoon of soldiers. From there on it only gets crazier. We see the Head of Disciplinary Measures duke it out with a rebellious student in amazing style. Whips extend from his uniform and fling the rebel across the entire school. And this school isn’t small by any stretch.
From there, we’re introduced to our protagonist, the fiery Matoi Ryuko. She’s on a mission to find out who killed her father, and her search has brought her to Honnouji Academy. She meets Mako Mankanshoku, who tells her the top dog is Student Council President, Kiryuin Satsuki. Naturally, as all hot-blooded heronies do, she charges in to fight, but is quickly beaten back by one of Satsuki’s subordinates wielding the power of a uniform. Defeated, she retreats to her old home, only to discover a mysterious uniform. She returns to the Academy, fights the subordinate and wins with her new set of duds.
*deep breath* So yeah, a lot happens in 24 minutes. AND IT IS GLORIOUS. It really sets the stage for what is going to be one wild ride. Kill la Kill has got me excited and interested for a number of reasons. Not only was it immensely entertaining, but it introduced a number of plot points I’m really keen to see resolved. Every second of the episode had something keeping your eyes glued to the screen. And it’s not all just over-the-top action; Kill la Kill is setting itself up to provide an engrossing narrative and some great humour, too! Mako is an absolute riot, and I think she’s going to provide some fantastic comic relief. Pretty much every action she took and every word out of her mouth had me laughing out loud. Especially that classroom scene where she devours her lunch in about five seconds and promptly falls to sleep. I just about choked on my food.
A key plot point introduced are the Goku uniforms. In the world of Kill la Kill, these uniforms bestow superhuman powers to their wearers, and there is some sort of hierarchy denoted by the number of stars a uniform possesses. I’m interested to know why or how these uniforms give their wearers such powers, but whether or not this will be addressed remains to be seen. I think that the narrative of Kill la Kill probably won’t bother with the how, but more the why. Why do these uniforms exist, and who created them? What did they hope to achieve? I’m sure this is also linked directly to Ryuko’s past, considering that the hidden basement of her destroyed home housed a mysterious, sentient uniform. My guess is her father had something to do with the creation of these uniforms, along with the Anti-Goku Uniform scissors she wields. I’d also say that Kiryuin Satsuki’s rise to power is also closely linked to this, too, given that she knows about the Anti-Goku scissors and seems to be aware of Ryuko.
This first episode has definitely established a strong and compelling narrative, and created a cogent environment. The atmosphere and visuals Honnouji Academy are hugely oppressive, and the Student Council is reminiscent of charismatic leaders, controlling the country with an iron grip. Satsuki’s opening speech was particularly impressive, I thought. It really set the scene for what life in Honnouji Academy must be like, and I felt it was pretty much a shout out to George Orwell’s 1984. Will Ryuko manage to overthrow Satsuki in her quest for revenge? Is it a necessity? It looks like the series is going to be a “Villain of the Week” affair, at least to begin with. Not that I mind, because it means we get to see more of these crazy fight scenes. Anyone who’s seen Gurren Lagann will definitely notice the similarities between the two series. Both series feature over the top, hugely intense fight scenes that rely on flashy moves and fast, exaggerated movements.
And it works so well! The opening fight between Gamagoori Ira and the rebel was nuts. I mean, Ira flings a student across a school yard that has to be at least the size of a football field (I’m being pretty conservative here). And Ryuko’s duel with the boxing captain was just exhilarating. Next week we can expect to see Ryuko take on a Goku Uniform powered tennis pro who can apparently fire off tennis balls at the rate and speed of a machine gun. I mean, if this is the kind of action we can expect to see for mere grunts, imagine what the fights with the Student Council are going to be like! Gurren Lagann had cosmos sized robots flinging galaxies around like frisbees. I am so excited to see what kind of madness Kill la Kill pulls out for that kind of fight.
Thematically, it will be interesting to see what kind of direction Kill la Kill takes. It would be silly to say that the messages Kill la Kill is all about are going to be anything less than overt, and as it stands, it’s clearly about revenge, power and totalitarianism. The cinematography and character designs really reinforce the whole atmosphere of a world controlled absolutely by Satsuki, and it’s going to be interesting to see just how powerful she truly is (both in terms of fighting ability and as a ruler). Kill la Kill doesn’t claim to be anything more than an anime about a girl out for revenge in a world dominated by an oppressive regime. But that’s not a bad thing; it means Kill la Kill isn’t pretending to be anything that it isn’t, and that we can expect it to be an honest series with clear direction. I can’t wait to see what direction it takes us in.
Possibility of blogging: Like you even need to ask. FO’ SHO’.