Kill la Kill Episode 2: Grand Slam, Honnouji Style
AND I THOUGHT LAST WEEK’S EPISODE WAS INTENSE. This just blew that out of the water! Where to even begin? Following her victory, Ryuko makes a tactical retreat as it turns out her uniform (dubbed Senketsu for “fresh blood”) continually feeds on her blood to grant her superhuman powers. Her uniform is also of a different class to the Goku/Ultima Uniforms, and is dubbed a Godrobe. She then awakes in Mako’s house and returns to Honnouji Academy with her, where Mako is belted by high speed tennis balls for missing practice the previous day (which she missed because she was strung up above a pot of boiling oil). Ryuko then challenges the captain of the tennis club to a match, which is conducted in spectacular style. It also turns out the Satsuki wields a blade capable of cutting even a Godrobe, and is fully aware of its existence, lending extra mystery to her character.
A brief summary of what was an action packed episode! This episode was just as crazy as the last, featuring a tennis match that featured tennis balls breaking racquets, cracking the court and a court surrounded by massive spikes. Obviously, nothing in Kill la Kill is going to be understated.
Once again, the episode was ripe with humour. Mako’s absolutely hilarious family was definitely the standout for me. Everything about that opening scene amazing, and really summed up what Mako is all about. Intense, energetic and completely deranged. Her father is a doctor that has killed more people than he’s saved, has a neon sign above the house advertising that, and her mother actively condones violence against the members of her family for stress relief. I was cackling madly with laughter. Then there was Mikisugi’s introduction where he slowly stripped… I really don’t get why, but it was amusing. Ryuko’s expressions throughout all of this only make it funnier, with her acting as the straight man. Although, to be honest, I would probably be wearing the same expression if I was her.
While Kill la Kill is obviously not taking itself seriously at all, there were still some serious parts of the episode, mainly relating to Satsuki and her regime. Her comments on how traditionally Japanese school uniforms resemble military uniforms was really interesting, and not something I’d ever considered before. She’s chosen to turn that on it’s head; now the school uniforms are military uniforms which bestow superhuman powers to their wearers. Another interesting thing to observe was that in the factory where the Ultima Uniforms are being produced, a lot of glowing red fibres (like those the Godrobe appears to consume following the defeat of a Honnouji Academy student) were floating around. I would say these are the power source of the Ultima Uniforms, so what exactly do they do, and where did they come from?
Also, the Sewing Club is the key to Honnouji Academy’s conquest of Japan. I don’t know, I found that quite amusing.
I’m also very curious as to who exactly Kiryuin Satsuki is. Why does she desire to conquer Japan? What drove her to desire an absolute rule? Next episode might shed some light on this, as we see there are flashbacks to Satsuki’s youth. Something drove her to regard all humans as pigs, but what exactly was that? And how did she end up with a Godrobe of her own? How is she connected to Ryuko and her father?
One thing I have noticed (and I would say everyone else watching) is the fanservice we’ve seen. I don’t think it’s strictly necessary for Kill la Kill to engage in it so much, as the show would still be entertaining without it. That said, I do think that it also fits with the show. Kill la Kill is about excess and extremes, so naturally the ultimate uniform is going to be exaggerated and ridiculous. Kill la Kill is quite self aware, so I don’t think the fanservice is there as fanservice, per say, but there to add another layer of outrageousness to the show. Incredible fights, excessive violence, impossibly bizarre characters, the art style and direction are all huge and bordering on overkill, so I think it’s only natural to throw fanservice in there as well. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really take anything away from the show.
In terms of the technical aspects Hiroyuki Sawano continues to do an amazing job with the soundtrack. This episode featured some amazing backing tracks, and I’m really liking the track that plays when Ryuko delivers her final asskicking with Mika Kobayashi. Sawano is one of my favourite composers, so I can’t wait to see what big, bold tracks he comes up with for an anime like Kill la Kill. The art style continues to amuse me, especially scenes where Ryuko is making ridiculous faces. The rushed style, rapid sweeps and outrageous character designs really make Kill la Kill a very cohesive package and convey the message that this is going to be a bold anime saturated with the ridiculous.