- Characters: 9/10
- Plot: 8/10
- Visuals (Animation + Style): 8/10
- Audio (Score + VA): 10/10
- OVERALL: 9/10
CHARACTERS – 9/10
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Kill la Kill was its characters, nearly all of whom were likeable and had an element of depth to them. The characters that you ended up hating, however, were designed to be hated, and so I think that speaks well of the direction they were taken and how their actions were executed. Every character underwent some level of development or had their character explored so that you could get a feeling of what their motivations were, and a deeper understanding of them. In fact, nearly every character had their past explored to give you perspective on what brought them to the point there were currently at, which I really appreciated.
Not only that, but the relationship between characters was explored really well, too. Ryuko and Mako’s relationship was always heartwarming, and constantly making me smile because of their crazy hijinks. Similarly, the constantly developing relationship between Ryuko and Senketsu was touching and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. If you’d told me I’d be invested in the feelings of a piece of clothing six months ago, I would have laughed at you, but here we are! Trigger pulled it off!
My favourite relationship in the show would have to be that of Satsuki and her Four Devas, though. Their undying loyalty to her, her respect for them and their adopted family dynamic is something I have a real soft spot for, and Trigger pulled it off remarkably well. What I really appreciated, though, was how the Four Devas were not characters whose existence and identities were solely dependant on Satsuki; each character got their time in the limelight, and had discrete, discernible characteristics. It made the cast extensive and the show a lot easier to watch, because you cared no matter who was on screen.
The nature of the show, by which everything was overblown and turned up to eleven meant that everyone was larger than life, and that just added to the fun of the characters. Nui’s sickly sweetness and vindictive nature, Ragyo’s booming contralto and chewing the scenery, Satsuki’s unwavering resolve and constant badassery, and Ryuko’s gritty determination were some huge highlights, but really, every character had something memorable about them. I’m not going to go into details, but basically, you will love almost everyone a lot. And those you don’t, you’ll hate with a fiery passion.
PLOT – 8/10
The plot was fairly simple for both arcs; searching for a killer which then turned into a fight for humanity’s survival. However, I think that by keeping it simple, Trigger managed to pull it off effectively, and use the simple plot as a backdrop to showcase the strength of their characters and let them develop more easily, which I think was a great decision, as the characters are definitely the show’s biggest strength.
It also served as an excuse the wild battles the show is known for. Almost every fight in the series is a visual spectacle, and pulls off some absolutely crazy shit. Each battle feels as though it belongs at the end of any other series, but it’s just par for the course in Kill la Kill. The third episode features the destruction of the school, just for perspective.
VISUALS (ANIMATION + STYLE) – 8/10
It’s no secret that Kill la Kill was put together on a shoestring budget. There are many off model shots, some clever panning and many stills. So animation overall is average, however there are some scenes which are animated beautifully; especially a lot of the major fight scenes.
My 8/10 is because what Kill la Kill lacks in KyoAni quality animation, it makes up for in style. The visual direction of the series and design of the characters, locations and outfits is all top notch. Stylistically, it is very slick, and it utilised camera angles and lighting very well. It was always bright and colourful and exciting to watch. Yes, Trigger somehow made stills in a fight scene exciting and high energy.
I could probably sum this up by saying, “Hiroyuki Sawano wrote the score.” And really, that does sum it up. Sawano is a fantastic composer who manages to meld classical instruments with contemporary elements to great effect, and his work on Kill la Kill is some of his best yet. Particular standouts are Before My Body is Dry (also known as DON’T LOSE YOUR WAY), Blumenkranz (Ragyo Kiryuin’s theme), KIRYUG@KILL (Satsuki Kiryuin’s theme), KILLaKILL (Nui Harime’s theme) and a few as yet unreleased tracks. The choice of music for each scene was also selected really well, and fit each scene perfectly.
In terms of OPs and EDs, the first OP, Sirius, was a decent track, but is definitely blown out of the water by its successor, Ambiguous, which complements the series perfectly, especially with the visuals which accompany it. The first ED, (Sorry, I Can’t be a Good Girl Anymore), is a great theme, too.
The voice work for Kill la Kill was also excellent, with every VA giving it their all, trying to out-ham each other in a world where every character shouts in everyday conversation. Special mention must go to Romi Park’s Ragyo Kiryuin, whose performance stole the show every time she was on screen.
OVERALL – 9/10
Kill la Kill was high energy from start to finish. With memorable characters you’re guaranteed to fall in love with, a strong visual direction and fantastic sound to back it up, the series comes with a very high recommendation from me. It’s a fantastic first work for Studio Trigger, and I am SO looking forward to the OVA in September!