So Kill La Kill is a PRETTY AWESOME show. But it actually turns out to be even more awesome and clever than even I had realized.
First off, it turns out that Kill La Kill actually makes a ton of covert anime references. And it does so in a way that I really like, namely because if you miss the reference, the show is still good! It doesn’t fall into the trap of so many anime nowadays where referential humor has almost become a crutch, and is obsessed with parodying and emulating the most recent trends. The references it makes are frequently to older shows (ans it seems stuff related to Gainax in the past), and more recently genre archetypes. Episode 4, for instance, went to great lengths to parody shounen tropes in ways that were hilarious to those of us who knew them but not essential for the episode to be hilarious.
Second, it seems the fanservice in Kill La Kill was in fact even cleverer than I had previously noted. Namely, it represents some recurring themes present in many of Go Nagai‘s works and has some pretty deep significance in the show.
Third, it’s actually inspired a ton of differing reactions around the blogosphere, many of which are evolving responses to other responses, including some of the ones listed above. On almost every level, there seems to be a hell of a lot going on other than just absolutely wacky antics, and it might be useful to keep this in mind to prevent the same thing that happened to Hyouka (essentially being pigeonholed) happening here. There is some value in seeing the connections between Kill La Kill and say TTGL, but we should try and judge it on its own terms I think. That’s just my opinion though – you’re more than welcome to just screw all this nonsense and just enjoy the ride!
Lastly, I wanted to throw out some random stuff from the weekly TRIGGER newsletter/magazine (which is really cool – can I fall more in love with this studio?!) for anyone who’s not currently subscribed. Much of what they send us each week is interesting and helps me put the show in context, both on the production side and on what it seems to be trying to do. If these snippets look interesting, you can subscribe here.
Higuchi: “KILL la KILL is a very distinct series, and I think we can agree that the talking sailor uniform got everyone’s attention. To those who are familiar with very old anime series and I mean “really” old series might have caught on to the similarities with Dokonjo Gaeru. Yes, KILL la KILL is influenced heavily by anime from the Showa period. Other series such as Sakigake!! Otokojuku,Harisu no Kaze, and other major titles from the Showa period was brought to topic numerous time in the production meeting as well.”
Tatsuru: “Since Higuchi was talking about the Showa period anime, I would like to introduce a frame with the “Harmony” process applied. Sadly, I wont go into details since it is out of my expertise, but it is a frame that is colored and completed by the background artist. It is a style of process that was popular in the older anime series. Some of you older folks might find these cut a bit nostaligic.”
Issue 3 (they skipped one):
Higuchi: “In this week’s episode we were introduced to Mako’s family. I believe the word ‘crazy’ best describes her family. No wonder she grew up to become such a unique individual. Whenever I watch KILL la KILL, it reminds me of this specific act from Mr. Nakashima’s theatrical play Hana no Kurenai Tengu. This act also happens to be Mr. Imaishi’s favorite, and the title is ‘I will take the path I trust. Vigorously, even if there are no roads.'”
Higuchi: “Some of you may already know, but KILL la KILL was originally planned to become the typical monster/villain of the week style of anime. The first time I attended the staff meeting was a year and a half before the airing of KILL la KILL started. And, that just happened to be the time when the staff decided to throw that style of composition out. With the static format gone, the weekly meeting became even more hectic, and it was almost impossible to keep up with the conversation if I were to take even one week off. It got a little long, but what I wanted to say is that KILL la KILL will really fire up after episode 3! Starting with episode 4, I bet it will sucker punch you with the out of the ordinary taste!”
Higuchi: “It may be a surprise but all of the KILL la KILL episode titles come from popular Showa Japanese songs! Mr. Nakashima carefully picked out the most fitting song title for each episode, taking in the artist and the lyrics itself into account. The main staff would gather early to a meeting and listen to these songs to further discuss about the episode the individual songs were bound to. Believe it or not, these song titles were taken into account from a very early stage of production. To those who are familiar, the song title will feel nostalgic. To those who aren’t, the title should definitely leave a strong impression. For example「とても不幸な朝が来た」(Totemo Fuko na asa ga kita; Dawn of a Miserable Morning) the episode title for the fourth episode is a great example. I’m sure for those who saw the fourth episode can agree with me! If you have never listened to these songs before, it’s definitely worth your time! Many of these titles are catchy and unique, and pack a punch that contemporary songs do not have.”
Oh, and here’s a random interview.