The Salty Anime Challenge – Day 2: A Popular and/or Hyped Anime that You Didn’t Care For

The one anime that really comes to mind here is Kill La Kill.

I hadn’t heard much of a bad word against Kill la Kill. I had many people suggest it to me, and they gave it very high praise for how crazy, funny and action-packed it was, but I just found it to be, overall, irritating. It’s a lazy plot coupled with a mostly uninteresting main lead and antagonist with one of the most overpowered and ridiculously designed battle outfits I’ve ever seen.

I still can’t wrap my head around this. How does she breathe without triggering the censors?

Outside of that, it’s pure noise. It is trying way too hard to be the ‘craziest anime ever’. It never takes a damn break from the gigantic blocks of red text being pelted at the screen every three minutes to the constant yelling to the somewhat ugly art and animation.

I’m no stranger to crazy loud anime, but they usually know when to pump the brakes. Kill La Kill is like running on a treadmill, setting a time to get off and then realizing you’re handcuffed to it. You think it’s alright at first, but eventually, it gets exhausting and miserable.

Let me be completely fair – I never completed this series. I never made it beyond the commercial break in episode two. I really don’t like doing that, but I had no interest in going further. Maybe it gets better. I don’t know. But I didn’t feel like I was enjoying it enough to give it more of my time.

Episode One-Derland Kill La Kill

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Plot: Ryuko is a new transfer student at Honnouji Academy, a…’prestigious?’ academy that is run like a crazy house. The students and faculty alike are under the reign of the student council, especially the president, Satsuki.

Ryuko is in search of her father’s killer, who holds the other half of her signature weapon, a giant pair of scissors. She believes Satsuki knows something about the killer, but needs to get through the crazy and powerful goku-uniform-wearing student body in order to even get a chance at challenging her and learning of her father’s killer.

She doesn’t stand a chance against them without her own form of the goku uniform, which she finds underneath her destroyed house. With her powerful and skimpy outfit on and her scissor in hand, she will take down anyone in her way.

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Ah, Kill la Kill. Another of those ultra-hyped mega anime that everyone swamps their panties over yet continue to disappoint me when I give them a chance.

Well, I gave this a chance, and so far it’s disappointing.

If I had to describe Kill la Kill in one phrase it would be ‘trying too hard’. It really seems like it’s trying to be as crazy, hyper and outlandish as possible at every turn. Even when it’s seemingly taking a break, it’s really not. The fact that it can’t go two minutes without bombarding the audience with gigantic blocks of red text to introduce characters and weapons is just a highlight of how much it wants the viewer to pay attention to how crazy and loud it is.

And it’s doing it with such a lazy plot. Main character wields a powerful weapon or two that she inherited from her dead father, the one who was murdered. She’s avenging said father by fighting a bunch of overpowered cronies of a person who is clearly either responsible for it or is strongly linked to it. Each crony has their own unique abilities and trademarks that the main character will have to overcome until the big ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny with the main baddie who, in the end, will likely not be the actual main baddie.

Really, outside of the weird murderous crazy monarchy of the school, that’s about it. It’s pretty much as cliché as you get. Speaking of the school, everyone who is not a zero-star student gets something called a goku uniform. These are uniforms that somehow give the wearer special abilities that can be tailored to the user’s preferences and capabilities. The weakest is one-star, while the strongest, I assume, is the four-star, which Satsuki, I assume, must wear.

Ryuko’s not much to write home about so far. She’s a fight-happy brute with lots of determination and heart. Tournament fighter protagonist activate.

Satsuki’s not really that impressive either. We don’t see her do anything in this episode besides stand above everyone else looking intimidating.

The only other character of note who looks to be a main character is Mako, a zero-star student at the school who is a really nice airhead.

As for the episode as a starter, it’s all over the place. We start with some kid getting reprimanded for stealing a one-star goku uniform. He tries to combat one of Satsuki’s most loyal cronies, whose name has already escaped me despite being thrown in my face giant-red-text-style at least twice.

He obviously loses and ends up later getting killed and hung outside the school as a message to other students about what happens when you oppose the student counsel. While I guess this is a decent introduction to the workings of the school and the goku uniforms…..was this kid a complete dumbass?

I assume being a student of the school meant he was well aware of the powers of the uniforms yet he stole, of all things, a one-star uniform? And thought he could combat a three-star with it? Other than depicting the differences in power in the rankings of the uniforms, I see no reason for this complete dumbass to have done such a thing.

Ryuko shows up and already causes trouble when she first comes across Satsuki who recognizes the scissor sword thing and has some knowledge of Ryuko’s father’s murder.

She tries to challenge her but ends up fighting a three-star crony who is decked out in a uniform specially tailored for those in the boxing club. She tries and completely fails to even land a strike on the guy and subsequently has to flee before getting finished off.

As she sulks in her burned down home, she falls into an underground section of the house that she never knew of. An open wound causes blood to spill on a rock, and out comes a crazy talking and moving sailor uniform who forces itself on her in exchange for more blood. This was one of two moments in the series that got a ‘wtf’ out of me. I mean, what is this thing? Why does it thirst for blood? Why can it talk and move? Why is it crazy?

Later, Mako is being held hostage by the student counsel in order to flush Ryuko out of hiding. They’re hanging her upside down because fanservice and plan to dip her in a vat of boiling oil to literally fry her. Out from the audience bursts Ryuko who saves Mako and is again challenged by the boxing three-star dude. However, a quick removal of her cloak reveals what is one of the dumbest outfits I’ve ever seen.

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What the hell is that? I thought she had a sailor uniform on. That is most definitely not a sailor uniform. That is some shoulder pads, suspenders, tiny panties, an even tinier skirt and topped off with red high heels and thigh-high stockings that are also being held up by suspenders. Our hero, a cosplaying stripper.

This was the second wtf moment, because I really thought, at the very least, that they’d try to make Ryuko a respectable and kick-ass lead. But nope. She has to wear….that.

I’m not going to get into a rant on ‘strong female leads’ being turned into fanservice dispensers, but, really, guys in the audience, would you like it if every shounen fighting anime protagonist wore a thong all the time, even in battles? Would Goku seem as bad-ass? Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho? Luffy from One Piece?

The reason I wtfed at this was because, up until now, the fanservice has been light at most. Even Mako hanging upside down only showed some side-boob (underboob?) and…well, they said her panties were showing, but I couldn’t see them. We also had a girl in a bikini introducing the boxing rounds, but that wasn’t much. This just came out of nowhere. I was bitchslapped by fanservice.

You want to know something else? The design of that thing isn’t even the real reason I’m upset. It’s the fact that this outfit is so OP that she can take out boxing guy with 100% no problem now. The guy who handed her ass to her in a gift-wrapped box with a bow made out of her teeth was completely blown away without a sweat all because of that outfit. Because screw having to actually work and get stronger on your own. It’s all about getting things that make you powerful.

What’s even more disturbing is….that uniform supposedly used to belong to her father….so….he wore that?…..uhhhh….huh.

So yeah, the entire series is seemingly gearing up to be kinda like a tournament fighter….only, considering she already beat a three-star with no problem, will be probably be inconsistent with her opponents in the future.

I saw a commenter on Hulu saying this reminded them of FLCL, and while FLCL was indeed crazy, at least it knew when to take breaks and when to spring craziness on us to be funny. At least it had an original, albeit confusing and unfinished, story. This just leaves me tired and confused with little incentive to get invested.

Otherwise, the animation is terrible in a lot of spots and only decent at best with art that is very reminiscent of Gurren Laggan, which makes sense given this is animated by Trigger, the same company who produced Gurren Laggan.

The music is fine, but none of it really stuck with me.

The voice acting gets some decent points with me as I believe everyone, Japanese version, were really good and putting their all into their roles. One exception being some pink-haired chick in Satsuki’s posse. That girl’s voice is horrendous.

Final Verdict:

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I was just going to throw a ‘yes’ at this because I can see myself just flipping this on to see if the show is getting any better, but I suppose that does fit more with ‘undecided.’ I only got a little bit of entertainment from this episode no matter how much the show really tried to force me into enjoying it. Maybe if it finds a better rhythm later on I might enjoy it more, but for now it’s on the fence.

Edit6/11/17: After a long break from this show, I returned to it to give it some more of a shot and….I quit halfway into episode 2. I don’t usually like suddenly dropping shows like that, especially without completing an episode I started watching, but I quickly came to the realization that this show is even more annoying that I remember. It is just constant noise, and blocks of red text and yelling and cuts and randomness that they keep insisting is comedy. I just couldn’t sit through it, let alone get invested. I can see how someone might get into this, but it’s just not for me.

Updated status: Incomplete, but altered to a NO.