We’re back at Honnouji baby! The most ridiculous school to ever grace the realm of anime. Don’t believe me? Then you clearly haven’t watched Kill la Kill. Which is weird considering that you’re reading the second instalment of a review. But I won’t judge, the more the merrier as they say. So sit back, relax and hold on tight as we take another trip into a dictatorship that prides itself on snazzy clothes.
Just when you were getting a handle on how Hannouji works and where those within the system stand, boom, mysterious figure straight from left field. He buff. He’s got a red Mohawk. He’s got super needle machine guns that weaken Goku Uniforms. But worse than all of that, he’s got his sights set on Ryuko. She cannot catch a break can she? Though her opponents have been rather pedestrian of late, Tsumugu (Mohawk guy) serves as one hell of a wake-up call…to all off us. With a vendetta against Senketsu, due to the nature of his creation, Tsumugu proves relentless in his approach, decimating countless Hannouji students in his fight, despite not possessing super powered clothes of his own. But perhaps the most important, and surprising, moment is when he creates a situation in which nudity is taken seriously. More than that, it’s down right frightening, showing that even amidst all of the chaos and humour, this series carries a dramatic intensity behind it.
Said sentiment is continued completely when we witness firsthand the corruptive power of greed. Characters who appear completely implacable are twisted into strangers who are truly unlikeable. To be honest, it really makes you think about the validity of Satsuki’s world view. Of course we are almost immediately posed with a more hopeful alternative, but it is still difficult to unsee what was seen. But at the end of the day, in both situations, friendships are made stronger and characters continue to evolve. Whilst from the outside this may seem like a series that exists purely for action and fanservice, it can really make you feel when it wants to.
But the most important moment of this short collection is the instigation of Hannouji Acadmey’s biggest system shake up in…well, ever. And so begins the brilliantly titled Naturals Election (Seriously, wish I’d come up with that name). Within the rules of the tournament, those who win will receive the benefits of a Two Star Goku Uniform, and thus will work their way up in this twisted world. As one might expect with such a prize dangling before an entire student body, chaos ensues. The hallways run red with students blood (metaphorically, though possibly literally offscreen) as countless background characters vie for their time in the sun. Of course, we do not care in the slightest about that as Ryuko and the Elite Four are also taking part in the festivities. Unsurpisingly, this leads to a climactic finale wherein Ryuko finally gets the chance to kick some Elite Four butt…again, because she already fought Sanageyama, but we’re past that now. And with this particular release ending after only one fight, there’s still three more Elite Four waiting to be taken down.
In addition to showing off their interesting, but still awesomely designed Regalia (the transformation of a Three Star Goku Uniform), Sanageyama and Gamagoori’s battles are intertwined with flashbacks to their first meeting with the incomporable Satsuki Kiryuin. From said jaunt down memory lane, we learn that both were tremendously powerful students in their own right, with Sanageyama helming a rabble of banchos and Gamagoori standing on the student council…then they were roundly bested by their future President. Though not tremendously long sequences, they give us some insight into why they follow the harsh Lady Satsuki. Though from what we see of Gamagoori’s Regalia, he probably relishes in the harsh treatment. Whatever floats your boat I guess…
Seeing as this collection features episodes 5-9, there isn’t much to say about the visuals and audio that I didn’t already mention when speaking about episodes 1-4. The visuals bounce between intensely shadowed defining shots, to choppy chibi figures (mostly Mako) that spin across the screen. It’s weird, it’s crazy, it’s totally Kill la Kill and it totally rocks. The vocal performances of each character are (still) right on the money, capturing the often larger than life personalities of the characters that populate this high school regime. Which is saying something.
5-9 episodes in and Kill la Kill is still one beautiful ball of chaos. Jumping back into things with a biker wielding twin needlers and a grudge, we jump to a rags to bitches story, then round things off with some serious curb stomp battles. Hell, even our protagonist gets taken down a few pegs…then hit a lot…then literally pummeled into the ground. But she gets back up, ready to bring the pain and look good doing it, though that’s more of a side effect than an intention. The Elite Four finally kick it into high gear and show us just why they are called Elite, though we already knew why they were called Four. So, stuck in the middle of an event that would make Charles Darwin wonder what the hell is going on, we must once again wait impatiently until Ryuko and her super powered, tightly hugging ally, and also Senketsu, do what they do best and disrupt the powers that be in Hannouji Academy. Isn’t school just the best?
Do you have what it takes to survive the Naturals Election? Head to Madman and find out