It’s been over two years since my better blogging half reviewed the first half of Kill la Kill, so I think it’s finally time to finish what she started and review the second half. YuriReviews may have lost its way when it comes to KLK, but our bond has gotten much stronger than before. Let’s go~
Picking up where things left off in the first half, the story takes several dramatic turns in the second cour, and however absurd the narrative may be, the execution is surprisingly effective. KLK won’t make anyone forget about the works of Tolstoy, but just because the storyline is silly, it doesn’t mean the entirety of the story is terrible. Well, I wouldn’t call it good either, but at the very least, it’s somewhat respectable. Compared to the first dozen episodes, the tone is darker, yet throughout it all, the series never loses its
way sense of humor. Just as it is with the action, comedy remains at the heart of what makes the series great. Years ago, if you were to have told me the major plot points of this anime, I probably wouldn’t have hesitated to say that the story must be shit, so it feels like quite the accomplishment that it actually turned out rather compelling.
Something that can’t go unsaid is that the ending is extremely anticlimactic and a big disappointment. There was one battle too many, and instead of going out with a bang, the story unfortunately goes out with a wimper. The OVA rights some of the wrongs of the main series and gives us proper goodbyes, yet it can’t erase what had already transpired. Nevertheless, as mediocre as the story may be, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still find it mostly enjoyable.
The story was a bit too wild for its own good, but every step of the way, the cast of characters make it a much more enjoyable experience. Like the first half, there isn’t a ton of character development, but considering how great and straightforward the characters already are, it’s not really a big deal (and it wasn’t really expected anyway). Anyone who’s watched an episode of this show can probably attest to how awesome the cast is. Ryuko, Satsuki, Mako, and pretty much every other character with a substantial role becomes even more likable, and if you’re like me, you’re basically loving all of the characters by the time the show ends.
To complement the already well-established characters, there are also others who see their screen time dramatically increase in the second cour. Among them, cycloptic loli fashionista Nui and disco MILF Ragyo. They have their time to shine in the second half, and they immediately become villains that you just love to hate, which is a pretty nice compliment. Also, the ladies aren’t the only ones that are half-naked, as the fellas of Nudist Beach strip down in order to save the world. The collection of interesting characters was already one of the biggest reasons for KLK‘s success, and the events of the second half make this strength even stronger. As a whole, this is probably my favorite cast of characters in anime. There’s great heroes, villains, comic relief, and enough characters with lovable quirks that you can’t really help but enjoy them all.
Director Hiroyuki Imaishi’s fingerprints are all over this anime, especially the visuals. Known for his breakneck animation style as seen in Dead Leaves and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, KLK really personifies that spirit and kicks it up another notch. Battles are a cacophany of blood and chaos, and it’s glorious. The art style may rub some people the wrong way, but I think it’s hard to deny that Kill la Kill looks great. Sure, it’s rough around the edges at various points, but when it matters the most, everything comes up aces. Another thing that may seem off-putting is the fanservice, but believe it or not, there’s a somewhat logical explanation for it. Well, it’s about as logical as the rest of the story, but it does make some sense. Distinctive and disorderly, KLK bleeds style and makes most other anime look bland in comparison.
Hiroyuki Sawano (Ao no Exorcist, Guilty Crown, Shingeki no Kyojin) is the mastermind behind the music of KLK, which explains why it’s so great. Keeping pace with the visuals is a tough task, but the audio is definitely up to it. From the flawless voice-acting to the phenomenal music, there isn’t all that much you can criticize regarding the audio. I suppose one could say that a few of the tracks are used a little too often, but if they’re really good, is that necessarily a bad thing? Several characters have their own theme songs, and they’re all very fitting and phenomenal. Like the Shingeki no Kyojin soundtrack, the KLK soundtrack also features a song sung in German, which serves as Ragyo’s theme. Even though Lena says that the German in this song “sounds horrible” and doesn’t sound accurate at all, it’s still a welcome addition to the show, in my opinion. 😛
During the first half, Ryuko and Satsuki were too busy fighting to really give us any worthwhile yuri vibes, but that’s not always the case with these last dozen episodes. Minor as it may be, the last few episodes fan the yuri flames that the fandom has kept burning, so those moments alone probably surpass the yuri content of episodes one through twelve. In addition to that pairing, Ryuko x Mako is a little easier to imagine, even though Makogoori essentially becomes canon. On the flip side, Satsuki x Nonon stagnates and doesn’t advice beyond the relationship that was shown/intimated before, but I don’t necessarily view that as a huge loss, considering they were probably the least popular pair and the other more shippable pairings are still alive and kicking. So it may be much ado about nothing, but some hints do remain and are stronger than before. Oh yeah, Ragyo also dips her toe into yuri waters, but since it’s so awkward, let’s just move on already.
Simply put, Kill la Kill is one of my favorite anime of all-time. When it comes to sheer entertainment, it’s really in the top tier of all action anime, in my opinion. If you’re still willing to put your brain on autopilot and just sit back and enjoy the ride, the second cour continues the madness and solidifies KLK as a must-watch for action-comedy fans that don’t mind some fanservice.