KILL la KILL – 03

KILL la KILL - 03 - 01

Purity has never looked more ironic.

To get the elephant in the room out of the way, yes, there was more fanservice in this episode in the previous two combined.  Hell, there was quite possibly more fanservice than in every other series airing this season combined.  From the OP sequence, there were clues that this level of fanservice was incoming because Ryuuko’s Godrobe in the sexy Super Saiyan mode along with her bouncing bosom transformation sequence was briefly shown, but many people probably chalked those scenes up to the time-honored practice of OPs teasing things that may or may not actually play out in the series proper.  Now we know that we can expect not only one full, titillating transformation sequence every episode, but possibly even two sequences as Satsuki’s tame “wedding dress” Junketsu  surprisingly receives the same treatment as the racy crop topped Senketsu.

KILL la KILL - 03 - 02

Fanservice in the form of revealing outfits is nothing new at all, but fanservice in the form of transformation sequences is notable because to my knowledge, the nudity in most, if not all, magical girl transformation sequences aren’t very sexual in nature, and thus not very appropriate for fanservice.  Admittedly, I haven’t seen very many magical girl shows, but the ones I have seen usually have sequences that only feature vague outlines of unclothed girls whose bodies emit so much light while transforming that it washes out most defining features of their bodies.  Not so in KILL la KILL.  Every curve was visible, with only the naughtiest bits obscured by ribbons of the uniform’s fabric.  What was once a symbol of innocence is now hyper-sexualized.

KILL la KILL - 03 - 03

Whether it’s the male members of Mako’s family or the students of Honnouji Academy, none of these characters even try to hide the fact that they are ogling the females of KILL la KILL, and the show does the same.  This series is completely aware of how much fanservice it contains and doesn’t hide its intentions one bit.  For one, the provocative appearance of Senketsu is actually explained as the result of its designer’s perverted taste.  Most shows never explain the basis behind their revealing outfits since what is there to explain when the appearances serve no purpose in the plot and are only there for fanservice purposes?  What’s more, the whole method of unlocking a Godrobe’s true power and master wearing it involves accepting that the wearer will be practically stark naked with “breasts [bared] for all the world to see.”  It is as if the series is saying, “There will be plenty of fanservice and we’re going to fully embrace it, even writing it into the story itself.”

KILL la KILL - 03 - 04

Fanservice aside, Senketsu and Junketsu have become quite interesting plot devices. They have completely different appearances in their unpowered forms, but when powered up, they are nearly mirror copies of each other, with the most noticeable difference being their opposite color schemes.  Given their similarities, it’s highly possible that Ryuuko’s father was responsible for the design of both Godrobes since according to Aikuro, the design reflected the elder Matoi’s tastes and implies that they could have been designed less provocatively, were they crafted by someone less perverted.

The two Godrobes may be similar in appearance, but they differ a great deal in many other aspects.  There could be a difference in the way each Godrobe works, since Ryuuko’s father expressly wanted her to wear Senketsu, but Satsuki’s mother explicitly forbade her daughter from wearing Junketsu.  We saw what happens to people who aren’t fit to wear uniforms made with a high percentage of Life Fibers, so why was Ryuuko’s father so sure his daughter could handle the Godrobe?  (By the way, Life Fibers are a nice plot mechanic to explain the powers of the uniforms, and reminds me a bit of the Gundamium Alloy that gives the Gundams their special powers.  Hopefully more will be revealed about them.)

KILL la KILL - 03 - 05

Another interesting difference between the Godrobes is the way Ryuuko and Satsuki unlocked their Godrobe’s true form and potential.  Satsuki appears to have subjugated and dominated Junketsu, and then along the way accepted to need to bare her skin to use the Godrobe to its full potential.  She’s never seen conversing with Junketsu like Ryuuko does with Senketsu, however.  This could be because Ryuuko doesn’t see Senketsu as a mere piece of clothing, so she stands on approximately equal terms with it and then eventually takes the gradual acceptance route to unlocking its full potential.

At its core, KILL la KILL is a mélange of tropes ranging from the crazy battles of shounen to the transformation sequences of magical girl shows, all magnified and amplified to ridiculous levels of absurdity and entertainment.  That said, is there a purpose to all this madness?  Is KILL la KILL actually a satire, highlighting these tropes to bring awareness to how silly they are?  Or is it all merely done to maximize the show’s entertainment value?  Three episodes in, we can say this at least: KILL la KILL most likely is not a show to be taken seriously.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that – to paraphrase a good friend of mine, just turn off your brain and have fun.

  • My apologies for the late post – it’s been a very busy week, but the Galilei Donna post will be out soon too.  Thanks for your patience!
  • Episode title:
    「純潔」 (Junketsu)
  • Quotes everywhere in this episode, possibly mocking the poetic words of wisdom spouted in other shows?
      – It’s just like dead leaves in the forest.
      – Ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars!
      – She who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day!
  • Many of Honnoji Academy’s students sport ancient Roman-style haircuts, signifying how the school is run like an empire?
  • Full-length images for your viewing pleasure: 1, 2


I like writing about anime, long walks on the beach, and clichés. Oh and being mysterious too...
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15 Responses to “KILL la KILL – 03”

  1. Soma says:

    Verdantly, nice post. However, am I the only one seeing that Senketsu’s got an eyepatch like Ryuuko’s dad, even in the billowing smoke transformation sequence? And you’re right – this episode so completely satirizes magical girl transformation, it hurts the brain to consider. Then again, why are you watching Kill la Kill with your brain turned on?

    • verdantly says:

      Yeah, leaving my brain turned on is a bad habit I picked up from blogging anime… I swear I can’t watch anything without analyzing it anymore =(

      • skylion says:

        You must develop dual-brain levels. The training for it is quite simple. Disprove the connections in Dark Side of OZ.

  2. skylion says:

    It does make me wonder, if this show is a naked endorsement of the male gaze. It’s interesting how they begin to reveal the ongoing narrative, and lay bare some choice ideas.

    • Highway says:

      If I were ranking, this show seems less male gaze than DxD is, butt it does seem to be an exposé on the style.

    • verdantly says:

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s an endorsement, but there’s definitely male gaze embodied throughout the show in practically every character.

  3. belatkuro says:

    Let’s hope the following ‘enemy of the week’ fights against the whole school will at least be interesting and have some twists in them. Ryuuko was able to release the true form of Senketsu and go toe to toe with Satsuki and Junketsu. Anyone lower than Satsuki should be easy as pie for her.

    • verdantly says:

      Even all the epicness in the world won’t be enough to keep things interesting if the story only consists of a battle of the week.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    I don’t know how but the absurdity levels keep getting higher and it’s still epic in the process. Somehow saying this has more fanservice than in every other series airing this season combined still doesn’t sound adequate. I’d say Kill la Kill would still have more fanservice even if we were Winter season.

    Mako ushered in a rather interesting philosophy about being naked. What can be said is that the show is basically telling girls not to be self conscious even when wearing scantily clad clothing as shown with Ryuuko gaining full control of Senketsu and achieving limited blood loss after completely accepting him and her new look instead of dying of embarrassment. In Witchblade, the girls don’t care how they look as long as they get to fight.

    I wasn’t surprised Satsuki would have her own uniform. If Ryuuko has one, why not her as well? And you know somewhere the story would arrange it that way. Satsuki calling her uniform Junketsu which refers to “purity” when it shows how revealing it presents itself in transformation is the biggest sense of irony I’ve ever come across.

    The fight not only lived up to the standards set by the two previous episodes, it exceeded them. I loved that implosion at the end. One sided at first but when Ryuuko fully accepted Senketsu, the playing field was evened out. So I’m curious as to what the rest of the school can possibly offer as antagonists when it’s already clear Ryuuko can hold her own against Satsuki.

    Three episodes in and Kill la Kill has already gained what I’d say would be a massive fan base. Check out the fan art and cosplay. One of the cosplayers has certainly embraced Mako’s philosophy.

    • verdantly says:

      I’m really hoping that KILL la KILL isn’t telling its viewers this message, because I would lose a lot of respect for the show. The message should be more about feeling comfortable no matter what skin you’re wearing, whether that is fat, skinny, ugly, plain, etc.

  5. Highway says:

    This is one of the shows that I’ll watch because it’s popular and people talk about it and I don’t want to feel excluded, but not because I think it’s particularly good. It’s better than most ‘battle-of-the-week’ shows, not really because of the fanservice (and how painful does that transformation sequence look with all that forcible jiggling?), at least so far. But I worry that a show that trades on being over-the-top will get stale because it can’t come up with anything else.

  6. Irenesharda says:

    Well, this was okay, this show isn’t spectacular or anything, and I feel that it’s pacing is beginning to go off kilter a bit. It’s ridiculous to the max, and the fanservice is really painful and needless (I mean, looking at all that get up those girls were wearing and how they seemed to pull and pinch at everything in the worst places, made me more uncomfortable than anything. I could hardly enjoy the action for thinking that I would be unable to even move in those outfits.

  7. zztop says:

    If Pixiv art is any indication, then Kill la Kill must be THE show within the Japan fandom. There’s literally an explosion of related art there!!

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