Moe isn’t the only form of pandering. Kill la Kill is full of that, in a different form.
In certain corners of the aniblog community, there is a sizable portion of bloggers for who believe that good style can be substance. Actually, naming them like that is a little bit unwieldy, I will just call them elitists. Don’t get me wrong, they are better writers than I am, some of who inspired me to start this blog. Being elitists is not bad, or condescending, if they have good reasons to dislike the popular trends. I kind of consider myself one. I hope to reach their levels if I stop slacking on my episodic posts and write more often. Well, I’m back now and hopefully be on top of things this time. That aside, the statement “style can be substance” is where our opinions usually part.
Let’s talk about my preferences for the first time. I was not impressed overall by shows such as the Gurren Lagann, Monogatari series, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Aquarion EVOL. All of these (probably less consensus on EVOL) have taken this particular segment of the aniblogging sphere by storm. These shows have at least one of the following elements. They are visually creative, rarely take themselves seriously and usually have numerous unsubtle negligence of logic and/or the laws of physics. To say the least, this type of show have found itself a niche in the audience. Kill la Kill is pretty much a love letter pandering to the neglected minority who are all sick and tired of moe, generic high school comedy and the like and want something different. Or perhaps this could be just a love letter to Gurren Lagann fans, or both.
Kill la Kill definitely has the most entertaining opening episode I have seen thus far this year. Of course, starring two badass female leads is a huge plus. The action scene was unique. The sequence consists mostly of still shots. That’s not even boxing. There was no choreography, just hundred of pellet-y things that are supposed punches. They did really well with the low budget. While we know very little of the Goku uniform power, they did no explaining and just threw crazy stuffs at us. We are to accept it as is. That just shows how much the shows is purely no BS, unadulterated fun.
Now that I get the praises off my chest, what can I find to complain about? I really don’t have anything, it was fantastic. I only fear for the directions it could take.
I will provide some contexts. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures and the Monogatari series have very strong opening episodes and the quality stays consistent throughout. The problems I have with these two in particular is that they do not hold up very well for me. Good first impressions that failed to last. They did not achieve the balance of style versus substance. These kinds of stylized show relies heavily only on style, the first impressions. This is unquestionably a double-edged sword.
First impression grabs the viewers’ interests, lasting impression compels the viewers come back for more. The danger with this approach is, if the style doesn’t completely click with the viewer, some point down the line, it WILL gets old and repetitive. Once the style and freshness has worn out its welcome, the viewer needs something to fall back on. Unique style enhances storytelling or the themes that the authors try to get across. A good example of masterful use of style to pepper up the substance is Mawaru Penguindrum. Its outlandish presentation served to get the audience to really think about its messages while keeping it from being too heavy-handed. Well, that was a bad example, considering how divisive Penguindrum was. But that was how it clicked for me. Beneath their respective styles, Jojo and Gurren Lagann are just generic charming shounen with good BS-ing skill, make-stuffs-up-as-you-go-along kind of thing. The “beyond the impossible” business and excessive hand-waving in both show really alienated me. Monogatari is just a more creative, glorified, and “classier” harem. After I got bored of their antics, I realized that the character were one-dimensional and relatively static. In the case of Monogatari, it got very little done because spent most of its time being smug and witty.
Will Kill la Kill follow these trends? The dystopia high school setting really limits its options, because high school! The way the characters and animations are exaggerated very much resembles Gurren Lagann. Then again, if this is the one case where the style completely clicks for me, then I can probably name it THE anime of 2013. Even then, I still think that Kill la Kill can appeal to a wider demographics if it takes up a more engaging and ambitious plot to go with its insanity.