Kill la Kill(キルラキル,Kiru ra Kiru?) is an anime television series produced by Trigger. It follows vagrant schoolgirl Ryuko Matoi on her search for her father's killer, which brings her into violent conflict with the iron-fisted student council president of Honnouji Academy, Satsuki Kiryuin, and her mother's fashion empire.
The series is Trigger's first original television anime project, directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and written by Kazuki Nakashima, both of whom had previously worked together on Gurren Lagann. Kill la Kill's 24 episodes aired in Japan between October 3, 2013 and March 27, 2014, with a 25th OVA episode to be released in September 2014. Aniplex of America has licensed the anime for a simulcast and a home video release. A manga adaptation by Ryō Akizuki began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten's Young Ace magazine from October 4, 2013.
Kill la Kill is set at Honnouji Academy (本能字学園,Honnōji Gakuen?), a fictional high school situated in Tokyo Bay, Japan. The school is dominated by its fearsome student council, led by Satsuki Kiryuin. The council members wear special uniforms called Goku Uniforms (極制服,Gokuseifuku?, lit. "high quality uniform", from gokusei(極製?) + seifuku(制服?)) that grant them superhuman abilities, which they use to oppress the rest of the school's students and staff. Ryuko Matoi, a student wielding half of a scissor-shaped longsword, transfers to Honnouji Academy in search of her father's killer, who is assumed to be the owner of the other scissor blade. After her initial defeat at the hands of the council, she comes across a sentient sailor uniform who forces itself on Ryuko. The uniform, Senketsu, gives Ryuko extraordinary powers that enable her to battle Satsuki and her henchmen, the Elite Four(四天王,shitennō?), as they put her through various trials and obstacles at school. In the meantime, she is befriended by classmate Mako Mankanshoku, and lives with the Makanshoku family in the slums surrounding the academy.
As she defeats the Elite Four and faces off against Satsuki, Ryuko encounters her father's murderer, Nui Harime, who works under Satsuki's mother Ragyo as Grand Couturier of the Kiryuin-owned clothing manufacturer Revocs Corporation (REVOCSコーポレーション,Ribokkusu Kōporēshon?). Ryuko is taken in by Nudist Beach (ヌーディスト・ビーチ,Nūdisuto Bīchi?), a paramilitary organization that Aikuro Mikisugi (Ryuko and Mako's teacher) and his ally Tsumugu Kinagase are members of, set to stop Ragyo's plans of using the Life Fibers (生命戦維,Seimei Sen'i?) that make up the Goku Uniforms to take over the world. During a confrontation with Ragyo, Satsuki reveals that her reasons for forming Honnouji Academy and its student council are to overthrow her mother with her army of Goku Uniforms users. Ragyo recognizes Ryuko as her own daughter and Satsuki's younger sister, whom Ragyo attempted to fuse with Life Fibers as an infant before being taken and raised in secrecy by her missing husband under the assumed identity of Isshin Matoi. Ryuko, Satsuki and their allies join forces to stop Ragyo from carrying out her plan to detonate the Earth in order to propagate the Life Fibers throughout the universe. After Ragyo and Nui are defeated, Senketsu perishes together with all other Life Fiber clothing, and the survivors are free to live a normal life.
Ryuko is the main protagonist and a 17-year-old vagrant schoolgirl who transfers to Honnouji Academy in search of clues relating to the death of her father. She wields the Scissor Blade (片太刀バサミ,Kata Tachi Basami?), one-half of a giant pair of scissors created by her father, with the other half stolen by his killer. Her weapon is capable of destroying uniforms empowered by Life Fibers.[ep 1] At the start of the series, she acquires a special "Kamui" uniform named Senketsu, which grants her special abilities.[ep 1] She lives with the Mankanshoku family.[ep 2] During the battle at the Honnouji Academy Cultural & Sports Grand Festival, it is revealed that Ryuko is Ragyo's presumed dead daughter and Satsuki's younger sister. Ryuko was merged with Life Fibers when Ragyo Kiryuin performed an experiment to fuse Life Fibers into humans.[episode needed]
A living sailor uniform that Ryuko finds beneath her house, Senketsu is a Kamui (神衣?, lit. "God Clothes"), an outfit made entirely of Life Fibers, which provides its wearer with superhuman abilities in exchange for their blood.[ep 1] Initially, it absorbs a large amount of her blood and only allows her to act for a limited time, however, it is soon able to fully synchronize with Ryuko as she gets over her embarrassment of wearing such a skimpy outfit.[ep 3] Whenever Ryuko destroys a Goku Uniform, Senketsu absorbs its Life Fiber.[ep 3] After Ryuko defeats Ragyo, Senketsu returns her safely to Earth before falling apart into oblivion.
Satsuki is the 18-year-old ruthless student council president of Honnouji Academy.[ep 1] Because her mother leads the school's board of directors, Satsuki dominates the school to the impotence of its principal and teachers, effectively making her a dictator. She administers Goku Uniforms to students based on their skill sets. She wields a katana named Bakuzan (縛斬?), which can sever Life Fibers; and dons the Kamui named Junketsu (純潔?, lit. "purity"[ep 3]) early in the series.[ep 3] Although antagonistic to Ryuko at first, she reveals during the Honnouji Academy Cultural & Sports Grand Festival that she created Honnouji Academy as part of her plan to defeat Ragyo and the Life Fibers. During the ensuing battle, Ryuko is revealed to be Satsuki's younger sister.
An energetic second-year student and Ryuko's classmate, Mako immediately befriends Ryuko upon the latter's arrival at the school.[ep 1] Mako lives with her parents and younger brother in the slums of Honnouji.[ep 2] She is a bit slow-witted and more often than not finds herself in dangerous situations, but she has a good heart and cares for Ryuko, providing her with constant encouragement. Senketsu notes that Mako is vital for getting Ryuko to relax.[ep 3]
An imposing figure, Ira is Satsuki's loyal enforcer who leads the disciplinary committee at Honnouji Academy. His three-star Goku Uniform is the Shackle Regalia (縛の装,Shibari no Sō?), which takes the form of bondage gear. By undergoing various masochistic attacks, he can activate its second transformation, Scourge Regalia (死縛の装,Shibaki no Sō?), which covers his body in thorny whips.[ep 8] Later he receives an upgraded Ultima version, Shackle Regalia MK.II, which resembles a mummy/sarcophagus.[episode needed] He is 20 years old, having waited two years after graduating middle school before enrolling at Honnouji to assist Satsuki with her plans. After obtaining his driver's license, he assumes the role of Satsuki's personal chauffeur, driving a pink 1959 Cadillac Eldorado.[ep 8]
Uzu regulates the athletic clubs at Honnouji Academy, including the boxing and tennis clubs. He himself specialises in kendo and possesses the three-star Goku Uniform, Blade Regalia (剣の装,Tsurugi no Sō?), which takes the form of a large armored bōgu. He initially possesses Tengantsu (天眼通?, Clairvoyance), which allows to him to predict his opponent's moves with super fast eyesight. However, after suffering a defeat from Ryuko, he chooses to have his eyes sewn shut, heightening his other senses and giving him the more powerful Shingantsu (心眼通?, the eyes of the mind), which allows him to perceive everything around him with no blind spots.[ep 6] He also receives upgraded uniforms including Blade Regalia MK II,[ep 6] and eventually Blade Regalia MK.III.
Houka is in charge of Honnouji Academy's information and strategy committee, aiding the student council by analyzing information via his laptop. He is also in charge of the analysis of the Goku Uniforms made in the Sewing Club. He possesses the three-star Goku Uniform, Probe Regalia (探の装,Saguru no Sō?), which allows him to quickly calculate attack trajectories and use optical camouflage to hide from his opponents. Later he receives an upgraded Ultima version, Probe Regalia MK.II, that makes him appear as a polygonal model.
Nonon regulates the school's non-athletic clubs, such as the gardening and biology clubs.[ep 5] Among the members of the Elite Four, she has been with Satsuki since kindergarten and thus claims that she knows her best.[ep 5] She possesses the three-star Goku Uniform Symphony Regalia (奏の装,Kanade no Sō?), which takes the form of a giant sound system that produces powerful soundwaves and can transform into a flying airship. Later, she receives an upgraded Ultima version, Symphony Regalia MK.II, that miniaturizes the airship in a jetpack/weaponpack.
Aikuro is Ryuko's enigmatic homeroom teacher. He secretly observes and aids Ryuko by leading her to Senketsu.[ep 3] Whilst generally having the appearance of a frail, shaggy teacher, he is actually a glamorous smooth-talker with a habit of slowly stripping his clothes and making moves on Ryuko whenever they are in private, much to Ryuko's chagrin.[ep 3] Aikuro reveals to Ryuko the existence of Nudist Beach and his being one of its members (though she did not believe him due to the organization's ridiculous name). Whenever he strips, a pink light radiates from his nipples and from his crotch, obscuring them.[ep 6]
Mikisugi's character design is based on people such as TM Network's vocalist Takashi Utsunomiya and Kenji Sawada, people who appear smart and good-looking.
Tsugumu is an acquaintance of Aikuro who sports a red mohawk on top of short black hair. He bears a strong hatred of Kamui, which stems from an experiment where his close sister, Kinue (絹江?), died when the Kamui she had volunteered to test ran her blood dry. His weapon is a sewing machine pistol that fires needles which severs the connections between the Life Fibers in Kamui and Goku Uniforms and their wearers. The needles also act like acupuncture, in that it can immobilize opponents and invigorate them afterward. His catchphrase is "Let me tell you two useful pieces of information" (2つ、いいことを教えてやる,Futatsu, ii koto o oshieteyaru?).[ep 5]
Isshin is Ryuko's deceased father, and the creator of Senketsu and the Scissor Blades. He was murdered by Nui, who stole the purple blade, whilst he left the red blade to Ryuko. He is also the founder of Nudist Beach, an organization created to oppose Revocs. He is actually Soichiro Kiryuin(鬼龍院 総一郎,Kiryūin Sōichirō?), Satsuki's father and Ragyo's husband, who faked his death and took on the identity of Isshin Matoi to raise Ryuko.
Ryuko and Satsuki's mother, who watches her elder daughter's actions from afar and soon becomes the main antagonist. She is the CEO of the Revocs Corporation, a conglomerate that manufactures and supplies all of the world's clothing. Ragyo is a figure of great elegance and power. In all her appearances, she is surrounded by multicoloured light, which also emanates from her hair. She also has several scars on her back, though how she got them is not revealed. She has merged her body with the Life Fibers, able to heal any injuries she receives and even survive being decapitated, so long as a single thread remains. She dons the ultimate Kamui, Shinra-Kotetsu, in the final battle. After Ryuko saves humanity, Ragyo crushes her own heart at the cost of her life, but not before she makes a cryptic warning to Ryuko that the Life Fiber home planet will retaliate in time.
Nui is the Grand Couturier (High Order Tailor) of the Kiryuin family. She murdered Isshin Matoi, stealing the purple half of his Scissor Blades, but lost her left eye to him in the process. She has the ability to use her hands to target and destroy the Banshi, a special Life Fiber that keeps a Goku Uniform from falling apart. She also has the ability to manipulate lifelike puppets and even change her appearance. Just like Ryuko, her body is made up of Life Fibers; the difference is that Nui was born in an artificial womb made of Life Fibers. Nui created Ragyo's ultimate Kamui, Shinra-Kotetsu. During the final battle, Nui cuts her own head off, sacrificing herself to the original Life Fiber and Shinra-Koketsu itself.
Shiro is the president of Honnouji Academy's Sewing Club. He works closely with Houka in improving and upgrading of the Goku Uniforms.[ep 6] Despite not being part of the student council, he ranks alongside the Elite Four, taking orders directly from Satsuki and wearing his own three-star Goku Uniform, Tailor's Regalia (誂の装,Atsurae no Sō?).
Mitsuzo is Satsuki's personal and trusted butler, who is almost always seen by Satsuki's side, having served her since her early childhood. He is also Shiro Iori's uncle. He often serves tea to the student council, and even the rebellion members, regardless of the situation.
According to director Imaishi, much of the plot is based on his observation that the Japanese manner of pronouncing "fascism" (ファッショ,fassho?) is nearly the same as the word "fashion" (ファッション,fasshon?), his observation that the pronunciation of the Japanese words "school uniform" (制服,seifuku?) and "conquest" (征服,seifuku?) are identical, and that the titular kiru may mean "kill" (キル?), "to cut" (切る?), or "to wear" (着る?).
The series aired on MBS' Animeism programming block between October 3, 2013 and March 27, 2014, also airing on TBS, CBC and BS-TBS, and its release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD began from January 8, 2014. Soundtrack CDs will be included with the first and fifth volumes, making-of documentary DVDs will be included with the third, seventh, and ninth volumes, and drama CDs will be included with the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth volumes. An original video animation episode will be released on the ninth volume released on September 3, 2014.
The series will be released in five BD/DVD volumes in North America, the first volume to be released on July 15, 2014, releasing in limited edition BD/DVD combo packs including soundtrack CDs, as well as standard Bluray Disc and DVD releases. In Australia and New Zealand, the series is streamed by Madman Entertainment. The series is licensed in the United Kingdom and France by Anime Limited under its All The Anime label, and was simulcast on Wakanim. The series is due to be released in home video format in Q4 2014.
A manga adaptation illustrated by Ryō Akizuki began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten's Young Ace magazine from October 4, 2013. The series' first tankōbon volume was released on December 2, 2013. The second volume was released on March 7, 2014.
Music for the series is composed by Hiroyuki Sawano. For the first fifteen episodes, the opening theme is "Sirius" (シリウス,Shiriusu?) by Eir Aoi, while the ending theme is "Gomen ne, Iiko ja Irarenai" (ごめんね、いいコじゃいられない。?, "Sorry, I'm Done Being a Good Kid") by Miku Sawai. From episode 16 onwards, the opening theme is "ambiguous" by Garnidelia, a duo consisting of vocalist Maria and composer Toku, and the ending theme is "Shin Sekai Kōkyōgaku" (新世界交響楽,New World Symphony?) by Sayonara Ponytail. Aoi's song "Sanbika" was used as an insert song to accompany climactic events in episodes 3 and 23.
The first soundtrack album was published on December 25, 2013. Aniplex USA also released the CD on January 17, 2014. It features 18 tracks, including six vocal songs performed in English and German. The background music tracks feature titles that are typographical variants of "Kill la Kill".
All music composed by Hiroyuki Sawano.
Kill la Kill Original Sound Track
"Before my body is dry"
mpi, David Whitaker
"Suck your blood"
mpi, Benjamin Anderson
"Light your heart up"
"I want to know"
"Till I Die"
CASG (Caramel Apple Sound Gadget)
Second soundtrack album
The second soundtrack album was released in Japan as part of the fifth DVD/Blu-ray disc set on May 7, 2014.
Kill la Kill was well received by critics. Japanator called the "uniquely fun, even gripping" series "a reminder of how fun and creative anime can be at its best", despite the readily apparent budget constraints.IGN, describing the series as "magical girl anime on speed", noted that its over-the-top absurdity was part of its charm.Otaku USA described the series's concept as "mostly straightforward setup for revenge and shonen-style 'stronger! STRONGER!' battle progression", but praised its execution.Kotaku appreciated the series for "perfectly mixing comedy and action", its pacing, internal consistency and over-the-top straightforward adaptation of standard action anime tropes.
The animation of fight scenes and character movements, as well as the "keen selection of music", were particularly praised by UK Anime Network, which called it the "best streaming anime" of 2013. The reviewer of Anime News Network also appreciated the inventive and funny animation and the series's "retro shonen action pushed to (...) loony, hyperactive extremes".GMA News Online likewise noted the "superb pacing", to-the-point storytelling and well-realized characters in the series's "whirlwind of gorgeous visuals, story, and unfettered insanity".