If you have seen “FLCL” (AKA Fooly Cooly), you will enjoy this show. If you have not seen FLCL, well, I would suggest you go and see it, as it will prepare you for “Kill La Kill”. They share quite a lot in common: a rather free-wheeling art style, loose association to a plot (although this one is defined better) and a huge, take-no-prisoners, no holds barred, anything-goes approach to the entire show.
Welcome to Honnouji Academy, one of those academic islands in many animes (“Eiken” was set up like that). But this is more of an Educational Mountain, as everything ends up at the top and the school sits upon the pinnacle. The Academy is ruled over with an iron fist and the steel sword of Lady Satsuki Kiryuin, (the grumpy one on her head with the sword), and her elite four (to the left; more on them later).
Into this cauldron of resentment and travesty comes Ryuko (or Ryuuko, depending on who’s doing the subtitles). Her father was killed by Satsuki and she wants answers, but she cannot battle her. You see, those who Satsuki deems worthy is given a Goku Suit. It is imbued with Life Fibers that enhance your abilities. But it comes with a double edge: It makes your abilities better, but it also fuels and increases your arrogance, your condescension, your disgust of those beneath you. Well, even as a transfer student, it doesn’t go well for her and she is summarily dismissed by Satsuki, having only her rage and nothing more. It is then she meets up with Genketsu, and that is the ‘uniform’ she wears. But it is more than a uniform, it is a life entity that binds with her and gives her the power to fight these thugs.
Thugs? Let’s talk about that Elite Four, towards the left:
Ira Gamagoori (open mouth): loyal enforcer who leads the disciplinary committee.
Uzu Sanageyama (black hair): he regulates the athletic clubs.
Nonon Jakuzure (band uniform): Satsuki’s oldest friend.
Houka Inumuta (gray hair): in charge of the information and strategy committee.
Now, let’s hear it for the good guys, towards the right:
Mako Mankanshoku, Ryoku’s best friend and ardent supporter
Guts (that’s the dog that looks like a butt)
Mataro Mankanshoku, younger brother
Sukuyo Mankanshoku, mom
Barazo Mankanshoku, dad, runs a back-alley medical clinic
Also helping is Ryoko’s homeroom teacher, Aikuro Mikisugi (that mop of blue hair near the far right).
The show details Ryuko’s struggles to understand her Senketsu and try to overcome all that Lady Satsuki and her thugs throw in her way.
Now, this show cares nothing about anything, so it is going to tell the story as it sees fit. That being the case, it is some wild, over-the-top, utterly crazed, ‘what is going on?’ style. The only real problem manifests itself when Satsuki’s mother makes her grand appearance, tells of her evil plans and dares anyone to oppose her. Then we get the Dragon Ball Z Syndrome (endless fighting amid endless fighting, when we’re not endlessly fighting), so it gets to the point of it being tiresome and the charm that made the show work is lost amid the rubble.
Still, I would have you see it, just for the anarchist nature of the show. It is off the hook and nothing makes a lot of sense (or, I assume, is expected to do so) and when the resistance group Nudist Beach shows up, then it really goes off the track, but in a good way.
Oh, I should mention the fan service. When Ryuko sports her fighting gear, her outfit gets rather brief all around, but it is a rather tepid showing of skin. Even the transformation sequences seem a bit tame and there are some pretty wild ones out there in the World of Anime, so I found the fan service not all that interesting, but that’s not a reason I watch any show.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Really wild)
Plot 8 (A simple plot done well)
Pacing 6 (Too many fights at the end)
Effectiveness 7 (Gets a bit preachy)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 6 (A similar show would be “Mahoromatic”)
Overall 8 (Buckle up, Dorothy)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You killed my father.