Category Archives: Kill La Kill

The Fanservice Frontier, 2013

Aside from my complaints on pretension, there’s a lot of fun going on at Digibro’s blog about Kill la Kill episode 3.


And in some ways, with OreTsuba now on US home video (Funimation, I respect you for at least this) maybe it’s good to revisit what this really means.

The past few years has been a turning point in terms of late-night otaku anime fanservice. On one hand, I think the overall quality has gotten better. It’s like with shows like Ladies x Butler and Kanokon, we’ve kind of scratched all the itch left to be scratch for any demographic whose itching is worth scratching, monetarily and in terms of popularity. 2009 to 2011 was high time to start to pivot, for various reasons, but also this reason.

Did anyone watch Yozakura Quartet Hana no Uta 2? My goodness. And Kill la Kill episode 3 has that…windboobzone thing?

I would take a step back and say that the fanservice in Kill la Kill is authentic and unpretentious in a way that fanservice is just fanservice. But it is kind of annoying in the normal moral high ground sort of way, as if it is saying something that is more worth saying than, say, Arpeggio. [I mean, if this was part of the discourse, I would respect Kill la Kill more. Like how I respect Panty & Stockings slightly more at this point, over Kill la Kill.]

Arpeggio is a good example in this regard because it’s in a lot of ways the polar opposite of Kill la Kill. The 3DCG use looks great when they are stills but terrible when moving in Arpeggio, and in KLK it’s great when things are always moving, and not as much when things stops spazzing. The story in Arpeggio is serious, but the fanservice is baked into the conceit of the story. The story in KLK is a commonly run trope full of hooks for reference bait, but it takes itself very casually. Arpeggio is the fulfillment of this concept, except trading jokes for fanservice (of a different kind). Kill la Kill is a drama vehicle about fanservice (so far).

So in a way, it’s appropriate to talk comparisons between a good anime and a questionable-at-best anime (just ask an Arpeggio manga reader).

And let’s talk about sexy for a second. Take this post for instance. I am not sure how many Bentens will appear in Kill la Kill. Or even the simple, next-door-girl type, Aika Fuwa. But this is one pivot. Short of going all the way home, thematically and in terms of consistency (best example off top of my head would be Yosuga no Sora), fanservice’s native advantage is that it is database-modular, you can pick it up and drop it in, or you could co-opt it wholesale. So YZQ and KLK are on the two opposite sides of this spectrum (although neither is at the ends, I think), while Infinite Stratos is very clearly going for just sexy characters, as an example of the middle ground.

Which is to say, it’s not really about pretenses, because that’s just a method. Pretension is necessary in a story like Kill la Kill, if we want to talk about shame, rape, the Nth reference to Utena-esque uniforms, or whatever. (Every time someone makes a reference to Utena in a blog post about KLK, God kills a kitten.) It’s why Madoka is pretentious or Evangelion is pretentious. Not a big deal, really, but, the story in Kill la Kill has to rely on pretend conceits and presupposed frameworks that can be challenged, like the whole Satsuki thing–the dress, the clansmanship, the class differences, the way her underlings work, the power structure, how she manipulate things to her own ends, and finally, her character construct. In as much as LordGenome (really?) and Kamina’s SOP is kind of a conceit, it’s easy to see the same sort of narrative style in Kill la Kill in which we have to ride the amusement park ride and see the theme fly by before our eyes, along with all the eye candy and Hell Yes moments.

How can an anime that casually drops the rise of Hitler to power not be pretentious? That’s like the Corollary to Godwin’s Law if such a thing was to exist. You know what’s not a pretentious fanservice anime? High School DxD. Infinite Stratos. Probably Yuusibu. Maybe even Freezing. In some ways, also those usual high school hijinks shows like Kyoukai no Kanata and Nagiasu. Why? Because it’s just normal fanservice, served up the way they know best and most appropriate to the work. It’s not some kind of pretend imagery that empowers women or whatever. I mean, nothing wrong with that, but that is pretension by definition. It’s a pivot.

Pivot like a handstand, you know.

PS. Chris B. reviews Funi’s Blu-ray and finally gets it, but is nonetheless marred by his first impression.

PPS. This post is brought to you by the word “pandering” which is the onii-chan of the word “pretentious” because like, give me a break. I would rather talk about moe (which I haven’t in a couple years?) than any of this.

Autumn 2013 Thoughts And Clippings

Part two.


Outbreak Company has, if anything, got the fanservice right. I think that will usually seal the deal for 3 episodes on my books, but it also had to add that Cool Japan jab. Not sure if the show will actually get beyond 3 for me, as I will have to enjoy the antics of the main character first. I think with a little more polish he can be a modern day Kintarou Oe, but at this point he is just an otaku without any restraint. On the fence, I guess.

Sekatsuyo on the other hand is all about screaming Ayachi and that is something to behold. The Asumi x Ayachi combo also makes me “I Can See the Ending” and in this case I kind of do. The production value is worse than expected, which says something–I’m not really expecting anything. I mean, how can you? I guess the least we deserve was seeing quality holds animated and I don’t think Sekatsuyo cleared that bar. It’s a mixed blessing that I am not really a martial arts person so I can’t make it out what’s right or not half the time. The fanservice is pretty okay, but I’m not S enough to fully enjoy it? Maybe?

Kingitsune: Maybe for a little while, let the squidgirl heal you?

Walkure Romanze: Maybe for a little while, iM@S seiyuu aside, because this jousting thing is ridiculous. Also, the CG horse animation is a little mesmerizing; the way they were able to animate the actual joust sequences by taking advantage of digital composition via the armor animation is great.

Magi S2 is Magi, which is okay in my book. I missed this version of Kyari~

White Album 2: I really like it. It’s like Kirakira all over again…except the music already gained significant stock with me from the first series.

Are we ready for another week of new anime? I am.

One more on Kill La Kill, and I think this is a pretty good read–if only to have someone explain why they like and hype the show, the assumptions and concepts that underpins some of the decisions people may make on the show. Unfortunately it’s also one of those cases where before I get to the point he (?) tries to make (maybe more importantly, before I give up paying attention), I already count 2-3 simply wrong statements that he made. It’s like the same perpetually inaccurate things film people hold to regarding Japan and anime for the past 30 years.

Autumn 2013 Clippings And Thoughts

Haruka & Fenway Park

Yep, just random nonsense.

Kurogane on IS S2E1

Oh god, Germany is invading France again. [Gotta see the image to make this caption work]


Please let the entire episode next week be 24 minutes of Chiwa Saitou giggling.

j1m0nes on … panties?

This has GENERIC written all over its lovely little red checkered panties.

Sometimes reading blogs on these things I wish I had some kind of contraption that lets me slap someone on the head with a harisen. I mean, anyone who calls Yuushibu “low budget” LOLOLOL. It’s basically got the best animated boobies on this side of Gainax, at least at episode 1. I mean, take it from a pro:

[T]he series does seem to have quite a big budget, but here is the thing: you do not simply assign all of your inbetweeners to your boob shots.

I mean, alternatively, YOU COULD animate on the 2s for all your money shots. I don’t mind. Because no amount of budget can fix poor source material! You might as well spend it on something that is worth the while. Just to drive my point home, Chris B. rated episode 1 an A- and Kill La Kill a B. Although that is probably a pretty biased thing to quote and shows that first impression posts with a letter grade means about as much as nothing.

Kill La Kill: Has it gone Redline? You decide. It’s certainly not yet free-to-watch however (makes me think that this is just a ploy ala Little Witch Academia). It’s basically the one show most people enjoyed watching, even if it’s not necessarily their bag. I think everyone needs to realize this–it’s just not a show for everyone. Same as Redline! And it ain’t gonna save any industry.

Aint it cool?

Other first-episodes:

Log Horizon: Yawn, but not bad.

Kyoukai no Kanata: Yawn, but sakuga.

Coppelion: I’m waiting for the fanservice part of the thing to start, lol.

Nagiasa: TT. To its credit, it’s the most uncomfortable anime I’ve seen this season.

Miss Monochrome: She works at a Lawson, folks.

Golden Time: Budget harisen aside, did anyone pull the “hey the’re not high school kids” card yet in their blogs, because LOL.

So far this season feels overall more fun than last season, although last season was a pretty solid block without too many outstanding shows. Maybe we’ll get more than one or three this Autumn?