Tag Archives: FLCL

Kill La Kill: Giving The Demon Its Due (Initial Thoughts)

KLK1

Having traveled far, with a small hill of defeated enemies behind her, sailor fuku sporting toughie, Ryuki Matoi may very well have found those responsible for the death of her father in the brutal regime known as Honnoji Academy. With the net abuzz post pilot episode, it looks very well like the spirit of Ryoko Ikeda is alive and kicking with a perverse blood transfusion via Studio Trigger’s Kill La Kill. The latest series directed and written by the same team responsible for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan, Hiroyuki Imaishi and Kazuki Nakashima. A project that retains much of the predecessor’s warped yen for riff, with production to spare. And what the pilot episode seems to give off, is in many ways a return to Gainax’s classic formula where tried and true staples of the past is given an often hyperbolic, occasionally hypersexed sheen.

 

 

As for whether this debut works or not, perhaps it’s best to admit that outside of style, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal beyond the expected wild imagery and occasionally awkward sexualization of action tropes. While it is everything one would expect from Imaishi and crew, there is not a great deal more here beyond the establishment of the lone fighter versus the totalitarian school and their gallery of student council weirdos. Yes. There is certainly a masculine Utena at work here as posturing is fiery, and bold text is whooshing across the screen. The presentation is brutal and vibrant, but there is something clearly already missing from the proceedings. While one can be considered grateful that the scatological fetishism of Dead Leaves remain long gone, there remains an ever present “why”, in regards to making jokes at the expense of a character being assaulted. There is no good reason, outside of some strange aim to be humorous- which is tricky to get behind.

 

 

With a “boyish” attitude, and readiness to take on a seemingly invincible army of single-minded stormtroopers in strength enhancing uniforms, the show’s apparent bent comes at the latter half of the episode when Ryuko stumbles upon, and is accosted by a talking, animated (!!) seifuku known as Senketsu. And what ensues, is best described as an attempt at a humorous rape scene, which ends with our heroine becoming near-invincible. (again, interpret as you will) And while one can also see the episode’s remaining minutes as something of a sideeye to such a creative choice, as Ryuko seems to maintain her aim as unyielding avenger, it is pretty hard to shake off. Also in the choice’s defense, is a reminder that a lot of Gurren Lagaan’s more playful subtext involved the occasional homoeroticism that tipped the balance in a fun sort of manner. And it isn’t hard to see how this is element is going to play out with the first episode’s head baddie in masculine-dressed student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin. Not sure how to feel about that one.

 

satsukik

So for what it’s all worth, Kill La Kill debuts with a great deal of the expected immature machismo & penchant for bending the classics. Will I be able to weather it’s storm of usual suspects throughlines, as well as its clear “clothing is weakness” trajectory? Only a few more courtesy viewings may tell.

 

Oh, and did I happen to mention that Ryuko wields an extra large half of a pair of red scissors?

 

Yeah, that too..

KLK2

FLCL At 10 Years: Our Iron Lung

“pictures came and broke your heart
we can’t rewind we’ve gone too far”

– The Buggles

After some time passing, along with some negligence on my side, I have come to realize that more than just the witnessing of the rise and fall of an entertainment enterprise, but of the tenth anniversary of a singular event of the anime otaku timeline. How any times can we say that we bore witness to blunt force trauma by guitar, teleporting robots via cranial space, satellite knuckleballs, John Woo bullet free-for-alls, wanton pop culture references, streams-of-consciousness musing on everything from Hideki Kaji to ironed brains as indie rock blares out like a psychedelic greek chorus from space all within its few scant hours of running time? Hideaki Anno‘s talented disciple, Kazuya Tsurumaki’s straight to video experiment, FLCL (Furi Kuri) was something akin to an end-all to the so-called “edge anime” boom that came on the heels of his senpai’s Shin Seiki Evangelion, a series for which many can consider the last great game changer for the anime medium. Of all the would-be landmarks of the post-Evangelion era, it was the legacy of this OAV that helped cement japanese animation as a propulsive force in contemporary creative media by looking at the walls laid out by masters of old, only to laugh in its face with a rare childlike glee by also introducing many fans to animation bad boys like Shinya Ohira, Mitsuo Iso & Hiroyuki Imaishi. And even if this particular force left behind a slew of forgotten experiments, and pale imitations, few shows ever found the mix displayed within a little tale of a boy trapped within a facade of his own making.

Continue reading FLCL At 10 Years: Our Iron Lung