Kill La Kill: More Than Fan-Service

Kill La Kill is a fantastic anime by studio Trigger, focusing on female delinquent Ryuko and her quest to find her father’s killer and have revenge. She’s found a suspect — the great lady Satsuki — but in order to contend with her, Ryuko will need help from an unlikely partner. Kill la Kill is a popular show, but those who dislike it or don’t watch it sometimes dismiss it as just another shallow fan-service anime. In reality, Kill la Kill is so much more than that, and it even has strong themes of women’s empowerment.


Compared to the males, strong and well-written woman characters are still much more uncommon in anime. In Kill La Kill, there are several interesting female characters in addition to the two main female leads, Ryuko and Satsuki. They are all strong fighters and most of them are courageous and mentally tough. In many ways, Kill La Kill is a story about women rising up to take down whatever is holding them back. For one example, Ryuko eventually must fight Ragyo, the tyrant who controls the school and much of the world.


Another fantastic argument for the magnificence of Kill La Kill is Satsuki’s story of freedom. She started planning a rebellion when she was only five, and suffered through the next 12 years of being Ragyo’s tool and plaything. Finally, the right day and time came. Satsuki’s rebellion began, and she valiantly fought Ragyo and nearly killed her. The scene where Satsuki stabs and subdues Ragyo, declaring her true purpose, is one of the most empowering and inspiring anime moments I have ever witnessed. Even through all those years of pretending to be on Ragyo’s side, Satsuki’s mind never broke. She never gave in.


Strong female characters and stories of freedom are just a few of the examples of the feministic themes in Kill la Kill. For another case, consider how the women are not ashamed of their bodies. Ryuko and Satsuki especially must expose their bodies to be properly bonded with the Kamui outfits that supply their great power. At first, Ryuko actually is embarrassed, but she quickly adapts and learns to embrace it thanks to her bond with Senketsu. Satsuki fights in the revealing Kamui without the slightest bit of shame. This confidence is highly impressive.


In addition to being very progressive with its treatment of female characters, Kill also shines in other ways. For one thing, it’s a terrific fighting show with plenty of action. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing. The story is too complex and emotional, and the world lore is too in-depth, for this is be merely another fan-service show. Finally, let me note that fan-service in itself is not a bad thing, so long as it doesn’t go along with sexist messages, or the idea that women should be objectified. To restate, Kill La Kill is not just another fan-service anime. It’s a great anime all around, and I highly recommend it.



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