Kill La Kill doesn’t care if you are not prepared to view high-octane anime antics from the jump-off. Explosive, fast talking (Keep up, English Subber) madness that will have you laugh and get giddy at a pace similar to your heartbeat that time you were in that EDM rave and you took that special candy they were handing out.
Kill La Kill, as intense, and as funny as it gets, it’s not all games. Episode 1 gives you a brief history of German efficiency, the bad kind. Then we enter the scene of societal conditioning, aka a classroom at Honnouji Academy. And the major remnant from the Nazi’s that lingered on this very class of unengaged students, as it does in our world, is the Uniform.
Uniforms. You may have worn one at some time. Hell, if you’re shuffling through school halls or serving a long line of pigs at the ol’ McJob, chances are you’re wearing a uniform right now. But it’s just clothing right? Psychologically speaking, it’s more than that. Just ask Zimbardo or Milgram.
Kill La Kill amplyfies (like all animes) this in both a literal and symbolic sense. From the onset we are introduced to the power of the uniform. Those that wear it like Ira Gamagoori, Disciplinary Committee Chair, is seen as a huge terrifying force of nature commanding great power. Because in Kill La Kill, the uniforms they wear, i.e. the Goku Uniform, literally gives the wearer actual superpowers.
In Kill La Kill, the organisation and Nazi-styled references with Miss ‘Furer’ Lady Satsuki, the Student Council President of Honnouji Academy at the helm, should go unnoticed.
Kill La Kill, intentionally or not, exposes the hypocrisy of human logic. Uniforms are supposedly meant to show unity, a symbol of people binding together under a single banner. But like the Nazis, the Goku uniform sets up a fractured unity by means of rank. One-Star Uniforms allows wearers a certain level of power. But of course that superpower is pig-cracklings to Two- Star and Three-Star uniforms.
Those with No-Star Goku uniforms are deemed unworthy and weak, and these student’s aim is to rank up and seek favour in the cut-throat caste system of student cliques by mindlessly following orders and not pissing of the system of things.
And with Ryuko, the vagabond heroine who has no problem running with scissors and challenging authority, is seen as a cancer in the Honnouji’s precious eco-sytem. But by herself, Ryuko gets easily outclassed by the brute force and strength of the system in Honnouji Academy.
Which then leads to another observation. Anarchists, as much as they think themselves outside what they view as a corrupt system, will indubitably become part of it. Functionalism’s defining ideology is that everything in society, whether war or peace, chaos or order, death or health, has it’s place in the art of equilibrium.
And as much as Ryuko, on the trail of finding her father’s killer, goes up against the Goku Uniformed baddies, she gains power only when she herself gets into uniform. A uniform that literally forced itself (sexually) on her and intravenously feeds off her blood while she wears it. The Sailor uniform Ryuko identifies as an inheritance from her ‘father’s keepsakes’ (that shows way too much skin I might add). Blood begets blood. Sins of the father. We as man tend to live by a code taught to us as reality, without questioning its meaning or truth. This is the world that Lady Satsuki governs. And Ryuko unwittingly tries to find a foothold down that same slippery path.
What may seem as an action-packed, humour-chocked anime spin on the clique school system we are subjected to as highschoolers, goes more into the psychology of conformity and the need to assimilate in seeking validation. Anything outside the norm is frowned upon, even if it makes total sense. Sad really. And while Ryuko is seen as a rebel, her power still comes from partly conforming to the deluded ideology of what wearing a uniform projects: power, status (or the promise of ranking up) and belonging to something greater. One of the many things you can thank Hitler for.