So, Kill la Kill has been generating a lot of heat lately what with the fan service issue and the "wrist slashing" issue. Since I think the wrist slashing issue is just noise, I'll just discuss the fan service one. I think this is a great time to discuss that especially with the release of the the third episode. [Mild/non-existent spoilers]
It's been brought up that, while the way fan service was integrated into the show's universe is admirable, it still does not justify having these characters wear these outrageous outfits. I have to disagree with that, especially with this episode. It's part of the character development. Chalk it up to me watching it subbed but I loved the episode because of the way they handled the characters rather than the outlandish outfits. The plot and concept could have easily been drowned in a sea of boobs but that isn't the case. The dialogue and the plot deserve much more attention than the fan service. You may hate the fan service but you can't deny that it's already part of the show (and not just visually).
I'll use the game Catherine as an example. Some people don't like Vincent because he doesn't have the guts to tell Katherine that he's cheating. If you say it like that, it sounds like the character sucks. But, it's a game and the character develops. If he can do that from the start, we wouldn't have anything interesting to play with.
In fact, let's remember an anime that Kill la Kill reminds people: Gurren Lagann. Why is Yoko dressed that way? I dunno. The creators never explained it (correct me if I'm wrong). I don't hear people dismissing Gurren Lagann because of it.
The first two episodes of Kill la Kill did a good job reminding people that what she is wearing is ridiculous. The third episode is supposed to remove the notion that it is purely fan service. The question now is whether Kill la Kill can continue keeping the fan service relevant or it just keeps quiet about the continuing fan service since it has already been addressed.
Still, that doesn't answer the question of why the creators made the outfits like that. Sure, the fact that fan service sells and that anime is a business most likely had a hand in it. It set up some pretty interesting things in the show's universe, though. Something that people deny about Kill la Kill is that it's a magical girl anime or at least inspired by it. Why is that? Is it because it's well beyond the established formula set by other magical girl animes? Madoka already showed that you can take the tropes set by earlier shows and use those to create an interesting universe. In the same vein, isn't Kill la Kill trying to show that you can use fan service beyond otaku pandering?
Here's GeekBabel's take on Kill la Kill's fan service:
I want to bounce an idea off you guys about why I feel Kill La Kill's justification of it's fan service in ep3 makes since.
You may have noticed that there were actually multiple reasons given. 1) her father is a sleaze bag and he designed it that way 2) Ryuko needs to learn to be comfortable with her body and not give a shit about what other people think. She has to learn her actions speak louder than her appearance.
Then there was the third reason which I'm sure most people have missed seeing as it wasn't as plainly stated as the first two, it was more implied. But it's this third and final reason that actually does it for me. 3) The science of how the fusion of two beings work in a fantasy setting.... yeah, I know it's kinda confusing so let me explain.
You ever notice how in any fantasy setting when a human fuses with a being of unnatural power the human tends to transform and be covered completely by that being, having a completely different appearance altogether having no resemblance to who they once were as a human?
Take venom from spider man for example. When he fuses with Eddie Brock he covers Eddies' body completely and transforms into something that looks nothing like Eddie Brock at all. Why is this a problem you may ask? Well think about it, is that how fusion should work?
Wouldn't you assume that when two beings fuse the result would be the physical and visual combination of the two? Shouldn't there be parts of the fusion that look like the human and other parts that look like the powerful being?
So how does this have anything to do with Kill La Kill? Where here's where it gets interesting. See before episode 3 we assumed that she was merely wearing him over her body and technically that was the truth. She hadn't truly activated the kamui's power. But once she stopped rejecting him she was finally able to bring out his full potential and FUSE with him. The kamui became her and she became the kamui. At that point they were one and the same which is why she didn't need to be completely covered her skin became the kamui itself. Which brings me back to my main point.
Kill La Kill does fusion RIGHT! It's a combination of the kamui and Ryuko's body is it not? So is it strange to see parts of her exposed?
I'm not saying it's a perfect explanation. It has holes, like why are the parts that are covered covered and other parts not. But it's something to consider, as well as the first too reasons I gave. Well, not so much the sleazy father one as much as the being comfortable with your body one :)
Yes, I do hope that the fan service is toned down in latter episodes. However, I think Kill la Kill is taking a brave stance on fan service. Fan service doesn't have to be mindless. With some good writing, it can be used to tell some interesting things. Instead of turning a blind eye on this divisive trend in anime, Kill la Kill decided to show people how it's done. It may have turned off other people but I think the decisions led to a much more interesting universe.
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