12 Days of Anime #8 – Clothes Are Original Sin! Clothes Are People! – Kill la Kill and Infodump Love

It’s hard to remember that it’s been this year, as it was a Fall 2013 carry-over, and it ended without a big bang, but Kill la Kill aired this year, and it actually had a couple of episodes that spoke to a very specific part of me, a part that might not be seen all too often, but my episodic write-ups are the best place to see it. That part is the part that likes semi-obscure symbolism, reads occult and religious literature, and cares more than a wee bit for exciting infodumps, and then dislikes how shows use them.

Kill la Kill Episode 16 anime - Nudist Beach! truth

Infodumps! Glorious Infodumps!

I often call this sort of thing “The Neon Genesis Evangelion Effect”, though it’s older, you can see it in most 2-course or longer series, such as in Code Geass, Eureka 7, Wolf’s Rain, and even in Visions of Escaflowne, where there’s a mystery, there’s a “real truth going on behind the scenes”, and often it’s semi-mystical in nature. Almost makes one think of Planet of the Apes. Well, Kill la Kill certainly had it, and though I’m not entirely fond of this phenomenon itself, I’m always intrigued in how it manifests.

Few Kill la Kill Spoilers beyond this point.

Kill la Kill was always about the spectacle, about things being grander than life, that means that their nonsense was loud, brash, and over-the-top as well, or at least gave off that impression. Me? I just love it when things reference imagery I can take to all sorts of places. I don’t think in these cases that I’m positively tapping off into what the media creator designed, and honestly, I don’t really care too much about that – humans are not pattern-finding creatures, but pattern-creation engines. We ascribe meaning where we want, and that’s part of what makes media grand.

Kill la Kill Anime episode 13 - Kiryuuin Ragyou

Wouldn’t you trust “The Temptress”? The snake, the rainbow serpent?

Take episode 13 (aired on January 9th), and see my write-up for it. There’s a two minute section during the episode during which Kiryuuin Ragyou, the villain and temptress discusses the nature of clothes, and how they’re “Original Sin”. That segment of the episode lasted two minutes. How much of my write-up did it take? Sub-section 3, “Clothes Are Original Sin – A Light to Blind, And Covers to Bind”, all 752 words of it. I just had too much fun spinning meaning into it, looking at the imagery, looking at the referenced ideas. I was terribly pleased when I could even bring up The Rainbow Serpent into it, alongside the Judaic Serpent that tempted Eve. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that ever since I’ve been a child, I’ve read countless mythology books.

Episode 13 was the more personally resonant episode from a technical point of view – the discussion was allegorical, metaphorical, and symbolic. Then we’ve had episode 16 (aired on January 30th, see write-up here), which had the “technical mystery”, no symbolism, or less, just throwing at us the truth of the world, the pre-series events that set everything in motion, showing us what world we live in. That part is less personally exciting for me, but my brain does love trying to tie up all of the hints in light of the new development, see what adds up, what doesn’t, to create patterns in the tapestry of the show – especially fitting with Kill la Kill, where clothes were the topic, apparently. But in the end, most of it is just “plot”, and less interesting than characters, or symbolism, to which it is the backdrop.

Kill la Kill Episode 16 notes anime - Original Life Fiber

The mystery unveiled, as if it were a fashion show.

Me? I love infodumps, as they happen, when the mysteries are revealed, when symbolism nonsense assaults our senses (think Mawaru Penguindrum, say, or Gatchaman Crowds, or Kyousougiga, or any number of shows I really like), but I’m not too fond of how every show feels the need to have a “Secret origin of the war of reality”, it’s a bit of a cop out. I like the moment, but not the movement, if that makes sense.

And like every post thus far in the 12 days of anime, I’ll leave you with what truly made these scenes, which always involved Kiryuuin Ragyou so great, her theme song, Blumenkranz.

So, dear readers, any moment related to infodumps you actually liked this year? Or any moment that was highly symbolic, which you’ve cared for?

2 comments on “12 Days of Anime #8 – Clothes Are Original Sin! Clothes Are People! – Kill la Kill and Infodump Love

  1. Falconhaxx says:

    My favourite moment is not an infodump, per se, nor is it something that can be called a moment. Hell, it’s probably an anti-infodump, when you think about it.

    My favourite “moment” this year is the entire “hero” theme in Ping Pong the Animation. It was great. It spanned essentially the entire series, I never thought “Well, that was awfully convenient”, and at no point did any character actually state the obvious, at least not directly. I actually didn’t even get it until it was hinted at by other viewers(thanks, Tundra, for that), but when I did get it, I realised how well that theme flowed with the rest of the story. It was definitely one of the main themes of the show, but the plot didn’t necessarily require it. Without that theme, the show would still probably have been a really solid sports anime.

    And my favourite thing about this moment is actually related to that. The theme was not a be-all and end-all kind of theme, it was just one part of the characters’ lives. The story could very well go on without referencing that theme until the end of time(and maybe it did, unless the anime was a full adaptation).

    Other than that, Hanamonogatari also had some nice and memorable moments(more infodumpy in nature), but it is Monogatari, so that’s pretty much a given.

    • Guy says:

      Still need to watch Monogatari SS and Hanamonogatari. Plans to watch it before the year ends might be a bit harder.

      And yeah, what you’re talking about is exactly what I spoke of in my Ping Pong piece, in how everything in that show just added up, without being surprising, but by making sense.

      And yeah, it was very un-Hollywood in its treatment of heroism. No cynicism, no flashy heroics. Just a good theme.

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