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.
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.
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.
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?