What They Say:
As they enter the final stages of the great King of the Hill battle, Ryuko must face Uzu Sanageyama again after defeating the other three members of the Elite Four. But the combat is brought to a sudden halt when a mysterious girl clad in a gothic Lolita outfit and an eye patch suddenly appears. Her name is Nui Harime, and she claims to have killed Ryuko’s father, Dr. Matoi! Overcome by uncontrollable rage, Ryuko goes berserk and turns into a monster. Only Mako is able to knock some sense back into Ryuko, but not before Senketsu is cut into pieces by Nui.
Meanwhile, Satsuki and the Elite Four commence their Tri-City Schools Raid Trip, a large-scale invasion of the regions yet to be conquered: Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka. Ryuko learns that Senketsu’s pieces were being used in this campaign to test the new Goku uniforms. Now, Ryuko rides into a new battlefield to make Senketsu whole once again!
The audio presentation for this release is definitely solid as we get the original Japanese language track and the new English language dub, both of which are encoded using the uncompressed PCM format in stereo. The series is one that definitely plays big with the action as it’s almost a constant series of events and the forward soundstage makes out very well with this mix. Dialogue is all over the map as it should be and the big action sounds hit hard with great placement and some solid impact and oomph throughout. We sampled both tracks but largely stuck to the Japanese mix and the end result is a show that definitely has one of the better stereo mixes out there and isn’t afraid to just have fun with it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2013 and 2014, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The Blu-ray release has five episodes for this set that gets its own disc while the same five are on their own DVD as well in the set. The high definition release is something that a lot of fans really do want in the end as we get the whole thing practically set at the 30 – 41 mbps bit rate and that means bold, striking colors with a lot of pop that can handle the high motion and detail in a great way. The show has a lot going on here and the detail is strong, the colors look great and the whole disc is pretty much gorgeous to look at. While I’m sure someone could find fault with something somewhere with it, the whole thing is simply a fantastic looking experience on our setup.
The packaging for this release is definitely nicely done and consistent with previous installments, though once again I would have preferred a heavier chipboard box to go with it rather than this lighter one. The main panel of the box gives us Gamagoori in a chest puffing moment that certainly says plenty about the character. We get a simple beige background and a dull red logo that does work for what it’s trying to do here. The back panel does the same thing but gives us two of the other generals which brings their own blue and pink into it with some nice splash of color. Within the box we get to clear Blu-ray cases that gives us a look at Jakuzure for the soundtrack disc and Gamagoori for the DVD/BD case. It’s done as a good bit of black and white artwork with the beige background instead. There’s little to the back cover but the reverse side breaks down what’s on the discs. While there’s nothing for the documentary, for the DVD/BD case, it’s a breakdown of the episodes by number and title.
Also included in this release is a great little foldout poster for the Ryuko and Satsuki together set against the spire of the school, all done in a cool pose style, while the reverse side has the Four Generals together looking all serious while we get Satsuki off to the side. It’s all very earthy in tone in a way that really looks good and almost has it feeling like gods striding across Olympus. We also get a fantastic postcard set of high quality that shows off the original artwork used for the two covers of the box itself.
The menu design for this release is kept pretty simple but it works well and you can see how it’ll grow and change over the course of the run. The layout uses the right side where it has the character artwork of Gamagoori along the right with lots of color and pop to it that stands out while the left side goes for the beige-scale that has another image of Gamagoori there underneath the logo. The navigation strip along the bottom is done at a slight angle and it works easily enough while doubling well as the pop-up menu during playback as it feels like it belongs in there. The layout may not be the most special thing out there, but it fits the show well and has enough of a hook to draw you in.
The extras for this release is pretty simple as we only get the web previews for the relevant episodes here.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With ten episodes behind us so far, Kill la Kill has certainly been a fun series, though one that has felt a bit superficial in general. As it works the shonen/fighting style series template, it’s handled it in a rather good way that one should expect considering the talents involved. It’s a slick and polished production, even if it goes for a more raw style, but it’s hit all the points that I expected and doled out a few reveals and some character teases along the way. The last set of episodes left us in a very familiar place as after an all out rumble with the student body, it all came down to the expected face off between Ryoku and the Four Generals. Thankfully, it didn’t take ten or twenty episodes to get there.
In fact, things move quickly across the five episodes here as the first two episodes essentially moves us through three of the Four Generals in quick succession. Inumuta is actually taken care of rather quickly here, with part of it stemming from the previous set, and with Gamagoori already on the bench, things shift fast to Jakuzure. She’s actually a fair bit interesting to watch as she uses her form in a different way than the others have as she’s the only one actually capable of flight. What she does is use sound waves to deal with her opponents in this elevated form and it’s really fun to see the way her suit essentially expands into something big. Naturally, we get some of Jakuzure’s time in the past, going back to her kindergarten friendship days with Satsuki, and it’s easy to see why she comes across as stuck up and superior, though subservient in a very hopeful way towards Satsuki. The match plays out well and even as awkward as some of the visuals get with Ryuko’s breasts swaying to the beat of the music, well, it’s beautifully animated and makes for an amusing sequence.
Where things shift gear is when the match against Uzu is about to start and we get the sudden arrival of a new player in the game with Nui Harime. Harime has a strong connection to the upper level players in this overarching game we’re still being exposed to bit by bit as we see that she sort of “works” for Satsuki’s mother Ragyo at REVOCS, which is all about the clothing market in a huge way. Harime is intrigued by Ryuko and has come to see her, which has her flicking Uzu off into the distance with far too much ease. But it makes it clear what level she’s playing at from the start. Harime has that whole cute girl thing down, even with the mysterious purple flower eyepatch she has, but you also sense that she’s far more than she lets on. Ryuko, bless her heart, doesn’t care who she is and is just looking to take down anyone that gets in the way of her getting to Satsuki.
While Harime is the big unknown that throws everything into chaos, they don’t draw out her past in a big way but rather use it as a blunt instrument. The fight itself is kind of simple at first, owing to the power level differences, but when Harime begins to reveal her past in relation to Ryuko, how she was the one who killed her father and caused so much pain and suffering, it completely sets Ryuko off as it’s the answers she was looking for. Or at least part of them, as the reason why is still shrouded in a touch of mystery. The flashback is definitely well played as we get to see Ryuko’s father being accosted by Harime and doing his best to protect both the scissors and Senketsu, but also showing more of how things came together that simply pushed Ryuko hard into what she is now as she’s spent all this time trying to track down her fathers killer. The establishing of how it went down is good, and in a way it’s better than the over the top and out of control attack that Ryuko lays out on her, going beyond her original limits. It doesn’t help in the end and it in fact goes so bad that Senketsu is shredded, which has Satsuki taking the pieces to build up the strength of her side for a future event.
What I like from this stage is that we get a bit of intrigue with Satsuki and Harime over their place in things, and you can sense that Satsuki’s larger goals may eventually line up with Ryuko’s as well in some way. Ryuko’s being taken down here and losing Senketsu puts her in a true funk and watching her work through it, in short form rather than over several episodes, allows it to progress well with the right kind of humor and a good twist in the last episode on this set. Ryuko’s relationship with Senketsu hasn’t been explored deeply, but the more we get to know both of them the more interesting they become as the bond and depth of it grows. Having Senketsu reduced to just the scarf has its comical moments, but at the same time it’s that last shred of hope for Ryuko and we see her not hestitating at all to grab onto it and to try and figure out what to do next.
While there’s a regrouping going on, we also get events moving forward with Satsuki and her plans, which includes a tri-city raid trip that has her setting her large scale forces against three different schools to take them down. For a lot of it, it keeps Ryuko and the others out of it and we get to see Satsuki leading the charge with her Four Generals in a very fun way, though it gets utterly campy as well with the clubs involved and a little help on the defense from the American Football side. There’s a lot of wacky action and over the top moments but it also shows us how Satsuki is using what she’s putting together at the school in order to achieve her goals. Ryuko does make an appearance towards the end since the shredded pieces of Senketsu were used by the other clubs and she does some creative acquisition here. Having her out of her two standard outfits is definitely a weird sight to see, though I’m glad they did change it up a bit since it’s important to show off different sides of the characters.
The five episode at a time nature of this continues to be quite frustrating, but when you narrow it down and focus on the smaller arcs like this, it does draw you in a little more rather than powering through the whole series. This set gives us some decent action across the board, whether it’s the raid in the final episode or the time with the Four Generals that are used here. Harime’s introduction was the expected superior force that arrives out of the blue, but we see that she has an interesting role to play in the grand scheme of things with how Ryuko ended up being in this position at all. While we don’t get a real look at how things like Senketsu were made, we’re closing in on those origins and it’s definitely fun to watch, especially with the scissors and seeing Ryuko’s father involved. There’s still a predictability to things but I’m curious to see what kind of twists might come into play.
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Clean Openings, Web Previews
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: December 23rd, 2014
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.