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KILL la KILL Volume 4 Limited Edition Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

Kill la Kill Set 4 CoverTruths revealed!

What They Say:
With both Kyoto and Kobe now under their control, the only region left for Satsuki to conquer is Osaka. Kaneo Takarada – the audacious student council president of Naniwa Kinman High School – is not about to surrender so easily, but can his money buy him victory against the Elite Four?!

Meanwhile, Ryuko rides in on her motorcycle to retrieve Senktesu’s final piece from Satsuki. Senketsu is finally back to one piece, but this was all just part of Satsuki’s plan! While Ryuko was occupied with her battle with Satsuki, Nonon Jakuzure attacks the Nudist Beach HQ below Osaka under Satsuki’s command. With her mission accomplished, Satsuki proceeds to the next phase of her plan to hold the Cultural & Sports Grand Festival with the academy director and Satsuki’s mother, Ragyo Kiryuin, as an honorable guest. Ryuko and the others infiltrate the arena to learn what Satsuki is plotting only to find out the shocking truth behind Satsuki’s grand scheme!

The Review:
Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
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 Ryuko and Satsuki together with a special flair separating them, but with the the way they’re pressed against each other it almost looks like they’re squished a bit in their designs, especially in the faces. 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 Ragyo as the center piece while Nui is laid out in front of her, but Ragyo’s design definitely capture the attention with its color design. Within the box we get to clear Blu-ray cases that gives us a look at Satsuki for the documentary disc and Nui 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 with Ragyo behind them on one side with a dark landscape all around while the other side has a rather big, pink image of Nui with a bit of the city in the background to the side. 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.

Menu:
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 Ragyo and Nui together 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 Ragyo 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.

Extras:
The extras for this release is pretty simple as we only get the web previews for the relevant episodes here as well as the clean opening and closing sequences. The documentary disc is similar to what we had before as it continues the behind the scenes look at the series, though again I wish that it was just included on the main disc itself, at least for the Blu-ray as it would take up very little space. For fans that want to see how the series was put together and the people behind it, it’s an absolute treat.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Over the first three volumes of Kill la Kill, we’ve gotten a crazy ride with lots of action, silliness and some really surprising fanservice at times. There’s a certain style about all of this that’s definitely appealing and the quality of it all is absolutely top notch, there’s no denying that. Sometimes it just feels like a little too much, especially when you marathon these five episode sets. I can’t imagine the overload in watching the series as a whole or even in two halves in a marathon session. Heck, this set has an episode that starts off with the series to date recap and I thought I was going to get a migraine with the way it did the whole thing in the space of about two minutes rather than waste a whole episode doing a recap. It’s a good gag to be sure, but I could almost use the break mid-disc!

This set is one that goes through a lot of changes and upheaval in a way that will alter what goes on from here, to good effect. The follow-up to events from the previous installment has the set starting off with the school raid that was going on, but it really doesn’t feel like more than just a flurry of action for a lot of it. What makes it important is that we get Ryuko making her way back in the game, even with a reduced outfit, as Satsuki has part of Senketsu that keeps her from really going all out with her combined abilities. The back and forth between the two is what defines things at the start and there’s a really great beauty to it, especially since Satsuki is given such a harsh look overall and they really stick with it in order for her to play that part to its fullest. It’s not that she’s ugly by any stretch with her design, but the harshness certainly stands out with the dour expression and her overall intensity when she fights.

It’s really the rest of this disc that starts to bring in the game changing elements that make it thrilling to watch. Satsuki’s return to her mother’s household is one that starts to explore more of the clothes and what they represent, as well as Ragyo’s overall plan with the REVOCS. There’s a grand, global scale to what she has in motion here and it’s really appealing with the way she plays things so big and has an agenda that would be frightening to anyone, even as we see Satsuki doing all that needs to be done. This exploration of her home life and the balance she has with her mother and others, from Nui to her butler, are definitely important aspects of her character. But these areas are also played against what Ryuko, and Mako, are going through as they end up with the Nudist Beach crew who take them to their secret lair to fill her in on the real truths of the world. And these truths are pretty crazy when you get down to it.

In solid exposition form, we learn from the two ostensible leaders of the sides about how in millennia past, the life fibers that we know now are simply aliens that came to earth and combined with the higher life forms of humanity back then. Helping to evolve humanity is a familiar plot point in many science fiction stories, but it’s played well here as we see why mankind is the only one to wear clothes and how these life fiber aliens basically embedded themselves into the core of mankind before going dormant for ages until the time is ripe. And that ripeness is an overpopulated world that has lots and lots and lots of people wearing clothes that they can draw energy from. With Ragyo understanding all of this, she pushed forward the agenda to bring the world to this state with Satsuki leading the forefront of it all, though we see some sacrifices she made along the way all too easily.

For Ryuko and the Nudist Beach side, what we understand from them is how they need to push back and save mankind, since they were funded by Ryuko’s father who had really strong connections to what Ragyo was doing, since he was not only her chief scientist in all of this, but also her husband. And Satsuki’s father. Which makes Ryuko and Satsuki sisters. It’s a crazy hilarious moment when that comes out later in the set, but it also provides a great rallying point when the game shifts as Ragyo pushes her agenda forward with a big play only to discover that Satsuki has spent years waiting for the opportunity to reveal her own true plans. There are some obvious layers to this when you look back at the series to date and see how it was all laid out, but with the connective tissue in there about how all of this was orchestrated by Ragyo in the present and that the underground side had a deep connection, it all has this great sense of beauty about it as it all comes together.

While we get a lot of story exposition and character material with all of this through the twists and turns, this set also provides for some very big action sequences. While there’s the big surprise reveal with Satsuki’s twist coming into play, we have all the life fibers that Ragyo has been nurturing making their way into Honnouji Academy, where they take over people and begin to drain them. There’s a really big sense of sides going on here as Satsuki and her group take on the role of protectors while also revealing some of their secrets and we get some beautifully creepy sequences with the suits that are attacking people and yanking them away in an almost kind of body-snatch style that just adds to the overall disturbed level of things. It’s all in the kind of style and palette we’ve seen, but it just goes so big with a richness to the animation that it stands out better than a lot of the earlier fight sequences, particularly as the chaos in general has grown.

Kill la Kill Set 4In Summary:
Kill la Kill makes some big reveals this time around and runs with it in a strong way. It takes time to let everything sink in so you understand what’s going on, but it also doesn’t linger on it longer than it needs to. While the series hasn’t won me over in a huge way, partially just because I’m only seeing five episode increments, I’m definitely enjoying the kind of silly but grand science fiction angle at work here that’s being combined with the high school antics, the action and the fanservice. The reveals here are intriguing and I’m really curious to see if my opinion of Satsuki changes going forward, depending on what she does, or if Mako is going to be the most memorable part of the show when all is said and done. The releases continue to be top-notch and fans who want the absolute best quality out of the show are definitely getting it.

Features:
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Clean Openings, Web Previews

Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: February 24th, 2015
MSRP: $74.98
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.

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