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KILL la KILL Volume 5 Limited Edition Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

Kill la Kill Set 5 CoverThe fate of existence is at hand!

What They Say:
Ryuko is suffering from the pain of learning about her own origins, and the words of those around her fall on deaf ears. While the remaining members of the resistance set out on a rescue mission to save Satsuki, who is being held by Ragyo in the dungeons beneath Honnouji Academy, Ryuko foolishly charges into the academy by herself. There, she faces Nui in battle only to get captured. While in captivity, Ryuko is convinced by Ragyo that humanity is her true enemy and that she must fight against people like Satsuki, who is protected by “people who make no sense” like the Elite Four.

Ryuko finally comes to terms with who she really is and decides to confront Ragyo together with Satsuki. Entrusting the Elite Four, Nudist Beach, and Mako to defend planet Earth, Ryuko and Satsuki go after Ragyo’s ship into space. Far above the ship, Ragyo awaits for the both of them dressed in her Kamui that she has devoted her body and soul to, the Shinra-Koketsu, which is Nui’s final design. Can Ryuko and Satsuki change the fate of humanity and their own mother?

The Review:
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 six episodes for this set that gets its own disc while the same six 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 Ryuko with a very serious and confident look to her expression, which takes up most of the cover in a very good way. 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 a zoomed out look at Ryuki with a much happier expression as well as a bit of Senketsu with her as well. Within the box we get to clear Blu-ray cases that gives us a look at Ryuko for both covers, but with different headshots images, 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 fighting on one side while the other does several quadrants with different characters group together using some great color design to it. 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 grew and changed over the course of the run. The layout uses the right side where it has the character artwork of Ryuko from the cover 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 Ryuko 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 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 with all sorts of staff interviews, 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)
Kill la Kill draws to a close here with this volume, bringing out six episodes that deliver us a strong finale that the show deserves after all the build up. It’s been an interesting ride in going through it with what it did, and there’s certainly enough payoff here at the end – depending on what you’re looking for. While there are some story elements to the series that tell a coming of age story, and that’s used bluntly here at times, it’s also a series that simply went to eleven with the action and choreography to really have fun with things. Sometimes it’s good to let all the meanings and nuance drift away and to just focus on the enjoyment of something that revels in being so strong on the action side. Kill la Kill does just that.

The first five episodes here takes us through the main storyline as one would expect, as events have picked up in a big way with Ragyo having revealed her greater plan previously, what’s involved with the REVOCS and COVERS as well as the whole alien aspect of it that goes back to the early days of humanity. It’s not convoluted, but it’s done in such a way that you have do have to kind of giggle over it and just enjoy the ride itself. Ragyo and Nui have taken it to such an extreme here, and in just this little corner of the world where it’s getting little attention elsewhere, that it’s a trip to see how they’ve put together this plan. One that involves putting clothes on the entire world and utterly destroying it, which in turn sends Life Fiber seeds back into the universe to seek out more worlds that they can feed off of. It’s not the smartest plan when you get down to it, but I don’t think there was any need to really take it to its logical conclusion.

One of the things that the show does well, and does here at the start, is that it doesn’t spend terribly long on certain ideas, though they follow convention on it. Having Ryuko being twisted into Junketsu and thereby playing the darker role as it controls her and works her into that kind of personality that would serve Ragyo, well, it’s a given. That gives Satsuki something to fight against that’s on her level and you can imagine the epic turn that she’d have to do to get Ryuko back on their side to fight against Ragyo. And we do get some great moments as it goes on, but it’s all largely contained within one episode rather than drawn out over a lot of the remainder of the series. This is both good and bad. The good is that we see a great fight take place and we see Ryuko being the one to really shake herself out of it and regain who she was rather than it being handed to her. The bad side is that if it had gone even another episode, the rest of the series wouldn’t feel like it was without merit in some ways. There’s this sprawling aspect to it for about four episodes where it is essentially just action on top of action on top of action.

Which, admittedly, this series has been from the start. But it takes it a few more notches up from there and that just makes it such a constant work of movement that it’s pretty overwhelming as it goes on. The fight goes about as you’d expect with its ups and downs, wins and defeats as Ragyo gets taken down, but not quite, so she gets to fight again. And Nui gets abused in a pretty drastic way that really changes her and makes her one of the few true casualties of the show in a way. There are some amazing sequences in here that really stands out beautifully, and I think will stand the test of time in the way that I view certain Gainax fight sequences from decades gone by, and that’s an impressive thing. The character investment is there enough as well, and I think it’ll be moreso for people as they revisit it in full as opposed to small batches or the weekly simulcast they may have experienced at first. It’s like an adrenaline rush ride to marathon this series and even these five episode chunks are intense experiences overall.

The last episode here is an interesting one as it appeared on the ninth Japanese Blu-ray release as opposed to broadcast with the series. It serves largely as an epilogue as the group goes through their kind of awkward graduation ceremony, which is made more so by the fact that the academy has been so thoroughly trashed due to the events of the final arc. This allows overall for all the smaller threads and character interactions to be dealt with, and a little more fighting as one character lost for some time comes back for a little revenge, A lot of closure here is a good thing though as we see the blunt changes of uniforms here to symbolize the changing nature of their lives and growing up, and those graduating entirely into adulthood. It’s decently done overall, and totally worth having the epilogue aspect to it all here, but it also feels like they’re keeping the door open enough for something more. But it is final enough overall with the run as a whole, so that’s definitely a very good thing.

In Summary:
Bringing Kill la Kill to a close in a big way, this final volume does all it needs to do and it doesn’t hold back. Like previous installments, the budget it all there on the screen and it’s a beautiful thing across the board. Great color design, character definitions, animation fluidity in general and the craziness of the action choreography make this something worth watching repeatedly to take in all the things that you can miss while just soaking it up on a first run. As silly as the whole Life Fibers aspect is and the big plan that Ragyo has in place for them to help them move onto the next phase of their existence, it has a kind of grand scale that I just have to love as it’s evocative of 70’s anime plots in some ways, but given such a polish that it’s easier to accept. This is a very fun series, problems and all, and one that is put together beautifully here.

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: April 28th, 2015
MSRP: $74.98
Running Time: 150 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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