For an anime fan, chances are you’ve gotten into a Kill La Kill-related argument recently. The wild ride of the first season just ended, leaving fans and critics totally polarized about whether KLK is treasure or trash.
Its critics argue that Kill La Kill is misogynist. It’s an extremely easy argument to make. The series is full of blatant fanservice and gratuitous shots of T&A that make even typical skimpy superhero outfits on female comic book characters seem tame by comparison. So why do so many female, not to mention feminist, anime fans love it?
Here’s an easy way to understand how mixed-up people are about Kill La Kill. On the typically female-dominated, proto-feminist, anti-objectification Tumblr, one user posted a controversial but popular argument that the show is actually about female empowerment. When typically male-dominated bastion of “men’s rights” Reddit got hold of it, they summarily rejected the argument that KLK was anything but fanservice.
Tumblr defending a show while Reddit calls it sexist? What is this madness? Ostensibly, KLK is about a girl fighting to avenge the death of her father while taking on a formidable opponent and leader of a massive school. On another level, it’s about dangerous, sentient fighter suits and their wearers. On another, it’s about classic retro-style fight sequences.
But ask most people, and they’ll tell you that Kill La Kill is really about boobs. We’re not kidding. Kill La Kill boasts more fanservice per square inch (of bare womanly skin) than we’ve seen outside straight-up erotica. Consider all images from here on out.
“Kill La Kill is, throughout, a show where the sexual violation of teenaged girls is inevitable and morally neutral,” Tumblr user marxism-leninism-utenaism wrote recently. “This is a misogyny which is built into the conceptual framework of the narrative, its character design, marketing, and visual framing. It is The Bad Anime and I’m sad that people like it.”
This “Bad Anime,” however, is the hit of the year, spawning endless debates and intellectual conversation about the multiple levels on which it functions metaphorically and allegorically. Even as Kill La Kill is sparking outrage over its misogyny, it’s summing up the anime fan’s universal dilemma.
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