In advance of the UDON Entertainment release of the Kill La Kill Manga in English, (and since everything in the bookstore was on sale,) I thought I’d grab a copy in Japanese and give it a look.
Kill La Kill manga (キルラキル) (this link goes to the Kindle version,) as one might expect, is pretty much word for word, scene for scene, from the anime.
If you haven’t seen the anime, then let me set up the story. In a multitopian future, where the haves have a lot and the have-nots have even less than they do now, there is a school that is ruled by those with the power of the Goku uniforms – uniforms that enhance their natural skills. Into this school rides an outsider, a girl names Matoi Ryuuko, who bears half of an outsized scissor and a massive grudge against the person who killed her father. This set up is classic martial arts movie, right down to it’s basic weave. Ryuuko will have to fight her way up the hierarchy to be worth to fight the head of the school, Kiryuuin Satsuki.
If you have watched the anime, you know that none of this is the real story. ^_^ (Please do not spoil it though.)
For you, I want to note a few things – the initial scene with Sengetsu is much less stressful in the manga than it was in the anime. It’s not as prolonged, obviously we have no sound, and the narrative softens the edginess that lead it to inevitably be rape scene-like. Perhaps my familiarity with what would happen helped, as well. All told, it was not nearly as bad.
Mako-chan is completely Mako-chan-ish. If you feel that there is a closeness beyond friendship between Ryuuko and Mako, I’m pretty sure you’ll get that same vibe from the manga. In fact, because the words are near identical to the anime, you can practically hear each seiyuu say their lines. I’ll be interested to see how UDON handles the quirks of accent and speech in this manga, but my gut sense is they’ll just ignore most of it and present it all in “generic translation voice.”
Akizuki Ryo’s art is pretty much perfect for the narrative and there’s less service than the anime. Although there is service, but it is neither generic, nor excessive, considering the narrative with 20/20 hindsight.
Overall, it’s still an over the top story line, with great action and an interesting discussion of the nature of power, privilege and other important things wrapped in an incredibly silly story. A fun read and I look forward to the English release!
Art – 8
Story – 7 It barely gets started here, but for action alone, it’s good
Characters – 7 We’ve only just gotten to know them as of yet. This score will go up
Yuri – 0
Service – 5
Overall – 7 A sold start, I look forward to more
If you have either seen the entire story, or do not mind spoilers, I recommend this food for thought: Is Kill La Kill a Warning About Wearable Technology?