This is a long overdue followup of my KLK review from last year. Sorry it took me this long to get to it but many distractions kept me from finishing it. For everyone who waited I thank you for your patience. Here it is, finally, the second half of my KLK review/analysis.
- The review will be split into two parts with the red text containing spoilers.
- Get some popcorn and drinks…it’s going to be a long one.
Here’s the first half for readers who have not yet read it.
Genres: action, comedy, fantasy, science fiction
Themes: absurdity, assassins, developing powers, fanservice, fighting, school life, super battle suits, super school uniforms
Objectionable Content: Significant.
Number of episodes: 24+1 OVA
Honestly I do not have much else to add that I did not already cover in the first half. The second half still had everything I enjoyed about the show overall. It was over the top, it felt like a nostalgic no holds barred shounen anime, The humor was cooky, the male characters had no issue letting loose their manliness both physically and verbally, most of the girls were hot, kicked butt and weren’t weaklings, and the fanservice was excessive but did not feel out of place in what I assume to be a show with a hidden anti-communism or elitist message in the form of “clothes from the higher ups are evil” and “be proud of your body” or something like that. The big reveals in the second half were nothing new but I felt they also belonged in the nostalgia category so I enjoyed the reveals and what all the characters did afterward. So yes I also enjoyed the second half as much as the first one. Some reviewers out there said KLK would have been better if it had been presented as a 2 1/2 hour movie rather than a 25 episode show. Most of them were the usual “filler episodes suck” argument while others had valid arguments. I’m okay with it as I the only time I would complain against fillers is if in some way I had a limited time left to watch anime and the show I am enjoying would not be end before my time ran out. Thankfully that has yet to happen so it is all good.
I suppose I cannot review KLK without discussing the following.
To quote my fellow Yuri Council member Silverfox’s opinion on the role of the female leads on the show and the debate about whether KLK supports female empowerment or is sexist:
“I would say it is female empowerment because most of the female characters are very strong, especially the leads. The girls being in revealing clothes was for show, that and they had great figures for it. Skimpy outfits or no, some women just exude power…The chicks have their own ways of showing it but they’re pretty strong in those aspects. To me it’s about strong leadership and having loyal friends to stand by your side.”
Some people brought up several sexual harassment (Panda) scenes. Most of them were the usual pervert jokes (courtesy of Aikuro) found in many het harem or ecchi comedy anime but with occasional ones like Senketsu acting like a vampire and jumping Ryuko when they first met or the (probably) infamous bathroom scene involving Tsumugu, I can understand some viewers feeling uncomfortable. I personally do not think they were that bad. When Senketsu did it he looked like a hungry bastard vampire alien clothing thingy who saw the person he was supposed to meet and leapt on them. As for Tsumugu he was in revenge mode and cared little about Ryuko’s life when he was after her so I highly doubt he was planning to do anything disgusting when he ordered Ryuko to take Senketsu off.
Basically I can understand why some people would get turned off by the fanservice and naughty jokes. However, unless the viewer has always been against fanservice or feel wronged by the show’s content, KLK’s fanservice is nothing new for an anime with ecchi content.
Again not much else to cover that I have not already so let’s discuss the important characters, excluding the Nudist Beach members as they are perverted good guys…I guess.
The Elite Four are a typical “super group” with the required flashbacks and aura an of coolness (Not all super groups have an aura of coolness but for the sake of argument this group does). It’s all a matter of picking a favorite, if any. Mine’s Gamgoori because of the three warriors he is the manliest. Sanageyama reminds me of Lucky Star’s shopkeeper, which is a good thing. Inumuta’s alright. Nonon’s seiyuu reminds me of Satomi Arai, again a good thing.
I am not going to mince words here I never liked Nui. Some fans sympathized with her being what she is and what they assumed she really wanted but even so she pissed me off. Looking at it the other way she did an excellent job being a detestable villain whose main supporters consisted of naughty people. So she sucks but in a good way.
Ragyo’s similar to Nui in that she also did a great job being a detestable villain but I do not hate her like Nui. I thought she was more “fabulous” than detestable. Oh sure she definitely won’t win any “mother of the year” awards after all the damage she caused but I admit that she gave me (and many other naughty people) some guilty raging otaku boner worthy moments. Also some reviewers dismissed Ragyo for not being a good villain because of how one-dimensional she was. I disagree. It is exactly because she was a one-dimensional villain that she was a really good one. She does not need a tragic back story, be empathetic or have a chaotic-good motivation for her sinister actions. All Ragyo wanted was ultimate power and immortality and if she had to sacrifice her humanity, family and the entire planet Earth by making a deal with killer body harvesting alien tuxedos from outer space, then so be it. Megalomaniacs tend to have a one-track mind. Also going back to Ragyo’s “fabulous-ness”, her charismatic delivery and execution of all her actions are what made her fun to watch and someone viewers wanted to see get her ass kicked.
Ryuko could be best described as an anti-Mary Sue. What I mean is the internet usually turns their backs on protagonists who win all the time or barely have any challenges to overcome. Ryuko’s win-loss record is not something to brag about. She also lost control once and got brainwashed in another instance. Yeah, not very impressive. At least like a true shounen protagonist she’s a hothead who gets the job done when the stakes are at their highest. Besides that her character arc involves a lot of baddy ass kicking and defending friends who supported her up while also learning to cope with adversity and who she really is. Plus she went Super Saiyan in the final battle. Good stuff I’d say.
Satsuki on the other hand is a machine on the battlefield and in command. She’s a nearly perfect soldier and mighty leader who, while temporarily taking the role of the big bad, was admired by her peers, feared by “the lower class” and usually at odds with Ryuko. She had two major flaws though. First of all was how serious she was in preparing her coup against Ragyo that only her most trusted soldiers were aware of. She made herself look like the villain so well that by the time the truth was revealed it took a while for her to regain control of the situation. Also before the big reveal Satsuki had followed a code that was a combination of “survival of the fittest” and “semi-communism” where only her chosen elite forces were strong enough to stop Ragyo. She went as far as believing that if Ryuko could not hold her own against Satsuki then Ryuko’s death would be Ryuko’s fault. It is not until she learns the truth about her family bond with Ryuko and realizing that stopping the alien tuxedos requires more than military strength does Satsuki begin to reflect on her actions and atone for her harshness and lack of trust in “the little people” so to speak. That’s how I saw it anyway.
Mako’s second theme next to her main theme “hallelujah”. I also feel the song fits her character perfectly.
The reason Mako is my favorite character goes beyond her cuteness, unbelievable resilience, stamina and multiple superpowers. It is because she also had a journey filled with development like Ryuko and Satsuki had. She started off being Ryuko’s goofy sidekick who preached words of wisdom and tagged along with Ryuko while hiding from battles. She even got an episode where she was temporarily tainted by darkness and thankfully learned that too much power and greed could corrupt even the purest of people. After that her greatness continued growing as she hid from battles far less frequently and put herself in harm’s way on many occasions to help and/or rescue Ryuko (and her friends but mostly Ryuko) in some way, long before she got her 2-star uniform back. Also the off the charts hints that she may have romantic feelings for Ryuko.
Which brings us to the yuri on the show. The second half really kicked it up a notch in both good and bad ways.
Another reason why I took so long to review the second half was because of the bonus OVA episode. I wanted to know once and for all who the writers would cater to, RyuMako, RyuSatsu or another pairing. The casual answer is none of them. The YURI answer is RyuMako and NonoSatsu…I think.
Overall I still enjoyed the show immensely during the second half. For viewers who are intolerant to fanservice, naughty jokes that sometimes go a bit too far or find the show’s style unappealing then this show is not for you. For others who are not bothered by what I mentioned but have yet to give this show a try, give it a go.