Kill la Kill is one of these anime I enjoy for the hype and the collective experience, meaning I loved having a blast with everybody else on tumblr but I probably wouldn’t have watched it alone on DVD. I mean it was a fine fun regular anime where people shoot each other to death with steak covered panzer tanks.
So there I was, not a care in the world, and then all of a sudden philosophy struck (right before the plot died =p).
Oh yeah Major Spoilers ahead ofc.
Sooo basically in this anime clothes come from this alien Life Fiber who’s parasitizing species (here mankind) by making them evolve, before feeding out of them and spreading through space. To which a brillant naked resistance is organized. But some people cooperate with the Fiber and fortunately they offer us food for thoughts to keep us busy while the characters are endlessly fighting each other to figure out who’ll turn super saiyan (spoiler alert ryuko merges with golden sonic in an epic crossover, should have put a ring on it).
Around the 9 minute mark of episode 13, the great and powerful Satsuki gives us a speech that will surely remind you of the long naps you took during mass you were forced to attend as a child.
« I put this question to you gentlemen: what is clothing ? »
She highlights that in christian mythology, the first action of man after receiving the fruit of knowledge (self-awareness) was to put on clothes, even going so far as to call it « first manifestation of free will« . It raises many interesting questions about awareness and shame that have been discussed at length, but I would like to focus on the anime. For here clothes represent this alien entity that’s gonna be the motor for mankind evolution, intellectually, spiritually and technologically. They catalyse near-monkeys into well learned sentient creature that are bound to make good… food for clothes (yeah ok i heard it too).
At the same time, in the light of this christian mythology, one can’t help but think that clothes are a decent measure to distinguish between mankind and animals. As man is supposedly the only animal to have a conscious/soul/whatever, so to it is the only animal to wear clothes. More to the point, it is the only animal to develop technology and society. Would then clothes stand as a symbol and metaphore for Rousseau’s social contract, binding humans in knowledge and collaboration to rise above animal condition ? Could we consider this… inner socialness of mankind as an entity of its own, a global consciousness moved by its inertia ? Are life fibers this « essence of self-awareness », Plato’s Reason ? Life Fibers, the very fabric of our civilization.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it ? Where are we headed ? Is Kill la Kill trying to show us that, driven mad by this escalating course to technology, alienated from our animal nature, we’ll be consumed by our over-evolution ? That our society is bound to consume itself to death ? And if so, will the legacy of our culture, our ruins or books or whatever, our life fiber, keep the essence of self awareness alive and could pollinate other planets/species and so on…
Who’s to tell, right ? But the show offers another interesting perspective. To this « well ordered » (self?) directed evolution, the Nudist Beach oppose a crucial value : mess and chaos, first in the mouth of Mako-chan, true symbol of innocence, and then by the other « naked » people. Their long discourses are deconstructed and qualified as confused.
As much as I love discussing the implications of innocence, I would like to focus on this confusion thing. It strikes me as interesting that an element from the discourse, very manifestation of Reason (aka the fibers ?) would serve as opposition. Does this mean that our evolution is never perfect and that Reason is but an unobtainable goal, due to our inner chaos ? Is the quest for knowledge always tainted by confusion ? Are we creatures of the Fiber’s Reason or the Nudist’s confusion ?
At the end of the day, Kill la Kill may give us a glimpse into one of the fundamental duality of mankind, animal and being of semantics. And I could go on and point out that, in a very Augustinian way, the divine Reason of the fibers and the animal nature of the nudist merge in Ryuko-Jesus embodied Logos, but that would be both too christian and not very christian of me (religion pun yay) and would bring us back in a very circular fashion to the self-contradiction that may be part of the essence of discourse… (meta-boner) but maybe this running in circle is the very essence of reflexion and life ?
One thing’s for sure when it comes to the nature of mankind, anyone able to see this bullshit in a run of the mill anime has probably been driven INSANE by his underwear…