I really liked Kill la Kill. It was funny, over-the-top, pulpy action with memorable music and characters. While it certainly had flaws, it was still way more fun and entertaining than its premise suggests. 7/10.
If you’re wondering what I think about the blatant sexualization that they were going for, the answer is a bit more complicated. Now, yes, there’s an in-universe explanation for why they wear so little, but because this isn’t based on a true story or anything, I’m going to assume that the show had writers: writers who certainly didn’t have to include a little rule about nudity and uniforms when they were fleshing out the script. So “but they explained why” doesn’t really excuse why they were written into that situation in the first place.
But hear me out, because there’s still a reason behind all of this: satire. KIll la Kill certainly does not take itself seriously and it spends a lot of time lampooning the entire “sexy schoolgirls” fad in anime. The sexualization is so ridiculous and so over-the-top that it puts the “male gaze” in the spotlight rather than hidden in subtle pantyshots and boob-level camera angles, mockingly asking “is this really what you want?” It’s actually pretty clever in a way, by being so overdramatic about everything, even the clothing.
Of course, there’s a flaw in the “they did it for the satire” explanation, but it’s not really their (the studios) fault. Even if they included obvious exploitation in their show just to point out how silly exploitation is…well, they kinda sorta still put it in there. See this review of Lollipop Chainsaw by zeropunctuation to get the idea (around 2 minutes in). “Just because you’re being ironically fetishistic doesn’t mean people aren’t jerking off to it.”
fanservice for the girls gets lampooned hard. focusing on one while disregarding the other takes out the context that makes the satire complete. There’s a whole legion of bishonen that form an army which gets lithe and nude with only belts and lensflare to cover up.
People will popularly say that oversexualization in media of men are “power fantasies” because while those same men are next to naked, or are in revealing clothing, they are still idealizations who are imbued with much agency and power over their own fate and in contrast to the ineffectual female cast. Their sexual portrayal merely is in spite of their ability to directly influence the plot with their own decisions and their multidimensional character traits and development.
Consider that the power fantasy in Kill La Kill is squarely in the court of the female cast. Ryuko and Satsuki represent the female power fantasy or at the very least, a glimpse into what characters like the superheros in The Avengers or other “male power fantasies” are like. Captain America doesnt need a skintight, shape filling leotard to fight motherfuckers when he could just use military fatigues. However, those in nudist beach, the males such as Aikuro, are ineffectual and just cant stop making a sexual exposition before the audience and the “tired of it” protagonists for tired fanservice. Aikuro exists as a dehumanized plot tool for Ryuko and to be erotic in the process.
Take a critical lens of this piece of media and you can see that the satire is much deeper or can be read much deeper than the surface “oh, well they are still scantily clad.” Man they fucking next to a constantly stripping beta male who is helplessly throwing himself on the female protagonist to no avail, who fucking accomplishes nothing but look naked/sexualized on the sidelines for relief from the female protagonists and getting BTFO when they try to help.
"Just because you’re being ironically fetishistic doesn’t mean people aren’t jerking off to it."
And My Little Pony is probably the least sexualized show around and I would wager more people jerk off to it than Kill La Kill. So, what.