Late August of this past year, I was informed that my presence was required at a weekend-long business trip in Oklahoma. Without delving too much into my day job, the majority of my peers are in Texas. Prior to these meetings, they did not reach out to me, a remote member of their group, preferring to stay within their own, impenetrable clique.
Business trips are an odd thing, particularly when 11 of the 15 people in attendance are already close to one another. It turns the dynamic of the forced fraternization that occurs following the meetings into a high school party where the popular kids are already separated from the rest of the group. Limited interaction with them occurs when they deign to speak to you out of curiosity, and comes in the form of generic questions about your family or love life.
Following an exhausting few hours of this over the finest Hibachi restaurant that Durant, OK. had to offer, I snuck back to my room, promising my peers that I would meet them on the casino floor shortly. However, as I sat down on the surprisingly comfortable hotel bed and looked around the room, I found myself without the energy or patience to deal with pretending any further.
It likely wasn’t the correct decision – it certainly was a choice that could have served to further close me off from the rest of my group – but I decided to hole up in my hotel room.
As we were staying at a casino, and casinos are shrewd with their resources, free wireless internet was provided but its reach was mysteriously spotty once one moved up from the first level of the playing floor into the hotel proper. Therefore, I was left with what little I had on my new laptop: the Kill la Kill OVA.
The OVA in and of itself was nothing outstanding. However, in that moment, it created an oddly comforting place for me to return to. It immediately reminded me of my feelings following the K-ON! movie, where half of the enjoyment that I felt from watching came from revisiting the familiarity of the franchise, rather than the actual quality of the product I was watching.
Upon first glance, Kill la Kill and K-ON! have few to no similarities. The former is a high-octane love letter to Go Nagai, Osamu Dezaki, Japanese mythology, GAINAX’s Daicon animations, and many other things. The latter is a relaxing, oft-comedic, look into the world of five close friends who happen to form their high school’s Light Music Club. When I want a series to pump me up before a workout, Kill la Kill is the perfect choice. When I want a series to relax and chuckle along with, there is no better selection than K-ON!. The two properties are opposites when it comes to content.
However, for me personally and countless others, watching these respective series was an experience. And in that moment, curled up in a hotel bedroom alone by choice, Kill la Kill was the perfect experience to return to.