i recently rewatched gurren lagann and it made me think a lot about all the ttgl VS klk discourse there was back when klk first aired, and now i understand a lot more shit than i did back then.
when i first watched gurren lagann, i was probably around 10-12 and didnt notice a lot of shit, mainly the fanservice. like, okay, it was pretty obvious most of the girls were always half naked but it took me a rewatch as an adult to realize how many fucking ass & tits shots there were and just how ridiculous the animation on boobs was. and then there was the story, full of bullshit incoherences and weird characterization. also for some reason getting it with yoko = sudden death.
and then after finishing gurren lagann for the second time, mourning my favourite character dying and eating a bunch of peanuts, it hit me. how kill la kill wasnt to be compared to gurren lagann, but rather be seen as an evolution of it.
because no matter how “fanservice-y” klk was, we have to make sure not to forget these are the same people who made gurren lagann, and also the very same people who were so sick of the anime industry and its bullshit rules they made a new studio to produce what they really wanted to make.
ironically enough, despite how revealing the outfits in klk are, the actual amount of boob jiggling and other hilarious ways to pander to single otakus is very limited. yeah, the boobs are there, but theyre mostly a shock factor and the audience stops giving a fuck pretty fast and focuses on whats actually happening in the story. nudity is more of a joke/theme than a gratuitous thing.
in the same way gurren lagann did, kill la kill does have some contradictions in its narrative, however here they are completely assumed: sometimes the story doesnt make sense but its embraced by the writers whereas in gurren lagann the writers kinda went bonkers and didnt really pay attention to what made or didnt make sense.
in the end, kill la kill is both a revenge on what its staff didnt like about the anime industry but also an improvement over scenario and characters. im also extremely happy that the first protagonist studio trigger created after it was formed was in the form of a badass, foul-mouthed girl whos not shamed for taking control of her body and sexuality and ends up dating an adorable girl.