Kill La Kill is anime turned up until the knob breaks off, which is just how Studio Trigger likes it. The 2013 rapid-fire action-comedy pitted delinquent transfer student Ryuko Matoi against the ominous Honnouji Academy student council president, Satsuki Kiriyuin.

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KLK is remembered because it bears Studio Trigger’s signature house style of kinetic clashes between over-the-top characters. Such a surface reading of the series does it a huge disservice, however. The struggles of the characters were used to explore KLK’s overarching theme of fashion: primarily, how we use it to shape ourselves, and how that in turn can shape our connections to other people.

10 BEST: Satsuki Kiriyuin x The Elite Four

The only odd thing about Kill La Kill’s recently released video game tie-in is that it didn’t happen sooner. In the series, all that’s lacking from the introduction of Satsuki and her Student Council are life bars and super meters. Indeed, it’s no accident the iconic designs of Uzu Sanageyama, Ira Gamagori, Houka Inumuta, and Nonon Jakuzure are meant to provoke easy readings.

As the depth of connection in each of the Elite Four to ‘Lady Satsuki’ is exposed, the truly impressive revelation is that Satsuki genuinely cares for them as well. Over the course of the story, their relationship is reforged from one of subordination to a mutual friendship.

9 WORST: Isshin Matoi x Fashion

Although Ryuko and Satsuki’s father resembles Mega Man’s Dr. Wily, he’s ostensibly Dr. Light compared to his ex-wife. After all, it was he that created the Kamui suits that his daughters wear into battle. Wait. He created these suits for his teenage daughters?

Yes, the show handwaves this through the explanation that Life Fibers should have as little contact with the skin as possible. It’s also very possible that Ryuko’s father would rather die at the hands of a lolicon assassin than explain why he created fetish gear for minors. If nothing else, such context would go a long way to explaining his marriage to a megalomaniacal death cult priestess. For now, all is speculation until Studio Trigger decides to create a ‘How I Met Your Mother’-style prequel for the series.

8 BEST: Ira Gamagori x Mako Mankanshoku

There are only two people that Disciplinary Committee leader of Honnouji Academy Ira Gamagori looks up to. Satsuki Kiriyuin handed him his first defeat in battle, but it’s the fast-talking Mako Mankanshoku who leaves Gamagori lost for words time and again. Despite Mako allying with Ryuko, the sworn enemy of all Honnouji Academy stands for, Gamagori takes his obligation as a Student Council member seriously.

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Even if Mako’s unshakable will and obliviousness didn’t mirror his own, Gamagori recognizes her as a representative of the students under his care. Mako has his respect and admiration, without beating him up to earn it. Plus, the height difference makes their interactions adorable.

7 WORST: Ragyo Kiriyuin x Rei Hououmaru

The ultimate villain of Kill La Kill is a master manipulator, and there’s no better proof than her cult of personality convincing one of the very humans she enslaved into carrying out vengeance on her behalf. Rei Hououmaru was raised to be Ragyo Kiriyuin’s loyal aide ever since the director of COVERS retrieved her from a war-torn African village.

Of course, the only reason Ragyo had taken an interest in Rei is that she was the lone survivor of a genetic line with a high tolerance against Life Fibers. Through the combined efforts of Satsuki, Ryuko, and their friends, Rei is convinced to forsake the cause of her so-called benefactor that saw humanity as little else beyond raw material.

6 BEST: Satsuki Kiriyuin x Ryuko Matoi

The most complex relationship in the series revolves around two girls opposite each other in practically every way: street tough versus socialite, hot blood versus blue blood. As the unstoppable force of Ryuko Matoi’s rage slammed into the immovable will Satsuki Kiriyuin, each clash seemed to only increase their resolve. By then it should have been a giveaway that the characters were related, but they were already more alike than they cared to acknowledge.

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Bolstered by the bonds they had forged in their strange little communities brought them from enemies to frenemies, then to their toughest challenge yet -- living alongside each other as sisters. Plus Satsuki joins her newfound ‘little sister’ on her date with Mako, and it is freakin’ adorable.

5 WORST: Nui Harime x Ryuko Matoi

Ryuko chases the mystery of her father’s death for half the series before the answer finds her: Nui Harime, the manic Grand Couturier of COVERS, cheerily accepts responsibility for the crime. Her eerie effervescence, seeming indestructibility, and obsession with Ryuko make for a deadly combination for anyone who comes between her and her target, but Nui becomes truly unsettling when she shares her origin.

The reason why the two girls share halves of the mysterious Scissor blade is that she and Ryuko are the experimental, Life Fiber-infused progeny of Ragyo Kiriyuin and Ryuko’s father, Isshin Matoi. Ryuko’s new sister and mother set about corrupting their long-lost family member to their cause, but Ryuko’s found family help her return to herself.

4 BEST: Senketsu x Ryuko Matoi

When Ryuko’s opening gambit against Honnouji Academy fails, it’s the discovery of Senketsu that gives her a fighting chance. Confronted by a sentient vampiric sailor-style school uniform, Ryuko is understandably reluctant even before she sees what she looks like wearing Senketsu.

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She can’t argue with the results of her rematch, though, and so a begrudging partnership is formed. To fully utilize her new ally’s abilities, however, requires Ryuko to come to a greater understanding of herself. While there are times when she and Senketsu are at odds, it’s undeniable that they bring out the best in one another as the final creations of Dr. Isshin Matoi. The only reason Senketsu’s ultimate sacrifice doesn’t put him higher on the list is because of the force even he couldn’t overcome...

3 WORST: Ragyo Kiriyuin x Her Daughters

Trigger created a truly heinous villain for this series in Ragyo Kiriyuin. Once she’s properly introduced, the crueler parts of Satsuki’s affectations are made clear: she’s been imitating her mother. Doing so was a survival tactic that helped Satsuki build her rebellion in the shadows of her mother’s company, but in terms of outright viciousness, her mother has her outclassed.

Her devotion to the Life Fibers as ultimate life form has driven her to offer up every relationship she has. Her children were raw materials for her ambitions, and even her ‘successful’ daughter -- the twisted Nui Harime -- exists to be sacrificed without a second thought.

2 BEST: Ryuko Matoi x Mako Mankanshoku

Ryuko uses her father’s legacy to power up, but whenever she gets knocked down it’s her first real friend that gets her back on her feet. From Day 1, Mako latches onto Honnouji Academy’s sole transfer student tighter than Senketsu.

Despite Mako’s cartoonish nature, the breathless, determined speeches she can summon on call to raise the spirits of those around her may make her one of the most powerful characters in the series. Together, there’s nothing that their guileless earnestness can’t defeat. Plus they go on a date in the credits of the final episode. It’s canon, and it’s super freakin' adorable.

1 WORST: Two-Star Goku Uniform Mako Mankanshoku x Ryuko Matoi

If there’s a bigger heartbreak than best friends forced to fight one another, conflicts like this are designed to occupy that question with teary eyes. When Ryuko has the idea of creating a club to take on more of Honnouji Academy’s student body, Mako is left to manage the day-to-day duties. As the prestige from the job trickles down to Mako and her family, it raises them in social standing. Unfortunately, this causes the Mankanshoku family to turn away from each other.

In Mako’s case, she finds herself at odds with Ryuko, who sees how Satsuki has taken advantage of Mako’s desperation. The climactic battle of the besties is one-sided, and the spell of success is broken Mako realizes that Ryuko took her punishment rather than hit her friend.

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