iSugio

Kill Me Baby – Review

by Miguel Douglas

@isugoi

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Following the comedic life of a typical schoolgirl Yasuna and her assassin classmate Sonya. Sonya’s attempt to fit in often fails when her natural assassin instincts kick in and Yasuna’s attempt to be more friendly with Sonya often gets intimidated. Unfortunately, little Sonya’s trained assassin instincts often work against her and others in her daily high school life, as Yasuna’s often-broken wrist can attest to. She just wanted a hug, but she ended up with a broken neck. Isn’t it sad? Not really.

Anime series such as Kill Me Baby, like similar shows in the past, have often dedicated themselves to a bizarre brand of humor that is either a hit or miss with viewers. This approach towards comedy is often one associated with bringing about the obscure behavior of its characters expressed through rather awkward and unremarkable everyday situations. Kill Me Baby continues to follow in such a tradition, mixing the normal, daily routines with that of the comically absurd. With the show being very episodic in nature, Kill Me Baby is a series that delves into the self-contained lives of its characters, with its narrative being outside the boundaries of the traditional format of storytelling. This sort of framework can be seen in other series such as Lucky Star (2004) for example, were very little is seen outside its established group of characters. Based off a four-panel manga series by Kaduho that was serialized in the seinen magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat, Kill Me Baby delivers a plethora of creatively comedic elements that hinges solely on the aforementioned miniscule livelihoods of its protagonists.

Because the series is more specifically concerned with the characters of Yasuna and Sonya within their isolated world, many viewers may find the series as one seemingly uninterested in advancing the development of its characters in a customary fashion. While this is a notable concern regarding what the viewer receives from the series in terms of character development, Kill Me Baby is simply more attentive towards bringing about the comedic elements of its character interactions rather than the personal growth of Yasuna and Sonya. This can certainly be viewed as a negative aspect within other shows, but it remains Kill Me Baby’s greatest attribute because it solidifies the series as one focused on the strength of its humor to keep the audiences’ interest. In other words, the series doesn’t struggle with attempting to be both radically humorous and deeply concerned with the development of its lead protagonists. This is an approach that should alleviate concerns from the very outset for some viewers expecting a combination of both, which the series doesn’t really make an attempt to do so.

One could easily see that by essentially putting all of its creative energy into being a comedy, Kill Me Baby could have easily fell into yet another ineffective exercise in failed, overexerted, and tiresome expressions of humor. Fortunately, the series is very inventive when it comes to crafting uniquely comical situations based around Yasuna and Sonya’s distinct personalities and traits, establishing their respective oddness towards the quirky dilemmas they face. The series also contains a multitude of extremely entertaining running gags, each returning to and expanding upon familiar notions brought about by the main characters in Kill Me Baby’s initial episodes. Whether it’s Yasuna’s failed attempts in learning the skills of an assassin, to Agiri always willing to sell ninja tools in the most inappropriate of moments, the series is one that relies upon the shrewdness of its dialogue and situational humor. This superficial understanding of Kill Me Baby’s characters is again not completely viewed as a negative, as the characters are simply used to extrapolate on the humorous premise that the show resides in. Yasuna and Sonya are very much the opposite of each other: one being naïve and often ignorant of immediate danger and the other being a skill professional apparently ready for any situation. The show parallels the personalities of these two individuals in highly imaginative ways, freeing itself from being repetitive even though, in a strange way, it actually is through its reoccurring gags.

The animation of the series, like the construct of its characters, is also extremely simplistic in visual style. The chibi-like quality of the show’s characters can be viewed as a benefit or detriment for certain viewers, but it does emphasize the fact that the series is one that is not exactly concerned with realistically depicting its world or those who inhabit it. The super deformed presentation of the show’s characters certainly allows the comedic elements of the series to be highlighted in a more proper fashion, successfully allowing the characters to be situated in precarious environments that easily allow them to exhibit the most amusing of bodily expressions. It’s an approach that effectively works, with many of segments within the series relying on the exaggerate look of the characters to appropriately address the comical circumstances that arise in their daily affairs.

Looking at Kill Me Baby strictly as a comical series though, the obvious point that should be made is that humor is inherently subjective to each individual viewer. In regards to this truth, some viewers will simply not enjoy what the show has to offer. This is not to say that one who doesn’t enjoy the show simply “doesn’t get it,” but that Kill Me Baby is more of an acquired taste—some may find the series entertaining and others may find it tedious and mundane—it really depends on the viewer. The abstract nature of the show is very much like its manga counterpart, so one can view it as a series directing its humor at a relatively niche audience to begin with. Regardless of this suggestion, it’s a series that is definitely not for everyone, but for those who do enjoy the sort of humor that relies on awkward everyday situations, then Kill Me Baby will be an enjoyable and humorous experience albeit a little bit on the eccentric side.

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Author: Miguel Douglas

As an avid viewer of both Japanese animation and cinema for more than a decade now, Miguel is primarily concerned with establishing a critical look into both mediums as legitimate forms of artistic, cultural, and societal understanding. Never one to simply look at a film or series based solely on superficiality, Miguel has dedicated himself towards bringing awareness to Asian entertainment and its various facets.

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