I have reentered university after taking a semester off between undergrad and grad and no longer have the time to keep this list properly updated. If anyone would like to continue my endeavour, the source document for this webpage can be found here in OpenOffice format. If you do make another version, email me the link and I'll add it here.

Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions. If you sent them in the past few weeks, I apologize for not responding.

Also, I mainly came here today to gloat about my chakra theory being correct. With that concluded, I bid you adieu.

This list is an attempt to catalog every reference and homage in Kill la Kill. As such, this list errs on the side of inclusivity, i.e., including every plausible reference no matter how small or seemingly coincidental. References marked with a “?” indicate that I am unsure whether the particular reference qualifies. This list will never be 100% accurate or complete nor will it ever please everyone.

An additional purpose of this list is to point out Japanese-specific details that a non-Japanese viewer might miss such as wordplay and historical references.

I welcome help in improving the list by suggesting additions, deletions, or other improvements. In fact, 90% of this list is found by someone other than myself. When suggesting modifications, please include as much explanation and proof as possible; I am only one person and am not able to watch/read/research every work that gets referenced. Read through the entire list before submitting modifications.

I will be updating this list throughout the season. I may also periodically post using the trip “KLKCataloger !96/0AMbPXU” with updates or questions. Any modifications can also be relayed to KLKCataloger@hotmail.com. I will read but necessarily reply to every email.

The latest version of this list will always be found at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/225692543/References.html. I ask that this URL always be included when posting this list in any shape or form so that I might be informed of issues. If for some reason I abandon this project, I will indicate as such here.


Ep 14 Additions: Akashic Records, Pomp and Circumstance, Four Guardian Animals, Hanshin Tigers, Euclid, Escher, Kobe Beef, Just Can't Stop It, Kai (貝)
Ep 14 Updates: Hokuto no Ken, Pacific Rim, Tenka Fubu, Removed some incorrect speculation concerning the Four Guardian Animals
Other week 14 Additions:

Speculah image version 1.82
Electra Theory
Alternative version made by an awesome anon
A parody version made by another anon

Ep 14 Looking for: Make and model of Ryuuko's motorcycle
Ep 11 Looking for: Identities of the two figures beside Hygieia
Ep 8 Looking for: See Kagura/Bon Odori
Ep 6 Looking for: Is this an actual painting? (probably not)
Ep 5 Looking for: Do these posters reference any old movies?
Ep 4 Looking for: Identities of these characters; Identity of the action figure inside the student's desk


Work Year Notes Evidence

Anime/Manga References

Kuri-Chan 1951 Ryuuko's guitar case features an image of Kuri-chan apparently drawn as a radish http://imgur.com/Qrr8lz9
Confirmed by Trigger: http://twitpic.com/dgnt50

Ashita no Joe 1968 Ep 1 boxing cinematography
Similar Ep 1 opening sequences
Loner walks across a bridge into town, get harassed by neighborhood gangs, beats them up thereby earning respect

Otoko Ippiki Gaki Daishou 1969 An influential anime featuring the deliquent Mankichi Togawa who helped popularize the banchou archetype that influenced Mako's 2-star uniform design. Followed two other less successful bancho manga (Yuuyake Bancho and Harisu no Kaze). Many other references in this list regarding Mako's uniform are potentially based off of this anime. http://www.ultraimg.com/images/sL4T.jpg

Dokonjo Gaeru 1970 Living clothing
Art style

Devilman 1972 Trigger purportedly confirmed in their Christmas commentary of episode 12 that Berserk Ryukko's color scheme was based on Devilman's. http://imgur.com/XDpmrph

Mazinger 1972 Tennis captain design
Parallels b/w Juko Kabuto and Ryuuko's father
Ryuuko suit design (color scheme+ shape)


Ace no Nerae 1973 Ep 2 tennis scenario http://imgur.com/LVXlSpx

Black Jack? 1973 Mako design http://imgur.com/7oy2ve0

Otokogumi 1974 Authoritarian upper caste of students with "Four Kings". Each King heads a school club. The leader's father has powerful political ties. Conflict ends up enveloping entire country.

Sukeban Deka (Manga) 1976 See Sukeban Deka (Live Action)

Dokaben 1976 Masame http://imgur.com/AXe3ILE

Gundam Metaseries 1979 Nonon uses the same targeting sensor as the LM314V21 Victory 2 Gundam.
Nonon's airship is reminiscent of the RX-78GP03 Gundam "Dendrobium"


Kinnikuman 1979 Ep 1 Mako uses Kinnuku Buster http://imgur.com/gHO6x04

Space Runaway Ideon 1980 Ideon gauge http://imgur.com/haRoOak

Fang of the Sun Dougram 1981 Dougram sitting on a student's desk http://imgur.com/bwhj4nY

Hokuoto No Ken 1983 100 Crack Fist of the North Star https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb4crsGvIaI

Armored Trooper Votoms 1983 Tennis captain eye scope http://imgur.com/qsaUcX2

Dragonball 1984 Dragonballs http://imgur.com/2jQYXBk

Sakigake!! Otokojuku? 1985 Genji http://imgur.com/fg3TUpT

Gegege no Kitarou 1985 Neko Musume appears to be featured in a background crowd
Original manga: 1959

Kamui no Ken 1985 Ryuuko's sound negation stance closely mimics the protagonist of Kamui no Ken as he parries an attack.
Note: This anime involves Ainu mythology and kamuy (described below) which might tie into KLK's kamui.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure? 1987 Jotaro http://imgur.com/Hkyk7FI

Sore Ike! Anpanman? 1988 Anpanman originated the practice of villians getting blown away and disappearing into a twinkle.
Original picture books: 1973

Earth Imperial Space Force symbol
Sensei's glasses
Both Noriko and Ryuuko rip off their clothes to become stronger
Satsuki suit design



Hajime no Ippo 1989 Ep 1 boxing scenario “He who rules with his left rules the world”, boxing captain deliberately throws only left punches at start of fight

Flaming Transfer Student 1991 Ep 1 boxing scenario

See also: Flaming Transfer Student crossover
Transfer student arrives at a school where the strongest make the rules. Gets into absurd boxing matches featuring excessively long attack names.

Kekko Kamen 1991 Upside down crucifixion http://imgur.com/hqYG14a

Evangelion 1995 Gamagoori's transformation is reminiscent of the Rebuild version of Zeruel, featuring a similar color scheme, attack style (mummy like ribbons), and ability to absorb damage.


Trigger purportedly confirmed the Eva references in their Christmas commentary of episode 12.


B'tX 1996 The discovery of Senketsu is an accelerated version of episode 1 of B'tX. Person falls into a junk pile and is injured during the fall. Blood then seeps down and activates a dormant, sentient weapon. http://imgur.com/vNCddr0

Escaflowne 1996 Another series in which a blood connection is used to control a mechanical weapon with its own consciousness. Like KLK, syringes are used to draw blood. http://www.ultraimg.com/images/o7nsP.jpg

Utena 1996 Sensei's shirtlessness
Phallic student council tower

FLCL? 2000 Cinematography

Both Guts' and Miyu Miyu's VAs are listed as “?”. Miyu Miyu's VA was later revealed as Hideaki Anno. This could also be viewed as a double reference to Sukeban Deka which also used a mystery actor.

Metropolis 2001 Leveled city with lower social classes living at the bottom
Original manga: 1949

Cromartie High School? 2003 Note: Imaishi handled the storyboarding of Cromartie's OP. http://imgur.com/4msighK

Re: Cutie Honey 2004 Character archetypes
Fan service
Both Nui and Honey wear a heart shaped necklace that can be used to transform/disguise themselves.
Original manga: 1973


TTGL 2007 Spiral road around city
Spiral watch
Tsumugu Dialogue
Kamui design
Sensei's shirtlessness
Team Dai-Gurren Symbol

Panty and Stocking 2010 Not a definite reference but Imaishi definitely seems to enjoy casually inserting animal sex
Ep 3 hallway fight appears to be inspired by PSG Ep 6 hallway fight
Chuck and books named after PSG episodes ヌーディカル (Nudical) and ビッチガールズ (Bitch Girls)



Japanese Non-Anime/Manga References

Tange Sazen: The Million Ryo Pot 1935 Movie poster depicting Tange Sazen, a one eyed samurai http://imgur.com/sOM5HvB

Sailor Suit and Machine Gun 1981 Fantastic / Kaikan / 快感 http://youtu.be/1WrsF1pAk_0?t=1h36m13s

Super Mario Bros. 1985 Skull raft

Piranha plant
TV shop owner might be a reference to Wario

Sukeban Deka (Live Action) 1985 A media franchise consisting of manga, TV dramas, anime OVAs, and films based on a female delinquent transfer student who has been drafted into the police force. The ED is very similar and there are NUMEROUS parallels that can be found between its characters and plot with Kill la Kill. http://www.ultraimg.com/images/Mdnz8.jpg
An exhaustive summary of the Sukeban Deka franchise along with its parallels to Kill la Kill can be found here.

Rebellion League of Girls in Sailor Uniform 1986 This drama was created to compete against Sukeban Deka and used an untraditional Sukeban uniform color (white) to set itself apart. The result is a uniform very similar to what Satsuki wore in middle school. http://youtu.be/yjoRizLmgv8
More reading: http://sketchesofcinema.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/recently-seen-tv-shows-6/

Takeshi's Castle 1986 A cult television game-show featuring hundreds of contestants storming a castle filled with obstacles and traps. The vast majority of participants are eliminated. Episode 4's No-Late Day scenario mirrors this closely.

Kamen Rider Black 1987 Suit design (color scheme + steam) http://youtu.be/U9O9WMaMg6E

Majisuka Gakuen 2010 Ryuuko's black jacket in Ep 1 and red hair streak is modeled after Black, the primary antagonist http://imgur.com/DPJ9A69

Western Media References

The Story of Little Black Sambo 1899 A British children's book in which a South Indian boy is chased around a tree by tigers until they turn into butter. http://imgur.com/ZWRNwkS

Marvel Comics 1962 Iron Man, The Hulk, Gray Hulk, Destroyer, and a Sentinel on student's desk
Gamagoori's second form resembles Iron Man/Iron Monger.
Nonon's hat resembles Galactus.


2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 2001 marked the first use of Blue Danube when portraying weightlessness or freefall. http://www.popmodal.com/video/15109/2001-a-space-odyssey--Blue-Danube-1968-HD-
http://imgur.com/9bBO4B1 [13:27 ep 4]

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1971 Could be referencing either Hunter S. Thompson (the author) or Raoul Duke (main character based on Thompson) http://imgur.com/eMKQugA

The Gauntlet 1977 Clint Eastwood hijacks bus, puts armor on it, proceeds to drive it through streets lined with police officers shooting incessantly at the bus to make it to city hall in time for a trial [needs video clip, bus hijacked at 1:27:00, gauntlet begins at 1:39:00]

Raiders of the Lost Ark? 1981 Boulder scene in ep 4
Note: Spielberg originally got the boulder idea from Uncle Scrooge

Little Shop of Horrors? 1986 Audrey II
Original film: 1960

Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991

Pulp Fiction 1994 Various members of the cast including Vincent Vega, Jules Winnfield, Mia Wallace, Butch Coolidge, and Fabienne http://imgur.com/AivjTEW
http://imgur.com/G7wLdMO [who's the other guy?]

The Matrix 1999 Bullet dodging
Sidenote: The Animatrix is a good example of The Matrix's popularity in Japan
http://imgur.com/8JQErRK [want gif]

Metalocalypse? 2006 Charles Foster Ofdenson http://imgur.com/aabOOiR

Little Big Planet? 2008 Sackboy http://imgur.com/wXwroND

Pacific Rim 2013 Sign reading “Moe & Kenta Tendo / 萌&健太 テンド” referencing a sign in Pacific Rim's version of Tokyo reading “Moe & Kenta Video / 萌&健太 ビデオ”
Sign reading “太平洋 ンム”literally Pacific Rim


Works Referencing Kill la Kill (In order of discovery for now)

(Is this actually the title?)

Japanese adult video parody. Starring Rei Mizuna (水菜麗). http://imgur.com/KMB3FkA (SFW)


Sima la Kill (シマラキル)
A crossover doujin with Blazing Transfer Student (see above) by the mangaka of the 1983 original. http://p.twipple.jp/Io7KV
Mangaka's Twitter

People YOB Description

Euclid 300 Greek mathematician who first described Euclidean space. See also non-Euclidean space. http://imgur.com/IbhPVwD

Adolf Hitler 1889 Leader of the Nazi Party who established autocracy over Germany in 1933. http://imgur.com/fMWzzs6

M.C. Escher 1898 Artist and mathematician who specialized in physically and/or geometrically paradoxical art. Responsible for the 1948 lithograph Drawing Hands. http://imgur.com/LCscMbV

Brian Wilson 1982 Pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, famous for his distinctive beard http://imgur.com/OLaWw9W

Company/Product Year Description Evidence

Aircraft manufacturer that produced the CH-47 Chinook during the early '60s. http://imgur.com/PfZd3jl

Car manufacturer that produced the 1959 Eldorado. http://imgur.com/ZxuHlUA

Car manufacturer that produced the 1962 CM truck. http://imgur.com/Zs42jX1

Car manufacturer that produced the 1981 DMC-12, notable for being featured in the Back to the Future trilogy. http://imgur.com/UXqnJJi

Fuji Heavy Industries
Industrial conglomerate that produced the Fuji Rabbit scooter from 1946 to 1968. http://imgur.com/hXL4H5N

A luxury chocolate company. http://imgur.com/VOpiQ6Z

A game company that produced the Famicom, the first home console to utilize D-pads. Note that the color scheme of the washing machine is also similar.
The official twitter hinted that the red color scheme of Inumata's vision referenced the Virtual Boy.


Car manufacturer that produced the 1969 Skyline C-10 GT-R. http://imgur.com/mO3iPlp

Defense contractor that produced the AN/PRC-6 walkie-talkie for use in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. http://imgur.com/XdOWKPa

A consumer electronics company that produced the M 9994K boombox. http://imgur.com/dZiumIl

TDK Corporation
An electronics company that produced cassettes tapes. http://imgur.com/HatyEkA

Timotei Shampoo
A shampoo brand introduced to Japan by Unilever in the 80s that quickly became the best selling brand. Notable for being referenced in Lucky Star. http://imgur.com/Go3x2HL

Victor Company of Japan (JVC)
A consumer electronics company that produced the RC-M75 boombox. http://imgur.com/2FuB3JQ

Eastern History/Mythology/Culture/Language/Literature References

(I don't know Japanese, if you spot an issue, let me know)

Reference Ep # Description

Kill la Kill (キルラキル) 0 キル = "kiru" = To kill
着る = "kiru" = To wear
切る = "kiru" = To cut (multiple kanji variations)
Full list.

Honnō-ji (本能寺) Incident 1 “The Honnō-ji Incident refers to the forced suicide on June 21, 1582 of Japanese daimyo Oda Nobunaga at the hands of his samurai general Akechi Mitsuhide … ending Nobunaga's quest to consolidate centralized power in Japan under his authority.”

Devas/Elite Four (四天王) 1 四天王 = Four heavenly kings
Additional reading
The names of the four devas correspond to animals
Note: This is a common trope in Japanese media

Speculation: The devas correspond to the Four Wise Monkeys.

Red String of Fate 1 The life fibers are depicted as red strings. This connection was made explicit in episode 11.

Kamuy (神威 / 神居) 1 Kamuy is a term applied to ancient Ainu deities. Kamuy is homonymic with the KLK Kamui (神衣) which can be literally translated as “god clothes”. The Ainu people are indigenous to Hokkaido, which Satsuki apparently took over using the sumo club.

Star Mandala 1 Ancient Japanese cosmological/astrological maps that depicted celestial objects as deities. They originated through star worship in Japanese Buddhism as a means to predict the future. Designs varied widely but several can be found implementing nested circular designs. Patterns similar to these can be found in Ryuuko's basement and Satsuki's uniform factory. It should be noted that the dotted circles likely symbolize stars. Episode 8 showed an expanded view implying that they are used to spin/sew life lifers.

Often, star mandalas have the four heavenly kings aligned with the cardinal directions with a commander at the center.

Note: This was brought to my attention by a scene in Kemono no Souja Erin which sparked a search for its origin. A link dump detailing other possibilities can be found here.

Fashion/Fascism 1 In Japanese, both fashion (ファッション) and fascism (ファッショ) are loan words and are pronounced approximately the same as in English and therefore retain their alliteration.

Uniform/Conquest 1 In Japanese, school uniform is pronounced as gaku seifuku (学生服) whereas KLK uses goku seifuku (god uniform, 極生服). Seifuku by itself (生服) is homonymic to conquest (征服).

Sukeban/Banchou 1 Sukeban and Banchou respectively refer to all-female and all-male youth gangs that were prominent during the '60s and '70s and impacted pop culture significantly. The largest Sukeban gang is reported to have numbered 20,000 members at its peak and implemented a Yakuza-style command structure including presidents, advisors, and accountants.

Ryuuko and Satsuki are depicted as Sukeban whereas Sanageyama and Mako are depicted as Banchou.

JK2 1 Written on a sticker on Ryuuko's guitar case. Confirmed by Trigger to mean the second year of senior high school. In American high school systems, this would be equivalent to a Junior.

Tokyo Bay 2 Honnoji Academy is situated within Tokyo Bay and appears to be inspired by the Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid as well as ancient/mythological structures such as the Mount Meru, the Tower of Babel, Mount Purgatory, and contemporary depictions of the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars 3 Chen Sheng Originally used a variation of this quote in 209 BC when leading a rebellion against the Qin dynasty.
Side note: Referenced in Saint Seiya.

Hatsuyume 4 “It is considered to be particularly good luck to dream of Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant.”

The Sandpiper and Clam 5 An idiom originally coined during China's Warring States period.
Note: There was a short anime based on this idiom

Karuta 5 A card game incorporating cards with Japanese poems written on them. http://imgur.com/TNfoP8R

Rakugo 5 A Japanese stage show featuring a lone story teller. http://imgur.com/SEsbds7

Nanjing Lily 7 A form of Japanese street performance. http://imgur.com/RDKqvir

Rinne-Do Junior High School (私立輪廻堂中学) 8 輪廻 = Samsara (reincarnation)
堂 = Temple

5 years ago, Rinne-Do high school was holding its 63rd graduation ceremony. Assuming that KLK is set in the present day, the founding year of the school would have been approximately 1945.

Ushi Elementary School? (丑小学校) 8 丑 = Ox (an animal of the Japanese zodiac)
Note: A significant portion of the sign is obscured. Only the part that says elementary school (小学校) can be clearly resolved. I'm not sure where CR got ox from.

Houjou and Imagawa Clans 8 The Hojou clan was a minor clan in the events preceding the Honnoji Incident. The Imagawa clan dissolved 20 years before the Honnoji Incident with officers and land holdings migrating to to the Tokugawa and Takeda clans which were major clans.

Shoshinsha Mark 8 A mark that beginner drivers are required to place on their cars. http://imgur.com/P3UdtM2

Naturals Election 8 This pun is exclusive to CR's English translation. The actual word used is 壊惨総戦挙 which reads as snap election but literally translates to something closer to broken cruel battle election.

Kagura/Bon Odori 8 Kagura and Bon Odori respectively refer to dances incorporated into Japanese Shinto and Buddhist worship. The style of Mako's song in ep 8 at 10:47 closely matches some songs used in these traditions but I have not been able to find an exact match yet. A similar song is used in Spirited Away at 1:14:35 with a nearly identical rhythm as No-Face entered the bathhouse. Given Spirited Away's heavy Shinto and Buddhist symbolism, Mako's song is probably not a reference to Spirited Away but rather a reference to the same Shinto or Buddhist song used as reference in Spirited Away. The director (Hayao Miyazaki) purportedly discusses the song during Spirited Away's making-of documentary at 30:44 but I do not have access to this. Specific details would be appreciated.

Takabisha Kindergarten (鷹飛舎幼稚園) 10 鷹 = Eagle, hawk (Taka)
飛 = Flying (Hi, Bi in certain words)
舎 = Hall, house, residence (Sha)

The full 鷹飛舎 reads the same as 高飛車.

高飛車 (Takabisha) = Domineering, high-handed

幼稚園 = Kindergarten

Tokyo 10 REVOCS headquarters is situated in Tokyo. http://imgur.com/i2C1bGJ

Banshi (絆糸) 11 絆 = Bond, fetters (ankle chains)
糸 = Thread

Note that 絆糸 is a made-up word but it is homonymic with 万死.
万死 = Critical state of life, literally ten thousands of death

Conquest of the Big Three Battlefield Trip (三都制圧 学旅行) 12 三都 = Metropolitan Three
Refers to Keihanshin comprising the three major Kansai cities Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe. Historically referred to Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo (Tokyo). Some modern usage replaces Kyoto with Nagoya. Note that the Honnoji Incident occurred in Kyoto.
制圧 = Conquest, suppression

襲学旅行 (shūgakuryokō) = Battlefield trip (roughly), 襲 = Raid, attack
修学旅行 (shūgakuryokō) = School field trip , 修 = Study, cultivate (etymologically)

襲 = Raid, attack (etymologically derived from dragon and cloth)

Probably a reference to Oda Nobunaga's 15-year Tenka Fubu (天下布武 / “All the world by the force of arms”) campaign in which he conquered the entire Keihanshin region. Notably, Osaka fell only after a 10 year siege in which mobs of peasants, farmers, monks, and nobles joined Osaka's defense in a similar manner to Kill la Kill.

Four Guardian Animals 14 A counterpart to the Four Heavenly Kings consisting of a blue dragon, a black turtle, a red bird, and a white tiger.

Kai (貝) 14 貝 = Money/currency OR shellfish
The shellfish armor design is a possible reference to the prominent crab restaurant Kani-Douraku or more generally to the Osaka's fishing industry

Hanshin Tigers 14 A professional baseball team based in Nishinomiya, halfway between Osaka and Kobe. The mascot is an angry tiger and the uniform features pin stripes.

Kobe Beef 14 A highly regarded variety of beef cut from wagyu grown in Hyogo Prefecture near Kobe. Prized for its marbling (intramuscular fat deposits). Evidence

Western History/Mythology/Culture/Language/Literature References

Reference Ep # Description

Town Musicians of Bremen 1 A donkey, dog, cat, and rooster stack on top of themselves to scare away a robber. http://imgur.com/OunPBgD

Pyramid of Capitalist System 1 “A provocative illustration of the hierarchical system of capitalist rule in America” http://imgur.com/Jb0V34a

Animal Farm 1 “You pigs in human clothing” http://imgur.com/uHLMi95

1984 1 “Fear is freedom
Subjugation is liberation
Contradiction is truth”
“War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength”
(Three principles of Ingsoc)

Oceanus 11 Roman Titan of the Ocean, Sea, and Water. Matches closely to the statue laying down with a jar in Ragyo's bath. Depicted alongside Hygeia at the famous Trevi Fountain.
See also: Marforio

Hygieia (Salubrity/Sirona) 11 Roman Goddess of Health and Hygiene. Matches closely to the statue at the back of Ragyo's bath wielding a spear and a long object resembling a rope or snake. Depicted alongside Oceanus at the famous Trevi Fountain. Note that Hygeia is commonly shown with a snake but is only depicted with a spear at Trevi Fountain.

Morton's Toe 11 The second toe on Ragyo's foot is longer than her big toe. This is referred to as Morton's Toe, a genetic trait predominant in European populations. It contributes to the ideal body proportions embodied in classical Greek sculpture.

La vie est drôle 13 French for “Life is funny”.

Book of Genesis 13 Bible book describing the creation of the universe and mankind, namely Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve commit the original sin by eating from the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge and became aware of their nakedness. Also note strong crucifix imagery associated with both the REVOCS logo and Ragyo.

Akashic Records 14 A mystical record of everything that can only be accessed through the astral plane. Clairvoyants are said to read from it. Originated as a theosophical concept in the 1800s. Tangentially related to Esoteric Buddhism and Christianity and can be said to unify many religious traditions. Commonly misspelled as akasnic.

Further reading (this gets weird):
Theosophical Society
Akashic Records – The Book of Life
What are the Akashic Records?

Kanji Explanation

Ryuuko Matoi (纏 流子)
纏 = To wear, wrap, bind, or tie

流 = Flowing or style, homonymic with 龍 (dragon)
子 = Child, Mouse/Rat (of the Zodiac), further reading on 子

Satsuki Kiryuin (鬼龍院 皐月)
鬼 = Demon (oni)
龍 = Dragon
院 = Ex-empress, academy, institution

皐月 = The fifth month
In modern times this means May, however historically this meant the fifth month of the lunar calendar. Coincidentally, the Honnoji Incident occurred in the fifth month of the lunar calendar as indicated by Akechi Mitsuhide's famous quote.

Speculation: Ki could be understood as 黄 (yellow). Kiryuin could relate to the Yellow Dragon of Chinese mythology, commander of the Four Guardians of the Cardinal Directions. This would likely apply more to Ragyo than Satsuki.

Speculation: Parallels to Oda Nobunaga. Several parallels can be drawn between their personalities.

Mako Mankanshoku (満艦飾 マコ)
満艦飾 = Full dress ship, referring to when warships decorate themselves with banners and flags during times of celebration. This was used as slang in Japan in the 1960s to describe communities that put their laundry out to dry all at once following rain.

Note: Mako is written in katakana, a simplistic set of syllabic characters with no innate meaning that are rarely used in native names

Aikuro Mikisugi (美木杉 愛九郎)
美 = Beautiful
木杉 = Cedar Tree

愛 = Love
九 = Nine, derived from a pictograph of a dragon
郎 = Son

Speculation: Aikuro refers to the nine sons of the dragon. Nine Dragons on Wikipedia.

Uzu Sanageyama (猿投山 渦)
猿 = Monkey
投 = To throw or go towards
山 = Mountain

渦 = Vortex (possibly related to chakra)
Oda Nobunaga nicknamed one of his generals, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, monkey.

心眼通 (Shingantsu) = Authority of the mind's eye (possibly related to the ajna chakra)

剣の装 = Blade Regalia
剣の装 = Blade Regalia Mk. II

Houka Inumata (犬牟田 宝火)
犬 = Dog
牟 = To make or seek
田 = Field (agriculture)

宝 = Jewel
火 = Fire

の装 = Probe regalia

Ira Gamagoori (蟇郡 苛)
蟇 = Toad
郡 = County, district

苛 = Torment, scold, irritate

の装 = Shackle Regalia
縛の装= Scourge Regalia

Gamagoori's second form includes an Asian-style halo that has been used in depictions of Buddha, the four heavenly kings, and other Buddhist figures.

Speculation: Possible parallel to Yasuke.

Nonon Jakuzure (蛇崩 乃音)
蛇 = Snake
崩 = Rupture

乃 = Then
音 = Sound

奏の装グラーブェ = Symphony Regalia Grave (a slow and solemnly tempo)
奏の装プレスト = Symphony Regalia Presto (a fast and manic tempo)
奏の装ダ・カーポ = Symphony Regala Da Capo (a repeat)

Senketsu (鮮血)
鮮 = Fresh
血 = Blood

穴 = 'Ketsu' (slang for ass)

Junketsu (純潔)
純潔 = Purity, chastity

Shiro Iori (伊織 糸郎)
伊 = Third person pronoun (him, her, he, she, it), Italy (abbreviation)
織 = Woven

糸 = Thread
郎 = Son, gentleman

Takiji Kuroido(黒井戸 滝司)
黒 = Black
井戸 = Well (for water)

滝 = Waterfall
司 = Manager, officer

Soroi Mitsuzo (揃 三蔵)
揃 = Uniform, orderly (shear in Chinese)

Mitsuzo = Three-piece suit
三蔵 = Sanzo, a high ranking Buddhist priest who has mastered the three Tripitaka
Note: Sanzo is often misunderstood as the name of Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk and explorer who was notably featured in a 1978 Japanese TV drama.

Kinagasu Tsumugu (黄長瀬 紬)
紬 = つむぐ = Tsumugu = 紡ぐ = The act of spinning yarn (KLK's given pronunciation)
紬 = Tsumugi = Pongee, a type of Chinese cloth (alternate pronunciation of 紬)

黄 = Yellow
長 = Chief
瀬 = Rapids

Nui Harime (針目 縫)
縫 = Sew, stitch (verb)

針 = Needle, pin, stitch (noun)
目 = Eye, sight

Nui's eyepatch appears to be a superposition of ヌ (Nu) and イ(i)

Grand Couturier, an elite fashion designer typically based in Paris, this designation was specified in 1945 after the end of WWII.

Speculation: Possible wordplay off of Nue or Nuigurumi.

Ragyo Kiryuin (鬼龍院 羅暁)
羅 = Thin silk, net for catching birds
暁 = Dawn, clear/explicit

Isshin Matoi (纏 一身)
一身 = Oneself

Kinue (絹江)
絹 = Heavy silk
江 = Creek, stream, bay
Note: Kinue refers to the woman who was ripped apart by clothes. These kanji were taken off wikipedia.jp which gave no source. To my knowledge, the name is not given in any of the episodes so far. An alternative syllabic interpretation can be found here.

Speculation: Possible wordplay off of Nue.

Rei Hououmaru (鳳凰丸 礼)
鳳凰 = Phoenix, could refer to the Greek phoenix
丸 = Ball, circular object, perfection, to seduce https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakuten

礼 = Reverence, a bow, an expression of thanks or gratitude

= Secret

Speculation: Possible parallel to Yasuke.

Shinjiro Nagita (凪田 信ニ邸)
凪 = Lull
田 = Rice field

信 = Trust
二 = Two
邸 = Official residence

Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長)*
織 = Weave, knit, organize, unite

Akechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀)*
明 = Brilliant light
光 = Physical or metaphorically perceived light

*denotes a historical figure

General Stylistic References

Go Nagai
Art style
Fan service
“What I drew was not eroticism. It was all about Japan’s culture of shame. The characters want to show what they’ve got, but they’re too embarrassed to do so. It’s all about the tug of war between men and women. I wanted that embarrassment to be the eroticism of the stories.” -Go Nagai

Osamu Dezaki
Art style http://imgur.com/wrGFlOL

Looney Tunes
Mako physics

Saul Bass
Pioneering graphic designer known for his animated opening sequences during the 50s and 60s that employ cutout silhouettes. http://imgur.com/b0Bp1Nr

Project A-Ko
A 1986 action comedy OVA about a super-strong girl (wearing a sailor uniform) protecting and loved by her best friend, the goofy, hyper-active cheery girl (named C-Ko). In order to protect C-ko, A-ko fights against an elite, upper-class ojou-sama named B-ko, who happens to wear a super-powered suit that's somewhat similar in design to the Kamuy's in Kill la Kill.

The series employs a similar pastiche style to Kill la Kill by referencing both Eastern and Western media.

Harisu no Kaze


Similar Trigger/Old Gainax Works (not referenced above)

Dead Leaves 2004

Inferno Cop 2012

Episode/Song Title Ep # Artist Evidence

If Only I had Thorns Like a Thistle
1 Miyako Chaki

So Sexy, I'm Going to Faint
2 Char http://youtu.be/8hktD1u2uA0

Junketsu (Purity)
3 Saori Minami

Dawn of a Miserable Morning
4 Jun Mayuzumi

Ep: 銃爪(ヒキがネ)
Song: 銃爪(ひきがね)
5 Sera Masanori & Twist

Don't Toy With Me on a Whim
6 Southern All Stars http://mfi.re/listen/hse3obj6ib7q4r4/_01(1).mp3

A Loser I Can't Hate
7 Kenji Sawada

I'll Wipe My Own Tears
8 Miki Katsuhiko

A Once in a Lifetime Chance
9 Hideki Saijo

I Want to Know More About You
10 Hiroko Yakushimaru
薬師丸 ひろ子
Notable for being the protagonist of Sailor Suit and Machine Gun.

I'm Not Your Cute Woman
11 Yamaguchi Mioko

Spit Your Sadness Away
12 Hongo Naoki

Feeling Like Scattered Roses... When You Are Near
13 Tahara Toshihiko

Ride Like the Wind
14 平田隆夫とセルスターズ
Opening song of the 1971 TV drama 浮世絵 女ねずみ小僧

Just Can't Stop It
15 Linda Yamamoto

? 16

Western Music Year Composer/Artist Evidence

Messiah (Hallelujah) 1741 George Frideric Handel http://youtu.be/DyFDW9wlLvE (excerpt)
Ep 3 at 17:25 and all other Mako interventions

Symphony No. 5 in C minor 1804 Ludwig van Beethoven http://youtu.be/6z4KK7RWjmk
Ep 11 at 7:20

William Tell Overture 1829 Gioachino Rossini http://youtu.be/YIbYCOiETx0
Ep 10 at 18:23
Ep 11 at 0:00, note that it cuts around to different parts of the finale

Turkey in the Straw 1829 Indeterminate composer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Turkey_in_the_Straw.ogg
Ep 7 at 7:10

Tocata and Fugue in D minor 1833 Johann Sebastian Bach http://youtu.be/_FXoyr_FyFw
Ep 4 at 8:07

Piano Sonata No. 2 (Funeral March) 1837 Frédéric Chopin http://youtu.be/kyFyAqLtHq8
Ep 4 at 8:52

Orpheus in the Underworld (The Can-Can) 1858 Jacques Offenbach http://youtu.be/g0WRJES4cyw
Ep 11 at 2:40

Tritsch Tratsch Polka 1858 Johann Straus II http://youtu.be/u5yr-r3GkW4
Ep 5 at 15:05

Light Calvary Overture 1866 Franz von Suppé https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Overture_to_Light_Cavalry_-_U.S._Marine_Band.ogg
Ep 10 at 14:48

The Blue Danube 1867 Johann Straus II http://youtu.be/_CTYymbbEL4
Ep 4 at 13:27

Carmen 1875 Georges Bizet http://youtu.be/cvny0Mssa04
Ep 9 at 3:45

Under the Double Eagle March 1893 Josef Wagner http://youtu.be/4AwIWi6r0p4
Ep 10 at 13:32

Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D 1901 Sir Edward Edgar http://youtu.be/Kw-_Ew5bVxs
Ep 14 at 10:42

Ping Pong Circulate 2012 CNTRY EARL
References a move used in square dancing.
Note: There are some unconfirmed rumors that both these pieces merely sampled the same stock vocals in which case it wouldn't be considered a reference
Ep 2 at 13:07

See below: 犬Kあ3L

Speculative side notes:
Episode 10 presents a military themed program with pieces corresponding to the three principal Napoleonic combat arms.
Artillery: Under the Double Eagle March (Official march of the Austrian Artillery Regiment)
Cavalry: Light Cavalry Overture
Infantry: William Tell Overture Finale (Also termed the March Of The Swiss Soldiers)

Episode 11 presents a program that focuses on Nonon's character.
Orpheus in the Underworld: An operetta where Orpheus descends to the underworld to save his wife. Nonon explicitly calls out to heaven and hell as this piece begins. This ties into Nonon's skeleton motif.
Symphony No. 5: A famous symphony written as Beethoven was in the middle of losing his hearing. This ties into Nonon's potential role as the monkey that hears no evil.

Track Name # Pronounciation (rough) Notes

Volume 1

Before my body is dry 1 Before my body is dry

goriLLA蛇L 2 Gori la jaru
Gori la hebil
Gori la hemil
蛇 = Snake

犬Kあ3L 3 Inu ka saru
Inu ka thrill
犬 = Dog
あ = 'Ah'
3 = 三 = 'Sa'
Saru = Monkey

Blumenkranz 4 Blumenkranz German for “floral wreath”

AdラLib 5 Ad ra lib ラ = 'Ra'
Ad lib

鬼龍G@キLL 6 Kiryu ga kill 鬼 = Demon (oni)
龍 = Dragon
キ = 'Ki'
Sawano tends to use @ as a substitute for 'a'

KILL7la切ル 7 Kill la kiru
Kill nala kiru
7 = Upside down L
Alternatively, 7= 七 = 'Na'
切 = Cut
ル = 'Ru'

Suck your blood 8 Suck your blood

Kiっ9=KELL 9 Kikku ikoru っ = Sukuon?
9 = 九 = 'Ku'
'=' = 'Ikoru'

k1ll◎iLL 10 Kill nijyuumaru ill ◎ = City hall, very good (typically pronounced nijyuumaru)

Light your heart up 11 Light your heart up

昼裸lilL♪ 12 Hiru ra Lill 昼 = Noon (half?)
裸 = Naked
♪ = Music note ('Onpu')

斬LLLア生LL 13 Kiru la ikuru 斬 = Sever, behead
ア = 'Ah'
生 = Raw, live, fresh

キ龍ha着LL 14 Kiryu ha kill キ = 'Ki'
龍 = Dragon
着 = Clothes

I want to know 15 I want to know

寝LLna聴9 16 Neru na kiku 寝 = Sleep
聴 = To hear, understand, obey
9 = 九 = 'Ku'

Kiる厭KiLL 17 Kiru akiru る = 'Ru'
厭 = Disgust, disinterest

Till I Die 18 Till I Die

I'm not sure if Hiroyuki Sawano intended any significant meaning with these track names. Nonetheless, I have done my best to decode them. The meaning and pronunciation of these track names is up to interpretation. In the listed pronunciations, I have selected the reading(s) that I feel fits best with the repeated pun on キルラキル (Kill la Kill / Kiru ra Kiru).

In instances where words or syllables are repeated in the track name, I list them just once in the pronunciation; for this purpose, I will consider 'LL' and 'Ru' as the same syllable given that Japanese language confuses the two. This also applies to 'Kiru' and 'Kill' (or variants thereof) unless there is an interjecting 'Ru' (or similar). I'm using this method because many of the kanji have their readings echoed after them in either Latin script, katakana, hiragana, or sometimes another kanji.

Episode breakdown