I will be blatantly honest. Kill la Kill is my least favorite anime to air in the past few years, and by quite a large margin as well. And yet, despite that, I continue to watch it. Blame its popularity, or blame my inability to drop a series (just ask Charles), but regardless of the “why,” I have been sticking through it. However, perhaps the underlying purpose of my watching this show despite it being what I consider to be an amalgam of mediocrity, has been to relate it to Anime Today. If that is so, then that purpose will be fulfilled today in this article.*
Normally, I would make some sort of statement claiming that I would do my best to stay unbiased and not to let my opinion of the show reflect my writing any further, but I think I’ve gone and jolly well proven that that is simply not going to be the case here. Regardless… I will do my best.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Money is the root of all evil.” Whether or not you actually believe that phrase, it is no question that society, or at least western society, both worships money while simultaneously reviling it in its idealism. Episode 15 of Kill la Kill attempts to do something rather interesting, or perhaps only interesting in comparison to what the rest of the series has had to offer thus far, and that is use that mindset as a framework for the combat skills of the newly-introduced character, Kaneo Takarada. Takarada, a ridiculously (and hilariously) wealthy and powerful figure in Osaka, centers all of his combat abilities around money. This ranges from literally using money as a physical weapon to using money in the more conventional sense as a bribery tool to cause others to do his bidding.
While the topic of whether money is actually “evil” in this case is debatable, seeing as those who are fighting against Takarada in this battle, namely Satsuki Kiryuuin, are viewed as the main antagonists of the series so far, its power cannot be questioned. By the end of the episode, Takarada has amassed a savage army of random townspeople blinded by greed to do his every bidding… an unbeatable army.
That is, until Takarada’s foes showcase a terrifyingly large amount of power, and suddenly the “soldiers” are more concerned for their own well-being than for the money at stake. This exact same principle has been seen in real history through the ages through the use of private mercenaries in warfare, who may perform admirably at first, but lose steam once the going gets tough and money no longer seems to be the necessity it once was.
Now back to the topic at hand. Is money truly the root of all evil, or even a root of evil itself? I would claim that it is not.
In the case of Kill la Kill, Takarada’s power did not come from the money he possessed, but from the love of money that others possessed. In purchasing weapons, he was not buying weapons with money, but with the willingness of the weapon dealers to value money at the same price as the weapons they were selling. In hiring soldiers (or townspeople in this case), his money was not motivating them, but the townspeople’s love of the money provided was motivating them.
All of this is purely economically speaking, so how does this relate to Christianity (especially important considering the nature of both this site and this column). Let’s take a look at the Bible.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
-1 Timothy 6:10
Notice that this verse does not say anywhere that money is the root of evil. Not at all. What the writer of 1 Timothy, Paul, wrote was that the love of money was the root of all kinds of evil (not even the root of all evil, as popular culture seems to think the Bible says).
In terms of practical application, the lesson is rather simple: money is not something to be feared or avoided in and of itself. Even the great wealth of Takarada was not evil or powerful (totally ignoring the actual morality of Takarada’s actions). The focus people should take when looking at money, whether as a Christian or some other faith, is that person’s view of money.**
And on that note, I suppose my life has at least found one good use for my time spent watching Kill la Kill.
*I’ve come not to remove the anime, but to fulfill the anime.
**Matthew 19:24, speaking about how it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God is often cited in defending the evil nature of money and wealth. However that defense falls through because it ignores the next several passages which explain the human inability to reach the kingdom of God without God’s grace, meaning it is equally impossible for a rich man or a poor man to enter it by himself. Without ranting any further, this is one of the reasons I generally avoid quoting individual verses and usually reference entire chapters when explaining entire concepts with the main exception of this column.