In Kill la Kill, a popular anime series whose manga adaptation arrives in the states this month, Japanese school uniforms inform the entire premise of the series, which is, in and of itself, an interesting concept.
If, like me, you haven't seen the anime, the setting is Honnouji Academy, a prestigious school ruled by iron fist by Student COuncil President Satsuki Kiryuin. The student body is divided into a clear hierarchy, with the many students wearing special "Goku Uniforms," which give their wearers incredible strength, speed, endurance and other powers; they range from one-star goku uniforms to three-star goku uniforms.
It's into this environment that a
It's not enough to help her win a battle against any of the Academy's fascist rulers, of course, but she gets a more powerful weapon when she stumbles upon, well, here's where it gets really weird–a sentient sailor suit uniform that both feeds off her blood and gives her the strength and fighting abilities to go toe-to-toe with anyone in a goku uniform.
In addition to its exploitation and exploration of the Japanese school uniform and its mixture of over-the-top action and fan-service, Kill la Kill also literalizes the idea of social hierarchy in school, externalizing conflicts–real or imagined–between kids of different social strata into epic super-brawls. I don't know how well it works in the anime, which I've never seen, but in Akizuki's manga adaptation it works quite well indeed.