Studio Trigger' Kill la Kill directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi (of Tengen Toppa Gurren Laggan and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt fame) is probably the most popular Anime of the 2013 Fall season lineup based on its violent interpretation of school politics and clothes-based combat system (and many more things). But with popularity always comes a price.
In the last days Japanese online fan community suggest that Kill la Kill's concept may not be so unique after all: The work they're using as comparison is Hiroyuki Ooshima and Daisuke Ihara's Gakuen Noise a boarding school fighting manga published on a magazine aimed at woman, and fans are pointing at a number of similarities between the two. Gakuen Noise is set in a boarding school so large it functions almost like a town. Kill la Kill is set at a massive school that towers over a sprawling shantytown. Both schools are ruled by an authoritarian student council that tightly restricts its students' freedoms. Both star a hot-headed transfer student who bucks the rules and smears the student council — in Gakuen Noise , by calling the school's supposed freedom "pig's freedom." Dan Hanagata, the lead character in Gakuen Noise , seeks the truth behind a close friend's death and bears his red scarf as a memento. Ryuko Matoi of Kill la Kill is looking for her father's murderer and carries a red scissor blade as a memento. Both get into a series of fights with the student council.
Other people at pointing at Akuto — ACT - another work by Ihara that features transforming clothes and the main character is looking for the truth behind a friend's death.
When reached for an opinion Ooshima pointed out that his friends alerted him of the controversy and send him a Kill la Kill trailer. He claims that he had PTSD-like symptoms and that he was not pleased. He also admits that, while he also has been inspired by other works (he mentions the works of Shinpei Shirato) and his work has inspired some, "all their works were full of originality and can't be compared to Kill la Kill , and I don't think of complaining about them.". He accuses the animators of being bereft in "literacy and morals" and wonders whether Kill la Kill can even be called a "work." As you can see he's not too pleased about it.
As for Ihara, his taking it more lightly. Although he sees many similarities in Kill la Kill to his work, he says it is "not plagiarism. Plagiarism is tracing the pictures and completely mimicking the story development." He points out that Kill la Kill's story is different and seems to be heading in a different direction than his "like Gurren-Lagann did." Then he proceeds to make a funny comparison between an ACT character called An Haritsuka, an transvestite boy and Kill la Kill Harime Nui.
He comments that "If as the Internet says, she turns out to be a he, I wonder if our manga is one of the old manga like Otoko-gumi and Blazing Transfer Student used as reference by the Kill la Kill production team.". He requested not the get too angry about it.
If you know your way around Japanese and want to check for yourself, Gakuen Noise is available for free at J-comi.
Of course, all is in the eye of the beholder. Nowadays with so many thousands and thousands of works out there, there is a possibility of creating a new story, only to find out later that there was already a very similar one out there. Too early to judge? Let's not go that far, just recently Japanese phone service and internet provider au in collaboration with Production IG began streaming a anime short titled "Mou Hitotsu no Mirai wo" (something like "Another's Future"). The short is about a group of scientists that developed a phone capable of calling the future and something unexpected happens during the test. Rings any bells? (hint: Steins;Gate). Another case is a series part of the Winter 2013-2014 Lineup called Hamatora. The story revolves around "Minimum" or "minor miracle"—special hereditary powers discovered only in an extremely limited number of humans. Fellow Minimum Holders Nice and Murasaki form a detective agency called "Hamatora" based in the Nowhere Café in Yokohama where they prefer to sit around all day with their friends and wait for clients. how about this one? (hint: GetBackers with a slight touch of Darker than Black).
On purpose, a coincidence? What do you think.