Have you ever started watching an anime and then a few episodes in you decide maybe it is not quite your cup of tea? Well of course you have! We all have. I sure have. In fact that brings me to the anime that I am discussing today! An anime that certainly was not perfect but left me with something that an anime has not left me with in a very long time. Which is actually pretty exciting for me considering what I had originally thought of it the first time.
So here is my 26th Anime Review for a show that changed my opinion of it after trying it again the second time: K.
K, or K-Project as it is sometimes referred to, was originally a 13 episode anime that premiered in October of 2012 as a part of the Fall 2012 anime season and concluded in December 2012. A sequel movie, K: Missing Kings, set about a year after the end of the first season was released in July 2014 and a sequel anime, K: Return of Kings, premiered in October 2015 and finished airing in December 2015 with a total of 13 episodes. This brings K‘s total to 26 episodes and one movie. Multiple manga spin-offs have been released as well and an otome game has also been released.
The story of K follows Yashiro “Shiro” Isana who is living a peaceful life at Ashinaka High School, a prestigious school built on an island. He is sent by his classmate, Kukuri, on an errand to retrieve some items that the Student Council needs for the upcoming school festival. While on this errand, Shiro is attacked by very intimidating men who are trying to kill him. We then get to see as Shiro is thrown into a battle between seven kings, each having his own followers and special powers. Not to mention he is being blamed for the murder of one of the clansmen of the Red King, the most dangerous of the seven kings, and finding out he may not actually know who he really is. The first season follows Shiro as well as the murder investigation. The movie, set in between the season, builds up to the second season so I wold definitely suggest watching it before the second season because some important stuff does happen in the movie. The plot of the second season centers of the surfacing of the Green Clan, JUNGLE, who had remained dormant during the first season.
The story that K tells is one told from not only our main character’s view point, but also the views of many other characters and how all of the different clans as well as Shiro react to certain situations. The nice thing about a story like this is if there is a point that you get annoyed with Shiro’s story line, like I did at times in the first season, there are episodes that center more on the guys of HOMRA or Scepter 4. We are also given glimpses as to what the main antagonists are up to, without giving too much away. This was nice because while we did kind of know what was going to happen, we were still surprised when something happened.
The character cast for this show was huge. I kid you not, there were some characters who’s names I could not remember even by the middle of the second season. Those characters just did not get enough screen time for me to be like “Oh hey it’s Akiyama”. It was more like “Oh hey it’s that one guy from Scepter 4 who has the same voice actor as Toshiro Hitsugaya from Bleach“. Which kind of stunk because it almost made me feel like I was not paying enough attention when it was more like they did not get enough screen time. One of the nice things about having such a big cast like K has is that there is probably at least one character in the whole show you will like. If Shiro is not your all time favorite, then maybe turn to one of the HOMRA guys. We are introduced to all of the kings in the story, and really get to know the members of the Red Clan (HOMRA), Blue Clan (Scepter 4), and a few of the other Kings pretty well.
Despite the huge cast, the characters who did get enough screen time gave us this cast of characters that I really came to love. Shiro as a main character is actually pretty good. Most of the first season follows as Shiro is really trying to figure out who is is, literally, and I actually thought this was a good plot. He really gets thrown off a lot and gets really upset because he has no idea who he is, and finds out that some of the friends he had made were not actually his friends to begin with. Shiro gets thrown into this crazy world he did not even know existed and reacts to it in a way that I think all of us would if we were put in his situation. He is lighthearted and easygoing and that made it entertaining to follow his journey to find himself. I have to admit his journey did get really boring at points but then it would jump to one of the other clans and it gets a little more exciting. Overall, he was not a bad main character by any means and he definitely gets better as the show goes on. He really starts growing on you.
I would really love to talk about all of the other characters in K, but there are so many that even narrowing it down to the important ones would have me talking on and on. Like I said earlier I loved the characters that this show had, especially the members of HOMRA. I was upset that there were characters that we did not really get to know too well, but I loved the ones that we did get to know. My favorite character throughout the whole show would probably have to be Misaki Yata, the vanguard of HOMRA, who made the show ten times better for me when he was on screen. I challenge you to watch this show and not find at least one character that you like. I do have to warn you that there may be a few characters that get a little annoying, and ones that you may not like but I also promise you that the other characters are worth it. Their interactions with one another help to carry the story and even give each other motivations to keep them going. The characters were definitely interesting and fun to watch.
The soundtrack for this anime was….okay. The two openings for this show did not really stand out to me and with a show like K that actually features quite a bit of action, I thought the openings would be a lot more upbeat than they actually were. The first ending was….um….I just was not a huge fan of it. It featured Neko, who annoyed me quite a bit, and the song was just okay. I actually really liked the second ending, “Solution” by CustomiZ, and it earned a spot on my iPod. The insert songs for K were actually really nice and a few of those made their way onto my iPod as well. The overall soundtrack for the show was pretty good, but was carried more by the insert songs than by the openings and the endings.
Now the animation on this show….was beautiful. I am not joking when I say that this was probably some of the best animation I have seen. Not really in the first season as much but definitely in the second season and in the movie, with the movie probably having the best of all three. The show was done by a studio called GoHands who has actually not worked on that many shows, which I found kind of interesting. Some of the detail that they put into this show was beautiful. I mean just look at this:
The overall picture looks really good but if you look closer you can see the sun shining in through the window, which is beautiful, as well as Yata’s reflection in the little egg thing that is sitting on the table. In certain shots there would be light reflecting off of something that gave a certain realistic feel to the show. Everything was beautiful to look at and the color scheme was pretty without being too overpowering. It was amazing.
Now as I mentioned before I have watched K in the past and did not really like it. The first time I watched it was a few years ago and it happened shortly after I finished the first season of Durarara!!. I only recall that because I remember comparing Shizuo from Durarara!! and Izumo from K because of their similar purple sunglasses. This show does start off a little slow and takes a while for the story to pull you in. I was really annoyed with one aspect of the show that I could not overlook: the fan service. I was honestly really thrown off with the character of Neko running around naked for the first episode or two. That is really what turned me away from the show the first time I watched it. Since then I have gotten a lot more tolerable with it but a few of the panty shots the show randomly had were kind of face-palming moments, and who knows why Seri Awashima did not wear fricking pants or something considering the job she does involves running around and fighting. But no lets wear a really short skirt instead. Sorry, I almost went on a rant there for a second. Anyway, the fan service is definitely something you have to deal with at times during the show which may be a little difficult for some people to look over.
I usually try and not think about roles that a certain Japanese or English voice actor has played before when watching a show, and usually limit it to just thinking “Oh they voiced so and so in this show” and then try to not think about those characters when watching the new show. However, I found it a little entertaining when hearing the original Japanese voice of Reisi Munakata, the Blue King, when I watched the movie. He has the same voice actor as Gintoki from Gintama and Reisi spends a good amount of time explaining certain things to characters, and us the audience. When he was not physically on screen and just his voice was talking I could not help but picture Gintoki explaining all of this complicated stuff to me and I got a real kick out of if. Speaking of the dub, I actually really liked it. Unfortunately, only the first season was dubbed in English so when I went to watch the movie and second season I had to get used to the Japanese voices. The English dub was still very well done and I am happy that I at least got to hear the first season dubbed, and maybe the movie and second season will be soon. I am not saying I prefer the English because I also greatly enjoyed original Japanese.
After looking at the show as a whole, it was actually very difficult to choose a rating for the show. It took careful consideration but I have awarded K with a B. The animation was beautiful and I loved the character cast, but the openings and ending were only okay and the fan service really bothered me at times. Some characters really suffered from being a part of this huge cast, and did not get enough screen time. Overall though, I really do like this show. I finished the whole series in two days (a record for me), even staying up until four o’clock in the morning to finish the first season as well as the movie. This story had me hooked for every second and once it ended I felt like I was missing something. It left me wanting more and although I thought the ending was pretty good, I still want more. K left me feeling a lot like I did when I watched Code Geass and I love it. It is definitely a good show and if you are looking for a good cast of characters and an interesting story then I would highly recommend this show. Go watch it if you have the chance!!
That is all that I have for my 26th Anime Review!! What do you guys think? Have you seen K? If you have, what clan would you want to be a part of? I am all for joining HOMRA!! Is there a show you tried once and disliked but then came back later and tried again and then really liked? Let me know down in the comments below!!
See you next time!!