Saturday, October 31, 2015

K (anime TV series), via Netflix

K is a 13-episode fantasy (urban fantasy?) series. I wanted to watch it after seeing clips of some of its battles in various anime AMVs, so I was thrilled when Netflix picked it up.

Review:

K stars a carefree young man who goes by the name Shiro. Although he acts a bit like a stray cat sometimes, begging for food from his fellow classmates and wandering in and out of just about everywhere, he appears otherwise normal. That's why it's such a shock when HOMRA, an infamous group of thugs, airs a video clip that appears to prove that Shiro killed one of HOMRA's most beloved members. Shiro finds himself on the run with a skilled swordsman named Kuroh and Neko, a Strain who, besides being able to appear as either a cat or a human, has other mysterious abilities. Kuroh has sworn to kill Shiro, who he believes is the corrupt new Colorless King, unless Shiro is able to prove that he is innocent.

On the one hand, aspects of this world were very interesting. I liked the concept of the different kings – the Red King was the leader of HOMRA, and the Blue King was in charge of Scepter 4, a group that essentially ruled Japan from behind the scenes. And the mystery of Shiro's past, and whether he really did kill one of HOMRA's members, was also intriguing. However, for some reason this series never really grabbed me.

I think this might be another one of those “pretty character designs, meh storyline” series. The character designs really were nice. Just based off of the guys, I'd say this show was primarily designed to appeal to women, but then there was the ludicrously large-breasted Seri and frequently naked Neko. Maybe a result of it trying to appeal to multiple demographics? In addition to the character designs, the battles were pretty good too, flashy and fast-paced.

Unfortunately, the area where I think the series really suffered was the characters. Almost all of them had potential, but the series was too short to do much with them. You got to see a little of Shiro's past and tiny hints of how various groups of characters came to be together, but that was it. The characters clearly cared about each other, but viewers weren't given enough context to care just as much. For example, the Red King and the Blue King seemed to have a great deal of respect for each other, even if they were a little too different to be friends, but viewers were never shown how that respect developed and grew. And I still don't entirely understand the whole thing with Fushimi and Yata. I felt like there had to be more to Fushimi's decision to leave HOMRA than what he told Yata.

The ending would have had me shouting “that's all?!” if I hadn't already known that there's a sequel movie, as well as a sequel anime series that only just started airing this month. Although these episodes didn't excite me much, I'd watch more if it got licensed and Netflix picked it up, just to see more of the battles, to find out how one character survived, and to see what the other clans are like. I'll need to resist the urge to buy this, however, since I don't think it would be worth it.

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