As one of the more anticipated shows this season, this series is literally called “K”, the reasoning behind that, I do not know. What I do know is that naming your series K is literally a pain in the ass to search for on search engines. “Hey I’m interested in this anime called K! Let me look it up some more!” “Proceeds to enter a single alphabet into the search engine before going !@#$%” To give it a longer and more searchable name, some people are calling it Project K instead, but I’m just going to call it K..k?
K, enough with the lame wordplay
Welcome to Japan, we are at some point in the not-too-distant future where people are still using smartphones, even though technology is now advanced enough to having cleaning robots with sentient AI. I forgot to add this in, certain people have supernatural powers too. Not the most original of settings, but given how the plot is shaping up to be intriguing, fair enough.
There are two kinds of anime in this world – The ones that make you think and the ones that don’t. K belongs in the former category, after the mysterious opening showcasing nothing but the various character names in different fonts, viewers are once again thrown head first into the heat of things without knowing how or why or what is going on. Zero explanation whatsoever. A bunch of gangsters decided to raid a building filled with English-speaking personnel, seemingly looking for someone. They meet their enemies(?) and a fight ensues. The OP suddenly plays. Makes no sense? You’re on the right track then.
The second half brings us back to the more familiarized school setting (that sounded familiar..), and the proper introduction of Isana Yashiro (Namikawa Daisuke). Long story cut short, Yashiro turns out to be the person the bunch of gangsters in the earlier half were looking for. In fact, he is wanted not just by them but also Yatogami Kuroh (Ono Daisuke). Why? Tune into the next episode to find out.
Summaries aside, there isn’t a whole lot one can gleam from this episode alone. There is clearly some kind of factional battles going on with colours (Hi Accel World) being used to distinguish them apart. Mr Yashiro is, or was the seventh and colourless king. Did he really lose his memories (common plot device), or is he feigning ignorance? Speculation, anyone?
A little background story here, but if I am not mistaken, the promotional videos for K have been circulating around the net since April/May this year, not one not two, but a total of five. Not much is known about K just yet, as it is a mostly original work. When the casting was officially revealed, jaws were dropped. Not only does it contain a lineup of high-profile female VAs, the real deal was that it included twice the amount of high-profile male VAs.
Personally, I don’t pay too much attention to male VAs, it is only recently that I started to note down the bigger names in the industry. So when I saw the names involved, I went something like: “This is super stacked!”. After a quick count, I realized that I knew 7 of the male VAs names. Seven, that speaks a lot about K being serious business, for one does not simply just hire huge names in the industry for an original anime project.
With all that hype and anticipation riding behind it, did K live up to its expectations, thus far? Yes and no. There is one major problem that many others have pointed out and are bemoaning about, it is the goddamn colour schemes/filters, whatever you wanna call it. I’m no art student so I can’t explain in more artistic terms, but the majority of the episode contained a hue of green and blue in the background that becomes really annoying to look at over time. This isn’t instagram, there is no need to add in special effects to the animation, so why do that? I’m sure this was done as a stylistic choice or something like that, but unfortunately I am unable to appreciate that. I wouldn’t say it ruined the whole series just like that, but it definitely affected the viewing experience for many of us.
I’m not sure if this is a plus or minus point, but the artwork in K gorgeous. More specifically, the backgrounds really look a tier above compared to the character animations, which looked to be average at times. I’m really blown away by the level of detail paid into illustrating the various backgrounds, in contrast the foreground objects feels rather lackluster. The music employed is rather unique too, in a sense that it sounded like jazz(?) (I’m no music student either), and the usage of acoustic instruments such as the piano and violin was noticeable as well.
Last but not least, the bishounen character designs and star-studded male cast seem to imply that K is slightly targeted towards the female audience, which I won’t deny it to be quite true. However, apart from the colour effects plaguing the background being a disappointment, I have to say that K thus far has shown a fair amount of promise. I felt that it didn’t start off on a very strong note, but there is certainly the room to make up for it.