When it comes to battle anime, most tend to drag out their confrontations by having huge amounts of dialogue take place between every few attacks, and it quickly grows tiresome when what you really want is to see some cool action. Luckily, K, a thirteen episode original animation by studio GoHands is here to provide anime fans with dialogue free fights, while also managing to tell an interesting story. K (Also known as K project) is set in a world where there are super powered beings called kings that rule over society. While many of the kings have agreed to live in harmony, there are two main kings who are at war with each other. There is the blue king Reisi who leads the police known as the Special Task Force Unit, and the red king Mikoto who leads a street gang called Homra. It seems like their feud is never going to end, but when a member of Homra is murdered by a man claiming to be the colourless king, the two have to briefly set aside their differences to discover who the murderer was. The main story to K isn’t featured around these two gangs, but rather the young boy Shiro who was accused for being the murderer. However, while the early and late episodes focus mainly on Shiro, the majority of the story follows these two kings and their wide selection of group members as they try to locate Shiro while also dealing with personal vendettas against one another. By jumping around to three distinctive groups, the show never feels sluggish or slow paced the constant movement in the story and animation make sure there’s never a dull moment. However, this does also mean that there is little explanation to what’s going on, and by the end of the show when it becomes incredibly complicated; there are still lots of questions that are left unanswered. I hope you don’t mind if things aren’t explained to you, because K likes to do that quite a lot. Like many anime that have come before it, K suffers from the issue of having lots of characters that need developing, and not enough time to properly develop them. There are over 30 characters in the show, and with 20 of them being considered ‘main characters’, thirteen episodes just isn’t enough to fully explain or develop these characters. One of the characters, Misaki, is afraid of talking to girls due to something he doesn’t want to talk about, this sets in the idea that something integral to his character will be explained later, but it never is. It’s the same for the majority of characters in this show, there is so much creativity with each characters wondrous personality, but with such a small amount of episodes it fails to expand on anyone enough to make them truly developed. Then again, maybe you don’t want developed characters, chances are you’re looking for awesome fights. Luckily, K has you covered. The show kicks off with a high octane brawl between the red and blue kings that shows off just how beautiful and smooth the animation is, and from there on out the show maintains its beauty with consistently great fight scenes that never cease to amaze. The only downside is that there are some points in the show where the fights take the back seat for the story, and while I did enjoy watching the characters exchange silly banter, I was eagerly awaiting to get back to the next fight to see how it would blow my mind. Another aspect that makes K’s fights even better is the OST. I don’t tend to notice a shows soundtrack unless it’s something truly magical, and K’s is just that. The mix of classical and electro is perfect to the point it sent tingles down my spine. And what’s even cooler, for a thirteen episode anime there are three CD’s worth of music for it. Three! That means that the amount of music is incredibly varied and no one piece of music is overplayed to death. Well, apart from the opening that copies shamelessly from Sengoku Basara.
(I’ve included a little bonus about the opening here) When debating about sub or dub, the dub wins hands down. Funimation have brought the best of the best to be in this show, and their performances are some of the best I’ve heard from them in a long time. The show involves using a wide range of languages; it goes from Japanese, to English, all the way to German. And while the Japanese voice cast does an admirable job at pulling off these accents, it’s the English voice cast that excels at it in every way. The only down side is that they get the same actors to play more than one role, and it’s painfully obvious when they do. But other than that, it’s a superb dub. One thing that should be pointed out is that the story hasn’t ended yet. The show ends with a small cliff hanger and lots of loose threads that may leave you scratching your head. Luckily, it’s been confirmed that the show is getting a sequel film later in 2014 that will finish the story. Here’s hoping that it’s as good as the show itself. K isn’t an anime with the most sensical or thought provoking story, but it makes up for it by having the coolness factor turned up to eleven. Add that to the spectacular fight scenes and eargasmic music, and K becomes one of the most entertaining and enjoyable anime series I’ve had the pleasure of watching.
+ Story with simple premise that’s easy to quickly understand
– Becomes needlessly complicated by the end
+ Brilliant fight scenes
+ Lots of characters
– But not enough time to develop them all
+ Lovely artistic choices + One of the best OSTs around
+/– Unfinished, sequel movie will finish the story
Other anime recommendations
Modern day Japan with supernatural elements – Durarara!
Explosive battles – The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke
Thanks to Manga UK for supplying a review copy