Few of the Metanorn team members join forces to peg this psyched up anime and dish out their first impressions.
|The anime production that seems to have absolutely everything going for it has arrived! K seems like it was the right amount of excitement and setting up the world that the characters are in. …On the other hand though, I don’t think they explained a whole lot else….|
|So, I must admit not having even heard of this one until the 1st episode came out. But with such a small title, perhaps I can be excused for missing it. K is an original production by GoHands, a studio I know mainly for Seitokai Yakuindomo, one of my favorite comedies ever. But can it deliver the high octane thrills as well as it can the gut-wrenching laughs?|
|Yo! How’s the Fall season? Having fun, yet? A lot of people have been looking forward to K after seeing the jaw-dropping trailer, so maybe K can be that great series that makes your heart race every week. Maybe. That’s part of why you’re here now, isn’t it?|
|Woooooooo! I am so excited to see this at last because it has an amazing cast of voice actors and slick looking artwork to boot, but is that really enough to push K straight to the top this season? I certainly have some high hopes for this to be amazing! I just want there to be an interesting story that keep us watching every week…|
|This is what you call a ‘psyched up’ show. From too much footage available (I ran out of the number of promos for this one), to too much talkability on the mysteriousness behind original material and the new direction of GoHands (mostly known for their pervy shows and Mardock Scramble). We are here in numbers to give you a detailed impressions after which you can make your own mind of following this or not.|
Production Staff Pats
//Kara: GoRa (Creators) & GoHands (Producer) – Where do I even start with talking about this production? It’s just so… huge. GoRa (the creators) consists of a TON of popular novelists including the author of Kieli; Kabei Yukako, the author of Black Blood Brothers; Azano Kouhei and possibly even the author of Shakugan no Shana (However, his name does not appear on the current site and this was found through some google search, so read into it what you will). There are more people to GoRa than that, but they seem to like operating without revealing their names to the public for now. …I can see a possibility of the story derailing since they seem to have so many people working on the same thing, but let’s hope that this is a case of geniuses coming together to create something amazing opposed to geniuses coming together and creating something utterly confusing and complex. As for the animation, the people behind Mardock Scramble (GoHands), obviously worked their animation employees hard on this project, because it looks absolutely amazing. From those camera angles shown with the skateboarding scene, to the effects used in the battle between the kings at the beginning, the entire anime looked pretty damn good. Hell, even the angles used for all of the other scenes were interesting. The people behind this are giving us yet another supernatural action anime, but they’re being totally innovative about it.
//Overcooled: Character Design & Key Animation – The lovely man behind both the directing of K and the character design is Suzuki Shingo. He also did the character design for Mardock Scramble, the extremely bizarre movie series about talking mice and a dude named “Welldone the Pussyhand.” The designs in K are a little less unsettling and more on the showy, cool side. Everyone looks like they just stepped off the runway of a fashion show – sporting all manner of fancy clothes, accessories, and high-maintenance hairdos that take entire mornings just to style. It works well with the effect they’re going for, which seems to be just putting as much cool stuff into 20 or so minutes as they can (and maybe actually having a story, who knows!). The direction Suzuki Shingo is going for appears to be making a badass anime. I am convinced he sat there and decided he wanted to show off with drop-dead gorgeous animation, a killer OST, a pocket-emptying seiyuu roster, and flashy characters and fight sequences. His eye to detail in focusing on all the little details is great, such as the close-up skateboarding shots and the way every fight is framed. K undoubtedly looks great, but I’m not sure if the way the plot is being handled is working. Episode 1 felt like a Frankenstein monster of a bunch of different scenes that had little to no importance because we don’t understand the motives of any of the characters. Sure, we know they’re after Shirou and Red hates Blue, but that’s not a lot to go on. Suzuki Shingo succeeds in making K look badass, but not so much at telling a comprehensive story so far.
//Fosh: The Music Shenanigans – Ohhhh damn did you hear the opening for K? We haven’t seen the ED yet but it was still awesome! I think the only thing I remembered about K originally was probably this track from one of the trailers, but I should mention the actual singer for the opening is Angela. I’m not that familiar with her stuff other than her opening work and endings for Asura Cryin, Seitokai Yakuindomo, Shikabane Hime and Jinki:Extend. Now the ending singer I just know her as Captain Marika Kato from Mouretsu Pirates or Mikako Komatsu if you want her real name and I totally forgot she also did the opening for Mourestsu Pirates as well, but I guess singing is in her blood? Along with doing the ending, she is also voicing the Neko character which tells me she is all over this series in terms of production. As for the in between music, it is done by Mikio Endo who is fairly new, but so far I love the music because it has a mixture of techno and a bit of hip hop. The combination reminds me of a mixture of Air Gear and Samurai Champloo style music, but I can’t wait to get my hands on the K soundtrack because I am already addicted!
// Kyokai: The Glorious Seiyuu Cast – For a seiyuu fag like me, some of whose most favourites are present in this series… Why would I not look forward to this even if it’s such a celeb-fest? Of course, we all know what happens when too many celebrities come together in one title but I had a ball recognizing all of them in promo stage. And same happened while watching this episode, even if Yuuichi Nakamura (Rikio) did nothing but grunt (he voices the hoodie character), and Mikako Komatsu (Neko), just nyaa’d. What stood out most is Takahiro Sakurai‘s (Izumo) Engrish, which was not as bad as I thought it would be (Fosh has already put it up to good use in his funnies section). However, these do not cover even 10% of the main cast because our main guy on the run is voiced by the versatile Daisuke Namikawa (Yashiro), whose deeper timber I appreciate more. Joining him is Daisuke Ono (Kuroh), who would have done better as Izumo (ref), but still has lived up to the mysterious Knight’s role running after a supposed bloodthirsty killer and the mysterious seventh King. The Red gang is ruled over by Kenjiro Tsuda (Mikoto) and has an unruly bunch of members including Jun Fukuyama aka Skateboarder-gakki (Misaki), Yui Horie (Anna) the loli, Izumo, Rikio and Tatari (Yuuki Kaji, the male version of HanaKana these day); while the Blue gang is led by Tomokazu Sugita (Reisi) with a lot of sword-wielding bishies, his right hand man Mamoru Miyano (Saruhiko) and left hand woman Miyuki Sawashiro (Seri). Out of the whole cast, the only seemingly normal person is voiced by Satomi Satou (Kukuri), the Miss healthy-food nut. See? I’m sure this is not the end of credits and more names will be added as episodes roll.
// Kara: The Setting – According to ANN, K takes place in a world where the history is slightly different. I didn’t really see it in the first episode (I assume it has something to do with the Kings), but I must say that the world they live in is nice. It’s not super high tech like Accel World, and it could easily be our own, but it does have its own moments here and there. Like when the skateboard guy sent Shiro’s picture to his gang members and it showed it flying off in the glass. It’s small details like that which impressed me. I would have never realized that what the kings were using were psychic powers if not for the plot summary I read online. It could have been easily mistaken for magic or something like that. That being said, is it only kings that have those, or does it extend to their vassals? Kuroh had them, but at the beginning, it looked like it was only the red and blue kings going at it. I wonder how they’ll handle that in the future. It makes for an interesting premise though.
// lvlln: Mystical Powers and the ruling Kings – Kings seems to be the new thing in high budget near-future scifi action anime. It’s a romantic concept, I guess, contrasted against the aforementioned near-future setting. Though considering how most of decided a while ago that monarchy wasn’t a great system, I sometimes have a hard time rooting for a king. I see that anime writers are continuing to abuse Western mythology, with those floating “Swords of Democles.” I hope the name is a foreshadowing that one of them will come down and kill its own King at some point. Their look sure reminds me of the Soul Edge from the Soul Calibur series, though clearly they’re not meant to be used the same way. As for the Kings themselves, I’m guessing each one gets a color and some magical ability that he gets to spread around to his minions, like Red’s fire. I don’t think they’ve shown Blue’s yet. And the 7th appears to get the special Colorless designation, and some sort of telekinetic ability, based on Kuroh’s Diclonius-like magic hands, and how the Shiro in camera seemed to move the camera from afar to turn to him. A pretty neat one to have for our protagonist. There are still many question to answer; I wonder if it’ll be some crazy-stupid DNA crap like in Guilty Crown, or if the show will just never bother justifying its premise. I think I’d prefer the simplicity of that option.
// Kyokai: Nobody touches the GANG yo~ We have a huge cast in a metropolitan city with supernatural powers and everyone important is supposedly answering to their respective bosses because it’s cool to be part of a coloured gang yo! Ring any bells yet? Well now, who can forget Durarara!!? Brains Base produced it quite well with Narita’s novel material and Omori’s directorial talent. Though, mimicking a successful story is not going to earn K any bonus points but even in the whole flurry of disjointed scenes, one message is clear as day: Everyone is very loyal to their respective gangs and they take pride in it. It’s literally like a brotherhood of allegiance, starting from a logo design (check Izumo’s cellphone cover), to donning uniform in terms of Blue. It’s clear that the latter has governmental connections with modern tech and lots of manpower. I’m sure it’s same for Red but with added swagger and ghetto style. The first episode didn’t do much except for introduction of characters but it has made me curious enough to know what is this gang deal and why are they even divided as they are.
// Fosh: The Reds – Oh boy another redhead dude who kicks ass and no I am not talking about the super cool Takuto from Star Driver. In the world of K there appears to be two main gangs or if you want to make it super easy Red verses Blue because of their “fire to ice like” attacks. The Red leader is Mikoto Suoh and with a name like Mikoto, he is already winning in my book. So who is this guy anyway? Mikoto is the Third King or simply put, the Red King from HOMRA. Now in the actual episode we only get to see a small preview of his power after summoning the Sword of Damocles from space or another dimension. However, near the end we saw him chilling in some random jail cell and I can only assume he was captured by the evil Blue gang! Damn them Blues! I know Skylion and a few others will like Mikoto just because he totally has some cute little gothic loli named Anna Kushina voiced by Yui Horie following him around everywhere he goes, but she is the unofficial mascot character for HOMRA so you can’t really say much. The gang has a lot of members as introduced by Kyo in the beginning and we’ll be meeting them in detail soon enough.
// Overcooled: The Blues – Scepter 4 is the dreaded Blue gang that seems more like an official organization of people than the rag-tag Red. They have a uniform, intricate levels of command, and even specific formations. When seen facing against the Reds, they all prepared to draw their weapons at the same time, and acted almost like an army. Even though they seem to be working for the city, it’s unclear if these are actually the good guys despite their prestigious reputation. While the Red gang seems to possess nothing much more than some cellphones and a chick with a marble, the Blue is in charge of all the TV screen feeds and seems to be able to arrest people directly (such as the Red King). Their leader is Reisi Munakata (known as the Blue King – one of the 7 Kings), with his second in command appearing to be a very competent woman named Seri Awashima. Basically, these are the upstanding police keeping the city in order with their magic powers. It’s hard to get a feel just how much they actually believe in justice when each character said maybe only a handful of lines, but they do seem like the kind of uppercrust people who only work for the interests of the powerful and wealthy, leaving ruffians like the Red gang to eat their leftovers.
// lvlln: The Trio –
- As with all the characters, we didn’t have a chance to get to know Shiro terribly well, but he has a sense of unflappable optimism that I find charming. His introduction was him begging practically every student in school for lunch food and actually getting it. Yet he doesn’t have any friends, we’re told, and he does indeed seem lonely when he’s eating lunch by himself or when he’s the only one of his classmates not participating in preparing for the culture festival. Oh, and he’s probably one of at least 2 personalities, or suffering from amnesia, or the good twin to someone claiming to be the “Seventh King’s successor, the Colorless King.” There’s also the possibility that he’s just a really good liar, or it really is just a wild coincidence. In any case, he has that “liked by all, loved by none” quality of a king. Also, I like to pretend that he’s Waver in another life. I’m liking hearing more of Daisuke Namikawa.
- Neko is the only one at his side, and I guess she’s some ghost cat or something, based on seeing her clearly flying when going up to the roof in her human form. Though the humans couldn’t see her, one of the robots certainly did, so perhaps there’s a technological explanation for her. That’s about it at this point. I hope the title of the next episode, Kitten, is an indication that the Cat will become more than just a mascot character, though the preview isn’t promising.
- Of course, if Yatogami Kuroh has his way, neither our hero nor his furry friend will survive till the next episode. At the very least, he’s obvious about his intentions, though he’s largely just as much of a mystery at this point as the other characters. Well, I like to base his character off of another swordsman I’m reminded of. I’m sure once he puts down his sword, we’ll learn much more about just why the 7th King wanted his apparent successor killed. Considering the crush Shiro appears to be developing for this dashing gentleman, I can’t imagine he’ll stay a bad guy for long.
Fosh’s Corner of Funnies
Overall thoughts & Impressions
The Kings are all fighting each other. Great. My main question right now though is why. My mind goes directly to Higashi no Eden, people saving Japan (or in this case, they’re probably fighting to rule it since their titles are Kings), and having a bunch of people allowed to do whatever they want since they’ve been ‘chosen’ in some fashion to be above the rest of society. What do they win in the end and how do they win? Those are questions I have as well and I assume that’s what the anime will be following. This first episode showed more than just how Shiro’s life was changed by being randomly attacked by a group of thugs, so hopefully the rest of the anime will be like that as well. …I wasn’t so taken with Shiro acting like an airhead around campus as I was with the Red and Blue factions at each other’s throats.
So overall, I have to say that I’m impressed and confused. The animation has a ton going for it (as does the seiyuu cast), but hell if I could have understood the plot if not for internet summaries. The narrative seemed a bit shaky, they introduced a ton of characters way too briefly for my liking, and I have no idea what any of their names are aside from Shiro and Kuroh (…obviously because their names match their hair colour). Oh, also I remember Neko. For obvious reasons. …So with all of this being thrown at us at breakneck speed, but with pretty animation, I’m reminded right away of Guilty Crown. Please don’t let this end up like Guilty Crown. Though that being said, Guilty Crown was actually really, really popular despite being terrible, so maybe the animation industry has figured out that things like that sell. …I guess I’m just worried that K will try to be too pretentious for it’s own good. We’ll see how it goes.
Anime producers seem to find the near-future endlessly fascinating. There’s an allure to wondering about what might be just around the corner, within our lifetimes. Though that holographic UI for sending MMS was rather stupid, I liked the use of the smartphones, especially emphasizing the extremely high quality camera that allowed that one Red thug to take high quality video of Shiro from afar. The show took time to show off the abilities of the cleaning robots, which were precise enough to screw in bottle caps and containing an elementary AI to respond to humans (bringing to mind the lovable lock-picking Ryobo 230r from Humanity Has Declined). I must admit that I’m a sucker for such settings, though I hope K actually does fun things with the setting – more like Evangelion, less like A Certain Magical Index.
I’m also a sucker for fancy camera effects in anime, and this episode had a bunch. It’s a shame that so much of it was wasted on boring (and extremely pointless) tricks on skateboard. Come on, the sky’s the limit in animation; if you’re gonna have a guy be on skateboard and use fancy CGI effects to show it, have him do tricks better than what the average hobbyist can do. To be honest, I think the skateboard was a mistake to begin with; it’d be much more fun to see him run and jump to traverse these obstacles. But I admit I might be biased. In any case, even outside the action scenes the art was solid, with plenty of great camera work. I loved the zoom-out during Shiro’s lunch on the roof, as well as the way the shots were framed when busybody girl Kukuri was following Shiro to try to give him vegetables, always just a step behind. There’s a lot to this show that makes me facepalm, and the choreography and direction of the action scenes are uninspired but the cinematography alone makes me want to keep watching. I’m even willing to put up with that needlessly oppressive blue filter.
The verdict for K? It’s good. Good, but soulless. K is a very visceral anime that treats the senses. It lavishes your eyes and ears with lovely sights and sounds, and provides nothing much else. Little pieces of jewellery glint while being nudged out of place by a character’s gait. Background characters you aren’t even paying attention to will move and interact with each other. There isn’t a single corner being cut in action sequences, as almost every movement is shown with stunning finesse. It almost overloads the senses with the amount of detail and bright colour filters I’m seeing per square inch of my glowing laptop screen. I feel like I was invited to a really loud party, met a bunch of people, then forgot them all. The introductions were all so shallow that only Shirou stands out among the crowd as someone to relate to. Thank goodness, since he’s the main character. Everyone else is just a pretty face without a personality because it either wasn’t shown, or it just didn’t rub off on me.
However, K has a lot of potential. For one thing, it’s hitting all those “AWESOME” notes just fine. It has a gang war and a great potential mystery about the main character set up. This could very well blossom into a wonderful story jam-packed with action (AND MAYBE EVEN A CANON HOMOSEXUAL COUPLE YEAAAAAHHHHH). I think they wanted to show us everyone and everything from episode 1, and it just backfired. Episode 2 will hopefully be more focused, and start to explain just what Shirou’s deal is. He doesn’t seem to be particularly inclined to fight or interact with the gangs, and yet he doesn’t seem too surprised or genuinely afraid either. I wonder just how much he knows about the existence of his other personality. Is he unaware it exists, or does he know about it and just chooses not to mention it? His reaction to the video isn’t one of shock and horror, but one of “well ain’t that the darndest thing.” He can’t be that easy-going…right? I’m looking forward to seeing just who Shirou is, and if he forms some sort of special bond with his savior-turned-assassin later on. If you expected me to be above falling for fujoshi bait, then I’m afraid you’ve misjudged me. Come on K, give us the good stuff and don’t just stand there looking pretty! Work it!
Well, that was FANTASTIC! GoHands are really going places and yes pun totally intended along with cool artwork, even the CGI was nicely done, but I was blown away by the background and building designs. Did you see the school? Good god I WANT TO GO THERE! Anyway I am sure you don’t want to hear me ramble on and on about how impressive the artwork was, but what about the overall story for the first episode, were you as confused as me? Then again since this is the FIRST episode I don’t expect anyone to have a full grasp of the story right now. Now faction war is really nothing new to the world of anime or should we say rival groups/clans in general? Just look at shows like Bleach, Index, Ao no Exorcist, FMA, Gundam and so on but honestly that just makes everything more fun because we get to watch two opposing teams fight against each other resulting in epic battles! At least I hope we get to see some FIGHTING next time.
Next week I fully expect to see Mikoto break out of the Blue jail and rejoin his team? I assume the first few minutes of the episode was a before or maybe it was an after story? I will root for the Red team all the way because they look hardcore compared to the militarized Blue team, which totally screams something like the Shinsengumi from Gintama but less crazy and off the wall? What else…ah yeah the cat girl! When are we going to see her? Well, the next episode is called Kitten so maybe we will hear her talk? I just can’t wait to hear Mikako Komatsu voice another cool female character after Marika from Mouretsu Pirates, but I know most of the girls just want the bunch of bishies spout some more lines, right girls? Fufufu.
What the hell is going on? I’m sure a lot of you had the same line going through your head while seeing this episode. I even heard a lot of coughing and hacking on twitter about visuals not being that great to graininess and even ugly CGI usage. Now, I’m not that hipster enough to make such comments (god forbid), but I expected better. I think the first mistake was too much footage reveal via promos. Because I had already seen most of the locations and glimpses of Misaki skateboarding, Red Vs Blue fight that it just didn’t feel new and awesome to me. The disjointed transition from the fight to daily-life stroll of Shiro was a irritating. Not to mention, most of the characters we would like to see more just came and went. Like Kara said, I hope this does NOT turn into another Guilty Crown even when it had a huge fan-following. I hope GoRa has enough material for the remaining 12 episodes and make this work!
On speculation end, if we are going to repeat that HoTD‘s Hisashi (voiced by Miyano Mamoru no less!) death in first episode with Tataro, I’m just going to laugh. Hard. Which I did, because the character shot dead in the weird recorded video shown by Kuroh is voiced by Yuuki Kaji (commie, it’s Tatara not Takara!). He looks pretty dead so except for some flashbacks or he having some rejuvenating powers, we should not be seeing much more of him. I also have a feeling that our Neko is more important than she’s letting on. A muse? A protector of the 7th King? I want to know about the remaining kings and why an oyaji is so blatantly announcing the end of the world. However this goes, I’ll be blogging it. This is too early to call this bad; I’ll definitely giving this more than a chance.
Let’s find out if Shiro’s suffering from MPD or not? And of course, more catgirl for the boys.
So, now readers tell me how you found this first episode and any theories about the alter-ego of Shiro and what’s up with the Kings? And for an end, leaving some fun gifs for you to enjoy.