First Impression – K: Return of Kings – METANORN

First Impression – 「K」Return of Kings

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The time has come….

“The time has come to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings.”  

      –Lewis Carroll

spring15-irenesWell, well, another season, another group of royalty, but this time slightly different what I’ve dealt with before. Rather than the time of swords and sorcery or a storybook land, this time we turn back to a world not much unlike our own. Well, I have to make an addendum to that, we are returning to this world after a brief visit last year and the last real stay, more than three years back when the first series made it’s debut.

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SCEPTER 4 welcome you back.

The world of K is not really that much unlike our own. In the first series, we learned the basic mythology behind the world. That through the power of the Dresden Slates, a scientist working for the National Socialist German Worker’s Party in 1940’s Germany, named Adolf K. Weismann was able to harness special abilities known as “aura” that garner the principles of the Earth, time, space, and reality. Decades later, these abilities fell into the hands of the Japanese, giving rise to seven incredibly superpowered beings, and through them, seven superpowered clans, not as powerful as their leaders, but dangerous all the same. These seven clans are unique from each other, each with specific traits, characteristics, and personalities. The leaders of these clans are known as kings, and it is they that……

You know what?

If the show is not going to bother to recap anything, neither am I. If you want the whole breakdown, you have to go to my half of the review of the 2014 movie that came out prior to this: K: Missing Kings. And to really get a solid understanding of this new sequel, I suggest you either watch the movie or read Fosh and my review on it, as it is the linking bridge between series, and it is necessary in order to understand the current situation of where this new series begins.

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Blue vs. Red–again.

 

Fight Choreography

One of the biggest changes, or should I say, improvements, to the series, is the stage combat between characters. I say stage combat, because to a degree, it almost looks like these boys are doing a staged fight/dance with each other, á la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or West Side Story. Blades flash, Red and Blue auras clash, fire and raw energy swirl in a beautiful display against a spectacular city skyline, that give you a clear reminder of all these characters that we haven’t seen in some time without giving you a bit of unnecessary dialog.

In the very first scene, we are reintroduced to the Red and Blue Clans. Most of your favorites are making a return this season, Kusinagi, Yata, Rikio, (he really should see a doctor about that instantaneous weight loss and gain) and little Anna, who has assumed the throne and gone from princess to Queen, on the Red side. And of course Blue King Munakata, Seri, Fushimi, and all their other forgettable team members of SCEPTER 4, return for the Blues.

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Familiar faces, New animation

They don’t tell us outrightly, but to anyone who has watched the first season, because of the presence of certain characters, we know that this is a flashback to event even prior to season one. It’s not a necessary scene, it is only there to show off the animators’ budget and remind us that the Red Oni/Blue Oni trope is not in danger of dying off anytime soon.

Since when did the Clans become Jedi Knights?

It’s a wondrous display of the two main clans’ fighting skill and style and reminds us of the power of their kings. And I enjoyed it myself, at least for a while. The fight scene does go on for quite some time, and in the end, the entire scene is completely superfluous. And while I did enjoy seeing Mikoto and Takata again, and the relationship between Suoh and Munakata was stirring to see once more, it’s time to get back to present day and get the plot to this started.

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Such a pretty red…

“You’ve got to be seen, Green…”

We knew from the movie that the villains, at least to start with, for this season, was going to be the newly introduced Green Clan and their king, Nagare Hisui. Following their actions in the Missing Kings, they are now taking a slightly more subtle approach and are coming after the Silver, Blue, and Red Clans, not with heavy force, but with heavy…well…annoyance. The Green Clan unfortunately has more clansmen than any other clan with hundreds to thousands of members, however its balance between the other clans is maintained because of the fact that the majority of the clansmen barely carry any power, if any at all.

Only those close to the king, who have proved their worth are worthy of such an honor. The rest are pretty much only of use as pawns for the king’s bidding, the promise of gaining “points”, enough of a snare to get these Green idiots to do pretty much anything, even inciting the wrath and ire of the much more powerful Red and Blue Clans.

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Let’s see…Ooh, there’s a “keikaku doori” app!

The immediate puppetmaster in this maneuver is high ranked Green Clansman Sukuna Gojou. A 13 year-old kid, who is definitely smarter and more capable than your average pre-teen. He stays in the shadows for the most part and reminds me a lot of a more sinister version of Shiro when we were first introduced to him. The 8-bit summary presentation of the major events of last season that he did to get the Red Clan involved in whatever the hidden plots the Green King, was as hilarious as it was irreverent, and if that’s the surface of the kid’s talents, I’ll be interested in seeing more of what Sukuna can do.

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With these graphics, HOMRA is less than impressed. 

He is the third of the higher level Green Clansmen that we’ve met after Kuroh’s ex-senpai Yukari Mishakuji and female ninja, Hirasaka Douhan, and we have more on the way. <jungle> has yet to really do anything to really stand out yet, but they have time to make a more impactful resonance with me, especially considering what few goals of theirs that we’ve seen so far: namely aggravating the Silver Clan to the point that the Silver King comes out of hiding, and putting enough stress on the Blue King that his already cracking Sword of Damocles will eventually get to the point of no return. Speaking of kings….

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The loli is not impressed either.

Shifting Sovereigns

Since the end of season one, there have been changes going on among the modern monarchy of Japan. I have made a revised chart of the seven royals as of this premiere episode:

Rank Color Name Abilities
1st Silver King Adolf K. Weismann (aka Yashiro Isana) invulnerability, inviolability, ability to control and manipulate gravitational fields; supreme authority over all the other kings
2nd Gold King None can manipulate energy into celestial bodies and use them as projectiles and enhances individual potential; runs the majority of the industry of the nation; secondary supreme authority over all other kings; leader of the Usagi.
3rd Red Queen Anna Kushina fire and extreme heat energy; leader of HOMRA gang
4th Blue King Reisi Munakata a defensive energy that can protect and strike from multiple positions at will, the energy can change its density if needed, the aura can also be used to repair physical objects; leader of SCEPTER 4
5th Green King Nagare Hisui manipulation of electricity and the laws of physics, ability to maneuver through the power of the internet sphere; leader of <jungle>
6th Black King Unknown Unknown
7th Colorless King None Unknown, changes with every generation of king and with each clansman; is known consistently as the weakest of the seven kings

Things have begun to shift and advance in a way that has never been done before, in the history of the Seven Kings. Kings are being chosen faster than they ever were before, and there has been tremblings within the Dresden Slates that give them their power. A shadow of foreboding has begun to overcast the world the Clans had previously known, and none of them seem to even be aware of it.

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Foreboding changes

Well, none except the Silver King, Adolf Weismann, who after his best friend’s death, heeds his warnings and decides to take charge. We don’t know much about what the Gold King might have known, other than his foreboding words to Weismann in regards to the world being destroyed. Now does he mean literally, or figuratively? Considering the Gold King’s nature, I’m thinking the former, but if so, how? How exactly have we gone from the potential destruction of a tiny island based high school, to the impending annihilation of the world?

The Silver Clan is up and ready for business!

I don’t even think the fall of a Damocles Sword could cause that much damage, even if all seven fell at the same time. Japan and a good chunk of Asia and the south Pacific might be gone, but I think the world would be okay as a whole. Could it be something else? I have a feeling the Green King might have an idea and it factors into his plots, but if so, could it be that the Silver King himself may be the key to the destruction of the world?

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The sun does wonders for immortal skin.

Well, we can guess until we’re blue in the face, but we’ll have to wait until they either give us more clues or tell us more. But I think it’s safe to say that the Kings and their clans are going to be facing their biggest challenge yet, in the season to come.

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So, what did I think about the premiere? Well, actually not much happened in it for me to really comment all that much. This was basically just a reintroduction episode for each of the main Clans and the main characters within. We get an overlong, dispensable, flashback fight, an excessive scene of Seri’s, um…”excessiveness”, the Red and Blue Clans against Green mooks, a recreation of the end of the movie, reused stock footage and a lot of setup. That was pretty much it. I loved seeing all of our characters again, though unlike most girls, the most of the boys of K aren’t really my type (well except for maybe Shiro/Adolf since I do have a thing for silver hair 😛 ), but I like them as characters and I like the plot itself, and I can’t wait to see it unfold in the episodes to come.  

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The King has returned…

About

A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
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11 Responses to “First Impression – 「K」Return of Kings”

  1. skylion says:

    So, where are all the golden shower and anal sex jokes? This is GoHands,isn’t it? Not even ONE blurred out vibrator and sexual innuendo to go with it!

    Oh…this one is different. Man, do they see colors different than the rest of Japan, in Osaka?

    All kidding aside, I’ll give this one a chance, one more time. I fast forwarded until the LOLi was on scene, then watched her stuff, then fast forwarded again. So, that’s something?

    Actually, this one is great to watch for combat animation if nothing else. The whole Kings thing is a bit to complicated for me, but it’s nice to see a handy chart that breaks them down.

    And in all seriousness, this is a great post, looks fantastic.

    I’ll give it another chance next time…

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Would this be one of the series featuring royalty you said you might be covering on the final Arslan Senki post? If it is, that’s unexpected because this the most modern version I’ve ever seen. 😛

    Anyway, this was an opening and how you start off the season!! Purely awesome in practically every way. Given they released roughly around the same time, K: Return of Kings beats Lance N’ Masques‘ first episode to a bloody pulp and drags it along its shadow by the hair.

    The fight in the first 8 minutes was eye candy of the highest caliber with fluid animation, vibrant colors, stylized moves and likable characters in the bout. Doubtful anyone is going to care about it being a flashback due to them probably being too immersed. I’m grateful to have downloaded it because I confess to repeating a couple of times before watching the rest of the run. However, calling it a “fight” should be an overstatement. Looks more like a routine physical activity both HOMRA and Scepter 4 agree on to blow off some steam. Hahaha, even Totsuka said everyone is enjoying themselves. You can tell they’ve been at this for a while. 😉

    Irene, you’ve got to give Seri some credit. Though “revealed” in her fight against Kusanagi, she isn’t fazed, maintains her steely conviction and presses on regardless. That’s right up there with Kill la Kill’s Satsuki Kiryuuin. Those types of women are meant to be admired.

    These (expendable) newbie Green Clan members should’ve been attending Kuroh’s lecture to Yashiro last season about HOMRA having bonds stronger than blood. In other words, mess with them at your own risk because if one is disrespected, the rest will descend like a swarm. And they had the nerve to diss the memory of their former King and late “Life of the party”. They are either stupid, masochists or both. The only smart one in the field is Sukuna keeping tabs on Kuroh and Neko. Not hard to imagine him severing the expendables instead of his King Nagare when their usefulness has run it course.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Yes, these are the monarchs I will be covering this season. Well, Gundam has a “princess” too, so I guess that also counts. And there will be one more. 😛

      Satsuki had a point to her character. She actually WAS a character. I really have a hard time identifying Seri beyond her T&A. She’d actually be just as forgettable as the rest of her Clansmen (sans Fushimi) if not for the fact that she’s female. She has one note and plays it till the cows come home. I will admit that many of the guys are the same, but not to such an excessive degree. But I’ve already had a long talk about fanservice and manservice in the Gundam post, so I won’t bring up more here. I’m simply say that this series carries both fanservice and manservice, and I don’t mind either, though I do think that Seri’s in this episode was a bit excessive, and I hate that her character has been neglected because of it.

      The fight itself was beautifully animated but it went a little overlong for me. I’m into this series for the plot so I kind of was just waiting for the story to start after a while.

      Honestly, the Green pawns really don’t seem to know much about the kings or clans themselves, or they would have thought twice about challenging two kings and the much higher ranking members of their clans. They probably just think it’s an intricate and disturbing game. They don’t really realize what their into. They really are just pawns getting used by the likes of Sukuna and his other high ranking members who know what’s really going on and are purposefully trying to get the Red Clan involved.

      Now the question is, why is the Green Clan trying to draw the other Clans’ ire?

      • BlackBriar says:

        I really have a hard time identifying Seri beyond her T&A. She’d actually be just as forgettable as the rest of her Clansmen (sans Fushimi) if not for the fact that she’s female.

        I’m not seeing the same you do on that one. Seri’s Reisi’s second in command, an enforcer if you will. When he is or isn’t around, she’s tough as nails. And in the latter case, all the other members except Fushimi, who are basically tin soldiers wound in a moment’s notice answer to her. I wouldn’t call a woman like that “forgettable” and by nature, it’s harder for a woman to gain respect from her peers than for a man because they are easily and frequently underestimated.

        • IreneSharda says:

          Hard as nails, big-chested. no nonsense women are a dime a dozen in anime. So she’s second in command? So what? Munakata does most of his own stuff, and Seri does fall apart if she thinks Reisi is in trouble, while for example, Kusinagi and Kuroh, as second-in-commands trust their kings to take care of business.
          She just doesn’t do much for me.

          You can’t tell me she has as much presence as say Kusinagi, who is her equivalence on the Red side. I could go on for paragraphs about what he does for HOMRA, but the only thing I can say about Seri is that she stays by Reisi’s side and delegates his orders when he is or isn’t there, and that she is the contact with the Reds.

          I just hope there’s more to her this season, but as or right now, to me, there’s not much to her.

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      This definately is BB’s anime. Slicing lives but not slicing life.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Rikio, (he really should see a doctor about that instantaneous weight loss and gain)

    The same can be said of Gin no Saji’s Tamako Inada and Shokugeki no Soma’s Isami Aldini. Rather, I’d want to know their secret. If a person can control their weight at will like that, then they have true mastery over the body.

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