We Three Kings…plus one….
And we’re back!
Hey, sorry for being out for all this time, life and school (especially school) has been pulling me away from the world of K. But, more or less, I’m back now, and now we can see what’s been going on since the Silver King’s return!
Huh?….what was that?…..a war broke out in my absence?
Well crap, we have been missing a lot haven’t we? Or have we? I’ll have to be the judge of that as we go over what our colorful clans have been doing and how they got into an all out war with the Green Clan.
Well, since this format worked before, I think I might continue doing it for the rest of the season going forward unless something happens in which it needs to be changed. Oh, and why is episode 09 being separated from the rest? Well, there’s a reason to my madness, muwahaha! But put that on the backburner, there’s a lot of stuff is go through, so let’s get to it:
An impromptu alliance
First, looking at what’s going on as a whole. The Green Clan has been up to noticeable trouble since the movie “Missing Kings”, however, we find that in actuality, the Greens have been up to things since even before that. The Green Clan wants to reveal all the powers that the Dresden Slates have, and to offer it to the whole world. The Gold King had been suppressing the powers of the Slates for decades, allowing its power to only affect select individuals in a select region of Japan. (Thus leading to the creation of the 7 kings and their clans.) However, without that suppression, it’s possible that the power of the Slates could affect all of humanity on Earth at and unprecedented rate, allowing humans to start gaining superpowers all willy-nilly, most likely leading to utter chaos. However, thankfully, the Blue King has stepped up to take over that job, and so far it has been working. And the Green Clan can’t have that.
And so, a Christmas war has broken out, when the Silver, Red, and Blue Clans having joined together as one to prevent the Greens from getting their hands on the Slates. Three Clans on one should be more than enough, right? However, it wouldn’t be much of a story if that was true now would it?
What are the Reds up to?
The hottest loli around…literally.
Unlike last season, the Red Clan has moved to the background a lot more this time around. HOMRA continues to be the essence of raw will, honor, and loyalty. They are still there to serve as a foil for the Blue Clan, but for the most part, other than giving commentary and using their street smarts to aid in the fight against the Green Clan, they’ve mostly been serving as backup fighters. It is the Red Queen herself, Anna, who has been getting most of the development here. From a girl who barely had a handful of lines and hid behind her elder brothers “skirts”, to the mature leader she currently is, has been an interesting change to watch. For only being one of the 7 for a short amount of time, the Red Queen has become one of the strongest of the superpowered royals. However, being so young and the only female in HOMRA, Anna has been protected by her big brothers since she became part of the clan. However, she wants to follow Mikoto’s example, and has decided that her power has been given to her, to use to protect others, and being part of this new, never-before-seen alliance between kings, is a significant step in doing that.
Anna shows herself to be an amazing fighter, giving a bit of young feminine charm to a power set we’ve already seen Mikoto wield with such ferocity. She is determined to stop the Green King, and will do it on her own if need be. Unfortunately, she’s still a little out of her league when it comes to the opposition that she’s going against. Her energy is wiped out quickly, and she has to be protected by the Silver King, however, she fights a good fight. I’m really glad that she became the new leader of the Red Clan, as while a different leader from Mikoto, she holds many of the same ideal and strengths in that tiny body of hers.
The Red Queen don’t play…
What are the Golds up to?
Well, not really much actually. After the death of the Gold King, the Gold Clan, also called TOKIJIKUIN, and the Usagi really only had one more job to do. I have to imagine that they can’t even think of serving another king after having served the same guy for so many decades. Also, it seems no one has really understood how, when, or why another king gets chosen. For some the next king is chosen not long after the last one dies, for others it could be months or years before the next one shows up. In terms of the Gold King, like the Silver King, he was different from the others. He had more raw power than any of the other kinds we have seen thus far, and he was one of only three first generation Kings left. The Usagi, now knowing of their king’s death, have only his last wishes to carry out, which include giving the Silver King his last effects and leaving it up to him whether or not to disband them, which he does.
Not your average Easter bunnies.
The Gold King and his clan was the backbone and linchpin of the entire clan system, and it was he who kept chaos at bay. However, as any scientist worth his salt will tell you, the universe thrives on entropy, and is always moving towards disorder. Now that the old man is out of the way, the emerald laced tendrils of chaos are already beginning to leisurely and menacingly creep in.
What are the Greens up to?
Well someone has decided on a new look.
It turns out that not only is the Green King, Nagare Hisui, much more powerful than he initially appears to be (more on that in a bit) but he’s smarter than he looks as well. He’s a patient one with a long endgame, and his reach extends much farther than what we originally had thought. Yes, it seems that all the machinations of last season, the whole plot by the Colorless King? Yep, all orchestrated and manipulated by the Green King. Nagare is a strange sort of individual himself, he’s soft spoken and nice, but his thought-process and grasp of normal social interaction is a bit warped. Behind his frail frame, hides a mind that is always on the cusp of violence and chaos, and a power that is far greater than anyone ever thought possible.
With the power over the laws of physics and the ability to manipulate electricity, even to the point of becoming living energy himself, Nagare is known to be the strongest of the kings now with the Gold King dead. His power is enough to go through walls like they weren’t even there and to destroy opponents as if they weren’t even there. When powered up, he can suddenly move faster than ever before and his black hair turns white as snow. However, that power comes at a several costs. the greater the release of energy, the more is required to keep him as a person alive and running, and thus he is practically an invalid most of the time, with him only able to use his full power in bursts of a half an hour at a time. It is also seen that he lost his heart and practically died as a child, and it’s only because of the power of the Green spectrum that keeps him alive, existing where his heart should be. This causes his power to be stronger than ever before, but it also is his greatest weakness as without it, he would die.
The Green Clan is as unique as the any of the other seven. It is the largest of the clans with the most members, spread throughout their internet network system. Most people who are a part of it, aren’t even aware, thinking it’s just some online game. And the more points you get and missions you complete, you move up the ranks from the lowest level of E, to the highest of J. However, in looking over these episodes you realize that other than the highest ranking J-rank clansmen, the majority of the Green Clan are really nothing but pawns. So, when you really think of JUNGLE and the really active players, there are only 4.5 clansmen to really think about including Nagare himself. (I’ll get to the 0.5 player later, though if you’re reading this you probably already know who I’m talking about.)
Not so frail now are we…
It’s interesting that while Nagare compares himself the most with Weisman as they are the Ever-Changing and Eternal Kings respectively, if I was to really compare clans and kings, it would actually be between the Blue and Green Clans, and this is reflected in the confrontations and philosophies of their kings. The Blue and Red clans are often at odds with each other because of how distinctly opposite they are from one another, the Blues being cool-tempered, organized, enforcers of public safety, due process, and order, while the Reds are quick to temper, often follow their hearts rather than their heads, and will do whatever they have to do for their queen and clan. However, the Blue Clan also prides themselves on organization, order and purpose, all of which is what the Green Clan is fighting against, as their entire theme seems to be centered around the idea of chaos for chaos’ sake. They are an insouciant clan that goes with the flow like water through tree roots, and yet, when needed, they can guide that flow with keen, razor sharp accuracy. Each main member of JUNGLE has their own reasons for being there, and when you really listen to what those reasons are, they honestly sound ridiculous and pathetic, a group of teen and twenty-somethings who are searching for some sort of purpose to their lives and just decide to do this thing “because”. However, together, they are similar enough to form a bond between each other, tenuous though it seems, to form the roots of what has become a rather chaotic, dangerous, and precarious tree.
What are the Blues up to?
Cold as ice
Well, honestly, it’s not the entire Blue Clan that we really need to look at in this arc. Like the Green Clan, while SCEPTER 4 has several members, it’s really only three that we need to concentrate on. Like the Red Clan, the Blue Clan has agreed to align themselves with the Silver Clan against the Green Clan. However, while the whole clan deals with the Green Clan’s pawns, it’s the first, second, and third in charge that the story really concentrates on. Of the seven kings, Reisi Munakata is one of the youngest, and yet, his personality and philosophy don’t allow him to use that as a crutch. Like the themes that his clan is based upon, the Blue King has an inner strength of will that cannot be easily broken, principles that are unbendable, and a pride that is unshakable.
But “pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”, and Munakata’s pride is costing him dear this time around.
We’ve known since the movie “Missing Kings” that Munakata’s Sword of Damocles has been damaged since Mikoto’s death. But the young brunette is a king and he has more than the lion’s share of royal stubbornness. He’s the type of man who can’t allow himself to accept help from others, or to even admit that he needs it, especially from those that he finds “beneath” him. His pride and ego will not let him. And unfortunately it is because of this pride, this arrogance, that ultimately in the end, the clan alliance loses the battle against the Greens.
And you know the Blue King don’t play either…
Now, I’ll cut Munakata some slack by saying that the man does actually care about his men and he is willing to work with others if it does benefit the structure and order and protection of the city–at least to a point. His confrontation with Shiro over the Slates and how he looked down on the immortal because of his past inaction, shows how little he thinks of the older king.
However, despite his arrogance, his conceit, and his selfish disdain for the feelings of others, his men still follow him, even if they do express their concern, and other kings of the alliance look after him just in case something irrevocable happens. But both his strengths and his weakness aren’t just known to his allies, but also to his enemies, and they wield their knowledge with efficient and destructive accuracy. At first, they set everything up that they can for him to fail in his self-appointed duty to take the place of the Gold King in suppressing the Slates. However, when Munakata’s will and strength proves to be up to the task, they change their tactics and decide to outright steal the stone artifacts. And when they face the Blue King at the end of their journey, they again use their knowledge of his pride and arrogance to manipulate him right into their hands, damaging that pride far beyond anything Reisi has ever known.
The other clans are beginning to question the mental health of the Blue King, and his second Seri, really can’t answer back as she too is very worried about her king. When she’s not being used for gratuitous fanservice, she’s got a concerned look on her face as she has way too much falling onto her shoulders. And when it rains it pours, because now, third-in-charge Fushimi has decided to turn traitor—again!
Fushimi is an interesting character to watch. When you first meet him, you want to strangle him until his head pops off, taking his smug little grin with him. Every time you see him, he’s either bored, maniacal, or is trying to start something. Every time someone tries to reach out to him (particularly Yata), his response is to always go on the aggressive and snidely push the other person’s buttons until they want to kill him again. He shows his displeasure in the alliance from the beginning, and when this alliance still fails to stop the enemy from obtaining their goal, he’s very vocal on his thoughts for who he thinks is responsible.
Everything comes to a head when he talks blatantly and harshly to an emotionally shattered Munakata, who becomes just as abrasive and his words just as destructive as the two men have it out. Now, if one has been watching Fushimi closely throughout the series, you can see that there is more to the young man than one can see on the surface. Very much a square peg in a round hole, Fushimi is a young man that can’t really fit in very well anywhere, and neither can he make friends very easily, and is a natural loner. His standoffish, abrasive nature is a defense measure that he uses to protect himself emotionally, even from those that he does think of as friends. But beneath that prickly exterior, is a young man who does care for others, even if he doesn’t like to show it.
Well somebody is in need of some counseling…
Unfortunately, he and Munakata are not that different from each other, and so when the Blue King feels threatened, especially after having been so recently emotionally wounded, he too defends himself by pushing the other’s buttons, with devastating effect, driving Fushimi to quit yet another clan. Now, while I am almost 99% sure that this was all a plan Fushimi is carrying out, him taking the whole matter of the Slates and the Green Clan into his own hands, I am 50/50 on whether or not Munakata is in on it. I won’t be surprised if he is and this was all a lot of playacting in order for Fushimi to go on this undercover mission, and yet, I also won’t be surprised if this is something the dagger-wielding teen thought up and planned on his own. Reisi’s words regarding Fushimi constantly being regarded as a “traitor” and not really being able to fit in with the clans yet not being able to tear himself away from the power that comes with them, strikes true, and it does bring out a genuine response from him, but how his feelings will change whatever Fushimi’s original plans were has yet to be seen. All we do know, is that the boy now has half a rainbow of powers in his arsenal.
What are the Silvers up to?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
Not a dang on thing. For being the supposed main characters, the Silver Clan is perhaps the most useless. Shiro/Adolph/The Silver King is supposedly the main character of this series, and we’ve waited a whole movie and three episodes for his return, and yet, he’s really hasn’t done much of anything as of recently. As for his clansmen, Kuroh is his usual uptight but cool self, and unfortunately, Neko is still her useless, infantile self, nothing has really been done with them either. Shiro decides to be in charge of war planning and strategy, which because of his large background knowledge is pretty sound reasoning. However, at the same time, you have to wonder if we’ll get more on him.
The Silver King isn’t without skills though…
One thing that is very evident when you see him and his laid back demeanor, compared to the other kings, it’s sometimes hard to take him seriously, especially when he seems to have this constant guilt complex hanging over his head about his lack of participation in world affairs in the last 70 years, and in the end, the fact that his plan failed again the Green Clan. Yeah, he tends to beat himself up for a lot of things, whether they are his fault or not. However, I will not sell the Silver King short either, he has confidence and strength when he needs it, and he will fight for what he believes in. He is the one who accepts Nagare’s declaration of war and organizes not only the alliance, but the entire strategy to fight against the Green Clan. A plan that would have worked if not for the Green Clan’s 0.5 member….
What are the Greys up to?!
Yes, it turns out, to the surprise of everyone in the audience and in the show, that the Green Clan were hiding their ace in the hole, right in plain sight. It turns out that the alcoholic priest that has been lackadaisically lounging in the background, is not really a Green clansmen at all, at least not according to power set. In actually, this deceptively carefree man who has been calling himself Tenkei Iwafune, is really Seigo Ootori–the Grey King.
And so finally, we get to meet the 6th King and the final clan to be introduced, and while I think having both Silver and Grey as clan colors is a bit of a copout, I can say that “grey” probably suits the clan best.
We get a quite a bit of backstory and history when it comes to Ootori’s case. One of the original seven kings, it is from him that we get to see the events of more than a decade ago, when the Red King’s Damocles sword fell and killed hundreds of thousands including himself. On that terrible day, 4 of the kings were gathered there, and it was thought that those 4 kings had also died that day. This was mostly true, at least from a certain point of view. The Red, Blue, and Green Kings and almost all of their clans were killed that day, it was assumed that the Grey King had also perished. They Grey Clan, known as CATHEDRAL and as the second strongest clan after the Golds, were all wiped out that day when they had come to try to prevent the Red King’s disaster. Unfortunately, only Ootori survived thanks to his power, but his faith had been shattered and it was only in finding and rescuing a very young, and newly coronated Nagare, that he could find anything good in the sudden shambles that had come of his life.
Seigo is an interesting character. It’s one we’ve seen before: a man who is idealistic and a pacifist gets disenfranchised and loses his faith and hope in humanity when hit with a disaster so devastating and personal that it shakes him to his very core. So, the Grey King decided to basically say “Screw it. What has my life amounted to anyway? Let the world go to hell for all I care.” And so he changed his name, hid his identity, and now puts everything to supporting the young boy that gave his life at least a little bit of meaning after everything had gone so wrong. A man like Seigo is interesting because he unknowingly sits on a precipice. He was a good man once, but lost his way, and now has given up on everything that once gave his life meaning and embraced the opposite as simply the inevitable. A man like him stands on the edge of knife and really can go one way or the other depending on the circumstances. However, what those circumstances could be, remain to be seen.
Despite being out of the game for years, the Grey King proves to be a very formidable opponent, his ultimate defense techniques involving fog and manipulation of density, are destructive and deadly, allowing him formidable strength and precision. This combined with his experience and knowledge coming from both being the one time leader of CATHEDRAL as well as simple age, allows him to very easily manipulate Munakata and put a huge crack in the Blue King’s pride and psyche. His cold powers are enough to counter the Red Queen’s heat-based abilities, and the Silver King can only do so much to counter his attacks and protect her. And in the end, it is the Grey King’s presence that leads to the coffee table alliance’s loss on Christmas Eve.
A royal gunslinger
Episode 09 — the Aftermath
After such a heavy loss and the Green Clan having stolen the Dresden Slates, you have to wonder what will happen next. I separated this episode from the rest of the review since, it is very much separate from the arc that came before it. A month has gone by between episodes and we get an idea of what’s been going on in the meantime. The win for Green Clan has caused them to become even more bold than they were before. Their desire for worldwide chaos and for people to “evolve” into more and more strains and superpowered mutants is going swimmingly, and you can automatically see that it’s a bad idea.
It takes a lot to believe that people still don’t know anything about the clans and the powers they wield and that they’re just taking the whole issue with surprise but blaseness, your interest is really just on the clans themselves and how they are dealing with all this. For the most part, everything tries to go on as usual, the Red and Blue clans continue to investigate JUNGLE and the new company they’re building, while Shiro is now employing all his knowledge and research and that of his long-dead sister to find a countermeasure to the Slates power.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
We find out that this is just the first step in Nagare’s plan, which is honestly pretty easy to guess. While his thinking is sometimes complex, the Green Clan’s objectives are anything but. Seri and Kusanagi work together to find out more (and you have to admit how well the two work together) and we see that Fushimi is doing very well in shooting up the ranks as a new Green clansmen, and in only a month is now one of only three people to make it to J-rank (The Green and Grey Kings don’t count). Whatever Fushimi has planned, I’m not surprised. He’s not one to waste time. However, I’m actually more surprised on considering today’s gaming culture, more people haven’t reached that rank yet. Also, it’s interesting how lightly the Green Clan take loyalty and that they accept Fushimi without a care. The guy has switched between three clans now, and he was their enemy only a month ago, and now they don’t care about letting him into their inner sanctum? It goes along with the extremely carefree nature of the clan itself, but still…
Also, it is now official, the Green Clan has the dumbest headquarters ever.
He’s going to be a spokesman for Skittles before this is all over…he’s going to taste the whole rainbow.
Fushimi’s previous clans find out about his defection and react in the ways you would expect them to. The Red Clan is pissed, especially his on-again-off-again best friend, and the Blue Clan reacts with cold efficiency and speed, Munakata replacing Fushimi with Zenjou (who is interestingly voice by the same VA as the Blue King’s old BFF Mikoto), who we haven’t seen since back in episode two. I’m still not sure if Munakata is in on Fushimi’s plan, but I won’t be surprised either way. If Fushimi returns to the Blue Clan, I would be okay with it, but for some reason I’m not really sure if he will. We’ll just have to see how this shapes as we now enter the home stretch.
So, what can I say? Consider how much I had to cover in a single post, this really might as well be a midseason review, but whatevs. We got through it. We’re nearing the end of the season and I’m interested in seeing how the season ends. So far, this season has had it’s ups and downs just like the season before it. It’s had a really slow build up, with some very good payoffs in places. I’m really hoping to see more from the Silver Clan in future episodes and we’ll have to see how this whole thing with Fushimi shakes out. Munakata’s in even more danger now, his Damocles Sword more damaged than ever before. And with the Slates going out of control, will Shiro be able to pull them back under control without dismantling the Clans as a whole? We’ll just have to wait and see.