Well, every tale must come to an end.
Well, it’s already 2016, but before we can all get to the new goodies that the new season has brought us, I have one more offering left over from the fall. Yes, I’m talking about the very last post for the second season of 「K」, and maybe the entire 「K」 universe in general. This time, I’m actually going to forego the clan sections, since if you’ve seen the final episode, you’d know that it really doesn’t matter anymore.
Honestly, there’s quite a bit about this episode that makes you think nothing really matters anymore…but I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s talk about what actually DID matter here.
Well, if you’ve been following along so far, with the Green Clan basically “breaking the release valve” off of the Dresden Slates through their powers of matter and electricity manipulation, Shiro and the other kings have decided that the best way to deal with the situation is the destroy the Slates entirely. Right now, the entire world is in chaos because normal people are just suddenly sprouting color-coded powers and no one knows how to control them except for the main clans.
I found it interesting that the Slates were affecting the entire planet rather than just Japan. I mean, when this is all over, I’m thinking that the clans can help to clean up the mess in their own home country and keep everything under wraps. But if you spread it to the whole world, you can’t tell me that some of the countries, specifically those of the rest of the members of the Group of Eight and others nearby neighbors like China, aren’t going to be asking a whole heck of a lot of questions about what just happened and where these powers came from, what was Japan doing with them, and most importantly, how can they acquire them?
You ready to do this?
Of course the series never even addresses this issue, but that’s one of many flaws of the series that you just have to toss up to the “suspension of disbelief clause. Put it right now the ridiculous premise that no one has found out about these abilities by now and those who wield them, considering the wild abandon in which the clans have been wielding them, but whatever. Instead, the story concentrates on the much more closed story of just our main clans and their final fight against the Nagare and the Green Clan, which has been all but telegraphed to us the last few episodes.
Once again, just like the Christmas battle at the midway point, we have the Blue, Sliver, and Red Clans, going against the Green Clan and the Grey King. However, this time things are reversed, with the three-clan alliance trying to breaking into the Green Clan’s HQ to get to the slates. The plan is pretty well enacted with the Blue Clan unknowingly having done their part to take out the largest part of the defense, the Grey King, last week, leaving it up to the Red Clan to clear the path, while the Silver King delivered the coup de grâce.
While I do admire the teamwork that goes into their plan, I do have to question a lot of the choices made and how it impacted the series a whole, especially as this is the series finale. Firstly, there’s the fact that the Blue Clan is utterly useless this episode, having defeated (though not killed as we had thought) the Grey King, they really have nothing to do but stand around and supposedly clear away civilians. Reisi is basically an overcharged battery going critical at this point, but is not afraid of his fate and reminds Seri of her duty. However, it’s obvious by how much she trembles and the fact that Munakata brought a back-up in Zenjou along, that Seri was never going to be able to go through with it (chalk it up to those erratic feminine emotions *sarcasm*). But she doesn’t need to of course, as Shiro destroys the Slates before any life-and-death decisions need to be made.
Look, all you have to do is point the pointy end of your sword at where my heart is and push. It’s not that hard.
And how does he do this? Well, it’s a team effort of the Red Clan using their powers to bust open all the tunnels of the Green Clan’s hideout creating a pathway to the outside, while Kuroh and Neko fight of the last of the Green Clan’s minions and the Silver King defending himself long enough the the Green King’s powerful attacks in order to create a Damocles Down that will be enough to destroy the Slates.
Now, while there is a lot of technobabble about how he’s going to do it, Shiro does at least attempt to explain how he will keep the Sword of Damocles from destroying the entire city and creating another crater. However, I do have to question why he has to use his own, considering the Blue King’s Sword was already critical and pretty much in the same position as his own, I mean, it would have given Munakata more to do than to stand around! But then again, I guess Shiro really wouldn’t have had anything to do, but that’s pretty much been consistent with the entire series, but more on that waste later.
You were lucky Mikoto, you got out of this while the gettin’ was good.
I also question how no one even cares to voice the fact that destroying the slates will actually kill the Green King, considering his life is connected to his powers. It’s treated as such an afterthought, and they continue to consider him more like a zombie not worth of life rather than what he really is: a person on life-support. If I was Nagare, I would be protecting that thing with my life too! Though I guess since it was his actions that lead up to this situation in the first place, he created his own situation that lead to his death.
Nagare has infinite powers this time considering how closely tied he is to the Slates at this point. However, it all really means nothing as we really don’t get to see him do much. His abilities are as much of a waste as Shiro’s. In the explosive end, the Slates are shattered, Nagare dies almost instantaneously, and everyone’s abilities begin to disappear, as the cutoff trickles down the ranks of the clans. The Kings are the first to feel the effects, losing all their abilities, and the Clansman’s powers began to wane shortly after, one at a time. Munakata is safe, and Seri performs her tsundere duties and punches him for having the “audacity” to put her in that kind of situation. Fushimi is fine, the Red Clan is happy, the Silver Clan is victorious. Ootori, who is mortally wounded, decides to dies in blaze with his adopted son’s body and blows up the entire headquarters, with other three members escaping with their lives. But JUNGLE dies with Nagare, and it brings in a new era without clans, kings, and superpowers.
Shiro is actually affected as much as Nagare with this move to destroy the slates, as it was his own powers that were keeping him inside the body that he was in to begin with. Without them, the souls are once again swapped, and we actually meet the real Yashiro Isana for the first time, and boy do I feel sorry for this kid. He’s been unconscious all this time, knowing nothing of what’s going on, and out of the world, having his body used by others for the last couple of years. I hate to think what his family has been going though, and the psychological effects aren’t going to be pretty.
One minute you’re on top, the next, you’re knee deep in therapy bills.
And for the first time other than in flashbacks we finally have Adolph K. Weismann back into his original body, now working as a teacher at that darn high school, with Neko as his niece (and I guess Kuroh as his housekeeper?). The former clans, now can go across color barrier lines and interact more readily. They’ve lost their powers, but the familial connections that they’ve established still remain, and that seems to be what’s the most important to them.
A much better king has arrived to stay. Finally.
And thus the world of 「K」 ends…
「K」 Return of Kings had quite a bit of potential going for it. The interesting world that was set up for us last season, and in the movie, was different and fascinating. It’s one that could and should have been explored more. It’s really a shame how much was wasted during this second season’s run. Our main character, that had quite a bit of build-up after he finally got his memories back in the first season, does next to nothing this time around, especially after all the anticipation that was mounted at his return in the beginning of the series.
Yeah, at least I look cool.
Like Adolph/Shiro, Nagare also started off very promising, only for them to really just drop the ball with him as well in the second half of the series. The Green King is touted as being so powerful, and yet, we see him do very little. He’s supposed to be so manipulative and intelligent, but his plan was so basic and ridiculous. Neko’s storyline really goes nowhere. There are no surprises really, nothing that keeps us guessing.I think they wanted to have her and Nagare be brother and sister, but stopped just short of saying it, because it would have seemed a bit heartless for her to just have him killed like that, and Neko can’t have much complexity. *rolls eyes*
Siblings? We’ll never know for sure.
I actually found the fact that they gave up their powers to be a pretty poor decision on the writers’ part. The clans, the kings, the superpowers is what really got most of us into the series in the first place. To take all that away, makes most of the characters pretty bland and boring now, nothing really distinctual about them.
Compared to the first season, Return of Kings is inferior in every way. The animation is just as beautiful, but it reuses so much of that footage that you wonder if this show had any budget at all. In terms of the plot, the whodunit plot of season one, as well as trying to figure out what the world was all about and what was going on, kept your interest a lot more than this one did. The Colorless King was a much more evil, complex and interesting villain compared to Nagare’s Green King.The issues going on with Mikoto and the bittersweet, tragic ending of the first season of 「K」, tops this “happily ever after” ending in spades. I really just wish that they had not squandered so many things this time around, but I guess I can just be happy with what we did get even though the series is now officially over.
……or is it?! According to GoRA, this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing the world of 「K」. Though I do have to wonder what more they could do in this world? Are we talking about a prequel to the first Kings? I would be interested in that, though since you know how that’s going to end, it might be a little superfluous. Also, even though I wouldn’t mind, some might be put off by (other than the Grey, SIlver, and Gold Kings) having a whole new set of characters. They could also still put out a sequel, but they would have to rework the absence of the Slates and find some way of giving everyone their powers back. Because, as I said, without kings, clans, and superpowers, K wouldn’t be 「K」.
Whatever it is they decide to do, I’ll watch it. However, the next time around, I’ll remember to keep my expectations a lot more tempered.