Posted by psgels on 28 December 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, K

Sometimes this happens: the point where I’ve nearly written off a series, and then it pulls something that drastically changes my opinion of it. For a long time, I was just planning to write my review of K with the base of “gorgeous, but unambitious and boring”. Then the final episode turned out to be the best of the entire series and a second season got announced. Now it suddenly is a solid show that devotes a bit too much time to building up.

The thing with K at first sight was that even though it seemed really ambitious at first sight, the story delved into some very simple murder mystery, alongside a war between two different clans. It never really went beyond that and it also did not try to spice things up much, aside from some gorgeous visuals and action scenes. It had some talk about seven different kings that for a long time didn’t really go anywhere other than explaining why some people in the world are ridiculously powerful. It just did not make sense with the mindset that this would be just a 13-episode series.

But yeah, it all turned out to be just build-up. With the way this series is, I would not recommend it on its own, but it set a solid base for its second season. A big problem with a lot of this series was that there also was hardly any character development. The final few episodes finally also brought that in. Doable for a series with 26 episodes, but not for one with 13.

Oh about the animation by the way: K wins the award of the best animation of the season, or at least the biggest production values can be found here with tons of smooth animation, realistic character movements and well coordinated fight scenes. It’s also got a pretty good soundtrack. My only complaint is that the creators like to abuse lighting effects, to the point where every short has some sort of obnoxious filter over it.

So yeah, I’ll be checking out the second season. Then we’ll know whether the build-up in this series was actually worth it.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Good build-up, just forgets to deliver through most of its airtime…
Characters: 7.5/10 – The characters stay rather bland through most the airtime. Emphasis on “Most”, because they do come together in the finale.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous animation, nice soundtrack.
Setting: 7/10 – Doesn’t really do much with its setting and the seven kings backstory feels a bit empty.

Heat Guy J

17 Responses

  1. Obvious Dude says:

    Oh yeah. I agree this last episode was probably the best out of all 13. Hopefully, the second season goes out with a bang.

  2. Jerry says:

    I completely agree with your analysis, except on the lighting which I thought was pretty cool, but that is completely subjective. Also I had no idea a second season had been announced; I’m so pyshced. I just hope they don’t totally screw it up by bringing back the dead or anything >.>

  3. mistress_kisara says:

    I totally agree that the Kings backstory feels a bit empty and if its 2-cour it’ll probably work better but I still enjoyed the show either way ^_^

  4. Silty says:

    I didn’t like the final episode that much. In general, I don’t mind endings that leave things to the readers imagination, or endings where a bunch of people die, but this one felt like it left too much hanging. It’s good buildup for a second season, but that’s all it is. On its own, it’s not a good ending at all, in my opinion.

  5. Entrav says:

    Honestly, 1 season is not enough for everything involved. However, K didn’t utilize the time given to it correctly in the first season. I’m skeptical as to whether the second season will use the time given to it properly.

  6. JaK says:

    hmm don’t know why but even if this s1 it felt strangely empty to me

  7. Rachnid says:

    Here are some ideas I have about K:
    1)It’s stylish, whether that style is good or not is entirely up to personal tastes, but I liked the animation and the bgm, it all felt very jazzy.
    2)It feels character-driven, except it’s kinda hard for me to connect to most of them, until the last part about kings and other kings.
    3)It kinda glorifies street gangs, especially this last episode, which kinda bugs me.
    4)While watching the last episode, I was thinking, this totally feels like a ridiculously long prologue, and voila, extra season. I’m proud of my anime-senses.

  8. Arno says:

    I was fascinated in the first episodes because of the amazing sense of space in animation.

    Then the cliches started accumulating (guy can cook, girl does nyaa…).

    And when the kings story started densifying, I had zero interest for it and stooped watching.

  9. happio says:

    honestly, I didn’t like the animation very much in the end,ie, it was polished but i had probs with the over-saturated-cg-lighting feeling (which the wow factor wears off after a while) and the fact that the characters all felt really ‘posey’. other than that plot and characters were rather mediocre and there’s not enough time in 1 cour to actually flesh it out. also the whole show felt rather poserish.

    anyways, my general opinion of the anime basically the same as Arno’s.

  10. Oro says:

    I think you summed it up well. Great production values and lots of intrigue that leads nowhere.

    My biggest problem was with Shiro — the protagonist. He’s completely useless. He’s essentially pussy Neo stuck in the Matrix before taking the red pill and waking up in the real world. And then all of a sudden in the last few episodes he’s practically Neo when he’s activated god-mode…

    Lots of potential, but ultimately a mess. It’s terrible title describes it best: “K” is an “okay” anime…

    • Silty says:

      I disagree, I think Shiro’s a lot like Natsume from Natsume Yuujinchou – if anything, Shiro’s actually more confident than Natsume. He was more of a coward before his amnesia, because he just flew around in his ship all day err day, but now he seems to be taking some pretty bold action. He’s pretty clever despite his initial lack of special ability in the series, so I’m wondering what would cause you to think he’s useless.

      • Oro says:

        Shiro is what is known as a passive protagonist. His amnesia acts a convenient excuse for it, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s passive.

        Until his “awakening”, he makes no choices of his own and is reactive instead of active. These type of characters become boring very fast…

        • くらりん子 says:

          I also disagree. Shiro is not just a passive character who merely lets things happen. He continually fabricates convoluted although ridiculous lies that he pulls off with unpredictable skill and his stealth is arguably the result of deliberate intent.

          What I would argue is that for most of the season, not only does Shiro evade revealing his true thoughts to the other characters, but that the audience is also kept in the dark. I’d say that Shiro is extremely concerned with finding out the truth about himself and that he only seems passive because instead of being able to pursue the mystery he’s spending so much time trying to fend off Kuro. XD

  11. Nic says:

    Well, I’m more a skeptic than you pgels. I had also written off that series but kept watching it in the hopes it could deliver at the end. And yes, it did deliver but unlike you, I haven’t forgiven the complete mess that was its story, world building and non-existent character development while they focused on Shiro’s on-the-run hijinks and stalled everything to a crawl.

    It didn’t use its air time well, even awfully I’d say. Rating a series that high, for me, is simply not possible. I don’t forgive what a series like K is doing as easily as you’ve done. My personal rating is 6.5. I really liked the final episodes and especially the ending…

    But the utter lack of character development for 90% of the cast means it introduced tons of bland characters for whom I really don’t care one bit. And yes, it got greenlit for a sequel. As an anime fan, it infuriates me. This was a great premise but a terrible direction and a piss-poor story pacing totally killed the enthusiam I had for K. It had great opportunities and squandered them all. And somehow, THIS gets greenlit of a sequel of all things?! When the only good things about it are its final episodes and its animation?

    I’m really pissed. Because you of all people know how often projects with great execution fail to see the light of day ever again because of poor sales.

  12. Starss says:

    It just dragged too much for me, every scene is drawn out extensively with a new camera angle, new pose, new expression ontop of some music playing. The ending arc was an eye candy disappointment too with the unanimated clash between the red and the blues, though the last episode was good.

  13. Arno says:

    It is as if the authors were attending an animation exam, and used characters or plot as mere props for the animation.

    As far as the animation exam is concerned, they win with honors. The rest is not bad but doesn’t deserve your attention… if it was ever meant to.

  14. Aspiring says:

    This series was very… clean

    I watched K on a hot, summer day and this series actually felt harmonic with the environment I was in (precise details remain untold)

    I suppose my situation was optimal to the enjoyment of this series… a situation of slight boredom and a relaxed nature, while observant of the animation and its soundtrack

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:59 AM)
    I say this because people often like to hype up the genre or those elements. I bring this up/think about it now because I played a game called undertale lately on my brothers recommendation and he was all like it emotionally destroyed him but I never ended up crying, I mean don’t get me wrong its a good game, there were laughs to be had and there was sentiment but it wasn’t THAT sad/funny.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:44 AM)
    Given how many people cry at some drama, clannad included.
    That reminds me…
    I can’t actually remember the last time in my life where I cried, I draw a blank.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:23 AM)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: yeah, even tho it was his highest grossing movie it managed to brought his career to a stand-still. His next film Gods of Egypt looks like it could be fun, albeit it’s just as much as a CGIfest as I, Robot. Egyptian stuff is admittedly rather intriguing, I remember a 2004 French film Immortel ad vitam that blended that with modern themes that became popular for a while.

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