The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

K

Title: K
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: GoHands
Format: 13 episodes
Date: 4 Oct 2012 – 27 Dec 2012

Synopsis: There is a war brewing between HOMRA, a group of miscreants looking for trouble, and Scepter 4, a group of militant peace keepers.  HOMRA is using any method possible to find a mysterious man who killed one of its members, disregarding the damage and chaos left behind.   Their search eventually leads them to Yashiro Isana, an ordinary high school boy who can come off as, but denies any involvement in any kind of murder.  Can Yashiro clear his name before HOMRA manages to capture him and make him pay for the murder?  Most likely, since he’s got a handsome samurai and a well endowed cat girl by his side.

The Highlights
Cast: Massive and distinctive, but falls short of compelling.
Story: Very straightforward, but with many convoluted elements attached.
Lore: Creates a massive back story that would be meaningful if the show were engaging in the first place.
Animation: At times, does not envy Fate/Zero.  Other times, pitiful.

If the glut of male-targeted anime about cute girls doing cute things is starting to grow old, prepare yourselves for the next generation of pandering.  K is a character driven action series dominated by its implied homosexual tensions, esoteric musings of what seems to be a plot, and a fully nude cat girl with naughty bits covered only by the magic of anime camera angles and what can only be pin sized areolas.  This anime is the ultimate equal opportunity employer of pandering.  Fujoshi, moe lovers and action buffs alike can count on at least some part of their interests being represented, but the attempt to homogenize these elements into one blobby mass is probably not a good idea.

From the beginning, K shoots itself in the foot by openly pandering to niches that are both disparate and conflicting with one another.  The show courts its male audience with massive cat girl tits, which is undone by the thinly veiled homosexual tensions among some of its male characters; however, females aren’t exactly flocking over the show likely due to the aforementioned cat girl tits.  The closest reason I could come up with why this dissonant mass of pandering is a good idea is the insane success of Code Geass, which ends up being an even more exotic concoction than K.  However, Code Geass has a plot that is basically a bull charging through a China shop and a lead character who is unique.  K has neither of these.  The plot is unremarkable, and the lead character is very passive.

The characters, plot ideas, and themes never quite gel together into anything meaningful, much less compelling.  Despite the incredible amount of back story and lore the show constantly mentions, K never puts a stake into the ground and shouts “this is what we are; this is what we do.”  Instead, it mutters “well, there’s got to be something here you’ll like.”  The approach of “something for everyone” allows the show to cast a wide net, but despite corralling a wide array of niches, K doesn’t have the right combination of elements to make anything beyond a ho-hum action series that makes a loud ruckus but lacks the pizzazz to make things pop.

Despite its low brow attempts at drawing a massive audience, the show is not completely without merit.  The series can look quite fantastic when it wants to and some of the fight scenes are quite thrilling.  Though there are moments of laughably bad art, the show as a whole is extremely pleasing to the eyes.  In comparison, the music does not stand out quite as much as the animation, but it does its job adequately.

One can lament the lost potential of some of the concepts and the visual flair.  I do not.  Aside from the exorbitant amount of money tossed into the flames, the show is built on top an unremarkable concept populated by unremarkable personalities servicing an unremarkable story sold to the consumer by unremarkable pandering.  When stripped of its more blatant fan service, the show is not bad, but it’s disposable piece of pop entertainment that I will forget the second I stop writing about it.

The Rating: 5
5/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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