Anime Spotlight: K

K is an anime series produced by GoHands, and was directed by GoRA. The series aired on Japanese television from October 5-December 12, 2012.

VIZ Media holds the North American distribution rights for the K television anime series.

The main character of K is a high school student named Yashiro Isana. He’s an easygoing teen whose world is suddenly turned upside down when he is accused of murdering Tatara Totsuka from HOMRA, a group of guys who come across as thugs. HOMRA is seeking vengeance for Tatara’s death, so they hunt down Yashiro with the hopes to kill him.

Yashiro finds himself on the run, and he finds himself being accompanied by Neko, a mischievous girl who can transform into a cat. She also has the ability to create illusions, shapeshift, turn invisible, and sensory interference. They encounter Kuroh Yatogami, who is hunting down the next “Colorless King,” and he believes that Yashiro is his target, since it’s believed that he is the one who killed Tatara in cold blood. Fortunately, Kuroh gives Yashiro a chance to prove his innocence.

There are “seven kings” in the world this story is set in, but we are never introduced to all seven of them. The main focus falls on Mikoto Suoh, the “Red King” and the leader of HOMRA and on Reisi Munakata, the “Blue King” and leader of Scepter 4.

The series focuses on Yashiro and his interactions with HOMRA, Scepter 4, the Golden King, and other characters, as well as on trying to the truth behind Tatara’s murder.

After watching all 13 episodes of K, I have to say that while there was a decent concept presented, the execution of the concept fell apart over the course of the series. Unfortunately, it didn’t help that there really weren’t any explanations given as to several of the major elements of the series until the third episode. There were also times throughout the series where the storytelling felt choppy and rushed.

Another major problem with the series is the number of characters that appeared during this 13-episode series. While some characters are central to the story, other characters only have one important event they take part in but are otherwise “just there” most of the time. Either the field of characters needed to be narrowed down by combining some of the characters to give more of a possibility to develop the characters, or to have had more episodes in order to have more time to develop all the main characters in the series.

In the early episodes, the animation was a standout feature of the series. Computer animation was utilized quite a bit in the series, and K definitely has some of the better use of CG that I’ve seen in a television anime series. Some of the backgrounds almost look like they could be live-action shots, but it’s just noticeable enough that it’s actually CG. While you can tell that these elements were created through computer graphics, they don’t stand out nearly as much from the 2D animation in comparison to many of the anime series that try to combine 2D and CG animation.

Unfortunately, the quality of the animation falls apart once you hit the final four episodes of the series. The animation loses a lot of the detail that was apparent in the early episodes, and the colors in many of the scenes look so washed out that it’s almost painful to watch.

I have to say that K is not an anime series that I would recommend to casual anime viewers, and I definitely wouldn’t use this series to try to introduce someone to anime. It’s simply too confusing due to the excessive amount of characters and how slowly the overarching story develops. Honestly, I have to say that by the time I had enough information to truly understand what was going on in K, I had already gotten to the point that I really didn’t care anymore.

If you don’t mind watching an anime where the characters and story take a while to develop and can tolerate the animation quality in a series that goes downhill rather quickly near in end, then you might be able to appreciate K. However, if you can’t tolerate those things, then I would recommend staying away from this series.

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