Shiro Isana is a seemingly normal high school student living in the highly advanced isolated island Shizume City is thought to be the killer of Tatara Totsuka, a member of the HOMRA gang. While there is video evidence of Shiro proudly killing Tatara, the timid high school student is unaware of the murder and victim. Before HOMRA or their rivals, the police-like Scepter 4, are able to find Shiro, he is confronted by Kuroh Yatogami, who believes that Shiro has also killed his master, Ichigen Miwa, and seeks to take revenge on his master’s killer. Again, Shiro has no memory of the murder, or of the victim. The main story of K is that of Shiro attempting to understand why he is being blamed for the murders, why he has no recollection of them, and find the identity of his doppelganger. There is more at play than just memory loss and gang warfare. K is a story of the colored kings, who each lead a group of followers and each possess a unique magic power; however to those outside of the followers these groups are seen as the aforementioned gangs.
The short series is a bit complicated, with many of the key story points taking place in flashbacks. Most of these are well signaled and are easy to follow. While others, are quite complicated due to their lengthy and out of place framing which can result in a disconnect for the first time viewer. On subsequent viewings some of these flashbacks make more sense, but seem to needlessly interrupt the overall flow of the story. The disconnect created by random time jumps may turn off casual viewers.
Additionally, the music is another weak point of K, but thankfully not all of the music is lackluster. The opening and closing themes are perfectly adequate for this series, with the ending being a slightly above average melancholy piece befitting of the story. It is the music used within the show itself that leaves much to be desired, as several of the songs are reminiscent of music from the 16-bit video game era and may have very well been inspired by such. These songs are lacking in their composition, but what makes these compositions so egregious, is that they sound horribly out of place in this series.
If the viewer is willing to deal with these two unfortunate issues, K may provide a fun and enjoyable watch for some, due to the impressive animation of the series. Overall, due to the patience that this type of story requires, it will likely only be enjoyed by an older audience. The mystery component of the series combined with the light supernatural occurrences, with a mix of light psychological issues in some characters, creates an intriguing story. Sadly, only the most interested mystery anime fan will appreciate what K attempts to do. There are more characters introduced than there is time for one to learn the back-story about, within the anime itself. The Red King’s core group alone could have its own thirteen episode series, to allow the viewer to connect and understand why that particular group is so close. K sets out to do quite a bit in 13 episodes, but falls short of telling more than one complete story.
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