K, also known as K Project, is an anime that I was forced to watch by an associate. Originally to my behest. I found K to be extremely slow to pick up, but once it gets going, the characters are established and the plot falls into place your only gripe will be that it didn’t happen sooner. Thankfully by that point you’ll have the movie and the, airing at time of writing, second season to keep you going.
K is a hard to place anime, with little to no backstory at face value. The anime follows a student with which there seems to be something slightly off about, who gets caught up in a supernatural underworld in the city due to his uncanny resemblance of a murderer. In this underworld there is an ancient relic called The Slates, which has the ability to grant people unique supernatural abilities based on one of 7 colours. Those being Silver, Gold, Red, Blue, Green, Grey and Colourless. The most powerful and representative of each of these colours is the King, who leads their coloured faction, and everyone else of that colour is a clansmen, who’s role is to support their king. This leads to some rather beautiful fight scenes, fluid relations and some marvelous characterization.
The first season follows Shiro getting caught up in an investigation due to his identical appearance of the Colourless King. With the Red, Blue and Colourless factions coming to conflict over solving the mystery of a murder, in which a Red clansmen was killed by the Colourless King. Escalating tensions then spread to the involvement of the Silver and Gold factions. For the bulk of the time you’re kept in a clueless state about what is going on, how these factions came into being, whether Shiro is the murderer or not…and basically just what the hell is going on in general, given the repeated references to past events with no exposition. However in the final few episodes everything is explained and it becomes hands down one of the best settings for an anime ever, with just enough time for everything to come crashing down.
The movie however ties up some loose ends, and stabilizes the situation enough while introducing the first etchings of future conflict to keep the story moving forward. This is also while making sure that we feel contempt with the situation, which it does well. Its story ends both completed and on a cliffhanger linking to the start of season 2. It’s from this point that K becomes a masterpiece, now that you know what’s going on and have all the required background information you can really sink your teeth into the story and action of season 2, and that’s not something you want to pass up.
The cast of K is developed well, even if you do have to wait till the final moments to truly appreciate it.
Shiro-The main character, a student who gets dragged into the world of the super natural when he is wanted for murder. He is an extremely polite and charismatic person, which keeps him popular but his classmates note that something feels off about him.
Kuro-Kuro is swordsmen who worked and trained under the previous Colourless King who died, he was tasked with going out and locating the next Colourless King to decide if he was evil or not. This brings him into contact with Shiro.
Mikoto-Mikoto is the Red King, giving him powers resembling fire, he is pulled into conflict with Shiro as he believes him to have murdered his friend. He operates the Red Clan in a method somewhat resembling a gang or hangout. Throughout the anime it is foreshadowed that at his current rate he is near exhausting his powers, which will result in his death and cause serious damage.
Reishi-The Blue King, giving him powers resembling electricity, he is drawn into events to solve the murder case and prevent the Red Clan losing control. He operates the Blue Clan in a strict system that makes it a supernatural police that oversees the clans, he also has direct relations with the government in the area with the power to influence it almost absolutely.
The impressive action sequences and excellent animation make this a wonderful anime to watch. Not lacking in developed characters either, it never feels shallow. However, its mystery tones do keep you in an almost absolute dark more than it can feel enjoyable, which can make it feel like a chore until the light is shed on the situation. The movie and second season do well to build on this, so it is worth sticking around if you feel out of your depth.
Due to it’s supernatural and mystery tones I find Blood-C to be of a somewhat similar anime in my personal opinion, especially in terms of plot twists and character development. At a bit of a stretch I can extend that to Brynhildr In The Darkness, however its feeling is very different.
I did play down the great but few comedic moments in this anime, so I’ll make a little mention here.
“Well, it’s not a big deal or anything… but I was almost killed.”