It was February 2012. Then Gou Nakanishi announced that he will surprise all otaku with something new. So far, all we knew was that his new endeavour is called “GoRa Project” and it’s somewhat going to be a “strange and untypical” anime. Later on, GoHands joined in and the hype was brilliantly conducted with series of previews and teasers. There was a neko-lady and a Goth loli, accompanied by a horde of bishounen. “Yawn”, thought the “Death Note” lovers and moved on, “Awesome”, exclaimed all fans of “mass anime” and checked the web for merch… However, there was one question standing – is the glamorous character design here to cover for a shallow plot and even with a bunch of cuties, is this new anime going to live up to the expectations? After episode 13 (“King”) has passed, I now have my answer.
If you were “hungry” for something mellow and different, for something in the good old shounen tradition, you could not ignore “K”. It all started with the weird addictive background music and the presentation of the headstrong Red King (Mikoto Suoh) and the straight as an arrow Blue King (Munakata Reishi) in charge of an army (Sceptre 4) who are decided to battle The Red King in the name of balance.
Somewhere in-between, there was also this empty-headed white haired guy called Yashiro Isana, who was cruising around with the neko-ecchi and the pretty school girl (Kukuri Yukizome). Easy-going and lazy, Yashiro-kun suddenly realised he is being chased by people (were they human at all?!) with mythical powers having only one goal – to eradicate his existence, angered by a mysterious video showing him kill one of their comrades (Tatara Totsuka – member of “HOMRA”, the group of the Red King)… In a twist of events, Yashiro’s worst enemy – the samurai (Yatogami Kuroh a.k.a Kuro Inu) who called him “the evil Colourless King” – became his ally and tried to save him from all other attacks coming from the power figures in contemporary society – the Colour Kings.
“What is this world and why does every king have an own colour”, you start asking yourself and here comes the flashback… Not so many years ago, when WWII was still going strong, there was a genius scientist called Adolf K. Weismann who found out how to awaken the superhuman in the ordinary beings. Full-heartedly believing that his discovery will bring happiness to all humans, his dreams are shattered when the war takes the life of his sister. After this wake-up call, Weismann’s only way to escape the painful world of violence, is on a zeppelin high in the sky. There the scientist uses his discovery to become the ruler of all rulers – the immortal Silver King. By his will the “Monarchy of Colour” is born and every king receives his place and shade. Red for fire and extremities, blue for order and calmness, gold for stability and respect… There are more kings and amongst them is standing The Colourless one who can influence all others and support the balance. However, what would happen if he goes mad? What if his heart becomes blackened by the hunger for power? What if he realises that, although weak by himself, he is strong enough to possess all others? Who will save the kings and will the Silver one land to the ground he once hated to take action? And what if Yashiro Isana never existed? What if he is really the killer, the evil Colourless King?
The best with “K” anime is that, whatever happens, you just cannot let go… The plot develops smoothly with a fair share of fun; the characters are coming to life right before our eyes. What’s the best is that we viewers are left under the impression that there are at least 10 main characters, each of whom we know and understand. There is a traitor (Saruhiko Fishimi), a short-tempered follower (Misaki Yata), a faithful sidekick with skimpy outfits (Seri Awashima), there are body swaps and possessions (the Colourless King takes over the Silver King and vice versa) and a bunch of confused students from the Ashinaka High School running from grave danger…
Amongst all this remain the Kings, the ones destined to be lonely because of their strengths. Because “kings are only drawn to other Kings” and bound to fight forever, even if this means taking the life of their only friend.
At the end, Silver swallows Colourless and Blue murders Red, while Gold is meant to stay alone as a pillar of balance. However – who will continue in this fairy tale and who will rule over HOMRA?
Too many questions are left unanswered and too many otaku are still plotting in the forums. This can only mean that “K” is a success and it made us all a bit more hopeful for the diversity of the industry that was lately drowning in bubble-headed images.
However, I will admit a flow of this anime that I found hard to ignore at first. Too many of the characters reminded me of existing anime when I first saw this series. For example, the looks and characters of Yashiro (Shiro-kun) and Kuroh are too reminiscent of the Allen Walker – Yuu Kanda duo from D. Gray-man, while the bartender from HOMRA (Izumo Kusanagi) is a 90% copy of his Durarara!! colleague Shizuo Heiwajima. Lieutenant Seri Awashima herself can be proud to remind us of Fullmetal Alchemist’s Riza Hawkeye. Either GoRa “borrowed” some faces or I’ve had too much anime… As I only added this because I felt I was way too positive, I will challenge the critics to find 10 differences between the character design of Shanks (One Piece) and Guildarts (Fairy Tail) and judge later.
As a conclusion is due, I would rather add one – there was no second season I was expecting so eagerly, since ages ago. Thank you, GoRa and GoHands.
Images: (c) GoRA・GoHands/k-project｜(c) King Record.Co.,Ltd
by Death Scythe