PLEASE BEAR IN MIND THAT THIS WAS WRITTEN AFTER THE SERIES ENDED IN 2012. I don’t know why that’s important, but I guess just be mindful of spoilers if you’re watching the dub. Based on the hits I’ve been getting from search engines lately, it’s the dub that everyone’s interested in right now, so I’ll cover that at the end.
First of all. before I get into this I’d like to make it clear that I’m going to attempt to review this as impartially as possible, despite that fact that I love it and THEY KILLED MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER AND WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN
‘K’ or ‘Project K’ or ‘K Project’ (or whatever the fuck you’re supposed to google to find anything remotely related to it) is an anime produced by the studio GoHands. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, because I’ve not seen a single one of their works apart form this, but my guess is that ’K’ at least had a pretty decent budget. The animation is fantastic, despite dropping off a little after the opening episode. It was without a doubt the most appealing aspect to me. Which is not surprising being the animation freak that I am. I found the battle scenes hypnotising, the backgrounds extremely detailed and overall the whole thing looked pretty slick. That being said, it was not without it’s flaws. Now, I’m not sure whether it was the not-so-legal-and-therefore-not-so-great-quality version that I was watching, or whether it was the anime itself, but several scenes seemed out of sync. If, indeed that was the case, then it’s a pretty basic mistake from where I’m standing, especially when so much effort has been put in elsewhere. Also, although the blue hues that seem to overlay everything are nice to begin with, they kind of got on my nerves a little towards the end. There’s also an appearance from some CGI helicopters, in episode 7 or 8, I can’t remember, and I’m still not sure whether the whole thing works in anime or not. It looks kind of out of place if you ask me, but I won’t hold that against K, as it is by no means one of the worst offenders.
Moving onto the plot. When I first started watching ’K’, it immediately reminded me of Durarara!! Or, more specifically, it reminded me of how confused I was when I started watching Durarara!! For at least the first few of the 13 episodes, I found myself enjoying the anime whilst not really having any idea what was going on. I found the concept of the anime quite intriguing, and I thought that it had a lot of potential. I was, however, already aware of the fact that there was only 13 episodes, and that’s the problem. As the series went on, it seemed less and less likely that all aspects of the plot would be developed.
And that’s because they weren’t. There was just so much going on, it was literally impossible to cram it all into 13 episodes, and so a lot was left unresolved. It would be nice to know what everybody’s powers are, for a start, seeing as they’re all supposed to have one power or another. And also, there are seven kings, yet we only ever see five of them, and one of those five doesn’t do a whole lot, and so probably isn’t even worth counting. I felt as though something had been stolen from me once K was over, having had so many interesting prospects introduced in the beginning, only to have them either lined up in front of a firing squad and shot repeatedly, or worse, just ignored for the entirety of the show.
That being said, the main plot does mostly make sense. At least the whole confusing nature of the anime keeps some mystery about it for the majority of the series. I read so many different theories every week, and it was certainly interesting. It’s a shame that the ending was not entirely satisfying, although that it probably due to the aforementioned killing off of my favourite. LIKE ALWAYS. This always happens and I’m not ok with it. At all. Nope.
As for the characters……there’s too many. Or at least, there’s too many for such a short series. Half of them don’t even have names, or may as well not, because they don’t really do anything over than fill in some screen space. Wikipedia pretty sums this up with the following:
Yūjirō Benzai (弁財 酉次郎 Benzai Yūjirō) Scepter 4 member with B initial.
And our friend Benzai is not the only one. I couldn’t name most of the characters, and it’s a shame that some of the more prominent characters weren’t developed more thanks to the limitation of 13 episodes. It would’ve been nice to now how they ended up in their respective gangs. Aside from not really getting much of a background at all, I found several of them very interesting. By far one of the most intriguing was Saruhiko Fushimi, an apparent psychopath by anyone’s standards, but of course, we found out next to nothing about him. The designs were very much to my taste, too, although a little less fan service wouldn’t have been a terrible thing. I mean I get the fact that Neko doesn’t like clothes, but Seri Awashima’s skirt could’ve been, I don’t know, an inch longer, and I don’t think anyone would’ve been too upset. And don’t even get me started on the fan service for the fujoshi audience in official art, holy shit.
I found myself enjoying the background music, a mix of electro something or other (I’m not even going to pretend to know what I’m talking about), although nothing really stuck in my head except for the opening and ending themes, both of which were right up my street. The voice acting was extremely well cast in my opinion. Each of the characters had a voice suited well to their personality, although there was some rather questionable English in the first episode, and some even more questionable German a little later on.
The bottom line is that this anime had massive potential, but for me, it’s downfall was the fact that it was limited to only 13 episodes. Many aspects of the plot were left incomplete, and most of the characters didn’t get any kind of development whatsoever (and that’s not even taking into account the two kings that weren’t even mentioned). The ending (still ignoring the fact that they killed my favourite) was a bit of an anti-climax and left a lot to be desired, so hopefully season two will fill in a few holes.
OVERALL SCORE: 7/10
I really, really wanted to give this at least an 8 due to the fact that I still loved it, but I guess for the purpose of this review, a 7 is fair.
As for the English dub, it’s not as awful as I thought it’d be when I first saw the cast. I have nothing against English dubs at all, and so far I’m actually pretty impressed. The only voice that I don’t think I’ll ever get used to is Munakata’s. Kusanagi, on the other hand, I could listen to all day. His voice is about the most perfect thing I’ve ever heard in a dub. Mikoto hasn’t said much (and probably won’t throughout the entire series) but I like his voice too. Fushimi’s is….different. As much as I love Johnny Yong Bosch, Mamoru Miyano is my favourite voice actor of all time, so I can’t see him topping that performance, but I’m still waiting for the ’Mi-sa-ki’.
ps. BEST. SCREENSHOT. EVER. I don’t even know why I find this so funny. I literally laughed for 10 minutes straight the first time.