K: Return of Kings is an extremely stylish magical fighter where people drop trailer-style sound bites at each other while sword-dancing around a beautifully 3D rendered cityscape. It’s full of visual elegance and wonderful dancey/comfort jazz riffs and it has absolutely no weight or feeling of tension.
For context, I accidentally watched K: Return of Kings without knowing it was the sequel to a show RABUJOI reviewed back in 2012. So I am certainly missing context. However, K:RoK has some pretty straightforward problems…
The episode opens with a fight between the 3rd King (Red) and the 4th King (Blue) and their clans. It introduces about 12 characters, what I presume are some ranks and relationships, and sets off scattering those characters around the city in lengthy one-on-one fights.
Aside from the female character, who gets several half-sexy/half-awkwardly rendered crotch and boob shots, many of the characters look the same. e.g. The blue King & Captain both wear glasses and a similar uniform and are only identifiable because the Captain has throwing knives and fights the red guy on the skateboard…Right off the bat, I don’t even know who anyone is unless they are holding a specific weapon.
You may like it if: you want high production values production values and can turn off your brain. K:RoK isn’t Fate stay/night visual quality, but top-shelf for tv.
You may not like it if: the lengthy lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi’won in Star Wars EPIII bored you with it’s flashing, highly polished, lengthy emotionless grind. K:RoK’s pretty flash and explosions becomes dull if there is no tension or moments of rest for the action. Likewise, a giant, highly-detailed cityscape does not immerse you in a space, if you have no idea who anyone is, or why they are acting so strange.
In closing, K:RoK feels like an action packed trailer as a full length episode: all the snappiest dialog and explosions and fights are on display without any of the ‘boring’ dialog between characters that would make the world feel lived in and the relationships real. When Dialog and moments of pause do creep up, its mostly sloppy exposition and unnatural feeling character re-introduction.
It’s pretty, it has boobs and crotch jiggle, swooshy magic attacks, and is unoffensive. If you watched the original, or plan to go back and watch it first, you may even get something out of it. Just not enough here for me.