K – 13 (Fin)

Kuroh stops the fighting between HOMRA and SCEPTER-4, then pledges fealty to King Weismann/Shiro. The two track down Kukuri and bait the Colorless King into possessing Weismann/Shiro, who traps him in his subconscious. He can’t hold him there long, so after ordering Kuroh to withdraw with the freed Kukuri, he confronts Mikoto and Munekata. Mikoto kills Weismann/Shiro, which destroys the Colorless King with him. Munekata then kills Mikoto before Mikoto’s own Sword of Damocles can, averting disaster. The red seals of the members of HOMRA – including Fushimi – rise into the air. Kuro and Neko run off in animal form.

Things get wrapped up pretty neatly in this final episode of the minimally-titled “K”, which most likely stands for “King.” Too neaty, you say? Well, it was a neat series. By that, we mean it wasn’t overambitious and knew what it wanted to accomplish throughout its run, and simply executed, sticking to its rules in the process. Evacuate school of innocents? Check. Save Kukuri from the Colorless King? Check. Prevent the Colorless King from possessing anyone else and wreaking havoc? Check. Prevent the bomb that is Mikoto Suoh from detonating, causing a citywide calamity? Check.

Sure, there are consequences. Kukuri, and likely her classmates, will always have a faint inkling of knowing someone named Isana Yashiro, but the name will forever stay on the tip of their tongue, never fully remembered. Kuro and Neko’s king is gone, leaving them without anyone to give them orders – maybe they’ll be their own bosses now. Anna, Yata, and HOMRA are understandably shook up by their king’s death, and even Munakata mourns the loss of a friend. So not everyone lives happily ever after, but they DO live. Sometimes kings have to make the ultimate sacrifice for their subjects’ welfare; so it is here.


Rating: 8 (Great)

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K – 11

Led by Awashima, SCEPTER-4 advances against HOMRA. Shiro, Kuro, and Neko are able to save Kukuri, but Suoh confronts them. Kuroh buys them time, but is outmatched and is bailed out by Munakata, who starts dueling with Suoh. In a mall, Kukuri – actually fox spirit in disguise – stabs Shiro, but a Sword of Damocles appears above him, and he transforms into the new iteration of the Silver King, Adolf K. Weismann.

The school island becomes a battleground there’s a very nice sense that all hell is breaking loose, though in a decidedly less bloody was than, say, Gangs of New York. You’ve got a gang armed with clubs, bats, and pipes against a gang armed with swords, and there’s not much in the way of blood. The chaotic feeling aside, there’s decidedly less sophistocated action here than there was in earlier episodes. The battles themselves were economically animated, as if K was running out of budget.

Anyway, while several pairs of rivals have entered decisive battles – Yata and Fushimi, Suoh and Munakata – the big deal this week is that Shiro is not the newest incarnation of the sneaky Colorless King after all. He’s become Weismann’s new vessel, which makes him Silver, not clear. That means he’s the First and therefore strongest king. But is he strong enough to stop Suoh and Munakata from destroying Tokyo? More to the point, could he be bothered to stop them? We know he’s back, but we don’t know his intent.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

K – 10

Suoh and HOMRA invades the Ashinaka High School Island and locks the place down while they search for Totsuka Tatara’s killer. Kukuri, who may know the identity of the boy in the video, keeps her head down. SCEPTRE-4 arrives on the island and prepare for battle with HOMRA. Munakata gives Suoh an ultimatum: he’ll execute the killer any way he wants if he takes his men and leaves. Suoh declines. Shiro, Kuroh, and Neko return to Shiro’s flat to find it a wreck. They decide to put Shiro’s identity search on hold to rescue Kukuri and the other student hostages.

Assuming Isana Yashiro is indeed the new Colorless King, picking up where Ichigen Miwa left off, he is indeed the ultimate wild card. It’s apparently the nature of colorless kings to be tricksters, and set all the other kings into disarray. Even as an amnesiac, he’s exhibited trickster-ish attributes, and indeed, we wouldn’t put it past a trickster to allow himself to have his memory erased so that he’d never fully remember past deeds. It’s dastardly, but also fits the colorless archetype. And now a reflective Red King about to blow his top any second, and a Blue King trying to prevent excess collateral damage, and their two kingdoms about to go to war – all over who gets to kill Shiro.

There’s some nice, subtle character moments in this episode, like the quiet scene with Suoh and Anna and later Kusanagi, and the little smoke break between Suoh and Munakata. We had to chuckle at Suoh knocking over a massive stone clock tower on the school island, followed by Kusanagi cheerfully assuring the school by megaphone that “we’re not here to hassle you.” Like hell, dude, you knocked over their clock tower. If things go sour, the whole school could end up a crater. Shiro and Kuro, with help from their super-magical cat companion, will aim to prevent that.


Rating: 6 (Good)

 

K – 09

In a 1945 flashback to Dresden, Germany, Adolf Weismann demonstrates the power of an ancient “slate” by presenting a lab rat with godlike powers that commands the other rats. When the allies bomb the city, his sister is killed, and he eventually retreats to the airship Himmelrieich, where he remained unaging until it was destroyed in the incident with Scepter 4. Usagi gets to the wreckage first, and the Golden King has him in state. Meanwhile, someone claiming to be Tatara’s killer contacts Suoh and provokes him into breaking out of Scepter 4’s headquarters. Awashima and Fushimi cannot stop him, and Homra is waiting for him. Suoh knows the killer is at the school on the island.

So, no Shiro, no Neko, and no Kuroh this week. Instead we focus on the other Kings, specifically the top four. The first, Adolf Weismann, only wanted everyone to be happy. He started this whole technobabbly process of creating humans with superhero powers. His most apparent power seems to be immortality, though he’s unconscious in the aftermath of the Himmelreich‘s destruction, after decades of hanging up there, tending the broken heart he suffered when his sis died, and cultivating a legend about himself. One thing’s for sure; dude’s a weirdo.

As for the second King, it’s apparently in his interests to make sure Weismann isn’t snatched up by Scepter 4. We’re not sure what Munakata can do about it, being the fourth and therefore presumably less-powerful King. Meanwhile Kukuri, Mishina, and the other classmates keep bringing up someone none of them quite remember, but who is at the tip of their tongue. Were their memories of Shiro just an artifice? Finally, Tatara’s mysterious, fox-masked killer calls Suoh (on a toy phone, no less) to gloat. After simply sitting around for eight episodes, Suoh, King #3, decides enough is enough, and springs into action out of concern for the members of Homra.


Rating: 6 (Good)

K – 05

HOMRA associates Yata Misaki and Kamamoto Rikio and SCEPTER 4’s Awashima Seri and Fushimi Saruhiko gain access to Ashinaka High to look for Isana Yashiro, with neither faction meeting with success. In the process, Fushimi crosses paths with Yata and provokes him into a duel, which Seri breaks up. Fushimi learns the suspect they’re looking for isn’t an Ashinaka student. Yata shows one final person the video still before leaving: Kukuri, who tells him she doesn’t know him.

Neither HOMRA nor SCEPTER 4 come away looking particularly competent this week, as Yata and Kamamoto do a half-assed job canvassing the school (they’re too shy to ask girls), both groups end up scaring the hell out of the students and administration, and just for kicks, they have a battle in broad daylight on school grounds. Yata and Fushimi’s is definitely the first battle we’ve seen between a sword and a skateboard. Combined with Yata fighting while on his board, or break-dancing like Mugen, it’s right on the border between zanily cool and laughably absurd.

Fushimi is formerly of HOMRA, but switch sides, though he doesn’t seem particularly loyal to anyone except himself; he’s seeking “blood and flesh”, suggesting SCEPTER 4 may have a psychopath in their midst. Both the computer (which has Isana Yashiro in its database) and Kukuri (who is friends with him) say they don’t recognize the photo presented to them. It’s not the best photo, but it was enough for everyone to conclude Yashiro was the culprit. Did Kukuri honestly not see Shiro in that picture, or did she lie to cover for him?


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. When Yata calls Seri “The Heartless Woman”, she says only the owner of “a certain bar” – Kusanagi – calls her that. Do they have a history?

K – 02

Shiro manages to slip away from Kuroh, but he now has a Y10 million bounty on his head thanks to the HOMRA corporation, which is also tracking him. Kuroh traces him to his school, where Yuki helpfully points him out. Meanwhile, Shiro’s cat has transformed into a naked magical woman, who protects him and covers his escape with a series of illusions cast against Kuroh. He chases them through the night, and in the morning, they cannot continue until they’ve all had breakfast.

There are a lot of names and orgs and motivations flying around at the periphery that if all unloaded at once could easily overwhelm, but this second episode wisely keeps them there and narrows its focus to one scenario: the crafty, slippery Shiro being pursued by Kuroh, who wants to kill him to satisfy his master’s honor. The kid’s straight as an arrow, and is disarmed and shamed by the sight of a naked cat-girl. Whoever she is, she seems committed to protecting Shiro, who even in private he claims to not remember the murderous bastard seen in that video footage.

The chase has a manic energy to it, and there’s the amusing notion that Kuroh is so formal, he can’t actually kill Shiro without first saying his whole honorable spiel, which of course gives Shiro and Neko ample time to distract, misdirect, or flee. This leads to the chase going on all night, rendering its participants winded and peckish by morning. But when Kuroh’s lovingly-prepared repast is gone and everyone’s energy has returned, there’s still the matter of him wanting Shiro’s life. What more will Shiro and Neko be able to do – aside from eternal evasion – to dissuade him? And that doesn’t even count the other parties who want him, like HOMRA.


Rating: 8 (Great)