K – 03

Blue King Munakata Reishi takes Red King Suoh Mikoto into custody, worried that his power could cause a calamity that would threaten Japan. Suoh goes quietly, but his friend Kusanagi Izumo knows he has a plan. Munakata also orders the city put under martial law for two weeks while he investigates the murder of Tatara Totsuka, who was a member of HOMRA and the reason they’re hungry for revenge. Kuroh has a long meal with Shiro and Neko, after which he vows to kill Shiro, but Shiro convinces him to let him prove his innocence.

Suoh, let’s get straight to the point. Your Weismann level is pushing the limit. If the Sword of Damocles should fall, we’ll have a repeat of the Kagutsu crater. If you insist on drawing more power from the Dresden Slates, I will have to kill you.

Now that right there is some dense proper-noun-laden dialogue right there. It’s what shows that take place in the future where people have supernatural powers are wont to say. But this anime pokes fun at it by having Suoh tell Reishi he has no idea what he’s talking about. It was a necessary bit of exposition, delivered directly but cleverly. While this episode lacked the super-shiny CGI cars and skateboard video fights (though the skateboard kid Yata did get some licks in) it made up for in laying out what’s going on in this crazy mixed-up world, something the first two episodes just didn’t have time to do.

We liked simply being thrown into to the fray blind, but this episode was useful; we learned a lot. The Seven Kings with their elemental powers and rivalries; their tacit understanding that no king can rise above the others without upsetting the balance of the world. It’s all very big, important stuff. On the smaller scale, both the Red and Blue clans are looking for a murderer, while the Black King is after the White King. Only Shiro has no memory. But he does have a cat-girl; one of the things not explained this week. We dig the setting: a prosperous, advanced and powerful Japan with the kings pulling the strings in the background.


Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. We liked how the episode kept cutting to Shiro’s place, shot from the same angle each time, underlining the tension around and comic quality to a meal that may be Shiro’s last if he doesn’t play his cards right. He does.

K – 01

Various organizations around Tokyo are led by “Kings” with supernatural powers. When they spot the Seventh King, Isana Yashiro, they all converge on him, with Yatogami Kuroh putting a sword at his throat in the end. “Shiro” was posing as a friendly, laid-back innocent student at a high school on an island in Tokyo Bay, but he’s apparently responsible for various atrocities committed in his past.

Yeah, at the end of the day not a ton goes on in this episode: a kid begs for bits of classmates’ lunches while his admirer (and a naked catwoman) follows him, then he’s sent on an errand for the student festival and he ends up getting chased by an increasing number of thugs and heavies. But not a lot needed to happen because goddamn, K established the hell out of its setting this week with jaw-dropping detail. We’re talking feature film production values. It looks like it cost a fortune. And it doesn’t come off overly sterile, either; there’s a lot of grit and funky camerawork to loosen it up. Very very slick.

We liked how the episode was broken up into vignettes separated by fade-to-blacks, creating a visual rhythm to match the pumpin’, pulsin’ soundtrack, with a little Roots influence. But the eye and ear candy weren’t all we liked. Sure, there’s some very bad Engrish in the beginning, and there are a ton of characters to keep track of, but we think the quick pace and sensory onslaught were conscious choices. The modern world is loud and distracting and volatile. You never know what’s around the next corner, and you may not even remember who you once were.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Car Cameos: All of them. No, seriously. Every damn car is in this, in the background. They’ve got ’em all. And not just simple models. Detailed, shiny, 3D CGI models that glint in the sun. Here’s just the ones we could identify: Audi A8, Alfa-Romeo 159, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Daihatsu Tanto, Honda Acty Truck, Honda Jazz, Honda Stepwgn, Jeep Cherokee, Lexus IS-F, Mercedes S-Class, Mini Cooper, Mitsubishi i, Nissan 350Z, Nissan Altima, Nissan Cedric, Nissan Elgrand, Nissan GT-R, Nissan March, Nissan Murano, Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Primera (lots of Nissans!), Smart ForTwo, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Alphard, Toyota Hiace (Truck and Van), Toyota Prius, Volvo V50.