by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
If you’re looking for a new and different anime that has a mellowness and depth, then I have something for you. K (also goes by K Project in some circles) is an anime from Studio GoHands that is not what it seems. Combining high school kids with kings, magic, mistaken identities, and sword play, K tends to have a little something for everyone. But are these elements enough to deliver a great story with interesting characters?
In the technology-advanced Shizume City, young Yashiro Isana lives a relatively normal life. He wakes up every morning with his cat and goes to school. He’s well-liked by his classmates and is known for asking for food at lunch and pretty much getting whatever he wants. But he’s not the stuck up, greater-than-thou type; quite the opposite actually. He’s friendly to everyone and always has a smile on his face. The only thing one may see as odd with him is that he’s always forgetting his school PDA somewhere.
However, there was a recent murder of Tatara Totsuka, a prominent member of the group HOMRA and a member of the Red Clan. A video is aired across the city showing the murder of Tatara as he was filming his meeting with his assailant. Unfortunately for Yashiro, the man in the video who killed Tatara looks exactly like him. Now the Red Clan is out to kill him, but the Blue Clan wants him as well. A third party, Kuro Inu, a great swordsman, is also out to kill Yashiro for the death of Tatara. However, with the personality Yashiro has and the person he appears to be, is he really the one who murdered Tatara or is something else going on?
While this brief synopsis may pique your curiosity, it should be pointed out that this only covers the first two episodes of the series (there are thirteen total). There is so much more that develops with this series as it progresses, and sometimes it is hard to keep track of everything. For one thing, there are so many characters. Initially you have Yashiro, Kukuri (Shiro’s friend at school and potential love interest), Kuro and the cat. Then the Red Clan comes in with prominent members, then the Blue Clan comes in with their prominent members, then you have the Gold King and the Silver King. And within each clan, there are various activities going on, plotting taking place on what should be done with Yashiro and the opposite clan, you have individual members taking matters into their own hands… it gets confusing! But I feel this was by design as we get an idea of what it must be like for Yashiro as he has no idea what is going on other than people are trying to kill him for a murder that he doesn’t remember doing.
In terms of production, K it is top notch. Easily some of the best action sequences I’ve seen in an anime series. Each clan has their own magic abilities (not sure how they have magic) and skills which they use in battle. For instance, Yata from the Red Clan rides a skateboard and uses a baseball bat, but the skateboard is almost like an extension of his body and is able to move at increased rates. While Kuro uses his sword primarily, he also has a magic where he’s able to send out hand forms to attack and do damage (it’s hard to explain but you’ll know what I mean when you see it). The Red Clan King, Mikoto, is able to harness fire and use it to his destructive ends while Reisi, the Blue King, is able to use ice (Fire and Ice, wonder if they’re going to battle at some point). But it’s how the battles are designed and play out that makes them so enjoyable to watch. The characters, although sometimes stereotypical, also have levels. While Yata is a hot head and impulsive, loving to fight anytime and anywhere, he also has a shyness of women and truly cares about his friends and members of the Red Clan. You start to like the characters more as you learn little intricacies about them.
While K can be difficult to follow at times with so much going on, overall it is fairly straight forward. There is a plot twist toward the end that I didn’t see coming as well as an event at the end that I didn’t expect based on characters, so I was happily surprised with each. It’s always nice when you find a story that doesn’t go as you predicted or as the story would tend to go in other anime. Alone from the wonderful action and lovely character design, K brings to light the meaning of friendship with the bonds we create with those around us. It also reminds us to question life and not take what is given at face value. And finally it reminds us to enjoy life, enjoy the simple things and to be happy with what you have, just as Yashiro does. K is something new and fresh for you anime viewers, so give it a watch and enjoy what Studio GoHands has given us.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars