Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Summary: Ashinaka High School is known for its unique setting: the entire campus is built on an island. Yashiro Isana, aka Shiro, is having lunch with a cat on one of the school rooftops. After his lunch break, Shiro goes on an errand for his classmate Kukuri to prepare for their upcoming school festival, only to be chased by some intimidating-looking men.
Review: Do you know how difficult it is to find images and information about an anime called K? Google wasn’t my best friend at first until the tag K Anime started catching on. I struggled through because I was so excited to see what this anime had in store. The trailers were breathtaking and the action seemed intense. I was excited until I actually ended up watching the anime realizing soon that it was not the action packed, adrenaline pumping anime I thought it was going to be. Instead it was a loose fitting story with beautiful art. Unfortunately an anime can’t stand on art alone, or at least not for me.
I have to give credit where credit is due. K definitely had some of the best art for the Fall 2012 lineup and probably some of the best art overall. It made this confusing anime bearable to watch till the end. It opened up with a great conflict between the red and blue faction with some eye catching action. Most of the action scenes were well choreographed with interesting camera angles and fluid body motion. The anime always seemed to have a colorful hue to it which fit will with what the story was trying to portray (or so I think). It was something different which I liked, but I did wonder at times if my TV’s colors were starting to go out. The characters were all unique and had their own characteristics. Even support characters had distinguishing factors and didn’t just blend in the background. I always thought that to be special about K. They actually took the time to create characters that had no lines or played no part of the overall story. As I said though, the art couldn’t keep this anime interesting enough to give it a good score.
The story was where this anime had a plummet. At first it did a good job getting you interested in the story by opening up with a mystery. A mysterious boy in a mysterious world that has been accused of a mysterious murder. Suddenly a mysterious cat appeared before him and protected him with her illusions. Mystery everywhere! Answers nowhere to be found! Anyone could have gotten wrapped up in such a story. The only thing I never liked from the start was the main character, Shiro. It was a combination of his aloof attitude and voice that irritated me to core. It is never a good sign when the main character is your least liked character. I stuck with it though because I did enjoy the story at first. Around episode six I started to get lost and I wasn’t really sure what the whole point K was getting at. The story was loosely put together and the answers I was seeking got lost in the randomness of the factions and flashbacks. I’m glad they didn’t make a “good” or “bad” side but it also made it hard to focus on anything. I feel that the main storyline started at the beginning of the anime was overshadowed by a lot of subplots and attempted character development in later episodes. I stopped caring at some point and struggled to get through the rest of the series. The ending was eye catching and had a couple powerful scenes if you cared about the characters. Unfortunately I couldn’t care less about anyone and the emotionally impactful scenes seemed corny. I was happy that there was a large cast of characters, but the anime was too short to play off any of them. You didn’t get a clear background of anyone because they tried to do too much. It probably would have been better to focus on the main character and follow his point of view. It would make the slowly unraveling mystery more of an adventure that the audience followed along with. There has been news about a movie coming out to continue the open ended story, but I doubt it will change my opinion about the anime.
Another good thing that came out of this anime was the OST. There were a lot of great hits and BGM that tempted me to get the CD. One of my favorites had to have been Yatogami Kuroh. The piano and strings played wonderfully together with a soft, consistent background beat. It felt like it was mixing new age and classical into a rhythmic melting pot. Another song that stood out quite a lot was IKari. It was a little more fast pace and really stood out compared to the rest of the soundtrack.
Final statements: K had a good premise and wonderful art to make a rather interesting anime. The downfall to an avoid watch, however, came from its multitude of side stories in a short period of time. It incorporated far too many characters that seemed to have a long backstory which got you interested but never resolved. I will probably watch the movie in hopes it ties everything together, but I 99% guarantee it wont change my opinion about this anime.