The initial verdict isn’t good: the first episode is all style but no substance. What we basically get for 24 minutes are two action sequences bracketing a bland introduction of the world of K. The problem, however, is that the action sequences are without any sort of context. Until literally a last minute revelation about Shiro, which might not even be true for all we know, we haven’t a clue as to any of the characters’ objectives. Instead, the entire first episode can be described as a string of cool-looking shit followed by some more cool-looking shit. There’s a danger of the anime being far too gimmicky for its own good.
Obviously, the mysteries of the plot can and will be explained later, but it’s not as though I want the answers right away. I just want some context. I just want a general sense of what the anime is going to be about. Take Zetsuen no Tempest, for instance. Its first episode is by no means perfect, but hey, I know that the world is in danger due to some freaky cult, and a guy wants to avenge his sister’s senseless death. Tempest didn’t spoil a single one of its mysteries, but there at least seems to be a story. With K, on the other hand, there’s not even a hook.
Let’s hope that the next couple of episodes will take a breather from trying to be so cool all the time. Since I’m still deciding which fall series to cover from week to week, I’m going to give K another chance.
• For whatever reason, the anime’s color temperature is way too low:
I wouldn’t normally mind if it’s just a subtle thing, but goddamn, the anime is obnoxiously blue.
• I’ve no idea what this shot of cool-looking guys walking down the street is supposed to convey other than that they’re cool, urban and hip. But just to anime it up, they’re accompanied by a midget loli with a tiny hat. I see that the Touhouization of female characters is by no means dead. I also find it funny that she doesn’t get to look cool or hip. Instead, she just looks like a clown that most people on the street would point and laugh at, but because this is the fairy tale world of anime, nobody minds her get-up.
• Wow, I actually need the subs more for the English lines than the Japanese. Luckily, I grabbed the same episode from a different fansubbing group the second time around, and the second group actually bothered to sub the English-speaking parts.
• So many screen pans in this anime seem to just scream out cool. We even get a Matrix-like spin for good measure. Unfortunately, that sort of thing works for live action because the audience can actually detect depth. In an anime, the technique just feels like a gimmick.
• Nobody — and I mean nobody — can seemingly enter the room without first being ushered in by an explosion. Shit, even when they leave, there’s an explosion.
• Aaaaaaah, more slo-mos of incredibly cool Japanese guys doing nothing but walking and gazing straight ahead:
Who directed this shit? Wes Anderson, is that you?
• Naturally, the group of urban, hip Japanese guys have to battle a group of squares in ugly uniforms. But y’see, the part that we might actually want to watch, i.e. the fight, is missing. We’ll just segue right into the OP. Speaking of which, why was there a pseudo-OP to start the show?
• The anime continues to blue the fuck out of my eyeballs:
• It’s anime so, of course, we’re at an incredibly swanky high school with 50-story buildings. Some silver-haired kid, oh so creatively named Shiro, appears to be our main protagonist, but does he look oddly elongated to anyone else?
• I like the idea of introducing a character through gossip, i.e. a pair of girls talking about Shiro kind of behind his back, but then we get information like how he only eats meat and that’s bad for him or something. So one of the girls is determined to make him eat vegetables… what? This is so crucial to the plot that she then chases him around the incredibly large school, but somehow a guy who is merely walking completely loses her. By the way, invisible, naked floating cat girls:
• We cut to an old man saying something ominous for literally five seconds, then go right back to Shiro. Welp.
• There’s a cliche that every skateboarding video out there has to be filmed with a fisheye lens. K is an anime and it still feels the need to do the exact same thing.
• I’m hard-pressed to say anything about the last few minutes of the episode. It’s just Shiro being chased around for a good four or five minutes.
• I like how the animation has been pretty detailed for the most part, but once they get into the alleyway, the environment around the characters look bland and unfinished:
Still blue though!