K Ep. 1: So goddamn blue, it hurts

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.

Notes:

• 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!

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29 thoughts on “K Ep. 1: So goddamn blue, it hurts

  1. alsozara

    All style, no substance indeed! I thought this first ep was aggressively bad. I love the part where the guy smiles and says “here comes the sword of damocles”, and you can just tell the anime thinks it’s being super suspenseful, but without any context it’s all just meaningless babble. Also, absurd jiggle physics, seriously what the hell?

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Also, absurd jiggle physics, seriously what the hell?

      I must not have been paying much attention because I didn’t notice any jiggle physics.

      Reply
      1. alsozara

        Haha, now I feel creepy for noticing it <_<. Shiro's high school friend has some dead or alive physics going as she's chasing him down the hallways. Struck me as kind of blatant, but I guess it can't have been THAT blatant.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          I guess I just sort of droned it out since it was literally about a girl chasing a guy to him him veggies.

  2. appropriant

    You can’t honestly expect an anime about bishies fighting each other and looking pretty to have a coherent story, do you?

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      When all the promo material for the show keeps bragging about how it’s an original work, yeah, I expect something a little more than pretty boys with pretty hair doing battle.

      Reply
  3. Where is my red hair ?

    You know what E Minor … you said exactly what I was thinking after I watched the first ep …

    Reply
  4. Vincent

    I agree completely. The guys walk along in the streets staring straight ahead and speak like they come straight out of a videogame, and the show basically portrays that as being very cool, but it is just style without any real substance. Probably the most enjoyable part of the show was seeing the skateboard animation.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Probably the most enjoyable part of the show was seeing the skateboard animation.

      It looked alright, but like everything else in the show, it seemed to serve little purpose.

      Reply
  5. Andmeuths

    K is a complete disconnected mess, and it’s colour scheme is ether some animator wanting to go for something eye rapingly unique, or a hint that this isn’t the main plot, but a flashback or memory.

    Reply
      1. Andmeuths

        Note the shift to Sepia in some parts of this episode. Either it’s an animator error, or something is up with this entire sequence.

        But still, my main critique of K is that it’s a MESS. Now, whether it is deliberately a Mess, or whether the script-writer sucks remains to be seen. There have been shows that started out cryptically, yet make sense at the end.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Note the shift to Sepia in some parts of this episode. Either it’s an animator error, or something is up with this entire sequence.

          I went back to take a look at the PV, and it’s pretty blue there so I’m going to hazard a guess and say it’s just the anime’s “style.”

          There have been shows that started out cryptically, yet make sense at the end.

          It’s not the show is too cryptic. It’s that there’s nothing there to even think about.

  6. Where is my red hair ?

    All the blue make the file size so ridiculously huge …
    I bet the main character is gonna be cool and have a dark personality and beat up some guys … UGH

    Reply
      1. A Day Without Me

        Bro, man, those are totes different, geez, bro, its that immature American stuff that’s so subpar to anime, which is serious and mature

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          But my favorite anime is The Little Mermaid. Are you telling me that it’s not anime?

        2. A Day Without Me

          Bro, that’s some Disney shit, Disney just loves to rip off anime. I’m sorry, bro, but I think you need to reconsider your membership in the anime brohood.

  7. Anonymous

    For once I’m a little unsure of the where the critcism is coming from. It was mostly style but I actually thought it was more gradual then shinsekai yori. SSY felt so much more rushed like they wanted to tell me a million things right away but explain none. Not a lot actually happened in ep one of K, but what did happen, for once I was thankful they didn’t try to explain it yet. As long as they actually do explain it – then I thought it was a surprisingly decent first episode. Red and Blue gang introduced, and one other character. The music and art direction gave it a very specific breezy interesting feel. I suppose the heavy tones of blue (a bit odd) were also for that feel of tranquility – which I doubt will last.

    Anyway, I guess it could go either way. I hope at least the animation quality which seemed generally nice doesn’t drop in ep 2. I’m not saying its not derivative or anything – but i haven’t been very impressed with anime in general lately, and at least this seemed like a well executed episode.

    The camera angle animation stuff.. I guess it didn’t serve a purpose. If action is going to be a main part of the show, I guess it adds something I haven’t seen much before.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Like I said, I just felt as if there wasn’t any story development except for the very beginning and the very end. As a result, I felt like the scenes lacked context.

      Reply
  8. etery-chan

    Why is the skateboarder getting special camera work when he’s painfully weak?
    LOL.
    Also, these bishies’ superpowers are way off the chart.
    I wonder if they come from Marvel universe. Sigh.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      They must have been thinking, “When’s the last time anyone saw a skateboarder in an anime? Man, they’re going to love this!”

      Reply
  9. Sora

    This show is horrible in its pandering! Its got the naked girl,loli girl, hot guys, and Shion and Nezumi. The execution is just horrible, its too obvious, that blush near the end, and its no fun when its so obvious!

    Reply

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