WASSUP, JUST FEEL THE FLASHBACK BASS
(Have a DJ QUAD CITY mix to jam to while you read along!)
wendeego: One of the oddest things about K thus far has been how slow it is. You’d expect that a high-concept action thriller about secret societies wielding psychic powers in a convoluted war of metaphysics would plunge immediately into the deep end, but it’s already halfway through the show and not very much has happened. We’ve learned bits about Kuro’s past, Shiro’s identity, the personalities of the Red and Blue clans respectively and what the hell those giant flying swords are, but besides a handful of explosive action scenes, so far the most eventful episode has been the very first. The majority of these six episodes have followed Shiro and co. around his school as he attempts to both clear his name and prepare for the upcoming cultural festival, and while I’m beginning to question the wisdom of sticking to a slow burn for so long, I admit that watching Neko ride around sociopathic cleaning robots and Kuro obsessively quote the words of his own master is infinitely preferable to the perfect storm of self-serious angst I expected from the first episode.
That said, this was a good enough episode of K that I thought I’d actually write something substantial this time, instead of bombarding you with screencaps and bad jokes (or worse, contracting my post to a third party.) It wasn’t a great episode, and frankly I’m not convinced that K will ever be a great show. But the sixth episode of K might have come the closest of all these episodes to using the show’s pacing constructively. Not only are we pretty good glimpse at the man Shiro killed–and pick up an inkling of why HOMRA wants Shiro’s head–but K goes one step further and blows open Shiro’s unique condition, proving once and for all that Shiro isn’t what he thinks he is. Of course this is something the characters really should have discovered in two or three episodes rather than six, but considering that Shiro’s angst at the realization that for all intents and purposes he didn’t actually exist was handled unexpectedly well, I’m almost not in a mood to complain.
I think the reason why this episode works as well as it does is because of how it contrasts with the rest of the show. Up to this point, K‘s dealt primarily in comedy, with naked illusion-conjuring derpcats, extreme cooking and numerous scenes of cleaning robots beating the crap out of each other. So when this episode of K hits the waterworks, it actually does so relatively effectively because the sudden jump in tone from high school hijinx from existential depression feels earned. Pacing and consistency of tone is something that many anime fail at–just look at the forced dreariness of Another, for instance–so I find it interesting that while K‘s certainly taken its time, it’s at least taken the time to balance out what could be intolerable drama with ridiculousness.
I’ll admit it: K surprised me this episode. It’s been surprising me ever since GHIBLICAT appeared in the second episode. I can’t say that it’s an especially good show, and I’m actually more confident in K‘s ability to carry off comedy than self-seriousness. But while the plot’s been bog-standard and the characters a bunch of database-ready cliches for the most part, there’s enough little details and surprising moments of coherency packed into this thing to make it strangely engrossing. Maybe K could be capable of advancing to the point where–God forbid–I might actually be able to take it seriously!
…on second thought, though, that would be boring as fuck. More derpcats riding cleaning robots, please!
illegenes: SRS RAIN GUYZ
SERIOUS SO SERIOUS! I really have nothing to add on this week’s episode because it was so different (maybe for the better) than the usual format, but I will say that it was great that this week’s episode was the one where our “SCEPTER VS HOMURA” and “SHIRO AND HIS IDENTITY PROBLEMS” arcs finally converged into one as we find out who Shiro actually killed, and well, why everyone’s mad at him. Cue for excellent cap notes, because what’s better than an episode featuring manpain and rain?
We’re off with a flashback! Hooray. I love flashbacks. Especially flashbacks that feature a character I previously never cared about, such as this red-haired dude who might be a pedophile and likes traveling with a loli girl! A man who is supposed to use his King Powers for peace but-
NOPE, STOPPED CARING
On the other hand, there’s also supposed to be this touching moment where Red Haired Cloud meets some guy with a Foot Fetish. No, I’m not joking, I wish I were, but it seems like K has gone to that stage of UST shipping.
Not to mention he has serious stalker vibes and the fact that he has no parents (like the rest of the teenagers in this entire SHOW) so he just likes to well, you know, sleep it off at a bar. HE CAN EVEN SING! Time for some really great J-music, y’all.
But all good things come to an end, including homoerotic shipping, so this starts happening.
OH, IT’S SHIROOO, OH OH I SHOULD HAVE KNOWNNNN, we should have knoooown.
So basically we got that the dude was nice and HOMURA Means No One Gets Left Behind but they do, and hence why Red Cloud Strife is sad and angry and everyone in HOMURA wants Shiro’s head.
But don’t fear! We also have manangst from the other side of this story, as Shiro and Kuroh go through some troubled times when confronting a bold truth. No, I don’t mean that they’re in love with each other, I mean the fact that Shiro finally realizes he’s just a fake and spends a good 10 minutes crying about it under an umbrella in the rain…in a stadium. I know I am supposed to be getting serious “YOU SHOULD BE CARING, NATASHA” vibes but I guess I’ve gone through this too many times in other anime that did it better and longer, mind you so it doesn’t really come off as anything but hilarious.
Well…it could have been worse. On the good side of things, Neko continues to be the best character ever, as she flicks Kuroh and the entire episode off and runs away to do better things than listen to boys whine about their horrible lives.
*for the record, I did enjoy this episode, and thought it was great.