HEY KING WHATCHU GONNA DO
(To really slam along, listen to this week’s Quad City DJ remix while you read!)
wendeego: All things considered, this wasn’t a bad episode of K! Shiro and his gang were conspicuously absent, and I’m not sure how the staff are going to wrap up all these dangling plot threads in the time they have left, but at least the cleaning robots resurfaced in this episode so I will forgive them a little bit. That said, there were two things that really bothered me about the execution here, and I’m not talking about the SPACE JAM because that part was awesome. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
K ‘s treatment of the Dresden bombings was bogus. Yeah, I know it’s not a new thing for a story to tie a keystone fictional event into a disastrous moment in history. You’ve heard it before: the Nazis obtain the Lance of Longinus during their invasion of Poland in order to bring down the West, only to be stopped by a society of magicians. The Black Plague was actually caused by the God of Rats who attempted to infect the surface world so that those down below would be able to ascend into the sunlight. These bits of revisionist history have always been popular and to an extent these kinds of stories are unavoidable. Obviously these events have power over us years after they occur, to the extent that the Nazis are still go-to villains more than half a century after World War II.
That said, I think that K made a mistake this week in its portrayal of the Dresden bombings. This was an event in which the United States and Britain bombed a city with little to know military significance, leading to the seemingly meaningless deaths of roughly twenty-five thousand people. It is also an event that has gone largely unexplored by the media, excepting Kurt Vonnegut’s seminal novel Slaughterhouse Five. When addressing an issue as difficult as the Dresden bombings, it’s important to treat it with a degree of sensitivity that ensures that it is presented as a real and horrifying event rather than as a backdrop or a plot point. If K had just spent a bit more time in Dresden to drive home the human cost of these bombings, rather than just using the event as a cheap bit of backstory in order to tie its plot to modern history, I might have been less bothered. But aside from explaining the German connection and forcing a bit of probably undeserved tragedy into the narrative, K treated the massacre of thousands of people without a shred of empathy or understanding, and that does not sit well with me.
Recent anime (see: Penguindrum) have proved that it’s possible for anime to deal with modern events in ways that ensure the texture and significance of the event is preserved. I can’t say I expected K to do a better job of it, but I was still disappointed.
The mechanics behind the King system are a fascinating idea shoved into an utterly conventional story. The mouse experiment this episode made me realize that the King system is both cool and a little terrifying. We see a rodent empowered by the Dresden Slate, given psychic powers and supernatural leadership capabilities. But what does it mean that all the other rodents bowed to it? Did they join of their own free will, or were they compelled to? If that’s so, then how does the King system work among humans: are people compelled to obey Kings through some sort of reflex, or is their allegiance a matter of friendship or loyalty? How do you define loyalty, or leadership, under these circumstances?
This idea could make a really great backdrop for a science fiction story and so it’s killing me that it looks as if none of this is going to be explored. Since the story appears to be focused much more on Shiro’s memories and on Adolf Weissman’s mysterious past than on the ramifications of the King system, I’m betting that this is all we’re going to get before the end. I can understand why K is hesitant to really dig into the system it set up, and I can respect how the series has so far refused to give the Dresden Slate something as conventional as an explanation. That said, there are enough genuinely fascinating moments spread through the otherwise relatively bland landscape of K’s plot that I wish that the anime would actually dig underneath its apparently shallow surface and unearth something meaty and unexpected. Maybe it’s too much to ask, but to me at least K’s proven that it can surprise when it wants to.
Anyway, that’s enough criticism for one day. Time for screencaps and hilarious non-sequiturs!
illegenes: TODAY ON KAY;
Confused? Who cares? Let’s add a psychology catchphrase to make things easier to understand.
All things considered, this episode was pretty okay! Everything was going fine, actually, with our school gang trying to remember Shiro, the return of the ninja robots, flashbacks with German scientists and-
I guess that’s also part of a King’s duty. I guess if we were to take this on a meta level, the Gold King has the entire GALAXY while the Blue King has, er, the seven planets? If we go in this arrangement, Shiro’s going to be left with Pluto. Awww.
But wait! We are forgetting about our dear friends at HOMRA, aren’t we? What ever happened to that Red Haired Guy Who Has Done Nothing For The Past 8 Episodes???
I wish I cared more about this dude and his gang, sincerely, but I just….don’t. Hopefully there’ll be a redemption arc crammed in or something? There was a serious lack of Neko in this episode, guys. :\