WAVE YOUR HANDS/IN THE AIR/IF YOU’RE FEELING FINE: [K] Episodes 10-11

NEKO'S FACE IS THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO THIS SHOW

C’MON, IT’S TIME TO GET HYPE SAY “WHOOP, THERE IT IS”

(Due to the awesomeness of Neko’s face, for this instance we thought that we’d stay away from a SLAM header. Till next week though! Until then, since we’re in the final stages of K, it’s time to bring out the final boss music.)

illegenes: K for the past couple of weeks has really surprised me, in more ways than one. On one hand, we have a much more serious and somber tone setting in, as Shiro ultimately finds out his true identity and we find out the real culprit of the murder, but on the other than we also see the two individual story lines – SCEPTER vs HOMRA and Shiro’s arc – converging, as Shiro is revealed to be the Silver King instead of the Colorless King.

I did like how these episodes set up the Red King’s attempts to find Shiro, which for the most part, spectacularly failed. SCEPTER isn’t the only one who’s useless when it comes to being detectives, it seems. Luckily, the subtle character interactions really made up for the mess. For instance, Fushimi’s relationship and little history with HOMRA before he left was somewhat insightful. He had a certain degree – and continues to hold a certain degree – of respect for Misaki and the rest of the group, but left because he didn’t feel like he fit.  The two are opposites of one another; whereas Misaki is all about teamwork and remaining faithful to the group – pride and honor and duty – Fushimi is about using others as tools to influence and raise his position – greed, tyranny, and chaos. Also, the Red King’s relationship with the Blue King, was really interesting to see – you could tell that they were good friends at one point, but somehow went their own ways after a conflict. Which only brings up the question: why are these Kings always in constant conflict? Maybe that’s another thing we’ll never know.

All of these interesting points then come to a disappointing turn as we see the White Fox Spirit, or whatever he is called, as the main culprit of all the events, possessing the ability to control anyone – even a King. As Kuroh found out, the only way to prevent yourself from being possessed is to close your eyes, but even Marble Loli Girl was hurt by an attempt to destroy the Spirit without closing her eyes, so I feel disappointed there. At the same time, this sneaky little bastard also means that he’s going to be a hard one to catch, so it might look like all the Kings need to work together to find and destroy him.

The big question however, is, who the heck is Shiro? Is he a clone of the Silver King? Why was he kicked off the zeppelin in the first place? If Shiro is the Silver King, who is the Colorless King? Is it the Fox Spirit? So many questions were raised here, and so little time to answer them. But I honestly don’t think K cares. It’s not a show that focuses on the plot – it’s a show that focuses on anime and how enjoyable anime can be. Has it succeeded in that aspect? Completely.

wendeego: Actually, Natasha brought up a good point. Since she’s flying off to India right now and can’t address this right away, let me take a stab at this: let’s talk anime.

It’s a term that brings up unavoidable connotations that might not sit right with some. I’ve heard people on the internet throw around the term when they’re talking about video games and other things, saying “yeah, it’s really fun and some of the characters are pretty neat, but it’s just so…anime!” Others bristle at this kind of association, pointing out that the same medium that brought people Naruto and Death Note also brought them Monster, Kaiba and Dennou Coil. But when it comes down to it, while the medium of anime is wide and diverse I think there is a certain aesthetic feel that anime taps into. Convoluted plots about guys with multiple identity disorders trying to kill god? Funny animal companions that transform into scantily clad women? Bad guys with giant swords and long silver hair that touches the ground? That’s pretty anime, dude. With that in mind, K might be one of the most anime works of the past few years. The difference is that I think K does it deliberately, and I don’t think it’s meant to be cynical.

Rather than something like Guilty Crown, where the authors just stuff in as many popular tropes as they can and hope for a miracle, K deliberately sets up its anime dominoes before knocking them down in a wholly unexpected pattern. For example, the Silver King was set up from the very beginning as an obvious villain. I mean, name your character Adolf K. Weissman and you establish certain expectations for your viewer right from the get-go. He had the silver hair, the giant blimp, even the obligatory tragic backstory and crazy plan implied to be working behind the scenes. But then this episode pulled the rug out from under the viewer and revealed Shiro to be not the Colorless King, as previously assumed, but the Silver King. So a character previously foreshadowed as the clear villain turned out to be the hero all along, despite almost every single existing trope utilized by the show pointing towards the former interpretation. That’s devious!

This might appear to be a cheap trick, an attempt to throw the viewer out of their comfort zone without prior justification, but actually all the visual foreshadowing is perfectly consistent. As many have pointed out, Shiro’s Damocles Sword that appeared in Neko’s illusion in an earlier episode was virtually identical to Adolf’s own Damocles Sword, which appeared in episode 9. K’s pace might be glacial and its plotting occasionally haphazard, but you have to give it credit for establishing a huge amount of world building and foreshadowing through seemingly insignificant visual details. I could easily complain about how the budget has visibly plummeted these past few episodes, but I think the fact that so many of the show’s little visual cues are beginning to pay off speaks well about the production.

Of course, there’s always the chance that K is going to totally fall to pieces over the next couple of episodes. But the thing is, this show has gotten to the point where I want to know what’s the Colorless King’s deal, I want to know what’s going to happen to Shiro and Neko, and I have to know whatever bizarre scheme Weissman’s cooked up that will link the whole show together. K has its problems, and its attempts at anime synthesis maybe aren’t for everyone. But again: for a show I was initially convinced was dead in the water, this is a pretty solid effort for what it is. Now, let’s see…how anime is this going to get?

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