So I guess it’s polite to cook for the person you are about to kill.
In K’s third week we finally get some of the background mythos fleshed out. There a seven kings that are each affiliated with a color. These kings are the ones that bestow the blessing of magic upon each of their clansmen. Each color is associated to a certain attribute such as red to violence, which serves as a general guideline to the motives and methods of each respective group. It’s all surprisingly simple and is a good basis for a one cour series. There are some problems with it which I’ll get into later.
The supporting cast gets a bit of the spotlight this time around which is a bit of a relief. Shiro’s and Kuro’s interactions, while funny, were a bit bland. The story behind each of the kings and the relationship between each of the clans is a lot more interesting. The most apparent is the rivalry between Homura and Scepter 4 because a member of the former defected to the latter. Other side stories are hinted at, such as the Green Clan possibly butting heads with Scepter 4 and the Golden King running Japan using the minister as a front. I hope a few more nuances like these are incorporated into the fold as more of players in this narrative are introduced.
Even though a lot was revealed in this outing, many of the mysteries still stand. Neko and Alice are still unknown quantities but seem to be important forces going forward. Also some sort of history between Suoh and Reishi is hinted at while it’s extent or depth is still in the shadows. There’s also the little bit about the prophecy stating that Shiro is destined to be the next Colorless King. It’s important for a show like K to keep these questions and possibilities open as it is the basis for much of this series’ appeal.
While the foundation for the show might be simple at its core, K throws a lot of terms at you in the first few moments. It doesn’t quite make sense and sounds like a lot of technical gibberish. It doesn’t add or subtract from the mythos at all and comes off as feeling like empty space.
I don’t feel drawn into the world. It’s a combination of both flat characters and the incongruence of the elements. Kuro and Shiro seem to be the biggest offenders. There isn’t much nuance to their personalities and seem uninteresting at best. They are cut from the usual tired tropes without offering much in originality. Kuro is the honorable samurai with an unshakable fealty to his lord. Shiro is the all around nice guy that seems to be a bit clueless of the world at large. Some of their predictable behavior is remedied by the dynamic supporting cast, but their roles feel minimal at best.
All of this is compounded by how opaquely the mix of the elements are presented. There’s an underlying murder mystery where the facts aren’t exactly clear to the viewer. The reason Nancy Drew is a fun read is because the audience gets involved in the sleuthing. The narrative here isn’t as interactive. All we know is that different groups in the cast are following a trail of breadcrumbs that appear from fictional thin air. The comedic aspects fall a bit flat as well. Since we aren’t too intimate with the characters, they’re jokes don’t hit home. Seeing Kuro fawn over the words of his master is cute, but isn’t as funny as it would be if that relationship was explored a bit more. I can say that the action does hit on all cylinders, but I wish there was more of it. Hopefully these problems subside as the series continues as it gets the chance to create a support structure for it’s multitude of building blocks.