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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Anime: K

I just realised - this is the first Anime post I have done! O_O What is WRONG with me?

Interestingly enough, having just read through this review, I can safely say that it's MOSTLY spoiler free ( O_O Yeah, I know!! ) But there's are little bits that I would caution... well, I generally say, if you're going to read any review on this blog, don't expect it to be nonspoiler-friendly.

It's called K. Just K. But I suppose to save the frustration we would get if we typed the letter K into Google, it's also been called K-anime and K-Project, phew. It was released in 2012, and it's only one, short series =( but as I always say, the best stuff I have come across have been short. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I like this anime as much as - or maybe more than! - Nabari No Ou. Nabari has been my favourite anime for a good few years now and it seems, finally, an anime has come along to take its throne.

K-anime is so awesome because it's fantasy, it's a murder mystery, it's high-school life, it's thug life and it's high society, all at once.

Summary. It's about a boy who is wrongly accused of murder, but unfortunately his face has been captured on camera and the killer is identical to him. It's a story about him trying to prove his innocence - that's the first thing. The second thing is the people he trying to prove is innocence to are the Clans, who all have a certain supernatural ability. There are seven different clans, most notably blue and red, and every clan has a King, who can wield incredible amounts of power. The person murdered was from the Red Clan, and this sends the Red King into a fury - so Shiro, our brave hero, has to run for his life, prove his innocence, AND evading these clans who are trying to get him for various reasons. All at once.

Favourite Clan - so, as much as I like the Blue Clan, called SCEPTER 4, for their creepy unison and precision, I love the Red Clan, HOMRA, most of all. To them it seems less like business and more like family. The devotion is completely different. Two of my favourite characters are in this clan; Misaki and Mikoto.

Favourite Character - I debate over this a lot, but in the end I always say Misaki (sometimes called Yata-chan), even though he is a hotheaded butthead. Gotta love the swagger. Though he swears a lot. When I studied a Japanese short-course at university, my Sensei told me that you couldn't swear in Japanese. Sooo, that was a revelation. To the point, it was that first scene, where Yata-chan smashes through the window on his skateboard, that sold three things for me - the anime, his clan, and him. Sold sold sold. GO TEAM MISAKI YATA!
--> Mikoto is a close second. For someone with so much rage, he is very good at waiting and biding his time, which makes it even creepier and crazier and even more awesome when he finally unleashes his powers. But I can't finish the list without saying Yashiro Isana, who I loved even before you discover his true identity at the end. (I suspected something with seemed pretty obvious, but it wasn't what I thought it was.) And man, that twist, by the way, was MINDBLOWING.
--> Other characters: As expected, Kuroh was entertaining. The girl at Shiro's school, whose name I always forget, was quite sweet although I expected her to be more to the story than she was. I preferred the way it turned out though. Neko - strangeAF or what! And her nakedness the first time she appeared was quite disconcerting. Okay, very. I believe my precise words were WHATTT.

Image: Red Clan HOMRA, Shiro, Neko (the 'cat'), and Blue Clan SCEPTER 4

Favourite King - Hmmm... Mikoto. The secret King at the end as well is a close second.

Favourite powers - This one is particularly hard, because the use of their abilities in this anime is so creative. I quite liked Misaki's flaming skateboard until he faced Fushimi and used it as a sword... yyyeah, I wasn't much convinced by that. At the beginning, three things made me WOOOW. First, Misaki smashing in through the window. Second, Mikoto jumping from the balcony. Third, Kuroh with his hand-pully-thingy. c: Other than that, it's hard to call favourites. It was one of the things that impressed me most about this anime. Good fantasy superpowers - well thought out, well animated, and in that particular dazzling way that I like - are surprisingly hard to find in the world of anime. Or maybe I've just become picky. Or lazy... they're all valid.

Fantasy Food For Thought

ONE. Clans. What are the skills of the members of the clan? What can the leader/King do that the others can't? Why is he King?

TWO. Secret identities. This is done in fantasy AAALL the time. Oh so-and-so-non-important-hero, you are not a farmer's son. You are actually, THE KING OF THE WORLD! And he's like WAAA-?! And you're like WAAA-?! And I'm like WHATDAFAA-?!
It's a trope that is slowly but surely being worn to death, alongside the Guess What You're My Son, aka. Luke I Am Your Father. Use with caution.

THREE. Identity cards, such as the one the students of Ashinaka High School use to get in and out of the complex. Not remotely fantasy related, but I thought about them all the same. It there any possible way to make this popular hi-tech accessory unique again?

FOUR. Using inanimate objects to enhance supernatural abilities. SCEPTER 4 use swords, HOMRA are more impromtu; cigarette, skateboard, baseball bat, and so on.

FIVE. In K, they called thie abilties 'Aura', which fuckin' sucks ass because that's what I call it for my Karalan novel. Damn. And yet, I don't regret deciding against calling it 'Chi'.

And I wasn't going to, but why not. SIX. In K, a Strain is a being that has supernatural powers without receiving it from a King. I liked the anomaly, because it seems a little bit like nature. Things are the way we expect them to be, and yet it would be strange if there were absolutely NO exceptions to the rule. That's given me a thought...

Ashana Lian .

More info? -

More images?


Image: We Are HOMRA by KURA-rin

Image: Relax At The HOMRA Bar, by vaxzone

Mikoto and Munakata Cosplay (Deviantart)

More (mostly hilarious) Deviantart images

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