K – 12
「Adolf K Weismann」
“It’s not like you’d ever listen to me.”
There are always stubborn people that never listen to anything someone else tells them, and for the Gold King and the Blue King, it’s obviously the Silver King and the Red King respectively. The loose parallel between the two royal pairs is a nice, subtle touch and something that’s almost necessary to add dimension to Kokujouji (Iizuka Shozo) in particular. While one can argue he had the flashback episode to establish his character, he was introduced far too late to be properly fleshed out, so the Gold King needed something to better anchor him to the main story. It’s good that the writers found something to make Kokujouji and Weismann more relatable because I needed something to make me care about them. Other characters have a solid emotional backstory, whether because they’re passionate by nature (e.g. Yata) or they’ve established some sort of empathy by the virtue of their link to other characters (e.g. Mikoto, Munakata).
Weismann is a difficult character to establish rapport with – his role in the story is undeniably intricate plot-wise, but what kind of impact has he made on the audience emotionally? He exists to propel the story forward, but it’s pretty hard to find reasons to root for the guy (setting aside superficial reasons like “he’s the main character” or “because he was framed”). Even when he was “Isana Yashiro” he lacked a genuine interpersonal connection. Case in point: the moment where one person struggles to identify “Shiro” in his memories. It was a poignant moment. At least it should have been.
The problem is that from the beginning, “Isana Yashiro” has been characterized as a person who doesn’t form close connection with others, so any and all effect he has on other people are essentially fleeting at best. Neko’s illusions aren’t a valid excuse since the time “Shiro” spent at Ashinaka Academy are all undoubtedly real… but none of it feels lasting. He’s too much of a satellite character within the school, circling the atmosphere but never really a part of the universe and all that happened inside it. This saps all the dramatic tension from the students – his “friends” – forgetting him and turns what should have been a touching moment into a complete overthought. The issue wasn’t as apparent in previous episodes where the cast was still segregated in their own worlds and the consequences of Neko’s “lie” were restricted to “Shiro”, Kuroh, and Neko herself. But the scope of the story expanded and in the process, revealed the glaring flaw that had been concealed: why root for Shiro at all? I can list reasons, sure, but none of it tells me why I should care. I can comprehend narratively, but emotionally, I’m clocking out until someone else comes on the screen. I pay attention because it’s necessary, not because I actually want to.
Same goes for the “Colorless King”, who does possess some intriguing elements. But he/she/it’s interesting because it’s a necessity: he/she/it is the whole reason the series started. Of course he/she/it would be interesting! What struck me as a little funny though is his/her/its power – it’s been clearly shown by Mikoto at least, and perhaps Munakata, that it’s very easy to overpower the “body snatching ability”. So how does the Colorless King intend to take control of them? At the same time, to boot? Judging by the changing voices, the Seventh King isn’t just a singular entity – it’s possible he/she/it’s composed of multiple identities, which would allow possession of the Red King and the Blue King simultaneously. But it still leaves the issue of how the body snatcher plans to get to that stage. Is he/she/it just going to wait until the two get tired?
All the plot points are interesting – I don’t discredit their entertainment value, and K’s story is worth some merit. I just wish the main character had some emotionally engaging factor, especially since the finale is being set up to showcase some kind of grand gesture from Weismann that will save everyone. Possible deus ex machina aside, I would like it if noble acts had compelling convictions backing it so I can actually feel the moment instead of understanding it as a narrative necessity. With Munakata and Mikoto’s “last fight” to contend with though, I suppose I’ll just have to wait until the finale to see if that missing link can be established properly.