Sometimes, it’s smarter to stop waiting on pins and needles for a show to fail and just let it breathe – not only is it easier on the mind, it makes a viewing experience more pleasant all around.

First off, I should obviously take back what I said about Shiro in the premiere; he is a rather nuanced character, and despite his seemingly jocular attitude, he turns out to be smarter – and more deceptive – than he looks. While there’s no trace of that psychotic gun-wielding “evil King” from HOMRA’s video clip, this slier aspect of Shiro’s character does make the transition more plausible. It adds a shade of grey to his personality that calls into question what he’s capable of, and what he’s actually thinking. He’s not above lying to save his own skin, and he’s willing to spin a situation to his own benefit – these traits might not seem very significant because after all, who wouldn’t resort to lying if it meant avoiding certain death? But these traits do not coincide with Shiro’s characterization in the last episode, which is why it’s so noteworthy. It’s important to keep in mind that the discrepancy isn’t shoddy writing at work, though. What it is is a development that challenges previous perceptions and twists the viewers’ understanding of Shiro’s character.

In K’s case, his duplicity also adds dimension to the story. From the broadcasted clip alone, there are several possibilities that can be gleaned: the psycho is not Shiro; the psycho is an alternate personality of Shiro that he’s not aware of, or conversely, the murder is Shiro, and he’s completely conscious of all that he’s done. The premiere gave the first two possibilities the most credibility, but this week’s hints at a more nuanced, and in my opinion, a far more interesting option. The development of the main character is an important aspect of driving a sensible plot – especially when dual identities are seemingly involved. It’s a tricky issue to handle since split personalities are often such a clichéd cop-out that it becomes an irritating trope unless handled with finesse. Shows often get around the problem entirely by choosing different aspects arising from split personalities, whether it be the angst resulting from the discordance (e.g. Elfen Lied), the reason behind the alternate ego (e.g. Tasogare OtomexAmnesia), or the effect it has on the cast (e.g. Gundam 00). With K, Shiro’s duality is a key aspect of the current storyline; hence it’s critical it gets explored thoroughly so that no matter which route the show decides to take, viewers can look back at the clues and say, “Oh this makes sense”. Right now, there are ample explanations for the identity of the colorless King, and proper evidence to support any of those options. And that’s a proper way to set up the story. Good story-telling is never about revealing all the cards right off the bat; it’s about building a sturdy foundation so that the completed fortress won’t be knocked down by whatever huffs, puffs, or blows at it.

K’s biggest criticism is its lack of a concrete plot. If the production seemed in any way incapable of telling a coherent story, this would be a concern worthy of a DEFCON 1 warning. But so far the show hasn’t given any indication that it doesn’t know what it’s doing. The events are happening at a pace which seems assured, and the characters – however they may seem to individual viewers – don’t seem like the bastard child of Bad Writing and Godawful Execution. Point is, the writers of K do have a story to tell. They’re telling it piece by piece at their own pace, building the blocks up as they go. A more expansive, comprehensive plot might not be in the picture yet, but that is not synonymous to “no plot”. Things are just occurring in an overarching manner instead of in an episodic one, and a plot is certainly there for those who are willing to look for it. For example, HOMRA’s reason for joining in on this whole debacle is rather clearly explained, even though it was possible to guess what it was already. They have a solid motivation to hunt Shiro down, and that already helps to clarify the situation and provides a link to the Shiro/HOMRA storyline and the HOMRA/Scepter 4 storyline. The two worlds are starting to converge a bit by bit through their common link; the moment they finally collide will also be the moment when everything comes together.

Neko’s present involvement might seem sketchy at best, but she exceeded expectations (which were admittedly very low) with her first appearance. Putting her sudden baffling anthropomorphosis aside, her ability to use spatial manipulation and what seems like golems are interesting enough on their own and hint at an involvement in the plot that stretches past “fanservice material”. Her nakedness may seem superfluous, but it’s rather in tune with how animals act – most animals, domestic or wild, aren’t normally fully clothed like humans are, so it’s understandable why Neko would rather run in her birthday suit than take the time to seem decent. If her animalistic dislike for clothes happen to come with some pleasing visuals, then it’s just Christmas come early. The important thing to keep in mind is that character-wise, Neko’s actions make sense. It’s not that she’s like a cat, she is a cat – it makes perfect sense then for her to act the way she does. Her penchant for running around naked isn’t some random phenomenon that doesn’t have a plausible explanation. It’s an integrated part of her character that wasn’t immediately apparent before.

Komatsu Mikako’s performance certainly helps portray Neko’s willful, but mischievous cat-like nature that it’s easy to see why she was cast in the role. Her voice is endearing enough to establish rapport, but not so sickeningly sweet that it turns viewers off. Any more attempts at a girlish and demure voice would have sordidly put Neko in a category she would never be able to escape, and it would create a discrepancy between the way her character is portrayed through her actions. But with the way Komatsu voices her, there’s just enough whimsy and dynamicity to give the audience a chance to judge Neko more objectively.

And while the comedic turn of the episode that resulted from her entry into the show was somewhat baffling, it’s not a transition that’s jarring. The events progress fluidly enough that the change in mood isn’t too abrupt, which can partly be attributed to the music. The tracks never veer towards too comedic or too serious, staying just energetic and lively enough to give the scenes proper life but not take it too far in either direction. One other way to look at the atmospheric shift is to consider it as a reflection of the characters themselves, particularly Neko and Kuroh. The chase lacks gravity; Kuroh is a straitlaced character, and he clearly works to achieve the justice passed onto him by his late master. However, he’s easily swayed and at the end of it all, there’s a clear sense his perspective has changed somewhat – his policy is to judge people by their actions, so perhaps the end of the episode is an indication he has started to judge Shiro as he is rather than what he saw. Neko is also such a light-hearted character that there was no way she would have countered Kuroh in any serious manner. Cats do love playing, and that nature really shines through with the way she uses childish tricks to make a fool out of Kuroh and lead him in circles. It’s very reminiscent of how felines toy with their latest object of interest. For K it’s a nice attention to detail that once again, shows rather than tells.

Last but not least, the ED is quite beautiful to listen to, dialing the tension back both auditorily and visually as endings are wont to do. The composition is nice and harmonious, and the simplistic stills that accompany the song are pleasant to look at with the flower and vine motif surrounding them. The mood was surprisingly somber though, although it’s difficult to tell if it’s foreshadowing/implications of Neko’s character or just a separate byproduct entirely. Either way, the song is a wonderful ballad that’s easy on the ears, and hopefully the full version will sound just as melodic and pensive.

The roundabout manner of story-telling is most likely going to be a fixture in K – these writers seem intent on sticking to whatever story they had to tell, and it’s definitely not a style or pacing that is going to suit everybody. The visuals continue to be stunning, but for some viewers, it’s not going to be enough to keep them coming back for thirteen episodes. It’s too early to tell whether or not it’s worthwhile to convince them not to drop the show, but one thing is for sure: K does have a plot. The elements are actually all in place – it’s really just a matter of putting them together at this point. So while it’s impossible to force the audience’s hand, dismissing K as a vapid show that relies solely on visuals and star power alone is probably an unfair judgment to make.

NOTE: So sorry for the lateness of the post – my health has not been the greatest lately. Here’s some extra full-lengths to make it up!

Full-length images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, 12, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33, 38, Preview 02, ED 01, ED 02, ED 03, ED 04, ED 05.


ED Sequence

ED: 「冷たい部屋、一人」 (Tsumetai Heya, Hitori) by 小松未可子 (Komatsu Mikako)



    1. Mhm, i don’t see you mentioning how nobody but Yashiro and Kuroh can see her, while she was running around nobody payed attention to the naked girl nor when she bumped into one of Yashiro’s classmates, she was all “something must have hit me?!”

  1. I can’t help wondering if this show is going to have a different ending song for each episode. I liked this episode’s song and the video too , so it will be interesting to see what the other episodes bring,
    Still more questions are being raised by watching this , but like you said , I am sure that all the pieces will slide in place in their own time . If I was not hooked before, I am now!!

  2. quite surprised that K is only slated for 1-cour. with so much happening, it should at least have 2-cour to fully flesh the plot out. very much interested to find out more about HOMRA and Scepter 4.

    aside from the engrish (which Mochi totally digs XD), SakuraiT (Kusanagi) in kansai-ben? SOLD!!!

    1. I really don’t understand what you mean by with so much happening. Because so far nothings really happened except various character introductions which don’t go indepth yet.

      Cleaning Robot
  3. The synchronization between ost and the animation is definitely not there especially Kuroh’s ost – the music just doesn’t fit. But other than that,hey, the show seems pretty good. The animation is good, the story offers something deeper and the main character seem as grey as ever in terms of moral alignment. The fanservice was fantastic – there is something deeply erotic and wild about girls associated with cats, full-frontal-assault, pink hair and nudity. Neko has the power to turn on so many fetishes that I would be absolutely surprised if a hentai about her isn’t already in the making. This show is guilty pleasure pure and simple – even if the show doesn’t turns out well you would still be watching it because of hot womens and bishoujos.


  4. After seeing the first episode, I didn’t expect to get humorous episode from this episode. The abrupt stop of BGM during fighting moment, that Kuroh got bullied (from faceplant to this one). What an enjoyable episode.

    Kevin Yamagata
  5. I dont know how I feel. Im all at awe at the animation, confused with the story line, I seriously dont get it. I cant wait till they explain their power sources or those huge statue things that appeared in ep 1.
    Then that the suprise comedy out of nowhere…those eyes. Kept coming and coming I laughed.

    Oh boy what am I getting myself into with this

  6. Marathoning all 22 episodes of Guilty Crown last Tuesday since I haven’t watch it yet. Plus, a LOT of people keep bringing it up in last week’s review of K so I was kinda curious.

    From that, I sort of understand why people are worried that K might be another GC. Both seems to be similar in the most basic presentation; animation aesthetic and music/score.

    In my opinion, both K and GC boast great level of animation quality, though it’s still TOO early to give K a an equal comparison since it’s still 2 ep.

    While both have different style of music/score, they do have 1 thing in common; the music totally blends in with the visual motion. When watching GC, the music totally draws me in. K seems to have the same effects on me when I’m watching it.

    While it’s obvious that K and GC have a LOT of differences, this one stands out to me; plot presentation.

    In GC, we’ve managed to get the gist of the plot from the first 2 ep. In K however, the plot builds up at a slower pace (for 2 episodes), making it still shrouded in mystery. Hopefully, it won’t take 10-11 ep for us to better understand the show’s plot/premises.

    In my MOST honest opinion, I think that K still have a better chance than GC. Then again, my optimism tends to get the better of me. That said, I’m going to stay to the end and see how it ends

  7. I’m already worried about this show. I’m seeing beautiful art, great animation, dynamic cinematography and yet I just can’t seem the give a **** about what is happening. It’s seriously lacking that “WOW” factor that makes me invested on what’s happening. I feel like the producers are just trying to dangle shiny objects in front of me as a distraction from the lack of substance.

    Shiro and Kuro are incredibly bland and boring. The only things I’m enjoying right now are the naked catgirl and the funny cleaning robots.

    1. Definitely agree with you. It’s a feeling I thought was very very similar to Guilty Crown, with the nice effects and all and an advance technological world way into the future coupled with supernatural powers, and even more so same nonsensical plot. Really do people even get what is going on? So far I only get that two factions are chasing after some lame-ass MC Shiro who blushes after hugging Kuro guy. Okayy….. Worst is they are running around the whole episode with guys wanting to kill him and him just running for his life…. only to end up eating together with the guy who is out to kill him… Nice show.

  8. I partially agree with Bakamochi in the sense that it may be a bit of a change in presentation; where in most anime there is a premise that is built from episode one, K currently seems like a formless cloud. I understand why the production values are so high, because it has to compensate for the pacing and presentation of the story.

    Personally it seems that you are writing a justification to everyone who is skeptical so far and to probably convince yourself that this rainbow doesn’t stop halfway.

    Despite what I’ve said, I’d like nothing more than to enjoy this show, but it really has to give up something a bit more interesting than an entire fanservice episode dedicated to a bishie (who looks amazingly like Kanda from DGM) chasing Shiro with a naked cat girl being the main source of conflict.

    TLDR; for a show that had so much hype, it has yet to deliver to it’s expectations

  9. After watching Aoi Toori parade in emperor’s clothing for an entire season, my mind quickly adjusted to Neko’s birthday suit that I didn’t even bat an eyelash or wondered why she was naked in the first place.

    I still don’t really have an idea where this series is going, but it’s entertaining enough to remain on my watch list.

  10. The first episode was trying to be serious and was awful in my opinion.This one was trying for comedy and worked pretty well. I can only hope that it turns out that it is a comedy overall.

  11. Mochi, thanks for the post, and hope you get well in RL 🙂

    for some reason, I want to believe that Shiro is actually the evil king… that might explain why he is not particularly close with any of his classmates and his bits of eccentric behavior, plus it will put an interesting spin on his character…

    but really I am more interested in the fight and story between HOMRA and the saber wielding legion xD

  12. Don’t know why you guys are judging it right off the bat.

    If you decided to watch it, watch it.
    Then make your judgments at the end.

    But for now, jusst relax, and enjoy the show.
    Why else watch anime in the first place?

  13. I really wasn’t sure what to think about this episode when I first watched it, but after some consideration and rewatching a few scenes I realized that it did a pretty good job of making our three main characters a lot more likable, just that it used comedy as the device- something I certainly wasn’t expecting out of this show, to be honest. From ep 1, Shiro, Kuro and Neko were just “That white-haired guy, that black-haired guy, and that cat” to me but I came to like them a lot after this one. The plot looks like it’s going to become relevant again from the awesome-looking preview anyway, and I recall reading something from the director saying that the show’s not gonna kick off until ep 6 or so. A slow burn for sure, but Horizon was much the same way and I ended up loving that one.

  14. Quite an unexpected episode, i thought Neko’s appearance would progress the plot but instead it developed the characters (which isn’t bad by any means), actually this episode was chuck full of character development and comedy.

    -We learn that Shiro (as has been hinted before) is quiet cunning and isn’t aloof or naive as he first seems, the way he bluffed about he dying sister collecting bits and pieces for his story from the environment was really well done .. this scene actually developed both Shiro and Kuro showing that Kuro’s strong sense of justice and commitment is also accompanied by naivety (not to mention the surprise that his heavy bag is actually “cooking” gear and materials of all things XD

    -Neko isn’t just a cat in name, she acts just like one .. she is pretty much a cat in a human body, specially loved her space manipulation technique (that’s probably he equivalent power compared to the red flames that the Homura gang have), there still a lot to know about her, what is she for real, what’s her goal, how and why was she invisible and able to fly in ep1 !!!? .. etc, etc.

    -There are also many small but hilarious comedy moments … the eyes Neko drew on Kuro’s eye-lids where hilarious .. i burst in laughs out loud the first time he closed his eyes, also the drawing Shiro’s schoolmate who guided Kuro to the apartment was funny seeing how very “old school” it looked (as opposed to the chibi drawing Shiro” left for Kuro after he tricked him )it seems Kuro is getting too many drawings this episode

    Also the cleaning robots are just made of gold .. every time they appear they say or do something very hilarious .. just seeing them you feel like “cleaning is serious business” .. the two robots fighting with each other at the school gate where also super hilarious .. “show respect” .. “show respect” … “DIE” .. “you are too kind” … lols XD

    1. First, there is a plot .. and it’s being slow built in the background … but according to the director of the show the plot won’t reveal its true colors until ep6 .. which means episodes from 1 to 5 are for developing the characters and the setting before getting deep into the plot (which we are already getting hints about here and there).

      As for the Neko ep ED, i don’t think there is anything wrong with the current ending, but my guess is that every ep is going to have a diff ending (the first had a different one if i remember correctly), this ep was called “Neko”, so its ending is logically reserved for her .. maybe next episode we will get an ending focusing on another character or some specific theme/mood.

  15. I think Ono Daisuke is badly miscast in this one, or at least misdrawn. Kuroh is so waifish it’s hard to have Daisuke’s voice coming out of that character. Last time I saw him in an anime was Brave10, that guy was pretty too but not wussy. Kuroh looks like a wuss. Makes me think he’s intended to cover the “appeal to fangirls” base, but to this fangirl they missed the mark.

    But whatevr I’m still watching this so they must be doing something right.

      1. You’ll probably disagree but I think that choreographer guy was more macho than Kuroh. Yeah he wore makeup but he also was a real hardass to those little girls. Also, Ono used a different voice. I don’t think it’s his fault here – he’s very versatile, I just think Kuroh has been drawn to look much weaker than his voice, and also than his words and actions.

        Also I was wrong, last time I saw Ono Daisuke in a series he was a llama. I thought he was great.

  16. Honestly, all the fan art and fujyoshi ships already setting off, many see Kuro and Shiro already like Nezumi and Shion from No.6. They even look the same too. And not to mention the obviously gay moments (ie Shiro blushing when Kuro caught him)
    I’m actually quite enjoying the show despite this! The animation is great, the story line is questionable but the idea of the futurist setting is really interesting! It feels like Durarara is revived somehow, with the huge cast as well

  17. The discrepancy between the first and second episode really throws me off. It was trying to be serious in the first episode so I have prepared myself for yet another serious episode this week. However, they decided to throw in some comedy. And on top of that, Kuro, who had been persistent in killing Shiro, agrees to have breakfast before anything else. Wtf? I get some GC vibe with the kind of storytelling they are doing right now.

    1. The cute sexy Neko Girl is the production staff fail-safe in hopes that if the story (or lack of one) gets to us that it wont be TOO obvious and be distracted by blatant fan-service, Shiro character is pretty underwhelming with that odd passive/deceptive attitude and seems to get by most of his problems with that smile of his and probably be unreliable in a pinch at first glance

      He’s very deceptive and can someone explain how a schoolboy get flash grenades and somehow have them in his bag ready for the situation he might get attacked? doesn’t that mean that he KNOWS that he have done something that deserves getting captured by someone??

      And the dude on the skateboard is is getting pretty one dimensional in his antics always outright attacking with no real pattern to it, like a thug and just to look cool, personality optional

      No explanations have been made yet about the use of powers and how the general populace cope with it, speaking about that where the hell are those Blue Clan guys from episode one that work to counter Homra? I haven’t seen or heard ANYTHING to show that the law enforcers will intervene and these little things missing show how lacking in consistency of how this show is being presented, Its pretty, sounds good but is hollow on the inside and the third episode looks to rectify that but at the cost of two episodes that didn’t accomplish much beyond the “a cat is fine too” reaction

  18. Heh. I’m in for the entertainment and watching pretty graphics; I got what I want.

    I’ll give credit to Shiro that he can lie his way out through Kuro’s heart. sneaky bastard https://randomc.net/image/K/K%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2007.jpg

    After his escape, what luck this guy has for Shiro’s friend to take Kuro to his dorm. That is hilarious but poor guy. Actually, I feel more bad for Kuro https://randomc.net/image/K/K%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2037.jpg

    Neko is pretty cute… hello there… http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121012053903/k-anime/images/1/1f/Neko_asleep.png (lucky bastard)

    Neko’s antics were adorable, and I agree with Bakamochi that Neko’s movements were very feline-like. I find the whole mess with Kuro chasing after Shiro and Neko f**kin’ hilarious. It was hard for me to pick whether Kuro hitting the wall or the drawing eyes on Kuro were the best part. While hardly any development happened I liked that the animators took the opportunity to give more development for the characters. The comedy wasn’t expected, but I wanted to watch this anime for the music. S**t…. that music…

  19. I fell in love with this anime. The fight scenes, the girls, the tremendously awesome CG.

    And as for plot: The guys said we have to wait until episode six for it to explain everything so I guess patience is a key here…

    But damn, Neko and no censorship? Just damn….

    The Moondoggie
  20. Again, too early too judge. And I watch this for entertainment not nitpicking. The way the story is told really reminds me of Durarara! which I don’t mind. First start things comedic and introduce the charac than drive the PLOT in.

    Mischievous trolling human cat is fun to watch XD And it seems like only Shiro and Kuroh can see her…. Hmmm….. DAT ENDING!!

    What up with Kuroh eyes???

    I still think Shiro have reincarnation/amnesia shenanigan with him.

  21. This episode did a lot to convince of, as you’ve described it so well, Mochi, that K does indeed have layers and an overarching plot. I likely would’ve watched this series on the strength of the visuals alone, but knowing it could potentially live up to its hype leaves my heart all atwitter with joy.

    The character depth shown in this ep. for Shiro, Kuroh, and Neko, was a wonderful surprise. I can freely admit I wasn’t expecting much from the latter two, so to learn Kuroh possesses a gullible, easily-moved side, and that Neko packs more of a punch than just as a walking Ms. Fanservice, makes me happy to no end.
    But above all Yashiro’s cunning and manipulative traits were the most enjoyable to uncover. I can only hope the rest of this sizable cast will get to shine as such entertaining, well-rounded characters.

  22. Man. Does a show have to have a good plot? Stop trying to over analyze things. At the end of the day I like to be entertained and this show definitely provides plenty of entertainment. it’s not like they pulled an Aquarion sequel or anything(yet).

  23. Mochi I totally love you for this review. Everything you said was exactly what I was thinking while watching the episode last week. This wasn’t just some random slice of life type filler episode that does nothing for development or plot just to meet an episode quota like so many other shows do at times. There was character development if you paid attention to what happened and how each character reacted to this wild-card character being introduced. I definitely began to wonder about Shiro after this episode along the same lines as your three possibilities. Either he’s 100% innocent, has a split personality he does/doesn’t know about, or he’s a manipulative lil bastard that is fooling everyone for whatever reason. We’ve established now that he isn’t as squeaky clean as the first episode had us thinking. And Kuroh isn’t as straight-laced as we thought either! He’s still young and I don’t know about you, but I got the feeling that he might be sheltered? Because of the way he interacted with Shiro’s classmate (forgot her name) and how he just kind of fell into going along with the cat-n-mouse game Neko played. I think Kuroh at some point started to have fun chasing them around. If he was really strict, he would’ve never tolerated being led around like that for most of the day, nor would he have sat down to eat with them either afterwards. Instead we find that he’s not only sentimental, but flexible. I’d venture to say this explores both of their dual natures — Shiro’s sneaky, moral ambiguity and Kuroh’s flexibility. Pretty sure Neko knew what she was doing too, haha.

    K is slowly peeling back the layers. Kind of the way Mawaru Penguindrum peeled back the layers… Only slower. Without decoy plots. And a lot less whiplash involved. Lol. I’m enjoying K. There’s definitely no stench of Guilty Crown anymore for me.


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