OP Sequence

OP: 「MYSTERIOUS」by Ziyoou-vachi

「翡翠の耳飾り 前篇」 (Hisui no Mimikazari Zenpen)
“The Jade Earring, Part 1”

Fall may only be getting into full swing come next week, but don’t think we aren’t lacking for new and interesting in the meantime. With Saturday jampacked with damn near every possible option under the sun something is bound to tickle the fancy, and that indeed is where Koukyuu no Karasu comes into play. Move over isekai, say hello to some good old-fashioned fantasy.

Right out the gate the import thing to note about KnK is that it’s not purely historical. Outside of Forbidden City motifs and a very Chinese theme (you’ll notice this most with the Chinese kanji readings in the subs) this one is definitely on the fantasy side, with dynasty, emperor, and even palace names bearing little relation to real world examples. Such a thing is not an issue obviously, but it’s good to ensure you don’t walk into things with wrong assumptions given the billing for this show. Treat it as a fantasy as all is well with the world.

As for that fantasy setting, there should be no serious surprises. The star of the show is Ryuu Jusetsu (Mizuno Saku), an imperial consort who despite her position does not serve the emperor. She’s in effect a witch, a woman deliberately secluded by an earlier ruler for her very real powers which one can guess came about through selfish desires – i.e. powers (and beauty) only fit for a ruler to possess. The current emperor Ka Koushun (Mizunaka Masaaki) turns to her in part because he isn’t entirely legitimate, a ruler born from usurpation who overthrew the old empress dowager because she happened to wrong both himself and his bloodline by disowning the then-prince in favour of herself. It’s the typical story of royal infighting common to Europe and Asia both, though it makes it simple to see how things will broadly progress from here. With an emperor held up purely by those who supported his rebellion it’s a matter of time before someone contests his right to rule – it’s only a matter of who pulls the trigger.

It’s this arrangement which leads into what KnK will likely be about: relationships – and not just the personal kind. Jusetsu is the obvious one, as her magical powers, aloof status, and clear links to a previous dynasty (which also allude to her true age) are things demanding some serious explanation. Likewise, Koushun’s tortured past and recent hesitations in doing what’s expected allude to future troubles as seemingly simple problems like ghosts give way to more tangible matters of state. In effect we have a slow burner on our hands, something not unlike Akatsuki no Yona where action is replaced by mystery and suspense with thoughtful discussion. Don’t expect things to quickly come to a head here – but when they do, they’re bound to get wild.

It’ll take a few more episodes to get a handle on how good KnK intends on being, but should its story match its historical setting in terms of depth and impact, this one will definitely be a show to keep track of this season. We’ll just have to see how ambitious it ultimately intends on being.



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