Sunday, March 26, 2017

REVIEW: K: Missing Kings (anime movie)

K: Missing Kings is one of the many entries in the K franchise and is, I think, the direct sequel to Season 1 of the K anime.

Review:

If you’d like to watch this but haven’t seen Season 1 of the K anime yet, stop what you’re doing and go watch that first, because this movie isn’t going to make any sense to you otherwise. Characters briefly mention events that happened in the past, but no one bothers to explain things in any depth.

All right, so K: Missing Kings takes place about a year after the events of Season 1 of the anime. Scepter 4 is still acting as sort of the police force of the various clans, and they rush to the Gold Clan’s main building after hearing reports of an attack. Green Clan members are trying to locate Yashiro for some reason and are attempting to do so with Gold Clan’s resources (I think - honestly, Green Clan’s plan was a little confusing).

The Green Clan is also trying to get Anna from HOMRA to help them, but her powers have been unstable for a while. No matter - the Green Clan attempts to kidnap her anyway. Kuroh and Neko, Silver Clan members who have been trying to locate their King, Yashiro, since after the events of the anime, join forces with the few remaining members of HOMRA in an effort to protect Anna.

I don’t know why, but I expected this movie to be better than it was. Unfortunately, it felt more like an extended first episode for a second season of the anime than a movie that could stand on its own. Many of the complaints I had about the first season of K applied here as well.

The pacing was terrible. It took ages for anything worthwhile to happen. First viewers had to watch Scepter 4 running around - that entire clan was still basically Munakata, Seri, Fushimi, and a bunch of interchangeable pretty boys. The supposedly unbeatable Gold Clan was getting its butt kicked, and its King was nowhere to be found. Did anyone bother to check the same place people were hiding a year ago? No, of course not.

Seeing HOMRA in shambles was depressing. Apparently Mikoto was the only thing holding them all together. And I was annoyed by the developments with Rikio. Rikio was the only overweight guy in the TV series. In this movie, he was suddenly a slender hottie just like all the other guys. His explanation for the change? “I couldn’t eat after Mikoto died, and now it’s summer and I’m still skin and bones.” And I’m still shaking my head. That explanation might have made sense if he had also looked haggard and ill, but in the end it was just a flimsy excuse to add another pretty boy to the cast since most of them were either gone or dead.

If pretty character designs and appearances from everyone in the TV series that mattered are all you care about, then K: Missing Kings might work fine for you. Unfortunately, I was hoping for a bit more substance. I mean, the cardboard slip art promised Yashiro, who didn’t actually appear until the last few minutes of the movie. And the DVD container art included characters in outfits they never wore in the movie. ::sob:: (Okay, so that's less "substance" and more "shallow," but I remember seeing a clip of Seri and Izumo in those outfits and was hoping that scene was in this movie.)

Viewers got to see Anna come into her own for a few minutes, a nice fight between Kuroh and an old clan member of his, bits and pieces of a fight between Yata and a Green Clan ninja (or “masked man,” as Fushimi repeatedly insisted on calling the person), and a weird fight involving Neko, a bunch of giant lucky cats, and a parrot. There was also a snippet after the credits that indicated Munakata’s Sword of Damocles was damaged when he killed Mikoto.

I don’t know. I guess I was expecting a more complete story. The Green Clan trying to capture Anna in order to find Yashiro, some explanation beyond “he might try to stand against us” for why they were trying to find him in the first place, and then a big battle at the end in which Anna and Munakata were joined by Yashiro. It would have been nice if Kuroh and Neko had gotten an onscreen reunion with Yashiro. And if the pacing had been tightened up, there definitely would have been time for that.

All in all, this was disappointing. I’m sure it would have been better as a stepping stone from Season 1 of the anime directly into Season 2, but it just doesn’t work on its own (I don’t own Season 2 and don’t think it’s on Netflix). The flashy battle between Kuroh and his former clansman was nice, but not nearly enough to satisfy me.

Extras:

Not much: two short Japanese trailers for K: Missing Kings and trailers for six VIZ releases, including Season 1 of the K anime.

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