K, also known as K Project, is an anime that clearly places some importance on style. Utilising a colour palette that seamlessly mixes the muted colours of Mardock Scramble with the bright tones of modern features like Summer Wars, it succeeds in creating a distinctive look of its own. Thrown in some consistently smooth animation and some well-placed visual effects and you have a series that is remarkably beautiful to watch.
Of course, when a series places too much focus on style, there is always the risk that the balance will become skewed and any potential substance will be lost. Thankfully, K manages to avoid this pitfall by weaving an interesting story that not only steps into the territory of world building, but also provides some surprisingly well rounded characters. The perfect example of the latter being the catgirl Neko: one look at the end credits and you’d be forgiven for thinking that she’s nothing more than the token cutesy-fanservice-character. As the series progresses however, you learn that she is genuinely quite sweet and that her powers are not entirely what they seem.
That’s not to say that K is perfect of course. No matter how cool the characters may be, it’s hard to look at them and not see other, better known characters. In all likelihood, you’ll find yourself watching the opening credits and thinking ‘Isn’t that Kanda from D.Gray-Man?’ or ‘Did I just spot Shizuo from Durarara?’ While a lack of originality in character design is a relatively minor gripe, far more umbrage could well be taken with the conclusion of the series. Throughout the show, you find little plot devices and backstories that you just wish were explored a little more than they were, but you let them slide because you expect everything to tie up in a big finale. Unfortunately, what you’re left with is a scenario where some things reach a satisfactory conclusion, but other points are left unsatisfactorily open.
Now, it’s worth noting that K is not just a single season anime. There are a plethora of light novels and manga out there, a sequel movie has been released and second season is on the way. When you take that into account, it becomes far easier to forgive the series’ failings in ending the story. With that in mind, K becomes something that, while not perfect, is well worth investing your time in.
I decided to give K a try some time ago... For some reason it just didn't work out for me: it was way too stylized and even random at times (I have to be honest I stopped after episode 3). I'm sure it's a decent anime but Neko-girls and metrosexual samurai as well as 'clueless' protagonists is not really my thing. – crispychips8 years ago
'Tis a fair comment. It's definitely one of those shows with great potential to be divisive as far as opinions go. That's the joy of anime for me though. If you don't like one show, there'll be another that you will. – mattdoylemedia8 years ago
Haha.. I was about to say "catgirl!!! I'm intrigued." Yep... totally would fall for any "fanservice" ploys... – Tatijana8 years ago
It surprised me as a series, I must admit. It has plenty going for it in my eyes. – mattdoylemedia8 years ago