Streaming Review: K-Return of Kings

Release Date
Oct 3, 2015 to Dec 26, 2015
Publisher / Studio
Anime Limited, Viewster / GoHands
Language / Subtitles
Japanese / English

I, and a lot of other weird obsessive people who watch anime on Christmas day, got a fabulous present in the form of the last episode of the anime ‘K-Return of Kings’ on Christmas day.

‘K-Return of Kings’ is the sequel to the 2012 anime simply called ‘K’ and the 2014 film ‘K-Missing Kings’, and it wastes no time at all getting back into the story. Japan is still filled with seven different clans each ruled by a ‘king’ who can bestow power upon those they make their clansmen.  The two biggest clans are the red clan and the blue clan who are known as the street gang HOMURA and the government organisation SEPTER 4.

The green clan, known as JUNGLE, who had debuted in the movie are still causing trouble for the other characters by placing bounties on all of them. Emboldened by the disappearance of the powerful gold King, every low ranking JUNGLE member is out to get every member of the main cast from series 1, hoping to rise through the ranks of their clan’s meritocracy.  But this is all just the beginning of the green king, Hisui Nagare’s plan.

However, the story is only half the reason to watch ‘K’; the other reason is to check out at all the different kinds of pandering ‘K’ manages to cram in to a single show.  ‘K’ runs on fan service and visual appeal, this can be both to its credit and to its detriment. This is clearest in the animation itself which can provide a breathtakingly intricate and beautiful sequence, only for it to turn out to be completely pointless. Not only that but many other chunks of animation are re-used several times, often in action sequences making some fights seem more like a magical girl anime then the urban fantasy story it is.

Return of Kings’ increases the scope of the story from the first season which was focused around three characters for the majority of the story. ‘Return of Kings’ however takes advantage of the large cast and gives the major players in each clan something to do at least once though the series. Sadly this is constantly undercut by the camera leering up the skirts of the few female characters ‘Return of Kings’ has in a show predominantly populated with beautiful men who monopolize all the cool scenes for themselves. I mean how is this pose even physically possible?

Both Seri Awashima, seen here, and Douhan Hirasaka (a member of the green clan), get scenes in ‘Return of Kings’ that either diminish their perceived clout or make them seem of a lower rank compared to other characters. It is a shame, as meanwhile Anna Kushina, who is the King of the red clan, gets a whole story arc about coming into her own as the leader of HOMURA and is a fantastic example of the small cute girl with a stoic personality done right.

In the end, the reason to watch ‘K-Return of Kings’ is that it is a fantastic final act to the ‘K-Project’ story. It gives all of its players just enough screen time to cater to everyone and ends the story of its setting very definitively if somewhat clumsily.

Season one of K has previously been released in the UK by Kaze as Blu-ray & DVD combo. Anime Limited currently hold the UK license for both the K: Missing Kings movie and K: Return of Kings series.

K Return of Kings maintains the kernel of what made the previous season so compelling. While saying 'more of the same' would be a negative to any other series for 'K' it is a positive.