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The K Project is a very unique franchise. It spans multiple short stories and novels. But so far, there are only three anime that have been produced: K, K: Missing Kings (OVA), and K: Return of Kings. They all share the same characters, setting, and beautiful animation. However, with so little watchable media available I’m sure that you’re hankering for something similar. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are six anime similar to K: Return of Kings.
Similar Anime to K: Return of Kings
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jan 2010 – June 2010
Mikado Ryugamine is convinced by his friend to move to Tokyo. He had been fascinated with the stories about street gangs and the fast-paced live there. His first day there he runs into the legendary “Black Rider”. This mysterious person is known to ride around the city with no head underneath his helmet. This meeting is just the first strange thing to happen to him. Soon, Mikado’s life intersects with those of some of the most dangerous people in Ikebukuro. Their experiences and perspectives shed light on a bigger picture of what’s taking place in Tokyo’s downtown district.
This series is similar to K: Return of Kings because they both have a main character (Durarara has Mikado and K has Yashiro Isana) who seems to daydream a lot. He appears to be extremely naïve and doesn’t understand a thing about the world and dangerous around him. However, this is just one facet of the character. Deep down they are actually more sophisticated and hide some secrets.
Two smaller similarities are the setting and storytelling. Both anime have a setting that is full of life and beautiful to look it. They have so much personality that they almost feel like a character in the story. Also, both shows use multiple points of view to progress the narrative. Durarara uses about ten or so characters to tell the story through each of their perspectives. K uses “Shiro”, his close friends, and some of the Kings to shed some light on the murder and the politics taking place within the different colored clans.
[Durarara x2 PV]
2. Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 2008 - Mar 2009
Black Butler takes place in Victoria-era Europe. A young boy, Ciel Phantomhive, has just suffered the terrible loss of his parents. They were murdered in front of him and now he’s being held tortured. Just before his death, he made a promise to a demon. The demonic entity takes on the form of a human and calls itself Sebastian Michaelis. It has promised to help Ciel seek revenge for the atrocities he has suffered.
For the time being, he disguises himself as Ciel’s butler. This butler displays unbelievable skill in everything he does, from the minutest housekeeping task to taking down London’s worst criminals. All of this is of little concern for Sebastian. His focus is on what happens once these missions are completed and he has fulfilled his obligation to Ciel. Because once that’s done, he can take the young boy’s soul.
This is the first anime on the list that displays a “fragile” main character who is protected by a highly skilled person (or demon in this case) with black hair. It’s similar to Shiro and Kurou’s relationship. However, in K the protected person (Shiro) is actually stronger, once he regains his memories.
[Black Butler Official Trailer
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2013 – June 2013
Karneval focuses on Nai Muhinyi and his search for his long lost friend, Karoku. Along the way he meets Gareki, a highly intelligent thief, who plans on using Nai for his own personal gain. After becoming wanted criminals, the two of them run into members of the country’s defense organization, Circus. It’s at that point that they are introduced to an intricate world of supernatural abilities and their journey truly begins.
Here we have the second anime on the list that shares a relationship among two young men who happen to have white and black hair. Though, I will say Nai looks more albino (because of his red eyes) than any of the other white haired protagonists. Karneval has Nai and Gareki while K has Shiro and Kurou, whose names literally mean white and black (respectively). Not only are the hair styles similar, but both sets of characters also share a VIP and bodyguard type of relationship.
On top of that, Karneval and K take place in realities that allow for magic and supernatural beings to exist. These magic abilities lead to certain power struggles and shaky alliances among multiple organizations. In this show, the major parties are Circus (the government’s defense division) and Kafka (an illegal genetic research group). Kafka’s brand of “evolution” causes people’s bodies to change drastically and for them to lose their minds. Circus’ aggressive tactics against criminals threatening the government lead them into direct conflict with Kafka time and time again.
[Karneval PV – English Sub]
Any Animes Like K: Return of Kings ?
4. Hamatora the Animation
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 2012 – Dec 2012
The detective duo of Nice and Murasaki, better known as “Hamatora”, frequently use Café Nowhere as their base of operations. The live in a world filled with a few special people known as Minimum Holders. These special few have supernatural abilities that people refer to as “small miracles”. This duo uses their abilities to capture criminals around town. Their latest case has forced them to cross paths with a serial killer that the police force has been looking for. The search for the serial killer is a catalyst that leads them down a road of conspiracies and scandals.
The Red Clan from K uses a small bar, HOMRA, as their base so they can meet up, hang out, and discuss official clan business. In Hamatora, Nice and Murasaki use Café Nowhere in a similar fashion. It’s not just the two of them that meet up there. They have a small team of people who are part of their P.I. business and they each have unique abilities and talents. Besides the comfortable confines of wooden bar counters and bar stools, this action packed anime also takes place in a world where groups are using their powers in a struggle for power.
5. Accel World
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2012 – Sep 2012
In the near future, 2046, there is a young boy Haruyuki Arita. He doesn’t have a good social life with other students at school. He is very timid and is often bullied. He finds solace in playing virtual reality games. There he displays more confidence and the ability to devise strategies when needed.
One day, he is approached by the Vice-President of the student council. This young girl, Kuroyukihime, convinces him to download an app and join her within the game. He becomes her subordinate and helps her achieve her dream of defeating the 6 Pure Colored Kings and to meet the creator of Brain Burst.
Both anime look cool and have fighting between different kings that represent different colors. It’s a simple similarity but it’s pivotal to both anime. K uses different colored clans while Accel World has different colored Legions. Each legions consists of Burst Linkers (players) led by a Level 9 Kings.
Kuroyukihime and Shiro share another similarity, though they are both Kings of their reality they separate themselves from the other Kings. This is true at first, they initially aren’t involved with politics between current clans or Legions. But, they come back and put themselves in the middle of the groups. That’s when the action really begins.
[Accel World PV]
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2007 – Nov 2007
Baccano centers on American Mafia groups fighting for power in the 1930’s. Besides the gangs, there are also terrorists and serial killers running around town causing mayhem. Baccano shares a fictional universe with Durarara. Also, it tells its narrative in a similar manner to Durarara and K. It uses a variety of characters who share their perspective on the matter at hand.
Baccano, just like Durarara, shares a setting dynamic with K and that is the fighting of gangs for dominance. Something else they have in common is the storytelling technique of starting in the middle of a hectic situation. As the show progresses, you learn why the characters are opposed to each other or have alliances. Once the origins the main characters are revealed that’s when everything falls into place and you can see who was behind certain lies and betrayals.
Not only that, Shingo Suzuki was involved in both projects. In K he is the Director and Character Designer. In Baccano, he is the Animation Director.
[Baccano PV – English Sub]
Wow! I had no idea how many anime paired up a white haired protagonist with a black haired protector before writing this article. I know I included a couple but there are so many others I had to leave out. Apparently, two guys sharing a close relationship has a big niche in the anime industry. Who knew, right?
Hopefully, you guys are keeping up with K: Return of Kings. It’s airing this season and is only at episode six as of November 7th. But, if you don’t like waiting once a week for episodes, then I recommend you check out some of the shows listed up above. They won’t disappoint! Check them out and let us know what you think in the comments.