K: Return of Kings Review - The Bonds of Kings and Clansmen


k Return of Kings wallpaper

The Bonds of Kings and Clansmen

  • Episodes : 13
  • Genre : Action, Superpowers, Supernatural
  • Airing Date : October 2015 – December 2015
  • Producers : GoHands

K: Return of Kings Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

A much awaited sequel after its previous first season of anime and movie, K: Return of Kings continued on where it left off with Kushina Anna being chosen to be the new Red King. The Silver Clansmen, Yatogami Kuroh and Neko, continued to wait for their King, Isana Yashiro’s return when it appeared that the Green Clan is suddenly targeting them. Having left no choice but to turn to HOMRA and Scepter 4 for information and help, they all discovered that there’s increasing activity in the Green Clan, targeting members of each clan in Shizume City.

With Shiro’s return and the Green Clan’s plan kicked into motion, the Kings, new and old, are brought together before the slate that granted them power. But meanwhile, the Blue King Munakata Reishi has to face the ticking clock of his own downfall…

K Return of Kings wallpaper

What does K: Return of Kings cater to?

Not only it is a sequel, K: Return of Kings is part of the huge K Project franchise, which, other than anime and movie, includes novels, manga, and other side materials. While GoRA, its creators, themselves confirmed that K: Return of Kings was intended to be easily enjoyed by anime and movie-only viewers, this sequel is clearly aimed for audience who are attached to the characters already, or at least have watched the first season and the movie. There is a drawback to it, though—those who closely follow other installments of the franchise might find themselves a bit disappointed with the lack of references made to the prequels, both novels and manga.

What’s so appealing about this piece of work

K Project is handled by GoRA, a collaboration of seven authors who identify themselves by a color each. One of the good thing that comes out of this is a very good world-building, especially considering K’s genre. Another appeal is the array of characters and how easily they are to love—K has so many characters that it might confuse those who try to get into it, but once they do, they would be very much attached to the characters. GoHands play with a lot of interesting angles and color blurs in its animation for K to comply with the tone and concept of its story—bar HOMRA always looks especially beautiful and warm.

Those who love angela might be a bit disappointed since they had to give up doing the songs for K since it airs at the same time as the second cour of Soukyuu no Fafner EXODUS, which is also another one of Starchild’s anime. NO worries, though, they wrote the song for Horie Yui’s Asymmetry, which is the opening for K Return of Kings, and made a comeback in the last episode’s ending song. There’s also, of course, the seiyuu line-up that stays as fabulous as the first season: they kept Tsuda Kenjirou and Kaji Yuuki, and in addition to the usual top-tiered seiyuu in K such as Miyano Mamoru, Fukuyama Jun, Ono Daisuke and Awashima Seri, they also added Masakazu Morita and Kugimiya Rie to the list.

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K: Return of Kings Main Characters List

Isana Yashiro (Adolf K. Weissman)

Yashiro_Isana

Voice Actor :Namikawa Daisuke

Shiro is kindhearted, easily gets along with literally everyone, if a bit of a trickster sometimes. Known as the First and the Silver King, holding the power of immortality, K: Return of Kings become the stage of Shiro’s comeback after his ‘death’ in the previous anime season. After the loss of his best friend, the Gold King Kokujouji Daikaku, Shiro descended back to Shizume City to face the new threat the Green Clan brings, but most importantly, to protect the new family he’d found. Still the same carefree, yet charismatic Shiro, he’s the one who initiates the first meetings and cooperation among the Kings.

Munakata Reishi

Reishi_Munakata

Voice Actor :Sugita Tomokazu

Upholding order as his most important cause as the Blue King, Munakata Reishi is the very composed Captain of Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau, Civil Registry Department, Annex 4, or most commonly known as the Blue Clan, Scepter 4. As a King, Reishi commands the respect and admiration of his clan, even if he’s very eccentric at times. Very observant and eloquent, Reishi might seem like the most sophisticated, refined adult in the world of [K], until his unexpected childish side comes to play—mostly when he tries to socialize with his co workers and clansmen, which leads to certain fears amongst the members of Scepter 4.

Kushina Anna

Anna_Kushina

Voice Actor :Horie Yui

The Princess of HOMRA who is now the Red King. Anna believes that the ‘power of red’ she’s wielding symbolizes the bond of HOMRA, and is determined to be a good King the way Mikoto was to his clan. The mostly quiet and expressionless girl in the first season of the anime has now become a girl who confidently speaks up her voice and shows her emotions, even if she mostly still keeps to herself. She’s good friends with Silver clan’s Neko now, and is shown to be very open to invitation to cooperate with the other clans. Her powers, both as a Strain and a King, proves to be very helpful in the course of the battles between King, that even Nagare remarks over how she’s already able to control her King’s power quite well despite the short time that’s passed since she was chosen to be the new Red King by the slate.

Hisui Nagare

Nagare Hisui K Return of Kings

Voice Actor :Okitsu Kazuyuki

The mysterious, extremely intelligent Green King who reigns over . Nagare aspires to reform the world, to change it through the power of the slates, and believes in equality amongst humans—if one holds the power of a King, then others should, too. Nagare is very blunt, and doesn’t seem to care much about the loyalty of his clansmen, but absolutely trusts in his higher-up clansmen, which only consisted of Iwafune Tenkei, Gojo Sukuna, and Mishakuji Yukari. He’s very manipulative, but has a surprisingly childish side to him as well.


Contains Spoilers

K: Return of Kings Review

The K Project franchise fans who have been following the novels, manga, and other side materials have been waiting for this sequel in anticipation. Even before the sequel aired, there were promotional images in the forms of 100 Days x Visuals, as well as hints from GoRA’s tweets about what the sequel would cover. Considering these teasings, it’s only normal that the franchise fans were simultaneously hyped up and worried about the sequel. All in all, though, the sequel went fairly well, even if it wasn’t as impressive as the first season.

For anime-only fans, though, K Return of Kings satisfactorily answers all the leftover questions about what’s going to happen next, which the movie left out hanging. From what becomes of HOMRA after Mikoto’s death and Anna being chosen as the Red King, to who is the Green Clan and what happens to Reishi as his Sword of Damocles continues to break down slowly. Unlike the first season that incorporated a surprising twist at the very end, K Return of Kings chose to go the conventional way of having the source of their power removed to solve the conflict: the slate destroyed, and thus the King's powers.

What K Return of Kings highlights the most, compared to the first season and even the side materials, is the bond between the Kings and their clansmen. It’s highlighted in each of the clan: in the reunion of the Silver Clan and how protective Kuroh and Neko are over Shiro once he’s back, as well as in Misaki’s promise to protect Anna. The Green Clan is an excellent example for this: in one most impressive twist in the sequel, Iwafune was revealed to be the Gray King, and yet he still whole-heartedly obeys Nagare because he’s now a Green Clansman. The absolute trust Sukuna puts in Nagare’s abilities and promises, and how Yukari follows Nagare’s orders without question despite previously being a Colorless Clansman.

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The grandest of them all, though, has to be Blues. Despite Reishi got legally fired as the Captain, his clansmen disregard their status and follows him to the last battle, where they once again state before Reishi that they’re, first and foremost, are the Blue Clan and Reishi is their King. Not only that, Fushimi Saruhiko’s character development in this sequel revolves around how he ‘betrayed’ Scepter 4, only to be revealed later that he’d put his life on the line in that mission because Reishi ordered him to. The extent to which the clansmen would go for their King, and how different Kings leave their own mark in their clansmen hearts, which later manifests into an indestructible bond between them is what K: Returns of Kings delivers to us.

Another one that should be put on the spotlight is, of course, the relationships between fellow Kings. Shiro’s initiation for the the Blue, Red and Silver Clan to work together against the Green Clan is a turning point in K:, especially considering the previous message of the first season and the side materials before this: Being a King means seizing an impressive power, but also loneliness that not even the clansmen would understand. Each clan tends to keep to themselves—sure, there’s bound to be a clash here and there, but each have their territory and an unspoken agreement not to deal with the other clan unless they absolutely have to. Through the grand Tea Table Conference, Shiro changes this and brings the Kings together, and, consequently, opens up honest communication between Kings, a way to solve previously buried conflicts such as the ones between Reishi and Anna.

1. Welcome Home, Shiro

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The first and, probably, the most anticipated scene in the sequel, is when Shiro finally returns just in time to shield Kuroh from Yukari’s deciding attack, as if responding to Neko’s call seconds before. As he remarks before jumping off the blip, this time, Shiro falls down the sky of his own accord, in order to get back to the ones he holds dear, and to put a stop to those threatening them.

While Shiro’s return is definitely an impressive bang that shows his power and position as a King, the Silver Clan reunion scene once Yukari departed was very much adorable and heartfelt. But both scenes highlighted the same: this is where Shiro makes a point to the audience, that he’s the Silver King, who belongs to his clansmen as much as they do to him.

2. The Five Kings

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Following the intense chase and fights between Anna and Nagare, and later Shiro’s appearance and Reishi who strikes down Nagare is the most impressive twist in the sequel: the appearance of the fifth King, the Gray King. For the first time in the series, five Kings gathers in the place where the slate is, with all of their Sword of Damocles out, the air crackling with power.

It’s a shame that by then Nagare is already down, because if not, the battle would have involved him as well. As it is, the battle was mostly between Iwafune and Reishi, with Shiro protecting Anna from ricocheting bullets as their lines of sight is severely limited by the gray fog. Nonetheless, this is the one scene that shows the domain of Kings—a showdown between more than two Kings and, furthermore, confirms their affiliations.

3. Mending Broken Bonds

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One of the most awaited things not only in the anime, but also the whole series as a franchise, is the final resolve of the conflict between Saruhiko and Misaki. Far before the anime aired, GoRA had tweeted that Saruhiko and Misaki’s relationship would change in [K] Return of Kings, and of course, the sequel delivers. When Reishi tells Misaki the truth that Saruhiko is infiltrating the Greens on his order, Misaki grows worried, and at the same time, begins to think about Saruhiko’s position. Determined to help and save his old friend, as well as to understand Saruhiko at last, Misaki crashes in the fight between Sukuna and Saruhiko just in time to save his friend and hauls him away.

Half-angry and unreluctant conversation ensues as they run, with Misaki admitting that Saruhiko really is a Blue Clansman, and that Saruhiko should have just explained everything to him in a way that even an idiot like him could understand. The two fall back to fighting together against Sukuna and win, and as Misaki leaves to fulfill his role as a Red Clansman, Saruhiko promises to think of a way to explain things so that Misaki could understand. Their conflict is closed with a hopeful outlook, a promise to talk, and at the last episode ending, the two are shown hanging out together.


Conclusion

As a huge franchise, K retains loyal fans who follow not only the anime, but also the novels, manga, and other side materials. The world of K is huge and complicated, and the anime is but a simplified version of it. Of course, the enjoyment of the series would multiply if you were to follow all the side materials and get to know the characters closer, but there’s no doubt that anime-only fans could enjoy only the anime and the movie without having to immerse themselves in the many side materials.

While K: Return of Kings is not a character-driven show, the characters and relationships depicted in it are what made it into a very enjoyable ride. It might not have been as impressive as the first season’s plot twist, but it does give a satisfactory ending to almost all of the conflicts presented, and furthermore, endears the characters to the audience even more, and might even entice them to follow other installments in the franchise afterwards. If you watched K: Return of Kings, or if you’re also one of the fans who follow the whole K franchise, let us know what you think about the sequel!

Roti Susu

Writer

Author: Roti Susu

Roti Susu here! An aspiring writer who has spent more than half of her life actively writing in various fandoms. Currently living in Japan as a student, I'm a fujoshi who enjoys karaoke, watching a wide range of anime, reading manga and playing RPG games, and am also very much into seiyuu.

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