Danganronpa’s Junko Enoshima is one of the most terrifying villains.

1Every villain has their own motivations and reasons for why they became a villain. Cruella DeVille sought diverse and exotic furs, Darth Vader wanted to save someone he cared about and make the universe safer, and Nurser Ratched simply seeks to control people. But it’s hard to really pin down why someone like Junko Enoshima is a villain. This is also what makes her such a mesmerizing character.

What makes her a villain, though, is almost as confusing as her rapidly switching personalities. She thrives on despair: forcing people to kill others, suffering setbacks in her own plans, or even brainwashing people. It actually causes her joy to suffer pain and see others suffer as well. She claims that even being born was a despair, saying “No, I’ve felt despair as long as I can remember, like I never should have been born at all. When I was born, I cried tears of total despair.”

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If she were anyone else, one might claim she suffers depression, but it’s actually the opposite. She seems to gain energy from this despair, and even after her death, those that followed her still continued her work to bring the despair she always loved. These brainwashed Remnants of Despair, who actually consisted of the cast of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, worked to cause despair to themselves and the world.

Even in her death, she celebrates, saying “This once-in-a-lifetime experience… It is my first and last colossal despair, here at the moment of death! To have the chance to taste of the highest grade despair–the utter failure of my dreams!” She actually gives herself all of the punishments she’d already administered to the other students that had been proven guilty.

3It could also be argued that it’s not the pursuit of despair that motivates her, but actual boredom. Junko is extremely intelligent; both her and her twin sister, Makuro Ikusaba, are. This also comes with a downside – Junko becomes bored very easily. For this reason, she is shown changing personalities even within the same conversation or sentence. She claims that she gets bored with one personality and changes it as quickly as a sentence can be said.

She also reveals just before her death that she “was so hopelessly desperate! [she] was bored of the world the moment [she] was born!” However, seeking to cure this boredom by means of causing despair throws this motivation into question, as she very much seems to be excited by causing it.

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It is because of all of these things that she is so unpredictable, and one of the most terrifying villains of all time. Whether her true motivation is causing despair or just pure boredom, there’s no way to know what she’ll actually do next. Even when her plans we set back, she felt joyful because she felt her own despair. She’s incredibly well-written to this end, and it’s easy to see why, despite her horrible actions, that she has so many fans.

What do you think? Is Junko motivated by despair or boredom? Is there anyone that’s more terrifying?
Let me know in the comments below!

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“Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc” – Chihiro Fujisaki and Sakura Oogami shread gender norms.

1319406_Japanese_KeyArt-OfficialVideoImage_1f7ec87c-7a78-e711-8175-020165574d09Danganronpa is full of colorful characters of all types. There’s creative characters, mysterious characters, passionate characters; but most important is the excellent representation the franchise displays for non-traditional roles. Two of these types of characters appear in the first game, and they are presented in a very tasteful way as to show how those roles should be looked at – as something that isn’t “weird” or unnatural.

As the “Ultimate Programmer,” Chihiro Fujisaki appears as a very shy and withdrawn. He cries at the slightest thing, but only for the reason that he worries he’s impeded everyone else. This is a result of being bullied for his small size, which in turn made him sensitive, and resulted in further bullying. He was always told he was weak, and hisDanganronpa_1_Chihiro_Fujisaki_English_Game_Introduction negative self-talk turned into a complex relating to his physical weakness.

He discovered that girls were allowed to appear weak and not be made fun of, so out of defense for his own mental health, he “became” a girl. It’s important to note here that Chihiro does not identify as a girl. He still considers himself a boy, rather he changed for self-preservation. Instead of making him feel safer, this actually exacerbated his complex of feeling weak.

When Makoto Naegi asks him in a Free Time event how he had originally gotten interested in programming, Chihiro explains that his father allowed him to play with some programs when he was younger. He’s incredibly intelligent, and seems to even want to reveal his secret to Makoto when he points out that it’s unusual for girls to be interested in programming. But, he stops, thinking it not the right time.

In the end, Chihiro revealed his truth to Mondo Oowada, who he saw as the ideal man: strong, tough, and straight forward. Monokuma’s threat to reveal Chihiro’s truth didn’t weaken him, rather pushed him to be stronger. Even if he knew he might not be accepted, Chihiro wanted to become a person he’d be proud to be.

Sakura Oogami is almost the complete opposite of delicate Chihiro. She is so muscular that a few characters actually confuse her for a man. During the first class trial, Kiyotaka actually says that it’s bad for a man and a woman to sleep in the same room after Aoi admits she’d asked Sakura to stay over the night since she was scared. Sakura calmly Danganronpa_1_Sakura_Ogami_English_Game_Introductioncorrects him and he quickly apologizes.

Even though she is nicknamed “The Ogre,” she is not ashamed of her stature. She seeks to surpass the “strongest man in the world.” Originally, she claimed that this person was her father, but then later explains that she’d surpassed him long ago. She expresses slight concern for him, saying that his dreams are affected by her growing stronger, but she also explains that this won’t stop her from her dreams.

Despite seeming rough on the outside, Sakura actually has a heart of gold. She is kind to everyone, patient, and seeks to always protect her friends. Even when it’s revealed she’s a traitor, she seeks to make up for her wrongs. She calls Touko Fukawa and Yasuhiro Hagakure just before her death to try and speak to them about doing to. Instead of listening, they attack her, thinking she means them harm. But even after this, her suicide note shows how much she really cares and wants everyone to be safe.

When talking to Makoto during Free Time events, it takes quite a while for her to gather the courage to even tell him about Kenshiro, who she also calls the Strongest Person in the World. She reveals that he is her first love, and is very embarassed due to her stature. She says that “even someone like me” can fall in love, because she “is still a girl.” This reveals a bit of self-consciousness on Sakura’s part where it’s least expected.

These two characters are excellent examples of the diversity the Danganronpa universe displays. It’s a step in the right direction for representation in anime, but there’s still a long way to go. The franchise continues to display more and more diversity in characters, and hopefully will always do so.

How about you? Are there any characters that “shred gender norms” like Chihiro and Sakura?
Tell me below in the comments!

“Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair” – Does Hajime Hinata have generalized anxiety disorder?

h2Being stuck on a tropical island might not be so bad if there wasn’t the constant threat of being killed at any moment. That alone is enough to give anyone anxiety. However, there are clues that point to Hajime Hinata, the protagonist of “Danganronpa 2,” possibly having generalized anxiety disorder aside from the situational anxiety.

As someone who has suffered from anxiety disorders all my life, I can identify with Hajime. He often mentions how tired he is, and how little he can sleep. This is common among people with anxiety, and while a lot of it has to do with the situation he’sh3 in, it appears most of the other students don’t seem to have any sleeping problems.

He also tends to get tired easily, as can be seen after almost any event; both after stressful events and seemingly normal activities. His communication with people seems especially draining to him after Free Time events, and he tends to stutters during these interactions, further pointing to a difficulty in communication. Anxiety sufferers often deal with this, as just being awake can drain you sometimes.

Despite his possible mental issues, Hajime is intelligent. He’s able to pick up on a lot of clues that other people miss. During the class trials, however, he mentions quite a lot about not wanting to look like a fool in front of the others. When advancing through the trial, he seems to think very carefully about his words, making sure to always have the h1facts before saying anything. Though these character traits might seem to hurt him, they actually make him a more careful thinker and able to solve problems in a more effective way.

Additionally, anxiety sufferers tend to display over-concern about the people they care about. When confronted with the awkward situation involving Mikan falling asleep on him, he’s more concerned for her well-being than his own. He carries worry with him for days as well, as seen after Fuyuhiko appears to be fully healed from his stomach wound. He still is concerned for the boy’s injuries, asking him to be careful.

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He is also easily swayed by stressful situations. At the beginning of the game, he expresses his concerns about getting off the island and doubts his own abilities, suggesting he may kill someone to escape. In the fun-house, he tries to enter the Final Dead Room, convinced that it’s a way out. In his desperate state, he;s nearly delusional, but thankfully Chiaki manages to help him both times, reminding him of a better path.

I’m filled with joy to see the depiction of a character with a mental illness like myself. The writers show that his anxiety does not disable him, and helps distinguish his character from the others, and even making him stronger. Additionally, it shows others that he is not just his condition, and that it does not override other characteristics of his personality. I’m glad Spike Chunsoft and Nippon Ichi decided to display these aspects as part of his character.

Do you think Hajime has an anxiety disorder? Is there a character you identify with? Let me know in the comments!

“Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair” – Why Mikan Tsukimi is important in more than just plot.

1At first glance, Mikan Tsukimi is an insufferable crybaby. In fact, most people might find her the most annoying character in the whole game. But, there’s much more to her than meets the eye, and having been in a similar situation as what has caused her to be the way she is myself, I can very much relate to her.

Mikan is identified as the “Ultimate Nurse,” in Danganronpa 2. She is skilled at caring for wounds and injuries, and it’s made clear that she enjoys doing so. If the player asks her what her favorite kind of bandages are, she beings to get very excited and talk about the qualities of a few. She even carries out an autopsy on the first victim at the resort.2013-10-12-205953

Her personality is that of someone who has been severely abused, both emotionally and physically. She even hints at being sexually abused, as when she thinks the player is upset at her, she offers to take off her clothes. She’s very nervous and accident prone, always apologizing profusely when she thinks she’s done something wrong, which most of the time, she hasn’t.

This type of character is very important not only within the story, but also within anime in general. You’d be hard-pressed to find a character that has been abused, even slightly; most characters, especially girls, and moving towards a sort of “perfect girl” archetype where everything they do is immaculate. They tend to hide their bad feelings for the audience, but Mikan lets everything display.

tumblr_nbpfj1ONq61tngdxko6_500You might think her personality is exaggerated, but having been like her to some degree, I can tell you that it’s not. Abuse is a horrible thing, and can take many forms, as Mikan’s reactions tend to point out. It appears she’s also been severely gaslighted, being trained to think her problems mean nothing. She even admits that she’s never recieved gifts of even been greeted properly before. It would be safe to say she probably gained her healing expertise while in the care of an abusive guardian or parent.

When she eventually does commit a murder, it’s not even for herself. She claims that she did it for her “beloved.” She’s easily manipulated and taken advantage of because of her abuse, so this “beloved” might simply be her abuser. This is common for someone as tortured as Mikan; the abuser creates a cycle of abuse and reward, where the rewardScreenshot_60 seems to make up for the abuse to the abused.

Her personality takes a complete turn-around when the Despair Disease takes hold of her and she remembers this person. While she never says the name of the person or reveals their gender, it’s possible she’s referring to Junko Enoshima, as being a Remnant of Despair would point to that.

Characters like Mikan are often treated as tokens, but in this day and age, they should be looked at seriously. She can be used to raise awareness of abuse of all kinds, and while she ends up not being the best of people, I think more characters like her should be represented in anime.

Eight new anime for the fall season! A roundup of Crunchyroll’s anime passport.

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image (c) Crunchyroll.com 2017

Every otaku’s dream is going to Japan. I’ve wanted to go for many years. Now Crunchyroll.com is giving anime fans a chance to enter a drawing for one. What’s better, is all you have to do is watch the first episode of eight different anime. These anime are all brand new for the fall season, so here are my first impressions.

Urahara

Starting off strong, this anime has a very cute style of animation. The entire first few minutes were a little overwhelming because the scenes were very visually loud: bright colors, stylized, and blob-like in some cases. Even when the first characters were introduced, I found it hard to follow since the art style uses so many bright colors. Once the plot began, however, I had started to get used to the loud visuals.

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It’s clear this series is meant to be as cute as possible, where evil aliens stealing national monuments are even designed to be cute. It turns out these aliens are trying to create their own culture by stealing Earth culture, and they literally have no imagination. A new character is introduced and her sidekick is an oversized fried shrimp (who is some kind of pet to the aliens). This character helps the girls fight back against the aliens using a sort of magical-girl type item.

The plot seems a little thin, but it seems like it might be a very cute anime, especially if it delves into the relationship between the girls. This series could go one of two ways: it could do just that, or it could turn into a parody of the magical girl genre. I’m hoping for either one, since I’d enjoy both. I’m really liking the art style a lot, too, even if it took a bit to get used to.

Black Clover

The episode starts out with two babies that seem to have been abandoned. A priest has decided to raise them and they grow up basically attached. However, fifteen years later, it’s come time for all the children that have come of age to receive their magical grimoires. Every child in the world is able to do some kind of magic by the time they are able to speak, but Asta just seems to not be able to.

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Asta thinks that when he receives his grimoire, he might be able to do magic. When the children gather to receive their grimoires, they all float towards those waiting, except for Asta. Yuno, of course, recieves the most powerful grimoire – the four-leaf clover. But, the celebration is cut short when a strange wizard visits the village and begins to cause havoc. Asta tries to stop the wizard, but he is defeated quickly. When Yuno comes to the rescue, a strange event begins to take place. A shadowy grimoire appears in front of Asta – the five-leaf black clover. It appears to be shaped like a weapon (a sword and shield?). The episode ends with a line explaining that the five-leaf clover “contains a demon.”

I was a bit wary at first, thinking this would be a very cliched anime. I don’t like Asta’s voice actor very much – he seems very annoying and almost young-naruto-like. I do like the concept of a non-magical human in a magical world, and it could be interpretted as a statement about disabilities. While that may not have been intended, it could be a factor. I’m excited to see more, even if I have to suffer Asta’s voice.

Juni Taisen – Zodiac War

The episode starts out introducing Inonoshishi, the daughter of the “Boar” warrior. She has been training her entire life to participate in the “Juni Taisen,” a contest between the twelve clans every twelve years. Her father won the last contest, and she is determined to follow in his footsteps and be the next winner.

Juni-Taisen-Zodiac-War-2However, come time to chose the fighter, her father chooses her sister instead. So angry with this decision, Inono decides to destroy her sister by forcing her to commit various murders in the name of their clan. Eventually, her sister goes crazy and kills herself, leaving Inono to take on the contest.

The day of the fight, the coordinator instructs the warriors they must swallow a strange gem to participate, and of course they accept. They have twelve hours to collect all eleven othergems from the other warriors stomachs. Inono is confident in her abilities, but a strange rabbit warrior catches her off-guard. It turns out he’s actually a “necromatic,” or someone that turns those he kills into his best friends.

This first episode is very fast-paced, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. However, it does seem like it could turn out to be a very good story. It’s certainly starts out with a bang, and it quite quickly reveals how twisted the main character is and how far she will go to achieve her ambitions.

Food Wars! Third Plate

The only continuation anime in this lineup, Food Wars! comes out with a season three, picking up very quickly with Soma entering a high-class school for the culinary arts. There are ten of the top students aptly named the “Elite Ten,” who are masters at theirFood-Wars-Shokugeki-no-Soma-Season-3-Release-Date-Confirmed-Third-Plate-Anime-Premiere-In-October-2017 cuisine. Wanting to be the best, Soma challenges one of them for a position in the group.

Kuga, the 8th seat in the elite ten that Soma challenges, is a master of Sichuan cuisine. Soma visits his practice area to get an idea of what he will be facing and is astounded to see a huge group of trainees cooking extremely efficiently. Any other person might be too intimidated to continue with the challenge, but Soma promises to reserve the booth right across from his rival at the Moon Festival. He plans to even outsell him with a challenge to his own dish!

If you’re a fan of the previous seasons, I’m sure you’d love to see where Soma’s going. For new viewers, it may be confusing, but I’m already hooked. Soma’s personality is pretty typical of anime protagonists, but I think the concept of the anime itself is probably the best part.

Dies Irae

This cryptic anime starts out with a man that can supposedly predict the future having a vision of another man standing above a city. It seems the second man has accomplished some kind of goal and is now very powerful. This second man is some kind of general diesiraeand it appears that it is set in Germany, during WWII.

The problem with this anime is basically that I had no idea what the heck was going on, even at the end, where they supposedly explain everything. At some point, three women join him on his mission, but it isn’t clear what the mission is. There are a lot of crazy-type people running around and causing problems, it seems.

The only way I was able to even get a grasp of what was going on was to read the episode description. “At the start of a great war, an important leader in the German security bureau takes on a mission to fight supernatural mutants himself.” Okay, so I guess those crazy people are mutants. This is not explained at all. Basically, I’m not sure what to make of this series. It’s so cryptic that I’ve concluded that it’s not the first anime in the franchise, but I see no other related shows.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Morioka is a NEET and hikkikomori in the extreme, spending her days playing games on the computer. She finds a new MMO that she thinks she might like, and immediately sets into the world, making friends quickly. There’s one thing she doesn’t tell her new friends: she’s actually a woman, not a man like her character.

The first thing I noticed was the blatant Recover-of-an-MMO-Addictname change. The Japanese version is called “Recommendation of the Wonderful Virtual Life,” which has a much better connotation than treating the main character as some kind of addict. While I’m not denying she may be an addict, I think the original title shows a more positive side to the story.

That aside, it seems like a pretty cute anime. Morioka, on her “hot guy character,” quickly makes friends with adorable Lily and it’s apparent there might be something else there. It’s also hinted early on that Lily might actually be a man in real life, and they may have even bumped into each other at the convenient store. I’m interested to see where this goes.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride

This has been a three-part OVA for a while, but it was just recently adapted into an anime. I had learned a bit about the movies previously, and loved the story, so needless to say, I was excited when I saw this on the fall lineup. The story starts out with a young ancient-magus-bride-chise-and-eliasgirl names Chise who can see spirits, but everyone thinks she’s insane. From what I gathered, her parents passed away and she’s been sent from one relative to another for many years. She’s thought of as some sort of pariah, and has no place she feels safe or loved.

As a sort of last resort, she decides to sell herself in a supernatural slave market hoping something might come of it. She states that she just wants a place where she’s wanted. People begin to bid on her, but before long, a strange creature appears before her. The room goes silent as he approaches the stage, placing a big much higher than anyone else. She’s confused by he gentle treatment, and though he’s purchased her, he treats her like a great treasure. He dresses her and feeds her and bathes her, and even protects her when mysterious fairies try to take her away. He explains why he cares so much, besdies wanting to make her his apprentice. He also would hopefully like to make her his wife someday.

This one is completely adorable, but in a hugely endearing way. The animation is beautiful, and the magus is both wise, protective, and a little bit comedic. I did think it was funny that when the magus speaks, they decided to not animate his mouth, but that’s pretty common with non-human characters (see “Guin Saga” with his non-synced opening and closing mouth). I’m really excited to see more, even if I was upset the fairies turned out to be bad guys!

Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series

I did find out that this is a redux of an older anime made in 2003 of the same name. It appears this series is a collection of completely new stories not related to the older series. From what I understand, this new anime will also be similar, detailing tales of a girl35756-kino_header named Kino and her talking motorcycle named Hermes. This episode was interesting, and slightly strange as well.

This first episode starts out with Kino and Hermes meeting another traveler on the side of the road. He explains he’s going to a nearby town where murder is not illegal and he wants to live and kill freely. However, the town seems a little different than Kino might have imagined. It’s actually a very safe town, and the strange traveler she’d met gets himself into trouble by demanding Kino hand over all her supplies. An old man explains that even though murder is not prohibited, it doesn’t mean it’s permitted. The episode ends with another traveler asking Kino if the town she just visited is safe, and he just wants peace. She nods and happily explains that it’s the safest place around.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this series. It wasn’t confusing, just unnerving. While it might just be this episode that’s weird, I’m not sure if I’ll be checking out more. On a side note, I’m pretty good at picking out character genders in anime, but I had no idea that Kino was a girl until I checked out information about the 2003 series. The animation is really good, but Kino seems to almost have no personality. She’s a road-hardened traveler who seems nice enough, but I suppose I’ll wait for more to come to learn more about her.

Anime Review: “One Punch Man”

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“That’s the last time you make fun of my chosen hairstyle.”

I’ve been a passive fan of the anime for a while, but I just never got around to seeing it. That is, until now.

I recieved a copy of the first volume of the manga from my LootCrate Anime a while back, and it explained that it used to be a web comic. I thought that was awesome, considering I have been working on my own web comic for a while. I already had a bit of the plot in mind going into this series. I knew it was a parody and it was supposedly hilarious.

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“Okay, I killed it. What now?”

That information was 300% accurate. This anime is a complete riot. It starts out with a man named Saitama living in a city that apparently is infested with really bad villains – there’s a man that turned into Lobster Man because he ate too much lobster – and he finds himself facing this exact villain on the way home from a job interview. He’s so depressed and jaded he didn’t get the job that he doesn’t care if the lobster guy kills him. But, as soon as he sees the creature heading towards a child, he jumps into action and fights him.

From that day on, he decided to become as strong as possible. He trains every day, so much that his hair falls out, and now he’s so strong that he can defeat any foe in one punch. But, now that he’s really strong, he’s easily bored and goes around one-punching all the bad guys.

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“Okay, now put the egg right on my palm and it will cook in precisely 3.49 seconds.”

One day, though, he meets a robot-man named Genos. This cyborg is so impressed with Saitama’s powers that he asks to become his disciple. While Saitama isn’t one to really want a student, he accepts anyway, not really knowing what to teach the boy. Soon the pair gets words of a special organization that registers and rates heroes in the city. They go to join just for the heck of it and Genos gets S rank, while Saitama (who smashes all the physical records) only gets a C rank.

These ranks are very important, though. Higher ranks get more donations and poularity, so of course Saitama is pissed. He knows he’s strong, and proves it over and over again, but people think he’s a cheat because he’s only rank C. This only expands on the hilarity of the series, with Saitama actually trying to help people, but ending up scaring them instead.

The key to a great parody anime is to have as little exposition as possible, while still making sure the audience knows what’s going on. I saw it in “Neo Yokio,” and I saw it once more in “One Punch Man.” It leaves the door open for much more ridiculous things to happen. In fact, this anime actually makes fun of excessively long expositions by Genos backstory expanding about thirty seconds of one episode.

Final Words:

Having just finished a really nice parody anime, this was another gem in my belt. I’m a big fan of this style, having seen so many animes over the years. It just pokes fun at all of the fighting ones, namely “Dragonball Z.” The character development is top notch, too, where Saitama goes from basically a NEET to genuinely caring about people, and his new friend, despite the boy’s misplaced enthusiasm.

I would give this anime…8.75/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Blue Exorcist, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Excel Saga

“K” Review

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“Did you eat my last tamagomaki?”

I actually saw this anime subbed last year, I believe, but I watched it again dubbed with my best friend and roommate last week. It’s definitely a different experience, and I’m pretty sure Funimation specializes in added a pound and a half of sass whenever they dub something. But this is for sure a somewhat complex anime, and I suppose I didn’t fully understand it the first time I saw it, so a rewatch was kind of nice.

The setting is that of a somewhat futuristic Japan, with advanced technology and a sort of clan system that mimics something of the warring states period (or feudalistic Japan, if you’re familiar). There are seven clans, each with an assigned color, though only two are featured, and the four others only touched on. The red clan, also called HOMRA, appears as a sort of gang with fiercely loyal members, and the blue clan, also called Scepter 4, appears as a police force and more connected to the government.

Each king has a special power, which he is able to give to his clansmen when they join

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“You told him to wear that?”

the clan. The red clan can create and manipulate fire, while the blue clan can freeze and destroy matter. The king of each clan is the most powerful, however, there is a limit. Their power is represented by a giant Sword of Damocles, which appears in the sky when a king begins to fight.

If the king uses too much power, the sword falls and causes physical destruction. This is shown in the prologue, as it has happened before. In the first episode, the leader of the red clan, known as Mikoto Suoh (or the Red King), is captured by the blue clan leader (Reisi Munakata) and put in a special jail. He actually remains there for a majority of the anime in order to prevent him from causing another incident with his sword.

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“I swear I don’t know where her nipples went!”

Now, besides all of this, there is a boy named Yashiro Isana who appears to be a normal high school student. He seems forgetful, as he is known for forgetting his lunch, and often runs around during lunch hour asking for donations, which people gladly give him. He doesn’t seem to care about school, and almost never has his PDA, which is required to enter the school grounds.

However, one day, he’s making his way into town for some errands for the school festival, and a strange man chases him and calls him “The Colorless King.” The man, Kuroh Yotogami, says Yashiro has murdered someone, and he must die. Kuroh’s master, who was the previous Colorless King, instructed him to kill the new Colorless King if that new king is evil. He seems very loyal to his late master, even carrying a recording device with his master words saved on it.

Yashiro insists he has no idea what Kuroh is talking about, and is innocent. With a bit of

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“Alright, slowly, slowly…and drop the giant cake…now!”

trickery, the boy manages to escape, but Kuroh catches up with him, only to be stopped by a strange girl, nude mind you, that apparently was disguised all this time as Yashiro’s pet cat Neko. With a bit of convincing, Kuroh decides to let Yashiro try and prove his innocence. But there’s a bit more to Neko than meets the eye. In fact, there’s more to Yashiro than meets the eye.

In the world of “K,” there are people that possess powers, but are not part of a clan. As it turns out, Neko is one of these – known as a Strain – and she can manipulate peoples senses, and even create false memories. Without revealing too much, we soon find out that Yashiro might not be who he says he is after all, and the Colorless King is not who he says he is either.

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They seem to be overcompensating.

Despite it being quite a complicated setting, “K” manages to pull together an interesting story of friendship, sacrifice, and loyalty. While I feel Neko was a bit of a token character in the beginning, it turns out she simply wants to protect Yashiro and make sure he’s happy. I really enjoyed Kuroh as a character, being a very loyal person myself, and the twist ending I’d forgotten about had me hooked. I also liked the unabashed sass that Yashiro displays early on, even blushing fiercely when Kuroh carries him to safety a few times.

The members of HOMRA were also very endearing. Yata and his fierce loyalty and youth, jumping at the chance to defend his kings honor with a baseball bat or a skateboard was just as attractive as Kamamoto’s dorkiness and short attention span. The characters were very real, even if you only got a short glimpse of them, like the total of twenty minutes the Mikoto gets. There’s also a member of the Scepter 4 that was once part of HOMRA, and this is even explained in somewhat detail.

Final Words:

Man, I really didn’t realize how convoluted this setting was until I started writing this review, but don’t let it scare you off. Despite being somewhat confusing, it’s very well done, with close attention to characters and their interactions. It’s beautifully animated with each battle scene animated as if a wide angle camera was used. A lot of animes avoid long extended scenes because they cost more and require much more work, but “K” spares no expense. You can see it from episode one how much care went into each part. This is probably very close to a perfect anime as one might get. The only thing that brought it down was how confusing the plot was in some parts. But everything does come together in the end.

I would give this anime…9/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji), Magi, Tokyo Ravens

 

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