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'K Missing Kings' review: Film missing narrative

K Missing Kings

Rating:
Star2
Star
Star
Star
Star

"K Missing Kings" will be playing theatrically in Houston at Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park at 7:15pm tonight.

Kuroh, Neko, and Yata.
Kuroh, Neko, and Yata.
Photo courtesy of Eleven Arts, used with permission.
The official US theatrical poster for "K Missing Kings."
Photo courtesy of Eleven Arts, used with permission.

"K: Missing Kings" is the continuation of the 13-episode anime television series "K." The original anime revolved around a normal high school student named Shiro, also known as Adolf K. Weismann. Shiro is the prime suspect in the death of Tatara Totsuka, a founding member of HOMRA, also known as The Red Clan. Shiro is eventually revealed to be The Silver King with the Black Dog Kuroh Yatogami and a sensory altering Strain known as Neko as part of The Silver Clan.

Everyone in "K: Missing Kings" is a part of a clan. HOMRA's second in command Izumo Kusanagi is nowhere to be found (The Red King Mikoto Shou was willingly killed by The Blue King Reisi Munakata in “K”) while Misaki Yata, who is extremely experienced with a skateboard, holds down the fort despite The Red Clan practically being in shambles. Rikio Kamamoto tries to protect a young girl named Anna Kushina, who is now hunted by the ninjas of The Green Clan who have the ability to manipulate their surroundings and a new reckless character named Mishakuji Yukari who only seems to want to fight with Kuroh.

Scepter 4/The Blue Clan includes The Blue King Reisi Munakata, a female second in command named Seri Awashima, and the difficult to get along with yet highly skilled third-in-command Saruhiko Fushimi. "K: Missing Kings" references Kuroh's father and former Colorless King Ichigen Miwa; the current Colorless King has the power of mind control and the ability to jump from body to body. The Green King is known as "Jungle" and currently resides in the body of a parrot.

"K: Missing Kings" has Kuroh and Neko searching for Shiro with no result. They eventually meet up with Anna and Rikio who are currently being chased by mysterious ninjas.

This is the first time an anime film has been sent my way that wasn't a stand-alone film. Most anime films based on a well-known television series are typically one-shot adventures meaning that viewing the original series isn't a requirement to understand what is going on; unless they're sequels or something like "Neon Genesis Evangelion." You will be lost if you go into "K Missing Kings" without seeing the original anime first. Thankfully something like Wikipedia exists to make things a bit more clear for all of us.

The film begins with some really overly dramatic camera angles and a giant sword in the sky that seems to be conjuring lightning. The perspective of the camera gets caught up in trying to be too dynamic and just feels very awkward the majority of the time. You'll notice the unusual blend of colors, as well. Every frame of the film seems to try to cram this weird spectrum-of-color template into everything. It's usually a blend of purples, reds, and blues, but can feature every color you can imagine occasionally.

There seems to be abilities, jutsu, and magic you'd find in the likes of something like "Naruto" and "Outlaw Star" contained in the world of "K Missing Kings." The animation is extremely flashy as a talking cat and a parrot do battle in the air with lightning and giant cats and a fight between Kuroh and Yukari takes place entirely on the side of a building with no explanation as to why they're able to defy physics.

The music in the animated film is an amalgamation of soothing piano melodies, synthpop, generic rock, and urban influenced music similar to the score of "Samurai Champloo."

"K Missing Kings" is a confusing anime feature for anyone unfamiliar with its source material. There is entirely too much going on to try to piece together in one 73-minute film that doesn't end and only teases future installments. If you go in blind, "K Missing Kings" seems like very vivid eye candy with no purpose or meaning.