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K Project

Yata with skateboard

K Project is one of those anime where you just don't know quite what to make of it. On the one hand, it has some of the best animation I've seen since Guilty Crown, but on the other, it's story is dragged down by a couple of weak and annoying characters that ruin the potential it has to be entertaining.

In the first episode we are introduced to an alternative reality of Earth where cities are controlled by gangs - referred to as clans - that harness supernatural powers - Auras - from one of the seven 'kings' who lead them. This concept interested me greatly, and in the first episode we were treated to a taste of what kind of battles we could expect between the clans in episodes to follow. Most of the battles tend to revolve around everyone's favourite skateboard riding punk, Yata - a follower of the Red King - when he uses both Aura, and skateboard to fight against members of the opposing clans. His scenes tend to display a level of animation not often found in anime, including panoramic views of him grinding down rails, jumping stairs and dodging pedestrians as he races through the city, intent on chasing down the man who murdered a member of his clan. He uses the scrying ability of a fellow clan member, Anna, to help him track the murderer who they know as the 'Colourless King'.

Playing with skateboard
Meanwhile, it appears the Red King is a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off and repeat a disaster of the past which saw an entire city levelled to the ground. To counter this, he puts himself into custody of the Blue King, in the hope that when the time came, Reisi will be able to stop him.

All of the above makes for an intriguing storyline, and to this date, scenes involving both the Red Clan and Blue Clan have been very entertaining. Unfortunately, what comes next destroys all that potential.

The Red Clan are not the only people after the murderer. We are also introduced to Kuroh of the Black Clan, who is sent by his master to find and kill the Colourless King, and he does, but the result was not what he was expecting. Yashiro, a normal school boy, is believed to be the murderer because of a video recorded by the victim that places him at the scene of the crime. The only problem is, he has no memory of the event, or any knowledge of the Colourless King. For all immediate impressions, he isn't the guy they are looking for, but Kuroh is not so easily convinced. Believing he might be trying to trick him, Kuroh demands proof, and accompanies Yashiro everywhere he goes, even moving into the same house with him, until Yashiro can convince him he isn't the murderer.

Neko being cuteFor the most part, the above concept is not bad, but then came episode 2. What makes it bad is the contribution Yashiro's cat makes to the situation. Yes, his cat. Neko for some unknown reason is not a normal cat, she appears to be a magical creature that can shift into human form, yet still insists on acting like a cat, which makes for some rediculous scenes than go way beyond fustrating. Episode 2 had to be some of the worst anime I've watched this season. Thankfully, it has slowly started to improve as episodes go on. Neko is extremely overprotective of Yashiro in the most annoying fashion, including screaming at the top of her lungs at every opportunity she gets. But hey, at least you get your typical 2012 anime ecchi moments because of her. Although, be warned: if you're uncomfortable around yaoi plot elements then be weary of the direction this show might possibly head. There does appear to be a very femminite relationship forming between Yashiro and Kuroh. I'm not saying the series contains yaoi, but I wouldn't be surprised if it suddenly came up.

Anna and her mysterious giftOverall, the series has potential, and a good story does appear to be forming, slowly, but at the same rate, we are losing the effort put into animation as the episodes go on. Very little panoramic style animations are used past the first episode. Consider it a kind of bait and switch, draw us in with the pretty animation, then switch to a totally different story than what you were expecting, which I believe will be the general consensus going from the first episode to the second.

The Red Clan's story provides me with enough depth and entertainment to keep watching, and I must admit, the story about Yashiro's possible false memories interests me. I only wish they'd find a way to kill off Neko, then I could be happy with the anime.