K: Return of Kings
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
K: Return of Kings ?
Community score: 3.7
Even a bad anime series is not so irritating to watch as a series which constantly teases with the promise of spectacular things and then beats around the bush instead of delivering on the promise. That, in a nutshell, is what Return of Kings has become.
Oh, to be sure, episode 7 does give viewers a taste of potential greatness, which in this case almost entirely consists of a brief confrontation between Anna and Nagare at King-level power. That comes about because Yukari and Sukuna retreat from confrontations with Homra, SCEPTER 4, and the Silver Clan to get out of Nagare's way when they sense that he is coming. He's coming sooner and faster than Shiro anticipated, too, and at a power burn-out rate which Shiro finds suspicious. Though unable to defeat the Green King on her own (the original plan was for her and Shiro to team up against him), she is able to force him to burn through his power quicker, thus setting him up for a take-down by the Blue King. Nagare did, indeed, have a trump card, though. His minions may have been trying to clear a path for him, but he was also clearing path for his own ally: the long-thought-dead Gray King, who turns out to be the priestly guy who has been hanging around with Nagare. The Battle of Five Kings is supposed to ensue next episode.
If it goes anything like this and the last couple of episodes have, though, then it will probably involve only two or three minutes of actual action while characters waste the rest of the time philosophizing with each other or pretending to engage in weak character development. Viewers have to put up with yet another round of Yukari's tiresome shtick, and even Yata's brash enthusiasm and cheerleading is starting to wear thin. (For all his rough edges, he has a future as a motivational speaker.) Neko being Neko is still fun, but that may be because it only appears in small background doses. The same could be said of Munakata and Nagare's low-key smugness; while their philosophies are radically different, their personalities are actually fairly similar. The philosophy aspect comes into play as Nagare's attitude about what he is doing and why is more fully elaborated upon: he is a creature of chaos, one who sees no reason or purpose to power. Anna insists that her power is borne from a purpose, while Munakata sees it as a means to maintain order, but for Nagare it is just a tool which exists to be used however the wielder sees fit and he wants to see more people have it. That actually does make for a somewhat interesting conflict of ideals, but any such value to it is shot down by how insufferably it interrupts the fights. Spending so much time on it effectively leaves everyone else as chaff to blow around in the wake of the winds that are the Kings.
On the technical front this episode does not do anything remarkable. It does, however, remind us that Seri is one of the series' two prime fan service baits. (Yeah, that panty-flashing scene which has her butt in the forefront of the camera was just a coincidence, right?)
On the whole, episode 7 only avoids a basement-level evaluation because Anna is pretty darn cool. She may have a horde of tough street punks at her beck and call and may prioritize her “red” as a protective force, but she shows here that she does not have to be a back-liner. She has a mastery of her power which belies her apparent age and how long she's had the power and is quite capable at using it directly and effectively in a fight even against the most powerful of foes. The rest of the series may be unimpressive and annoying right now, but underestimate her at your peril.
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