A year has gone by since the Blue Clan SCEPTER 4 has disbanded and the Red Clan HOMRA took over as the unofficial go-to people for dealing with the underground community. Lately, the stress of having to constantly keep his destructive power under control is causing the Red King Mikoto Suoh to become unstable.
Meanwhile, Reisi Munakata is chosen by the Dresden Slate to become the new Blue King. Believing this to be his true calling, Munakata uses his newfound power and skill as king to rebuild SCEPTER 4. Munakata then turns his attention to HOMRA and Mikoto Suoh, whom he believes poses a risk to the safety of the world.
When the two young kings cross paths for the first time, a new battle begins in the story of the seven kings… [Source]
For the official US premiere of the show on July 7th, a few guests were invited to join the K: Seven Stories R:B ~BLAZE~ panel at Anime Expo 2018. The guests included Go Nakanishi, the producer of K: Seven Stories, Patrick Seitz, the English voice actor of Reisi Munakata, Shimba Tsuchiya, the Japanese voice actor of Takeru Kusuhara, Yui Horie, the Japanese voice actor of Anna Kushina, and finally, professional cosplayer Kaname, who cosplayed as Reisi Munakata. Overall, the panel was extremely engaging; the voice actors had their own character introductions, and answered questions regarding their thoughts on their characters, the story, and the movie series itself.
K takes place in a futuristic setting; the world is filled with advanced technology and supernatural powers. K’s first season aired in 2012 as an original series where the aloof and amnesic protagonist, Yashiro Isana, more commonly known as Shiro, finds himself trapped between the supernatural world and the common world. The fate of Shizume City lies between the supernatural clashes between clans surrounding a mystery that involves Shiro’s true self and his connection to them.
Two subsequent productions followed the original K anime: the movie, K: Missing Kings, and the second anime season, K: Return of Kings. In addition to the movie and two seasons of anime, prequels and side stories were published as manga and light novels, such as K: Side Blue, K: Dream of Green, K: Dog and Cat, and numerous others. In response to the overall success and popularity of the K series, Producer Nakanishi mentioned,
“The fans wanted more K.”
And thus, the K: Seven Stories project.
K: Seven Stories R:B ~BLAZE~ kicks off the six-part movie series produced by GoRA and studio GoHands, where each film is set to premiere every month from July 2018 to December 2018. Each of these movies primarily focuses on the kings, their clansmen, and the interactions between clans. All the movies are set to occur before the events in original K anime, with the exception of the seventh story standalone spinoff called the Idol Project where the kings are reimagined as idols.
K: Seven Stories R:B ~BLAZE~ focuses on the characters’ past and the interactions between the Red and Blue Kings, a promising move in terms of catering toward the fans. The movie features excellent script writing, captivating visuals, and exciting action sequences, alongside the unique K soundtrack. R:B ~BLAZE~ is a large improvement from the series relatively mediocre second season, K: Return of Kings as it offers more in terms of flushing out the characters that the fans know and love, making the movie worthwhile.
Since the movie is not specifically plot heavy, it takes on a slice-of-life tone with its slow pacing. However, this was done in order to show the real charm of K, which are the characters that each have their habits, actions, and styles that ultimately make up their own personal stories. Other than revealing the back stories of beloved characters from the original K series, we also are introduced to new characters.
For example, Takeru Kusuhara is a character that does not exist in the original animated K series and specifically only appears in the prequel, K: SIDE BLUE. The addition of this new character and many others offers a fuller picture of something that we did not get in K. We finally get to see Fushimi in HOMRA as a member before his defect, and the real-life form of Ichigen Miwa, the previous Colorless King, instead of just a recorded voice through Kuroh Yatogami’s voice recorder. We also catch a glimpse of the previous Red King, Genji Kagutsu, as well, igniting the mystery and wonder of how the kings came to be.
One of the most defining interactions is the one between the Blue and Red King. When the panel guests were asked about their favorite characters from the series, Patrick Seitz chose his character’s counterpart: the Red King, or Mikoto Suoh. He listed the characteristics that make the Red King so charismatic, and how he attracts him as well. In addition, he mentioned the mood he experienced from the Blue and Red Kings interacting so closely with their faces:
“Kiss! Just kiss! That’s what K stands for!”
Of course, that is not what K stands for, but this almost accurately describes the atmosphere a viewer would feel by seeing the interactions between the two kings in K. In R:B ~BLAZE~, the dialogue between the two kings certainly evokes laughter from the audience, as these two characters bash at each other through words and physical blows.
“I don’t take orders, and I don’t give out orders either.”
Red King Mikoto Suoh may seem simple on the surface, but the internal struggle he faces is nothing less than the key to his instability. Tormented by the heat, dreams, and power within his body, he cannot help but seek an outlet for him to release his power. While a man of few words in general, his aloof way of speaking and his subtly protective actions towards his clansmen gives color to his character. The best person that helps bring out his character is Munakata, who sees Suoh as a threat to society and his own clansmen. He questions Suoh on his ideals and duty as a king, but Suoh gives him unsatisfying answers, pressing Munakata on to fulfill his own agenda as he sees fit.
Experienced voice actor Yui Horie definitely brought light to the panel as she described the locations and scenes in K. The settings are just as decorated as the characters themselves. Taking the setting away from the main series’ location of the high school itself, R:B ~BLAZE~ offers more insight to the world of K on the streets of Shizume City, where clans interact and gang wars erupt. The details in the movie and opening are aesthetically beautiful to look at with the different character designs and urban city setting. From the way the characters’ hair flows, or even the visualization of the heat of a summer’s day in R:B ~BLAZE~, every single detail is worth looking at just because of the lustrous shine and color.
If there is one thing Producer Nakanishi wants the audience to look for in K, it is simply the action scenes. He mentioned that the choreography and intensity of the scenes are so captivating that one cannot help but be in awe at the immense power that the kings hold. Paired with the sharp, detailed sounds of metal clinking, the crisp unsheathing of a sword, and the detailed colors or highlights that give the fight scenes their flair are truly one of a kind. R:B ~BLAZE~ certainly hits all the points in presenting an entertaining film, and it’ll be interesting to see what the next chapter to the K: Seven Stories holds in store.