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K: Return of Kings Complete Collection Anime DVD/BD Review

6 min read

Return of Kings

What They Say
Following the events of K Missing Kings, the Green Clan JUNGLE has been spreading its influence, causing friction with the Red Clan HOMRA and the Blue Clan SCEPTOR 4. The war escalates when Green King, Nagare Hisui, sends his men to attack Kuro and Neko, forcing the return of the Silver King, Yashiro Isana. Reunited with his friends, Shiro reveals his plans for dealing with the Green Clan—an alliance of the Red, Blue, and Silver Clans! But the Green King carries his own wild cards! Will the combined power of three kings be enough to stop Nagare Hisui from fulfilling his dark ambitions?

The Review!
Audio:
This has excellent audio quality. Voices are crisp and clear, sound effects are loud but not overpowering, and music is subtle and doesn’t muffle the dialogue. Viz Media has always been pretty good with the quality of the sound. I’m not surprised, given how long they’ve been in the business. And GoHands are an excellent studio well-known for the animation quality. It’s clear that both studio and licenser pulled out all the stops here.

Video:
I love the 1080p high-definition of this video. The line crispness is outstanding. I love how the colors don’t blend, mix, or get pixelated. What’s more, watching this in true high-def allows all of the glorious CGI and layering effects to really pop out without being overpowered and sloppy. Return of Kings is obviously an anime that was made to be played in high-definition. Of course, the downside is if you don’t watch it in high-def, it doesn’t look as good. Too much information for regular streaming or even DVDs to process.

Packaging:
The bluray/DVD complete collection comes in a special case. The tan coloring is mixed with swirling background designs like smoke, glossy and holographic. The front features Shiro in a white and black suit holding an umbrella. The back has Neko and Kuro, his two companions. Kuro is in a suit and Neko is wearing a white dress, thigh highs, and a fuzzy pink jacket. The case has the same tan smokey background, but the front features four kings: Shiro (the Silver King), Anna Kushina (The Red King), Mikoto Suoh (the former Red King),and Reisi Munakata (the Blue King), plus Kuro and Neko. The back shows the striking difference between Shiro Isana and Adolf K. Weismann, the same person in different bodies. It also contains all the standard information such as the blurb, screenshots, and info on the anime, studios, and licenser.

Menu:
Unlike most anime that feature a character background followed by a list of the episodes and extra features, Return of Kings plays clips from the video and has the option to either play all, select an episode, change the settings, or look at the extras. The video and background music loop after a set amount of time.

Extras:
This set comes with a lot of extras. Starting off, you get the clean opening and ending theme songs, but you also get several trailers for other anime, and the director’s cut of episode 13, which features extended scenes and content that got cut from the final production when this episode aired in Japan. The complete series also comes with 11 cards of the characters from Return of Kings dressed in idol costumes.

Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
The original K Project was one of the most enjoyable anime I’ve watched in a long time. I remember watching it when it first came out and thinking, “Wow. This anime is amazing!” The artwork was stunning, the animation was fluid and smooth, and the unique use of layering and blending 2D imagery and animation with 3D models and animation was outstanding. What’s more, the story was unique and thrilling in that it could blend tropes that were already used a lot, but still create enough twists to keep me engaged. I was pretty much blown away.

Missing Kings was sort of a miss. I wouldn’t say it was awful, but it was clearly meant only for fans.

Return of Kings has what Missing Kings lacked, but it’s not as good as the first K Project. We begin the first episode with a flashback fight between Mikoto Suoh’s Red Clan and Reisi Munakata’s Blue Clan. The animation is stellar, as always, and the unique fight scenes feels like watching a live-action movie adapted into 2D. However, while the fight is great in terms of animation and quality, I’m not sure how much point it has in the grand scheme of this story—other than to display GoHands’ unique jiggle physics. Think I’m joking? No. I’m not. There’s an animation sequence where Seri’s—a female character from the Blue Clan with large breasts—shirt is cut open and her boobs literally spill out of it. It’s an incredibly erotic if slightly pointless sequence that left me questioning whether this fight scene was important to the story, or if it was all a setup to display her jiggly jugs.

Returning to the present, things are getting hectic. The Green Clan is causing problems for the Red and Blue Clans, Shiro is still missing, and Neko and Kuro are stuck having to deal with the Green Clan’s harassment. There’s a lot going on here, between many different characters, to the point that I’m sometimes feeling overwhelmed. This story has a very heavy focus on plot related content, so a lot of characters are never developed or fleshed out—except for Seri’s boobs. Again. I’m not joking. This anime has a very heavy focus on making those things bounce and jiggle all over the place. It’s quite impressive.

If there’s one thing I didn’t like about Return of Kings, it would be how many characters it focuses on. Because it has so many characters, and because all of those characters simply must play a part, the anime tends to not develop anyone properly, including the heavy hitters. The previous 3 main protagonists from the first season—Shiro, Neko, and Kuro—only get a third or even a fourth of the development they had in season 1. What’s more, new characters are added, meaning even less time is given to properly develop older characters.

The story itself is fairly interesting. It provides more detail about how the kings came to be, giving information about the Dresden Slate and the Swords of Damocles, along with Shiro’s background and the part he played in all this. The details are provided by a whole host of characters, so you kinda have to piece everything together, but it’s a really interesting bit of story development. Also, we learn that the Green King, Nagare Hisui, wants to steal the Dresden Slate and unleash its power upon the world. This is ultimately what the story is about. There are numerous plot twists along the way that make the story interesting, and the animation remains as stellar now as it did in the first season.

Also, about Seri’s unique jiggle physics. While fan service of this nature might turn some people off, I was not. I’ll admit it. I like fan service. However, I know that some people do not enjoy it, so this is something to note when watching the series. There’s a lot of it. Just a fair warning.

In Summary:
While I do wish a higher focus on the three main characters had been given, and while I’m sad my OTP (Shiro x Neko) never happened, I can’t say I’m dissatisfied. This anime had a great beginning and a satisfying conclusion. While I do feel the execution and telling of the story could have been done better, the high-quality artwork, amazing animation, and unique plot made this a very enjoyable series to watch.

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: A

Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: July, 18, 2017
MSRP: $69.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 16×9

Review Equipment:
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Generic Bluray player

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