K Missing Kings (NR)

Animation 73 min. July 18, 2014
By Ernest Hardy
Movies freighted with lots of franchise backstory often tag on a prologue, either clips from the previous source, or some exposition-heavy recapping, which serves as a refresher for those who are already on board with the world and story being presented and as a primer for newcomers. K Missing Kings, based on the hit anime series K, provides no such crutch. If you don't already know the basics — seemingly ordinary high school student Yashiro "Shiro" Isano is mistakenly blamed for the murder of a member of the notorious HOMRA faction, and soon is fleeing for his life as various assassins seek revenge — this installment will make little sense, as director Shingo Suzuki and story writer GoRA make no effort to recap or fill in character relationships or the byzantine political maneuvering in play.

The viewer is immediately dropped into a frenzied world of missing kings, fractured clans, effete villains, emotionally wounded good guys, powerful and mysterious young girls who hold the key to everything (whatever that may be) and, of course, big-breasted eye candy. The film looks great: The animation is detailed, fluid in action and meticulously designed, and the action sequences are meticulously mapped out. But K Missing Kings is really for diehards who have not only embraced the series but also the handful of manga it spawned.
Shingo Suzuki Daisuke Namikawa, Daisuke Ono, Tomokazu Sugita, Mikako Komatsu Eleven Arts

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