K: Missing Kings offers action-packed anime

For those unfamiliar with the 2012 small-screen anime series known as K, the feature film follow-up K: Missing Kings may be rather confusing, but it’s also entertaining (if a little familiar) and visually enticing. Although some attempt is made to provide back-story exposition, it might be wise for the newcomer to concentrate on the psychedelic visuals rather than story or character nuance.

Set in an undefined but clearly futuristic time, the story concerns seven “Kings” who each possess super-powers. Some can fly, some can pass through matter, some can transform into animals (that talk – some incessantly), and all of them appear very handy with samurai swords and fighting sticks, some of which fire lightning bolts. The Kings, however, are not immortal … although in a film like this they can easily appear in flashbacks, dream sequences and/or hallucinations.

Some clans do good, some do bad, but when clans clash they do considerable damage. In a story such as this, the good guys and the bad guys generally battle for ultimate supremacy (of the Earth or the universe, it hardly matters) or to possess infinite power. That’s the case here, as the Kings and their legions of followers vie for the Sword of Damocles.

Director Shingo Suzuki (also credited with character design, which falls squarely into the classic anime style) keeps the colorful action moving briskly – K: Missing Kings runs a tight 74 minutes – and even throws in some music-video sequences. Kimio Endo’s score is appropriately eccentric for these trippy goings-on, and the ending (a bit anti-climactic) hints strongly that more Kings could be forthcoming. (In Japanese with English subtitles)

K: Missing Kings is scheduled to open Friday at Carousel Grande, Greensboro !

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