Episode five of K: Return of Kings is all about the huddle. The Green Clan discusses their master plan, which is to bring the Dresden Slates under their control; the Red, Blue & Silver Clans discuss how they will defend the Slates against JUNGLE. I said in my previous episode that it looked like shit was going to get real this episode, but the reality was something of a mix. We get to see some fighting between the Red, Blue and Green clans, but Nagare doesn’t make his first solo move until the very end of the episode. When he does – wow!
This episode centers around the different clans learning to work together and trust each other. Both the Red and Blue Kings have to learn to trust Shiro, who wants to lead the retaliation effort against Nagare Hisui. The Red and Blue Clans as a whole also have to trust each other, as Shiro’s battle plans require the Red Clan to be the backup for the Blue Clan. When Shiro’s leadership is questioned by Kusanagi of the Red Clan, Shiro provides insight into the Green King’s motivations and goals, and strives to show why he is the best person to lead the upcoming war.
The second half of the episode shows the battle getting underway. Fushimi and another Blue Clan member have set up traps throughout the building, but Yukari and Sukuna are clearing a path for Nagare, and they blow past the traps easily. Shiro’s battle strategy has the Blues on the first floor and the Red Clan on a higher floor. The Kings from the three clans are at the very top, guarding the Dresden Slates.
JUNGLE throws a wrench in our allies’ plan by swapping targets. By this I mean that Fushimi’s traps were designed to separate Yukari and Sukuna, leading Sukuna to the Red Clan and Yukari to the Blue Clan. Instead, Yukari surprises and overwhelms the Red Clan, while Sukuna appears in front of the Blue Clan. Both clans scramble to change their respective battle tactics, with some success but not much.
Behind Yukari and Sukuna, Nagare makes his entrance at the very end of the episode. Mr. Iwa tries to talk him out of joining the battle at that point, as he felt it was still too early, but Nagare forges ahead anyways. In the last few moments of the episode, we see Nagare break free from his restraints as he turns his body into pure energy and flashes out into the darkness.
Overall while there was some fighting at the end of the episode, it still felt like a slower episode. I was a little disappointed because I was looking forward to seeing what Nagare was capable of, but that just means I’m excited for next week’s episode instead.
I’m also noticing that things I had previously gushed about in previous reviews, namely the music and the pretty graphics, have been somewhat toned down. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it’s not something I hold against the show. Lots of beautiful animation is great to look at, but it eventually becomes overwhelming if it’s never scaled back. And I love the upbeat music, but Return of Kings has shown that it’s capable of scoring gentler tracks as well, something which is always a plus in my book.
We’re at the halfway point in the season now, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the second half of the series! I know I still have some guesses at what will happen with certain subplots, like Reisi’s health, and I am looking forward to seeing if I’m right or not. What are your plot theories?