Bride of the Son of the 12 Days – Day 6 – K of Fighters


When I started watching K, I knew I was digging it on a purely superficial “this rad, man” level, but I also knew there had to be something else going on below the surface. It might not be something intended by the creators, but there was something about this thing that was resonating with me beyond that surface level shit.

Then I had one of those awesome moments where angels sing and light descends from the heavens and everything is all too clear: I realized this thing was playing out like one of those fighting game OVAs from the 90s, only extended to series form.

Those fighting game anime things were rife with plot holes. Why is Dude X fighting Chick Y? Why is Scary Dude Z supposed to be all scary and important when he’s just standing there brooding in a different location? Why should I give a damn about these seemingly pointless fights?

Just like any OVA based on a manga or TV series or whatever, these fighting game ones assume you’re coming into it with some prior knowledge. Watching Fatal Fury or Battle Arena Toshinden or Street Fighter? You’re gonna understand most of the “whys” if you’ve actually played the game and seen the after fight text, watched the end game cut scenes, and read the instruction booklet with the short blurbs of stereotypical background text. It isn’t much, but it gives everything context. The plot of the OVA might be shit, but you understand why it’s shit compared to the video game.

After watching a few episodes of K I realized I was getting that same vibe. You have a bunch of dudes and dudettes duking it out over some vague War of Kings shit or whatever. A few of these dudes and dudettes stand out in terms of design and fighting style and super moves. These characters have vaguely defined rivalries, and there’s little time taken to describe the whys of it. The series concentrates on the action beats and a few bits of exposition that have little to do with the actual one on one rivalries.

It’s as if there’s some sort of back story with which we should already be familiar. When that blue dude and fire dude have their little lovey dovey face off, you get that there’s a lot of history between these dudes. They’re Kyo and Iori from King of Fighters, except you don’t have the yearly video game installments to explain why they hate each others’ guts.

K is a fighting game anime, except we never got the fighting game that’s supposed to occur first. I can see how the skateboard dude was, like, the Chun Li of the series– the speedy dodgy sort. I can see that one traitor dude, who worked for the Blues and Reds, being someone from, like, the first sequel– created by melding the styles of the Red and Blue leaders into one character. He’s Akuma. I bet that beefy Red dude in the white track suit was the game’s Blanka or something, but since no one played him in the arcades he didn’t get much development in the anime adaptation. Conversely, the little girl at the Red dude’s side was probably a mascot character, following him in the background like that creepy dead eyed girl who tagged alongside Donovan in Darkstalkers. I bet she didn’t even appear into a sequel despite him being in the first game of the series. They did that with Necro in Street Fighter 3. He didn’t get his sidekick until Second Impact, I think. But this being a little girl, the fans ate that shit up and she got a more prominent role than one of the original cast dudes.

And Neko’s totally a Felicia ripoff.

Yeah. Where the fuck is my K fighting game, Arc System Works?