Aired: Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2011
Genres: Slice of Life, Comedy, Music, School, CGDCT
Date watched: Nov 27 2018 – Dec 01 2018
Series watched: K-ON! (14 ep x 24 min), K-ON!! (27 ep x 24 min), K-ON! Movie (1 ep x 110 min)
Why I started watching: Since I generally loved music so much, and specifically had already found a glut of anime music tracks that I liked, i wanted to try a music-based anime. This one seemed to be the most recommended one.
Ahh, K-ON. Even though this one is chronologically seventh, I had actually started it fifth, before Yuru Camp and Sora yori mo Tooi Basho. But not only was it my longest attempted series by far, it was also so good that I ran into issues where I wanted to save the episodes for later to prolong the show because it was so good, so I ended up only finishing it after those two. As mentioned, it came highly recommended, and is considered one of Kyoto Animation’s most famous works, and one of the best CGDCT and Slice of Life/School shows around.
The plot follows a group of high school girls as they form a music band at their all-girls school, sometimes using it as a backdrop excuse to socialize over tea and cake, and other times playing improbably good music in front of the school or public. It follows the characters’ growth over three years of high school, although the first two years are really compressed, whereas the third year features time dilation, with something like four times the number of episodes that each of the first two years did. In that time, the girls become best of friends as they muddle through school life together, with healthy doses of comedy and moe. This show was also where I first learnt that anime locations often had real world counterparts – in terms of art based off of real world locations.
The 4 main characters of K-ON! are gender-flipped versions of the Beatles, though they pick up one more character into the band fairly early on in the show. The characters are all fun and lovable, and while somewhat tropeish, are probably some of the best examples of said tropes that then get copied by future works. I particularly enjoyed the interactions between Mio and Ritsu, to the point that Mio (inset) is still my current favourite character, and the next time I needed a haircut a couple months later, I just went for her hairstyle (hime/princess cut) anyway since my hair is already long, black, and straight.
And now, the music. This was the main reason I had picked up the show and I was not to be disappointed. Yui (Aki Toyosaki) did vocals for the opening songs, which were sung by a school-age version of the band (Sakurakou Keion-bu in S1 and Houkago Tea Time in S2), whereas Mio (Yoko Hikasa) sang most of the ending songs, which were done by an adult-age version of the band. Of the opening songs, I only really liked Cagayake! GIRLS from season 1, and that quickly fell out of my top 10 altogether. However, the ending songs of the TV seasons were all great, especially the season 1 ED, Don’t Say ‘lazy’, which upon looking at translations had rather weird lyrics! Both ED songs from season 2, Listen!! and NO, Thank you!, were also catchy. All three ED music videos were also very abstract and enjoyable, which helped their cause. In addition, two songs from season 2 that weren’t starting/ending songs, but were played by the band in the anime, made it to my stash – Pure Pure Heart and Tenshi ni Fureta yo!. Six songs from this show, not bad at all! The last song had me crying for quite a bit, although I’ve listened to it enough now that the effect has faded.
If I were to have any criticism of this show, it would be that since there were no more seasons coming, I looked up spoilers for the manga and found that the aftermath of the anime timeline was rather messy. It almost looked like the author was trying to milk the cash cow, but instead polarized the community with several decisions that were made, splitting the series into two and introducing a whole new bevy of characters. Oh well. It lost its bonus Mood point for that.
Final Score: 10/10