Tuesday, July 28, 2015

K-On! Review

K-On! Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first season of K-On. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

After I re-entered the anime world after a good 2 to 3 years off, this was one of the first shows I watched. I found it to be a great show with lots of entertainment and was overall just nice to watch. However, I don't remember if I finished it or was close to doing so. Flash forward 3 years later, and I was hoping to get a good chance to re-watch it. That opportunity presented itself when I found out my library carried the series thanks to Sentai re-releasing it back in September of last year after Bandai lost the license. This also worked for my vacation as well, considering I could watch some episodes in the car between destinations.

Besides also watching the 2 OVA episodes, I think I fully completed the series this time. So, what did I think? Was it just as good as the first time?

Well, yes it was. I still find K-On! to be a great slice-of-life anime that's very charming in its own way. All of the characters have very entertaining (at points) in conversations, and it isn't bad to not have a main story once in a while in anime. However, K-On! still has its few problems, such as the personalities not being as good as when I first watched it, band "crises" not actually being that, and a few other problems. Besides that though, I have another slice-of-life anime that manages to hold well for me, and I hope I can see more.

Time for our jam session. This story's in the bag:


Yui Hirasawa has recently just entered high school, but doesn't really know what club to join. Well, sure she has several options, but the decision is SO hard. There's a lot of interesting clubs Yui, I can understand your pain.

Meanwhile, Ritsu Tainaka decides to drag her friend Mio Akiyama into the Light Music Club, only to find out that it will be disbanded if they don't get 4 members by the end of the month as all of the old members graduated. Later, they convince Tsumugi Kotobuki to join as well so their membership goes up to 3. Now since we have a bass, keyboard, and someone who plays the drums, it's now time to find a guitarist to join the ranks!

After putting up posters, Yui finds one of them on a bulletin board outside. Misunderstanding the term "light music", thinking she can get by by playing castanets, Yui realizes that they are actually looking for a guitar player. This is a bit of a pickle, considering Yui can't play guitar at all. Though after arriving in the clubroom, the other 3 convince her to join the club, and Yui resolves to learn the guitar.

Throughout the 1 and a half years that this show travels in time, the girls perform a few live shows, get a club adviser, get better at playing overall, and manage to get a new member in their second year at school. What else will the girls learn throughout the year, and what problems will they have to face? Let's find out, shall we!

This is how the main 4 meet each other, and how their bond grows. Like many slice-of-life shows, this doesn't have an overarching plot, and that's fine. The girls still have great chemistry, and have funny conversations while dining on sweets and tea in the clubroom. My main problem is that the characters don't really change or evolve as the series goes on, and I think it was needed in a way. Yui is still the same Yui as she was introduced from day 1, and the characters don't really go through any crises as a band.

Also, the band dynamics aren't as good. Sure, they play off each other and have good chemistry as I mentioned earlier, but something's lacking when they perform. It may be the fact that the main characters are mainly just one thing in personality rather than having more depth, which is fine for a slice-of-life. Also, it feels like Yui and Mio only really matter on stage. I do think if they had a more interesting balance in their personalities and made sure that Tsumugi and Ritsu involvement on stage, it would have made this anime perfect. Well, at least we have Mrs. Yamanaka for that, since she's the surprising one.

The OVA episodes were also pretty good, but did get a bit boring at parts. I preferred the Winter Days one over the Live Show.

Character bio time!


The Light Music Club sure are an interesting bunch of girls that come together, all with different personalities and quirks to each other to create hilarity.

Our lead, Yui, shall be up first:

Besides Ritsu, Yui is a member of the club who is highly energetic and a bundle of joy the majority of the time. She nicknames her guitar Gita after buying it, and eventually becomes excellent at playing it. This is slightly unrealistic to me, considering I've been playing guitar for 4 years and haven't gotten to the level she has yet, but mastering it in such a short time? I don't know whether to be shocked or jealous.

Besides playing lead guitar, Yui is also on main vocals. She can be a little bit of a klutz, and spaces out from time to time, but when pushed hard, she can achieve great things and grades. Her younger sister Ui acts more mature than she does, helping take care of her since their parents are always on business trips. She also has something similar to Stocking and Orhime, as when she eats food, she typically doesn't gain weight. Though Stocking has it a bit differently though, since she can eat just sweets and her weight goes straight to her boobs.

As a main character, Yui's pretty funny and clever. Though her advancing in guitar may seem a tad unrealistic, I think she still has a great personality and lots of charisma. I found it to be pretty funny when she focuses so much on one thing that she forgets others. Even through her moments, I can still respect her since she just has high energy.

Mio's turn up on the stage:

Mio originally wanted to join the Literacy Club, but was dragged into the Light Music Club by her friend Ritsu. Not a bad idea for sure, because Mio is my favorite character in this anime. Though she is very mature and strict, especially when Ritsu's goofing around, she has her weakness. Her weakness is that she's scared of pretty much everything relating to horror. OMG, I can totes relate! I hate anything that creeps me out, but it's definitely not nearly as comedic as Mio's fears are.

She will often freak out if things involve ghosts, blood, any sort of injury she'll think will be disgusting, corn barnacles, and haunted houses. She also has the habit of getting nervous on stage, having to do lead vocals at the Light Music Club's first performance due to Yui getting sick, where she suffered from horrible stage fright. Another thing is that she purposely chose the bass since it's not the center of attention in the band. She also is the main songwriter.

I don't know what first attracted me to Mio. Maybe it was her look or how I could relate to her personality later down the line, or a mix of those two. I just think she's very charming and has a lot of good qualities to her that I like. She also has some flaws, which I can get behind, and she is very respectable.

Tsumugi's up:

Tsumugi is in my opinion the most bland out of the core set. Though I do really like how kind she is, it only takes a matter of time from where too much of just one element to a character makes them quite stale and forgettable. That lies in Tsumugi's case unfortunately, and I wish it didn't.

Besides being the keyboardist of the band and coming from a very rich family, Tsumugi is also responsible for bringing the snacks to each club meeting, such as dessert and tea. Her family also owns many summer homes in Japan (and one in Finland), though she prefers not to flaunt her wealth in front of her friends since she doesn't want special treatment. She also likes trying new things, and can occasionally break out of her shell, surprising Mio and often no one else. She is given the nickname Mugi by the others.

So overall, I don't really hate Tsumugi. I just find her to have the most boring personality out of the Light Music Club. I think she could have had a little more depth to her that would have made her interesting, but she's fine the way she is.

Ritsu's last up:

Ritsy is VERY hyperactive, and is Mio's childhood friend. She is the cause of some of her shyness, considering how much she embarrassed her throughout elementary school. She does get a bit jealous when Mio does become closer to Nodoka, Yui's childhood friend in their 2nd year. but I think that's because she's just really close to Mio herself. She plays drums in the band.

Besides being the person who kind of started this revival with Mio, she made herself the Club President, though she can be irresponsible with forms. She also likes picking on Mio, but doesn't quite know when to stop, so the others have to warn her about that. She is a ball of energy much like Yui, and they bond rather quickly.

I think Ritsu is the most enjoyable out of the club. Being the complete hyperactive person that she is, I can see how easy Yui and her bonded, and she also does justice to the show's humor, her moments of comedy being some of the best. I also liked how she can bring life to the cast, and has some great antics.

Other characters include Azusa, a first year student who joins up with the Light Music Club later on in the show, Yui's younger sister, Mrs. Yamada, who eventually becomes the club's adviser and is another great comedy character. Nodoka, Yui's childhood friend, and Jun, a girl who Ui becomes friends with in high school.


The animation for this series was produced by Kyoto Animation, also known for animating series such as Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, Air, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

I've always liked this series' animation. Though the characters and the environments for most of the time do look pretty simplistic, it comes to life when they play music. Whichever song that the girls perform is perfectly synced to the animation, and the instruments have this really nice shine to them that caught my attention when I first watched this. Moments like these help me notice something unique in a show, and I think this is a great quality for K-On!

So overall, the anime does look pretty simple, but the instrument animation helps raise it for me.


The score for this anime was composed by Hajime Hyakkoku, who has also produced scores for animes such as Gugure! Kokkuri-san and Saekano.

Much like the score for Gugure! Kokkuri-san, K-On's score can be a little generic at parts, but there are some nice pieces in the score to make it at least somewhat memorable. But the songs stand out more than the OST does. Some of the lyrics are a little cheesy, but I think some of these can also be pretty cute. It's like Uta Pri in a way, the songs are pretty nice (not all BTW) despite some cheesiness in their lyrics.

I first watched this show in its English dub, and I still prefer it today. I did watch its first 2 episodes in Japanese when I first started rewatching it, and its not bad, but I'm more used to it in English. It's like Rosario + Vampire, though the majority of the Japanese voices in that show are intolerable. 

The dub is pretty good, and it doesn't even matter if they didn't dub over the songs. All of the actresses do respectively well at showcasing off their respective personalities, and I think Cristina Vee shows Mio's panicked side better than Yoko Hikasa for example. They still keep the suffixes for Yui and Mrs. Yamanaka, which still doesn't really work like Nyan Koi's dub, but it's less insufferable.

Highlights in the original Japanese so far are Aki Toyosaki, Yoko Hikasa, Minako Kotobuki, Asami Sanada, and Madoka Yonezawa.

Highlights in the English dub are Stephanie Sheh, Christina Vee, Cassandra Lee, Shelby Lindley, Christine Marie Cabanos, Karen Strassman, and Laura Bailey.


Much like other slice-of-life shows I've seen, K-On! manages to bring a lot of personality onto the screen and into me.  I haven't encountered a bad slice-of-life show yet and that makes me happy. Hopefully this trend manages to continue, since this will still be one of my favorites, with Lucky Star on top.

I'm interested to see what will happen in the second season, because it's twice as long as the first season and should have more content. Speaking of second seasons, my next review will be one of them. Bring out the microphones guys!

Score: 8.5/10


Great set-up for the series.

Core group of girls do have some good aspects to them.

Nice animation.

Good songs.

English dub is enjoyable to listen to,

Chemistry is superb between the girls. 


Band dynamics aren't as strong as I would have liked.

No real crises.

Characters don't really evolve.

No comments:

Post a Comment