Region: 2 - UK
Volume: 3 of 4
Length: 125 minutes
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Azusa has just joined the Light Music Club and she is shocked that all they do is drink tea and eat snacks instead of practising. The rest of the band reassures her that they will practice hard at their training camp but despite Azusa's objections, the girls end up playing all day at the beach. Azusa soon learns that reason why the band plays so well is because they have so much fun together.
With the school festival right around the corner, the girls still have some hurdles to clear like filling out the stage use application, doing maintenance on Yui's guitar and coming up with a band name!
Kyoto Animation – masters of moe, have captured audiences and adoring fans with their greatest export - unforgettable heroines. From the irrepressible Suzumiya Haruhi to the bittersweet beauties of the Key dramas, Kyo-Ani have produced hit after hit with otaku in Japan and all over the world.
K-On! is irrefutably another of these success stories, however, it is also a show that has met with considerable resistance from the many anime fans who cannot stomach the shenanigans of the girl band and their after school teatime. This is down to the slice of life format, which is comprised entirely of moe characters and built from a four-panel comedy manga. Where the drama revolves around small scale scenarios and there is no conventional or significant narrative progression, many watchers will find themselves bemused or frustrated. Major events are only as pivotal as the emotional highs and lows of a group of friends who have as much passion for their band as they do the inclination to procrastinate, fool around and eat cake.
The characters themselves, it should be added, are not insipid or two dimensional despite the everyday events shape their adventures. K-On! would not work were it not for the striking individuality that makes the girls so charming and their reactions so infectiously funny. These are spirited teenagers and every moment of the show is devoted to depicting this and little else besides.
A key element of its appeal is in the character animation. The reactions, expressions and comic timing are exquisite and prompt an abundance of laugh out loud moments.
The animation production quality is great. Kyo-Ani have made an excellent pitch at selling the musical side of the show by paying great attention to detail. They have truly made the most of the girls' performance sequences right down to the technical portrayal of the instruments and their playing.
In this instalment, the key event is the introduction of a new member to the Houkago crew with junior Azusa (affectionately dubbed Azu-nyan for her feline characteristics) joining the group. Coming to the club with aspirations as a serious musician, Azusa is alarmed when she is entrapped by the intoxicating environment that is both exciting and infuriating. She feels a keen sense of urgency for the club's apparent lack of it (despite the upcoming performances at the cultural festival) and alternates between aggravation and temporary placation
For many female watchers, they may indeed recognise their own experiences at school with friends, looking back on sleepovers, summer holidays and studies remembering just the kind of nonsense that were the sum of those days. For guys meanwhile, it may provide a unique insight into the impenetrable realm of the giggling groups of girlfriends. It is often an incomprehensible and idiotic world but also a sweet, funny and undeniably attractive one.
K-On! perfectly captures the lazy days, the optimism and free-wheeling ways of the world as seen by those with no worries (at least not in the form of adversaries, impending apocalypse or romance). For being much about very little at all, it is a great change of pace and a fresh breath of summer breeze to lighten the load of everyday woes. Great entertainment and at the VERY least a wonderful way to waste time!