Saturday, January 23, 2010


Just finished rockin' out to the ending theme...
Awwww yeah.


Moe has a curious place in fandom. It is a trait that some fans love and some fans hate. That's normal though. The part that makes it interesting is that it seemingly overrides any other aspect of the show. If it's got moe traits, it will be hated by many for those traits and loved by many for those traits.

My personal feelings on moe are slightly different than the usual love/hate relationship. I realize that it's there, I realize that they build the characters to cater to fans and I realize that it's often very similar. Really though, is it that bad? K-ON has been frequently compared to the likes of Hidamari Sketch or Azumanga Daioh because they both follow the classic archetype of x amount of girls in a slice of life/comedy setting doing cute things.

Azumanga Daioh is able to stand out from the shows just a tiny bit because it was one of the first. A pioneer in the manufacturing of characters for the pleasure of the fans. It is for this reason AzuDaioh stands out. Most series now will not get away with simply x girls in a slice of life setting; they need a hook. Lucky Star had otaku culture, Hidamari Sketch had art and K-ON uses music.

This brings me to my point, my justification as to why I love K-ON as I do: I love music.
At the point where I suppose I'd consider myself a musician (the term itself being very loosely defined) music makes up a significant part of what I enjoy. I listen to it, play it and compose it. It is in that respect that I am a complete sucker for a music themed anime. (The incredible animation and moe characters help too)

So go the haters can go ahead and hate the show, I can see why some will hate it.

With that out the way, it's time to talk about the actual episode

The episode begins with Yui, Mugi, Ritsu, Mio and Azusa being invited to play a live show for new years eve by Ritsu's friend - Well I suppose that is just the preview for the episode - The episode really begins with the opening, which happens to be a favorite of mine, augmented by a nifty little guitar riff during the chorus (which is in no version of the song that I've ever heard, perhaps KyoAni just happened to have some people on staff who could play guitar and were also voice acting and felt that the opening needed something a little ... more)

That beginning pretty much lays down the groundwork as to what's coming. No surprises here. The Gang (yes, that's a proper noun now okay?) soon after finds their way to a small club where they will play a new years show along with a few other bands, including one with Ritsu and Mio's friends and one that is so incredibly metal that they probably don't have any friends because they killed them all

Of course, Yui promptly becomes friends with this band and The Gang fits right in. Not long after this, the bands are having tea with each other, courtesy of Mugi.

Fun fact: Sawa's band is named Death Devil.
The show is now infinitely hardcore, which is a contrast to the art style.

This tea is cut short, however by the need to set up and rehearse.
The group decides to play in their school uniforms because Mio is totally not in school of rock, totally not Jack Black and not inspired by AC/DC at all... Well except for the lines of dialogue, they're the same.

After a bit of a false start, The Gang gets their shit together and pulls off a great show, impressing their Yui's teacher, Yui's sister Yui's friend and Yui's sister's friend. This being the point where an average episode would end, the OVA simply scoffs and keeps going. Interestingly enough, that must be some damn good pacing because they made a 23 minute episode that seemed double that.

Afterward, The Gang goes back to Yui's house to celebrate new years. Most likley Yui's house because her parents are Never. Ever. Home. Despite a few of them falling asleep, Ritsu and Mio brave the late, late hours of midnight on what is most likley a break from school.
How will they ever do such a thing. I really do wonder why Yui is not able to stay up past midnight, yet goes till at least 3 in the morning in another episode studying.

it's 12:00, do you know where your children are?
... Oh... Well do they know where you are?
How about why their teacher is sleeping beside them?

Awoken early in the morning by Yui, The Gang goes to watch the first sunrise of the year on what is clearly the same hill from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien.
How's that for a name drop eh?

Also I'm sure it it were the same hill then that imply fun times ahead for the band!

Overall I enjoyed the episode for what it was: A teaser for season two. It did a good job of getting me hyped again just in time to realize that the season has no concrete air date and most likley will not air alongside a certain other slice of life series which is in its third season. I found the animation to be quite impressive, on the same level as the earlier episodes of K-ON and at sometimes maybe even Street Fighter 3 quality.

The soundtrack, though oft extremely background deserves a mention because it really was pretty enjoyable. It's jazzy Latin feeling soundtrack is a nice contrast to the usual piano pieces that slice of life tends to bring to mind.

I would complain that the episode was completely unrelated to the manga, but I really don't care seeing as it was good anyway. Also I'm not one of "those" people.
You know the ones...

See you in season 2!