Tag Archives: K-on

K-on: The Movie: Light and Fluffy times in London

It’s been a while since I looked at the first series of Kyoto animation’s K-on. The final verdict for the series was that it was really good. Having a great sense of humour and being fun to watch. Someday, I’ll undoubtedly get around to reviewing the second series but, for the time being, let’s look at the film that came out in December of 2011.

Story:

The film is set near the end of the second series. Graduation is rapidly approaching for Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi. The four of them decide to take a graduation trip to London, taking Azusa with them even though her graduation isn’t for another year simply because they enjoy her company and a trip without her wouldn’t feel right after all the time they’ve spent together. The film covers their trip to London complete with various misadventures as well as their graduation.

I only have one criticism of the film’s narrative, the graduation scenes do repeat information you already got in the series proper, except they don’t do it as well. I will give it credit for actually doing new animation for it instead of recycling the stuff from the series verbatim, but presumably the people watching the film are largely going to be fans of the series. As such it would have made more sense to keep the focus on the trip and dispense with the part we’ve already seen. That complaint aside, the film has all the charm and good humour that makes the series such a joy to watch. The narrative flows well with events progressing very naturally. The details of the creative process are woven very well into the story and it does lead to some good scenes even if the payoff is something we’ve already seen.

Characters:

The cast possesses all the charm and light-hearted fun that they had within the series. The interactions among them are great and a lot of fun to watch. Just don’t expect the film to alter the way you see them as characters. They still aren’t the most complex group of characters, but they are a lot of fun and more than adequate for a comedic slice of life story.

Art:

The art is really nicely done with well detailed backgrounds and a great attention to details. Really, my only minor complaint here is the lack of noses. Which, to be fair, is a valid stylistic choice for the medium, but it’s also kind of an inexplicable one. Are noses really that difficult to draw? I should also briefly talk about the concert scenes which are really spectacular in this with great energy imbued into the animation for them.

Sound:

The acting I well done with Sato Satomi, Hikasa Yoko, Toyosaki Aki, Kotobuki Minako and Taketatsu Ayana all giving strong performances. I also have to compliment the music, which is excellent.

Ho-yay Factor:

There are some homo-erotic scenes among the girls, although not as many as the main series. The two who get the most in this are Azusa and Yui. The ho-yay factor is going o be a 5/10 for a fair amount of les-yay.

Final Thoughts:

This movie is a great deal of fun and it has a lot of charm. There are some minor issues, but nothing that should affect your enjoyment too much. Unless you just don’t like slice of life stories in which case it’s certainly not a film for you. My final rating, however, is going to be a 9/10. Next week, it’s finally time, Dragonball.

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Reviews of Yesteryear: K-on

K-on started out as a short comic strip manga. It became absurdly popular and has since been adapted into two TV anime, two OVAs, a film and a PSP game. Is it popular for a reason or does its popularity have nothing to do with quality? Let’s take a look at the first anime series and find out.

The story of K-on begins with a pair of girls named Mio and Ritsu who decide to join the soon to be abolished light music club. They soon find a third member, Mugi, but they need one more to keep the club alive. Enter Yui, a girl with no¬†idea what light music is or even how to read music. To save their club, the group convinces her to join and learn how to play the guitar. The series follows a linear structure, but most of it just focuses on the everyday lives of the girls as they learn together and have fun. Overall the series does a good job of setting up interesting situations for the characters and executing them in a way that’s fun to watch. Humour is used as a major element and it’s almost always used to great effect. One issue I do have is that the girls overcome all their problems really easily. Especially Yui who quickly learns how to play the guitar with only minor problems. But it’s not a huge issue since it does fit the show’s lighthearted aesthetic well.

The characters are a little under-developed. Most of them follow tropes without ever really deviating from those tropes. The characters do interact well with each other and with the situations they get into. They also get some development, but they never get fully fleshed out.

The art is good. It’s pretty distinctive and the backgrounds are really vivid and well done. They occasionally do strange things with it, but they don’t go overboard and it generally works for the scene. One problem I do have with it is that they can’t seem to draw noses but that is a pretty small complaint. My biggest complaint is that the art can be lazy on occasion.¬†Overall it does suit the series well.

The voice acting is well done. It’s not the best I’ve heard, but Toyoskai Ai, Kotobuki Minako, Satou Satomi and the rest of the main cast all do well with their roles. The music is one of the strong points of the series. They manage to make the girls sound like a skilled but still inexperienced band which strengthens the series’ premise.

The yuri factor is a 6/10. All of the main five girls share some really homoerotic moments, especially Yui with anyone. I especially like the way Mugi responds to several of these moments by getting really excited and generally being a yuri fan girl. Although there are a lot of these moments, they never move into the realm of canon with them.

My final rating for K-on is an 8/10. It has some issues, but they’re generally pretty insubstantial and shouldn’t affect anyone’s enjoyment too much. Overall it’s a lot of fun to watch and uses humour well. If you’re a fan of Azumanga Daioh or Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight you’ll probably enjoy K-on as well.