K-ON!! S2

August 6, 2011

Yay! It’s finally here! The much anticipated sequel that fans have been wishing for is here! Come and long gone by the time I blog this of course. Which sequel am I talking about? Ever since the surprise hit about a quartet-turned-quintet of high school students forming a rock band came out in 2009, fans are delighted that the following year, K-ON!! the sequel came out. Yeah, just add another exclamation mark. But it suits find because as the mark indicates, a strong or emphasis feeling. You’d expect more of that here. Plus, the sequel lasts longer than its first so instead of just 13 episode in the first, we have 26 episodes this time. Yehaa! A good double dose of Mio and the gang. Yes, I still like that left-hander bassist and the main motivation for me to continue watching the sequel.

Episode 1
So without going to boring details about the setting and stuff (hardcore K-ON! fans should know this by heart anyway), this season opener sees the K-ON! quartet of Ritsu, Mio, Yui and Tsumugi becoming third year seniors and Azusa a second year. Good news for the girls is that they are being put into the same class. Yeah, Mio don’t have to go through all alienated trauma again from being separated. Seems Nodoka is in the same class to. Does it feel like someone has fixed the classes? Apparently as they later find out, their homeroom teacher is no other than Sawako who ‘abused her authority’ (taking from Ritsu’s mouth) in doing so because it is easier for her to remember her familiar faces. Later, the girls go on a recruiting spree (it’s that horrible animal suits again. Don’t they have anything better?) so that when they graduate, Azusa won’t be lonely in the club. They also try other ‘forceful’ tactics but it isn’t working. So much so they go sit in other clubs to assess how they recruit members. Almost want to join that club, eh? Then they do a live performance for recruitment just like how Azusa joined them in last season. Newbies: Nil. Azusa sinks into depression. As the seniors ponder on their next action, Azusa overhears Yui’s earnest feelings and feels it is okay to leave things at it is for now. If Yui thinks she is going to get some reprieve, think again because Azusa is going to be strict with her from now on. When is a newbie when you need one?

Episode 2
The girls clean up their club room. Makes you wonder how they end up with all those junk. They find an old electric guitar belonging to Sawako during her wild days. She wants the girls to pawn it so that they could use the money to fund the club. After frolicking around at a hardware store, the girls are shocked that the value of the guitar is 500,000 Yen! Oh sh*t! Have they ever seen that much money in their life before? With that much money, they start fantasizing all the stuff they can buy. When Sawako enquires them about the guitar sale, the girls try to avoid and change the topic. Sawako keeps pestering so Ritsu answers 10,000 Yen. Greedy! But that backfires when Sawako asks to hand over the receipt as proof. Dang. Ritsu even tries to swallow the receipt! Of course Sawako finds out and the girls apologize and get down on all fours. As punishment, Sawako only lets them keep that amount for lying as they could’ve kept the hold thing if they told the truth. So kids, what does this tell you about lying? However she agrees to buy them something. They decide to buy a soft shell turtle named Ton-chan and an aquarium for Azusa thinking that she likes it and also so that she won’t be lonely when they graduate.

Episode 3
As the girls busily learn to take care of Ton-chan, Ritsu throws a tantrum that she doesn’t want to play drums anymore! OMG! Say this can’t be true! She’s tired to be at the back of the band? Not enough spot light on her? Isn’t her shiny forehead enough? Haha! Just kidding. Ritsu tries her hands at guitar as Azusa coaches her but gives up upon finding that she needs to do lots of ‘intricate finger work’. Then it is Tsumugi’s keyboards but as usual, it’s not for her. Just pressing for sound effects, eh? I’m sure she’d want to take Mio’s place as bassist but the latter went on ranting about wanting to stay out of the spotlight so much so she exhausts herself. After they had their class photo taken, Yui gets an idea to rearrange Ritsu’s position to the front. Not feasible. Her forehead is reflecting too much light. Back home, Ritsu remembers how she became fascinated and practice playing drums every day due to The Who’s drummer. She gets inspiration to continue playing drums. A bonus for the girls is that Tsumugi has come out with a new song from Ritsu’s fluke keyboard pressing: Honey Sweet Tea Time. Mio decides to come up with the lyrics but finds the rest are too noisy eating their tea so she goes join them.

Episode 4
The third year students go on a field trip to Kyoto. Ritsu and Yui are acting so childishly that it irks Mio very much. At every destination they go. Poor Mio. It must be hard to take care a bunch of naughty kids, eh? This even annoys Sawako (trying to buy a love charm?). Their childishness continues even back at the inn from dinner time to bath time and sleeping time. Where did they get so much energy? Which field trip is complete without the mandatory pillow fight (though it is strictly prohibited by Sawako) and some snickering joke in their sleep. The next day of their field trip is a free day. The girls have freedom to go anywhere they want as long as they stick to their group and schedule. The usual antics and our K-ON! girls wandered so far that they got lost. Yui even tried calling Azusa for help but there’s no point in that, right? They thought help has arrived when they see Nodoka’s group. Unfortunately, they’re lost too. Finally Mio loosens up and laughs with everybody. Thankfully everyone returns safely back to the inn. The girls want Sawako to join them for a ghost story (not approved of course) and they return back via train the next day.

Episode 5
After an episode without Azusa, this episode sees what she and her classmates, Ui and Jun did while her band-mates are in Kyoto. Noticing that Ui is lonely without her sister whom she loves dearly, Azusa and Jun decide to company her with a sleepover. In the midst of talking and all, they receive periodic SMS from their seniors. Some of them that don’t make sense like Ritsu’s “Skull”. In return, they have to help Jun clean her jazz band club’s instruments. The trio continue to spend time together and doing stuff like visiting Yui’s room, playing baseball and then visiting K-ON!’s club room. They get this idea to play a little while since nobody is around (it’s Sunday) and it is raining. With Azusa on her usual guitar, Ui on keyboards and Jun on bass (wait a minute, I thought Mio’s bass is a lefty?) they make some music. Okay, maybe some will call it ‘sound’. After they left, that’s when Azusa get a call from Yui saying that she is lost before hanging up. When the seniors return, Yui brings Azusa to the club as they give her a keychain. Each of their individual set spells out the name of their club. Azusa wishes that they practice their music but the lethargic rest feel they should just have tea for today. Yeah, this is the club that we all love.

Episode 6
On a rainy day, Yui tries to bring her guitar to school without getting it wet, going to great lengths to protect it from any splash. Since she is all wet, she temporarily borrows Sawako’s maid costume, much to that teacher’s shock. Why don’t you just let her be in that outfit since she looks cute. Anyway Nodoka hands her jerseys from her friend to wear. After her school uniform is dried, Azusa advices Yui to take care of her guitar’s fingerboard so as not to get mouldy like changing its strings. As it continues to rain over the next few days, Yui takes drastic measures to bring her guitar to school. Did she overwrap it? Yeah, hard time tearing it all off. They suggest her to leave it here but she gets a case of empty nest syndrome. Yeah, I guess she needs to sleep with it and even using it as her bolster. Man, her guitar is sure useful. Yui can’t and won’t be separated ever from her guitar again so she even brings it to class, much to Sawako’s annoyance. And Mio is starting to feel some attachment to her bass, accepting to call it Elizabeth? Be careful Mio. The rest are watching with glee…

Episode 7
Mio feels that someone is watching her. Why not? We all are! Okay, so this series isn’t breaking the fourth wall. Anyway Tsumugi solves the mystery as she takes out a sticker stuck to her hair. Nobody else noticed that? Nodoka comes in with a couple of girls claiming to be Mio’s fan club. This brings back memories of last year whereby Mio had the feeling that somebody is stalking her. Before Nodoka was the student council president, it was held by Megumi Sokabe. Sokabe offered to help out but surprisingly she knows too much info on Mio. Then they discovered that she is also the culprit and the president of the Mio Fan Club! Member number 001! Sokabe is sad that she is graduating and won’t be able to see Mio anymore. Thus the K-ON! girls (without Azusa then) threw her a live private performance as her graduation gift. After she left, Sokabe handed her membership card to Nodoka. So now she’s literally the president. Nodoka suggests hosting a tea party for her fans. Oh dear. I wonder how Mio feels all about this. After all the preparation, the party kicks off with a stiff Mio giving her speech, cutting cake, serving her fans and the much dreaded Q&A session. It ends with Mio reciting a poem to convey her feelings (not that I understand about sugar, caramel, maple syrup, etc – but yummy… Sweet!) and a live performance from the gang. Azusa takes a picture of the performance so that Nodoka could send it to Sokabe as a nice gift. I can say she is quite pleased with it. Say, can I join Mio’s fan club too?

Episode 8
Yui and Ritsu haven’t decide which university to go to or their future career yet. They continue to be irresponsible, not taking their future seriously. So much so they get called by Sawako to the teacher’s room. I don’t know how but the duo manage to twist the conversation into one that has Sawako lamenting her boyfriend-less self and end up being a teacher. Nodoka explains to the rest how she first met Yui during kindergarten and ever since they became inseparable. In my point of view, I think klutzy Yui was kinda annoying (not in a bad way). Nodoka could put up with her because, well, of her innocent smile. That always does the trick. Then they exchange tales of Yui’s career choice as a kindergarten teacher when she was young and how Ritsu helped Mio overcome her stage fear to read her essay that she won first place. Yui and Ritsu resubmit their choice careers but get rejected again. What’s wrong of becoming a musician? I’m sure you can’t imagine Yui doing all the other jobs, right? That will be downright disastrous. After thinking real hard and asking other students about their choice, she finally submits that she will do her best for now. Not good enough so rejected again.

Episode 9
The final exams are coming up. Yui has a hard time concentrating (has she ever?) and this doesn’t help since the rest of her K-ON! members are putting up their usual antics. On her way home, Yui meets a grandma who has always taken care of her when she was young. She praises Yui for being hardworking. Because of that, she would like to do something for her in return. On a day Ui sends her sister to get buy some ingredients, Yui changes upon grandma again. She shows Yui a poster whereby she hopes to see her in a guitar performance in a local talent show. However it is just right after her finals. Since she can’t turn her down and seeing how much she is looking forward to it, she accepts. Over the next few days, Yui practices hard with her other pals helping her to keep in line with the schedule. Azusa agrees to partner with her for the show. After the exams, tired Yui sleeps during performance day but she manages to stay awake and be her natural self during the performance, delighting the crowd with their stand-up comedy antics and guitar performance combo. Though they didn’t win and just got a prize for participation, Yui decides to give it to grandma but she is just happy that they did a great job. To add icing to the cake, Yui scored high marks in all her subjects! Wow! I hope this isn’t a fluke. Soon the rest start dreaming of putting up a combo performance of their own.

Episode 10
Sawako is in her usual idling with the girls in the K-ON! room. She receives a call but since her actions are suspicious, the girls decide to follow and tail her. In a cafe, Sawako meets an old friend. The K-ON! girls are so bungling that I think if the other people wasn’t cooperative, they wouldn’t be able to hide themselves. After Sawako left, the lady, Norimi approaches the girls. She knows who they are from the uniform and it is revealed that she is an alumna of their school’s previous K-ON! club and Sawako’s ex-band mates. The discussion is about Sawako getting married. JUST KIDDING! Actually one of their band mates is getting hitch so Norimi wanted them to do a final gig at the wedding reception in which Sawako refused due to the clean teacher image she wants to portray. The girls later go try convince Sawako but nothing worked out. Because of so, Yui volunteers to take up Sawako’s role in the gig. So of course it’s a surprise for Sawako to see Yui taking the lead and it isn’t the wild heavy metal band she once knew. Torn between her image and the real Death Devil band, Sawako makes up her mind. She goes up on stage and releases her devilish hard rock attitude and killer riffs! OH GOD! Is this the Sawako we know?! The crowd goes wild so much so the wedding reception turns into a little rock concert. Next day back in school, Sawako is lamenting that her good image is all over. A few students come up to her and are taken in by her coolness. Ah, all is not lost.

Episode 11
A hot summer’s day, the girls notice Ton-chan shedding its skin. They try several ways to beat the heat like wearing swimsuits (or that animal ones again. WTF?!) and a scary story. Remember they had an old electrical fan stored away, they use it for their practice but Ritsu isn’t happy since those in the front are hogging it. Too bad it broke down. Tsumugi brought a bucket of ice in which Yui and Ritsu argue over rights to put their feet in it. Noticing that Sawako isn’t around (she’s lazing in her air-conditioned teacher’s room), they drag her to the club room and show her Ton-chan’s shedding. They want to switch it to a bigger tank like the one in Tsumugi’s house. Sawako was reluctant to help out till Tsumugi gave her the usual dessert bribe. After getting the tank, now the girls want an air-cond in their club room. They go complain to Nodoka but it turns out that it was Ritsu’s fault for not turning in their request for one during club meetings. The K-ON! girls hold a mock meeting as practice to get their air-cond request. Fortunately there is no major hiccups as they have exaggeratedly foresee and though the school did not have enough budget, Nodoka manages to squeeze enough for them by delaying the replacement of a photocopier. Now the K-ON! club can rejoice with their new air-cond. But why are they getting so lazy to practice? Same thing, right? Whether hot or cold. And just when they get the energy to resume practice, Yui remembers she is allergic to air-cond. Bummer.

Episode 12
The summer vacation is here. They think of doing another summer camp but that is so last season. Instead, they plan to visit a summer rock festival in the mountains. That would be good for a change. Sawako seems eager to go. Yeah, she already has tickets. She even seems to be like a pro and unofficial leader of the gang, knowing what to do, telling them what to do. From the bus ride to the entrance gate to even setting up tents for the night. They plan on which concerts they intend to watch since there are several concerts being held simultaneously at different nearby stages. The summer heat is overwhelming but once you get into the groove, the music cools everything down. Through rain and shine, the girls go all out to experience the ultimate nonstop summer rock festival and Sawako really submerging herself in the rock concert. Hey, Azusa got sunburned. She’s really tanned. Brings back memories, eh? So with that, our girls get the resolve they need to reach their goal and play together as a band. Can they, really?

Episode 13
Since the seniors are studying for their exams, Azusa pays Ui a visit at her home. Then they decide to go visit Jun in her club room but she’s not in so they hang out in K-ON!’s club room. Then they go out to town and watch a movie together. Later they meet up with Jun and have fun at the water amusement park. Because Azusa is telling all the fun stuff (including the bad ones) that the K-ON! club does, Jun gets jealous and feels regret that she didn’t join it earlier. Why doesn’t she join now? Oh yeah, she’s in a jazz club. All this while on and off, Azusa has been having strange dreams like Yui’s food poisoning on watermelon and tempura, noticing a ‘dead’ Mio while watching a horror movie, winning a lottery grand prize and sliding down the tube with a yakisoba.  Just plain weird. Maybe it’s the summer heat. After that, the trio bump into the K-ON! seniors leaving the library so they all go to the summer festival together. After eating their fair share of snow cones, Azusa, Ui and Jun get separated from the rest. On their way back, Azusa asks Jun if she would like to join her club. She replies she would if they don’t get any new members. In the bath, Azusa wonders if this is all a dream since she is going to be alone soon but snaps out of it by declaring to do her best in the upcoming school festival. Yui comes back and eats the tempura when she gets a call from Azusa. Apparently she didn’t read a postcard she earlier sent about not eating snow cones and tempura together for indigestion. Too late…

Episode 14
Ritsu bugs Mio to hang out with her. However she prefers to study alone. Yeah, you know the distraction you get when you’re with her. Even Yui is studying with Nodoka (the world is going to end! Oh wait. It’s not. Yui is still the same lazy fart who needs goody Nodoka to keep her in line). Who else to hang out with? Hmm… Tsumugi? Why does she sound so hard-up to hang out with her? Ritsu takes her out to several spots like the video arcade, taking photos, the sweets store and finally the cafe. Why does Tsumugi always seem so enthusiastic to try them out like as though it’s her first time? Maybe it is. Tsumugi has an unusual request for Ritsu. She wants her to hit her! Did I hear that right? Of course she can’t and even if she did, it was a very soft tap. Her reason for wanting so because she’s always observing Ritsu and Mio and notice how close they are. Yeah, Mio is always hitting her for her idiot antics. Is that what she concludes? Later as all the girls gather, it is part of Ritsu’s plan to ‘train’ Tsumugi so that she would be an idiot annoying enough for Mio to hit her. WTF?! Anyway it didn’t work and at certain points, Ritsu is the one getting hit. Who would want to whack a cutie like Tsumugi, eh? Back at the club room, the duo come up with another plan. As they begin eating their usual cake, Tsumugi suddenly snatches and eats Mio’s strawberry portion. She didn’t get angry but instead cried. Aww… Poor thing. Finally Tsumugi reveals her intentions as Mio prepares to do the unthinkable of hitting her. Can she do it this time? Well, she hit Ritsu instead. Hey, why her?! As Ritsu and Tsumugi lament their failed plan, Tsumugi notes how she is a good friend and that if she is a boy, she would be real popular. This embarrasses Ritsu so much that she hit her for real! Ah, a success.

Episode 15
School is back but it is what Yui dreads because it is the annual school marathon. While she and Ui are shopping, they bump into Sawako. They hitch her ride in her car to see the route she is recceing for the marathon. Yui is already feeling so demotivated even before the run starts. They also notice the foodstuff like red bean soup that she needs to make after the marathon. Yui’s prayers for it to rain tomorrow didn’t come true as it is bright and sunny. Damn the sweltering heat. So the run starts and as usual the K-ON! girls are having problems keeping their pace because of you-know-who. They try to keep their mind distracted from the tiredness but it ends up quite annoying. Then they realize Yui is missing. How could they even come up with the theory that Yui has been abducted by aliens? Ah well, it’s Yui they’re talking about. They go search for her and also tell Sawako about it. Thankfully Ui has an idea where she is and true enough that little devil is taking a break at granny’s house nearby. As the quartet jogs their way to the finish line, it seems they are the last to arrive. Suddenly Yui gets this horrifying conclusion that there will be not enough rice cakes for the last person (because she took an ingredient from Sawako’s car and at it in class for snack). This has everybody panicking and making a final crazy dash to the finish line. To avoid the embarrassment of finishing last too. Where did they get so much bursting power? It’s every girl for herself! When it seemed like everybody is touching the line at the same time, Mio trips but instantly did a flashy finishing rolling move to land on her feet. Eh? Wow… And of course they get a piece of rice cake each since there is more than enough for everybody. As for Sawako, she’s still lost searching for Yui. Oh man…

Episode 16
Due to K-ON!’s usual idling and doing little practice, Azusa couldn’t possibly tell Jun their activities. That will be just bad. But that is the K-ON! club for you. Azusa goes to the club room and sees Tsumugi sleeping alone crouching behind her chair. She learns that she wants to scare someone. Huh? But I guess Tsumugi is really bored and that no one else has come into the room so Azusa gives her a little guitar lessons since she’s giving her that ‘can-I-try’ look. After that, Azusa cleans a cake cream on Tsumugi’s cheek and finds that the other members are spying them from the outside. Yeah, it’s amusing to see Azusa and Tsumugi interact. Then on another day, Azusa comes in to find Mio alone. She thought she could have some quality practice with Mio when Ritsu barges in and pesters for Mio’s help with her home economics work. Oh well, another time then. Everyone goes back to Ritsu’s home and stays for dinner. And on another day as Azusa resolves to get strict this time or else she’ll be losing her own confidence, this time it is Yui alone. Oh dear. No more distractions please… Ah crap. Might as well help her clean Ton-chan’s tank. After that they can get some serious music practice. But wait. Yui doesn’t know how to read the notes to Tsumugi’s new song! So Azusa has to teach her. Then Azusa gives her piece of mind about the too many breaks and slacking off in the club so Yui replies that everyone is as who they are. So can we still practice? Cut me some slack, girl. Jun thinks that Azusa’s club is having lots of fun but Azusa thinks they should be practising more. A girl comes looking for Azusa and gives her back the keychain she accidentally dropped (it had a sticker bearing her name behind). I guess this made Azusa feel the importance of her club and gives some breathing space to her mates. As Azusa’s class discuss about what to do for their cafe for the cultural festival, Azusa thinks that all waitresses should wear cat ears. This has Jun thinking that she truly has become part of the K-ON! club and causes Azusa to sweat in panic. Well, you can’t deny that she’s part of it, right?

Episode 17
The club room is being repaired for water leaks so the girls can’t practice. Ironically for a band that spends more time idling than practising, they’re going around to look for a place to do so. Like their own classroom (too noisy) and the gym (got distracted by other clubs in action). Sawako helps to find a place for them but there is no room available so she suggests to rent a studio. After successfully registering in one, they get distracted with the studio’s equipment and have their tea break outside. Seriously, is this any different from their club room? They need to use this ‘break time’ to think of lyrics for Tsumugi’s song. All I can say is that everyone needs to think and rewrite them again. Tsumugi’s one sounded like a murder mystery and Azusa like wanting to feed Ton-chan. By the time they are ready to resume practice, their time is up. So much for the wasted time, money and effort. But good news is that their club room is now completely repaired. Back home, Yui thinks hard for the lyrics so Ui helps out. Then the gang gets a distressing call from Yui. Ui has a cold. What’s the problem? You know how useless Yui can be without her sister playing mommy’s role, right? Right. But the rest decide to leave her alone so as not to bother her and let her get some good rest. At this point, Yui does the cooking and though she may not be very good, she reflects on how she takes her important and precious things for granted. The next morning Ui feels better and sees Yui sleeping at her table. She spots her lyrics sheet named “U & I”. A creative play on her name and which also gives a double meaning for “You and I”. Because of that, Yui’s lyrics are officially accepted for the song.

Episode 18
Based on majority vote, Mio and Ritsu will be playing the leading role of Romeo and Juliet respectively for their cultural festival’s play. Yeah, Ro-Mio. Geddit? They can’t talk themselves out of this one now. Tsumugi is in charge of the script (oh God!) while Yui will play the part of a tree (thank God. Oh wait…). Mio is so panicky about her role that she even came out with the wildest idea of transferring school and moving to Irkutsk. Or something about her twin sister… Seeing that everyone is looking forward to it, might as well do her part and get over it. Of course it isn’t smooth sailing since the duo are like a manzai comedy. With Mio having stage fright and Ritsu problems playing a feminine role they decide to practice themselves and switch roles. It worked so they used what they have gained into their real practice but Mio is still having shyness problems. Come Sunday, Tsumugi brings the gang to work as maids in her family cafe as Mio’s special training. The rest are a natural but Mio is still having a hard time. You can say that the training is a successful failure because she didn’t really get over her embarrassment but her face is stuck with that very good smile. Just leave it to Ritsu to bring it back to normal. As for Azusa, she’s worried that nobody is practising for their live performance since they’re so caught up with the play.

Episode 19
It’s the day of the festival. Final preparations are underway and it’s finally show time. Let’s show them the fruits of our practice and hope nothing screws up. Hmm… The play is okay, nobody fumbling their lines, but wait! Why is Yui trying to hold in her sneeze?! I guess she is the one that everybody should be most worried. Why the heck do they need a person as a tree? Isn’t putting a tree prop enough? And of all people, it has to be her. Suddenly a problem arises for the climax scene. The tombstone prop is missing. They don’t have enough time to make a new one so they rush over to the occult’s club to borrow a model of the great Rosetta Stone with inscriptions. Who could tell the difference anyway? The play ends successfully. Azusa is in tears not because of the wonderful play. Well, it is so wonderful simply because they’ve been practising so hard that they’ve forgotten about their live performance practice. But they haven’t really forgotten about it and after apologizing for making her worried like they didn’t care about the club anymore, Ritsu announces that they’ll be staying overnight to practice. Good thing Sawako has brought sleeping bags for them. As usual, they chat and have a night time walkabout and find the play’s tombstone in one of the stalls outside. As gratitude for the occult club, they go give them some food. They also hope that they will come to see their performance. Next morning, the girls are abruptly awakened by Sawako who has spent all night making special T-shirts for their band for their performance. She really loves being praised, doesn’t she?

Episode 20
Mio wakes up to find that her pals have scribbled right till her arm to help her calm down (Japanese belief that you write the kanji of ‘person’ to calm down) for their stage performance. As they prepare to go live, they are surprised to see everyone in the hall wearing the same T-shirts. Even Nodoka. Wow. Sawako really outdid herself. Grateful for the support that everyone is showing them, they start off with their first song, Rice Is A Dish (what kind of title is that?!). After that Yui takes her time introducing the band and goes on yapping about the play among other stuff in her usual scatterbrain antics. Maybe they should keep time and move within their schedule. Then more songs and more talking as they also introduce others who greatly lend their support like Sawako and Nodoka. Even Ton-chan is not left out. The other girls also have their turn speaking. More thank you, more arigatou. Time seems to fly pass when you’re having fun. So the final song, U & I. Well, no MTV footage like they did with Fuwa Fuwa Time in the last season. After the performance, the K-ON! girls sit rock solid in shock in their club room. They can’t believe their act was a huge success. Everyone starts getting emotional that they don’t want this to be their last high school festival and give each other a big group hug. Admit it. You’d cry with them too if you see this heartfelt scene. Sawako and Nodoka pay a visit to the girls but see them sleeping happily together.

Episode 21
Yui seems to be very concerned with her hair and looks. Why? It’s that time of year whereby seniors are to take a picture of their face for the yearbook. Ah, want to look at your best for posterity, eh? Because the sisters were using each other as references for hairstyle, Azusa mistakes Ui for Yui when the former forgot to take off her sister’s trademark hair clip. Man, they really look like twins! Azusa thought that with the festival over, they could practice but as usual, they’re still messing around eating cakes. Not even studying. Sawako reminds Yui and Ritsu that they still owe her their future career form. Then they discuss about their yearbook picture so each take turns to give get their mock picture taken via handphone. Well, everyone seemed okay. But Yui thinks her bangs are too long and tries to trim them. It’s a dangerous job. Can she do it? Careful now. Suddenly she sneezes and accidentally cuts off too much. Oh dear. OH DEAR! Don’t panic, don’t panic. Hey, Yui does look a lot different with her shortened bangs. Come to think of it now. I prefer Yui’s old hairstyle. Okay, you can panic now. To make it up to her, everyone gives their tart portion of their Mont Blanc cake to Yui, much to her delight. After everyone takes their photo shots for real, Mio is called to Sawako’s room. Seems she has turned down a recommendation and wanted to go to the same university as the rest. Because of that, Yui, Ritsu and Mio together hand in their future career form opting to go to the same university that Tsumugi will be enrolling. Sawako approves of it. Yay! Now everyone can be together and study hard. Erm, let’s go have some cake first, shall we?

Episode 22
While the K-ON! seniors are studying, Azusa thinks of making Valentine’s Day chocolates for them. She wanted to keep it a secret but was too loud to Jun and Ui so much so all her classmates heard her plan. Jun and Ui help Azusa buy ingredients while the seniors prepare to take their exam on a snowy day (a near heart attack when Ritsu thought she forgot to bring her ID card but luckily she dropped it nearby). Yui comes back early to see Ui and her pals cooking. Azusa thinks her secret plan is busted but Yui doesn’t suspect anything simply because Ui is always in the kitchen making something. Once it is done, Azusa has trouble mustering her courage to give them her chocolates. Better hurry because time is running out. If you wait too long, they’ll eventually graduate. Jun and Ui give theirs to the K-ON! seniors in hopes this will spur Azusa to do the same but she excuses herself. It isn’t her nervousness or embarrassment anymore. She is sad thinking that they will all be leaving. Jun and Ui comfort and assure her that everything will be alright. Eventually Azusa is able to give it to them in the club room and the commend it to be good. Then they go watch the snow falling outside the window and have a big warm group hug. Aww… Azusa later makes a huge prayer at the shrine hoping that they will pass their first choices. Guess what? They did!

Episode 23
The seniors aren’t supposed to be in school till they graduate. But I guess it has become a norm for the K-ON! girls so much so they decide to pass the time and hang out in their good ol’ club room. The problem is what to do. Yui comes up with some weird circle game and she herself doesn’t understand it. Then they go revisit their empty classroom and happen to chance on Nodoka passing by. She is making preparation for the speech during graduation. The girls visit Nodoka back in her student council room and go through the yearly student council photo books. Then they leave and meet Azusa and Jun. The seniors want Azusa to buy them bread and Jun volunteers to help out. Then it’s back to the club room and the boringness resumes (yeah, they’ve been drinking tea the whole morning too). Rather than sitting and doing nothing, they clean up the room till it’s sparkly clean. Then it hit Yui. She just realized (and getting panicky) that this will be their last time together and decides to leave some legacy behind just like Nodoka and her student council. That legacy is, to record an album over tape as proof that they were here. While contemplating which songs to go first, they mess around with the recorder, wasting time with some of their test speeches. The good news is that they manage to record it all. But it took them the whole day. I know they have a few songs but till night fall?

Episode 24
It’s graduation day for the seniors in episode 24 and somehow Yui tripped and ripped her knee socks. Don’t worry, it’s just a little hole. Thankfully Ui gave Nodoka an emergency pair in case this sort of thing happens. Little sister psychic? The class thinks of giving Sawako a farewell card and plans to hide it from her as everyone takes their turn signing it. The last person is Yui and there have been several occasions Sawako came close in discovering their suspicious act. During the ceremony, Yui has no choice but to hide it underneath her blazer. Because of her weird position, Sawako smells something suspicious and has her eyes on Yui like an eagle! Her mind is going wild the possibilities of Yui’s condition. Mio notices Sawako’s glaring and tries to pass the message to Yui but you know, interference in communication led Yui to hear something about Sawako has failed. Back in the classroom after Sawako hands everyone their diplomas, they finally give the card to her. Sawako feels appreciated and tells them to come visit somebody. Sawako lets loose her loud rocker voice that she’ll be waiting for them here. In the club room, Azusa writes them a thank you letter but soon her emotions get the better of her as she wishes for them not to graduate (I think she’s rather desperate now) and promises not to get strict with them. They give her a photo when the quartet first joined this club and a flower petal as commemoration. To top it off, they sing a specially written song especially for her. Though Azusa admits it wasn’t that good, she wants to hear it over and over again. Azusa joins them in a final performance that they play to Sawako and Nodoka.

Episode 25
This episode actually takes place just before the final exams. It is when Azusa by chance discovers an embarrassing recruitment video of K-ON! Especially of Mio. No prizes to guess why she wants to seal it away for good. But in a cookie can? So relieving those moments when they were on a failed recruiting spree, the girls think of making another recruitment video for the club. Weird ideas include Sawako’s Hollywood-like trailer, Mio using a story from Ton-chan’s point of view, Tsumugi’s two-hour suspense mystery and Ritsu’s totally fake interview about the benefits of joining K-ON! (No, it won’t make you taller or win a lottery!). Azusa is made to come up with a plot and later discusses with Ui and Jun. She gets inspiration to use interviews as a basis while showing snippets of their performance and daily activities. The girls start filming their daily routine in the club like feeding Ton-chan, studying (like real!) and their usual tea time (Yui purposely fumbling her lines so she could eat more cakes). Finally the video is edited and put together by Sawako and it turns out pretty good with all the good referrals and praises (including some personal advertising). That awesome footage is somewhat ‘ruined’ in the end with Azusa in cat ears saying “Nyan~”. Apparently Sawako couldn’t leave out that scene so Azusa rejects this video and wants to seal this in the cookie can? Now she understands how Mio felt. But wouldn’t it be alright if she just cut out the last part? So the rest decide to film it right now a part for Azusa to say welcome to the club. She does so but instinctively said “Nyan~” in her line. Yeah, she still wants that last part cut out. I think many would find her very cute instead.

Episode 26
Starting off with a short flashback whereby Azusa first joined the club, the quartet was so nervous and trying too hard like as though she’s one heck a valuable member. After all, she’s the only recruit ever since. Besides, what the heck was that eye lashes thingy they did while taking a group photo? In present time (this episode takes place before the graduation and after the exams), Nodoka shows them the draft yearbook. Yui didn’t like her forehead due to her mistake haircut and pleaded to take a new photo. Of course they don’t have time. Learning that Nodoka needs to hand it to Sawako for approval, Yui thinks to convince her to replace her photo. Currently, Sawako is sick so the K-ON! seniors pay a visit to Sawako’s apartment (remember they’re not supposed to be in school till graduation day). After making their annoying entrance and a ruckus in her room (yeah, don’t think her fever will go down with them around), they show her the yearbook and Yui hints of it to be replaced. But Sawako thinks she looks cute so that case is closed. Just too bad… Then they see the class photo and spot a hand on Yui’s shoulder and thinks it is a ghost! Everyone freaking out! Then Ritsu remembers that she placed her hand on Yui’s shoulder that time. Mio notices Ritsu acting strange and knows she remembers something. She whacks her to send Ritsu apologizing on all fours. Tsumugi offers to help do her chores. No matter how much Sawako hopes Tsumugi would be the one (they decide via rock-scissors-paper), Yui got the ‘honours’. Now she’s doomed. The rest help by doing her laundry. Then Sawako’s ex-band mates pay a visit. Though they want the girls to stay for dinner, I guess her room isn’t big enough to fit 9 people so the high schoolers take their leave. They return back to their club room and overheard how Azusa is practising for the upcoming freshmen reception ceremony with Ui and Jun. Lastly, the K-ON! girls practice doing some ‘freedom’ jump as Sawako snaps a shot. Seems Mio missed her cue.

Episode 27
This episode comes as an extra episode for those who buy the DVD. It takes place during the summer break and after Azusa’s suntan is gone. Here, the girls plan to go overseas for their vacation. They discuss several places in mind like New York, Britain and Hawaii. What about summer homework or studying? Heck, they need some motivation to do so. My, this must be one big motivation, eh? Whatever. Seeing that there is no rush, Ritsu suggests everyone head home and think carefully about it. Azusa meets Nodoka at the bookstore and learns she too is planning a trip for her student council and Ui doing research for her sister. We should’ve seen this coming. Next day as they meet at the park, they practice self defence so that the book Ui bought for Yui won’t go to waste. Then they try practising in English but it’s the kind of questions that tourists won’t ask. Talk about their Engrish too… If words won’t help, how about body language? This isn’t a game show, you know… Even if they get to perfect it (I’m not saying they are), there is still 1 problem: Have they got their passports in order? Except for frequent overseas traveller Tsumugi, I guess the rest must have theirs done. And Yui’s is already expired. Yui and Nodoka see Sawako getting her own pictures taken for a gym registration. Yui gets sarcastic and thinks she’s getting fat. They find out the furthest she has went is Okinawa and invites her to tag along but of course she declines and prefers to wait for her honeymoon. As the girls prepare to apply for their passports, Ritsu realizes she forgot her student ID. Don’t panic yet. She calls her brother who eventually comes by to hand it over. Thank goodness she’s got a reliable little brother. Like we know someone who has a reliable little sister too. As they queue in line, it seems Mio’s application is rejected due to her picture. It’s the way she tied her hairstyle and leaving no room between her head and the picture top. She has to go retake them again. Of course the annoying antics of the rest has her blunder and retaking several more shots before she gets it right and their application accepted. They have an ice cream break and laugh at Mio’s failed photos. They ponder where to go for their vacation so Yui suggests they should have 2 graduation retreats. The other being when Azusa graduates. With that, everyone can go everywhere. They get fired to get some travelling gear. A week later the girls get their passport while Sawako laments she still hasn’t gone overseas. So have they decided where they’re going? Well, they have all the time before graduation. Just don’t take too long okay? And since they’re going nowhere for summer, there’s summer classes to attend to. Oh, anything but that!

Uraon!
As like in the previous season, if you buy the DVD, you’ll get short extra special clips lasting 3 minutes called Uraon! Remember those horrible art and simple-drawn characters of the series that chat away nonsensical and comical stuff that has nothing to do with the series? Yeah, that one. It’s back and you wouldn’t mind the drawing since you’ll be focusing more on their antics. In addition to the K-ON! girls, Sawako and Nodoka make their appearance here too. In Special 1, Azusa tries to do some fortune telling on everyone and has them remember their dream. All of them weird and Sawako’s one sounds like her unfulfilled dream of marrying before turning 30. Taking the keywords from their dreams, the purpose of the fortune telling is to see their former lives. How come they are all bugs! But Yui is Marie Antoinette?! Actually, her baker. Or rather the carpenter who introduced the baker. Anyway the connection to it goes on till it reaches a bug. Haha! Special 2 has the gang telling souvenir stories like the weird ones they bought, the photos they took (Yui took all food since she can’t afford them) and Mio buying too many food and she has to eat all of them before they expire. Special 3 is about wanting siblings. They imagine Mio having an older brother but can’t visualize Tsumugi having an older sister because she’d be off the scale with her oujo-sama status! It’ll be double trouble if Yui had a twin and even noisier if Ui too has a double. And for Sawako, they think picture her brother an old dude. She’s not that old! Special 4 is about childhood dreams. Yui’s dream was to be a woodcutter because of that fable (the one whereby he dropped an axe into a river and was given a golden and silver axe in return for his honesty) because she wanted to drop cakes into the river. Nodoka a public servant, Ritsu a rice ball seller, Mio a novelist and Tsumugi… A world conqueror! Holy cow! And Sawako mentions about her marriage dream but when the girls realize it was much different from her initial say, they think she compromised her path. Special 5 has Ritsu involving the rest in an emcee grand prix. Azusa tells a lame joke, Tsumugi splutters tea (like a fire breather) while telling everyone they’re not welcomed, Mio doing a lame human alphabet impression of the club’s name and Yui joking about what MC stands for, delighting and wowing the crowd. How unexpected.

In Special 6, Tsumugi hosts a 3-minute cooking show. Azusa as the first guest only cooked fried eggs as she can only cook dishes with eggs in her repertoire. Next is Ritsu who laces the rice balls with hot and spicy stuff to get back at her brother. Finally Sawako cooks a nikujaga dish suitable for marriage because cooking is about love! In Special 7, the K-ON! girls ponder about doing a musical style concert for some of their songs but since it sounds so lame, Ritsu suggests doing a regular concert after all. Special 8 is about a retelling of several fairytales. For instance the Grasshopper and the Ant whereby Azusa is the hardworking ant while Yui is the lazy grasshopper lazing all year long. When winter comes, Azusa has no choice but to let poor Yui in and share some of her food. This goes on every year so thus it is a happy ending (?!). Next one is about Azusa the cat who finds Yui the sparrow. Yui and Jun got into an argument about eating their share of doughnuts though both of them are guilty for taking a bite from each piece. Then there’s the Momotarou version with Azusa as the said hero. She meets a dog, pheasant and monkey (Yui as all of them). Once she gives the millet dumpling, they munch happily away and leave. End of story.  Noticed that in all fairytales, Yui is the one who gets to live happily ever after? In the final Special 9, we have Yui as Yuichan-man going around helping those in need. So if you’re in a weird pinch or having a tough time like the need to peel off stickers, having a tough time figuring out which bread has which paste, or accidentally knocking your knee on the furniture (she’ll make you laugh and thus the pain will ‘fly’ away), there is nothing that Yuichan-man can’t do! Yeah, you know who to call. At the end of it, there’s a little extra for us. Remember the final special of the first season with the K-ON! girls doing a weird pose? This time, they go a step further by doing a rap video recruitment of their club (including rap-like hand signals and movements) and ending with a totally cool (or lame, depending on your view) group pose. So what does Azusa think of it? She wants Yui’s part to be changed! Yeah, she has to be the lamest one.

After School Blues…
So well, I guess I could say that this whole sequel was quite fun and enjoyable in its own ways. Fans of the series should be familiar with their typical brand of antics and pranks. This season was mainly about the girls bonding and interacting together as they deepen their friendship while the dreaded graduation looms near (that empty nest syndrome, if you know what I mean). It’s not the fact that they don’t want to graduate, they’re having so much fun together that it is understandable that they want to do this day in and day out forever. If not as long as possible. But you know as they say, time flies when you are having fun and since you only have 3 years for your high school, better make a good use out of it and fill it with unforgettable memories. This season was filled with more sentiments and emotions so at times you just can’t help but feeling all warm inside. Besides, we don’t really see the girls aiming for the Budokan this season. It felt like their original goal and the purpose of being in this club is missing. We don’t see them practising much (because they spend more time fooling around, drinking tea and idling away) and even if they do put up any live performances, it was just during the school cultural festival. So how to reach their aim like that? That isn’t important because like I’ve said this season focuses on growing the relationship between them. Who needs the Budokan and fame when you can have real friends.

Basically the whole jin-jang gang are the same girls we are familiar with in the first season. Not much development in terms of their personal behaviours though we are shown their depths. Ritsu and Yui are still the idiotic duo of the club, causing annoyance and airhead-ness whenever possible. But that is what makes them so lovable. Tsumugi felt like she is ‘downgrading’ her oujo-sama (not that she was acting like one in the previous season anyway), rich lady kind of lifestyle to be on silly level with Ritsu and Yui. Sometimes it is pretty obvious. As though she’s a little hard-up to be in the gang. Don’t worry, the rest will still love her. Can’t live without her cakes and snacks, if I should say. Although Mio still has her fears of being in the spotlight, at least she fares better now, though I still feel that there is much room for improvement. No matter how many constant reminders by Azusa to practice, she always gives in at the end. Like they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. They should really rename this club as Tea Club and singing as a band just as an extra and part time affair. Sawako on the other hand initially tries hard to actually keep and maintain her clean and good teacher image. I thought she would discard her wild rocker days and be a serious teacher the way she is putting in effort for her image and not show any of those sides. But still as K-ON! Club’s advisor, she cares for them and has her own peculiar habits too. Perhaps it is her fixation of being praised at. Nobody is perfect. Nodoka is still pretty much to calm childhood friend of Yui though she leaves it mostly to Mio to take care of her friend. Quite a responsible girl seeing that she even took up being the president of Mio’s Fan Club (albeit reluctantly) and see too it instead of doing it half-heartedly. Just like Nodoka, Ui still plays the more responsible sister to Yui, even doing all the home cooking and chores. She doesn’t mind it since she loves her sister very much and her love too reciprocated.

I guess it must be a new trend now that after spawning sequels and OVAs, series that are popular enough need to make a feature length film. At the end of the second season, a short teaser announced that there will be a movie version of K-ON! to be released in December 2011. Seems like a long wait but you know the saying of time flies, right? For me, maybe I need to take some time off this series first because too much of anything isn’t good. I’m speculating that the movie may feature one of those days in between the TV series that is not shown or perhaps the life of the girls in university. Because of this, I can’t help stop thinking if the K-ON! Club will be closed down due to lack of members even if Sawako did assure them that the club will continue. So will Azusa be the lonely member in a once-lively band? Will she be a one (wo)man band after all till her graduation day? Will Jun join the club seeing that at this point there are no new members? If there are new members, will it be a much better group than its previous and the one before? Ah, so many questions. One way to answer them all is if I write the script for the sequel. Haha! Like I could. Like if there will be anymore sequels. Yet.

I have got to mention something about the opening and ending themes for this season (they are still sung by the seiyuus of Yui and Mio respectively like they did in the previous season). For Yui’s opening themes, I can some it up in one word: Horrible! Yes, you read that right. Go! Go! Maniac as the first opening theme seems like Yui is trying to rap or singing her lines real fast (or something like that) so much so it was unbearable to hear. I was watching and listening to the opening theme with my eyes squint and my face grimacing. The second opening theme is Utauyo!! Miracle, feels too girly (and mixed with some rock feel) and though it wasn’t as bad as the first one, I still find this unbearable. This means that I still prefer the cute and exciting first season’s opener, Cagayake Girls. Mio’s ending theme this season is slightly better though I can’t say that I’m impressed with it either. The first ending theme, Listen! has Tsumugi’s keyboard sounds to the front and the ending credits animation left me pondering about who that Mio-look-alike was. Certainly she looked different in different clothing and hairstyle (but it’s definitely her) so I initially thought she would be a new recruit to the band, if not her twin sister! I mean, how can Mio be at two places at the same time? How can there be two Mios in the same place? Maybe the producers were just messing with my mind. The very rock second ending theme is the better one among all the themes but still it can’t beat last season’s Don’t Say Lazy in my opinion. Entitled No, Thank You!, somehow I felt it is related to Don’t Say Lazy in terms of the lyrics and tune. Having said this much, the songs that the After School Tea Time sings or newly written this season sounded much better. So it really bugs me to see that though Yui spends a lot of time with her guitar (treating it like a human partner) but rarely see her practising with it (this statement may be unfair since we aren’t shown 24/7 of her life), it is amazing that she can pull off wonderful guitar riffs and be in-sync with her members. In that case, she is truly a genius. Or perhaps like this oxymoron: An airhead genius.

The drawing and art remains consistent like the first season. The design of the characters are still simple so those looking for sophisticated piece of art riddled with lush eye candies would be sorely disappointed. Due to that, sometimes I find the animation at times is a little jerky. But for me, I guess I was quite fixated on Mio’s cuteness to be bothered with it and have all the enjoyment ruined. Yes, I still find her cute. Got a problem with that? There are quite a number of trivia in this season, be it short cameos from other animes, word puns or little coincidences of music instrument brands, songs or personalities, it is a blink-or-you’ll-miss type. I didn’t know there were quite a number of trivia till I stumble upon this page in Anime News Network. So after reading them and thinking back, most of them had me thinking how true it was and even going back to that episode to check it out and ascertain it. All I can say is that, I guess my knowledge in this area is still lacking. A lot.

If the K-ON! girls are already that popular in their school and the local neighbourhood at the end (at least that is what the recruitment video they made turned out to be), maybe they can really do a living as a band after they finish university. In real life, this series is such a hit with fans around the world with its album topping charts at one time and surpassing all expectations (that’s why the sequel was made, right?). They’ve taken the world by storm and I don’t know what more they’ll come up to satisfy insatiable hungry fans since they’ve already got a short manga, video game, figurines and upcoming movie. They’ve got it all covered. Brings us back to the time when Beatlemania hit the world, eh? Ah yes, my favourite band and brand of music before I ventured into anime. Well, if they were this cute, probably I would fall in love with them all over again. A Beatles remake with a touch of K-ON!? On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t mix and mess up fantasy and reality.

K-ON! VS Sora No Woto

April 8, 2011

It was inevitable. Sooner or later I would have done a versus blog on this. Since K-ON! came out first and then followed by Sora No Woto approximately a year later, I guess many viewers felt how similar the characters looked and perhaps to some extend a rip-off. But I suppose that is just first looks and things at a glance. Otherwise both animes are quite different from each other. Of course there are some other similarities and that is why this blog is here to examine them. In my opinion of course.

Meaning of series’ title name
K-ON!: Short for Kei Ongaku which means Light Music (pop music, that is).
Sora No Woto: Sound of the skies.

Era setting
K-ON!: Modern and current day.
Sora No Woto: Post apocalyptic world after the great war that has ravaged mankind.

Location
K-ON!: Tokyo, Japan.
Sora No Woto: Seize, the outskirts and border of Helvetia.

The group
K-ON!: A group of high school girls forming a band called After School Tea Time.
Sora No Woto: A group of military girls of the 1121st Platoon.

Members
K-ON!: Mio Akiyama, Ritsu Tainaka, Yui Hirasawa, Tsumugi Kotobuki and Azusa Nakano.
Sora No Woto: Kanata Sorami, Rio Kazumiya, Filicia Heideman, Noel Kannagi and Kureha Suminoya.

The leader of the pack
K-ON!: Ritsu – club president.
Sora No Woto: Rio – Master Sergeant.

The other higher ups
K-ON!: Sawako Yamanaka – the club’s advisor.
Sora No Woto: Klaus – ranked Major and a despatch rider to the 112st Platoon.

Newcomer
K-ON!: Azusa.
Sora No Woto: Kanata.

Yui vs Kanata
K-ON!‘s Yui is your typical airhead, clumsy, easily distracted as compared to Sora No Woto‘s Kanata he seems more level headed even though as a newcomer she has lots of things to learn. Yui joined the band because she thought the club would be playing real simple instruments and for her case: Castanets. Kanata joined the platoon because she was inspired by a mysterious trumpeter’s song. Also partly, she thought that she could learn music for free! Both are nice girls once you really get to know them and have the gift of absolute pitch, that is the ability to tune their instruments without using a pitch tuner. As the series progresses, you’ll see how they both improve playing their respective instruments.

Mio vs Rio
Hmm… What is this near similarity with their first names? Oh well, K-ON!‘s Mio is shy and is prone to get scared of things that are macabre and horrific while Sora No Woto‘s Rio is the no nonsense and strict. Mio joined the band because she was forced to by Ritsu while Rio joined the army as a means to escape from her strained family relationship.

Azusa vs Kureha
K-ON!‘s newcomer Azusa is the second choice guitarist who is usually subjected to ‘skinship’ and pet name calling especially by Yui while Sora No Woto‘s Private Kureha is a gunner in the platoon and initially does not hesitate to boss around newcomer Kanata to show who is the senior one around. Azusa is always bewildered by her band mates nonchalant ways and laziness not to practice and even so they can make good music together. Kureha believes strongly in the military code and obeying orders as a soldier.

Tsumugi vs Filicia
Both K-ON!‘s Tsumugi and Sora No Woto‘s Filicia feel like big sisters of the group in the sense that Tsumugi often treats her pals to cakes and desserts while Filicia often looks out for her underlings. They both also have quite a casual and gentle personality. Tsumugi hails from a wealthy family and Filicia is the only survivor of a combat tank platoon.

Ritsu vs Noel
I guess by deduction that these 2 would be the ones that mirror each other. Obviously personalities of both girls are very much contrasting. K-ON!‘s Ritsu is like the irresponsible and lively troublemaker of the group and plays the drums while Sora No Woto‘s Noel seems like a sleepy and tired mechanic who pilots the platoon’s battle tank, Takemikazuchi. Ritsu’s obvious facial trait is her forehead while Noel’s is her sleepy looks. Ritsu is the childhood friend of Mio, thus their ‘inseparable’ friendship. Noel was once a child genius in resurrecting a fearsome bioweapon as ordered by the military officials that caused destruction and loss of many lives.

Other casts
Refers to the other supporting characters that are not part of the main group.
K-ON!: Ui Hirasawa, Nodoka Manabe and Jun Suzuki.
Sora No Woto: Yumina, Mishio, Seiya and Naomi.

Pet mascot
K-ON!: Ton-chan the turtle.
Sora No Woto: Shuuko the owl.

Nicknames
K-ON!: Azusa has been nicknamed “Azu-nyan” by Yui because of looking cute with cat ears.
Sora No Woto: Noel was dubbed as The Witch of Helvetia because of her role in resurrecting the destructive bioweapon Invisible Reaper. Klaus was mistakenly known to Kureha as Miracle Klaus or Desert Wolf because of his uncanny and similar resemblance to a brave tank commander of the Helvetian army who also shares the same name.

Siblings
K-ON!: Yui has a more responsible and mature little sister named Ui.
Sora No Woto: Rio has a late half-sister named Ilya who was the first princess of the Archduke of Arkadia.

Field trip
K-ON!: In episode 4 of season 2, the third years go to Kyoto on their school field trip.
Sora No Woto: In episode 5, the squad hike the mountains and the outskirts of the border to check on observation devices from the old era as part of their field trip.

Place of idling
Well, not much to do but to hang out, right?
K-ON!: The club room – drinking tea and eating desserts and snacks.
Sora No Woto: Clocktower Fortress – what else is there to do all day long other than to stand guard in this sleepy town?

Falling ill
K-ON!: In episode 12 of the first season, Yui gets a cold from Ritsu and this almost jeopardizes the band’s practice for their upcoming performance (though Yui tries to come to practice or even Ui covering up for her!). In episode 26 of season 2, it is Sawako’s turn to fall sick.
Sora No Woto: Kanata comes down with a fever from malaria after practicing hard with her trumpet in episode 3 but thankfully she is treated and cured three days later (the fortress was low on medical supplies so panic Rio had to rush all the way to the Orthodox church and request Yumina’s help).

Get inside it!
K-ON!: The girls don weird animal outfit and costumes to attract potential new members to the club. Not going to work.
Sora No Woto: All the girls can fit inside the spider-like tank relic, Takemikazuchi, do mock simulation, play music and it still works during times of war.

Maintenance
K-ON!: In episode 11 of the first season, Yui takes her guitar to the shop for maintenance.
Sora No Woto: In episode 4, Kanata accompanies Noel to obtain maintenance parts for Takemikazuchi.

GHOST!!!
K-ON!: In season 1’s episode 10, Ritsu organizes a kimodameshi (test of courage) and to Mio and Azusa’s shocking horror, they see a ghost while trekking through the dark forest, which actually turns out to be badly messed up Sawako.
Sora No Woto: In episode 2, Mio orders Kanata and Kureha to investigate ghostly sightings at the abandon section of the barracks. Though the commotion turns out to be Shuuko, however if your eyes were sharp enough, there were actually several real ghost sightings! Scary!

Wet weather
K-ON!: In episode 6 of season 2, the rainy season wrecks havoc and ‘separates’ Yui and her guitar.
Sora No Woto: In episode 9, the town braces itself for the coming typhoon as the girls have to go search for missing Seiya in the storm.

First snow
K-ON!: Episode 13 of season 1 sees the gang going about during winter.
Sora No Woto: Episode 10 whereby Rio and Kanata upon Yumina’s request to go check on an old woman living in the mountains.

Festival and celebration
K-ON!: Episode 6 of season 1 sees the school organizing a cultural festival and episode 7 a Christmas party at Yui’s home.
Sora No Woto: Episode 1 and episode 13 (OVA episode) see the town having their own traditional festival to commemorate the Fire Maidens. Also in episode 7, the girls attend the Fiesta des Lumieres, which is something similar to the Japanese Bon Odori.

Greatest challenge
K-ON!: Playing a live concert and aiming for the budoukan.
Sora No Woto: Preventing the tension and escalation of war between Roman and Helvetia army instigated by Hopkins.

Music instruments featured
K-ON!: Rock band instruments such as guitar, bass, keyboards and drums.
Sora No Woto: Trumpet/bugle.

Music genre
Refers to most of the background music or insert songs in the series.
K-ON!: Rock, pop and jazzy and casual tunes.
Sora No Woto: Orchestra and classical.

Insert song of the series
K-ON!: Fuwa Fuwa Time.
Sora No Woto: Amazing Grace (rendition).

Mid-intermission
K-ON!: A cassette tape turning on to Side B.
Sora No Woto: Chibi drawings of the platoon girls holding a giant flag and having a meal together.

Opening and ending themes
K-ON!: All themes are sung by the After School Tea Time’s seiyuu. First season’s opening theme is Cagayake Girls and first season’s ending theme is Don’t Say ‘Lazy’. For the second season, the first opening theme is Go! Go! Maniac and the second opening theme is Utauyo! Miracle. The second season’s first ending theme is Listen!! and No Thank You! is the second ending theme. Yui’s seiyuu (Aki Toyosaki) takes the lead vocals for all the opening themes while Mio’s seiyuu (Youko Hikasa) does all the ending themes.
Sora No Woto: The opening theme is Hikari No Senritsu by Kalafina while the ending theme is Girls Be Ambitious by Haruka Tomatsu.

Number of episodes
K-ON!: The first season has 13 episodes. The second season has additional 26 episodes.
Sora No Woto: There are 12 episodes in total.

Other special episodes
K-ON!: An OVA called K-ON! Live House was released back in January 2010. A film was planned after the end of the second season. For each Blu-Ray Discs bought, there are several short comical skits called Uraon!
Sora No Woto: Two OVA episodes were released back in June and September 2010 each.

Conclusion
It is hard to pick which one is better overall but personally I like K-ON! is because of Mio! Haha! Because of the popularity of this series, fans got their wish as a sequel was subsequently made and then a movie announced. Because of that, viewers get to see more character development of the girls as compared to Sora No Woto, whose run is much shorter. One thing I like about the latter series is the beautifully drawn sceneries. Might not be the best but at least they are quite pleasant to the eye. Anyhow both shows see how the main group of girls bond and interact with each other as their relationship deepens with each time passing by, making them family. K-ON! may lack any action bits and is usually more focused on the slice of life, daily drama that the girls go through and lack any action that adrenaline junkies would look forward too. Although Sora No Woto has this little fair share too, the tension and little action were just towards the end at the climax of the story. Perhaps in the future, there’ll be another anime about music with new characters that combines traits of the characters in these series. It would be really interesting to see how they turn out and look like. For now, let’s just enjoy the music that they play.

YAHOO!!! More Mio! Banzai for Mio! Long live Mio! Ahem… Before I get carried away and turn this blog into a dedication space for her, let me get to what this blog is really about: Mio. Oops sorry, I mean the moe and kawaii girls of the light music club better known as K-ON! I’m sure fans alike have known that a second season has been given the green light so to satisfy those who eagerly wait for the sequel (like yours truly), a special OVA episode has been released back in January 2010.
 
Actually, K-ON! OVA: Live House is more like an extra episode and some may dubbed it the fourteenth episode in the series. Well, if you are an obsessed fan of the series and had bought all the DVDs and Blu-Ray discs that have been released into the market, this OVA stems from the seventh and final disc of that said series. What else is there for a bunch of band girls to do? No, we are not going to have an episode filled with fantasy such as the girls being given an RPG makeover going on a quest to retrieve some super and legendary musical item. No we are not going to have them play out remakes of historical scenes in the form of samurais or ninjas. And certainly no, we are not going to have an episode filled with lots of fanservice either in the form of a hotspring, water park or beach outing (or all of them combined).
 
Instead we have the girls planning to do a live house performance as their last gig before the year ends for some wonderful memories. If that doesn’t pique your interest, then go watch something else. I’m in for Mio XD!!! Anyway, Ritsu has been invited by a friend of hers to do so. The gang are divided on doing the performance because the shy ones like Mio and Azusa are passing this up. However they put it to a vote and majority wins. They’re doing it. The decisive vote was by Tsumugi who feels that this isn’t a chance to be missed. So I guess it’s better to go along with the atmosphere and prepare for their first live performance scheduled in 10 days time. With that, Mio and Azusa reverse their votes so it’s a unanimous decision.
 
The girls pay a visit to the live house that they’re supposed to be performing. I’m not sure since I’ve never been to one but the place seems small. But I guess that’s the exclusivity of being in a live house rather than a large open air concert. They go up to the manager of this place, Janice, and make known of their intentions. Janice seems to have heard about them from Ritsu’s pal, Maki of her band Love Crisis. Yui wonders if their band’s name After School Tea Time sounds a little sissy but Janice thinks it sounds cute. She gives them a form to fill out and the usual programme of what is to be done before like rehearsal and the likes but I guess the girls are too excited to pay attention.
 
Janice shows them the dressing room and the door that leads to the stage. Though the girls are feeling really excited, Mio starts to burn out, thinking of all the people that will stare at her. Oh, you’ve already stolen the spotlight off screen :). The girls then go back to Yui’s place as Ui finds out about their live gig. Yui plans to invite her and her other friends to watch their performance. Then they discuss on what sort of outfit they should wear. I’m sure they’ve got lots of interesting ideas but please don’t mention the outfits Sawako made for them. Don’t even ask her to make new ones! They settle for their high school uniforms. Next day, Yui passes an invitation to Nodoka and she even has a pre-signed autograph to give her in case she becomes famous. Counting her chickens, eh? The days are counting down as posters of the live house are posted everywhere. As usual, Mio feels burned out.
 
The girls arrive for their rehearsal and meet the other bands. Okay, in terms of dressing, they may seem out of place. Street punk and hooded style fashion? Seems like a rough bunch. Yeah, so out of place. Maki and her Love Crisis band mates are there too as they introduce themselves. They invite Yui and co to come see their next solo live performance and hand them a demo CD. Yui then suggests a logo for their band and they agree on a tea cup. After being given backstage passes, they are given a form to fill out for timing of special effects and the likes. Being newbies, Yui had to go ask the meanest looking group. Thankfully they’re nice and help out. But it seems she went and asked too many times so they just lend their sheet for reference. Then it’s rehearsal time as the girls watch the others as reference. They must be dedicated people to have such high-tech equipment. As usual, Yui being the airhead girl gets distracted by the stuff being sold at the place like CDs and sweets. Because she’s rather ‘lively’, the rest must have felt embarrassed and took her away.
 
During the break, they have their usual nice hot cup of tea and delicious cakes. It must be too irresistible since the other bands decide to join in. Yum. Once they get to interact, they aren’t as bad or mean as they look. See, never judge a book by its cover. Such nice people pursuing their dreams in music without giving up. It is After School Tea Time’s turn for rehearsal. As first timers, they start to panic on what to do. Feels a little chaotic, doesn’t it? Trouble continues when they start their Fuwa Fuwa Time piece. Yui forgot to start her vocal lines and like a domino effect, everybody starts tripping and falling over. The encouragement and support from the others gave the girls their self confidence back as they take it from the top once more.
 
On the day of the performance, Ui and Nodoka come by so Yui greets them and even tease to call out their names during their name. Sawako arrives while After School Tea Time is performing on stage. She sees Janice and it seems they both know each other. Janice calls out to her as Catherine. They’re glad to see each other as Janice learns Sawako is their teacher. At the end of the show, the girls are being congratulated by Sawako and their pals. Then they see Love Crisis with a small group of fans. Yui thanks them and hopes to perform with them in the future. They converge back at Yui’s place to celebrate. This includes Sawako unleashing her fetish and wanting to put on embarrassing outfits on Azusa. With 1 minute left as countdown to the new year, Ritsu asks Mio how did she like this year. She says it was very much fun thanks to them. Ritsu teases her statement as lame. The new year has finally arrived but the duo are surprised to see the rest already fast asleep due to exhaustion. The next morning, Yui wakes up the rest to watch the morning sunrise. Except for Sawako whom I too personally feel she is better left asleep. Don’t want to get any funny ideas or wake her up from whatever weird dream she is having (if she’s having one anyway). As they watch the first light of the year, they wish each other happy new year and Yui points out to Azusa that she is still unknowingly wearing the cat ears from last night. Doesn’t take a genius to tell who put it there.
 
And yeah, if you have bought this OVA DVD or Blu-ray disc, then you’d be happy to know there is the final continuation of the K-ON! Specials, which I finally caught to watch. So in Special 7, dubbed the Winter Chapter, the usual short two and a half minute of random silliness (not to mention the horrible chibi drawing). The first part has the gang trying to practice their autograph and since none of them have any artistic sense except Mio, they think she must have really been practicing them. The second part has the gang making their own versions of snowman. Till Ritsu creates one on Mio’s panties, did she deservingly get whacked by the fury of the bassist. She never learns. Finally after the events of the live house concert, everyone goes back to have a nabe celebration. However Tsumugi shows her strict side and reprimands them for doing it wrongly and not following proper procedures. Like the nabe magistrate, is she? What the heck is that ending pose from the group anyway?
 
Sure this OVA doesn’t offer anything much except the usual bonding and interactions between the K-ON! Club members. But with this live house performance, at least they have experience and a step closer to achieve their goal at playing at the Budokan. Though, it may be hundreds of steps away. Also, now they can add this live gig to their list of activities instead of just bumming around in their club room drinking tea and savour delicious pastries.
 
Though I’m not the kind of person who goes to such live house performances or even a fan of indie music, but at least I have a little glimpse on how such a small event works. May not be in detail but it gives me some idea and insight. So till the second season finishes it’s run (so that I can watch it smoothly in one go), I guess I’ll have to make do of watching reruns of the series. Heh, Mio should be my motivation. Now to take up my guitar and jam my heart out all the way. If I could still remember those chords anyway.
 

K-ON!

K-ON!

January 9, 2010

MIO ROCKS! MIO IS KAWAII! MIO IS MOE! MIO IS MINE! HAHAHA!!! Before I turn this blog into a worship space for Mio, let me just take a deep breath and return to my blog on the anime series K-ON! If you fancy a little slice of life comedy about a group of cute girls forming a band of their own during their high school years, then this is the show for you.
 
So what does the title K-ON! exactly mean? Well, when I first Googled the word, it yielded lots of results from that perverted stuff toy from the anime series Bleach. Yeah, nearly exactly the same name, huh? The name K-ON! is short for ‘kei ongaku’ which literally means light music. However this is not to be mistaken as the Western’s version of light music which basically is a ‘lighter’ orchestra version rather than the full grandeur of a typical symphony. In Japan, light music is equivalent to what we all know as pop music. Hey, compared to heavy metal or punk, it is considered light, right? Right.
 
One of our main heroines is no other than Yui Hirasawa. In episode 1, she has just graduated from middle high and is looking forward to her first day in high school. Thing is, she got up late. Ah yes. Viewers can guess she is the airhead and klutz which makes this whole series fun. You can’t help love her clumsiness and short attention span. Thankfully because of her more responsible little sister, Ui, and her best childhood friend, Nodoka Manabe, Yui gets by. Without them, I shudder to think what would happen to her. So theoretically they have to be around her forever if they want her to lead a less troublesome life. I said less, not free of them. Being the carefree airhead she is, Yui is still pondering which club to join. And it has already been 2 weeks since school started. Still thinking, thinking and thinking. Don’t think too hard. Elsewhere, K-ON! Club’s remaining members, Mio Akiyama and Ritsu Tainaka are devastated to learn from their teacher Sawako Yamanaka that because the seniors have graduated and if a club has less than 4 members, it will be abolished. And the deadline is in a month’s time. Yui then comes in as requested by Sawako to hand notes to her class but Yui spots Mio and Ritsu staring at her so she starts to panic and become klutzy as she drops the stack of paper. Yeah, bad tempo and useless girl, they say. Ritsu unofficial announces that she will become the president of the club though Mio thinks of joining the literature club, Ritsu ‘forces’ her to stay on by tearing her literature club application form.
 
In the club room, Ritsu desperately waits for any new member to join when a girl, Tsumugi Kotobuki comes in lost as she is seeking the choir club she wants to join. Ritsu uses her desperate and intimidating pleas to beg Tsumugi to join. Mio wishes Ritsu not to force people to join the club but she exaggerates their promise to form a rock band after watching a live concert (yup, Mio was forced into it too). Oh wait, all that was made up too. Because Tsumugi finds them interesting, she decides to join. Just like that? Oh yeah, the hell with the choir club. Ritsu on drums, Mio plays the bass and Tsumugi the keyboardist. Now they just need one more. Elsewhere Yui is still thinking about which club to join when she chances upon a poster of the K-ON! Club. She thinks that the light music they play such as castanets. Yeah, anyone can play that too. With that, she tells Nodoka with full enthusiasm that she’ll be joining this club. But the poster says they’re looking for a guitarist… Yui arrives at the club room and the rest has great expectations of her as a great guitarist. Now she can’t back out. Furthermore, Yui knows nuts about guitar. So when Yui decides to tell the truth and on the verge of leaving, the rest become desperate to keep her. Since Tsumugi is a rich girl, she has baked delicious cookies and cookies coupled with fine tea sets for their tea. Yui can’t lie to them anymore so she cries and apologizes for raising their hopes. That’s when the trio decide to demonstrate. In the end, though Yui honestly says that though they aren’t that good, she finds it fun and joins the club, much to their delight. They’re not dreaming, you know. Even Nodoka can’t believe it that she actually joined a club. Since Yui can’t play the guitar, the rest will teach her step by step. Where to get a guitar? Anyone she could borrow from? Nope. Any guitar costing 5000 Yen? Yeah, Nodoka is worried for the club already. But at least it is saved from abolishment.
 
Now, viewers will wonder if the club is really what it’s called. I mean, instead of really practicing every day, everyone is like bumming around having snacks and tea courtesy of sweet and gentle Tsumugi. Maybe it’s the motivation to stick around. People can guess besides airhead Yui, Ritsu will be the cheeky one and the one responsible with many of the group’s antics so shy left hander girl Mio always have to keep her in line by giving her a good whack. Another reason viewers will find Mio moe is that she is afraid of scary stuffs. The slightest scary thing she hears, she will be cowering in fear and pretending that she did not hear them. A cue for Ritsu to continue bullying? Don’t pick on her! And if Yui may not be knowledgeable in the guitaring area, she has a hidden talent for it and some of her picking and power riffs could really surprise you. Surprise, surprise. A prodigy in the making? The next Jimi Hendrix?
 
So in episode 2 Yui finds out why the rest play their musical instruments like Ritsu doesn’t like to do finger work and Mio doesn’t like the attention if she plays the lead guitar. Next, they need to buy a guitar or their band can’t start off. Start saving now, Yui! That’s because the cheapest one will cost at least 50,000 Yen! Or you can break all your piggy banks and it still won’t be enough. Yui even got the guts to ask Ui to borrow some money. I hope she won’t resort to loan sharks. But Ui suggests an advance allowance from mommy. The day comes when Yui goes out with her club members to check out the guitars but they spend the day shopping instead. Finally they get into a music store and browse through the guitar section. Yui seems to take a liking for the Gibson electric guitar but it costs 250,000 Yen. Seeing that no other guitar will do, they agree to take part time jobs. It turned out to be counting traffic. I’m not so concern about Mio and Tsumugi but rather worried if Yui and Ritsu can pull through this. Their job seems to be a little occupational hazard because at the end, they unconsciously start counting clouds and their fingers automatically start tapping. Though they got their pay (nowhere close to their target), Yui decides to give them each their dues and will buy an affordable guitar instead. Everyone gathers at the music store again and they notice Yui still wants that Gibson. So Tsumugi haggles with the store clerk and brought it down to 50,000 Yen! How did she do it?! The employee recognizes Tsumugi as the daughter of the store owner! Her dad owns this store! Now we know why she’s so rich. Yui is thrilled with her new precious guitar and treats it real well. She sleeps with it… Of course everyone is excited now that their band is a whole but a few blunders from Yui since she is new in the area (like the deafening blast of the amp). Can they make it to their goal of playing at the live Budoukan? That will take a miracle.
 
Though Yui continues to practice her guitar in episode 3, she flops her mid-term exams. She deserves it because she didn’t study. However Yui takes pride that she can play a few chords now. She shouldn’t be happy yet. But what has that got to do with the club? Students who failed their exams will have to resit them and thus are forbid to participate in any club activities. Horror! And they just got started. However every time Yui starts her algebra study, she ends up playing her guitar or doing something else. The great temptation… In the end, she didn’t even get to study properly! Desperate Yui pleads to Mio for help so the gang goes to her home to help her in her studies after school. They are taken aback of Ui’s nice and mannered behaviour. Totally contrast from her sister! A total opposite! I don’t blame you if you have thoughts that they may not be related. Mio starts coaching Yui but bored Ritsu causes her mischief several times so much so pissed Mio have to get physical on her. And soon she just ignored her. Nodoka also comes by to help as they all get acquainted. They burn the midnight oil but Yui is feeling sleepy. I don’t know what that weird winter surviving dream was all about. The day of the retake arrives and Yui comes in looking very tired. Not good. Actually she scored 100 marks! WOW!!! Everyone is relieved and prepares to practice but to their dismay, Yui has forgotten the chords she learned! Because she studied too much algebra, she made up her own x and y chords. There are no such chords, girl! Classic one!
 
After Mio finds a tape of the previous club members in episode 4, she decides for them to go on a training camp for their summer break. Plus, Mio wants to play at their school’s festival. But Yui and Ritsu think of having fun only and even suggest doing a cafe or haunted house for the festival, only to get hit by Mio. The gang arrive at their destination for training camp: Tsumugi’s family villa. Woah! It’s bloody huge! Just how rich is this girl? As usual, Ritsu and Yui are interested in playing and even got into their swimming suits. Even if Mio tries to put her foot down that they’re here to practice, eventually she gives in. Hmm… A setup by the rest? Yeah, she’s still a girl who wants to have fun too. So the whole day they have their fun in the sun which includes Ritsu teasing Mio after she gets scared touching barnacles. When it is night time and time to practice, Ritsu and Yui are too tired to start and give excuses. Yeah, another reason to postpone and relax. Then I’m not sure if Mio saw an illusion of Yui playing a super mock live gig but she sure looked like the real deal. Mio then lets the rest hear the tape which plays out to be some horrifying scream. As Mio cowers in fear, Ritsu aggravates it so much so Mio cried. She sure has gone too far. Ritsu feels sorry but can’t help see how moe is when Mio shred tears (I agree!). The gang manage to practice before soaking in the open air hotspring. Next day, Ritsu comes back with the photos of their training stint and since there are only embarrassing photos of them, Mio shows her dark side and threatens Ritsu to hand over the negatives. But it’s a digital camera… I just hope everyone has gained something useful from the camp when they come back. Erm… Maybe not.
 
The gang learns that they’re not an established club yet in episode 5. As they go seek an explanation, they learn Nodoka is a member of the student council. Ritsu thinks it’s a conspiracy to destroy a small club but when Nodoka mentions the club request form, Mio gets pissed because Ritsu as the club president has that form she’s supposed to fill in but forgot. Yeah, it’s her club. In addition, they need to have an advisor. The likely teacher they’re targeting is Sawako and they’re sure persistent. Sawako turns down their offer since she is the advisor for the Wind Ensemble Club but when she gets to know that they have a photo album of the club’s past members, Sawako suddenly rushes down to the club, surpassing all obstacles in her way. However she couldn’t find the photo and it seems the girls were having it all along. Sawako has no choice but to admit that wild rocker girl in the photo is her and that she was a member of this club. Remember that horrifying voice in the tape? Yup, that’s her alright. What a big difference now and then. Oh wait, if you give her a guitar, she’ll transform into a rocker devil! Oh sh*t! Her tapping and strumming are awesome! She’s playing with her teeth too! She chides them for using the room too freely. Sawako then realizes and so she tells of her flashback story. It seems she confessed to a boy she liked but he like girls that are wild. So she started playing in a wilder manner until it is so absurd that he thinks she has gone overboard. So the quartet demonstrates in front of Sawako and she isn’t amused with them lacking lots of things. She starts questioning if they’re just hogging this room. Yup, tea time snacks… She even scolds them for not writing the lyrics for their song yet. So do they want her as their advisor? There’s nobody else, right? Not to mention Ritsu’s blackmailing to reveal her wild past. Sawako could’ve got even rowdier if Tsumugi didn’t calm her down with her cake. Ah, the tempting solution.
 
Mio writes the lyrics and the next day, Sawako and the rest have a look at it. Erm… Fluffy and puffy? Marshmallows? Hey, it’s better than all those profanity you hear in today’s songs, right? Though Ritsu is against the lyrics, Sawako thinks that if she accepts them, the girls will change their perception that she’s a nice teacher. That’s what she did so based on the decision of the majority, Mio’s lyrics is accepted. Now they need somebody to sing it. Mio is too shy while Tsumugi has her hands full with her keyboards. Yui is hinting that she wants to sing so much but I guess Ritsu is trying hard not to notice her till she is their last option left. However, Yui can only do 1 thing at a time. It’s either she sing or play the guitar only. With that, Sawako takes Yui to start on her special training. Don’t want to know what that is. Ritsu and Mio notice Tsumugi’s infatuation with Sawako because she’s been spacing out at certain times but Tsumugi clears the air and says she finds feelings between girls to be nice. Don’t tell me she’s a fujoshi… Yui comes back just in time after her special training for the school festival performance in a few days time. But it seems her voice is totally hoarse and horrible! Oh dear! After all that singing, her voice broke! This won’t do so Mio will have to sing. Mio goes into panic mode.
 
The day of the school festival arrives in episode 6. Mio thinks of one last practice before their turn but it seems they’re all busy. When they’re all done, they gather at the club for practice but Sawako shows up. She has made costumes for them to wear at their performance. And you thought this teacher couldn’t get any quirkier. Later, Mio attempts to persuade Ritsu to take over vocals as she would play both bass and drums. Like that would happen. Yui apologizes so Ritsu suggests doing a mock intro to ease the tension but gets hit by Mio for exaggerating. The hall is packed as it is their club’s turn to perform. As they start, Mio naturally sings the song Fuwa Fuwa Time (Fluffy Fluffy Time) and yeah, seems like they have a video fit for MTV. Wanted girls on the run in the American outback? Anyway they receive a great applause at the end of their song. As they make their exit, Mio trips on a wire, revealing her panties to the crowd. Back in the club room, everyone is delighted of their first performance and it seems Mio has her own fan club now (I want in too!). For the time being, let’s leave her alone because she’s broken. She’s thinking she’ll never get married? I bet there are many fans out there who are willing to do just that.
 
Episode 7 starts with a flashback of Yui and Ui. Ui wanted a White Christmas so the next day Yui showed her their lawn with ‘snow’ which turned out to be cotton from the cushion. In present time, Yui and Ui share their glove and scarf they have lost respectively on a cold winter day. Ritsu announces they’re doing a Christmas gig on Christmas Eve at Tsumugi’s place and tickets costing a 1000 Yen each. Like that will work. Tsumugi says her house is off limits since there are events every time and early booking is required. Eventually they settle for Yui’s home since her parents are going to Germany for holiday. Yui leaves Ui to do the cooking (it’s better that way because you don’t want over-burn and undercook food, right?) while everyone else goes to buy presents. They then try their luck at the lottery but could only manage tissues. Tsumugi’s incredible luck has her won a trip to Hawaii but she exchanges it for a board game so that everyone could play together. Later the girls gather and it seems Sawako unexpectedly shows up. Remember never to say the taboo word, "boyfriend" in front of her or else she’ll snap. She then tries to put on weird costumes on everyone especially Mio so when Nodoka comes by she thinks she has gotten the wrong house when she sees devilish Sawako trying to strip helpless Mio. So Nodoka did come in just in time for them to exchange presents. Sawako gets excited and she got a sucker punch present from Ritsu. Now she’s broken. Mio got Sawako’s horror DVD present (which she intended to give to her boyfriend. Oops, said it). Finally Yui and Ui got each other’s presents of a scarf and gloves. Then they do skits like Ui’s puppet show, Tsumugi’s impersonations, Mio reluctantly dressing up in a Santarina outfit and Sawako an unrefined act (maple leaf symbol on her tummy using her palm?). At the end of the day, Yui sleeps with Ui but hogs the blanket. New Year’s Day as everyone gathers for prayers at the shrine as they pray for better performance. Sawako’s luck isn’t getting any better by the way…
 
Ui is now a junior at Yui’s high school for the new school term in episode 8. Yui, Ritsu and Tsumugi are in the same class but Mio must be feeling screwed because she’s the only one in a different class. So when she learns Nodoka is the only person she knows in the same class, she instantly becomes her pal. With the new term means new club members recruitment. Sawako suggests they dress up in weird animal outfits for the drive. Enough to scare others away, I’d say. Ui’s classmate, Azusa Nakano receives a flyer from them and notes their weirdness. Ui takes her friend to see the K-ON! Club. It’s understandable if her friend is having doubts after seeing them in maid outfits (courtesy from you know who). Ui introduces her to the members and their advisor and soon they demonstrate a little performance in jerseys since their maid outfits make it too difficult to move around. Maybe her friend made the right decision not to join. Not even tea or cakes could tempt her. The weirdness is too great. So when Ui asks Yui what is the best thing about the club, her honest reply is that things are fun. The K-ON! Club are doing a performance for first year students’ orientation. Hmm… Take a look at the song titles they have to sing. Other than Fuwa Fuwa Time, there are Rice After Curry, My Love Is Like Staples and Ink Pen Ballpoint Pen. Ah, everyday objects. I think the lyrics will be fun. Azusa comes in the hall to watch the performance as the girls get on with their next song after a long winded speech from Yui. Since Yui forgot the opening lyrics, Mio instinctively got over her shyness and took over. At the end, everyone is waiting at the club anxiously for new members to come. Doesn’t seem like it when Azusa turns up and says she’ll join, much to their delight as Ritsu immediately accepts and pounds on her. I wonder if she realizes what she has gotten into.
 
Azusa plays the guitar and Yui seems to be getting that senpai thingy over her head in episode 9. Azusa demonstrates a little of her guitar skills and in short, she is much better than Yui! She wants to hear Yui play but the latter gave an excuse. As Azusa drops by the club, she learns of their quirkiness especially their time bumming around drinking tea and not practicing. Including Sawako. Azusa starts playing her guitar thinking this is some test but Sawako scolds her for being too noisy to enjoy her tea. Poor girl in tears. After Ritsu chides her, Mio comforts her but Azusa snaps and tells them off. Yui’s hug calms her down. The next time she comes by to practice, they give another excuse that they need their usual cake for energy to practice. They continue to goof around by suggesting Azusa put on cat ears and say "Nya~". Since they find her to be totally moe, Sawako now suggests to put on a maid costume. Now, that’s going too far. Mio must be relieved that they’re targeting the newcomer but why does she feel lonely? Mio feels that they need to buck up if they don’t want to lose Azusa so the rest misinterprets that they need to do a picnic. Azusa asks why Mio joined such a silly club and not other bands but Ritsu cuts them off with some blackmailing technique towards Mio. Soon everyone finally gets to practice after Mio puts her foot down. Should we be surprise if Yui still doesn’t know guitar terms and has Azusa teaching her some? After the short practice, it’s that long tea break again. That night, Azusa sees a band performance at a club and is confused even if these bands are much better than K-ON! Club. One day Azusa comes in to the club and the rest are worried she may be quitting. Azusa breaks down and says how she doesn’t understand them in the end even if she was in awe of their performance. Thus they perform so she could re-live those feelings again. Mio answers Azusa the reason she didn’t join any other band: Because it’s fun playing with them and that’s why their performances are good. Azusa gladly says she’ll perform with them. Everyone is happy but if Azusa thinks they’re going to start practice right away, she’s got to hold it in a little because Ritsu and Yui are back to their lethargic ways.
 
Azusa goes out with Ui on an outing in episode 10 and lets the latter know what it’s like being in this club. Since it is summer break, Ritsu thinks of having another training camp. She asks Sawako out of courtesy but I think they really don’t want to invite her along. Once again it is Tsumugi’s villa and yes, Ritsu and Yui feel like playing again. Mio and Azusa are bent on practicing so it’s down to Tsumugi. She votes to have fun. Damn. The usual fun till Azusa thinks they should all go practice. But she was the one who played the most. How do we know? She’s so tanned! Practice hits another snag when all hungry Ritsu can think of is to eat. After BBQ dinner and playing fireworks, Ritsu gets an idea of playing test of courage. You know what this means for Mio. Azusa and nervous Mio trudge through the dark forest when they see a ghostly figure heading towards them. And no, this isn’t Ritsu’s trick. A REAL GHOST?! Nope. It’s Sawako. She got lost on her way here. So she wanted to come, eh? Then the girls take a dip in a giant hot bath. Sawako shows another perverted side of hers as she says she can tell the difference between Mio and Azusa if she lets them touch their boobs. Hitting your teacher at this point is acceptable. That night, Azusa can’t sleep and sees Yui practicing alone so she goes to practice with her. Yui feels grateful to have met her so she hugs Azusa. When they come back, Ui gets the shock of her life when she doesn’t recognize tanned Azusa. So they get together and chat how the club members are like especially Yui whose hugs always feel warm.
 
It’s time for another school festival and in episode 11, the K-ON! Club girls are preparing for another performance. Sawako shows Azusa last year’s performance and saw the embarrassing thing that befell on Mio. But it seems Ritsu never learned her lesson because history is repeating itself when Nodoka comes by to remind them to fill in the registration form. However, they need to think of a name for their band, in which everyone has their own weird names and ideas. Then they notice Yui’s guitar strings are rusty so they take it to the music shop to service it. Even the employee is shocked at the guitar’s condition even if it’s just 1 year. After it’s done, Yui finds out that she has to pay for the service. Duh?! And she doesn’t have any money. However she is saved because the employees consider it their free service considering she is Tsumugi’s friend. Then Yui names her guitar… Geeta. Well, it’s better than John, Paul or George. Mio is totally absorbed in left handed bass guitars so when it’s time to leave, she doesn’t want to. A little tussle between her and Ritsu causes Mio to trip a little. Yui remembers a date with Nodoka so Mio eagerly wants to tag along but Ritsu doesn’t look happy. Ritsu and the rest spy on them before she barges into their conversation. Jealous, is she?
 
Then at practice, Ritsu continues to goof around so Mio isn’t amused. The duo get into a little argument so Azusa puts on cat ears to ease the tension. But practice is cut short when Ritsu just leaves the room. Then she didn’t turn up for several days in school and they think Mio is being cold towards her and Sawako wants Mio to go bring her back. But the festival performance is around the corner and Sawako is considering a replacement drummer if it doesn’t work out. However Tsumugi says only Ritsu will be their drummer and will wait till she returns. Mio visits Ritsu and finds that she is sick. She also says how she likes her energetic play and without her it feels lonely. They reconcile as the rest of the girls visit her. But that’s not the end of their troubles yet. Nodoka informs them that they haven’t turn in their form yet and the deadline has passed. So they all plead to the student council president to give more time since the president was sick and she agrees. As they discuss what their band name should be, since they’re going nowhere with all those weird names, Sawako gets annoyed and just decide and write it in herself: After School Tea Time. Very fitting, isn’t it?
 
Yui falls ill from the cold she gets from Ritsu in episode 12. As a backup plan, Azusa takes over the lead guitar. Suddenly Yui shows up for practice and as they do so, they notice something amiss about Yui. Her guitaring is too perfect! Then they notice how Yui calls them differently and that’s when Sawako points out she is Ui in disguise! Wow. She really looks like her sister. And you know how Sawako knew she was the fake? Ui’s boobs are larger than Yui’s! This teacher… So can Ui play the guitar? Well, she thought Yui how to and learned herself during the process. That sister of hers is sure useless. The real Yui shows up and claims she is okay. But she’s not because she can’t even lift Geeta. So Mio bans Yui from the club till she gets better and has Azusa practice in her stead. On the day of the festival, Yui isn’t here but Nodoka checks as though everyone is here. She then tells them a story how Yui once filled up her bathtub with lobsters (real life scary story! Oh Mio!). The point is, if she becomes interested in something, she can’t see anything else but it. Sawako comes in with costumes for the performance: Warm yukatas and Yui is wearing them. Looks like she is here. Azusa is relieved so Yui tries to kiss her for being worried but receives a slap. However Yui notices her Geeta is back at home and she can’t play without it. No other guitar would do. Their performance is in 10 minutes. Yui runs home to retrieve Geeta but can she make it? The performance starts as Sawako covers for Yui’s part for the first song. Yui comes back in time and realizes the importance of this club to her. As they start their next gig, Fuwa Fuwa Time, Yui takes over the lead vocals this time. Another outstanding performance as they continue with an encore. Yui tells the crowd how she loves this club and wants to do another performance but Nodoka says their time and turn is up. Yeah, don’t get carried away.
 
A freezing episode 13 is so cold that it doesn’t feel warm. This episode is just like its episode title ‘extra’ suggests. A filler. Nothing more. We see the gang in the club room with their usual antics as Yui tries to play Geeta with gloves. Not good idea. Have you ever seen Jimi Hendrix play his guitar with gloves? Once everyone goes home, we see what they do individually like Tsumugi taking up a part time job as a trainee in a fast food joint, Yui and Ui shopping for nabe ingredients, Mio heading to the beach to find inspiration for her lyrics, Azusa taking care of her friend’s kitten at home and Ritsu spacing out because of the ‘love letter’ she just received in her mail. Of course a little trouble brewing like Tsumugi mixing up her orders and spilling drinks on her colleague which causes her to lose a little confidence, the kitten throwing up hairballs on Azusa’s couch and Mio’s mind going blank. Yui then SMS everyone what kind of nabe would they rather have. Chocolate-chocolate or marshmallow-soy-milk. Only a weirdo can come up with such weird combo. Frantic Azusa calls back to chide her because she’s in a pinch of her own. Yui and Ui head over but things already calmed down when they arrive. Later they all converge at Tsumugi’s part time job (she’s doing fine by the way) and Ritsu learns that the ‘love letter’ was written by Mio. Yup, she wanted her opinion for her lyrics. As relief Ritsu is, she nearly strangled Mio for the anxiety she caused. Next day back in the club room, everyone continues their antics with Yui having her say on warm and cold hands (either way, what she meant is that the person is warm overall). They discuss about performing at Budoukan but I guess you and I would agree that what they need now is more practice rather than bumming around. It doesn’t hurt to dream big, eh? Hey, whatever happened to Sawako? Didn’t see her in this episode. Boyfriend, oops…
 
If you buy the DVD, you’ll get extra specials which last less than 3 minutes. What are those clips supposed to mean? Heck, who needs a reason if you can’t get enough of cute kawaii girls. Like Special 1 is about Yui’s Curiosity Series as her airheadness makes her ponder stuff like how does Tsumugi’s radish-like eyebrows move (only to miss looking at it), wondering how Mio’s forehead look like (only to bump her own forehead into hers) and the what-ifs that Ritsu will look like if she were to have personalities of the other girls (of course having a personality like Yui would be the worse). Special 2 is Ritsu’s Kodak Moment Series. First up is Mio as she gradually tells her to do reluctant poses like pushing up her boobs. Then when Mio finds out that she’s going to sell those pics for the club’s fund, Mio strangles her to delete the shot or else… But has she learned her lesson? She continues snapping Yui and Tsumugi taking their weights and when she clicks Mio adjusting the scale to cover up, Mio again strangles and threatens her or else… Finally Ritsu takes photos of Yui doing weird stuff like while she is tanned, just waking up from sleep and putting a watermelon as her mouth. Ritsu then strangles Yui and tells her to know some shame! Look who’s talking. Mio fans should love Special 3 because it’s about her panties. About what? First, Ritsu, Yui and Tsumugi sketch how her panties looked like during the school festival but they all drew wrongly. Next, the gang open presents received from Mio’s fan club but it turned out to be a bunch of panties! Lastly, Ritsu creates a membership card for Mio’s fan club but it has a picture of her striped panties on it. Pissed Mio gives Ritsu a big knock on her head and accuses her of making it up herself.
 
Special 4 is about when Yui was young. She thought Christmas was Christmashuu~, she couldn’t wear her socks properly and though she found lost Ui during the New Year’s shrine visit, ironically it’s reversed role when they grew up. Yeah, always need Ui to help find her. Things never change. Special 5 is the Uninhabited Island Series. Yup, the quintet stranded on some deserted island. It has Tsumugi breaking coconuts to quench their thirst, Yui catching fish via strumming her guitar (probably her horrible sound killed it – wait a minute. How the heck did she plugged her electric guitar? Anyway just like Azusa said, she’s misusing it) and Azusa thought there is a serial murder on the island when she spots weird upright leg positions of the girls only to discover Ritsu making a pop quiz for her to guess which pair of legs belong to who. Yeah, how she’d wish to quickly get off this island. How the heck did they end up here in the first place? Special 6 is an Animal Series. It has Yui wondering if Azusa is a cat so Ritsu thinks Yui is a dog, Mio as several animals based on her personality such as a porcupine ("Stay away from me!"), a turtle (afraid and hiding) and a rhino (a bad pun of shy and ‘sai’ which means that horned beast in Japanese), and finally Yui pondering Tsumugi as a pickle for an animal but we all know that isn’t an animal. Hey, I just noticed that the entire Specials did not feature Sawako!
 
So well the series isn’t anywhere the next best series that will leave a long lasting impression unless you’re crazy over the cute girls in the first place. It wouldn’t be fun and totally boring if it wasn’t for the quirky antics of the girls. Who wouldn’t love to have an airhead and simpleton Yui in the group. What about cheeky and troublemaker Ritsu? It’s hard to dismiss nice girl Tsumugi and her dreamy voice too. And Mio. Yeah, she’s the one many viewers claim have stolen their hearts (like yours truly). Though I feel bad at times, but she is too freakin’ moe even when she shed tears! Azusa too has her moe appeal especially when she’s trying hard to put her foot down for the band to practice or submit to their whims. But that’s the K-ON! Club for you. A group with balanced personalities. Now if only responsible Ui and conscientious Nodoka would be part of the band. I guess too many cooks spoil the broth. As for Sawako, I’m really surprised that she turned from a gentle teacher into a wild deranged uncouth split personality advisor. Can’t run away from her rocker past, eh? Is this the kind of teacher the school should have? Some of the band members are already one kind, now the teacher also one kind. Two wrongs don’t make a right, you know. Ah well, birds of the same feather… It’s going to be a challenge for them to reach their Budoukan goal at this rate.
 
The drawing and art of course has the girls drawn between bishoujo and moe area. However the art may seem simple at times (except for the Specials in which the art is totally ‘simple’ and downright horrible if you really take a closer look) but because of the overwhelming moe factor (especially of a certain ‘M’ girl. Oh, you know who), I guess viewers wouldn’t mind it. Maybe it’s the way of this series that I sometimes notice the animation is a little jerky at times. Or it could be my hardware problem. Not. But like I said, it’s the overwhelming moe factor which ‘covers’ it up. On a trivial note, I noticed the head bust statue whom I believe is the founder of the school, is seen at times being decorated with different hats and accessories. I don’t know if that means showing no respect, just for the fun of it or ‘taking care’ of it like as though the statue sometimes needs to be ‘dressed for the occasion’.
 
The producers used relatively unknown or lesser known seiyuus for the main cast so it is quite ‘refreshing’ to watch a series that lacks the usual heavyweight stars. Aki Toyosaki who voices Yui (Najimi in Akikan) is sure convincing in making her character like an airhead. I love it when Yui’s voice broke and she sounded just like one. Very real. Other casts include Youko Hikasa as Mio (she’s quite versatile in making Mio sound scared and being authoritative), Satomi Satou as Ritsu (Yuzuki in Jigoku Shoujo: Mitsuganae), Minako Kotobuki as Tsumugi, Ayana Taketatsu as Azusa, Madoka Yonezawa as Ui, Chika Fujito as Nodoka and veteran Asami Sanada as Sawako (Dejiko in Di Gi Charat). Both the opening and ending themes are of course sung by the initial quartet of the K-ON! Club members. Cagayake! GIRLS as the opening theme has Yui’s seiyuu taking the lead and sounds like an exuberant pop rock. Something about her voice and the lyrics makes the whole song sounds cute. The rock-like ending theme Don’t Say "Lazy" has Mio’s seiyuu as the lead vocals. The ending credits animation shows the quartet in Gothic outfits and I wonder why they didn’t add Azusa in it when she joined the group. Well, at least the opening shows her even if it was just cameo here and there performing with the band. As for the background music, I noticed that some are quite fun to listen to as it makes full use of the guitars, bass, keyboards and drums.
 
I wonder if the club will recruit any additional members in the future. Say, a violinist or a flutist or perhaps a vocalist. Oh heck, it may grow into an orchestra. Rock music and orchestra. Now, that’s a combination I’d like to hear. Sadly even after watching this series, I didn’t find any motivation to pick up my bass guitar and start playing all over again. Hmm… Could Mio be my anime reincarnation or my destined 2D soul mate (besides Mai Tokiha)? We both play the bass, have straight black hair, a shy personality and even closely share our first names (at least the first 2 alphabets). Oh wait a minute. I forgot. Oh Mio, why do you have to be left handed! Damn it. And if there is a club in need of a musician while offering animes to watch as motivation to join their club, heck, count me in.
 

K-ON!