April 2010


      Well, an interesting thing happened on April 21, 2010, the Crystal Tokyo Anime Blog turned three years old. I know it’s a little late, but I just realized my blog had reached this point last night, so like a belated birthday gift I’ll be doing this little anniversary post.

      First of all, I’d like to thank all the readers of this blog, and all the readers that took the time to leave comments, even the negative ones, sometimes those are the most interesting ones. What I’m going to do with this post is to take a look back to the beginning then I’ll cover what you the readers have chosen as your favorite content (by your page views), and then I’ll go over the status and future of the blog.

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        This episode begins with the girls looking at, and talking about, Ton-Chan as she swims in her tank, but they’re soon distracted by Ritsu tearfully complaining that she’s sick of the drums. Well, when the other girls get to the heart of the matter, they pretty much agree with Ritsu’s conclusion that she’s invisible as the drummer, and now she’s talking about trying another instrument.

 

         Yui casually offers up her guitar for Ritsu to give it a go and then complains about Gitah being unfaithful with her. Azusa and Yui try to help Ritsu with some quick guitar instruction but Ritsu quickly gives up saying it’s not for her. Later, as Ritsu is walking down the hallway, she notices that Sawako is very radiant today, and then after lunch Ritsu tells the girls she’s going to try the keyboard and she says she wants to be radiant like Sawako.  After trying the keyboard for a while it’s suggested that Ritsu try the bass but Mio says no way, she’s the bassist, and she gives her emotional reasons why she loves the bass.

 

        That night, after dinner, at Yui’s house, Ui notices her sister banging around on some glasses and saucers and asks what’s up, and Yui tells her that she’s working on operation Ritsu in the spotlight. The next day its class picture day, and Yui puts operation Ritsu in the spotlight into effect but none of her ideas really work out. On their way home from school, Yui tells Azusa that she’ll play drums if she has to but Azusa tells her that she needs her right where she is.

         Later, in Ritsu’s bedroom, we see her think over her current drum situation, and we see how everything got started with her and the drums. Soon, Ritsu is doing some drumming with her sticks and some CD cases, and she seems to be enjoying herself. The next morning we see Ritsu and Mio running really late for school because Ritsu stayed up late watching a Who DVD. You like their drummer, Mio asks?

        Ritsu and Mio get caught sneaking into class late thanks to Yui, and they notice Sawako with her lower face mostly covered. Later, Sawako shows Yui and Ritsu the damage, she tried something new to look even younger, and the girls tell her she over did it. Up in the clubroom, Ritsu is back to her normal self saying the drums are the only thing for her. Yui tells Ritsu that they’re all one part of a greater whole even though they have different roles. Well, Ritsu tells them why she loves the drums and she’s OK if she’s not really noticed. Mugi tells the other girls that she come up with a new song thanks to Ritsu.

        Well, Mugi plays a few cords of the song with her keyboard for the girls and they like the melody. Mio is put in charge of the lyrics, and Mugi tells her that she’s already named the song, honey sweet tea time. While Azusa, Ritsu, and Yui dig into some tea and honey sweets that Mugi brought, Mio and Mugi try to work on the lyrics for the song. Well, that’s all for this radiant and sweet episode.

        Sorry this review took so long, after watching this episode a few days ago I realized that I really liked the episode but I struggled trying to put it to words. So here it goes, and I hope it makes some sense. While I loved the first season of K-On! for all the reason that I covered in my previous reviews I always thought that the one thing that was the most unrealistic about the series was there no guys, or even interest in guys. Come on now, it’s highly unlikely that five heterosexual cute girls and one hot woman would not have boyfriends or at least some guys sniffing around them, I think most guys find rocker girls very intriguing and attractive. Well, since I guess this anime would never dare to introduce the idea of the girls getting boyfriends or let alone have the girls run into some guys their own age I think I’ll settle for having one of the girls (Ritsu) get a little dose of self awareness. What I mean by this last statement is that most “moe blobs” in these types of shows happily go about their “moe blob” existences without ever achieving any awareness of how the external world views them, so I think that Ritsu desire to be more radiant is a major step in the right direction. Ritsu wants the world to notice her and is thinking about ways to make it happen; after all don’t most of us want the world to take some notice of us. Go ahead Ritsu, shine, baby shine.

       Well, this episode begins with a little skit involving the girls trying to wake a sleeping Yui, and the overflowing storage closet in the music club’s practice room. The closet is so bad that the girls are forced to do some spring cleaning; they have to pull out all the crap out and go through it with everybody taking home what’s their shit. After the girls separate what belongs to them there’s still a lot of stuff from the previous members including an old guitar that Yui finds.

 

       When Sawako enters the room she sees the guitar and tells the girls that it’s her old guitar. Well, the girls tell Sawako that everyone has to take their personal belongings home, but since the guitar is old and musty Sawako suggests that they pawn it and use the money to fund the club. On their way to the music shop the girls decide to stop at a home center to look at a storage unit for the clubroom, and guess what, its Mugi’s first time in a home center. Ritsu and Yui turn the visit into dress up time and have a jolly good time. After Mio and Ritsu pick the unit and setup the delivery we see that Mugi has really loaded up on stuff from the store.

       After finishing up at the home center, the girls take the guitar to the music store and the guy has to take the guitar and do an assessment of its value. When the guy returns the girls are shocked to hear he’ll pay 500,000 yen (about 5,000 USD) for the guitar.

       The girls then get an explanation of why the guitar is so valuable, and they head off for burgers and fries after taking the cash. Over the meal the girls debate what to do with the money and we see the effect it has on everyone except Mugi.

 

        The next day the shelving/storage system is delivered and installed in the clubroom but there’s a problem, Yui still hasn’t taken all her stuff home due to her fear of Ui’s reaction. Then Sawako visits the club to check out the shelves and find out how much they got for the guitar. Well, after trying to dodge the question, Ritsu tells Sawako 10,000 yen, so she asks for the receipt since the money will be added to the club’s account. Just as Ritsu is about to hand over the receipt she attempts to eat it to the cheers of the other girls, but, alas, Sawako retrieves it from Ritsu’s mouth before the meal is finished. When Sawako sees the receipt, the girls beg forgiveness with Ritsu saying the amount overwhelmed her judgment. Sawako says OK, I’ll deposit the 10,000 you claimed, and say the rest was spent on the club stuff, but I’ll buy one thing that you girls agree on. Before Sawako leaves with the cash Yui asks to be slapped in the face with the money and she seems happy.

 

          On their way home, the girls try to decide what they want for the club, an amp, an effects unit, or another frog and the girls see the other clubs working with their new members causing Azusa to sigh. The next day, the girls talk about how they feel that Azusa needs a freshman to look after no matter what she said before. So, Yui comes up with an idea…..later, that afternoon when Azusa enters the club room, the girls introduce Azusa to Ton-chan the new club member, the turtle from the home center that Azusa and Yui were looking at. Azusa isn’t really thrilled, Yui says she thought that Azusa liked it, no I just thought it was strange, Yui liked it. Well, the girls tell Azusa that they thought that she was lonely without a junior to look after, and she seems to accept the turtle saying she’ll look after it from now on. Well, that’s all for this episode.

 

        This episode K-On!! continues its slow paced, five cm/s drift towards graduation and the future. What I mean by this is that while the seasons and the school year slowly moves forward, the girls see the coming end of their halcyon days, and no one more than Yui struggles to enjoy the remaining time as long as possible. I think that the metaphor of the spring cleaning of the storeroom serves this purpose with Ritsu and mainly Yui trying to avoid this task. Yes, it’s partly laziness, but the act of taking all their personal stuff home also symbolizes that their blissful time in the light music room will be ending. Also, this fight against coming adulthood is brought to the forefront when Mio tells Yui that she’s acting like a kid and to act more mature, and Yui says that she’s still a kid. I feel that Yui has it quite right by trying not to rush too quickly to adulthood because don’t most of us look back at high school and think how easy we had it no matter how we felt about it at the time.

      I felt this episode had several funny skits, and it was very adorable watching Mugi’s reaction during her first visit to a home center/super center, while she’s a rich girl she’s really a common girl at her core. Also, seeing Yui in action with the cordless drill and tool belt was priceless, it’s my Moe crack. Seeing how the girls reacted to their share of the money was pretty funny, and all I can say is that Yui’s got some pretty strange money fetishes. Hell, I smack her in the face with a thousand bucks anytime she wants to stop by my house. Overall, I found this episode of K-On!! to be a nice, lazy, but enjoyable dose of Moe entertainment.

 

       This episode begins with Yui arriving at the school early and heading up to the practice room to work on her skills, and once the other girls arrive we find out that Yui got her wake up time wrong again. After the new OP we find out that it’s the beginning of a new school year, Azusa is now a junior, and the other girls are seniors. After Yui makes some small talk about being a senior the girls head to the class assignment board to find out where their home rooms are. Well, Yui pushes her way through the crowd to discover that all four of the girls are in class 3-2, and Mio sheds tears of joy.

        Once the girls see that even Nodoka is in the same class, Mio wonders if the fix was in. Mio’s question is soon answered when they discover that their homeroom teacher in none other than Sawako. Later, in the hallway, Sawako confirms Mio’s suspicion and girls all express their thanks before being sent to the welcoming ceremony. During the welcoming ceremony we’re treated to the student body singing the school song, and a strong motif of the segment is falling cherry blossoms. Also, Nodoka reminds Yui that the club needs to find new members so Azusa won’t be all alone next year.

         The club concentrates on trying to get new members, passing out fliers, wearing costumes but to no avail. The club redoubles their efforts to get new members by trying all sorts of sneaky tactics and even resort to observing other clubs. Back in the club room, Sawako and Nodoka join the girls and they plan for tomorrow’s performance at the orientation ceremony, and Yui hopes someone will join the club after hearing them play like Azusa did.

         Before their performance, Yui makes a pitch to get new members to join the club, and we only see the last few seconds of the show. Later, the girls feel their show went great and they head off to pass out fliers. After no one shows up to the club Azusa tells her other friends that the club must not be popular but they tell her the club looked awesome, and they heard some freshmen say so. They tell Azusa that the problem is they might appear too hard to mingle with because they seem so close. While Azusa is with her friends, the other four brainstorms about how to get new members and Yui says it’s OK like this for a while longer with just the five of them. Sawako reminds them that they only have this year; Yui says it’s a long time but Sawako says a year is really short; Azusa overhears this conversation and seems happy.

       As the girls are about to dig in to some snacks Azusa walks in and Yui is about to rush out to continue passing out fliers but Azusa stops her. She asks for some tea and the Banana cake Yui felt Azusa wanted, and she tells the other girls that she’s fine with this year just having the five of them. Azusa tells Yui that she’s not going to go easy on her this year, and Yui pleads to the sky for a freshman to save her. Then we get treated to a new ED song and animation, and that’s all for this episode.

       Well, theirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr back, cute girls doing cute things for my male amusement, and I love it. Yes, I can’t deny it, Lucky Star, Sora no Woto, and K-On! what can I say, I love watching cute girls doing cute things. The world could be ending and all I would need is a couple of beers and a good dose of Tsukasa, Kanata, and Yui and I’d feel fine.

        OK, the new series gives us a new OP and ED, I think the new OP featuring Yui’s vocals is all right but not great, and the new ED featuring Mio’s vocals is good, but neither is as good as the first season’s OP or ED.  While the first episode of second season pretty much follows the same formula as the previous season there are some differences, the first season began with Yui’s frantic rush to make it to her first day of high school on time which could be viewed as Yui’s unorganized, disjointed, and chaotic journey towards the future and maturity. But, the way Yui started the second season infused the episode and the start of the second season with a totally different flavor, and I tasted a strong dose of mono no aware along with a hint of melancholy.

        While Yui and the other girls are still moving towards their bright futures, whatever they may be, Yui who’s been the most emotionally receptive of the girls is realizing that an important chapter of their young lives is about to come to a close. I don’t really know if Mugi, Mio, and Ritsu understand how close the five of them are but Yui understands this and Azusa was made aware of how close they all are to each other by her friends telling her how other girls view their group.

         While the second season might have all the silly stuff from the first season I think the series is going to become more focused on the girls’ relationships with one another and we’ll see a pretty heavy dose of introspection before it’s all over. Good animation, good music, a few laughs, and cute girls doing cute things, that’s good enough for me.