K-On!


        Well, here we are, the girls from K-On! are back with this OVA. The story begins with the girls getting invited to perform their first outside of school concert on New Year’s Eve at Live House. Mio wants to put it to a vote, and she and Azusa vote no, but they get overruled 3-2 by the other girls.

       The girls then pay a visit to Live House where they have to play an audition tape and fill out the application. The group is informed about the meeting and rehearsal schedule, and shown around the club.

        After the tour of the club the girls return to Yui’s house where they discuss what songs they’ll play and what outfits they’ll wear.  Should they where the cute uniforms from their first concert or the uniforms from their second show, or maybe have Sawako make them some new ones, but, in the end, Mio’s suggestion of just wearing their school uniforms wins out (good choice).

       Later, Yui gives her sister Ui two tickets to the concert, and she also gives Nodoka a ticket to the show. When the girls show up on concert day they get to meet Ritsu’s friend from the band Love Crisis, she’s the one who got them the invite to the show. The K-On! girls see that Love Crisis is on a much more professional level, they have their own fliers, Logo, CD, and they’re even doing a future solo show. After attending the preshow meeting the girls find out that they’re the second band up, and they receive their backstage passes. Then the girls are given their setup sheet where they have to let the club know what type of lighting, backing tracks, and so forth, basically they don’t know what they’re doing, so Mio says keep it simple.  But, the girls are overmatched so Yui borrows a filled out sheet from a more experienced group to use as a reference.

        Once the paperwork is finished, the girls watch and listen to some of the other groups’ rehearsals, and admire their specialized equipment like special affects petals, and so forth.  Back in the dressing room, we see that Mugi has brought along a supply of tea and snacks, and soon the other groups join them. Basically, all the girls talk about their love of music and their drive to keep playing.

       Time passes quickly and Afternoon Tea Time is called to the stage for rehearsals. Once the girls take the stage they’re pretty confused and nervous, and their first attempt doesn’t go very well, actually it’s a disaster. The other girl groups give them some words of encouragement and they start over from the beginning.

       Later, Yui meets Ui and her friends outside before the show, and they talk a bit. As the concert is starting Sawako shows up wearing her old clothes and she’s recognized by the club’s manager. 

        Afternoon Tea Time puts on a good show, and outside they’re greeted by Sawako, Nodoka, Ui, and her friend. Well, they tell them good job, and the girls thank Love Crisis for inviting them and they agree to play together in the future.

 

         After the show, the girls all return to Yui’s house where Ui cooks for them. As the New Year approaches, everyone but Ritsu and Mio has crashed, they share a smile and a laugh about the other girls, and they soon join them in sleep.

        At the crack of dawn Yui wakes everyone except Sawako, and Ui for the first sunrise of the New Year. While the other girls are initially grumpy then soon head outside and watch the sun come up together enjoying each other’s company at the start of a glorious new year. That’s all for this OAV.

         Well, it’s been awhile since I watched an episode of K-On!, and this OAV reminded me why I loved the first season, and why I’m looking forward to the second season. To, me shows like K-On!, Lucky Star, Sky Girls, Rocket Girls, Aria, and so forth are not about the action, or the plot, but me enjoying the girls interacting with the other characters, situations, and the environment  surrounding them. You can call these formulations Slice of Life, or call it Healing, or call it Moe; I really don’t give a shit, all I know is that I get enjoyment and relaxation from watching these types of series.

          Overall, this episode of K-On! was a typical episode, nothing spectacular. The girls take a major step forward in their musical careers by getting invited to play outside the school for the first time and they take it about as seriously as everything else, not very. But, that’s not the point of the series; the whole point to this series is that we get to watch as the girls personal horizons are widened because of their friendship and the situations they’re placed in. As Mio says throughout the episode, it’s kind of nice to see how far they’ve come, and see all the new things they’re experienced because of their band. I don’t think that the girls are going to be professional musicians, but they’re filling a wonderful treasure chest of memories that someday when they’re older and life starts to run them down they can draw upon to make them smile; after all, you should treasure your youth.

For my seventh post in the “12 moments of anime 2009” series I’m choosing the K-On! beach episodes.

      Anime and fanservice goes together like peanut butter and jelly, and mom and apple pie, and that fanservice comes in many flavors; a new robot for mecha fans, a new weapon for military fans, a new move for martial arts fans, and so forth. So, me being as fan of cute/hot girls doing cute/hot things, my fanservice of choice revolves around those girls being placed in an environment where cute/hot things can occur; the beach, the onsen, a sleepover, a festival, or anywhere else the girls get to be cute. So, for my seventh post in the 12 moments of anime 2009 series I choosing the K-On! beach episodes, while most anime only give us one beach episode K-On! graces our eyes with two beach episode out of its 13 episode run (episode 4 & 10). Without further ado, the girls of K-On! at the beach.

Beach episodes=bikinis, melons, and equipment comparisons

The beach episode also affords the girls the opportunity to enjoy water sports and sand sports.

Also, the beach episode allows the girls to give us, the male viewers, many pseudo yuri moments to indulge our hidden desires.

So, whenever I find out that an anime featuring cute girls is about to have a beach episode, my heart leaps for joy!

           As Christmas approaches, Mio and the rest of the K-On! girls offers you a gift of Christmas cake, and I offer you a gift of Japanese idols dressed in their holiday finest. The pics are from YS-Web’s 2005 Christmas special and includes pictures of Natsumi Nishida, Ayame Misaki, Hitomi Aizawa, Mikie Hara, and Ayaka Komatsu. Enjoy. Always remember to take the greatest care when unwrapping your Christmas presents because you never know how fragile they might be.

Don't say lazy 001

A few days ago I saw this cover of the K-On!’ song  “Don’t Say Lazy” and it’s done by the J-pop girl band Scandal, I don’t know much about them other than they’re pretty cute and sound alright. Click on the following link to download a copy of this video.

Don't say Lazy 002 

Mugi's warm hands 

        This episode begins with the chill of winter visiting our K-on! girls, Mio looks like she’s working on a project, and we see Ritsu walking down the street alone and she looks lost without her precious Mio-chan. All the girls are waiting for Yui in the clubroom, when she finally gets there she’s says she feels too cold to play guitar. Yui says she should try playing with her gloves on, and Ritsu says she’d like to see that, that doesn’t go very well for Yui.

Mio working on somethingMugi out in the coldAzusa trying to pet the pussyRitsu lonely without Mio

Yui and Ui in the coldit's so sold outsideRitsu's face is so warm

        After a while, Mio and Yui notice that Ritsu is zoning out, and when they ask her what’s the matter she says it’s nothing. Later, Yui invites everyone over her house for a hotpot on Sunday, but everyone has something to do. As they’re walking home, Mugi says she has something to do and quickly takes off, the girls speculate on whether she’s meeting a BF or something, this causes Ritsu to blush.

earth to Ritsunothing's wrong with mehotpot hotpotRitsu feels uncomfortable

        It seems that everyone has their little secrets; Mio asks Ritsu what’s bothering her, Azusa wants to do some shopping and she doesn’t want Yui there, and Mugi has mysterious places to go. Then the next day we see what everyone was hiding;  Azusa ran off to buy some stuff for a cat she’s watching for a friend, it looks like Mugi giving the working life a try, Mio is heading off the write a song, Ritsu has been ruminating over a confession letter she got, and Yui is keeping encased in her warm bed.

its very cold this morningplease watch my pussy catpetshop girlsAzusa wanting to play with the pussy

the princess punching a clockMio off to write a songYui snug in her bed with meRitsu's lover letter

someone loves me

        As the day progresses, we see how each girl deals with her situation. Azusa at first is uncomfortable with the cat but soon she and the kitten get along just fine, and soon she names the cat Azu-nyan #2. Mio arrives at a cold and windy beach and says this is the perfect place to write a song. Ritsu starts playing around with her hairstyle, but she thinks she looks weird. Mugi is trying her best to be a good trainee at a world famous burger chain. Ui and Yui are out and about doing some grocery shopping, and they talk about how no one is coming over.

maybe I'll change my hairthis looks silly on me

Azusa and the cat 001Azusa on the cat 002I'll call you Azu-nyan #2

Mugi the burger girlMugi at work

Mio at the seaI'll write my song here

Ui and Yui shopping for food

          Then a funny thing happens, Mio finds out that she can’t get any writing done and she wishes she had went to Yui’s place instead. Ritsu who was shopping with her little brother gets left alone when he goes off to hangout with a friend. Azusa gets really nervous when she thinks the kitty is getting sick. Mugi is making some mistakes at work, and she’s so upset she starts crying. But, a silly text message from Yui about  hotpots gets all the girls’ attention, Azusa calls Yui and is in a panic about the cat, and Yui and Ui stop by her place to look at the cat, it was just a hairball. Soon, Yui gets text-ed back by everyone, she finds out about Mugi’sjob and every one elses status, and everyone meets up at a table outside Mugi’s job site.

Ritsu and her reflection

later sisI can't write hereMugi's accidentMugi in tears

Yui taking Azu-nyan's call

Here have some foodMugi's got a jobwatching Mugi working

        Once all the girls get talking, Mio asks Ritsu what she thought of the song lyrics she left in her mailbox the other day. Poor Ritsu, her heart was sent all aflutter for no reason, and she tells Mio to not do such old fashioned things like leaving hand written notes. The next day in the practice room Mugi tells the girls she’s going to work till the end of the year. Then the topic switches to warm hands, and how much it would cost to rent Budokan, if they’re going to play there they’re going to have to rent it after all. Well, that’s all for this episode.

don't leave letters like that

warm handsback off girlchecking out Mugi's hands

       Well, this was a pretty mellow and cute little episode, everyone except Yui and Ui seems to have had a little secret or personal crisis, and even though all the girls intended to spend their Sunday alone they still ended up together at the finish. Like I said in my episode 12 review, Yui is the glue that holds all the girls together, her silly hotpot text saved the day for the other girls. Yui’s message stopped Mugi from full meltdown, it got Mio away from her cold perch, it solved Azusa’s cat problem, and it stopped Ritsu from going crazy over her guy issue. Well, this series has always been more about girls bonding than girls forming a serious band, and that’s the way this episode ended, girls sharing tea and sweets, how sweet.

K-On! playing for the school 

       This episode begins with Yui waking from a weird dream about Mugi’s eyebrows, and we see that Yui has a very bad cold and her sister Ui is caring for her. Ui tells Yui that she’ll contact the school, Ui looks like she doesn’t want to leave her sister but Yui tells her she’ll be OK, so get to school. Then at school, Ui lets Azusa and the other girls know about Yui illness, they try to figure out whether she got her cold from Ritsu or from cosplaying a bunch of outfits that Sawako brought for them to try on. Mio tells Azusa to begin to practice lead guitar in case Yui is unable to perform at the cultural festival.

Yui at home sickUi talking to AzusaUi talking with the other girlsSawako costume rack

Mugi the waitressMugi in china dressMugi in Usagi outfitAzusa in kimono

Yui and Azusa in Kimono

       When Ui gets home she goes to check on her sister and sees that she’s in pretty bad shape, looking worse than before. The next day after class, Yui shows up for practice saying she feels better. They begin to rehearse and Yui’s guitar playing is perfect,  but it’s not Yui playing, it’s her sister Ui. She almost pulled off a perfect impersonation of her sister but she was caught because she used the wrong nicknames for the girls, and Sawako says that Yui’s breast aren’t that big. After Ui explains how she learned to play the guitar and why she tried to replace her sister the real Yui walks through the door. Yui wants to practice with the band, but she’s as sick as ever and can’t really practice.

Yui is really sick

Ui playing with the other girlsUi practicing with her sisterYui is still sickYui and her guitar

        Yui tells Azusa that she’ll be counting on her for the guitar lead but Azusa says that she’d rather not play at all if they can’t play together. Before Azusa can leave the room Mio stops her, Mio tells Yui to go home and rest until the day of their performance, and then she tells Azusa to practice the lead not because of Yui’s absence, but for the future. Back at home, Yui says all that she can do now is rest and try to be ready for the concert. On the day of the performance, Azusa is looking out the window for Yui and Mugi tells her not to worry, Yui texted her and said she’d be there on time. Nodoka enters the room and doesn’t look a bit worried about Yui absence, Nodoka tells them a weird story from her and Yui’s childhood, the meaning being that when Yui has her heart set on something she’ll be there for it, so don’t worry.

Looking for YuiNodoka says don't worry about itNodoka and flowersYui and crayfish

       Soon, Sawako shows up bringing Yui with her, Azusa gets upset at Yui for making them worry, and Yui has to give her the warm and fluffy treatment to get Azusa to forgive her. Just as they’re about to head downstairs Yui starts looking for her guitar, she left it in the music room the other day but can’t find it, Mio tells her that Ui took it home for her and Yui must have forgotten her sister told her about it because she was so sick.

Sawako has brougth someoneYui is back and readyAzusa is upsetthe yui warm and fluffy hug

give me some sugar baby

        Yui doesn’t know what to do, Sawako hands Yui her old guitar and says she should be able to use this instead, and after a few seconds thought Yui rushes out of the room and says she’ll be back. Ui enters the theater and sees that it’s getting pretty full, as the band is announced and they start playing, Ui notices that she sister isn’t on stage, Sawako is filling in for Yui as she rushes home to get her guitar.

what should I dothis should be OKAzusa on guitarMugi onkeyboards

Ritsu on drumsMio on vocalsSawako on leadYui is getting her guitar

        As Yui is rushing back to school she thinks about how different she is now from her first day in high school, she was worried that she’d never do anything and had nothing to worry about then, and she thinks about how important the club and her friends are now. Yui makes it to the stage by the end of the first song and the thanks Sawako for filling in for her then she apologises to the girls for always being to one to cause them trouble.

Yui running to schoolYui running to school 001Yui running to school 002Yui watching the band play

I'm so sorry for the trouble

        Well, once Yui is ready to play, she gives a little talk about the K-On! club to the students and they begin playing  light & fluffy with Yui doing lead guitar and vocals. After the song is over they do an encore performance of the same song and want to play another song for the students but Nodoka tells them that their time is up and the girls leave the stage to the applause of the students. Well, that’s all for this episode and this series, all that remains is a extra episode next week.

Mio fixing Yui tiehere we goYui on vocals 001Ritsu on drums

Yui on vocals 002

the K-On! jam session

       Well, I felt this episode ended? K-On! in a most enjoyable manner. While Mio might have been every ones moe moe princess this series was really about Yui (the heart and soul of the K-On! club) and her personal growth and how she affected the other girls. Without Yui the K-On! club would have never gotten enough members to stay alive, and her innocent and lively nature was the glue that enabled the girls to form their strong bonds of friendship with each-other. As Yui commented while running to the cultural festival, she was a girl who felt no purpose or had no goals, she just went along with no worries, but after joining the K-On! club it gave her a sense of purpose and something important to care about. It was a shame that the writers didn’t do more to flesh out Mio’s and Ritsu’s relationship, there was a good chance that they could have given their friendship a little more depth like Konata’s and Kagami’s friendship in Lucky Star. Also, poor Mugi, they gave her personality almost no depth other than she’s a rich girl who like sweet things, and likes to watch girly bonding stuff.

      Overall, the final song, light & fluffy summed up K-On! perfectly.  K-On! was a very nice dose of light entertainment, nothing to serious too stress my brain, it was just the right portion of fluffy moe to relax me after finishing my work week. In closing, all I have to say is “rock on, girls”, until next season, may all your tea & cake be sweet and filling. 

mio comforting a sick ritsu 

     This episode begins with Azusa musing about the upcoming cultural festival, and she asks the girls what last years performance was like? Before Ritsu can give her an answer, Mio covers Ritsu’s mouth, but never fear Sawako made a DVD of the show and she plays it for Azusa.

what was last year likeMio being dragged backAzusa seeing stripes

        While the girls are watching the recording of last years performance Nodoka walks in and tells them that they forgot to fill out the stage usage form, just like last year. While the girls are discussing what to call their band they agree to do some practicing and think about the name later. Just before they start practicing, Yui mentions that her guitar isn’t sounding good lately, so Azusa has a look at it and notices that the strings are rusting and the its neck is bent. She asks Yui if she’s taking care of it, and Yui says of course, I sleep with it, and dress it up. Azusa says no I didn’t mean it like that, you have to perform maintenance on it, Yui asks Sawako for help but she says to take it to a music shop, so all the girls head off to the music store.

deciding  the bands namethis guitar sounds badI take care of my guitardon't overload poor Yui

Yui and her guitar 001Yui and her guitar 002Yui looking very cute

Yui dressing her guitar 

         Once they reach the store, Azusa and Yui head off to the counter and ask the guy to do a maintenance on Yui’s guitar, and when he looks at her guitar he calls it a vintage model even though it’s only a year old. As he’s cutting off Yui’s old guitar strings, Yui tells Azusa that her guitar is being deflowered, and when Azusa asks Yui why she chose that model all Yui says is that it was cute, Azusa thinks to herself that she has no idea what goes on inside Yui’s mind.

 Mio is window shoppingYui watching her guitarI chose my guitar because its cuteYui watching her guitar getting deflowered

        Once the maintenance is finished on Yui’s guitar it looks brand new, but Yui is shocked to find out that there’s a 5000 yen fee for the service, and she has no money on her. But, the day is saved once the employees find out that Yui is a friend of Mugi, so there’s no charge. Ritsu goes to fetch Mio who’s fawning over a selection of left handed instruments and when she tries to pull Mio back to the girls, Mio says she’s had enough and calls Ritsu stupid. Later, Yui says she has to leave to join Nodoka for tea and Mio asks to tag along with her, Yui says sure, no problem, and they leave, Ritsu looks upset at being left out.

Yui's guitar love

your guitar is finishedthe girls waiting for MioRitsu is getting MioMio going with Yui 

        While Mio, Yui, and Nodoka are having tea and chit chatting we see that Ritsu has brought Mugi and Azusa along as she spies on the other three. Then Ritsu gets up and just slams herself next to Mio and she thanks Yui and Nodoka for caring for Mio. Mio asks Ritsu what is she doing here, and Ritsu says she was in the area and she asks Mio if she has a problem with it?

 the girls watching Yui and MioRitsu butting in on Mio

        The next day, at school, Mio is eating lunch with Nodoka when Ritsu comes and pulls her away to practice. In the clubroom, Ritsu starts messing with Mio, and Mio gets upset and yells and Ritsu, then Ritsu gets upset and say sorry for interrupting her lunch with Nodoka. As the tension between Ritsu and Mio approaches a snapping point Azusa puts on a set of cat ears to try and defuse the the ticking time-bomb, thankfully Azusa’s actions calms the situation down for now.

Ritsu butting in on Mio's lunchRitsu bitching at Miothe girls watching Mio and Ritsu fight

the stopping power of Azusa-nyan 

        Once they begin practicing, Ritsu’s drumming is off and when the girls stop to get Ritsu back on track Ritsu says she doesn’t feel like playing and she leaves the room, Yui wants to go after her but Mio says to leave her alone. A few days have passed, and Ritsu has stopped showing up for practice leaving the girls to wonder what they should do? Sawako points to Mio and tells her that she needs to become Ritsu’s plaything for the sake of the club and their performance, or Ritsu will become wild and drift into heavy metal forever, Yui says just like you did when you got dumped. Mio says they have to practice without Ritsu anyway, it can’t be helped, Sawako says they need a replacement just in case, but Mugi gets upset and says they can’t replace Ritsu so they should just wait for her to return.

you must become a playthingA wild Ritsu 001a wild Ritsu 002 

       The next day, Mio is looking in Ritsu’s homeroom when Mugi and Yui walk up and tell her that she won’t find her there because she’s been absent. Ritsu is lying in bed sick when she hears Mio’s footsteps walking up her stairs and she tells Mio to come in even before Mio announces herself, Mio asks if she’s physic but Ritsu says that she just knows her footsteps. Well, Ritsu and Mio make up with each other, and Mio stays with Ritsu till she falls asleep, then the other girls stop by to see her.

come in miowe miss you at the clubmio's just too damn cute

mio's just too damn cute 001

don't leave ne mio 

       The next day, Ritsu is fully healed and recharged, and everyone is ready to practice. But, the group gets interrupted by the student counsel president, she tells them they missed the deadline for the stage usage form, so their performance is a no-go, Nodoka begs for more time saying that the group leader was out sick, and the president says she’ll grant them one extra day because of Nodoka’s request. When they sit down to name the band everyone tosses out silly names that get rejected and when Sawako gets angry she grabs the sheets and writes a name down on the sheet, and when the girls see what she’s written they find it’s quite appropriate, Sawako has named the band “afterschool teatime”. Well, as the girls get motivated for their concert a small dark cloud begins to develop, Yui gives a little sneeze at the end of the episode. That’s all for this episode.

i'm back and rechargedthe girls looking at their nameready for the perfornance

       Well, this episode was quite interesting because for the first time in this series we got a little bit of girl strife going. While I originally thought that the separation of Mio and Ritsu would have been much harder or Mio it turns out that their classroom separation has been harder on Ritsu, and she’s not dealing with it in a good way. When we got the Mio and Ritsu back story we found out that they had been together almost as long as Yui and Nodoka. So, when the girls began their second year of school Mio was placed in a different class than Mugi, Yui, and Ritsu it was a much bigger deal for Mio, she had to make new acquittances such as Nodoka or become very lonely. I really didn’t expect Ritsu to become as bitchy to Mio for hanging out with Nodoka.

         The Mio/Ritsu relationship is quite a bit more complicated than the Kagami/Konata that most people compare it to, Ritsu’s actions often serve to pull Mio out of her quiet shy shell, and Konata often tried to get Kagami to losen up but Konata never got mean or bitchy with Kagami. So, this means that in affect that Konata and Kagami are more complete stand alone characters than either Mio or Ritsu, Kagami while being reserved was never so reserved that she had a hard time making new friends or felt so insecure it could be a problem like I think Mio has. Konata and Kagami were also Bffs like Ritsu and Mio, but Konata was never so insecure with her friendship with Kagami that she would worry that she would lose Kagami if she hung out with other people. I think that Mio and Ritsu just might need some long term relationship counseling or it might end poorly for the both of them.

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