Before reading this Review, please note, that humor is entirely subjective and as is it is such, it fully depends on the viewer, if he is enjoying the humorous parts, that the show has included. As this show is a show that heavily relies on humor and similarly objective things, please remember that this is MY opinion on how I liked these subjective topics! Thanks!
The moe genre has been widely spread within the last few years, slowly creeping more and more into the seasonal charts before actually taking them over, as there have been many shows of this kind in there lately. One production company in particular has gotten their hands on many shows of that kind, being, as you may have guessed, Kyoto Animation. They were the ones that actually started the hype with Lucky Star and have ever since been able to receive more money just from releasing shows of this kind, such as Tamako Market in some ways Chuunibyou and most notably K-On!
Story: K-On! is a 2009 Anime, done by Kyoto Animation and has been well known ever since. The story follows Yui a clumsy air headed girl that has just got into High school. As she never really was productive in any year earlier, she decides that this year she wants to join a club but doesn’t know which one, since nothing that other clubs are doing really is to her liking. That is until she finds out about a club called the “Light Music Club”. Thinking they are only playing easy songs and she won’t have to do anything but play the castanets she joins them, but it isn’t long until she sees, that underneath the big “Light Music Club” sign it says, that they want to form a band. Too late for Yui though as she already handed in her application sheet and she now has to at least tell the club that she wants to do so, since she can’t play any instrument. She tries to do so, but the club members are begging her to stay, since otherwise the club would have to disband. They show her a song and Yui decides that she wants to learn the guitar and so they start playing music drinking tea…
The story of K-On! for the most part actually is pretty non existent as this is a moe show and moe shows are dependent on things like cuteness and humor most of the time. It is rather rare that a moe show has an actual overarching plot instead of just having a motivation that makes them do whatever they are doing (in this situation being the band). However there are a few points that kind of show something like Drama, even though it is nothing really worth mentioning, but that is really all there is, as everything else is just cute girls doing cute things. The thing about that though, is that it doesn’t make huge difference, since having a good plot obviously never was this show’s goal.
Characters: The characters presented in K-On! are all rather generic, as everyone seems to represent a certain cliche that they fulfill.
We have Yui, a clumsy, air headed girl that is playing the guitar. She originally joined the Light Music Club, thinking that she wouldn’t have to do anything but playing the castanets and even now she’d rather be somewhere playing around than actually doing something productive. Nevertheless she gets quite good at playing the guitar pretty fast (which makes me kinda jealous…I always had to practice!)
The second character is Ritsu, the Band’s leader and drummer. She is an energetic girl, that is just as lazy is Yui is, when it comes to actually practicing or similar things and loves to make fun of others, Her dream is to form a band and go to Budokan (which is a huge concert hall in Tokyo) to hold a concert there. Thus she decides to form the Light Music Club and puts quite some efforts into it, even though she forgets things really easily which makes some situations really hard for the band.
The next Club member is Mio. She is a really hard-working girl that plays the base in the band. She is really easy to embarrass though and gets easily scared, which often is used as the comedy relieve as it is quite funny to see for both Ritsu and the viewer.
The last band member is Migu, a really kind and well mannered girl. She plays the keyboarder for the band and actually wanted to join the choir club at first, but ended up in the Light Music Club as they seemed to look a lot more fun to her. She is the daughter of a rich father, who seems to own several stores, often helping the group out quite a bit.
The Supporting Cast in K-On! is just as the main cast nothing really special as they are for the most part just a bunch of moe cliches. We have the really crazy one, the caring one, the best friend and so on. Something that really stands out though, is that the supporting cast is really small, leading to them getting shown rather often and better understanding of the viewer, which really helps a lot to relate to them.
Basically how the concept of K-On! works…
In total the characters of K-On! really are nothing out of the ordinary. Every single of them is as I mentioned earlier just a Representative of a cliche and none of them is written really complex. On the other hand though, every single one of them is likeable and I could perfectly relate to everyone, not that this was really necessary, as there was no point where I actually felt bad for any of them, since this is a moe show and moe is really well known for actually not having any Drama in there. Nonetheless I really enjoyed watching them.
Character Development in this show is just as nonexistent, as the originality in the characters. Almost every single one stays the same for the whole show and while there are a few things that change, the change rarely gets significant and really visible.
The thing about this section though is, that it doesn’t really matter, whether they are cliche or not. It doesn’t matter, whether the characters develop or not, since this is a show that neither wants any complicated plot nor any amazingly well written characters. K-On! totally works without anything that way. This show never even intended to be taken seriously which already gets obvious from the first episode on and doesn’t really change throughout the course of the show. This is supposed to be a comedy Anime and as such we have to treat it that way. The thing that matters a lot more than the actual characters themselves, is the character interaction which in this Anime seems to be done really well. It is more than one time that I just had to laugh out loud, at just how cool the interactions between the band members were and that surely is nothing that you achieve by having great characters, but by making just letting them interact in a way that is cute and funny enough for the viewer to watch.
Animation: I don’t think I actually have to say a lot about this, as this was done by the Animation Studio known as Kyoto Animation. For those unfamiliar with them, they have done amazingly well animated shows such as Chuunibyou or the recent free. To keep it short, the Animation looks just as amazing as in other shows by KyoAni. The character designs look really damn cute and I think it is worth mentioning, that they actually influenced every single following KyoAni-Anime, as those always seem to copy the style that K-On! had.
Sound: As K-On! is an Anime about music, you might figure that the music is really well done and that if the girls are playing the songs are done really well. The Soundtrack of K-On! though, only consist of way too few actual songs the band plays itself. The majority of the Soundtrack is the background music, which is rather boring and not really exciting to listen to. The songs that they actually play on concerts though, which happens rarely, are pretty well done and catchy. They are nothing that stands out due to it’s complexity, but going into a moe show about music I actually was thinking it’d be a lot worse than it was. The ending and Opening though, both were amazing. Especially the ending, featuring a style that is really cool to look at and a really cool song.
In total K-On! has been something that I was kind of cautious to start, since I heard mixed opinions about this, ranging from absolute love to hate. I didn’t know what to think of it until I actually watched it myself and I really have to be honest and say that I actually really enjoyed this. The humor was fantastic and I caught myself several times going “awwww…this is cute!”, an exclamation that I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever hear myself saying And while this is all there is to it, with it being really funny and really cute, the show really doesn’t need anything but this. It is enjoyable the way it is and I myself wouldn’t have changed anything about it. It doesn’t try to be something deep or anything that makes a lot of sense, but just wants to entertain the masses and that’s what it does really well!
Now as I calculated the scores I gave K-On! (being Story, Characters, Animation, Sound and my personal enjoyment), I came to a score of 7,66/10! It is really good for what it is supposed to be, but nothing beyond that!
As it is now, K-On! has been licensed by Bandai Entertainment, but since Bandai actually has gone broke, this is out of print. You can quite easily get a new one though, as this show still is rather new and there are quite some left to sale. If you happen to live in Australia this show has been picked up by Madman and by Manga in UK and if you live in the same country as me (being Germany), you are able to get this by Kazé entertainment.
With that I hope I could help you and see you next time!