Bands, school, friendship and strong bonds..that’s K-On!

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Alternative Names Keion, けいおん!

Written by Kakifly

Directed by Naoko Yamada

Producer Kyoto Animation

Original Run

  • K-On! (Season 1): April 3, 2009 – June 26, 2009 (13 episodes finished)
  • K-On!! (Season 2): April 7, 2010 – September 28, 2010 (26 episodes finished)
  • K-On Movie: December 3, 2011

Genre Comedy, Music, School, Slice of Life

Plot

Four girls join Light Music Club (otherwise known as Keion or K-On) for different reasons: Ritsu – to pursue her dreams as a musician and to prevent the club from dissolving, Mio – as pushed by Ritsu, Mugi – as a mere passerby looking for a club to join and Yui, who has never joined a club and was impressed with the club despite not knowing any instruments other than castanets – to avoid being labeled as a NEET. The band is later joined by Azusa who, impressed by their performance, is drowned in belief that the band members are professional musicians who will inspire her to play.

Main Review

There is more to K-On than being a cliched moe (fluffy, cotton-candy like) school band anime. The story line is simple yet provides a realistic (but can be idealistic) view of a high school band leading a double life as students and band members. It simply reminds the audience of his or her high school days wherein the characters are highly focused on their career goals and university choices, are dedicated to clubs related to their passions, and spend time with their friends in and outside their clubs. Band members such as myself can also relate to Hokago Tea Time’s (HTT, it’s the name of their band) experiences as a band. The anime has highlighted a typical band biography including how it started, its performances, band retreats and rehearsals, the rituals (eating pastries and drinking tea during club meetings), and the relationship between the band members and their common dedicated passion to music.

Another aspects to appreciate are the well-portrayed and cute characters. One can identify himself or herself to each of the main characters in terms of personality and their personal experiences. The excellent typical moe art and the soundtracks (except for the song about rice, which I don’t personally appreciate) are as worth-appreciating. Lessons highlighted in K-On are not to be neglected, with friendship, strong bonds, dedication, hard work, team work and passion as its crucial themes. The anime’s description of team work may be seen as optimistic (rather idealistic), yet can serve as an inspiration/model to better cope as a group. Such model is seen through the band fighting the problems altogether (e.g. making the unmotivated motivated, trying to stop Mio and Ritsu from fighting..), pouring their souls into performing music, and keeping the friendship alive in and outside the club meeting as part of maintaining a good relationship and ambiance within the band.

Meanwhile, the development of the story line remains the anime’s core area of improvement. It is oversimplified compared to other anime with excellent and well-developed story lines, yet is better than anime with underdeveloped story lines. K-On becomes dragging as it reaches its second season. It is unnecessarily long, containing simple scenes that are only made long for the sake of doing so. Even the movie can be far as dragging. The only interesting part is when the entire band travels to London as part of club retreat.

The lack of originality is also considered a major flaw in K-On. Many anime, manga, and even movies and TV series have already adapted the similar story line and some can even make it more developed than K-On’s.

Despite the flaws, K-On remains worth a watch . It has well highlighted the importance of working well as a band, making itself an inspiration to aspiring band members (or team members in general) when it comes to dealing with co-members and doing their best in their tasks (writing songs and playing instruments) with passion. Those touching, emotional and comedic moments are its major appreciated aspects, paired with the character’s appeal and interesting identities that makes the characters identifiable to the audience. It is definitely recommended to fans of comedy, school, slice of life and musicals, and to others yearning to explore different genres.

Overall Rating 4/5 stars (8/10)

Sources

K-On! MyAnimeList

K-On! Wikipedia

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