K-On!! (けいおん!!)

All posts tagged K-On!! (けいおん!!)

The main protagonist and the best character of the series by a million miles: Hirasawa "Tree G" Yui.

If you have visited this blog’s Facebook page in the past week or so, you may have read that the second season of the K-On! series will be the next anime reviewed in this blog. This review is late because I waited for the anamorphic 1080p release by Chihiro instead of the usual 720p releases by other groups. This anime is the sequel of the first season reviewed here before, and it also become only the second challenger to the current ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ incumbent, Working!!

One sample of the various crazy things she does throughout the series.

Continuing from the not-so-stellar ending of the first season, the main protagonist and her goons in the Light Music club now enters the third year of their high school life (well, one of them is in second year though). Giving up their original mission of trying to play in Budoukan, they settled instead on slurping more high-grade teas and mooching their ways upon mountains of pastries, sandwiching the rare occasional events where they actually have to do their club activities properly.

The second season, I have to admit, is a vast improvement when compared to the dismal first season. One thing the second season has done to differentiate itself from its predecessor is to ditch the pretense of a storyline and went into a well-paced slice-of-life genre full-time. That may explain the general lack of music playing when compared proportionately with the first season, and the huge increase of fluffy events that is thisclose of making this anime episodic. Just to be clear, this fact doesn’t make the second season bad; after all there are quite a lot of good anime titles out there that have also done the very same thing. But while the genre switch has given the second season a great start and a solid foundation, whoever wrote the story doesn’t fully capitalize upon the switch’s new advantages.

This can be seen from the second season’s continuing overdependence on the main protagonist, a legacy of the first season. With the genre switch mentioned above, this anime cannot depend anymore on a distinct storyline, thus increasing the burdens of main protagonist as she single-handedly carries the series on her back, just like she did in the first season. Vast majorities of the good things that you can see in this anime originates from her, or has her on the center stage. She was also helped by the fact that the second season doesn’t repeat another mistake that the first season has done, which is maligning her role in the second half of that season. Apart from some Yui-less episodes such as episode 5, 7 and 14 amongst others, the main protagonist is highly prominent throughout the second season. And that fact is actually the biggest reason why the second season is vastly better than the first one.

The second season could have become better if the rest of the Light Music club members actually chipped in and helps the main protagonist carry the series forward. Within the rest of the club members, only the drummer a.k.a. club president actually bothered trying to help the main protagonist (the best character in this anime), with varying degrees of success. Mio is still one-dimensional, as always. Meanwhile Azunyan is veering dangerously towards the emo territory, but her ‘mental breakdown’ in the last episode is definitely one of the highlights of the excellent ending (far far better than the one in the first season). But the worse culprit of them all is definitely Mugi-chan. The writer has dumbed her character down for the sake of the ‘curiosity’ plot device, causing her to actually become borderline retarded, doing things that she doesn’t do in the first season. The second season version of Mugi-chan has been made dumb, in a bad way, unlike the main protagonist who is pretty much stupid and clueless too, but in a good and cutesy way.

Never a truer word has been spoken before.

The Romeo and Juliet school play is a very good example of the main protagonist prowess, where she is able to excel even when casted as a peripheral character. Her mannerisms and ability to deliver great one-liners (that the rest of the characters cast seems unable to do in consistent basis) are what makes her the strongest and most interesting character in this series. While she is not as good as her contemporaries like Darling (but arguably better than her opposite number in  Working!!), her relative strength when compared to her below-average club mates and most of the rest of the supporting characters made her stands out from the rest.

As mentioned above, the ending is very well written, a far cry than the crap ending of the first season. It was written in a way that there are no sequels though, but a movie follow-up is in the cards (Hell will freeze if Japan doesn’t milk this franchise as long as possible). I hope whoever wrote the screenplay for the movie will not take one random (untold?) scene from the main protagonist high school years and make it the source material. As a homage to the unexpectedly good second season, I will definitely try and watch the movie in the future.

She can be deliciously offensive and inconsiderate too.

Character Design:-
My comment in the same section in the review for first season still applies.

Voice Acting:-
My comment in the same section in the review for first season still applies.

A 'How to Derail a Concert' guide from yours truly.

The OST has improved when compared to what you can hear in the first season, but none of the four OP/ED themes are worth listening. The only insert song that is worth listening to is the one that the club performed in the final episode (that excellent insert song is actually one of the reasons why the ending arc is good).

My comment in the same section in the review for first season still applies. Anamorphic 1080p FTW though, more fansub groups should try and follow Chihiro’s footsteps in this regard.

Anamorphic 1080p FTW (stretched to FullHD by madVR). One of the most beautiful titles of 2010. Full image can be seen here.

9 out of 10.
Same score as Working!! is, but K-On!! will become the new winner of ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title by virtue of winning 3 of the tie-breakers (except music). Without a perfect score, I don’t see K-On!! reign to last as long as the current holders of the 2007 and 2008 titles though.

Want to know what anime title I will review next? Visit this blog’s Facebook page here and see the sidebar for the answer.

If not for her contribution, this anime would have fared worse in the ratings.

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