To call K-On!! the best anime of the year is a bold claim, but a claim I firmly stand by. Indeed, considering the anime’s influence and ubiquity, I think it is fair to say that 2010 belonged to K-On! Of course, its popularity is hardly unwarranted. The anime succeeds on almost all aspects as a very beautiful and emotive portrayal of high school life. As the sequel to the lovely K-On!, the second season continues to follow the daily lives of Houkago Tea Time, a band consisting of five members of the light music club: Yui, Mio, Ritsu, Tsumugi, and Azusa.
K-On!! delves into the details and really bring the nuances and subtlety to brilliance. The animation is such a delight! It has that impressive, high-production glamor in every corner, every character, and every movement. Meticulous attentions are paid to minute stuff such as body language, facial expressions, and even the fingers on guitar strings. Moreover, this authenticity is extended to the side characters, who all have unique faces and outfits. There is no shoddy stills nor repeated sequence. The animation is absolutely flawless.
The gorgeous picture is only part of what makes K-On!! so great. Underneath the pretty surface is an intricate illustration of high school life. This season shifts its focus from being primarily about the band and its performances to about the slices of each girl’s life as she goes through an amazing life stage. All the main characters got considerable screen time. I really appreciated that Mio is no longer just a one-dimensional shy fanservice bait or that Mugi is not simply a wallflower. Azusa in particular really shined. Her role as the only underclass member of the light music club adds a fascinating dynamic to this group of friends. She allowed for the whole club to display some very relatable emotions: loneliness, admiration, genuine care… etc.
The depth that goes into each girl’s development is incredible. Through careful portrayals of their interactions with each other and with school life, the girls felt real. Sure, they still have their quirks – Yui is extremely weird and Mio neurotically shy – but they seem like girls I would hang out and have real conversations with. They feel like my friends.
That is what I love the most about K-On!! The girls are three dimensional and their feelings are authentic. Furthermore, they just have so much fun being with friends, having a passion, and living carefree lives. K-On!! paints this rosy image of high school life. It really reminds of the good times I had with my friends; it is almost as if I am re-living those days albeit with different company and more whimsical events. In this way, the K-On!! girls really draw dear to my heart.
In fact, many of the emotions the girls feel resonate with my own feelings. Thus, I cried after Houkago Tea Time’s last performance together. And I cried when Azusa cries at the thoughts of the others leaving. And I again cried when Mio, Mugi, Ritsu, and Yui graduate.
Fluffy and lovely!
- As kind of a testament to how much I love this anime, I have written more about K-On! than any other anime. This really is a very substantive and fun series.
Some of my past K-On! posts:
K-On!! Going Retro – Fashion in Listen!! and No, Thank You!
The Power of Context – Brief Discourse on K-On! and Black Rock Shooter
K-On! is a Slice of My Life – a Life Reflected by Caricatures
K-On!! Fashion – What Casual Fans Like
K-On! Manga and First Thoughts
- I want to take some time before the year ends to thank all the people who have supported this blog. I could not have lasted this year without all of you. The commenters, readers, lurkers, and everyone! There are too many to list individually, but I really really love you all!! So thank you so much for a wonderful year!
I am sure I will be talking more about K-On! in the future.
Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in the coming year.
Some of the longer comment threads that support/ oppose my stance on K-On!:
More anime and manga reviews