One of my favorite anime of the season, K-On! has often been criticized as being simple mindless moeblob or lacking in depth. For most of the first and second season, I agreed somewhat, but I did not mind the fluff at all. I like watching a light series on a lazy afternoon with some tea and cake. Recently, however, I have realized that K-On! is more than just that. It is actually quite a realistic reflection of my life (and undoubtedly the lives of others).
I have always marveled at the details put into making the girls convincing. Besides wearing fashionable but not outlandish clothes, the girls engage in conversations that feel really genuine. For example, I have laughed at random words because of the high from being with friends on a trip, just as Mio does. I have felt the resigned frustration Azusa feels at the lack of productivity. In fact, I see a lot of myself in Ritsu. Among my friends, I am usually the outgoing and inane one. We even share the same associations about summer and the same liking for teasing.
Of course, Ritsu sometimes come off ridiculous; Mio can be too shy and delicious; and Azu-nyan is divinely adorable. In that, these characters are caricatures with exaggerated personalities. Perhaps that actually makes them the best mirrors for our lives. Further, much like political cartoons or the grotesque in literature, K-On! amplifies certain ideas far enough to resonate with me, yet does not lose me in its silliness.
This is especially apparent in the second season. In an episode, Yui and Ritsu have difficulty filling out the forms for future plans, because neither has thought much ahead. Their first response is “undecided,” but Sawako sensei quickly rejects it. After a lot of considerations, they write “musician” in the form. Again, Sawako swiftly rejects that idea. In the end, the two decide to just try their best first.
This reminds me much of my freshman year in college. I entered college life undecided about my future. My high school life was only about the present fun. After being thrown into a field during my first year (somewhat randomly), I simply tried my best.
Moreover, when Ritsu’s dream of becoming a musician is brutally shot down by Sawako, I felt heartbroken. Although Ritsu has a passion for music and loves playing in the band, she has to eventually face the reality that her talents are simply not enough to make music a viable career. It is even worse when no one around believes in her: not Sawako, not Mio, and not Nodoka.
My mother was an artist and a curator at a museum. Influenced by a lot of her paintings and ceramics, I had a passion for art as well. Throughout my childhood and well into high school, I had really wanted to build a career from it. Of course, as Ritsu has to face her reality, I ultimately had to give up on that fantasy. Though I still draw regularly, I have accepted that I lack the talents to do so. Now that I have finished my personal statement for applications, I am happily on a completely different path. Still, watching Ritsu’s naïve ambitions shattered brings up some sensitive feelings.
Anyways, I am so glad K-On!! is having 26 episodes. I cannot wait to see more reflections of my own experiences in future episodes. Maybe we will even see the girls graduate.
As a side note, I was a bit surprised by how certain some girls in K-On!! feel about what they want to do, such as the cosmetic girl and the photographer.