FreezeFrame: K-ON!! – 01
The most blatantly moe show KyoAni has ever unleashed upon the world is back for a second season. Oh yes, the same studio that attached the genki girl voice of Horie Yui in her prime to some taiyaki-loving unskilled tree-climber girl with angel wings on her backpack. And had some goddammit-act-your-age girl with a dangerous obsession for starfish. Cuz, you know, starfish are cute. And girls who have some kind of symbol or mascot like that are strangely appealing. Moe works in mysterious ways.
Like other things in this world that cannot be explained by any sort of credible science, it may be better if we just stopped questioning and enjoyed it for its merits. Let’s see how they fared, shall we?
Remember that one scene in Lucky Star, where Konata points out that the people who take the train into the city seem more sophisticated than the ones who leave the city? Miyuki’s house is quite nice and her family does seem quite well off, but it’s not like she’s spending long weekends in Finland or has a whole lineup of summer villas to choose from. Mugi is probably pushing Arima Teppei anime-exaggerated levels of affluence, and the girl has to take public transportation to school? Cmon now. The only thing Mugi seems to be short on is a joshikosei maid hacker army, but maybe that’s only because we haven’t seen them yet. So, unless her dad has been running some sort of monster Ponzi scheme, I’m chalking this one up to character inconsistencies.
Come to think of it, a big item on the “Unanswered mysteries of the K-ON universe” – what exactly does Mugi’s main
house residence look like? We talking Takishima Kei? Hanaukyo La Verite? Sanzenin Nagi? For those interested, here are some other unanswered mysteries:
I said it before in the previous season, and I’ll say it again here – there’s a lot of attention to detail in this show when it comes to hands, probably more apparent in the previous season, which had a more “low budget” look to it. Even when they aren’t particularly proportionally drawn, most of the hands that make it on screen always seem to be doing some kind of cute gesture – appropriate considering that skill with an instrument usually involves some sort of superhuman finger dexterity, but KyoAni seems to have taken it a step further and made it into some kind of moe mode. There’s beauty to be found in everything.
Speaking of attention to detail, in addition to Sawa-chan’s accurate piano playing there was a good bit of detail to be had in the school anthem scene:
Based on those two shots above, we can tell Yui is standing directly behind Mugi. You see the girl behind Mugi, to her left – the brown-haired one with the two pigtails? One of those pigtails shows up to the left of Yui. Behind that girl, a twin-tailed girl with dark blue hair that shows up more clearly in Yui’s pic. Same thing with the girls to Yui’s right – the darker skinned girl and the dark green-haired girl right behind her show up in both pictures.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen this level of detail with KyoAni productions – there was some talk a while ago about the meganekko in Haruhi’s class that shows up from time to time. Perhaps it’s not as impressive when you consider that the artists are frequently drawing the same classroom full of students – they might as well draw the same ones – but still, it’s fun to make little catches like this. Not to mention not every studio does this – remember what the other classmates in Pani Poni looked like?
“Why am I a pig?”
“Because – it’s the keion bu-ta nandayo!”
It’s stuff like this that makes me appreciate what a difficult job the sub groups have sometimes – the joke here is a play on words: the “bu” in “keion bu” means “club”, whereas “buta” means “pig” – hence, the keion club pig. There was that one episode in Lucky Star where they went on the school field trip to visit all the temples, and the tour guide made those puns that had Shiraishi rofling (‘Narrating’ about ‘Nara’ – nice one Strato). Anyways, well played, CoalGuys.
I should also point out that I am aware of the fact that I make at least four references to Lucky Star in this post alone, but that’s kind of like Family Guy trying to come with material that hasn’t been already done by The Simpsons. It’s unavoidable when the prior work has already addressed every single issue ever encountered in life.
Whereas the relative attractiveness of characters is immediately obvious to viewers, such shallow judgments may not be so hastily passed by the characters themselves. For example, it does not strike Ritsu that perhaps the two girls she is trying to recruit just happen to be the only two ugly girls in the entire school. Ok, three girls – the sumo-haired looking chick standing next to Mugi in the school assembly pic above doesn’t have much hope. But those are the ONLY ONES. It’s like how in mahjongasm anime Saki you could always tell who would win or lose just based on their relative kawaiiness – as soon as Amae Koromo started flashing those bunny ears you knew some shit was about to go down.
Well, I’m sure those three girls are very nice and have great personalities.
Current mental train of thought: Yui has no energy. Yui needs cake. Mugi brings cake every day, but they never seem to get fat. They clearly do mind their weight as pointed in the new year’s episode. Which either means these girls are sticking fingers down their throats, or we’ve never really seen an anime change a character’s weight in the series. Characters frequently undergo clothing changes, hairstyle changes (see ED), and sometimes we get to see their loli version, and those are always fun, but I can’t recall any that has shown a skinny and fat version. Then again, it doesn’t seem like Japanese people ever get fat, so maybe that’s a reason. Damn that low-fat high-protein maritime diet.
I’m not too big of a fan of the chipmunk OP song (Yui’s voice isn’t high enough already?), but everything about the ED kicks ass. I mean, we knew it was gonna be better than the OP as soon as Mio started singing, but the visuals were very cool also. The big-haired cake fairy? Awesome. Mio’s Kiki Delivery Service bow? Perfect. Azusa’s side-part hair and Mugi’s captain hat? Oh yes.
Those who were with me the first time around may remember I totally lost hope in the show near the end after declaring it my all-time favorite after episode 2. I’ve since regained some of my initial enthusiasm after the blurays were released – K-ON in 1080 is glorious. The 720 TV broadcasts this time around will likely go a long way in preserving the initial hype, and for now, good ol’ K-ON is back in full do-cute-shit-just-cuz-it’s-cute force.
Mugi, take us to your house!