OP Sequence

OP: 「Cagayake! GIRLS」 by 豊崎愛生, 日笠陽子, 佐藤聡美, 寿美菜子 (Toyosaki Aki, Hikasa Youko, Satou Satomi, Kotobuki Minako)
Watch the OP! Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Streaming ▼

Yui is late for school! She barrels down the stairs, polishes the floor with her shapely ass, stuffs a piece of toast in her mouth and rolls out. It’s her first day as a high school student, and there’s no way she’s going to miss the opening ceremony. Well, turns out there was no way for her to be late, cuz she forgot to set her clock for daylight savings or somethin… she gets to school an hour early.

Mouse over screenshots for captions
The little montage of Yui running to school was a great little look into her personality – the talk with her mouth full, cat-petting, helps old ladies cross street, bounce uncontrollably at crosswalks, weirdo who keeps looking around during the assembly type of girl that lives her life one clumsy step at a time. Ah, I’m liking this show already.

Yui gets her first dose of life as a joshikousei, as she’s mobbed by club recruiters. Little miss indecisive likes to keep her options open, but there comes a time in every young girl’s life where she must take a stand, no matter how useless she may be.

Elsewhere, Ritsu (forehead) catches up to Mio (long and sexy) and asks her to go to the K-ON club meeting. Ritsu is a pretty funny name, considering it sounds like “itsu”, which means “when?” in Japanese, like “when are you going to go bald?” or “when will you take that damn headband off?” Anyways, Mio is pretty cool. Based on her look, you’d think she’d be one of those Motoko / Kokegawa samurai disciplinary-type girls, but she’s not like that at all, which immediately suggests that she might be the dark horse to be the best girl in the show. Yes, these things are important. Ritsu uses some brute force and gets Mio to come with her, but they soon found out that the K-ON club was effectively disbanded after all its members graduated.

What is the K-ON club, anyways? “Karui Ongaku” club, we’re told, which roughly translates to “light music” or “easy listening”. At any rate, it’s some silly name, not unlike “SOS dan”. And just like the SOS dan, K-ON is having some trouble recruiting members. A real sweet looking chick with nice hair walks in looking for the choir club, but somehow gets talked into joining the K-ON instead. She’s Tsumugi, clearly one of those healing-type characters meant to keep the other crazies on a leash. How appropriate that she plays the keyboard – a suitable complement to Mio’s bass and Ritsu’s drums.

It’s interesting to point out that their instruments mirror their personalities quite well – Ritsu is indeed that crazy loud girl and makes everybody around her march to her beat; Mio is that steady, often unappreciated but vitally important support of the group; Tsumugi is the sweet girl that livens up the room with her melody; now they just need a guitarist to provide the umph and the soul!

The three hit up a fast food restaurant to discuss their battle plan – first, they advertise! A little detail worth mentioning – they post their flyer in the club bulletin board, taking the place where the ping pong club’s flyer used to be. It’s unclear whether the spot on the board was vacant (ping pong is pretty popular, after all), or if the girls just saw the ad for the club with all the icky nerds and posted theirs right above it. Either way, their flyer is ugly, but it catches the eye of Yui, who starts reminiscing about her musical youth as a kindergarten clapper…

A terrified Yui eventually applies and ends up in the K-ON club room, where she’s bribed with tea and cake and cookies – but, as it turns out, she can’t even play guitar. Oh well, no matter, if they don’t get a 4th member, the club won’t be officially recognized by the school. They put on a performance for her – it sounds amateurish and rough around the edges, but it hits all the right chords with Yui, and she’s touched to the point where she wants to join!

And thus, the K-ON quartet was formed!
ED Sequence

ED: 「Don’t say “lazy”」 by 豊崎愛生, 日笠陽子, 佐藤聡美, 寿美菜子 (Toyosaki Aki, Hikasa Youko, Satou Satomi, Kotobuki Minako)
Watch the ED! Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Streaming ▼


Like many people, I’ve been pretty excited about KyoAni’s new production, as it’s been a while since Lucky Star, which was their previous “new” work (Munto doesn’t count, and I’m counting Clannad as a sequel). Those who have been followed my posts in the past know I’m a huge non-Key KyoAni fanboy, and I’m all about the slice-of-life shows. Yea, I can already tell, K-ON! is going to easily be my favorite show of the season.

After all, what do we have here? The premise of BECK (great anime), with ENOZ as the band, drawn with Lucky Star style art, with the character dynamics of Manabi Straight. It’s almost too generic, but we’re talking about KyoAni here – time and again they’ve demonstrated their ability to take the generic and turn it into masterpiece.

And true to the KyoAni canon, this first episode was quite docile, with plenty of hints as to what we’ll be seeing in upcoming weeks. The little performance they put on sans-guitar was really quite special, having a “first draft” feel to it, but still able to capture that moment of ultimate camaraderie and joy of playing music together. It’s something that BECK pulled off real well, and I’ve yet to see anything reach that level since – but if this first episode in any indication, K-ON! may be the one.

Couple of other little things worth mentioning – the instruments all had their proper brand names on them. Yamaha was written clearly across the drum set, the keyboard a Korg Triton (Extreme, no less), and the guitar that Yui uses in the OP is actually a Gibson Les Paul (figured that out on a totally random google). Since the fast food chain adorned with the great golden M was still called “Max Burger”, it suggests that KyoAni really went out and got permission from the companies that make the actual instruments to use them in the anime, which shows the dedication they are putting into the music aspects. Well, that, and they’re probably getting paid big bucks for doing it. Hey, everybody’s happy.

The attention to detail warrants mention, especially that of the facial expressions. KyoAni really excels in this department, as we’ve seen their mastery of facial expressions in prior work, like Akira’s “live performance” in Lucky Star, or their word-for-word lip syncing of Haruhi’s God Knows performance. Even with the simplistic art style in K-ON!, they manage to bring out a huge variety of facial expressions, which really adds a great deal to the level of enjoyment.

And finally, the hands. One thing that really jumped out at me was how much attention was put into animating the hands, whether just doing everyday passing gestures, or playing an instrument. The movements looked fluid and realistic, not like the robotic CG in Nodame, which kinda makes me wonder if I’m developing a hand fetish as well…

Anyways, I was thoroughly satisfied with the quality and direction of this first episode, and I look forward to the rest of the season!


Up next on K-ON!: Les Pauls aren’t cheap, and I can think of only one way a freshman girl can raise big money fast
Thanks to GilBoy for the animated gif!


  1. okayy, this is the first time I’ll watch a 4koma based anime after reading the manga. I’m having a high expectation on it after reading the manga. I hope it’ll be a really good one 😀

  2. I went ahead and spoiled myself by reading the manga. I totally loved their teacher adviser. I won’t spoil it for the other guys, but if they do what she did in the manga it’d be totally win.

  3. >Well, turns out there was no way for her to be late, cuz she forgot to set her clock for >daylight savings or somethin… she gets to school an hour early.

    I think she was just too stupid to read the clock … or her clock is wrong just like that (which doesn’t make much sense either) because there are no time changes in Japan. So, that was not funny at all – the way they showed her way to school on the other hand was.

    Yui is like really stupid? backwards? dunno how to call it. What’s with her extrem nervousness, why can’t she walk correctly and control her movements … how the hell do you manage to run into somebody when crossing the street with -nobody- else left or right … has she got no eyes or what XDD

    But apart from her the other characters were pretty nice and maybe it can still be fun, if she doesn’t become too annoying. I’ll give it a few more episodes. But I’ll never understand what’s so great about those Yui-type characters v.v

    By the way the song they played was “tsubasa wo kudasai” by Hayley Westenra (no, she covered it, but I forgot the original singer – Hayley’s version is much better).

  4. I find it a bit unrealistic for the girl to have a Gibson Les Paul, besides it’s borrowed from somewhere. Even the Mexican, cheaper version costs like 700-1000€. The USA version costs over 2000€ up to 5000€, depends on the model 😉 Feels just a bit unrealistic for a school girl to have such an expensive instrument 🙂

  5. I like the style, but the voice acting sounded really ‘distant’ from the animation (like the audio isn’t set in the space). No, I cannot think of a less-stupid way of describing it, but I do hope that whatever defect on my part that perceives it is short-lived as the show looks promising.

  6. Alright so i just saw the first episode and here is what i think:

    Its BECK (without the good parts), crossed with lucky star, manabi straight, and ENOZ from haruhi suzumiya.

    I dont really know what to think about this… I like kyoani, but i absolutly DESPISE shows thats centered around the “moé” factor, and this show is no exception.

    I like music, i like musical instruments, but its gonna take a LOT more for me to even watch the second episode. And i believe that wont happen because this looks as generic as my dogs poo. It might have been better if they had completly cut out Yui with her cookie-cutter personality, that would be a start.

    Why kyoani, why are you all about moe shows now? I know you have struck a goldmine and are milking it for whats its worth but come on!.

  7. Saw the first episode, after like many, being really excited about it.
    Have to say I came away let down.
    Like someone has already stated, it’s like BECK but without the key elements that made it good. Some decent J-POP music can only get you so far. You need a decent selection of unique characters and to form some sort of interesting plot around the music.
    Sadly this show fails to do that and instead falls back on the generic moe element and slice-of-life style this studio has steadily relied upon as time has passed.
    I’ll probably check out another episode or two, to give it a proper chance, but unless it picks up dramatically, I think I’ll be passing on this series.
    Hopefully KyoAni sort themselves out for Haruhi season 2, because if this is anything to go on, it’s simply not going to live upto the hype…

  8. lol why do we have to go through this whenever there’s a new kyoani show… seriously, what did you expect this to be? 12 episodes of crazy live concerts? guitars that transform into mecha? acidic breast milk? this show has the lucky star vibe written all over it, did that show let you down too? if it did, you should’ve known what was coming with k-on.

    kyoani does several things very well, and they nailed them all in this first episode. cute character designs, good animation, solid voice acting, not to mention a great ability to manage pace and scene flow, evidenced by that little montage of yui running to school. THIS is the kyoani that we’ve come to love and expect.

    frankly, i’m a little speechless when i see some of these comments, as they are pretty much exactly what we saw when lucky star first aired. everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but we’re basically repeating history here – as i said, what exactly were you expecting?

    so i’ll say the same thing i did for lucky star – screw expectations. if you don’t like it cuz you’re not into girls with guitars or whatever, fine, but you should’ve known this show was going to be exactly that, but the reason many others are criticizing this completely innocuous show is because they expected one thing and got something entirely different. expecting BECK? this isn’t it. expecting Haruhi? definitely no aliens, time travelers, espers in this show. expecting Clannad? lol.

    instead, one should approach these kinds of shows similar to how one would look at a show like Kannagi. i don’t think anyone gave a damn about that show when it first came out, but then it turned into a huge sensation just because it carved out its own niche when people weren’t expecting it to be anything. if lucky star or even clannad after story were any indication, kyoani likes to take it slow the first few episodes – no doubt to temper your rapid expectations – and gradually ramp it up until the final episodes where the entire anime fanbase is collectively sipping the kyoani koolaid.

    if lofty and misplaced expectations do anything, they cause you to miss what’s actually great about the show. so throw your expectations out, and just sit back and enjoy the ride, cuz it never fails to be great fun.

  9. Why do people keep on comparing this to Beck? Because that’s the only other band music anime they could think of? Because this is nothing like it.

    But it’s still a nice show, if somewhat vapid and fluffy. I’ll be sticking around for more.

  10. If the first episode itself hadn’t hooked me, the ending alone would’ve done the job just fine. >_<

    I’ve been playing that ending animation again and again. 😀

    Also, totally random, but doesn’t Yui’s younger sibling look like the little-girl from Munto? I forget that character’s name, though….

  11. such negativity, it’s not like there’s any other anime from this season that’s “fuuckyeah fapping at e=mc2 awesome”. I’d have to agree it’s not that good, though.

  12. Jaalin you are the ultimate faggot.

    KyoAni has never made a masterpiece. Yes, they are far better than other studios when it comes to animation and the like, but in terms of writing, KyoAni is no where near the top. There is nothing ground-breaking or “realistic” about their writing. Speaking of realistic– the hands? Really? There is nothing realistic about the hand movements in K-ON! OR 90% of anime; they’re over the top and exaggerated. Nobody actually waves their hands around as if they’re having a seizure in real life. Stop trying to pick out details in a generic moe-moe show in order to make it seem like more than it is, because it’s not. It’s a show that centers around mindless fun, it’s no where near the title of a masterpiece and no other shows like it will ever be.

    Go outside.

    Name (required)
  13. “And finally, the hands. One thing that really jumped out at me was how much attention was put into animating the hands, whether just doing everyday passing gestures, or playing an instrument.”
    If your hands look like this, Jaalin, then I have bad news for you.

    Well the first episode was enjoyable, I guess (well I am a sucker for all moe things). Nothing out of the ordinary, though, and calling it a masterpiece, or something great might be a noticable exaggeration.

  14. Great writing, Jaalin!

    Reading the summary made me re-feel these very moments of K-ON! and it was a really exciting experience that I decided to read in a much slower pace, so I would be able to enjoy reading as long as I could.

    I agree with you much on the impressions: Rich feelings, innocence, optimism, energy, kindness, rich with details. Too much for a single anime.

    Hopefully, you will be able to keep up with the show.

  15. Thank goodness! Another anime show that’s worth watching! I am a big fan of slice of life and Lucky Star in particular. By all means, it’s nothing short of absolute genius to combine Lucky Star style slice of life with music! KyoAni always delivers!

    Now that the air date of Haruhi season II is more or less confirmed, I am quite looking forward to KyoAni’s talents at their best.

  16. Quote from a couple pages earlier: “I find it a bit unrealistic for the girl to have a Gibson Les Paul, besides it’s borrowed from somewhere. Even the Mexican, cheaper version costs like 700-1000€. The USA version costs over 2000€ up to 5000€, depends on the model 😉 Feels just a bit unrealistic for a school girl to have such an expensive instrument”

    Um, Fender has mexican versions, Gibson does not. They’re also usually not THAT expensive (I bought my Les Paul Studio factory new, US import, a couple years ago for 900 euros…the “best” models are in the 2000-4000 or even more range though)
    There’s Epiphone (a cheaper brand) too, which I’d assume it might be. Couldn’t make out the manufacturer’s name in the OP. But I want to see what she wants to get with 5,000 yen hahaha

    I found the show amusing, in any case. And what’s with all the real names? Not only the brands, also the musicians…

  17. Hmm, interesting but I suggest a peek at “Phantom : Requiem of the Phantom” anime and see if it’s worth blogging about. Watched the first episode and it seriously seems like a black horse that has good winning potential.

  18. Been keeping up with the manga, and Mio will definately end up being the top girl.

    To those “there’s no way she has a Les Paul”.. well yes there’s a way, and you can find out in next episode.

    Don’t read if you don’t want this small spoiler.
    Show Spoiler ▼

  19. FROM=(ZENzen)..”If your hands look like this, Jaalin, then I have bad news for you.”
    i clicked on the pic…and dude i started ROLLING!!!! HAHAHAHA fuuunny
    btw-les paul on a junior high schooler……? yeah i’m hating, but COME ON!?!

    BROOKLYN otaku
  20. Whee~ I loved the first episode. Couldn’t stop watching the ending either, Mio is pure awesomeness XD And I love the hands. Though I don’t watch things like this usually (I like lots of blood and gore, lol) this one really caught my attention. I’m gonna stick to this anime for a while, lol.

  21. @jaalin & Omni

    Are you going to blog anymore shows for the Spring this season. You didn’t even tell us what shows you were going to post. :/ Well I guess i’m going to have to find out soon this week. I hope you will be able to blog Sengoku BASARA, Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou, Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen on television, Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica crimson S, Senjou no Valkyria, Cross Game, Fullmetal Alchemist, Shangri-la, Tayutama -Kiss on my Deity-, Natsu no Arashi!, Saki, 07-GHOST, Souten Kouro, Eden of the East and Hatsukoi Limited. Well good luck on the posting this season. Bye!

  22. I just watched Coalguys’ sub, and I am really liking this show. Another huge Key/Kyoani fanboy reporting in. So far, I love the music and character development, as well as the voice acting. I wonder how far this show can go, because as of now, it has the potential to be the best spring 09 show (and that’s saying a lot). DMC reference was full of epicwin btw.

  23. bakuman: i’ll be blogging k-on for sure – i’m pretty busy nowadays so this will probably my only show. as for omni, much of it depends on if the show is actually good or not! just keep checking the thoughts section for updates.

  24. Weeeell… cute but what’s the story? school clubs are so boring!
    Moe for moe’s sake doesnt do it for me.
    But im giving it a try, Haruhi Suzuzmiya started with not exactly a big bang…

  25. Its a cuter version of BECK maybe? I wonder if this is going to have a hint of romance though (probably not since KyoAni’s Non-Drama works usually doesn’t have romance at all eg. Lucky Star).

    I’m starting to like Yui’s character ‘cos she’s kind of a klutz. Hehehe…

  26. Pfft, forget BECK. If you want to compare this to a music show, nothing’s better than Detroit Metal City =) Although since only a few people posted comments on the butchered version of Krauser (pic 27 if you don’t know who that is), I’m assuming a lot of people are missing out on the greatness that’s DMC.

    That aside, the show wasn’t bad, but not to my taste. Since I don’t think punchline reinforcement is funny (read: talking about pastries for 10 minutes), I hated Lucky Star and I’m getting Lucky Star vibes from K-ON. However, if this show’s your thing, go for it.

  27. I haven’t enjoyed anime like I just did with this episode for a long time. There were so many priceless moments that drove me to irrepressible laughter.

    Jaalin, you really nailed it with the “spiritual successor of Lucky Star” comment. However, unlike Lucky Star’s “otaku” theme, this one is about music, which makes K-ON all the more enjoyable.

  28. mutio: there`s no Mexican versions of Gibson Les Paul. You maybe think Epiphones` Les Paul models, which are cheaper than those Made In U.S.A., but they`re made in South Korea, and maybe in Japan too. Epiphone is own by Gibson. You may think about Mexican made Fenders? Ritsu plays a Fender Jazz Bass, a leftie model, which are made in USA, Mexico and in Japan.
    I own black Jazz Bass myself.

  29. the drawing remminds me of kannagi, any relation between them?
    and mio looks just like nagi, just with blackhairs and without head accessoiries.

    loved the ending! and the whole episode was soooo moeeee ^^

  30. Meh,looks cutesy for the fanboys it seems. XP I don’t like Lucky Star either. I doubt I’ll be picking this up but I’ll be checking on it.In terms of music-oriented anime,I loved La Corda D’Oro. I’ll like to see if they’ll have some nice music played in this anime too.

  31. I totally liked the show. The main girl is so clumsy. I laughed when the club asked her what were her hobbies or favorite things. She certainly was on her way to a NEET. Light Music Club save her!

  32. 130 COMMENTS!?!?!?!! How are we not getting paid for this?! JK, that could raise more issues than we’d like to handle.

    The opening to me was better than the ending. And the end was really touching. The fact that Yui was moved by THAT proves that we got a lot of “ultimate camaraderie” in store!


    Anyways, looks like Yui’s not getting interesting from this episode but that Mio, haha shouldn’t hab been seiyuu can go be singer yea…

  34. @minikui

    The song they covered which Hayley has done a version of is originally a childrens song from Japan. I think it’s become really popular recently with lots of bands covering it. MUCC also did a version!
    I wonder if they’ll cover more famous songs in future episodes..?

  35. Mio is definately my favorite character in this anime as of now ( Just like most of the other people here … ) The only thing that I didn’t like was in the opening song where they introduced her she looked like a combination of Mikan and Yui from To-Love-Ru and I really don’t want to be thinking of that manga when I look at her. -.-
    As a big fan of Kyoani I will definitely watch this, however I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to like the music. I really like the ending song though so I’m sure the other songs will be just as good.

  36. Woo! My uncle suggested it to me, and I loved it ever since I found the manga in mangafox. Though I prefer the anime much better, it’s good to read what manga they turned into anime too.

    I’ve been waiting for something like this, a slice of life anime with good art. I missed it ever since Lucky Star happened 🙂

  37. Hmm… the drum kit appears to be from the Yamaha Higpig series. I’m thinking it’s the Rick Marotta Signature in the series. At least it looks that way based on the armature used to hold up the cymbals and the toms/snare.

  38. After seeing the first three episodes. I can easily say it gets better. Like always, you can’t judge a show on it’s first episode. & isn’t the Ending sequence just a kick! Love it!


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