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K-ON! – 02 »

K-ON! – 01

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
 
Summary
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 ▼

 
Thoughts

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!

 
Preview

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!

April 3, 2009 at 1:51 am
149 comments »
  • April 3, 2009 at 10:24 pmmeonlyme775

    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.

  • April 3, 2009 at 10:52 pmjaalin

    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.

  • April 3, 2009 at 10:59 pmBakuman

    @jaalin

    I’ll keep checking the updates this week. Thank you! :)

  • April 3, 2009 at 11:25 pmchris

    agrees with FalloutDude, reminds me of manabi, which i thoroughly enjoyed. and i’ll probably be saying the same for this! =D

  • April 3, 2009 at 11:46 pmJohn Storm

    awesome, now they need some black metal corpse paint and can start singing about battles in the north

  • April 4, 2009 at 12:49 amRandomArsehole

    It’s an EPIPHONE Les Paul Standard. Not a Gibson. Arrgh.

  • April 4, 2009 at 12:52 amRandomArsehole

  • April 4, 2009 at 1:05 amjaalin

    thx random, i dont know anything about guitars lol

  • April 4, 2009 at 1:05 amRandomArsehole

    NOT. A. GIBSON. you all suck

  • April 4, 2009 at 1:38 amronicmaster

    I’ll probably take a liking to Mio too. I guess its that long black hair.

  • April 4, 2009 at 2:06 amewok

    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…

  • April 4, 2009 at 2:09 amkairuu

    This recieves THREE DENSE LAYERS of the Kairuu Be****** Seal of Approval.

  • April 4, 2009 at 2:38 amGGear0323

    RandomArsehole, first of all, are you basing that on anything other than living up to your name. second, the people who have read the manga have stated what it really is, third, nice picture, but is there any reason why it has to be that picture and not this one:
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/document?cpd=0OEY&doc_id=99371&base_pid=519321&index=13

  • April 4, 2009 at 2:53 amXrtear

  • April 4, 2009 at 5:59 amLumi

    woowwww looks good!

  • April 4, 2009 at 8:57 amKaratula3

    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…

  • April 4, 2009 at 10:08 amanon234

    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.

  • April 4, 2009 at 10:12 amRandomArsehole

    that pic you linked is of a Gibson LP Tradition. Not even the same guitar.

  • April 4, 2009 at 10:16 ammonochrome

    The ED is amazing. Or at least, extremely catchy.

  • April 4, 2009 at 11:16 amD

    The first episode was good and look promising,I hope that this anime only gets better.

  • April 4, 2009 at 12:32 pmforce

    RYTM, isn’t it ?

  • April 4, 2009 at 12:58 pmyUkishin

    looks interesting^^..finally this site “opened/loaded” ive been trying to open ths site but the contents won’t load..>.>

  • April 4, 2009 at 2:28 pmwhitey-chan

    darn, really liked the ED, akiyama mio was hot,*damn

  • April 4, 2009 at 2:42 pmDukeTheGold

    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.

  • April 4, 2009 at 5:51 pmSavofenno

    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.

  • April 4, 2009 at 6:01 pmtomtom

    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 ^^

  • April 4, 2009 at 6:02 pmSavofenno

    My mistake, Mio is a bass player, not Ritsu. I feel stupid, i`m slow in learning characters names in new anime.

  • April 4, 2009 at 7:02 pmAmu

    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.

  • April 4, 2009 at 11:33 pmFalmung

    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!

  • April 5, 2009 at 3:20 amFrank

    AYAYAY !!

  • April 5, 2009 at 9:16 pmstarss

    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!

  • April 6, 2009 at 3:56 ammay08

    Completely random. love these kind of shows.

  • April 6, 2009 at 5:09 amkaineng

    1 word: COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL…

    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…

  • April 6, 2009 at 8:32 pmYukioto

    @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..?

  • April 6, 2009 at 8:56 pmDuskL

    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.

  • April 7, 2009 at 12:54 amJustin Olbrantz (Quantam)

    Oh Gord. The moe, it is excessive.

  • April 7, 2009 at 3:57 amRyuuya

    For some reason, Yui from this anime reminds me of Nagisa from Clannad. Like her hair pin is exactly the same from Nagisa’s. Anyone agreeing with me? <_<

  • April 7, 2009 at 6:27 pmKirisuto

    Heh, I already ripped the audio with Audacity from the ED. I have it set on infinite replay right now.

  • April 7, 2009 at 9:53 pmDooom

    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 :)

  • April 8, 2009 at 5:24 pmDeadMonkeys

    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.

  • April 10, 2009 at 5:33 amYue

    There is a ‘female ghost’ behind Yui when she is making her way to the music room through those weird clubs.

  • April 10, 2009 at 11:02 amKai-kun

    LOVE THIS ANIME

  • April 13, 2009 at 7:48 amLOL

    Didn’t anyone notice that Yui’s voice sounds familiar to Fuko’s voice in Clannad?

  • April 14, 2009 at 5:29 amJ-970

    Since the relation to BECK was made, you have persuaded me to watch this

  • April 14, 2009 at 10:58 amHollow Moon

    I’m actually looking forward to this, even though it’s nt my usual genre of anime but i guess i’ll go for it :D

  • April 16, 2009 at 7:45 amTkpenalty

    I’m not happy that they’re using les pauls D:

  • April 17, 2009 at 6:35 pmjrod

    I love the appearance of Krauser II(metal dude with white backup and long blonde hair) when Yui is afraid of entering the club.

  • April 30, 2009 at 9:53 pmafterstorymademecry

    I love it so god dman much. But inside i know its a horrible show. I don’t care I love it. It’s just SO CUTEE~

  • May 2, 2009 at 6:00 amlastSKYsamurai

    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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