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The episode kicks off with a little FFX2-esque intro of the three other members of K-ON – naturally, Mio is introduced first. Speaking of Mio, I thought I’d be cool and say she’s the best right off the bat while everyone takes a while to warm up to her, but apparently my moedar isn’t anywhere near as sharp as those people on 2chan, cuz she’s already by far the most popular. Oh well, I tried. Still, the unbalanced number of Mio moments in this episode tells us KyoAni knows exactly what they’re doing. I nod in approval.
So how much do guitars cost? Cheap ones run only 10,000 yen, but Mio doesn’t stand for cheap instruments. 50,000 yen will get you a decent one – good thing Yui’s mom is cool (no appearance from her yet… but she’s probably awesome) and gives her the 50k. They head for the music store at the shopping center, but the distraction power of Yui leads them on a journey that spans many cute outfits and many tasty treats. Not that I mind.
They eventually make it to the music store, and immediately Yui sees the guitar of her dreams – the Les Paul. In the last ep I wondered if it was a cheap replica, since high school girls aren’t usually known to drop over two and a half grand of their own money on something that doesn’t have Prada or Gucci on it, but I guess this one’s the real deal. Well, she’s a fifth of the way there – Ritsu suggests they all go get part-time jobs to pay for it and consider it a K-ON club activity. I nod in approval.
Their search of jobs is more or less an excuse for Mio’s fragile maiden mind to wander, as she prospects herself as a tissue hander outer, a fast food server, a 7-11 cashier… oh Mio, do tease. They eventually find a nice gig as a part of the traffic department, operating those little counter things. This immediately tells me that this show is not based in 2009, because the world economy sucks and jobs like these would be snatched up before they even make it to the classifieds. Oh, and Tsumugi looks a lot like Lacus Clyne… well, probably more like Meer Campbell with that hat on. In a moment of subtle hilarity, they get so absorbed with their job that they start clicking their thumbs at everything. You gotta see it~
After their exhausting job, they finally receive their paycheck, but it’s still not enough. Yui decides to give back everybody’s paycheck and just use her own – she’ll need to pick a cheaper guitar but at least she won’t feel guilty. Well, not if Mugi-sama has anything to do with it. Turns out her dad is the owner of the place, and the store clerk gives her a huge discount. How does 80% off sound? Ah, the perks of thick eyebrows.
So now the K-ON band is complete! Well, Yui still sucks at playing, but she’ll learn. If she isn’t too distracted by the tea and cakes. Ritsu lays down the ultimatum: perform live at Budokan before graduation!
Up next on K-ON!: School getting in the way of my music career!
You know how I said Lucky Star was my favorite anime? Well, it took K-ON! a full one episode and ten minutes of the second one to change that. Everything I’ve come to love these slice of life comedies – the cute girls, the cute voices, the randomness, the subtle moments of humor, the deformed facial expressions, and those moments of pure happiness and friendship – K-ON! has a big generous helping of it all. Those moments of humor – especially the four-armed guitar player, the Mio mind wandering moments, and the posessed thumbs – in particular made this episode an absolute joy. Not hilarious, not roll-on-floor funny – just joyous.
I find it necessary to address the critics of this show, because I’m one of those fragile people that cries in hysterical shame when people talk smack about my beloved shows. KyoAni shows tend to have an incredibly polarizing effect to them – if you like this kind of show, you’ll absolutely love K-ON!, if you don’t, you’ll probably think it’s retarded / boring. I just happen to be on the LOVE side for this show, but I can understand where the critics are coming from, considering my alternate stance with Air / Kanon. Still, no matter what side you’re on, I think it’ll take a high amount of feigned ignorance to not appreciate the subtleties that make this show great. It’s not just the high amount of moe, from Mio and from everybody else (yea, even Ritisu…), it’s not just those moments of sheer randomness, it’s the whole package – everything just fits together like it should.
Like how Clannad was an improvement on Kanon, which was an improvement on Air, I really believe that KyoAni is perfecting on their other formula, the one that began with Haruhi and carried over to Lucky Star and now K-ON!. Nothing is force-fed to the audience anymore as it all comes together like a smooth blend – the voices fit right with the art style, which fits right with the character design and the character dynamics. Already the characters have some great chemistry together, and watching them go about their daily lives just gives me the biggest stupid-looking grin on my face the entire time.
It only gets better from here! Gawd I love this show…