「番外編 計画！」 (Bangai-hen Keikaku!)
“Extra Chapter – Plans!”
Included with the ninth and final volume of the K-ON Blu-ray/DVD releases was a third bonus episode. Much like the two that aired during the televised broadcast, this latest one takes place prior to the girls’ graduate when they’re planning for an overseas trip. What that actually translates to is our lovable light music band being unable to agree on a destination and realizing they need to get passports first. The best part of it all? Yui busting out some hella bad English as practice in case they get lost. “Okay! No Nihon-go!”
It’s almost been a year since the second season of K-ON started airing, so hearing Toyosaki Aki, Hikasa Youko, Kotobuki Minako, Satou Satomi, and Taketatsu Ayana voice their respective roles had a distinctly different feel to it. All five of them have been cast in numerous other series since then, using a variety of voices for a wide range of roles, so it was kind of odd having those character associations coming back to K-ON. Youko in particular had me wondering if this is what Mio always sounded like, whereas Aki made me realize how much of a voice she was using to portray Yui. Then there’s Ayana, who may forever be perceived as the bratty Kirino. Where’s my Azu-nyan? With all those other roles coming to mind, the Sakura High girls felt a bit foreign to me on some level. *gasp*
Of course, I wasn’t opposed to the girls dressing “down” a bit with Mio tying her hair up in ponytail in a way that only she can pull off. The sight of it paired up with a loose off-the-shoulder lavender shirt on top of a white tank top had me imagining a swarm of Yui’s saying “Yes, please” in broken English all around. Ritsu had a similar look going for her, whereas Azusa’s red top with an exposed back showed just enough of her yellow one underneath. A little revealing for the young one if I do say so myself. Naturally, we can’t forget Yui and Mugi’s summer dresses, which combined with the rest made me realize how even Japanese high school girls can dress really feminine. Asian culture is a stark contrast to its western counterpart, where you rarely see girls in skirts. Sadly, it’s mainly jeans on this side of the world.
I got to hand it to slice-of-life series for making something as mundane as applying for a passport interesting to watch. Mio’s attempt to look more adult-like with her ponytail backfired, and retaking a photo somehow became an eventful thing on its own. Throwing Sawa-chan into the mix provided some comic relief as the unmarried teacher who’s never been overseas, whereas talk about how foreigners tend to perceive Asians to be a good ten or so years younger led to some amusing jesting between Yui and Azusa. I’m not sure what was funnier though, the squabbles about how they’d get mistaken as elementary school kids or the fact that it’s so true. Last but not least was Azusa saying that they’re “After School Tea Time” in English, which I thought sounded pretty cool coming from her, but Yui insisted that they’re “Houkago Tea Time” wherever they go. “HTT 4 Life” is what I’d like to conclude, but it’s “No Rice, No Life” according to her.
In a lot of ways, this bonus episode felt like the perfect setup towards the movie that will be released at the end of this year. The thought of “the adventures of HTT overseas” had crossed my mind, but in reality the movie will focus on a period of time back in Sakura High that hasn’t been shown yet. I guess we’ll have to leave the overseas stuff to the university years, which the recently announced continuation of the manga will be covering.