K-On! (2009 IMDb)

Categorization

Comedy of moe.

Subject

Three high-school freshmen resurrect a disbanding school club for “light” music (keion). A potential fourth member has no skills and seems to have spent her whole life bumming around. She was hoping “light music” meant she could play castanets, which she remembers doing vigorously in kindergarten. To save the club, the other members promise her daily tea and cookies in the music room. As friends, they form a rock band, followed for about a year and a half.

A second season, “K-ON!!” with two exclamation points, shows the other half of high school.

Commentary

The all-girl camaraderie of Azumanga Daioh (2002) at the same pace, with better graphics and a stronger theme and dramaturgy, but less original characters, tamer gags, worse music and greater creeping sexualization.

The beginning is excellent but it’s down hill from there. The dress-up indicates it isn't meant for a female audience. Ultimately, even the first season goes further than Azumanga Daioh into the idolization of unrealistic, feminized weakness. The character of Yui, like Ōsaka, is clearly harebrained in a way that's stigmatized and awkward, which gets some nuanced and sympathetic treatment.

The second season has a significantly heavier “moe Monkees” vibe: artificial Terada Mitsuo-style girl artists in increasingly artificial situations. This is the wrong direction. No added substance, and merely passable fun.

All the main characters are named after members of Hirasawa Susumu's synth-rock/techno-pop band P-Model, which is about as light as early Glass.

References here: En betraktelse av A Silent Voice.

Japanese production animation series

DVD bonus shorts:

Yui no Ki ni Naru Shiriizu (2009)

Commentary

I much prefer the SD school of bonus material to this ultra-naivist school.

Japanese production animation

Sequel:

K-On! The Movie (2011 IMDb)

Viewing

Seen in 2015.

Categorization

Feature film.

Commentary

A lot of the background and incidental environment work—like the birds in the park—is very nice, and I like the occasional long takes and realistic in jokes—especially the corrupted speech—but the story is weak. The conveyor-belt sushi restaurant gig is particularly anemic. The scenes following the journey to London are stronger, but remain hampered by the silly idea that the seniors are all going immediately to the same college. Forgettable.

References here: En betraktelse av A Silent Voice.

Japanese production animation movie