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K-ON 14 ~ the OVA that came outta nowhere

Pink was definitely a good call, Mio!

So am I the only one around who thinks that KyoAni did the right thing when they didn’t (really) animate the concert?

I was actually happy that the live didn’t get full air-time. We’ve already seen all of those songs animated in full glory back in episode 12. Featuring fully animated lives of the same songs wouldn’t have created any extra value. It’d be like watching an Endless-Eight-style repeat of episode 12. And if they missed and did it worse than episode 12, it’d just make us extra angsty. It won’t really make sense to introduce new songs in an OVA either, especially with a new season upcoming. So I thought what KyoAni did was sensible – they played down the live, and focused instead on the events surrounding it.

Ok, I admit this was a cheap cheat though

Not much happened of course. This episode clearly leaned closer to the slice of life end of the franchise, but that’s not at all a bad thing for me. In fact I really enjoyed this episode. It was a treat watching the girls back on screen and going about their lives brandishing their familiar idiosyncrasies. What I particularly liked about this episode was the interaction between the Afternoon Tea Time girls and the other band members.

I think a good measure of a slice of life show’s goodness is in whether the slice of life it depicts is able to strike unexpected chords with your own, evoking memories and feelings along the way. I especially liked this scene here after our moe moe girls tumbled topsy turvy all over each other during their trial run on stage. The other bands watching immediately shouted support and cheered them on. Watching this, after watching the short exchanges between the band members backstage earlier, struck me with a sudden dawning sense that these are people who are in love with their craft, and the knowledge of that shared passion unites them in a special way. You feel a soft spot for people who love your craft as you do, and when they fumble you know better than the average person how it truly feels like, and so when you cheer them on you do so with a sincerity and fervor that no bystander can match. Differences in age, experience, fashion and genre disintegrates in the light of the common desire.

It was cool that the girls got to interact so much with the other musicians. What’s cooler though was that it was made pretty clear (it was spelled out in fact) that it was Yui and Mugi who largely made the communication possible. It sort of reminded me that there is this certain class of people who are just natural ‘blenders’. They are fearless! And they have the uncanny talent for making people open up and feel at ease. They are the ones who can leap into a company of strangers and end up chattering away like long lost friends five minutes later. You may have noticed people like this in your circle of friends, or maybe you are such a person – natural catalysts for conversations between friends and strangers. Some of us probably owe a large part of our acquaintanceship to people like these. I wish I was more like them sometimes, I wish I am able to speak freely with strangers without fumbling or inadvertently saying something insensible. Unfortunately, it has become pretty clear to me that I am a Mio.

Uh, um, I should probably say something, but should I? Really? E-eh? Yui said something! Should I follow up? Eh? Ritsu spoke up too! Oh, so did Azusa! Eh, um, what should I say? E-eh? Even Mugi has said something, I gotta say something! Eh, uh, um, “Good Work!” >.<

Anyway, great, comfortable episode. As my namesake says, K-ON is comfort anime. I think I actually like the slice of life better than the comedy in this show, even though I thought the comedy was consistently and impeccably executed throughout the first season. Oh, and I’ve mentioned it a couple of times here and there, but drama is a no-no for K-ON. I hope KyoAni has learnt something from the awkwardness that is the famed “Ritsu gets jealous” episode. Come to think of it Keiri was wondering what non-manga readers thought about it. *raises hand* non-manga reader right here, and yes, it was definitely awkward. I thought KyoAni managed to conclude that episode in a very warm and sweet way, but the first half of the episode definitely felt uncomfortable.

Anway! So when does Season 2 hit the screens? This little ova has definitely whetted my appetite for it :)

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  1. I wasn’t that fond of the OVA as I’m sure you’ve already read in Keiri’s post, but it’s not really that K-On is horrible. It’s just not really the kind of slice of life I’m looking for. To put it bluntly it would be like Lucky Star without Kagami and Konata. Tsukasa and Miyuki are fine too, but the sometimes serious overtones between Kagami and Konata really drove the show (not to mention how normal Kagami was :) ). All the characters are too alike in this. Though they have different quirks and the show works hard to emphasize that (Mio is scared of barnacles, Mugi is a closet lezz, Azusa is supposed to be the Tsundere) they still seem the same to me. Like they all have the exact same outlook on life. Honestly I think it’s the differences between our outlooks on life that make it interesting. Like the constant give and take between Kagami and Konata who are friends even though one is clearly focused on the future (while the other is living the Carpe Diam extreem).

    So I guess what else is new. I’m not that fond of K-On.

  2. Ahaha you got me there :). Now that you mentioned the possibility of the concerts looking redundant, you’re right. I guess it’s a reasonable decision to pan the view to Sawa-chan and the crowd, but those still shots of the clubroom were still cheap. :p

    I also liked how some parts of this episode was narrated by Mio, she who is oh so shy and afraid of a lot of things was able to appreciate and learn about interacting with people from Yui and Mugi. I too, see some of myself in the former when it came to communicating with strangers and I often admire and envy some of my friends who are like Yui and Mugi. It’s nice to see a little piece of reality which we can relate to in fiction sometimes. ^^

    And yes, Season 2 better lay off the overly serious and contrived drama. Feel good shows are meant to feel good. I wouldn’t mind if the mood doesn’t change much throughout the series but introducing melodrama into K-ON! is like adding a drop of soya sauce into milk. It spoils it.

  3. Jason "moofang"

    @ Dustin : I can see where you’re coming from and I kind of agree. But I don’t know, I contend that you need to ‘forget’ Lucky Star to have any hope of enjoying K-ON :) I think the two are actually pretty different, and K-ON isn’t really appealing in the same ways that Lucky Star is. Lucky Star is pretty legendary in my book, so there is no way IMO K-ON will be able to lift a finger against Lucky Star within Lucky Star’s core strengths (and one of those core strengths is definitely characters). So if you overlay Lucky Star over K-ON you’re bound to find the latter lacking. I think the two actually strikes out at somewhat different keys, and there are things you can enjoy in K-ON that you don’t find as much of in Lucky Star. It’s a little hard to articulate it, but I think, for instance, that K-ON isn’t as dramatic and “played up” as Lucky Star. Well, mostly, Sawa-chan is K-ON’s dramatic and “played-up” queen, but the other characters are more ‘dumbed down’, and thus it creates a more slice-of-life feel of ordinary, relatively unspecial girls going about lives that are also pretty ordinary, and yet watching them is entertaining in a laid back sort of way. Lucky Star makes you leap up and shout “WIN!!” every now and then, but K-ON is more, I dunno, relaxed. And occasionally a lazy thought hits that strikes a chord, as I wrote about in the post, and that too is satisfying in it’s own way. Again it’s different, Lucky Star blatantly parodies things in real life in a really brilliant way, whereas in K-ON it just floats out at you as you watch the girl’s lives unfold. The “punchlines” of both shows are different… if that made any sense :P

    @ Keiri :

    but those still shots of the clubroom were still cheap. :p

    Indeed, but yknow KyoAni almost got away with it for me – somehow it didn’t hit me the first time I watched. Then I saw your post and was like “ok wait, they pulled that on me?” :P

    And damn, a drop of soya sauce in milk is a great, suitably icky, analogy. I can almost taste it now O_O

  4. introducing melodrama into K-ON! is like adding a drop of soya sauce into milk. It spoils it.


    Yet another thoughtful comment brought to you by Dustin.

  5. Jason "moofang"

    :D I bow before thy mind-blowing sophistication!

  6. Heh, finally got around to watching this. It was good.

    Although, I wish “Catherine” and “Janice” talked a little more – in addition, animating the concert scene, but focusing on these two instead of the actual concert.

    Really, using stills of the club room is so cheap KyoAni.

    If I could have anything as K-on! 3rd season I wish I could see what it was like in the club back when Sawa-sensei was in it. Tha’d be cool.

  7. Jason "moofang"

    Lol prequel? That’ll be cool. Actually scratch that, it’ll be cool if we get that as a “flashback” episode in Season 2. Moar Sawa-chan wildness always welcome ^^

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