Type: TV Series + Special + OVA
Episode Count: 12 + 1 + 1
Genre: Slice Of Life / Comedy
Vintage: 2009 / 2010
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 29 Dec 2012
Another great, easygoing series adapted from a 4-koma manga.
Ritsu wants to join the Light Music club at Sakurakou High, so she drags her friend Mio into it with her, but there’s just one problem: all of the members have graduated and there is currently nobody in the club. They are allowed to join, but unless they have four members after a month, they will not be recognized as an official school club. They soon recruit Tsumugi, who had wanted to join the Choir club. As the deadline draws near, Yui joins in the nick of time. Unfortunately, Yui had the wrong idea of what the Light Music club actually did and has second thoughts. The others finally convince her to stay, and the Light Music club is reborn. Now, they just need to write some music…
A series about a high school rock band comprised entirely of cute girls, each with their own fun personality. That’s K-ON! in a nutshell. Actually, “watching cute girls do stuff” is practically a genre in Japan, something which I have no complaints about. Couple this simple premise with a good theme, and you have the makings of a series. It could be art, comics, or in this case, music.
As with most series of this type, it’s all about the characters, so here is a brief introduction, from left to right in the picture above:
- Ritsu (drums) – leaps before she looks, and full of energy.
- Mio (bass) – elegant, yet shy, and frightens easily.
- Yui (guitar) – childlike and a bit spacy.
- Tsumugi (keyboard) – high-class, but humble.
These four are joined by a supporting cast including Yui’s younger sister and best friend, an unusual teacher, and eventually a fifth band member. It’s a fun cast, and watching them do things together is what these types of series are all about. The girls do start their band and we do see them play, but it’s more about the things they do as a group of friends.
One interesting thing about the series from a musicians’ standpoint is that the girls all play instruments that are found in real life. For example, Ritsu has a Yamaha drum kit, and Tsumugi plays a Korg Triton keyboard. Anyone who plays an instrument or is in a band themselves will find another layer to appreciate in this easygoing series.
K-ON! is a very easy series to recommend if you enjoy slice-of-life. Doubly so if you are a music fan or play an instrument. Like most series of this type, it is character driven and mostly episodic in nature, though there is the overarching story of the girls getting the band together and sounding good. As I mentioned in my review of the original manga, if you enjoy K-ON! be sure to check out the Japanese film Linda Linda Linda, as there are many similarities between the two titles. Likewise, if you’ve already seen and enjoyed that movie, K-ON! should be a perfect series for you.
Now if only I could get some tickets to see these girls play…