K-ON! The Movie

K-ON! The MovieType: Movie
Genre: Comedy / Slice Of Life
Vintage: 2011

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 19 Sep 2013

Grade: A

Afterschool Tea Time goes to London!

Plot Summary
Taking place in parallel to the timeline of the second season of the television series, Yui, Ritsu, Mio, and Tsumugi have some business to take care of as seniors. First, they have decided that they need to find a way to thank Azusa for everything she’s done to contribute to Afterschool Tea Time’s success. Then there is the matter of their graduation trip… the Light Music Club still hasn’t planned theirs yet, but how to decide where to go?

The Review
The K-ON! movie is a fine sendoff to the animated series, though it’s not truly an “end” since the events in it take place up to and during the final episode. The film’s main purpose is to provide backstory for one of the final scenes in the series, as well as pay off the setup given in one of the post-series specials (which itself was a lead-in to this movie). It may not sound all that impressive from that description, but the long-form version of K-ON! actually does work quite well.

The K-ON! movie is about the same length as four episodes would be, but the pacing has been managed to work as a film, so it doesn’t feel like watching a sequence of episodes or even an extended episode. Once things get going, it’s easy to get caught up in the story and just let it take you along for the ride – or perhaps flight is a better word in this case. Without spoiling anything, I can say that the first ten minutes or so of the film is perhaps one of the best moments in the entire series. It’s definitely one of my favorite moments, at least.

One fun thing about this film – which may be lost in the English version, though I haven’t seen that and can’t say for sure – is that since the girls go to London, once they get there, everyone they meet (taxi drivers, hotel clerks, and so on) speaks English, so their knowledge of the language gets put to the test when they have to interact with them. It also seems that the Japanese studio got native English speakers to do these small parts, so it doesn’t sound like a Japanese person speaking stilted English. That said, the English parts are still a little wooden, but I’d probably chalk that up to the Japanese staff not being able to direct actors in another language as effectively as their own.

This film is a no-brainer for fans of the series. If you enjoyed the series, you’ll definitely enjoy the movie. The only audience which may not be able to fully appreciate the K-ON! movie are those who have not seen the series, as there is absolutely no backstory in the movie. All of the background is found in the television series, so unless you’ve seen that, there won’t be much context for the movie. That may limit the film’s appeal somewhat, but considering it was probably made with existing fans of the franchise already in mind as the target audience, it’s a logical approach.

On a final note, if you’re interested in a film about a high school girls’ rock band which doesn’t require any previous knowledge, I highly recommend seeking out Linda Linda Linda, a live-action film which is an easy choice for fans of K-ON!

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