I must admit, this was a difficult review to write. When I first sat down in front of my computer, I stared blankly at the screen for several minutes, unable to articulate any thoughts on K-On now that I have effectively seen the whole series (minus the bonus episode).
After some further moments of unproductive pondering, I decided to reread my original first impressions of the series to try kick start this review. It was here when I finally came to realize exactly why I was having trouble writing; pretty much everything I would have wanted to write after seeing 12 episodes of K-On, were already addressed in my first impression which was written after seeing a total of 3 episodes.
This I believe, is indicative of exactly what K-On has been as a series; tired, uninspired and derivative. It relies on its moe appeal to such an extent that any other matter of substance is sacrificed.
The 'story' revolves around Yui, a special needs child, who in a tragic case of irony, is an essential member of the school music club, as without her, the club would have an insufficient number of members and would be thus forced to close down. What follows are the ever vain endeavors of the other band members who must teach Yui how to play the guitar. A task made ever more insurmountable given the fact that Yui's musical talents rival her prodigious intellect.
Or that's what Kyoani wants us to think the 'story' is about anyway.
However, by 'story', K-On means a bunch of moe blobs who play music. And by play music, I mean sit around and eat cake.
That's about it really. Oh, and they go on training camps at a beach side house twice in the series. Where exactly the same things happen with the same jokes.
The main character. Suffers from mild mental retardation; a possible first for lead characters in anime. The band's guitar player...technically. Is meant to be the moe moe character due to her airheaded personality, but in a cruel case of life imitating art, Mio appears to be perceived as moe by the general audience, thus proving Yui truly can't get anything right. Is possibly a lesbian.
For reasons I will never understand, the popular favourite amongst viewers. Mio is a moeblob amongst moeblobs. She actually has no real personality of her own, and instead simply acts in whatever way will provide the most moe reaction from the audience. Is possibly a lesbian.
The band's drummer, Ritsu generally provides the slapstick comedy relief. However, she seems to hide a darker personality, given her propensity to lie and manipulate in order to get what she wants, as evidenced in her recruitment of Tsumugi in episode 1. Because of her amorality, she is far and away my favourite character. Is possibly a lesbian.
The pianist and token rich girl. Apparently, she exists in this show. She seems to be woefully ignorant of the outside world, leading one to ponder what kind of depraved childhood she must have endured. She generally buys the friendship of others with cake. Is possibly a lesbian.
The music teacher and club manager of the titular light music club. Starts out as a hilarious character suffering an early midlife crisis and on the verge of a mental breakdown, but gradually gets reduced to a pedophile who stalks the girls and forces them to dress up in fetish clothes. Is possibly a lesbian.
Sawako, when she was cool. Which was for about 5 minutes.
Sawako, for the rest of the series. Oh how the mighty do fall.
Mio, but even more underage. Regularly dons cat ears for the bestiality fetishists. The frequent target of Yui's girl crush. Is possibly a lesbian.
Yui's far more intelligent, mature and independent younger sister. Tries to steal her sister's identity in one episode, presumably since Yui got a larger share of the inheritance. Is possibly an incestuous lesbian.
Don't do it Yui! She'll ensnare you with her sexuality!
And then steal your name, your friends and your life!
Look, it's KyoAni, the people behind Haruhi Suzumiya, what do you expect but top quality shit?
So yeah, it's typical KyoAni obsessive attention to detail, fluid animation, and muted yet somehow vibrant colours.
Personally though, I preferred the more serious animation of Haruhi Suzumiya. In contrast, K-On! is more cartoony, with movements sometimes resembling Western Saturday morning cartoons, as well as liberal use of chibis and funny looking faces.
To be fair however, it suits the general feel of K-On!, it's just not my cup of tea.
Those of you who have read my original first impression will notice that half of this review is a word for word copy of my earlier post. There are two reasons for this. For one, I am a lazy bastard. And as I've said earlier, my prior post had addressed pretty much everything I already had to say.
And this is one of the biggest reasons why K-On is a giant piece of pigshit; watching a few episodes of it will give you a shockingly accurate idea of K-On as an entire series.
Even as a child, Yui had difficulty with even the most basic of concepts. Such as standing straight.
Characters do not develop, personalities do not change and jokes are constantly reused. So in the end, what you get is a shitty anime, with a shitty story and shitty characters, which tries its utmost best to stay shitty.
Also, Yui's clumsiness and silliness is way, way overdone. I'm presuming it's meant to be cute, but it's not. It's just bloody annoying. Every time we're forced to endure Yui's antics, I feel nothing but the unquenchable desire to reach into the screen and punch Yui in the face. And then kick her. Continuously. For about an hour.
And seriously, Mio AND Azusa? Really Kyoani? One moeblob devoid of personality wasn't enough? You had to have TWO in a single show? What the hell? How many goddamn pedophiles are there that watch this show that you needed two underage dolls to appeal to all of them?
Anyway, for those of you who are regular readers of Taikutsu Remedy, my hatred of K-On and moe in general should be well known. And so the argument can be raised that K-On is simply not my cup of tea, and I might as well go watch something I enjoy rather then spend time hating on K-On.
Trust me, I would if this thing was not so bloody popular.
The problem lies in the fact that K-On sells. Moe sells. No show save perhaps Lucky Star has legitimized derirative moe as a viable business venture as resoundingly as K-On, and as a person who enjoys shows that aren't total shit, this obviously worries me.
Despite what some may argue, anime is not an artistic venture; it is first and formost a for-profit industry. Therefore, what sells well becomes the templete for the shows to come; and if low quality crap like this sells, studios will be all to happy to profit from mediocrity. K-On, has shamelessly opened the provorbial floodgates, creating extremly persuasive precedent for other studios to follow the path of shitty but profitable moe fluff.
Kyoani, you can do better then this. Whilst I'm not much of a Haruhi fan, I can objectively say that it is a very good show. Even K-On had brief moments of brilliance; from genuinely witty jokes to inspired directing. But these moments were brief and fleeting. For the most part, you were perfectly content to take the easy path and substitute wit for tired jokes such as Mio getting freaked out or Azusa being moe.
Shame on you, Kyoani. You have creativity and talent to be so much more, yet you rather settle for rubbish. You are not some third rate studio, you are Kyoto Animation. You have supperbly talented directors. You have meticulous and skillful animators. Yet despite all these gifts, you'd rather produce derivative crap that does nothing but stiffle creativity in anime.
Shame on you.