Anime Review: K-On Season 2 Episode 2

(Originally published on Livejournal on 4/23/10)

Anime Review Second Look:
K-On Season 2 Episode 2

What This Is All About: I am currently in the middle of the process of taking a quick look at the first episode of each and every fansubbed anime series of the Spring 2010 season. So far, several shows have already received a “passing grade” based on the first episode; now it’s time to revisit some of those shows for a closer look at the second episode. Will it pass the muster the second time around?

Synopsis: The five girls of the After-School Tea Time Light Music Club return for a third year on light-hearted silliness. The four “main” girls (Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi) are now in their final year of high school, leaving junior Azusa as the “odd man out”. In the first episode, they go all out to try and recruit new members to the club so that Azusa would not be alone when they graduate. All their efforts end in failure, but Azusa decides that everything is okay just the way it is…for now.

In this episode of Azumanga K-On…er, I mean, K-On, they decide it’s time to clean up the supply room, which is now filled with all sorts of junk. While digging through the detritus, they uncover an old, musty guitar case; it turns out to contain Ms. Sawa’s old guitar, which she tells the club members to pawn it off and use the money for the club. The troop first heads down to the local hardware and home-wares store to look at storage racks, and Mugi (who had led a life of luxury and never seen one before) is absolutely deee-lighted.

Next, they march down to the music store to sell the guitar, where the store owner promptly offers them half a million yen (over five thousand dollars). Turns out the guitar is quite old and valuable. Suddenly confronted with more money than they have ever had before (except for Mugi), the girls begin to fall to temptation. When it comes time to hand over the receipt to their advisor, they claim it was only worth 10,000 yen; and when Ms. Sawa non-chalantly asks for the receipt for their records, Ritsu desperately tries to eat it (!). Thoroughly shamed, Ms. Sawa forgives them and says they can buy one (just *one*) thing for the club. As they are going over the possibilities (mostly musical gear), they notice Azusa is still a bit wistful about everyone leaving at the end of the year. So, the rest of the girls surprise Azusa with a large aquarium with a tiny sea turtle as the “newest club member” for her to take care of.

The Skinny: Yeah, yeah, I know…this is a show that I’m supposed to hate for all of its Moe-blob glory. But I don’t. Shakespeare this ain’t (not by a long shot), but there are some legitimately funny bits that keep me coming back, even if they all seem to have the maturity level of twelve-year-olds instead of high school girls. Last season, the moe uselessness of Yui was just plain annoying; and so far this season there appears to be less off that, and more light, slice-of-life style jokes. K-On Season 2 is starting to more resemble Azumanga Daioh in style, which is a good thing.

And the plot? Still no sight of an actual story, although I can see a possible discordant theme developing. The whole first episode was all about “Oh noes Azusa will be all alone!!1!!”, and that seemed to be resolved in favor of…doing nothing. And then, in this episode we can see the troubled look on Azusa’s face, just for a moment, and we realize it was not resolved, just suppressed. The other girls’ attempt to “buy” a new junior member for Azusa was endearing albeit misguided, but it’s the thought that counts. I would hope that they develop this theme as a point of serious conflict and really shake things up.

But the one point in the show that won me over? Ritsu swallowing the evidence, an honest-to-god laugh-out-loud moment. Yes…I literally laughed out loud. It was just so ridiculous and unexpected.

Also, if you cannot understand the sublime brilliance of the girls visiting the hardware store, then you don’t deserve to watch this show. The potential for comedy gold is limitless. Oh my god everyone, come and see this…it’s an entire aisle of screws! An aisle. Of screws. Whoever thought of that brief little moment of zen deserves a raise. And then there’s Mugi going all squee over the simple pleasures of silverware polish. Comedy gold, I tell ya.

If I had to make a guess before the first episode, I would predict that the second season was going to be how (through a series of unlikely and unexpected events), the girls live their dream of playing live at Bukodan. Although, at this point, I would guess it’s just as likely there is no serious season-long plot, and it’s just going to be a string of silly jokes, the end. I really hope *something* actually *happens*, because if there is one thing that could cause me to lose interest and drop the series it’s the fact that nothing ever seems to change. I am crossing my fingers for some actual conflict, because as Secret Sacred Wars Roach says: Conflict Creates Character.

The Verdict: – yeah, yeah…so sue me.

My original ‘Anime Review in a Minute’ of the first episode: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/459051.html
Random Curiosity’s Review of Episode 2: http://randomc.net/2010/04/13/k-on-s2-02/
K-On Episode 2 discussion thread: http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=199889&show=40
Random Curiosity K-On Trendspotting: http://randomc.net/2010/04/15/freezeframe-k-on-02-trendspotting/
Opening and Ending Sequences: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oog1YI4cTM

Second episodes that have already passed muster: Working!!, Angel Beats, Kaichou wa Maid-sama
Up next for a second look: Heroman, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Giant Killing

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