Anime Review: K-On Season 2 Episode 4

(Originally published on Livejournal on 5/28/10)

Anime Review:
K-On Season 2 Episode 4

tl;dr review: Class goes to Kyoto for their senior field trip. Shrine. Monkeys. Souvenirs. Pillow Fight. Sawa-chan-sensei. Everyone gets lost.

About The Series: Yui has always been a carefree soul, wandering her way through school without any goals in life — until the day she decided to join the Light Music Club, despite not knowing how to play any instrument. With only four members in the club, they form a band, After School Tea-Time, and in the process form a close friendship that lasts throughout their high school years. Now the original members are all seniors, and with four members of the club graduating at the end of the year, that will leave just one junior member, and they decide to make the best of their final year while they can.

In This Episode: It’s time for the class field trip, as the four original members of the music club head off to Kyoto, leaving Azusa behind. As one might expect, the girls get overly-excited, acting like…well…giddy little school girls. The group heads off to take in some of the local sights, including a nearby shrine and feeding monkeys at a park. Later that night they get overly-excited, acting like…well…giddy little school girls, as they get involved with a pillow fight, and stay up late giggling about nonsense words. The next day they get sidetracked by the local music shop, manage to spend all their money before buying anything for friends and family, and everyone gets totally lost. That night they behave like…well…giddy little school girls, but with one addition: their teacher, Sawa-chan-sensei, who shows that she’s not as grown-up as she likes to think.

My Thoughts: The comparisons to Azumanga Daioh heading to Okinawa are inevitable (The Sky! It’s So Blue!!!); although Azumanga Daioh belongs to the gold standard of anime comedy, so any comparison is immediately going to fall short. Just some light humorous bits of the girls going around town. Frankly, no need for much of a plot, just wind the girls up, drop them into any unusual situation and let them bounce off each other. I still find it annoying when they all seem to revert back to twelve-year-olds hopped up on sugar candy rather than Seniors in high school, but I’m kinda used to the immaturity of the show (or rather, resigned to it).

Some comedy bits are funny, others are forgettable. I don’t think I can recall anything that happened at the shrine, for example. Other scenes work, such as Mugi initiating a pillow-fight. She may the most plain vanilla of the group, but it’s still fun to see her discover the little joys of “normal” life that she’s never been able to experience in her rich-family lifestyle. The other memorable bit is when they all manage to get hopelessly lost, and Yui has the brainstorm to call Azusa for help. Only when she gets her on the phone, does she realize that calling her is totally useless, and hangs up.

Then there’s Ms. Sawa, trying to behave all grown up as their teacher, but falling into their juvenile behavior as the unofficial “fifth” member of the group. Annoyed that the other class members are starting to refer to her as Sawa-chan-sensei, yet finding it all to easy to behave like just another schoolgirl.

(All Hail Captain Mugi!)

Just a quick word about the opening and closing theme songs. Just how powerful is K-On? Well, powerful enough that the opening theme (Go! Go! Maniac) has hit the Number One Spot on the Japanese pop charts, and the closing theme (Listen) is right behind in the Number Two slot. Apparently the first time a female act has done that in 26 years. And not just briefly at the top of the charts, but for an entire week at that. Personally, I care very little about opening and closing songs (unlike many otaku who seem to spend an inordinate amount of time squealing over the j-pop) and frequently will just fast-forward past, but that’s impressive enough to mention. Lots of people have expressed some dissatisfaction that the second season’s songs are not as good as the first season, but that doesn’t keep them from buying the records. And while I think the first song sounds like chipmunks of acid, I do admit that after listening to it repeatedly it is catchy. Chipmunks. On the braiiiinnnnn.

Next week we get to see the other side of the coin, as Azusa (left behind because she’s a year younger) gets together with her friends for their own little adventures.

The Verdict:

My review of Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3.
Random Curiosity review of Episode 4:

Up Next: Arakawa Under the Bridge, Giant Killing, and The Tatami Galaxy.

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