Anime Review: K-On Season 2 Episode 5

(Originally published on Livejournal on 6/10/10)

Anime Review:
K-On Season 2 Episode 5

tl;dr review: With everyone else away on the Senior class trip, Azusa is feeling a bit bummed, spends the weekend hanging out with her friends. Random cuteness ensues.

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: This time we see the other side of the coin, as the four seniors of the music club are away for their Senior class trip, the lone junior, Azusa, is left to fend for herself. Feeling a bit down and left out, she is cheered up by two friends in her class, Ui (Yui’s sister) and Jun. They hang out a bit at the Jazz club, later have a sleepover, hit a few baseballs, feed the turtle, play some instruments — all simple, low-key stuff — All the while, random text messages and pictures come in from the other girls. While Azusa has fun with her friends, she’s still feeling a bit blue at the end of the weekend, until the other four club members return with a small souvenir – cheap and cheesy, but the perfect symbol to signify their friendship.

My Thoughts: To be honest, I kinda figured that the second season would be a perfect vehicle to show the growth of Azusa as a character, as she faces an uncertain future when the original four members of K-On leave at the end of the year. Up until now, she has largely been a bland, featureless character – cute as a button but about as interesting as a cardboard cut-out. Alas, even though this episode would be a great opportunity to explore a bit of angst, at the end Azusa remains a cardboard cut-out. It seems like the episode was definitely going in that direction, as Azusa starts to have fun with her friends she gets repeatedly interrupted by texts or messages from the other four club members, sort of an unintentional little barb to remind her “you’re not here, we’re having fun”. But in terms of actual character development and introspection…not so much.

Well, at least Azusa, Ui and Jun actually act their age, like bona fide high school girls, instead of the other K-On members that seem to have the mentality of 12-year-olds. That was a welcome relief.

In the end, the girls all return with happy smiles to greet Azusa, and shower her with…a cheap plastic keychain charm. But despite the seeming cheapness, it actually is the perfect gift, one in a set of five (for each girl), to show their solidarity as a group and neverending friendship. And everything is back to the way it was before.

Eh – nice, light-hearted stuff, there’s nothing wrong with this episode (or the previous one), but nothing’s really happening. And that in itself is also fine, there’s plenty of shows that have no point but are still fun to watch (Azumanga Daioh immediately comes to mind). But in the face of other shows that I could be watching, is there any *reason* to watch, other than as a light diversion? I am caring less about the characters, and am wondering if there’s any point of watching future episodes, if it’s basically going to be the same thing over and over again with no change or conflict. C’mon, gimme something — maybe a meteor storm, or alien invasion, or cage death-match — I’m not asking for much!

The Verdict: ….I got nothin’.

My review of Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3 and Episode 4.

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

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