K-ON! Anime, Volume 1 (English)

May 12th, 2011

K-On! Vol. 1My original review for K-ON!, Volume 1 has been disappeared by a Blogger meltdown. I am no longer the same person who wrote that review, so any points I made, valid or not, are now no longer relevant. ^_^

Rather than trying to recreate the content – and failing – I’m just going to write a new review.

K-ON! follows the story of spazzy, doofus-y Hirasawa Yui, in her attempt to wring every last drop of joy out of high school life by joining a club. She finds just about the perfect club for a spazzy, doofus-y, idiot savant – the Keionbu, the “Light Music” club. Volume 1 covers Yui’s discovery of the club and the three other members and her adventures in buying and learning to play a guitar. It’s all good, clean, spazzy, doofus-y fun. With a goofy, bubblegummy soundtrack.

In my opinion, it’s the music that really represents the anime. Rocking pop music you can bounce gracelessly to, incredibly weird lyrics and an overall feeling of massive gobs of fun. This music isn’t just bubble gum  – it’s long-lasting Bubble Yum(TM) music.

The characters are cleverly designed to adhere to types popular with moe fandom but, nonetheless, seem to exceed their rather limited origins. As an ensemble I find them, for personal reasons, to strike a pleasant chord for me. (Yes, yes, pun intended.)

I was lucky to receive a DVD of this volume. I have been informed that the Blu-Ray disks for Volume 1 suffer from soundtrack problems. The sound on the songs are, according to a random Twitter correspondent, only DVD quality and one of the tracks is off. I have never been an audiophile myself and, as I have had an ear infection for about a month now, I’m pretty sure there is no way I’d notice the difference in sound quality, but I know that this kind of thing is very important to people. Bandai has a history of handling sound badly…surely I am not the only one who remembers the Ghost In the Shell sound issues? And I am informed by this same Twitter source that fans were unhappy with Haruhi sound as well, thus guaranteeing that the segment of the fandom least likely to buy in the US anyway, has yet another reason with which to justify piracy. Well done there, Bandai.

But, as I say, I have a DVD and I found it to be – in all but one way – fantastic. The translation was very good. (At least Bandai brought their A game to the translation.) The anime is for people who like goofy, moe, slice-of-school-life, all-female ensemble casts. The only thing I really wanted but did not get is a Music Video extra. I feel like that would have been the cherry on top of this Red Velvet cupcake with it’s yummy cream cheese music topping. (Too sweet, but man, can’t get enough….) I am also informed by Filo from a comment on the previous, disappeared post, that the dub is quite good.

There is no Yuri. There will never be Yuri in this series. If you see Yuri, you are either extrapolating from the Mugi-vision scenes in the manga or are the kind of person who sees Yuri whenever two girls touch, regardless of context. Take it from someone who is female, and has friends she touches, but does not sleep with – they’re just friends.

Ratings:

Art – Lovingly detailed backgrounds, moe blob characters – 7
Story – Goofy slice of life – 8
Characters – How many times in a review can I use the word “goofy?” Well, here’s one more. – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 4

Overall – 8

Overall, there’s plenty to like about this series, unless any or all of the above annoy you. Then it’s annoying as hell. But I like it anyway. ^_^

Many thanks to Okazu Superhero Eric P. for making today’s review possible!

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