K-ON! Review: Slice of music

ko7Back in the day when I was in a band, I experienced times in which we had great fun, but also great argument. There were times when we goofed around and on the flipside heavy debates which style we should follow. K-ON! shows the cute side of being in a band.

Being in a band means that there’s a blend of many skill levels, persona-lities and personal preference combined into one group. Where for example the drummer has a very strong tendency to quickly imitate other music, the guitarist has a great sense of rhythm and the lead singer has a feel for creating song lyrics. All those elements are combined, creating a group of people that practice and create a friendship like bond with each other.

ko1In the case of K-ON! we follow a group of girls who want to bring the light music club back to life. After some time they find a suitable member, named Yui, our main character. She has little to no experience in creating music, but tries her hardest to not disappoint her fellow band members.

Along the way the group learns to work together, overcome fear and embarrassment and create memories that fit a high school life. Interestingly enough they spend most of their time on drinking tea with their club supervisor, who once was in the light music club herself.

ko2K-ON! is set in a slice of life genre, which means you get a slice of the life of the girls of K-ON! There will not be giant robots battling each other in deep space or romantic drama. You have to love a slow paced show that focuses on girls in a slice of life setting.

The character designs are within the familiar of Kyoto Animation. The designs are cute and the mannerisms emphasize this aspect. The girls act and move cute. Maybe it is even a bit too much for most viewers.

ko3The pacing of K-ON! is adjusted to its genre. That means that the show isn’t fast paced and marches along a certain set of events to progress the plot. The events that happen are minor, although I believe that it’s not about the impact the events make, but about the triggering of memories with its viewer.

From this perspective K-ON! explores different settings that happen during an average school life. You laugh, you argue, you go to class and so on. Seemingly insignificant, those events are part of your life and remain in your memory. K-ON! explores them throughout the happenings of the light music club, showing us different moments that remind us of our school days.

ko4Most anime viewers will be familiar with the exceptional animation quality KyoAni delivers. The movements are natural, the colors are bright and the characters fit within the setting. It’s all balanced out to maximize the appeal of the characters to the audience.

A large portion of the show focuses on making music, practicing and performing. The soundtrack is good, but I think the producers didn’t want to make the music all to professional. If this was the case, a school club wouldn’t be a credible environment.

The K-ON! soundtrack is still no match for GirlsDeadMonster in Angel Beats. The K-ON! songs are very J-POP and aren’t as compelling as the more J-Rock songs in Angel Beats. If you love high pitched cachty songs, you will probably enjoy the music in K-ON. The music is good, but you have to love it.

ko5K-ON! tells its story in a slow paced and light hearted manner. The characters argue, but are close friends and will always help each other out. The pacing is fitting for the genre and a treat for fans of slice of life.

K-ON! builds more on the school day memories of the viewer and not so much on the music. The music is decent, but not nearly as good you might expect from a show that puts such a strong emphasis on making music in a band.

All in all I rate this show an 8 out of 10. I loved the characters and their diversity. I could handle the minor events in combination with the pacing. This show did a great job in portraying an average school life without making it feel to romanticized or boring to watch.


5 thoughts on “K-ON! Review: Slice of music

  1. infinitezenith says:

    Both Houkago Tea Time and Girls DeMo have their own unique feel to them. I think of the summertime, a lazy time when I hear the former, and I recall my trip to the Suzhou-Hangzhou area of China when I listen to Girls DeMo. We were driving along one of the area’s freeways, which have LED-lit railings that gently change colour come nightfall. I have no idea why, but every time I hear Crow Song and Thousand Enemies, I get flashbacks to that and the Shanghai Expo 2010 😛

  2. Overlord-G says:

    I didn’t know much about KyoAni when I fell in love with K-ON! Today, I could care less about the company’s fame (or infamy). All I know is that the K-ON series is one of the best Slice of Life shows I have ever seen next to Hidamari Sketch.

    • ninetybeats says:

      K-ON! did what it was supposed to do, entertain me with cute girls doing cute stuff. Those who argue that it didn’t have a lot of story development or mind boggling events, didn’t understand the genre slice of life. This is what slice of life is, a window to somebody else’s life and that’s how it should be. And damn did they execute it well with this one. Thanks for your comment!

      • Overlord-G says:

        As I explained in my review of the show, K-ON is a journey into the high school lives of five friends. All the joy, sorrow and lesbian subtext love they shared till the tear jerk worthy graduation ceremony. THAT’S what K-ON’s all about. Connecting viewers with their own high school lives, if the viewer already graduated from high school. Silly critics, blinded by their “anime was so much better when I was a wee lad with a little wee-wee”

      • ninetybeats says:

        That’s also true, it connects the viewer to their past, namely their time at school.

        In a review I try to find something that could be appreciated by everybody. But its my review, so it is unavoidable my opinion is present throughout the piece:p

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