At First Glance – K-On!

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article. You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

K-On!
K-On! poster

Yep, another music-centric anime. Almost feel like I should’ve covered this after Love Live! School Idol Project instead of after Gurren Lagann, for the sake of a running theme if nothing else. Ah well.

Plot wise, K-On appears to be a slice-of-life high school anime centering around the members of the Light Music Club at the fictional Sakuragaoka High School; showing how they develop musically as a band. Unlike Love Live where a club is formed to try and gain interest in the school, K-On’s “Light Music Club” is simply an existing club that the main cast actually save from being cut by joining, as there were no members left after the previous members all graduated. The first episode itself basically details the events that lead to the formation of the band.

The group itself, at least in episode one, comprises of four members. Ritsu Tainaka on drums (self-proclaimed leader of the club/band), Mio Akiyama on bass guitar, Tsumugi Kotobuki on keyboard, and Yui Hirasawa on lead guitar. However, in this first episode, Yui admits to not knowing how to play guitar. In their desperation the others simply reassure her that they’ll teach her how to play so she’ll join.

I must admit I really do like this whole set up. The idea of only two people in the group (at least to start with) previously knowing each other, and the other two being essentially random people works really well, as it will allow us to see their friendships develop over the course of the show. I also like how they tease some sort of meaningful reasoning for Ritsu and Mio to want to join the club, only for it to turn out to be something Ritsu dragged Mio into instead.

Whilst the more “we made a promise” reasoning would’ve been fine, it was hilarious to find out that the flashback was either Ritsu remembering it wrong, or just putting on an act in front of Tsumugi to tempt her to join the band. Which is actually another thing that’s interesting to mention. Despite not being the main focus, Ritsu is primarily the driving force behind anyone else joining the band in this episode. For one thing she roped Mio into joining (even ripping up an application she’d filled out for the Literature Club), and falls short of begging Tsumugi to join, when it turns out Tsumugi was actually looking for the Choir Club.

It’s the combined efforts of the three that convinces Yui to join though. The funny thing being, they do a little performance for her (instrumental only) as a way to bait her into joining, and it really doesn’t sound all that bad. But instead of being nice, Yui is brutally honest and admits she thinks they didn’t sound all that great, despite this being what actually wins her over. I honestly laughed really hard at that moment, it was really well done.

As far as the actual characters themselves go, something tells me people probably get annoyed with Yui quite a lot. With her whole clutzy/meek personality it seems like she could easily be a divisive character, but I like her. That said all of the characters so far generally seem very likeable to me; but that could always change as the series goes on. I do generally like slice-of-life anime though so I’m fairly optimistic about the rest of the show based on this first episode alone.

If I’m honest I can’t really think of much else to say about the anime based on the first episode. So on a final note, I must admit K-On! is an anime series I’d always been fairly indifferent on when it came to giving it a try, but I can safely say I am glad I decided to give it a try when I started doing these “At First Glance” things. I enjoyed the first episode and I do plan on watching more of the series.

I would also definitely recommend people check this show out if it sounds like something you’d be interested in; though slice-of-life anime aren’t for everyone. The anime itself is available in both dubbed and subbed formats, and contains 36 episodes in total across two seasons (13 in season one, 26 in season two, which is referred to as “K-On!!”). If you’re interested there is also an OVA made after the first season, and a tie-in movie was also made that takes place during the events of the second season.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline. See you next time folks.

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