K-On!! 1-6 and "How It Compares To The First Season"

The post title is actually a joke, I’m making fun of some people today. You see, when K-On!! began airing a while ago, the first thing that happened was people comparing it to the original show. Some people said that it was similar, but a lot of people were dissecting it and saying how it was vastly different. These kinds of differences are pointed out as being very subtle, and as a veritable connoisseur of subtlety in anime, I was intrigued by the argument. Most specifically, I was interested when 8c did a massive post about the perceived differences between K-On!! and K-On! as of… well, the first episode. Now, you may also know that I hate it when people make sweeping statements about shows after only one episode, but being as I hadn’t finished K-On! I just took their words for it for the moment. But now I’ve finished K-On!  and caught up on K-On!! so here’s what I think.

I think it’s been too long. I mean, 8c wasn’t the only one talking about these differences, it was pretty wide-spread. But… this show aired a whole year ago. I can see people noticing differences, but we’re talking about really subtle differences. Don’t you think there are some things that you might have forgotten? Don’t you think there are some things that your mind might have embellished? Don’t you think that, you know, waiting a couple episodes before making statements might give you a more well-rounded view of the series?

Aside: Did anyone else think that the outfit in front looks like Hinamori Amu's uniform in Shugo Chara?

I always think those things. That’s why I try to never post about something too long after watching it (shit I need to do those Index and Utawarerumono ForF’s QUICK) and that’s why I don’t like to compare seasons of a series unless I see them close together. So I came at just the right time, having just watched all of K-On! last night, and then caught up with K-On!! tonight, with 6 episodes being, I think, enough to make a better statement about what the series is like.

I will confirm that there are some subtle differences. In animation. That is, it got even better. The directing has also gotten even better, which I wouldn’t have thought possible if I didn’t see it, but I can tell that the animators and director are having even more fun with this season. It’s almost as if they just love the material so much that they feel compelled to push it as far as they can, and I respect that immensely.

What is my verdict otherwise? It’s the same god damn show. No difference. The characters still have that perfect blend of being comedic and true to their base personality while still exhibiting humanizing moments and unexpected developments. The writing is so consistent that I almost can’t believe that it has been a year – it’s like they wrote it all at once to begin with. The show is so much alike with the first season that breaking them apart doesn’t really make sense in my head.

This scene gave me serious chills. Perfect start of a season.

But I can at least say that I like this season even more. There is definitely more focus on the music and instruments this time, with each character showing a distinct passion for their instruments more than ever before. I really started to feel like ‘yes, these girls are actually musicians.’ Azu-nyan always felt that way, but now Ritsu, Mio, and Yui have reached that level as well. It’s very exciting. It’s almost like, my mind feels as though it’s allowed to like the show more strongly because of it. And then, episodes four and five might have been my favorites in the whole series to date. Things like the girls developing their own inside jokes (which have subsequently become inside jokes in the anime blogosphere, as I now understand. Lycopeeeene~!) and in the other episode, the bonding of the three super-cute kouhai were not only ultra-fun but really gave the show this richness, like ‘this is something I can only get because it’s K-On!’ I’m not entirely sure how to put that into words.

Oh, and Go! Go! Maniac is my favorite song to come from the series yet. Though I won’t truly adore it until it gets a band version as epic as this one.

In any case, I certainly hope that all of the comparisons are out of our systems and we can look at K-On!! for what it is instead of what we think it might be. Because this is a show I really would like to read some good posts on. I don’t want to read posts about how it’s your guilty pleasure, or how it’s ‘mindless fun’, or how ‘uguuuu’, but real analysis and interpretation and dissection. Maybe I’ll start on that in the next ep…

Other great posts about K-On!! that I read even though I hadn’t seen the show yet:

8c liked where the show was going in ep three, though he could stand to bring less of his expectations into the discussion (as I would argue ‘K-On!! never lost it’s stride’).

2-D Teleidoscope is a big fan of K-On, so of course he’s already done several great posts.


10 thoughts on “K-On!! 1-6 and "How It Compares To The First Season"

  1. I’m glad I’m not alone to notice the detailed work on the execution.

    I started writing this HUEG comment, but I decided to turn it into a response post instead. After all, you did say you wanted more analysis and my timing is indeed perfect like Yui’s pitch (not really).

    On the meta level, comparisons between seasons that are part of a single continuity don’t interest me. I tend to look at shows like Gundam 00 and Code Geass as 4 cour shows with single continuities. I even look at Aria the same way: a 50 episode show broken up in not so usual a fashion.

  2. yeah the production values soared through the roof imo. It already looked good but the 2nd season is really showing KyoAni’s prowess. I read a blog post (I can’t remember where now) about how he thought since KyoAni is fresh off the Haruhi Movie that K-On!! was reflecting a bit of the same quality as the movie. I thought it was an interesting post I’ll try and dig it up.

  3. Really? Some people were thinking it’s vastly different from the first season? I think it’s basically more of the same show. I just find that I’m laughing more consistently with each episode, so I would say it’s funnier than the first season =)

  4. I’m skeptical of your theories. Season 2 has been mostly-*original* content – not adapted from the manga. So I’m leery at the idea that it can be considered the “same” show as season 1 even if the new writers *are* convincingly imitating Kakifly.

    Granted, I’ve decided to put the rest of my thoughts about K-ON!! off until the end of the season: the first of those posts was much about season 1 and the OVA as what the first episode foretold about season 2, and the second was to give a point of reference to how my ideas had held up so far.

    • Hm… I don’t know anything about the manga, though suffice it to say, regardless of how much is adapted, the fact of the manga’s existence has little bearing on what I consider to be great about the show. In my K-On! review one post down, I mentioned how everything great about the show, the characterization and the jokes, hinged on the amazing vocal performances of the cast. The way I see it, even if the writing changed a little, the fact that the voice actresses remain consistent will make it continue to sound the same.

      • Oh, of course. But the series staying consistent with regards to things *you* care about has no impact on whether it’s changed radically with regards to things *I* care about – not that any of this is a bad thing.

        it’s a good post, i just felt like i should defend myself >.>

  5. >>There is definitely more focus on the music and instruments this time, with each character showing a distinct passion for their instruments more than ever before

    Yes. and I would then argue that the little differences really do separate the seasons so we can’t really say they’re the same at all!

    • Somehow, I feel like if you say that they aren’t alike in that way, then it sounds right. However, that is only different insofar as the second half of a 26 episode series is different from the first half. It’s a progression across a whole.

  6. Pingback: The Plot to Put a Plot in K-ON!! Can it Be Done? | We Remember Love

  7. Pingback: 2010 Anime Review | My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull

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