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?
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.
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’).