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K-On! The Movie Anime DVD Review

6 min read

K-On!
K-On!
Like the adorable love child of Beck and Azumanga Daioh.

What They Say:
How does a band celebrate before singing its Swan Song? Two words: Road trip!

Graduation time is finally here but the girls of the SaKuragaoka High Light Music Club aren’t going to let the end of high school be the end of all they’ve built together. First, though, they have to keep a promise to take a trip together, and like everything else they do, they’re not doing it halfway. So it’s time to hop on the bus—the double-decker bus that is—and go around the world as the band heads for the birthplace of the British Invasion: the United Kingdom!

And on the way they’re going to have to solve that one last big puzzle that’s been vexing them: what to get for their underclassman rhythm guitarist Azusa, who will be taking over the club once they don their caps and gowns and leave SaKuragaoka for the last time. Get ready for a Magical Musical Tour as the whole gang takes in the sights and sounds of London and prepares for one last amazing encore in the climatic finale of K-ON!—THE MOVIE!

The Review:
Audio:
For this viewing I listened to the English language track in Dolby Digital 5.1. There is also a Japanese language track in Dolby Digital 5.1, and English language subtitles. The sound quality is excellent.

Video:
The video quality was excellent on this transfer. The colors were sharp, and everything was clear and bright.d

Packaging:
The front cover features the five main characters of the show (Yui, Mio, Tsumugi, Ritsu, and Azusa) sitting in what looks to be a London Tube station, waiting for train. They’re dressed for cold weather and are surrounded by their instruments. K-On! The Movie is printed on the upper left-hand corner in bright, blocky letters and at the bottom is printed “Special 2 Disc Set” and the Sentai Filmworks logo.

The spine is a bit busy, featurning the same picture of Yui from the front in a square insert at the top. The spine’s background is a blue checked background with stars and hearts placed in the middle of each square and over that, leading from Yui’s picture, is a line of sheet music with the movie’s title followed by musical notes, a silhouette of the London Eye, a guitar, and a double-decker bus. The Sentai Filmworks logo rests at the bottom in a red box.

The back cover features the same music sheet motif dotted with various musical and British symbols. It forms the border for the movie summary, DVD details, and screenshots.

The discs are housed in a standard DVD case with the movie placed in an insert and the extras embedded on the back cover.

Overall the DVD is a fun, if busy, design that captures the feel of the show. I liked it quite a bit.

Menu:
The menu for the movie is cut roughly in half with the left side dominated by title set on a pink and blue lace background with a faded British flag. The right side is made to look like a piece of notebook paper. The options are written in clear, large font and a musical note that hovers next to the option selected. The theme song plays on a short loop that gets a bit old after a while.

The menu for the extras is a bit simpler with a lace border at the top and bottom of the screen and a black background in between. The features are written in large, pink and white font on the black border and the same music plays as on the movie disc.

Extras:
There is a feast of extras in this set—much more than I typically find on animes. My favorite of them is probably Minami Tanaka’s Dubbing Investigative Report. It’s a puff piece, but it’s really cute and it’s neat to see a dubbing studio. The other extras were just as good and really this puts most anime extras to shame.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Graduating from high school is a bittersweet experience. It’s an incredible accomplishment and marks the end of one phase of one’s life, but it also means leaving people behind—no matter how much we wish this wasn’t so.

That’s the issue the SaKuragaoka High Light Music Club faces in K-ON! The Movie. Four of the five members are set to graduate and move on to college, but their rhythm guitar player, Azusa, is a year behind the rest of the members and won’t be graduating with them. Although they plan on staying friends, it won’t be the same. So to celebrate their time together and their friendship, the girls plan on visiting the birthplace of the British Invasion: London! While there they deal with cultural differences, play for their supper, perform at a concert, and have plenty of wacky adventures.

K-ON! The Movie is the follow up to the popular anime series of the same name. I hadn’t seen the series before, but after watching the movie I plan to as soon as possible because the movie was adorable. I joke in my lead-in line that this is the love child of Azumanga Daioh and Beck (a joke I owe to Mark Thomas) but that’s actually a fairly accurate description. It uses the same basic setup as Beck (an incredibly talented band of high-school age musicians) and fuses that with the heart and over-the-top character-based comedy of Azumanga Daioh. The two elements fuse incredibly well and the result is a great character-based comedy that can be surprisingly sweet at times.

It’s the little moments that make this movie so special, such as in the beginning when the girls are staging a mock band fight and play along to a tape. Azusa walks in on this, not knowing that this was a game, and begins stopping and starting the tape. The rest of the band starts and stops in time with the music, and it’s hilariously animated. The movie is peppered with silly, endearing moments like this, and they alone make it worth watching.

Thankfully, though, everything else in the movie works just as well. Even though the show is only 110 minutes, I almost immediately identified with the characters and felt a great affection for them. Part of the reason I enjoyed their trip to London is because they enjoyed it so much. In addition to that, the music they play is really catchy. I think they may have played the best song I’ve ever heard about curry.

In Summary:
I was a little concerned that I might not get the full effect of this movie since I hadn’t watched the series, and while it may be true that I missed a few things (in-jokes, character development, and so on) it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this movie one bit. The characters were endearing, the comedy great, and the music really fun. I’m not quite sure that this is the best place to start if you haven’t seen K-ON! yet, but I will say that it makes me want to watch the series. Highly recommended.

Features:
Japanese 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Minami Tanaka’s Dubbing Investigative Report, London Bus & Press Conference at TBS, Navi Show 1-2-3 is K-ON!, Movie Premiere Event, Director Naoko Yamada in London, Good Luck Music Hall – K-ON Music Hall, Japanese Trailer, Japanese Teaser, Japanese Spots, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

Content Grade: A+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade:A
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: A+

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: May 21, 2013
MSRP: $29.98
Running Time: 110 minutes
Video Encoding:
Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Review Equipment:
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection

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