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K-On! Ultimate Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

21 min read
Every club room is special for someone.
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Season 2

As we noted with the first season, the general idea of the series is certainly appealing enough, though it’s one that doesn’t really generate much in the way of real stories. The show centers around a group of high school students, now in their senior year, who belong to the Light Music Club in their school. It’s not a hugely active group but it is one that came to life again in recent years due to an interest from Yui in forming a band and learning that their adviser, Sawa, was once a member herself many years ago during her heavy rock ‘n roll girl day. Along with three other girls who are seniors and another member that’s a second year, they practice when they can, spend a lot of time laying about or going on small adventures. And, of course, dealing with school situations along the way where most of it takes place.

With it being their last year in school, there is some concern among them about the club being disbanded should no more members come on board. All that would be left would be Azu, the sole second year, and she’s not quite the driving personality needed to really drive membership. The membership drive that’s attempted at the start here is cute since all the seniors want to help, but with Yui driving it, she goes for unconventional methods to get members and it doesn’t really work all that well. But it provides some normal and fun levels of humor as she goes after people hard and gives it her all. It’s definitely fun to watch it unfold, but it’s also something that for the rest of the set is largely ignored outside of a couple of mentions towards the end. The girls know it’s a problem, but just aren’t focusing on it.

What are they focusing on? Well, that’s the kicker with a series like this in that they’re focusing on a lot of things, but it’s not so much the things themselves but rather the experiences that draws it together. They have experiences in unearthing old treasures in the club room, that leads to a windfall of resources for the club, to working hard to gain an air conditioner for the club room after Yui ends up not going to any club president meetings and learning about it. Time is spent with some of them going to a water park and we also get the classic field trip that takes them all out to Kyoto, but splits the group up a bit due to some limitations. The one I think I liked the best though is when the girls, along with their adviser, end up going to a summer rock festival that has them going to see various bands, splitting up and having small adventures along the way. It’s fun to see them more out of their element, seeing a lot of other bands, and just enjoying that experience with Sawa.

With the second half of the season, I find myself once again in a similar position to the first half. The show is one that is technically very well executed with great visuals, solid atmosphere and a fun cast of characters that can really draw you in easily enough as it unfolds. Each episode give us the varied adventures of the girls and their small challenges and you can easily grin and enjoy it while knowing that not just deep down, but on the surface that everything is going to be alright. There’s a sense of fun about it and also a huge dose of nostalgia for the goodness that is high school for some when looked through the mirror of the past. There’s no harm, no foul here.

But it’s also a series that is hard to pin down in a lot of ways with the individuals of it all. I can imagine easily writing about the show on a week by week basis with the silly little adventures they get on, the quirks and gags that come up and some of the smaller emotional bits as well as they struggle. But some of the charm would be lost in it that way as well because of how it’ doled out. Watching it in a marathon form here definitely worked well, covering it in two days and going through some of the standard arcs. And really, that’s what the show gives us here, some standard high school stories with a group of girls in an all girls school with a good bit of personality. And some less than interesting music, which is the weakest part of the show for me.

The arcs they go through here are definitely fun even if it feels like we’ve lived them dozens of times before. The school festival offers a lot of enjoyable moments because it does shift the older four members into something different. While they have the concert part of it to go through with their band, they also have the seniors of the group participating in the play, which has a couple of them taking on the Romeo and Juliet characters. While it’s not a badly done play, and it has its quirks as the leads figure out a comical way of discovering how to play their characters, the focus is more on showing them enjoying doing different and outgoing things for their senior year rather than just repeating what they did as juniors.

The other big fun event that goes on here continues to involve the four senior girls as they start working through school choices for college with what they want. The real desire of all of them is that they want to continue on with school together, which is certainly understandable. There are some real differences in their potential though when it comes to academics, but it’s really good to see them rally together to help each other and really think about what they want. It’s kept slim on details in a way, but the focus is good and seeing them work with Sawako to achieve their goals in testing and to go through the waiting period is good fun. There’s good emotion to be had during it and I definitely enjoyed how they dealt with things such as the entrance exams at other campuses.

The most heartrending material though involves Azusa as she’s doing her best to cope with the loss of her seniors who have helped her so much. There’s that natural bond of friendship that has come alive since she joined and while she’s a grade behind, she’s just as connected to them. She also has the added problem of once they’re gone, the club itself is down to just her as a member. So there’s a fear and level of panic that she’s feeling there as well. Of course, the club isn’t going to just abandon her so we get some very fun bits as they work through different ways to help her draw in new members when the new year starts and that includes a comical look at the original “demo DVD” that they made to try and draw members back during their first year.

The end arc is one that works out better than I expected as well, as it deals with the culmination of the three years in the graduation and all the emotions that it entails. With the last days going through their minds, realizing that they’ll be done with these classrooms and all the usual, you get a good feeling from it. And from Sawako as well since this is her first graduating class to deal with. There’s fluff with yearbooks, final times in the club room and that last walk down the hall. But while the graduation and all of it finishes in episode twenty-four, the show wise gives us three more episodes that deals with the group now that things are said and done, including planning a trip overseas that makes you smile. Life, well, it goes on. And these friends are ones you can imagine always being there for each other.

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