I ordered the DVD collection of the first season in 2017 as a Christmas present to myself – because I was wondering what all the fuss was about. At the time the show wasn't available on any streaming service I had access to.
Since then the entire run of the series and the movie have appeared on Hidive. I suggest watching it there if you get a chance. https://www.hidive.com/tv/k-on-season-1
So, what did I say back in December 2017?
> K-ON is one of those Animes About Nothing. (Iyashikei, or 'healing', meaning that instead of concentrating on plot it focuses on character interaction and growth; usually with a heaping serving of 'heartwarming' on the side.) Basic setup is the hackneyed 'girls start a club'.
> And none of them I've seen rise to the same level. I've been trying to figure out why and the only answer I can come up with is the characters are so well done. (If you can handle subtitles, this is a series where the original voice acting is AMAZING.)
Yeah, as you can tell, K-On! really made an impression on me at the time.
Now I'm going to attempt to dive *just a little deeper*, with the assistance of hindsight and time…
Here are the elements that make K-On! work so well:
1. The characters are deep, multilayered, and the characterization – both animation and voice acting – brings them to life; not something you expect from a Cute Girls Doing Cute Things (CGDCT) #anime
2. It's a production of Kyoto Animation, and the production, writing, and direction staff was nearly all female – something I believe was responsible for (1)
3. Also related to (1), there's two ways to read the character interactions: as a group of ditzes being silly and air-headed (typical CGDCT) – OR – as a group of very smart girls who choose to ACT ditzy and air-headed, with a bit of real teenage ditzyness and at least one character who's obviously very ADHD
4. Related to (3), if you use the second interpretation, many of the character interactions have significant depth, with implied secondary and even tertiary jokes
5. Despite the fact K-On! (both the #maga and the #anime) represents the Ur-text of every modern 'let's start a band/idol group' anime, there is a significant difference from ALL the imitators: there's no attempt to force a plot – no school to save, no contest to win, no auditions with EVERYTHING riding on them – it's just teenage girls having fun and playing in a band is only one way they do it
6. Related to (5), at it's heart K-On! is a sitcom in the mold of every 'show about nothing', except ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE LIKEABLE instead of having one or two jerks the other characters play off (or an entire cast of jerks, looking at you Seinfeld)
7. In the end, K-On! works for me because no one is an ass, every interpersonal conflict is resolved in a heartwarming way, and the show is FUNNY; really, really funny
If this sounds appealing at all to you, give K-On! a chance or three.
* Lots of tyops in that thread, once again wishing I could edit toots without breaking threads
* I forgot #8. The songs are actually quite good and the musicianship is accurate (I'm a guitar player, I notice those things)
* And #9. The animation is fully up to Kyotoani standards
* Some reviews:
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