My feelings for K-ON!Posted: June 27, 2009
So way back when the PV for K-ON! came out, I said…
The character design appeals to me a lot (despite bushy eyebrows), and the premise of the story seems quite interesting, so I’ll probably be a fanboy of this KyoAni series from Day One (if I’m not one already).
How mistaken I was.
Nearly every single anime produced nowadays has some school life aspect to it, and the job of a school life comedy is to focus specifically on this common anime ingredient. The one goal of a school life comedy is to find and present humor in arguably the most mundane subject of all – yet also the one subject that strikes closest to home in viewers.
Basically, the equation for such a show’s success in the genre goes like this:
Comedy + Everyday events = Success
It’s worked with Lucky Star, it’s worked with Zetsubou Sensei, and it’s worked with Azumanga Daioh.
The reason that I love these three anime and I dislike K-ON! so much is that K-ON! failed to relate enough to the audience. Though the humor is there (and in parts, so in-your-face that it’s practically impossible to say otherwise), too much of the humor is based on the light music club (hah! Is that what you thought I’d say?) characters in comparision to everyday events.
Note that the graph above shows ratios rather than set amounts (badly-worded sentence is badly worded). For example, K-ON! did relate to the audience in some aspects, but the dependence on characters was so great that the “relating to audience” value is miniscule in comparison.
In other words (or rather tl;dr), K-ON! was a bunch of moeshit instead of a true slice-of-life comedy. Focusing too much on the moeblob, moeloli, moebrows, moeimouto, and moehidesincorneranddoesn’tafraidofanything was a really bad decision. Lucky Star had moe, but it also had “Don’t you get scared when you go to the dentist?,” “how 2 eat chocolat coronat??/1,” etc. Even if you didn’t like Lucky Star, you can’t argue that it didn’t focus on mundane aspects of life rather than moe appeal.
Sure, Haruhi once said that “moe is an essential factor,” but have you watched The Melancholy of Mikuru Asahina? Essential? Yes. Dominant? No. Only factor? Well, you’re getting into K-ON! territory now.
There is quite the fine line between “good” moe and “kind of bad” moe, but it’s damn obvious when “kind of bad” moe turns into “holy shit, what the hell is this” moe. Kanon was pushing it with the uguus, hauus, and whateveruus, and Moetan went overboard, though its status as a parody saved it. K-ON! ain’t no parody, and it’s basically a reverse-Akagi. Akagi had no females anywhere. K-ON! has had no males anywhere. Ritsu’s brother should be me is probably the only male character that has been on-screen for more than five seconds.
So what about other school life comedies… like Haruhi and the Kannagi that you love so much? They didn’t really relate to the audience.
Well yeah, but at least they weren’t moeshit. Though both anime had supernatural elements and thus were naturally unable to achieve the same level (or rather, same type*) of mundane events that existed in Lucky Star, they still connected to the audience more than K-ON! ever did. I wrote a whole essay on how watching Haruhi made the audience feel connected to the anime (yes, I’m going to keep linking back to that. I love that post.).
In Kannagi’s case… uh. Well… hey, it was good and K-ON! wasn’t.
Moving on to the characters of moefail anime K-ON!…
Ritsu was the only worthwhile character in K-ON!.
If you didn’t notice, earlier I said…
…moeblob, moeloli, moebrows, moeimouto, and moehidesincorneranddoesn’tafraidofanything…
…which doesn’t include Ritsu, because she was the best part (if not the only good part) of the show.
Yui was Tsukasa without a brain. Tsukasa could, at the very least, participate in discussions, and was a worthwhile moeblob. Yui was stupid and as a moeblob in a moeshow, she didn’t stand out among all the moe floating in the air. While Lucky Star did have Konata, Kagami, and pink-haired-girl-who-nobody-really-likes portrayed as very loli-ish and very moe-ish, it didn’t go to such lengths as chibify already moe characters. Mio, Mugi, Azusa, and even Ritsu were portrayed as having various moe aspects, dumbing down the effect of Yui’s natural moe overload through her position as a moeblob.
Mio was shit. I hated her character from start to painful end. Enough said.
Mugi was… okay. And then came her half-developed love for yuri/shoujo-ai. I was expecting a Miyuki, but I got a Miyuki + more money + eyebrows + lesbian qualitites. I’m not going to lie – that equation could’ve led to success. But the emphasis went off of Mugi’s lesbian aspects and more onto her wealth, which became one huge redundant piece of crap. Eyebrows = funny. “OH NOES MUGI HAZ 2 MUHC MONIEZ” = stupid != funny.
Azusa was an accessory. Although she was moe (very moe, might I add), she ultimately became the Mio of the latter half of the season: a piece of fanservice that got photoshopped into half of the OP as if it was an afterthought (and it was, really). And I had hoped to see some actual original material with her insistence on practic- POWER OF FRIENDSHIP
Sawako sucked. She was good. Then she went through some weird change, produced an episode of completely slapstick humor, and then disappeared from the screen.
Nodoka was just a side character. No comment.
Ui was static. I can’t think of another way to describe her. Though none of the characters underwent any profound change (or minute change, come to think of it) in their personalities, at least we got to know something about them. Ui felt like a total minor character, with only one attribute that was assigned to her: responsibility. I bet we got more out of Nodoka than Ui.
Ritsu, on the other hand, was unique. Although she fit the “eccentric, simple girl” role pretty well, she also showed to be a great all-around character with the later episodes. She also drove almost all of the humor in the show, with the exception of Yui’s bits and pieces. Everything else was fanservice, moecrap, and fail.
Screw it. I can’t keep blogging this anime.
I give K-ON! a…
Technically, a 5 is supposed to be ‘average,’ and K-ON! was certainly below average (though I’d give it 4.5 if I could).
To put this into perspective, I gave Munto a 5/10 and Akikan! a 3/10, both of which failed pretty hard.