My feelings for K-ON!

How I felt then.

How I feel now.

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…

4/10

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.


18 Comments on “My feelings for K-ON!”

  1. Griffenater says:

    An actual review on this anime. I asked people and everyone said it was good. This looks a bit more realistic and if it is just the girls then I don’t want to watch.

  2. moritheil says:

    Aha, interesting. I don’t think that “virtually no males” is automatically a bad thing, incidentally; I rather enjoyed Azumanga Daioh.

    I think Mugi’s wealth was an attempt at social commentary, but they didn’t have the room for nuance in the show because it was a moe delivery system.

  3. Baka-Raptor says:

    Calling Mugi’s lesbianism “half-developed” is quite generous. Mugi was only a lesbian for one episode.

  4. npal says:

    LOL, you know, overbashing is practically the same as overhype. Now as you may know, I am totally allergic to overhype. :p You’d do well to avoid both ends of the spectrum, but it seems to me you seem prone to overexaggerate both ways.

    The only thing I can really agree with is Ritsu owning in this ep and Ui being totally static, which was a pity.

    The rest of the post has the same effect to me like reading a Haruhi hype overloaded post.

    Oh, and the beginning Moe-tan pic was… well, moe :p

  5. glothelegend says:

    Here are my main dissapointments with K-ON:

    1. Sawako was good for one episode (5), then her sole purpose was dressing everyone up (so she sucked).

    2. Mugi was a lesbian for one episode, then she went back to being the least important, most invisible “main character” ever.

    3. Every episode centered around cake, tea, and dressing up, and once in a while they would throw a song in. I mean, there were two beach episodes that pretty much were exactly the same.

    4. Mio’s character wasn’t real, and was instead a bunch of personalities forced into one. If the character f Mio were a drawing, it would be every single color scribbled on a piece of paper.

    5. It was just fucking stupid. I nearly gave it a 3, and I usually never give a rating that low. (I don’t rate out of ten I rate out of some weird system that I somehow developed).

    I could keep going, but I believe I’ve said enough.

  6. jerseyse410 says:

    Lexy i retort with my K-ON! post in my anime review blog.

    http://otakufever104.blogspot.com/

  7. Blackholeheart says:

    Thats about the same rating I would give this show and all four points would be for Ritsu.

  8. simplybill says:

    No competition

    http://simplybill.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/k-on-vs-spongebob-the-movie/

    And yes, I agree with every single thing you said. I love Hayate no Gotoku. I love Azumanga Daioh. I love Kannagi. I love a great deal of slice of life anime. However, I can’t seem to like this show… But of course, so is Saki.

  9. Roy Mustang says:

    4. Mio’s character wasn’t real, and was instead a bunch of personalities forced into one. If the character f Mio were a drawing, it would be every single color scribbled on a piece of paper.

    Take away all of the scenes where Mio interacted with Ritsu and you’ll find just one personality.
    It’s unfortunate that KyoAni was unable to clearly convey the two sides of Mio’s personality: her normal delicate personality and the Ritsu induced self-protective/violent personality.

    Ritsu was the only worthwhile character in K-ON!
    That’s kind of funny because I hated Ristu and I liked K-ON.

  10. Seinime says:

    In my viewpoint:

    Yui got dumber and dumber (save for the last reflection part which if only slightly redeems her).

    Mio and Azusa were there for the moe (otakus). i.e. bass/headphones/etc sales went up just because of them.

    Mugi. Who’s Mugi?

    Ritzu had some plot development! Hoorah!

    Sawako is a cosplay maniac. Was better in the past.

    And yes, too much f***ing moe to make it a good show.

  11. […] liked it. Maybe moé and cheap humour have some effect on me. Yes, K-ON! was a senseless from-the-world-isolated nothing with hyperbolized moéness and bad-drawn hands. With many plane characters. Last but not least, […]

  12. Gargron says:

    Well… I think I’ll just point that my comment is not an actual comment but a post.

  13. fangzhao says:

    @Griffenater
    Yeah, this review is more realistic than what the usual K-ON! fan would give you, but it’s in no way objective. npal brings up a good point in saying that it’s overhype, but I’ll get to that later.

    @moritheil
    It’s not bad, per se, but it certainly isn’t an attribute that I look for in anime. Lucky Star had Minoru and Azumanga Daioh had Kimura! All-girl + moe is a recipe for moe overload!

    And honestly, Mugi’s wealth was too exaggerated to make it seem very interesting. All I saw was another moe aspect thrown onto the growing compost heap of moe.

    @Baka-Raptor
    Actually, I’d say that her lesbian qualities were emphasized in only one episode. A handful of other episodes featured random scenes of Mugi blushing and/or holding her head in her hands that barely pass as “lesbian.”

    @npal
    Well, for every overhyped K-ON! post, there needs to be an overbashed K-ON! post, no?
    Something like that.

    But really, I don’t feel like I’m trying to go all counterculture on K-ON! here. I mean, I absolutely loved After Story (well, until that shitty ending hit like a truck on Rika), so I’m not really against KyoAni. The only other KyoAni series that I didn’t love was Munto, and that was generally considered bad all around the anime circles.

    @glothelegend
    I basically agree with everything you said… except the Mio part. Mio’s personality did, indeed, seem like a failed attempt at tsundere, but I think that it could’ve been pulled off. And then all that fanservice and huddling-in-corner crap hit. Jesus.

    @jerseyse410
    Glad to see you made a blog!
    Welcome to the blogosphere!

    That said, K-ON! sucks. D:<

    @blackholeheart
    Definitely. Ritsu made K-ON!. Too bad nobody helped her. 😐

    @simplybill
    Spongebob the movie was awesome. I’d take that before K-ON! any day.

    @Roy Mustang
    But you can’t take away those scenes… that’s the problem!

    But yeah. Coming from a person who hasn’t read the K-ON! manga, I’m thinking that KyoAni might’ve had it tough. If Mio truly had those two incredibly different sides to her in the manga, then I doubt there’d be a good way to portray that in a positive light on screen.

    @Seinime
    “Moemoekyun!”
    Why? WHY…!?

    @Gargron
    My stupid blog doesn’t differentiate between pingbacks and comments. D:

    Also, K-ON! sucks.

    Conclusion
    I have no idea what is counterculture now. More than a few people are claiming that K-ON! bashers are going too far, but everybody’s bashing K-ON!. So is it cool to praise, bash, or anti-bash? Gah.

  14. jpmeyer says:

    I was always under the assumption that the whole bashing/hyping concept is done by those that have some sort of interest in advancing their view, with them seeing their view as being the “correct” view and the other view as being the prevailing view. With K-ON, it seemed to me that the vast majority was praising it at first, but then after a while ended up going “You know, now that I think about it, this show is actually pretty crappy.”

  15. […] My feelings for K-ON! reddit_url='http://www.baby-parenting.com/baby/babyname/Azusa&#39; reddit_title='Baby name meaning and origin for Azusa' […]

  16. chartfag says:

    Although I didn’t like K-ON that much, I think saying Lucky Star was at all better is so very wrong on so many levels.

    Lucky Star was absolutely horrible, K-ON is forgivable in comparison.

  17. Kブログ says:

    This is a very good description.( ̄▽ ̄)ノ


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