Anime Reporter sets the stage for K-On! The Movie; Naoko Yamada’s feature length animation spun out of Kakifly’s highschool drama manga of friendship, growing up and a healthy dose of music.
The series follows Ho-kago Tea Time (Afterschool Tea Time in English), a group of highschool students who form a band to prevent the school’s light (pop) music club from being disbanded. The four girls; Yui, Mio, Tsumugi (nickname “Mugi”) and Ritsu are later joined by Azusa, a younger girl from the class below and the series follows their friendship and progression as a band.
The movie takes place just as the four older girls are about to graduate and leave for college, leaving Azusa behind. Determined to leave her with an appropriate gift to show their gratitude and appreciation of everything she’s done for them, the four spend the film covertly racking their brains trying to come to an agreement while also taking an impromptu group trip to London to celebrate their graduation. That’s really very much the film in a nutshell. Drama, suspense, tension and action have very little to do with proceedings and in their place can be found a rather charming and pleasant tale of five friends travelling and playing music.
Without an overabundance of plot, it falls to the characters to carry the film, which they surely do. Yui (voiced by Kanamemo’s Aki Toyosaki in Japanese and Bleach’s Stephanie Sheh in English) is the main vocalist and lead guitarist of the group. She’s also responsible for much of the humour throughout the film. Both of the character’s voice actors manage to convey Yui’s clumsy and oblivious nature without resorting to overly-cartoonish dreamy voices, which all too often accompany similar characters. Mio (voiced by Final Fantasy VII –Advent Children’s Yoko Hikasa in Japanese and Fate/Zero’s Cristina Valenzuela in English) is the bassist and voice of reason for the group, often appearing much more serious or mature than the others. Her tendency to be overcome by fear is where her humour for the film comes from. Mugi (voiced by Tiger & Bunny’s Blue Rose; Minako Kotobuki in Japanese and Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s Shelbey Lindley in English) is the band’s keyboardist of the group and coming from a very wealthy family, is somewhat sheltered compared to some of the others. Ritsu (voiced by Fairy Tail’s Satomi Sato in Japanese and Blue Exorcist’s Cassandra Morris in English) is the drummer for the group and has an outgoing, positive attitude. Azusa (voiced by The Legend of The Legendary Heroes’ Ayana Taketatsu in Japanese and Blue Exorcist’s Christine Marie Cabanos in English), the youngest member of the band, is the rhythm guitarist and often serves the others tea, speaking to them quite formally and respectfully. The band as a whole has a fantastic dynamic which lends itself to very simple, though effective moments of humour.
The animation in this film is gorgeous, with particular attention being paid to the landscapes and landmarks of London. Colours are subtle but plentiful and lines are razor thin, creating a feeling of great accuracy among the simple style of anime.
K-On perform a few times over the course of the film and their style is very accurately categorised as ‘light’; two songs deal largely with the theme of how enjoyable rice can be, though the songs themselves are very easy to listen to and quite catchy.
While both Japanese and English casts do an excellent job of portraying the characters, for the purposes of the film it is advisable to watch in Japanese with English subtitles. Because the girls are visiting London, some jokes or incidents involving their use of English are made more effective when you haven’t been listening to them speaking English throughout the film.
K-On! The Movie is a very simple and enjoyable film. Those familiar with the anime series will doubtless need no encouragement to view the film, while it could be suggested to anyone entirely unfamiliar with K-On! that there is really no need to understand the band’s history and earlier stories; this film is entirely charming and fun even as a standalone piece of animation.
K-On! The Movie is available on DVD and Blulray combo pack from Manga UK.
For more information, check out the K-On Official Website: http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/k-on/
The Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-ON/73211653471
Twitter (Manga UK): https://twitter.com/MangaUK
Likeable Characters: 9
76%- “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it”
K-On! The Movie is an innocent and universal story of friendship and the last remaining moments of childhood. Suitable for anyone, but perhaps most enjoyed by a younger audience.