K-On!! The Movie Review
*There are no major spoilers in this post so feel free to read if you have not watched it.*
The K-On movie has been long anticipated since it’s release last December and it was due to a stroke of luck that I was able to view it subbed and all (legally).
The K-On movie picks up straight from where the special episode left off; Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi have gotten passports and are graduating high school soon. The four have to start thinking about their future while dealing with the fact that Houkago Tea Time will be separated. They decide to go on a graduation trip with Azusa to London, England. Their trip to England was intended to be for sightseeing, but somehow the five of them ended up performing. Some content overlaps with the last episode of K-On season 2 after the girls come back from England.
So does the Light Music Club’s field trip live up to the hype?
The first thing I noticed was the massive improvement of animation and art quality. Of course, this was to be expected with it being a movie, but it was hard for me to imagine it being better animated than it was. Based on my experience in London, the scenes in the movie were pretty detailed. They were even included a certain very noticeable glass building along the way to the airport, so credit where credit’s due. The music quality was noticeably much better as well. This coupled with the (relatively large) number of insert songs will definitely please the hardcore fans.
Now, one of the big questions: What are the new songs?
There are 2 new songs introduced by the movie. The childish “Ichiban Ippai” that really reminds me of Winnie the Pooh was played during the starting credits and the high octane “Unmei wa Endless” was played as montage music during their trip. Both were very moe sounding and catchy like every single other K-On song.
Watching the trailer, you might think that the movie is centered on their misadventures in London, but the trip to London, like most holidays, was over as quickly as it began. Instead, the show focused more on the relationship between Yui and Azusa and the girls’ feelings on their departure revealing more depth than let on by the MOE pretence.
The movie was done in the same style as most of the episodes; quirky, comic-strip-like gags that milk the girls’ personalities, especially Yui’s. Some might say that the writers are beating a dead horse by constantly making the humor pivot on the girl’s personalities, but I say the horse is still alive, although it’s on life support. Some jokes were good and made me laugh out loud (a little awkward since I was on a plane), but they were sparse and mostly in the first half.
One thing that was consistent well-done throughout the movie (and all the episodes) was the balance of character depth of each of the girls. The script is written to play on the girl’s individual mannerisms enough to please the hardcore fans, yet not so much that people watching for the first time will feel left out. Credit where credit is due. the writers did a fantastic job in this aspect.
This might sound like I’m talking about a regular episode of K-On! In fact, to me the movie is basically a 100 minute episode of K-On with more insert songs. Despite the overseas trip, everything about the movie feels familiar. It’s basically more K-On; a finishing touch to season 2 rather than a cornerstone. In short, this movie is exactly like the series and if you didn’t like it, don’t expect anything groundbreaking from the movie.
On the other hand, if you didn’t hate the series, you’d definitely appreciate this film. The movie encapsulates and even boslters everything that defines K-On; foolish naivety and girly spunk. It’s a polished product augmented by dynamic animation and sharp visuals with it’s share of moments that make you facepalm and those that make you smile and say: “Awww”.
The Verdict: 7/10
This movie doesn’t bother to fix what’s not broken and even has it’s presentation upped a notch, but the combination of moe innocence, air headed acts and catchy songs can only leave so deep an impression. I liked the movie, but it didn’t compel me to love it any more than the series tried to. Although it has a type of charm that the series doesn’t, I didn’t feel particular attachment to it.