I don’t think K-ON! will ever end. Like, ever.
There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to watch this the moment it was available. Not being in Japan hurt my chances to see it firsthand but I exercised my patience pretty well by indulging in other cutesy, moeblob anime as suitable substitutes. But nothing can ever measure up to K-ON! Not now, not ever. Am I letting these feels get the best of me? Probably, won’t deny that. But when 110 minutes of Yui, Ritsu, Mugi, Mio and Azusa are presented in front of me, there’s no way I could resist not watching. K-ON! has my utmost loyalty because they redefine moe anime. In fact, you can call that moe moe kyun.
First things first, I had little expectations. It was hard to anticipate something more than the usual Hougako Tea Time occurrences, and I was not wrong. The little insider jokes, the Mio fears and all the games on Azusa had to be executed. The extreme silliness and innocence (that can also be confused with dumbness) expressed throughout the airtime are meant to be charming and alluring, sucking us into their pace and bad habits. On top of that, references to the past are oft made, as in the case of Mio’s stage exhibition that transforms into further embarrassing teases. Each girl has her moments throughout the duration of the movie so it isn’t like it is exclusively focusing on Yui’s budding love for Azusa and Azusa’s tsun-tsun affection for Yui, though that seems to be the case because we get so much of Yui’s point of view.
Lost in much of the hype of the movie, at least from what I thought, is that London is too much of a backdrop to be a focus. While it is a pleasure seeing the girls tour London, speak/understand English and be played by the British sushi bar, the theme on London has lesser impact as compared to the song to Azusa. That second agenda proved to be a better plot, if one is so inclined to call it that because K-ON! has only had a mere silhouette of one for much of the series.
This London trip is really worth watching though. It serves really well as a source of jokes and misunderstandings, as well as a few beautiful landscape shots that are breathtakingly recreated. I don’t want to think how Japanese phones get service in England but all the rotating around and the Azu-sists keep the momentum going strong. Even in those rare down times, a brief shift in tone and mood provides ample sightings of worries, only to revert back to the happy-go-lucky ways of these teenage girls in the very next scene.
And yes, while the movie does recap some of the buildup to the anime end, it certainly provides a more sentimental perspective, especially from all the concerns coming from little Azusa’s head. Her skepticism of her senpai makes this an amusing spectacle, especially as those thoughts leak into curious dreams that isn’t much like Azusa’s levelheaded nature. Still, none of the concerns keeps the girls from having fun as their international exploration breed more randomness and giggles.
Needless to say, music is a big driving force in the movie. One of the better scenes, in my opinion, is when Mugi demands to have a synthesizer so that she feels like she is part of the group in the sushi bar. While that misunderstanding leads them to having the wrong idea about international sushi bars, it does lead into their first live performance of the movie and in London, which gets promotional bumps to a modest Japanese culture festival on the day of their departure. It wouldn’t be K-ON! without any of the Houkago Tea Time songs so no matter how fuwa fuwa these songs are, I was nonetheless pleased to hear them. That bonus concert on the last day of school makes the watching experience even more special, because it’s a scene that I wished for during the anime run and finally got in the movie.
And then that end credit song from Hikasa Youko adds the final punch. Mio seemed to have gotten a more reduced role as the TV anime series progressed, but she still leaves a strong impression in regards to her and her seiyuu’s musical ability. Just like the bass, Mio simply blends in and is better suited without the limelight. But Hikasa Youko needs more singing roles, something I’ve been waiting for because of that powerful voice. (Apologies for the slight digression.)
The movie does feel overwhelmingly long, even for something so enjoyable. An hour and fifty minutes of pure moe and lots of Houkago Tea Time fun is an absolute overdose of something already good. It’s not much of a complaint since agendas were all met by the end of it. Did it feel disorganized? Just a little bit, but I’m not going to nitpick at it and try to be overly objective. Because it ties into the TV anime series so well, you can always try to put everything together and watch the final stretch in chronological order, and then have yourself a ball, or bawl. Kyoto Animation really outdid themselves in preserving a well directed end.
The K-ON! movie is a blast, and you’ll be partying like you’ve never been on an airport conveyor belt before. Whatever magic Kyoto Animation has, I hope many of you have been enchanted as well. I do hope this isn’t the end of K-ON! but it would be wishful thinking to ask for any more than this. This lovable cast of Yui, Ritsu, Mugi, Mio and Azusa has shown many of their faces over the years and proved that moe can get by with the right mix of comedy, splice-of-life snippets, musicianship and good direction. Clearly, this isn’t some high impact, super fantastical series but the attention this series has gotten is well-deserved.
The movie itself managed to grab my attention from the opening scene and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy by the credits. Everything else in between had something to enjoy and I’m sure you’ll find something to marvel at for all the little reasons. For the K-ON! fanbase, this is worth every minute.
GO Rating: 4.5/5