I haven't watched any other music school life anime so this is all new to me. The story is really basic: a bunch of high schoolers enjoying their time by relaxing and having some fun with music. The music aspect does play a lesser part than the previous season though. However, this season is paced a lot better as the previous one felt rushed to me. It became more of a school life anime rather than a music anime.
Loved it all. Really like the character designs. It's textbook moe. Normally I haven't really shown any preference but this worked for me. Plus Yui and Ritsu had nice thick thighs. Me likey! Colors are nice as the dark colors work well with the bright. The underappreciated part is the attention to detail in small intricate movements. It's always a nice touch you won't notice the first time around but looking back, you always remember how much attention was brought upon that.
One weird thing is that Mio sounded like a young boy but I got over it. I love all their voices equally. They all go well with their personality. Ritsu's voice loud and cheerful. Mio's voice is quiet, soft, and soothing. Yui's voice is airy and full of uncertainty. Mugi's is also soft like Mio's, gets energetic Ritsu's, and dreamy like Yui's. Azusa's is stern yet so adorable. This is a music anime so I expect the music to be great. Opening was kinda annoying because it's like a song on fast forward. The songs they played were really likeable and very addicting. Their singing voices are heaven to me!
Something about each character made me love each and every one of them. Yui is technically the main character but everyone else feels just as special. Like I said before, there's unlimited charm with each and every character. Each have shown their strong side and vulnerable side very well without being too much.
The one word that comes to mind about this show is "charming". There's this impalpable quality that made me just love this show. Maybe it's the characters, the art style, or some hidden voodoo magic. All I know is that I just love it! I knew I loved it when I had a giant ball of feels at the last episode.
Note: the finale is episode 24. Episodes 25 and 26 are ‘extras’, set during the timeline before episodes 23 and 24. I wanted to point this out to future viewers as I didn’t enjoy the realisation that the show was reaching a conclusion as I was watching and earlier than I expected!
Eps 25 and 26 can be viewed chronologically with the rest of the series (after ep 21, before ep 23) but they work well thematically, as a kind of, second ending.
K-On! season 1 covers two years in 13 episodes. Season 2 covers senior year (for Yui, Rin, Mio and Mugi) in 26 episodes. The show uses the increased time to expand its cast and explore its characters, primary and secondary – this is done with some characters better than others but is mostly successful.
With the first season, the focus was on the development of the club and goals of the group as a band and as musicians. In the second season the club is still central but the focus shifts slightly to school life. Each episode has a strong focus and consistently delivers humour and the infectious, enthusiastic K-On tone. Only occasionally dragging, the episodes perhaps vary in quality/enjoyment based on activity or character focus.
The second half of this season takes us through the steps of senior year. The intimidating future of life after high school - separation, growing up - has a gently looming presence over the group of friends, which builds to an affecting conclusion.
K-On detractors may claim the show isn’t really about music. But the reality is that practice is boring and song-writing frustrating, depictions of both are used sparingly. The unpretentious and fierce passion for music felt by the characters and creators is clear and evident through the excellent songs within the show and performed in the opening and closing titles.
Season 2 builds on the enthusiasm and sweetness of season 1 to deliver more of the same and then some.
Please see review for K-ON! for my credentials in music.
Story: 10/10* Perfect Continuation of the Series. It feels as if nothing was missed, and there was no break. The story flows amazingly, and even an old school "men dont cry" type of guy was brought to my knees with the graduation episode. Have Tissues ready.
Animation: 8/10 They followed the time honored tradtion of "if its not broken dont fix it."
Sound: All i can say is from OP to ED its even more catchy and refreshing than the first season.
Characters: 10/10* They grow so much, start showing their true selves and embracing the changes. The develpment is outstanding.
Going into K-On!!, I figured it would be of the same quality as the first season (the first season was very good, but not good enough to make me love the show). So, obviously I was not expecting very much. That’s why it took me to such surprise when I ended up loving the second season and therefore decided that it needed a higher score than its predecessor. It this season, the characters are more likeable, the comedy has been upped, and the plot focuses more on certain events in the girls’ lives and follows them in a cohesive plot-like manner (now the episodes are no longer episodic and random, you really understand the club’s goals and really feel the weight of some of the problems the girls face).
Were I reviewing the first season, I would probably complain about the lack of excitement I felt since the first season was more so about introducing the characters, establishing the stereotypes they are each based off of, and having them come into conflict. I liked the characters back in the first season, but I did not love them. That all changed when I watched the second season. Throughout the entirety of the second season, you could see how well the girls know each other at this point; they all got along really well and seemed genuinely happy to be around each other. This made me very happy because I much prefer to see friends getting along. But my personal preferences aside, having the girls get along really does up the quality of the show overall, especially with the comedy which is necessary since this is supposed to be a comedy show. Because the girls know each other better and get along, their different personalities are able to play off of each other very well. The comedic content in the show comes from dialogue, reactions, and decisions, all of which are only possible to have if there are characters there to do them. So, every episode in the second season made me laugh because the characters were just too funny this time around. As for the plot, it is basically a walkthrough of Yui, Ritsu, Mio, and Mugi’s final year of highschool. For the first time in a school-life anime, the process of going through the school year seemed very natural, there were no awkward transitions from one month to the next, everything just flowed perfectly. That being said, the girls actually had some goals in mind to keep the story interesting. They search for new members to join the club, update the clubroom, try to become better musicians, and get into college together. They do other stuff too. I definitely found the second season to be more eventful since the girls had goals now and were acting upon them more. Overall, the story was now more comedic and engaging than it was before.
The animation was also much better here. It looked way more realistic and less moe, which I really like. You pretty much get an idea of how stunning the animation is in this season the moment you see Yui playing her guitar for the first time.
The thing I loved the most about the first season was all of the music, from the opening, to the ending, to the soundtrack, to HTT’s songs. That has not changed with the second season. The two openings and endings were really good. The soundtrack was the same. And HTT has made even more good songs to love. My new favorite is “Pure Pure Heart”.
Again, I liked the characters back in the first season, but not greatly. Now, after seeing the second season, I love them to pieces (Ritsu is my favorite and Mio is my second favorite in case anyone was wondering). They were a lot of fun and they were hilarious and their friendship was very touching. This season also had some very beautiful moments in it, although some of them were ruined by Yui’s food obsession and Azusa’s sarcasm, they were great to watch.
This is the one anime from Kyoto Animation that I like. I recommend it to anyone who wants something funny with good music.
With the girls in their final year of high school thoughts are the band may finally be coming to an end, so the best way to give Afternoon Tea Time a proper sendoff is to…..not have many band activities of any sort, yeah we should have figured as much.
Story - 5/10
While still much more of a typical high school drama, and not the music program we were promised, the series benefited greatly from dedicating a season to one school year, as opposed to the previous season's rush job.
The stories still weren't brilliantly original or cleverly written, but they were entertaining. Again very few of the episodes revolved around the band actually playing music, with ones dedicated to field trips, cleaning up the music room (three times if you include the bonus episode and them cleaning Tonchon's tank) and a school marathon. The one item they spent the most time on was the fact this was the girls last year, with episodes on Finals, getting ready for finals, deciding school, picture day and graduation, all things that you'd expect in a school year, but again without any connection to music.
Come to think of it the whole series is actually about NOT playing music, so much so that I think that became the underlying joke of the writers in season two after the fiasco that was season one. I think if I knew from the start it was just a comedy school anime, which I tend to enjoy, I would have given season two much higher marks (season one stunk regardless) but I expected music and instead got hours of girls drinking tea and eating cake.
Animation - 8/10
This time around they had pretty consistent animation. The series was always good, but there were so many points of bad drawing and laziness that it overshadowed the rest in such a short season. They did away with the multiple styles, the almost freeze frame scenes and the overload of funny faces and it brought the focus back to the good parts.
They also scored some points with the great opening and closing credits. They were good in the first season, but went to the next level this time around. They really created some good music videos that connected to the sounds and themes of the songs.
Sound - 7/10
Since the voices and background music stayed identical to the first season there isn't much to say about them. The two opening and two closing songs did get better though.
The opening songs had great music but terrible vocals, while I assume the singer has an already high pitched voice, they sped the vocals up to an annoying chipmunks level. The two closing tunes were excellent all around, a big step up from the first season and more in line of what you'd expect this band to do if they were a serious group. The first closing song, Listen, sound a bit like a J-Pop version of some British invasion bands, much more like what I hoped the series music would have been. The second ending song, No Thank You, is by far the best piece of music in the series and a stand out from any anime series. With the background music you'd expect them to sing about dragons and epic battles, as its pure Prog metal (well of course with a J-Pop twist) but they worked it in nicely as a song these girls would write if they took some inspiration from Ms. Yamanka.
Characters - 6/10
The characters, much like the music, became much more likable this time around, well for the most part.
They stepped back from the constant reusing of jokes and actually tried to build the actual characters of the girls. Ritsu calmed down a bit and they did more to work Azusa into the show as more than just the girl who walks in and complains about everything. Tsumugi and Mio we also allowed to open up in the extended school year and become more than just the labels they stuck them with in season one.
The longer season and the shorter time period it covered also allowed the show to focus on a few other girls, notably Ui and Jun, two students in Azusa's class. We knew Ui as Yui sister, but now she became a character you could see being a strong part of a third season, if they decided to do so.
The addition of some minor characters was also nice, the girls in Mio's fan club, Ritsu's shy little brother and a few others made the show blossom over season one.
The only real downside when it came to characters was our main character (even though being the band leader Mio should have been the star.) In season one they wrote Yui as just a slightly lazy imbecile, which was ok as she was a 14 year old, but this season they went a bit over the top. Sure she's a sweet nice girl, but they made her traits so prominent it made you have second thoughts about finishing the show. There are quirks and then there are traits that would make you lose friends, laziness, selfishness and being spoiled, Yui has all of them in spades, which are terrible qualities for someone who is essentially an adult.
Overall - 8/10
It's quite amazing how one series can make such a big leap from season to season. Usually it seems to go backwards, where a series just drones on after having hit it's highpoint, until the producers finally kill it, where in they speed through an ending over a single episode and leave you unfulfilled. This time around things were reversed, with the first season being a a rush job that left you wishing for it to end, and the second season being very entertaining and leaving you wishing for the series to go on by either following the girls to college or sticking around to see how Azusa fared in her final year.
I guess I'll just have to look forward to watching the movie, which at least looks like there's a sliver of a chance of being about music.