Just what this series needed end on, a movie that goes back in time but who's contents then don't fit in with the series, guess it's fitting for a series that ranged from horrifically terrible to very very good.
Story - 6/10
Like most of the series there's a ton of let down from what you might expect. For being about their trip to London it seems like they focused about twenty minutes in a nearly two hour movie on the city. A majority was again spent in the classroom, makes you think they just decided to use a couple of episodes to make into a film (which becomes more believable when you notice the lead up to the trip was used as a bonus episode and not a series episode)
The episode's main focus isn't so much about the trip, but about the gift they want to give Azusa before they all leave for college. The girls decide on a song and then spend the rest of the episode, err movie, trying to think up lyrics. This leads to some funny moments and good scenes for the often under used Azusa.
Once in London they speed through most of the four days there, opting to spend more time focusing on the girls sitting in their hotel rooms. Besides the girls sight seeing, the only two London scenes focus around the girls playing shows, which for this series is a major surprise. The first time they play is due to a language barrier that has them mistaken for another band and a new sushi place, this was a little cute addition as it felt like an homage to the original Blues Brothers movie. Their second concert is at a festival set up to introduce japanese culture to Londoners, much like the first time we get just a snippet of a song, but if nothing else its a funny variation.
Upon their return they're greeted with an unusual amount of enthusiasm from their classmates who heard they had a great show. The girls as them to play one last concert for the school before they graduate, and Afternoon Tea Time agrees. They play a medley of their songs in homeroom right before the last day of school and then go on the graduate.
The film ends with the girls finally delivery their present to Azusa, their new song. Since the girls had an actual subject to write about, and not just random things combed together, it's actually their best song lyric wise, the music also fall just behind No, Thank You.
Like most of the series the movie is 95% fluff and 5% plot, which isn't terrible for entertainment, but just leaves you wanting much more. I kind of hoped they'd have a season dedicated to the senior year of Azusa and Ui, as maybe we'd finally get some music. I guess I can always just watch the concert for that, but I assume the girls just go on stage and sleep in bean bags or something else totally unrelated to music.
Animation - 5/10
For all the steps forward the series took in season 2, they went back to their old ways for the movie.
Every other scene seemed to have the girls with a simply drawn goofy face, it was cute the first or second time, but multiple times in every scene just got out of hand.
The biggest step backward was with the drawing of Londoners. I guess they wanted them to be distinctive a bit, but they were drawn in a style that didn't match the series even a bit. Most anime series have their characters based off a representation of westerners anyway, with the blonde hair or californian looks, so why make things this much different when you actually have to draw them? The art was good, but it was just so out of place.
The scenery was an upside to the film, but the series always had great background art and they always had great attention to detail when it came to certain things, like instruments or in this case the sights of London.
Sound - 8/10
I give them credit for some of the new mood music, even if it really was off a step. Specifically the scene when the girls are first going to travel from the airport, they used a song that was the exact start to Where the Streets Have No Name, by U2, which in title works, but U2 is an Irish band, not Northern Irish which is part of the United Kingdom, and I feel they were going for a song that was from an English band.
Most of the songs we hear are the same things they've played throughout the series, we got a little more of each and some improv on them, but nothing special. It is kinda fitting that the series got better as it went on (again as opposed to what we see in most anime where they fade out) and the music did too, with them ending with what is their best all around song, with very good music and sensible lyrics.
Characters - 6/10
There really was no big change in any characters from what we saw in the series. A majority of the movie was focused around Azusa, which was a nice change as they do tend to write her as not only the most levelheaded, but also one of the funnier characters who rely on remarks instead of slapstick.
The little trick Azusa's mind plays on her are quite comical and tie up a little piece of the series that might have seemed odd for some.
Overall - 7/10
By this point, even though I hoped there'd be more performances or ones that incorporated full songs, I pretty much expected it to be a movie almost about nothing. It was a fun followup to the series, but again I suspect it was cobbled together from scrapped episodes.
With K-On what you see is basically what you get. It's a goofy cute school show without much thinking involved. I'd be a bit better if the episodes could stand on their own instead of being so serialized, but if you want something to bob your head to you can throw it in the DVD player and listen to the closing song over and over.
Where do you start when speaking about K-ON!, for such a simple idea the series is probably one of the best known and most loved shows in the last three years. So, yes, a movie to go along with the two seasons of the anime was always going to be gratefully received by the fans, but did this move turn out to keep the charms of the show we all know and love?
The movie starts off in normal, silly, K-ON! style, with the characters acting out the band breaking up in order to fool Azusa. The movie is set just before the older four members of the group (Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi), graduate from high school and head off to college, leaving poor Azusa behind with her being a year below them. Before graduating the older girls want to think of a way to thank Azusa and show they won’t forget about her; to begin with Yui throws around the idea of the group staying back a year so that, in the end, they’d all graduate at the same time. With that idea quickly shot down by Mio, however, they move onto other ideas. Of course while discussing ideas Ritsu overhears some students discussing taking a trip away just before they graduate, which the Light Music Club then also end up thinking about, meaning their ideas for Azusa are momentarily put aside while they decide on where to take their trip. In the end the group end up heading towards the great city of London (with Azusa too, even if she isn’t graduating they all agree she can’t miss out on the trip when she’s part of the Light Music Club), and the older members decide that, while in London, they’ll work on writing a brand new song just for Azusa.
That is pretty much the plot of the whole thing; the girls go to London and Yui tries to figure out a song for Azusa, as expected of K-ON! it rarely goes much deeper than that. That isn’t to say it isn’t an enjoyable movie however, because it is, and anyone fond of the series itself will know that K-ON! was never one to go into too much depth with anything. While the movie is made up of the normal K-ON! silliness, there are certain things which they feature keeps running throughout, like Azusa guessing that the group are up to something and then worrying that Yui does indeed plan on staying back a year, which is something the movie managed to keep running right to the end and it was nice to see it dealt with in that manner, over being a passing worry and forgotten about quite quickly.
As far as the plot and characters go overall, fans will struggle to find a difference between the characters and stories over the two seasons of the series, which is always a good thing. With the film being over two hours you wonder if the characters will manage to stay as silly and loveable as they were in the TV episodes, but they keep all that and more, so it works out well.
As far as the animation goes I struggled to fault it for what it is, it isn’t outstanding, but it’s still likely the best you’ll see from K-ON! and some of the scenes really can be quite pretty. As far as the soundtrack goes, again, it wasn’t anything outstanding, but fans of K-ON! will be quite happy with it, especially when the band ends up playing a number of fan favourite songs during their adventures.
Final word: Fans of K-ON! will struggle to fault it, and even those who aren’t fans could likely enjoy it as long as they aren’t looking for anything too deep (as mentioned before K-ON! rarely goes into anything too deeply), but having said that, the story is still quite sweet and fun in its own right, and you’ll likely always want to see just how it all ends. It isn’t outstanding, but that isn’t to say it isn’t enjoyable.
The K-ON! movie was exhausting...
Smiling for 1 hour and 50 minutes is hard! (Some spoilers below!)
It was pretty much everything I imagined and more. Of course I urge anyone who likes the series to watch it if they haven't already! And in the highest quality possible, every detail counts. The animation remains as beautiful as ever, and for the movie I think they even kicked it up a little bit which makes sense. Everything is fluid and looks lovely, the backgrounds look very real, and the lighting is very authentic. Speaking of that, I love that they got authentic British accents for this movie. It sounds a little disjointed, understandably so Japanese audiences can know what's being said, but it really shines. Going back to the visuals, I love the subtle "camera work" that went into this as well. There is a slight blur for things not in focus but I also noticed there is a much smaller blur surrounding the things that are in focus in close ups. Then there are other super-small details to help emulate the feeling of this be filmed. When the girls jump out of their chairs in panic there's a camera jiggle. When there's a jump-cut of them setting up tea cups the position of the shot moves slightly. When they're on the train there is a slight rustle as if the "cameraman" is on with them. The movie is full of all these small details that most animators wouldn't even take into consideration. There are some very impressive sweeping pans as well, accompanied by great animation. And of course in the bustling city they animate every single pedestrian. Visual standing alone this movie is a wonder.
The audio is also beyond what I expected. It's nice enough hearing the same cast from the TV series again. I was surprised to hear as many songs as I did. Yes, as we all know the series is about a light music club, but any fan knows that the club really spends more time sitting around having tea and cake (which is still present). There's are opening and ending themes just like you're watching an extra long episode as well as some surprise performances. While in the past there have been a few K-ON songs that haven't really hit home with me, I'm glad to say that every piece in the movie was great-level to fantastic. The background music is probably what surprised me the most out of the audio. I found myself tapping my feet to a lot of pieces, some tunes from the TV series, some re-done to fit the setting (one's in bagpipes!), and some new ones I think. They bring back some of the "classic songs" as well. (There's a particularly funny segment where they try to translate "Rice is a Dish" into English, even though it's based completely around Japanese puns/jokes) As I mentioned before, the British accents are spot-on and add another level of immersion to the film. There's a large portion of "Engrish" too, but never more than a few lines at a time. Like, there's never a whole scene of it. They stay away from using too much while still allowing the English culture to sink in.
Another surprise, there's actually a flowing narrative in this movie. While the TV series only had some overarching themes that it worked with, the movie is given much more time than any episodes did to build up a flowing story. Most of the story is based upon the worries of the club members, mainly Yui and Azusa. They deal with very real problems just as the show did. Yui's worried about how to show her appreciation to Azusa, and Azusa is worried about what her fellow club members are hiding from her. These are some of the smallest worries ever, sure, but that's what makes them feel so real. Through clever directing and some good writing the movie makes the viewer feel like they're right there on vacation with the characters. K-ON's ability to draw its viewers in and let them feel like they're have fun with its characters is one of its strongest suits. With that emotional attachment the viewer can easily see these worries as something weighty enough for a feature length movie. It's not all worries though, most of it is joyous and delightful. The jokes are still as present as ever, and the characters quirks and antics shine brilliantly. It's the most I've ever smiled while watching a movie. Going with a comparison to superhero films: If The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is Batman, then K-ON! is The Avengers. It's simply tons of fun. K-ON!'s simplicity of showing life while grounded in reality is why I love it so much. It allows me to reflect on myself and myself when I'm with my friends having fun. You end up learning some simple lessons about showing appreciation for those around you and how they can react to it. The climax of the movie overlaps with my favourite scene of the TV series flawlessly and the movie overlaps it's own themes with those of the TV series flawlessly too. I can't express enough to how much I enjoyed myself watching this. It was definitely worth the wait.
I really was looking forward to the movie. It was almost unbearable to wait for it to be subbed but the wait was worth it. :)
How can you not love the whimsical girls and their everyday problems, teadrinking and music sessions (even if they are rare)? Somehow you just love them. The series may be a bit simple and childish sometime but still you can't get enough. And you're dragged into their world more and more and get engaged in the story. And of course, it's a real tearjerker! I didn't thinkt that I would shed any tears of joy and sadness over a simple anime show. But I stand corrected, this touched my heart like few series have done before.
So, imagine my feelings when I finally got hold on the movie! :)
It was great as I had expected, but it didn't touch my innermost feelings like the series did. I loved their trip to London and everything they experienced there, but it felt shallow somehow. Just another background for the real story they wanted to tell us, that about how they wrote the song to Azusa in the end of the second season. It was a nice touch and I liked it a lot. Perhaps I hade to much hope that the movie would grip my heart as the series did, but I was a bit disappointed really but hey, thats just me! The movie was great and a perfect compliment to the series and I would LOVE to see more of K-On! in the future.
There is always the live shows too watch when I miss the silly girls to much. :)
I loved the art work and the sound but the story was a bit thin. The characters was their usual selves and I already confessed my love for them above.
7,5 in total for the movie is my verdict.
this movie started off really kickass (considering i'm a metal fan), but then slowly went downhill, to either boring me or confusing me about halfway through the movie due to a strange issue between two of the characters that had no place in the plot considering the logic of the characters (i don't want to spoil with details, just watch it).
i agree with many who say this was just one long episode, didn't feel epic really, aside from going on a out of country trip, and some other things that i'm afraid to mention because this site doesn't like spoilers in reviews.
Story 5/10, this is dictated by the few flaws of this movie, and the fact that this seems to be 50% fluff filler (though then again, the entire series is basically built on a lot fo filler), and eventually lines up with episode 24, which really messed with my head the whole time because i didn't realize this til like the last 15 minutes of the movie of the timeline.
Animation 9/10, it's KyoAni, and to be honest with you, they are the ONLY reason i ever watched K-ON!, like, seriously, even though the art is based on the manga style, it's still KyoAni, they make gold, though not always the best direction decisions, as we can see in the K-ON! movie on one note i will mention later with a spoiler warning.
Sound 9/10, okay, i originally was gonna do 8/10, but then i remembered that kickass song at the beginning and i was like "well, i guess i can bump up the score, hehe"
Characters 6/10, which i would say 7/10 during the series, not deeply fleshed out characters, yet they are still fairly solid and likeable, but in this movie something happens that feels out of character that made me question the writing staff.
Overall 6/10, i was generally not as into this movie, though i was never really a "fan" persay of this series either, but i was into it enough to stick watching through it til the end, but i just wished there was more substance and more depth, but i knew what i was getting into, a "light hearted slice of life comedy", meh, seriously, KyoAni is the ONLY reason i watched this series xD
SPOILER ALERT: during the movie, Yui was trying to write lyrics for a Azusa dedication song, and Azusa stumbled upon Yui's notebook that said something about "loving Azunyan", so Azusa thought Yui wanted to rape her, and at one point there was a vague misunderstanding and Azusa elbowed Yui in the stomach, and pretty much acted alienated to Yui the rest of the movie. this kind of bothers me because Yui has always been weird and touchy feely, so for Azusa to react to this situation like she did seemed to break character.