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.