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.