k-on! 5

Categories: episodic review, k-on, life


“Acting cute won’t solve anything!”

Think of the manga/visual novel/light novel to anime conversion process as cooking. You have a source material (the main ingredient), and then you apply the animation (the cooking), toss in some spices (the OP/ED and voice work), and then maybe garnish with other materials (Lucky Channel, Cheese-kun, etc). Sometimes, when you have great source material, you just don’t want to muck around with it. For example, if you had a slab of free Kobe beef (Clannad), you don’t need a lot to accentuate the flavorful, marbled beef. A little salt, a dash of pepper, and slow roasted to perfection.

But, sometimes, your main ingredient isn’t that great (Lucky Star)… maybe you got stuck with a pound of flank from who knows where. So you make ground it up into hamburger patties (ten minute discussion about chocolate coronets), get the best bun possible (casting Aya Hirano as Konata), maybe add in some bacon (Lucky Channel), and then just add random crap like guac, onion rings, mushrooms to try to make a dull burger more appealing (all the self-references). In the end, it might taste good, but the original main ingredient is kinda lost in the final concoction.

At first glace, K-On! might not resemble anything different from the pound of ]beef. Maybe the chef should have used the same recipe, ground the beef, got the best bun, added bacon, and then started tricking out the burger. But on closer inspection, K-On! isn’t just a beef flank– it’s fine beef from maybe not Kobe cows but Jersey cows. Still damned good. The chef just decided, “You know what? I’m going to make this a steak cut, a dash of pepper, a pinch of salt, and maybe a killer baked potato with chives and all the goodies on the side. And I’m going to cook it medium raw.” It’s not going to be the best steak you’ll ever eat in your life, but it’s going to be tasty enough that you’ll still be stuffed tomorrow. And maybe the day after.

Of course, in that scenario, K-On! is that original cut of beef. Instead of splurging on Aya Hirano or any other big names, they went with four pretty low key actresses and hope one or two come through (and at least two are so far). Instead of tricking out the steak with a weird marmalade or whatnot, they just used the most sensible compliment to the steak: nothing works wonders for an anime about a girl rock band than an OP/ED combo that brings out the best in said girl rock band.

(Of course, in this scenario, Gundam would be Spam and Sunrise would be Hormel foods. Shaft, of course, would be Soylent Corporation with Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Pani Poni Dash being Soylent Red and Soylent Blue respectively. Maria+Holic being Soylent Green… right down to the “MARIYA HAS A PENIS!!!” revelation.)


K-On! is Mioliciously good. The cowering and whimpering accentuates the marbling of the beef. It’s the equivalent of giving the cow a message and a beer. (You can probably guess the marbling equivalent for Haruhi Suzumiya by now…)


Loved, loved Mugi’s glossed over look, which I’m dubbing the Mugi Effect. It’s the same look that Kanako has when she’s ogling other girls, only classier. And I’m very happy that this episode finally kicks off the discussion of Mugi’s preferences… yes, they hinted at it last episode, but now it’s taken to the next level.


“I just think girls bonding together is great.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong if both sides express interest.”

Mugi is fearsome. She’s absolutely right too, except there’s nothing wrong if the two girls bonding don’t necessarily share the same interest. Like, for instance, someone wants Mio to wear a certain costume, but she refuses… how do you think that argument will be solved?

(Needless to say, I’m looking forward to episode six.)


All I can say is that episode six is that Live Alive set the bar, and this really is the only thing that has come along that could topple it. K-On! has all the tools to be good: the goth loli outfits, the “twist” at the end, and the ruined for marriage moment. Besides, an anime about a girl’s band should have a better live performance scene than an anime not about a girl’s band… right?

Also, it’s been almost three years– Kyoto has refined their already top notch animation. Maybe their A-team isn’t working on K-On!, but their B-team of 2009 might be as good as their A-team from 2006. (Seeing how well they animated Sawako-sensei’s sprint, I’d say they’re not missing a beat.) Also, that episode turned Aya Hirano from a new star to a super duper mega star. Maybe it can do the same with Yoko Hikasa. Her vocals in Don’t say ‘lazy’ are up there with Aya’s in Bouken Desho Desho.

(Of course, now, Aya is at another level with Unnamed World, etc.)


We need to get Mugi and Maria+Holic‘s Kanako together somehow. They could be the anime moe equivalent of Ace and Gary… and, yes, I’ll be cheering for Mugi the same way I was cheering for Ryou when she thought that Nagisa was confessing to her.


Instead of hunting for crappy upsized raws, I’m going to just black bar all the 4:3 screenshots from now on. Sigh. If I think of spring 2009 and which shows airing would be most hurt by not airing in high def right away, I would have guessed Queen’s Blade and K-On!. Guess what? They’re both the shows airing in standard def. Third would probably be Eden of the East, since that’s a very, very pretty show, but it’s carried by its drama and intrigue, unlike Queen’s Blade (tits) and K-On! (moe). Well, at least for K-On!, there’s the intrigue of when Ritsu will finally costume rape Mio with a meido outfit.


I want to see Sawako-hime duel Krauser II… first as a demonic guitar throwdown between the two, and then a Sawako-sensei vs. Negishi match of sugarly pop songs. I think Krauser II would win the demonic part, but Sawako-sensei would take the sugarly part, just because she’s a lot hawter than Negishi… like comparing a BMW 135i to a pair of rollerskates.

(Mmm… maybe equal to Krauser? No… can’t be… but damn… those eyes…)


… and teeth guitar! I so want to see a K-On! and Detroit Metal City crossover now.

(DMC is almost the opposite of K-On! in that it has excellent comedy and excitement, but it had little moe and the animation/music quality wasn’t as good as K-On!. Both are excellent, just in totally different ways.)


All hail Sawako-sensei! I just hope her fan base is as crazy as DMC‘s and as broken as mine.


Much, much hawter without the glasses. But then again, with the glasses, she has that “waiting to be unleashed” factor. Mmm… toughie.


Even Minori~n’s run through the school at the end of Toradora! wasn’t this epic. Sawako-sensei reminds me of a cross between Kyou-sensei on a cocaine high crossed with Onizuka-sensei with some Yomako-sensei mixed in. Though I think any other studio would have tossed in a wardrobe malfunction or panty shot during that sprint, Kyoto’s just too classy for something like that.


Damn you standard resolution! Damn you! I want the full Mugi Effect with the full Yui and Sensei going sparkly in the same frame.


Cay-kii kudasai!” is finitely better than “Dozo! Have a starfish!” When you go have a steak, most people appreciate it on the level that it’s delicious. That’s normal. That’s fine. That’s like appreciate this episode of K-On! for Sawako-sensei’s antics. But other people enjoy that same steak because of how they can quantify the texture, the aroma, how it harmonizes with the red wine. That level of appreciation is equivalent for enjoying this episode because of Mugi.

See, Sawako-sensei is that big rush of flavor, very in your face and attention grabbing. There’s nothing wrong with that, except don’t let it overshadow the texture, the amora, and the other subtleties of the steak. This episode pretty much clears up that one of the four K-On! girls is potentially into other girls. More so, she’s thinking that way of the other girls. Now think back to the previous episode where Mugi confessed that her dream is to have an overnight with Mio, Yui, and Ritsu… and that when they got to her vacation home, there were red rose pedals on the bed. There were red rose pedals on the bed!!! I think as time goes on, Mugi will be more bold and force more action. This is a good thing. Mugi, my suggestion is to get in touch with Minami-ke‘s Hayami and ask her where does she get her “juice.”

(This episode debuted both Sawako-sensei and the Mugi Effect. Who’d knew that K-On! would have more plot by episode 5 than Eden of the East?)


Jiii~~ is this Yui’s Johnny Carson impersonation? Though seeing Yui useful for once… I’m discombobulated.


I think Yui should always have a pink background following her while she make cute repetitive motions with her hands. I enjoyed the sequence where Ritsu is trying to decide between her and Mugi for the vocalist. Though it’s obvious that Ritsu wants Mio for that role… and so do we! But the best choice might be for Mio and Yui to do a melody where they can share a mic a la Bruce and Little Stevie singing Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out just to enable the Mugi Effect.


I laughed hard during this scene. Awesome, just plain awesome.


May is Month of Mio. I bet someone that I would have readers clamoring for less Mio and more traps by day three. Barely two days into Month of Mio, and I’m already collecting on that bet. Strange thing is that I think there’s an alternate world where I’m writing this same post, except it’s “disappearance of haruhi suzumiya 5” and it’s “Month of Mikuru.” Of course, my readers are all clamoring for Itsuki and Kyonko. Needless to say, whatever universe I’m in, I can’t win and my readers are already ten parsecs past the event horizon of brokenness.

(Ponytail! I give Mio’s outfit a solid 14 out of 10.)

(Updated gelbooru count: K-On! at 1,082, Mio at 713, Yui at 377, Mugi at 257, and Ritsu at 256. Sawako-sensei debuts at 6.)

39 Responses to “k-on! 5”

  1. Every scene with Sawako-sensei is awesome and I agree on your assessment of the Krauser vs Sawako fight except, we all know it would end up in an H-scene that later involves Mio and barnacles…

  2. mio is just delicious tasting. thats all there is to it. i want steak now. sawako sensei reminds me a little of saya from bamboo blade.

  3. this is madness!! not enough words and screenshots!!

  4. Yush! D:< Justice to my beloved Mugi-chan!!

  5. I’m hungry.

  6. “less Mio and more traps”

    Yeah… I don’t think that’s the problem. It’s just pretty irritating to see a new DbD post in your RSS and realise it’s just one Mio image. You need at least a few pictures and some writing to qualify it as a post worth being interested in.

  7. First time a Jason blog post has sent me to Youtube in search of Springsteen clips…

  8. > Sawako-sensei reminds me of a cross between Kyou-sensei on a cocaine high crossed with Onizuka-sensei with some Yomako-sensei mixed in.

    You said the magic word. I may have to watch this now :-)

  9. Make that two. I got a incredible need of a steak right now… Maybe with Mio serving it in a naked apron… I can dream right? Right?

  10. Hey Jason, you just forgot to mention that Sawaka-sensei has the same seryuu as Kanoko, so your ideal team up with Mugi isn’t a dream anymore.

    Mugi’s confession made my day; we saw it coming, but is more enjoyable when the character said it itself. I’m waiting for more revelations and maybe some moments. KyoAni has the last word.

    Now if you would excuse me, I’ve some pictures to get from Gelbooru.

  11. >NorthernShadows

    Me too. Wait, is that Mio in headphones?



  12. If watching the show didn’t already make me hungry enough (all of those delicious sweets!), you have certainly done it now. Excuse me while I get some lunch…

  13. Comiket better bring out some good Mugi x mio x yui x ritsu x sawako doujins.

  14. To tidal’s question, those are AKG K701 headphones that have a street price of $500 USD. Add that to the camera and old school boombox, and wow, Mio sure has awesome taste.

  15. Sawako’s VA is the same as M+H’s Kanako’s.

  16. Wow! Mio is moelicious, the Mugi effect is awesome, Fuk… I mean Yui is Yui, and the Sensei is GREATTO. OH YEAH! I WANT MOAR!

  17. Yeah… I don’t think that’s the problem. It’s just pretty irritating to see a new DbD post in your RSS and realise it’s just one Mio image.
    Sorry to hear that you fail at RSS. Since when has any post I write tagged “imageblog” been anything other than a single image? On second though, I probably should have done a “may is for mio” category…

  18. I read somewhere that Tatsuya Ishihara will be directing episode 6. Can anyone confirm?

  19. Only you could use the whole beef anagoly for most of the review and make it work KUDOS and i never saw Detroit Metal City but I am interested in seeing it a croosover would be awesome

  20. one thing I noticed during the episode, after Sawako finished the flashback, Yui had her guitar again, complete with cross-bandage on it. Im fairly sure sometime during that flashback she ‘rescued’ it and was more concerned about it then Sawako-sensei…

    I cracked up so many times in this episode, it was scary. Of course, this might have just been a side effect of watching it at work at 2:30am on a Sunday….

    >> “Acting cute won’t solve anything!”
    I disagree – It will be cute, and that would solve everything. No need for cellphones with 10 billion yen or anything.

    I am liking how Sawako-sensei drops her whole good additude when it comes to the light music club girls. The question…. Is it because its music and thats a really important thing? Or because she already showed her true colours so feels fine not leaving them up?

    >> which I’m dubbing the Mugi Effect.
    need moar Mugi Effect nao……

    >> (Ponytail! I give Mio’s outfit a solid 14 out of 10.)
    While I liked the look of that scene, I somehow missed the pony tail…. I am disappointed in myself…

    Also, what school lets a group of students sit around in their music room every day after school without doing anything about it? You would think they would have noticed that and done something about it…..

    “How should I put it? I think the light music club fits you perfectly.”
    Nodoka for Best Back-handed Complement of 2009? It not only hit Yui, but Mugi, Ritsu and Mio as well.

  21. The Sawako Sensei running scene was so epic. I laughed so hard watching them bring out one ridiculous thing after another. Who seriously carries Hula Hoops with two people :). Plus the Yui losing her voice then trying to sing. I can’t put into words how funny this episode was.

  22. Dangit… I’m a sucker for well done awesome character product placement. I’ve been looking around for a pair of high-end headphones for a while and thought I had settled on a $100 pair of Alessandro series 1’s, but after seeing Mio in the $280 AKG K701’s…. I’m really tempted… It’s just like Strawberry Haagen Dazs all over again.

  23. Maybe Mio’s family was into stuff for a while, or tend to get good second hand equipment?
    However in battle between Sawako-hime and Krauser II, which would you rather see? 10 rapes per second? Or 10 cosrapes per second. Since Mio is bound to be involved…the winner is 10 cosrapes per second…as Haruhi intended.

  24. >>I bet someone that I would have readers clamoring for less Mio and more traps by day three. Barely two days into Month of Mio, and I’m already collecting on that bet.

    What a sad state of affairs, when people call for traps over Mio.
    The correct answer, of course, is to clamor for both.

  25. Tastiest blog entry ever. But I think the festival episode will be a train wreck. Or at least mediocre. I don’t think they are good enough yet to challenge the LIVE Alive bar. That will come later in the show. I think it would have been interesting to see how the band is progressing by having a different ED starting at ep.2, kind of like the old videos they used to tag onto the end of The Monkees. I imagine the animation cost would have been unreasonable for a new one every week, regardless how bad they sucked.

  26. Still needs testosterone.

  27. I must say, I’ve been enjoying Ritsu a lot. If I had a friend who was terrified of stupid shit I’d play the devil’s advocate too, and additionally send them guro pics until they manned up. Also loved how she manipulated Sawako. Ritsu is boss.

    P.S. If Mio were a trap k-on would instantly become best show of the seaon.

  28. I was pleasantly surprised by this episode…

    But I’m getting apprehensive about the remaining episodes, specifically their first performance. Why? Everyone, including me, is expecting ‘God Knows’ which i don’t know if that is possible.

    Taking the ‘God Knows’ performance just by itself, it is decent. Good singing, decent music with good sound design to simulate a high school auditorium, some nicely detailed animation, interspersed with animation loops to save time. Someone who pays attention to production and animation would probably say that it was a very good sequence to come from a TV show.

    For me however, my reaction to ‘God Knows’ was not just decent, I was blown away. Why? It was a surprise. I didn’t know THAT was coming, I never watched the previews,never read the light novels, never read reviews etc. Taking ‘God Knows’ in the flow of Haruhi, and my expectations at the time, it was unexpectly amazing.

    Back to K-On… I think the ‘God Knows’ type surprise is missing. We know Yui can play the guitar, we know Mio can sing, we’re pretty sure Ritsu and Mugi can play drums and keyboard, we’re reminded at the end of each episode. Will them doing a really good live impress us? Technically, Kyoani can go all out, and amaze us with the animation, make our jaws drop at the pretty pictures and neat sounds, they have the power and finesse to do so. But will it end up like every other summer blockbuster special effects spectacular, all flash and noise, no substance, forgettable after your retinas become un-bleached?

    I was expecting episode 5 to be less entertaining than #4, I was wrong. I’m still smiling and snickering at events in #5 two days later. (and making the people around me think i’m up to something devious because of said smiling and snickering) Will #6 be the letdown? #7? Can Kyoto Animation keep building and building till the only letdown will be that its the end of the show?

    Kyoani is setting something up with K-On (I hope), they’ve been conservative with their animation, taking more visual shortcuts than (I think is) necessary. I’ve no doubt whatever they do will be good, but are my expectation so high that I won’t be able to fully enjoy the goodness they will deliver? That is my apprehension.

  29. While there were no panty flashes during Sawako-sensei’s track and field session, eagle-eyed viewers would’ve confirmed hosiery. Garter belts remain unconfirmed though.

  30. Easily my favorite K-On episode thus far. And like I said in the last post; Coolest. Teacher. Ever.

  31. While it is obvious the Mugi likes girls, I don’t think we can place what she said as a confession. I am assuming that the exact meaning of what she said in Japanese was transferred to english.

    “I just think girls bonding together is great.”

    Remember how innocent she was about eating french fries and having friends? It’s almost like this girl really WAS born yesterday, and everything is new and amazing to her, including female bonding. For that reason this is more of a ambiguous statement.

    (mitigating fact: She’s already seen Mio and Ritsu pal around tons, as well as Yui and her childhood friend.)

    “I don’t think there’s anything wrong if both sides express interest.”

    Shes still talking about female ‘bonding’ here, at least that’s implied by the way the english is used in the translations.

    I think…She really is innocent and shes talking about bonding. Deep in her psyche though the deep attraction to this ‘female bonding’ is because she’s actually interested in a whole lot…more. She just doesn’t realize it yet. Show her one lesbian doujin and Mugi is as good as a new Kanako.

  32. @the “Mugi Effect,” wish that was more like the manga. It actually showed what she was thinking, and it was scenerios extremely similar to whatHiyori from Lucky Star brought us.

  33. Sawako’s VA is also the same as Stalker-chan/Matoi from SZS’s VA, and in the latter Matoi spends most of her bits on ‘Jiii~’.

  34. Damn it…

    I almost finish with the pictures of Gelbooru… 1117 published so far… 340 more to check out…

  35. “Sorry to hear that you fail at RSS. Since when has any post I write tagged “imageblog” been anything other than a single image?”

    And the point you’re trying to make is? It simply sucks that you make posts that are a single image. Why is it that you’re so out to attack your readers just for pointing out an explanation?

  36. does the art look like it came from the anime of Today in Class 5-2 or is it just me?

  37. Done with Gelbooru for now…

  38. Might be a little late, but I noticed another bit of product placement. The mechanical pencil Ritsu was using for filling the application form (before being interrupted my delicious Mugi with delicious cake) is a Lamy Safari mechanical pencil.

  39. Late to the party on this one since I’m watching the WS version, but Mugi as a genteel Kanako? I’m giddy :D

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