I wonder if the excitement over K-ON! has been tempered a bit amidst all the Haruhi pandemonium. Not that one show takes away from another, but K-ON! was the big, bad KyoAni hit on the block. Now, it feels like the second banana waiting in the shadows for the next Haruhi release. You can’t help but wonder if there’s enough excitement to go around. But just in case you forgot about K-ON! for a moment, it hits back with a stage performance (finally!), more Ui, and a brand new character challenging Mio (or in my case, Yui) as the goddess of moe.
Well, Christmas is over and umm… I guess it’s a new school year. I either need to do some remedial research on the Japanese school year, or there was a huge time jump here. Anyway, Ui’s passed her high school entrance exam, and Yui is thrilled to have Ui joining the same school as her. Another cute sisterly love scene between the two. I don’t think even Kagamin and Tsukasa were as close as these two.
Mugi, Yui and Ritsu have rolled lucky sevens and landed in the same class as each other. Unfortunately for Mio she gets stuck as the only one in a separate class (cue Kagamin comparisons). In a scene that’s no doubt meant to drive moe and tears of sympathy, Mio finds herself an outcast in her new class, and is only saved when she finally finds a friendly face in Nodoka. I guess Mio’s really, really sheltered, because it’s hard for me to believe that she wouldn’t recognize any of the other kids in her class. But I know the Mio-fans ate her kawaii, sad face up.
Meanwhile, outside of class, the K-ON club is trying to recruit new members. I wonder how that works though. What if they end up recruiting 7 new members, do they need to take all of them in? Or can they cap the size of the club? Perhaps Sawa-chan had this in mind when her cosplay management takes a turn for the bizarre, as they end up passing out fliers while dressed up in scary, animal mascot costumes. I saw Yui’s psycho chicken chase coming a mile away, but still cracked up at the scene. We also meet potential newcomer and future moe goddess, Azusa for the first time.
Thankfully, for all parties involved (you, me and Yui), Sawa-chan’s cosplay skills are back intact, as she gets the group to welcome potential newcomers in maid outfits. I wonder if these costumes were included in Sawa-chan’s transformation from boring to wild. On the other hand, both Ui and her friend seem taken aback by the maid costumes and Sawa-chan’s brutal abduction of Mio. No music was played, but there was plenty of tea and cake to go around.
Day 3 of new member recruitment means track suits for the group. Again, Sawa-chan’s choice of cosplay leaves something to be desired, and I wonder if it’s not just a ploy to turn away members. As neither Ui, nor her friend, appear to have the desire to join (do either of them even play instruments?). Ui does get to view Yui in all new lights. But whether Yui’s wearing a maid outfit, suzumikus or track suits, Ui reminisces about how much Yui has improved from the imminent NEET state that she was apparently destined for.
This leads us to the vaunted performance of the K-ON club, welcoming the new freshmen into the fold. And we finally get to see them perform, without cutaways to unrelated scenes or retarded music videos. And while KyoAni’s clearly holding back on the animation, I assume for the eventual Budokan performance, it was still cool to see the girls on stage, playing their songs. It’s just one of those things that makes an anime about a band actually feel like an anime about a band. We also see new girl, Azusa, in all her kawaii glory, as she struggles on her tiptoes to watch the K-ON band play.
The group puts on a fantastic performance, but are melancholy about the fact that potential recruits actually went down from two (Ui and her friend) to zero. But then, fortune smiles down on them, and a new recruit steps into the clubroom. Cute enough to pounce? Yes! Quiet, twintailed and probably just a zettai ryouiki shy of tsundere glory. Azusa is just too damn cute. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Every time I think K-ON can’t push the moe bar any farther, somehow they do it. And next week we get to see Azusa in nekomimi? Seriously, it’s not fair.
All in all, a good setup episode, with some pretty good laughs to boot. I know I had Haruhi on the brain for a while, but this was a good reminder for why I’m psyched to see each and every K-ON! episode. That hasn’t changed a bit. Turns out I have enough excitement to go around for K-ON! as well as Haruhi.