The K-ON! series has been subject to much debate. Some people felt it was the best lite hearted series to come around in a long time, while others felt it came off a bit too moe and simplistic for its own good. I have to say up front that I really enjoyed the first season of K-ON! It mixed well the music themes with a nice easy to get into story. Unfortunately not so much with these specials though. They are, well, they’re a little thin.
These specials feel exactly like what it says in the title...a special. Being that the episodes only last roughly two
to three minutes, fans might be surprised that most of the episodes are split into about 3 parts an episode. Meaning that each skit lasts only about a minute or less. Sometimes they lead into one another, while other times they differ completely from the last scene. The skits remain quite random, and gone is the music theme the series set. Now we see the characters caught up in more random situations. Whether it be Yui thinking random thoughts about the cast, to the band being stranded on a deserted island, to watching them build a snowman in the winter. As expected they are all episodic, and don’t build on anything for the series future. I think the reason I was dissapointed with these, is because they remained a bit too bland in their approach. The situations they are in are not particularly as interesting as you would expect from K-ON!, making these feel more like a side attempt. Now some may argue that these are only 2 minute specials, and that they aren’t suppose to be particularly deep. While this is true, I still feel at the same time it could have been handled better.
Most people will probably hate the art style in these. While I can give them credit that they did stylized the look of K-ON! to some degree, the character design in this is quite poor. The characters are drawn very simplistic, with round hands, and under detailed backgrounds. It looks like something a 2nd grade student would make in their art session. I don’t mind simplicity, but this was a bit too much.
The sound I enjoyed quite a bit in this, which is rightfully so being that the franchise has a music theme. Although there is no opening theme to these, they use tracks for the actual anime, and the ending credits are fast paced and exciting. You even get some catchy bloops and bleeps in the background. The voice acting is also well done, all actresses came back to fill their appropriate roles. They’re cute, charming, and fun to listen to.
Surprisingly, I did feel the characters retained their personalities from the series, which will make these feel very familiar to their fans. Yui and Ui are still sweet, Mio is still as shy as ever, and even Azusa makes appearances here. Really that’s what made up for some of the short comings the specials had, with the actual characters. If you loved them before, I think you will like them in these as well.
Being that these specials are so short, I think fans should check them out. Overall, if you are in fact a hardcore K-ON! fan, then you will get some enjoyment from these. If you aren’t one, then you may want to skip these, and watch the OVA and/or wait for the second season of K-ON! to premiere.