Hirasawa Yui, a young, carefree girl entering high school, has her imagination instantly captured when she sees a poster advertising the 'Light Music Club.' Being the carefree girl that she is, she quickly signs up. However, Yui has a problem, she is unable to play an instrument.
When Yui goes to the clubroom to explain, she's greeted by the other members: Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi. Although disheartened at Yui's lack of musical know-how, they still try to convince her to stay to prevent the club's disbandment. After playing Yui a short piece which re-ignites her imagination, they succeed in keeping their new member and guitarist.
Along with the tasks of school and homework, Yui begins to learn the guitar with the help of the other band members, experiencing many mishaps along the way. However, with the school-festival drawing near and Yui getting stuck with her practice, will the Light Music Club be ready in time for their debut?
K-On! was published in English by Yen Press from November 30, 2010 to December 13, 2011 and in ebook format on February 18, 2014. It was also published in Polish by Studio JG from April 24, 2015 to February 26, 2016.
K-ON is one of the most polarizing series in existence. On one hand you have people who are vigilantly against the series and anything else with a similar cute or "moe" style, and on the other hand you have probably one of the most dedicated otaku fanbases, spending thousands upon thousands of yen on merchandise, CDs, and so on. It's impossible to deny how much of a presence K-ON has had in Japan since the first season of the anime aired.
What you have here is a fairly typical 4-koma manga about a group of high school girls in a music club and all the resulting
shenanigans and fun that they have throughout the years. There's no serious story to be found here, no emotional moments, no deep message-- just simple comedy and cute girls interacting with each other. It's what you would typically expect from a gag manga focused around young girls. That might be a good thing for you and it could also be hellspawn depending on your tastes and preferences. Don't read K-ON if you want something more than that; it's very simple.
The art is decent enough. It starts out pretty simple and then evolves over the course of the series. The characters you see in chapter one are going to look completely different from how they look in a 2012 chapter. Most of this can be attributed to KyoAni's popular anime adaptation and Kakifly deciding to emulate and portray that a bit more in his work. They look cute and the art gets the job done, so there's not much to complain about or mention here.
Jokes, story-- it's all very average. You aren't going to be laughing to tears every chapter and you aren't going to be super invested in what's going on. If you are coming in from the anime and expecting the manga to be around the same quality, you will be sorely disappointed. KyoAni's adaptation is much improved from the source material and added in many scenes, character development, dialogue, and most importantly, music. It turned an average 4-koma into something amazing. You will not get that level of quality here so you will need to throw away any preconceptions before reading if you want to have any hope of enjoying it.
For the first three years of high school and until the time when the original four girls graduate, it's an above average manga and certainly enjoyable. And cute-- there's little denying that. If you liked the anime then you will definitely enjoy the main portion of the manga.
The new manga that continues after the anime, however, is quite bad.
Why? Because it is being stretched out and continued needlessly after a very satisfying ending that did not need any sort of continuation. In a way, continuing after high school like this throws away any sort of feeling or tone that it had going for the first 52 chapters. Kakifly is trying very hard to emulate that same tone with the college portions but it's clearly not working. The last chapters feel almost like they are something else entirely-- at times like it's not even K-ON any more. It just doesn't work with the characters split up and in a completely different environment.
There's not just one new character introduced, not two, but FIVE of them, splitting the focus between the girls even further to the point where nobody is able to get a significant amount of time or development any more. All of the new characters save for Akira are extremely bland, and in the latest chapters, it even feels like Kakifly regrets putting them in. There was really no need to add this many new characters in. It's very contrived and seems like Kakifly's way of trying to freshen things up and make it all different which is not at all what the fans want and it's clearly not something that he was ever capable of doing well. Sumire, one of the new girls in Azusa's side of the story, is derivative and almost a complete clone of Mugi, even filling largely the same role as her, looking the same, having the same rich and high social status, and even being revealed as being childhood friends with each other. It's not just Sumire, either, but all the other new characters seem like a blend between one or two of the main characters' more prominent traits. It's sad, but Kakifly is showing here that he is running out of ideas for new characters. He can only create them based on one superficial gimmick and then play on that the entire time.
For Azusa's side of the story, she is the only interesting or unique character there, which is a real shame. The other four are dull and bland with nothing exciting about them and it makes her entire portion of the manga a bit painful to read at times. I love Azusa more than anything, but even seeing her act cute and watching her struggle as the new leader of the club— growing and growing, being a well-rounded and developed character— isn't enough to make me enjoy reading her chapters. The other four characters and the stale, repetitive situations that they go through each chapter detract from it. There isn't anything fun about watching the girls go on a beach trip for a third time.
Kakifly is great at making cute panels and amusing jokes that will make you smile and 'hnggg', but he can't do a proper story all that well. The new manga is very, very weak, and if it was going to be of this quality then I don't think it should ever have been continued in the first place. It ended nicely and now it is simply being milked and continued to a point where even the most dedicated fans are growing tired.
Anyway, that's enough ranting now.
As long as you aren't expecting something life-changing and amazing from the manga it should still be worth reading, especially if you are already a fan of the series. It's pretty weak, but not weak enough for me to stop reading. It's mediocre (especially in the writing department), but it's still capable of being enjoyed.
If you're a newcomer to the series and want a nice, relaxing slice of life or comedy, please watch the anime instead even if you aren't typically an anime person. It's much, much better. KyoAni did a fantastic job with the series.
A gaggle of high school girls sitting around eating cake and drinking tea sounds like the world's most unbearably dull thing ever, and it probably is, but going through the motions of daily life isn't half bad, but just watching it is pointless none the less to those who want more.
STORY: ...I'm honestly at a loss here, how does one grade a story, when there isn't a story at all. K-ON! is just that, no story, no conflict, no evil organizations to defeat, no romance, nothing. I challenge anyone to think of a better phrase to describe K-ON! than, "Pure sweet pointlessness."
Ending the review
right there would be easy, because I described accurately enough, but my joking(?) aside... Umm, actually I'm not joking, K-ON! is pointless to the point of having no point of even existing, I mean there's more than enough daily lifes of who-ever-the-hell to satisfy all life slicers, so why does K-ON! get the most attention? There's some fan pondering once in a while (Yet there's several vacation swimsuit arcs), but less so than (Or more than) Lucky Star, so why K-ON!?
That is where I got an answer: It's simplicity and unpretentious nature is what captivates those who just want to sit and watch something, the way you just want to admire the sunset or something along those lines. K-ON! is the quintessential series to check out in that regard, it doesn't get full of itself, it doesn't bombard you with plot twists or heavy explainations, it's pure enjoyment for those who enjoy watching people just hanging out and do whatever.
That in it's self is the problem with K-ON!, it's nothing, literally. There's nothing it does to grab ahold of your attention, or give a sense of urgency. No plot details to explain other than Yui Hirasawa is looking to join a high school club, of course a series as itself has no need to, as it is meeting a status quo for those enjoy this kind of manga, but there are many who will be turned away for that reason and more. K-ON! is also incredibly sweet and soft on attitude as well, the characters are as followed: Yui Hirasawa the bubbly clumsy guitar player, Ritsu Tainaka the tom boy drummer, Mio Akiyama the mature yet very femine bassist, and Tsumugi Kotobuki the kind rich girl (Literally, she's what I'd like to call an unreallistic not character as her character trait is nothing more than being a wealthy person).
And along the way, another band member joins up, an underclassman Azusa Nakano who goes through what most first time readers of K-ON! go through, discovers the club by their performance (The reader discovers K-ON! through sheer popularity), only to find out they laze about doing nothing (The reader finds out how nothing actually goes on), and gradually goes with the flow of things (Reader excepts its, and just reads for the sake of reading). These characters are not multi faceted people, and are questionably single dimensional (Though towards the later parts, there's a touching moment where the others cheer up a sadden Azusa who reallizes she'll be alone when her friends move on and graduate from high school), but they serve the status quo, they are about as ordinary as slice of life characters can get, nothing more nothing less.
And you know what? That is okay. It's okay to read something without any purpose, it doesn't fail at being entertainment, a specific type of entertainment despite it's popularity, but entertainment none the less. But if you want substance, and not something as soft as a marshmallow, K-ON! just doesn't appeal to that in any way. You're basically looking in the coloring book section for Sigmund Freud in a sense.
ART: Not too detailed, but not poor either. It accomplishes what it sets out to do well, displaying cute girls doing cute stuff. The artwork is just as uninsulting as the subject material, and it is paired with it's simple nature with a simple style: 4 Koma (Panel).
+/- Pure and sweet in nature, it doesn't insult or aggravate in any way. / There is no substance, those looking for deep meanings, fasicnating characters and a story for the ages, then you're literally wasting both yours and the manga's time.
Maybe being overrated isn't a bad thing as long as you are doing your genres a good job. The series is having a weird choice though, K-ON! colledge years, where the girls drink tea and eat sweets for their semesters. If finding high schoolers adorable was already a farfetched idea, then finding colledge girls acting like preschoolers adorable is just simply perposterous.
As of the 2 volumes I have read, K-ON! has been very enjoyable, but it is not without flaws. The art is, much like the show, beautiful; the characters and environments really pop out. Nevertheless, it suffers from a mediocre story and boring story arcs. This does not make it unreadable, though. Long story short, if you want more K-ON!, read this.
Aside from a character’s eyes and mouth, eyebrows also play an important part in the character design of an anime character. And sometimes these anime character's eyebrows are painted on pretty thick! Let’s take a look at some of these majestic eyebrows!
Sometimes you can study something for ages without really understanding what it’s about. Then along comes an anime that simplifies it for you and life is never the same. For all the musicians and music lovers, here are some things you can learn from K-ON!!