Anime Review - K-On!! (Season 2) Collection 1 Blu Ray

Anyone who has been following Geek of Oz for a while will no doubt have encountered our gushing reviews of K-On! Season 1. Well, but on a raincoat because you're in for a drenching. The girls of the Light Music Club are back and they're just as cute as ever.

"For two full years, Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Tsumugi have worked together to keep Sakuragaoka Girl's High School's struggling Light Music Club alive, and along the way they've begun to build a reputation as real rock musicians... especially since the previous year's addition of underclassman rhythm guitarist Azusa. But as a new school year begins, there are new and scary challenges ahead. 

With four fifths of the club graduating at the end of the year, replacement members have to be recruited. There are college exams to prepare for, colleges to choose, and friends to prepare to say goodbye to. But no matter what happens, they'll have their faculty adviser and secret former death metal guitar/vocalist Sawako Yamada there to help them in her own unusual way, especially since she's now their homeroom teacher as well! 

Most of all, they'll have each other. The group of amateur musicians who barely knew each other has become much more than just a band, and by the time this school year is over, they're going to achieve something so amazing it requires multiple exclamation marks!!"

For those who may have previously read our review of K-On, feel free to skip to the bottom two paragraphs which will give you a basic thumbs up, thumbs down idea of our feelings. Alternatively, you could give me 2 minutes of your day and come along for the ride.

Thanks for staying with us. 

As with the first season of K-On!, the animation is supplied by Kyoto Animation (Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) and it never fails to please. The animation is every bit as vibrant as season one and the backgrounds seem to be even better. One of the most impressive aspects of this series has been the attention to detail that is given to seemingly unimportant elements such as wood grain in flooring, shop fronts in the distance and of course, the musical instruments. As an ex-music nerd (I seem to have grown out of it), I appreciate the detail put into each of the instruments from Yui's sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard to Ritsu's Rick Marotta Signature Yamaha Hipgig drum kit. Showing even more appreciation to the instruments is a scene which shows Ritsu and Mio after they bought Ritsu's kit. On first inspection, it looks as though they missed some by only carrying 2 boxes, but those in the know will realise that this particular kit is able to be packed within itself, like a babushka doll. It's these small details that give the impression that the writers and director have done their homework.

So, while the animation has maintained its fantastically high standard so has the music. The vast majority of the musical numbers, such as the opening "Go! Go! Maniac" and ending theme is "Listen!!", are sung by Toyosaki, Hikasa, Satō, Kotobuki, and Taketatsu - the Japanese voices of Yui, Mio, Ritsu, Mugi and Azusa respectively. While traditional songs are performed by their respective seiyuu, Hajime Hyakkoku returns to the score which flits from light and airy to relatively underwhelming. That said, the being somewhat understated pushes more focus onto the main theme songs and characters performances.

Director Naoko Yamada returns to her role in season 2 and does a great job of nurturing the characters. While the first season (which was far too short in my opinion) was a delightful set up phase, season 2 is able to explore the characters just a touch more. While there are no particularly dark moments, what we see are a few episodes of internal struggle. Ritsu faces some inner demons and the rest of the gang deal with the looming prospect of leaving Azusa as the sole member of the Light Music Club upon  graduation.

While it could very well be dismissed as being cutesy fluff, K-On!! is one of the best animated, heart warming, feel good series I have ever seen. Each and every episode is an utter delight from beginning to end. It's great to have the girls back. Amidst so many series full of violence, darkness and high emotion K-On!! is a welcome distraction. A simple pleasure in an industry that can, at times, take itself far too seriously.

K-On!! (Season 2) Collection 1 is available on Blu Ray and DVD now from our friends at Madman and you can preorder Collection 2 as well!


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