JFF Review - K-On! Movie

It seems only fitting that our first review of the 16th Japanese Film Festival, presented by the Japan Foundation, belongs to one of our favourite franchises, K-ON! (けいおん!)

Long term followers of Geek Of Oz will have undoubtedly come across our overwhelming and unbridled love for the gals from Sakuragaoka Girl's High School and their shenanigans through season one and season two of the series as released locally by Madman.

Five-piece girl band HO-KAGO TEA TIME have been together all throughout high school, and now it’s time to graduate. Ready to let their hair down and celebrate, they start planning a graduation trip - destination London! The band’s overseas debut is a whirlwind mix of gigs, adventures and comic mishaps, packed with K-ON style laughs, music and – of course – tea. Based on the wildly popular TV anime series, this is one for K-ON fans young and old. - Japan Foundation

Check out the full review after the jump!

The best way to start this review would be to say, the K-On! movie is every bit as delightful as the series. In fact, maybe even more so. So, if you so desire, stop reading and go book your tickets for the Sydney or Melbourne screenings!

Yes, K-On! is even MORE delightful than the precious series and the most basic explanation for this is found in the development of such loveable characters. While Yui, Mio, Mugi and Ritsu have always been sweet, gorgeous and hilarious, this film shows another side to them. It shows some character growth that was sorely needed to differentiate itself from the TV series' and especially the source material which was actually a 4 panel gag manga. What we get is an insight into the fears of four girls, four girls who are soon to be torn apart by the demanding mistress, known as... graduation. After years together they are set to graduate, leaving their youngest member Azusa to fend for herself and continue on in the Light Music Club.

The girls continue to grow and start transforming from girls into young ladies. Sure, it's still fluff and there is a scene in the film that acknowledges this but this film manages to be so much more. The girls journey outside of Japan and they mature in ways that only international travel allows. Of course, it's not all serious business with growth and such, there is of course a whole lot of laughs. While most of the giggles come from the hapless Yui, we also see another side to the rest of the cast who all get their moments in the spotlight.

The animation quality, as you'd expect is brilliant. Even though Kyoto Animation return to production duties, a bigger budget has allowed for even better animation than in the series. Colour palettes are more varied and the overall look and feel of the animation is more polished while still maintaining the unmistakable character designs of the source material, the eponymous manga series by Kakifly.

Overall, K-On! The Movie is every part the delight that the series has managed to be and then some. As one of a small handful of anime titles at this years Japanese Film Festival, it is a must see for anime fans. While it may not have giant robots, ninja or demons it does have a whole lot of heart and laughs galore.

Screening on the 17th of November in Sydney and the 8th of December in Melbourne, tickets to K-On! The Movie are available now.