Entering the club room after class, Yui finds Ritsu sifting through an album with old photos of members from the previous light music club incarnations.
While Ritsu doesn’t think much of it except wonder what past music generation the photos date back to, Yui’s attention is pulled towards one of the pictures showing a long haired, leather clad rock girl.
Practicing the song they intend to play at the school festival, Yui hurts one of her fingers, the skin having peeled off since she hasn’t formed enough calluses yet.
Her club mates are of little help as Mio cowers in the corner at the sight of blood and Ritsu has too much fun torturing poor Mio over it. When their music teacher Yamanaka Sawako enters the room, she witnesses the odd scene.
Taking care of Yui’s finger in the teacher’s lounge, Sawako feels Yui’s other fingertips and remarks she still has some way to go before they will be tough enough.
Surprised at her teacher’s knowledge, Yui asks Sawako if she plays guitar to which the kind teacher responds she used to many years ago.
On her way back from meeting with the student council, Tsumugi passes the teacher’s lounge and sees the scene unfold.
Heading back to the club room, Tsumugi reveals to Yui that the keion-bu’s application to play at the school festival was rejected as they haven’t been recognized as an official club yet. When Ritsu later hears this shocking revelation, the three swiftly head for the student council to rectify the situation.
Entering the student council room with her fellow club members, Yui is surprised to find Nodoka there, working for the student council.
As Nodoka goes through all club registrations, she notices there’s simply none for the light music club so surmises that they probably forgot to turn in their application form.
Accusing the student council of an evil conspiracy against them, Ritsu cries foul play but is swiftly whacked on the head by Mio who remembers Ritsu indeed neglected to fill in and submit the club’s application documents.
Seeing what a unique lot the girls are, Nodoka ponders Yui fits in well and found the perfect club to belong in. She decides to help and begins filling in a club registration form, but when she asks the girls who their club advisor is, she’s flabbergasted when the four reveal not even knowing they needed an advisor.
Setting their sights on the music teacher Sawako, the keion-bu girls nearly stalk the gentle teacher and implore her to become the club advisor. However, Sawako refuses since she’s already the advisor of the wind ensemble music club.
While Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi plead with Sawako, Yui stares intently at the teacher.
Observing Sawako is a graduate from their school, Yui asks if she might not have been in the light music club back when she was a student since her face seems familiar, as if she saw it in one of the photos from the club album.
Shocked, Sawako asks if the photo album is still in the club room and when Yui confirms, the teacher dashes off in a mad sprint towards the club room. Barging in, Sawako spots the album on the table but to her horror the photo in question is missing from it.
Holding up the photo of the wild rocker girl clad in red leather, the keion-bu girls ask if this was Sawako to which the teacher can only confess the truth.
Enthusiastic their teacher is a guitar player, Yui hands her instrument to Sawako but when the seemingly gentle teacher feels the Gibson Les Paul in her hands she transforms into a mad rock monster, playing the guitar like no other.
Ashamed the girls have witnessed this unexpected side of her, Sawako reveals that eight years ago, she was a simple studious bookworm. Rejected by the boy she confessed her love to because he preferred wilder girls, she became a rock addict.
As her transformation failed to win him over, she became wilder and wilder until he rejected her again for overdoing it.
Taking her chances, sly Ritsu blackmails Sawako to become their advisor or she’ll publish the photo, but the plan backfires for the girls are subject to Sawako’s hard rock personality streak and are harshly trained into playing better.
Making matters worse, the keion-bu girls forgot all about adding lyrics to their own composed track they want to play at the school festival.
Tasked with writing the lyrics, Mio struggles on it all night, ultimately inspired by a text message from Tsumugi into writing a fluffy song. The next day, Ritsu and Sawako burst out in laughter upon reading the happy go lucky lyrics, but to their horror, Yui ad Tsumugi are all for it.
But who will actually sing? With Mio refusing to do so, Ritsu turns to Tsumugi but the keyboard player says she has her hands full so defers to the enthusiastic Yui.
Reluctantly, Ritsu gives the task to Yui and they test out how Yui may fare. Surprisingly, Yui’s guitar play is quite good and so is her singing, only she isn’t able to do them together at all.
With only little over a week left before the school festival, Sawako trains Yui every night to enable her to play and sing at the same time.
Coming back to the club room days later to announce the results of Yui’s training, Sawako reveals it went well but alas Yui lost her voice due to practicing too much.
The school festival is only three days away and the keion-bu is cornered, with no one else to turn to, they subject the task of lead vocals to Mio, who faints from even thinking about having to sing in public.
What will become of the keion-bu’s school festival live performance?
Just when I thought “K-ON!” was set in its way as a great slice of life comedy around girls and their school music club, and that I had figured out how Kyoto Animation would bring it every episode, this week’s episode blew me away by including unexpected changes.
While remaining true to itself, the stylistic and focus changes in this episode compared to the previous one were quite surprising.
Last week’s beach episode focused heavily on promoting Mio’s moe side in several key scenes, and while Mio had a few cute moments in this episode too, it really all revolved around their teacher Sawako this week.
Not only were we treated to great scenes with Sawako and the keion-bu girls, filled with a lot of hilarious moments, but her character didn’t remain the simple two dimensional and all too generic impossibly perfect elegant and gentle young teacher lady teacher.
Instead we saw she is far more interesting with her darker rock streak. Although she was once a meek girl who wanted to become wild for all the wrong reasons, she is forever addicted to music and playing guitar, she can get impatient or even explode when her dark streak takes the upper hand and is fallible enough to want to be admired and fawned upon by all her students.
While I still adore Mio, her reign as favorite “K-ON!” character may be jeopardized or face serious competition against Sawako.
Also liked how this episode portrayed the keion-bu girls as being a tightly knit club where all four different personalities compliment each other well to form a circle of friends that have a great time playing music.
Didn’t only love Sawako’s scenes but liked what we saw of Tsumugi as well. Learned more about her in a few small scenes and of course I’m quite pleased seeing the implicit yuri undertones played up for Tsumugi.
Though her interest in seeing girls bonding may simply be from a friendship perspective since she seems to have not had any real friends before, the implicit yuri undertone may just be there as fanservice or vehicle to drive the humor along.
Still, curious if and how they’ll play that angle out if there’s truly a yuri plot for Tsumugi’s character.
If so I can only applaud and wonder what it may mean for Mio. For while Mio might have pondered about Tsumugi showing interest in Sawako because she’s their teacher, Mio didn’t seem to mind Tsumugi having yuri interests.
My biased yuri interests may be getting the best of me here though and might actually just have spawned from wishful thinking.