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K-ON!! 20

August 19, 2010

The second day of the Sakura High School festival begins and the light music club girls are anxiously counting away the hours until their live performance. The girls fire themselves up and head to the stage, wearing the HTT shirts Sawako made for them.

Setting up their instruments before the curtains rise, the girls reminisce on their previous school festival performances, although Mio and Yui don’t only have good souvenirs, considering Mio fell on stage during the first year and Yui forgot her guitar at home the second year.

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Alas this performance starts off with the curtains raising on Yui falling down after having tripped on her guitar cable. Apologizing to the audience, Yui and her fellow band members realize everyone in the large crowd is also wearing the same Houkago Tea Time shirts, courtesy of Sawako who handed them out.

Moved by the audience’s warm applause, seeing all the HTT shirts and hearing Nodoka’s introduction, Yui has to fight back tears before starting their new song “Rice is a side dish”. The audience goes wild and soon the girls’ classmates who crowded together in front of the stage all sing along with the catchy lyrics.

Making small talk between songs, Yui not only has the audience laughing and swept along her own pace, but she gets Mio and Ritsu to recite lyrics from the previous day’s play, much to Nodoka’s worry for she fears their time slot will run out.

After the girls play another song, Yui introduces her fellow band members, Mio, Tsumugi, Ritsu and Azusa, even introducing Sawako and Nodoka. Before the kick off their last song, the girls introduce Yui, who despite her carefree and ditzy behavior inspires them and is always lively.

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Playing their last song, “U and I”, the girls woo the audience and can soon look back on a successful live performance as they take a well deserved breather in the music room. Although exhausted, they enthusiastically make plans for future events but when the four third year girls realize there will be no next year’s school festival gig for them, they all break out in tears.

Thoughts on this episode~

The animation in this episode was terrific, Kyoto Animation really went all out to finally create as much detailed footage as possible of the girls’ live performance. The whole live performance scene was beautifully animated with rich, detailed faces and instruments, terrific lighting effects and great music playing motion.

A wonderful episode, the surprisingly emotional final scene was gripping and unexpectedly moving. “K-ON!!” shows that as a slice-of-life series oriented more towards lighthearted fun and comedy without too much more tear jerking emotionally laden scenes, it can pull off a moving scene.

Not unlike “Aria” did with its final season full of moving moments, thanks to everything “K-ON!!” built up in the previous episodes in terms of spending time showcasing all five different girls and how they are experiencing their time in the light music club, they created a wonderfully moving and heart gripping final scene for this episode that will have no doubt touched every viewer.

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With their epic performance over, the girls not only slump down tired after releasing all anxiety built up towards the school festival, but mixed with their joy of having pulled off a good live performance with the sudden realization that it was their last school festival together and this precious time, this unique moment of an emotional roller-coaster full of joy and fun they experienced together is now past and forever gone.

Also appreciated how this time it was the four third year girls who broke down in tears while Azusa, who was previously shown to be quite burdened by her fear of being left alone when her upperclassmen graduate, remained strong and consoled her friends.
Although, why do I have the impression that the three girls shown sitting behind the occult club duo during the live performance (when Tsumugi was saying how much fun it is being in a band) might very well become the next light music club members?

With what could have been a moving and touching final scene to the series itself, this episode drives home more than ever that “K-ON!!” will soon end.

Which reminds me again of “Aria” in the sense how while these series which are full of joy, lust for life, both started to emphasize well before the finale that the happy times the characters were going through were about to end. Although their lives would still be filled with joy, they would never get back those specific joyful days they were experiencing now.

A very bittersweet feeling, no doubt meant to show us how life can not only be lived with great joy if we want it to, but how such times will always come to an end eventually and never come back, even though we might have other great days ahead of us that are just as fun.

Carpe diem. Seize the day, girls. Make your lives extraordinary!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2010 1:37 pm

    yeah, this episode was really great
    The concert athmosphere and the lively audience were done really good.
    I was surprised that they chose the food song from Yui, too
    “1,2,3,4 foodive” XD

    I never expected that an episode from K-on would make me cry,
    but I really cried at the end.
    As Ritsu said “there will be no next time” I couldn’t hold back.
    The last time I cried like that was in Clannad As
    I dont how I should manage to endure the last episode ;D.

    parting ways is hard, but at least there will be 6 more episodes to go

  2. August 20, 2010 7:16 pm

    Just like Fabienne, I also was brought to tears. K-ON is an awesome anime, that not everyone has been able to appreciate, about friendship, goodwill, kindness—just like Aria! But of course, to enjoy the good moments in life, there have to also be some sad moments to contrast with it. I’ve often said I don’t like overblown, gratuitous drama, but I do love this.

    And well, taking into account that shows like K-ON have adults as their target audience, I think it strikes a chord with everyone of us, whether we liked school a lot or not, leaving behind a life that will never return always has that bittersweet feeling. Those episodes where Alice, Aika and finally Akari graduate were so awesome.

    Oh, and I didn’t read your last sentence, I just saw it, and yes, I was going to say that too. Carpe diem. A word that has become a little frivolous in our times, unfortunately, but which is a really commendable attitude.

  3. August 20, 2010 8:15 pm

    @Fabienne
    While I didn’t cry it was a very powerful scene that would have fit as a series ending. Luckily we indeed have 6 more episodes to go, hopefully the series goes out with a bang. ^^
    @Sergio
    What makes the drama in “K-ON!!” so bittersweet is that -also like “Aria”- it exposes the viewer to moments everyone has in life but most people never really realize or appreciate until it’s too late. Too many don’t enjoy those wonderful, fun times and don’t realize they should cherish them for they are finite and never return.
    Too many people see the world through gray lenses and live in a dull, gray universe of hate and discontent. Seize the day, live in color and make yourself happy, seems much better to me indeed!

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