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.
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.
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.
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!