K-ON!! 24 final
Although she had decided to walk to school together with Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi, Yui is late after having lost track of time. Rushing to school, the four girls frantically run through the corridors to their classroom, where Sawako and their classmates await.
Apologizing to Sawako for arriving late, the girls see their teacher is more concerned with Yui having torn a hole in her tights when she tripped earlier. Luckily, Ui prepared for such a mishap and provided Nodoka with a new pair of tights to hold onto for Yui.
The second year students having received flowers to pin on the graduates, Azusa heads with Ui and Jun to the auditorium. Absentmindedly gazing up the staircase when she spots her upperclassmen run past, Azusa hits her head on the wall.
Having taken Azusa to the infirmary, Ui and Jun try to cheer up the distraught girl by assuring her no one will notice the bandage under her bangs.
Casting a melancholic glance through the crowd to her light music club friends, Azusa enters the auditorium for the graduation ceremony after the third year students each receive a flower from one of their underclassmen.
Due to the torn tights mishap, Yui has yet to write a message on the thank you card the entire class wrote for Sawako, but the aloof guitar player is forced to sneak it into the auditorium under her vest as Sawako approaches to usher them inside.
Knowing that Yui is holding onto the card, the entire class is worried and casts glances at her throughout the ceremony, which doesn’t go unnoticed to Sawako who quickly wonders what Yui might be hiding.
When Mio spots Sawako intently looking at Yui, the bass player gets anxious and passes word along that Sawako seems worried about Yui, alas thanks to Ritsu, the message gets altered, which in turn causes Yui to worry.
The last one to write a message on the card, Yui evades Sawako’s queries when the teacher asks what she and Mio, Ritsu and Tsumugi were up to during the ceremony.
Handing out the girls’ diplomas, Sawako wishes them all the best in their future paths, the bespectacled teacher is touched when she receives the card the entire class wrote a personal message on to, realizing Yui had been holding onto it.
Ater taking pictures with many of the girls and saying her goodbyes, Sawako can’t hold bakc the tears when she sees her students also wrote parting messages on the blackboard.
Joining her graduating upperclassmen in the music room, Azusa interrupts Ritsu to assure them she will be fine and definitely keep the club alive. Giving Yui, Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi each a letter expressing her gratitude, Azusa’s brave facade eventually gives way and the twin tailed girl breaks down in tears, begging her treasured friends to not graduate.
Consoling Azusa, Yui gives their beloved friend a photo from the four of them back when they were first year students, as well as a flower with five petals. Wanting to express their feelings to Azusa, Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Tsumugi perform a song they wrote especially for her, the wonderful angel they met and will forever cherish.
Joining the girls in the music room, Sawako and Nodoka listen to the current light music club play one last time.
Thoughts on the finale~
Marked this episode’s blog post as final since they do say おしまい and the core story of the girls’ fun filled high school days in the light music club has come to an end.
Though not unlike the first season, next week we get an extra episode, apparently an epilogue of sorts featuring Azusa, Ui and Jun, likely to show what happens afterwards to the light music club now that the original four have graduated.
Personally believe that “K-ON!!” saw a terrific, well written and well paced finale with the girls’ graduation. In line with the previous episode, this main story ending was a leisurely paced episode showing the girls’ graduation day with a typical slice-of-life mellow realism.
The girls’ farewell to those fun days in high school, the music club, their treasured friend Azusa and kind teacher Sawako was not some overly melodramatic climax full of hammed up emotional roller-coasters, but instead captured that ephemeral feeling of such days in one’s life.
Although their graduation has plenty of emotional attachment, marking a new milestone in their young lives and a farewell to happy days of high school that will never come back in their same incarnation, the series managed to capture this feeling that in many ways it still is a day like any another and that tomorrow, there will be another day where everyone’s life goes on.
Forever changed no doubt, but life still goes on.
Showcasing us the third year girls’ usual antics, was glad to see they omitted overly emotional responses from Yui, Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi, for these girls had already come to terms with their graduation and their high school days coming to an end as far back as the school festival.
In contrast, Sawako is moved to tears when she has to part with her cherished students, the first class of her own as homeroom teacher, the first group of girls she guided to the next big step in their lives.
Spacing out as if trying to cut herself off from the emotions she feels, Azusa can’t cling to her mask of bravery and eventually breaks down in tears, begging them not leave her behind.
Instead of simply having her throw an emotional tantrum, they showed that while saddened, Azusa is determined to carry on by herself, strengthened by the happy times she lived with her upperclassmen, which all makes her a more whole, meaningful character.
The brief scene with Ui was a nice touch, showing how Ui has lived through such moments before, not merely those of her own but often having to let go off her older sister who’s always just ahead in life’s milestones.
Also loved the short scene where Yui thanks Nodoka, implying she was of invaluable help for Yui to have come this far, Nodoka’s facial expression was superbly well rendered.
Although I personally still do rate “Aria” higher as an anime and manga, do feel that the “Aria” finale could have been just that tad better if it had kept to this formula as well, for it was a bit ill fitting to see the anime adaptation include such an elaborate, ornate and emotional parting scene for Alicia’s retirement as an undine.
A scene which is not in the manga and allows the manga to keep its ending more bittersweet and mellow, as it should be, focusing on Akari’s feelings now that she’s taken that next step in life but also forever parted with the days training together with her friends.
As it stands, “K-ON!!” ended its storyline on a great finale perfectly fit for such a great slice-of-life series that is all about those fun days among friends in high school.
While “K-ON!!” may not be for everyone’s taste, it is a terrific slice-of-life comedy that gradually builds up towards a moving, yet mellow finale showcasing a bittersweet and romanticized look at young girls enjoying their high school days with their friends in the light music club.
To loosely compare it to other series, “K-ON!!” is the middle ground between “Lucky Star”, “Sketchbook ~full color’S~” and “Aria”.
If you are clever enough to look past the moe surface, past the hype and criticisms, you’ll no doubt enjoy this amazing series that takes you on a roller-coaster of joy and emotions without you even noticing it at first.