|K-On! Season 2 Blu-Ray Collection Vols 1-2|
|Animation: Kyoto Animation||Airing Date: April 7 – September 28, 2010|
|Production: Kyoto Animation||MSRP: $69.98 each
|Publisher: Sentai Filmworks||Episodes: 26 + 1 OVA|
K-on! season two, surprisingly, has twice the amount of episodes (26 ignoring the OVA) than the first season, while the time frame is only one school year versus the two years of first season. Personally I feel the series would have been better off with only 13 episodes, so there could be more focus on the music aspect of the series. Although 26 episodes allows for more room for character development, there isn’t much to be spoken of sadly. The same goes for the plot, as well. Entire episodes go by without any of girls being shown as even touching their instruments, rather, they just go on incessantly talking and eating food. If you have seen My Dinner with Andre,then imagine many instances of this series to be a more droll and uninteresting version of such.
The plot does not begin to take off until the latter half of the series when preparation for the school festival and upcoming graduation starts to takes place. You begin to see less cake eating and more development overall here. As the series progresses, the reality of graduation becomes more and more prevalent to the characters. Graduation is constantly hinted at throughout the series, but, just like my very own graduation year, people do not realize the full implications until graduation is nearly upon them.
The girls gradually begin to question and understand what they are going to do with their lives in the future. Such as what career they want to work in, what post secondary school they would need to apply to do so (if necessary) and learn what they would need to study for the entrance exams. The girls even wonder as to what kind of person they wish to be when they grow older, as well. Even Azusa, who isn’t due to graduate until a year after the rest of the club members, has fears over what it would be like to be left alone as the only remaining member of the Light Music Club.
Despite these internal struggles the characters go through, they are only a minor focus of an episode overall. Dialogue deals mostly with the girls talking to one another about club activities, food, weather, class, jokes, what to do, etc. It really feels like a bunch of girls are just hanging out on screen talking about whatever is on their minds. Essentially, they do nothing most of the time. Even one of the characters, Azusa, makes this criticism throughout most of the series, which only brings it to your direct attention.
Despite this, character reactions are very realistic and plausible in nature. For instance, if a character trips or bumps their head, there isn’t unwarranted attention towards the event (and can often go ignored). The girls also don’t always pay attention to what another member is doing or saying in a scene and sometimes begin talking to another about something completely unrelated to the subject. This realistic depiction of the characters does give a sense of authenticity to them, but causes the plot to be overly dry and uneventful. This is something that one may come to expect with a slice of life show, but it’s even less uneventful than said expectations.
The English dub is of above average quality, although some dialogue pieces seem unsuitably flat in the first couple of episodes. The voices do suit the personalities of the characters quite well. The English dub also makes use of the Japanese honorific
s and nicknames used in the original dub. This is a nice touch, as it captures the school atmosphere well (and cuts down trying to fill words into those extra mouth movements). There also is fair amount of preservation of Japanese words which cannot be easily translated. The small instances in which these are present have proper pronunciations as well – even the word “karaoke” being pronounced as it normally would in Japanese.
The dub also succeeds by its use of keeping the original voice and vocals for the songs. Although the series is about a high school music club, the majority of the content of the series is everything but music. The only dose of a band performance in some episodes sadly is the opening and ending credits. The background music in this series is average – it doesn’t stick out; matches the moods well; yet has an overuse of some tracks which only seems to add to the monotony you can endure during the show.
The character animation is good quality; segments of just sitting and talking at a table contain lots of detail and movement. As to be expected, backgrounds are not of the same quality, having the visual appearance of paintings, but the backgrounds do have lots of objects and small details present, which really does bring some scenes to life.
Art direction is well executed overall and only suffers from some minor issues. Scene transitions can be quite jumpy at times, leaving you little time to adjust to the new setting but becomes less prevalent as the series progresses. There is no ecchi pandering such as panty shots or sexually suggestive poses of characters. Many bit characters have just as many frames and details as the main ones, this includes characters seen for only for a few seconds to say a line and are not seen again for several episodes.
The Blu-ray menus are tastefully simplistic, but have the exact same design for all four disks of the collection. This is far from being complimented by the lack of extras between the two volumes. The only things that could be considered as extras is the inclusion of clean opening and ending sequences – one of the most standard and petty of extra features. It does include the OVA which was included in the original Japanese disk releases as well, though.
Overall, there isn’t much to keep you engaged when watching this show. Even with its realism, believable dialogue, and character interactions you will find yourself struggling to recall what the characters aimed to accomplish in a specific episode; sadly realizing that there was none to speak of a majority of the time. There are too many episodes and not enough plot to spread around them.
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