Friday, April 10, 2009

(Late) Spring Impressions: K-on!

It's hard to believe that the winter season is over, and the second
week of the spring season is here already - I haven't posted in a
while but since it's a slow Friday before Easter at work, might as
well Swiffer off this blog and throw two cents into the ether.

K-on! is the series that's probably getting the most press right now,
and while not everyone's enjoying it (Hinano and JP gave it the kind
of review you'd give cancer
), I was impressed by the first two
episodes. To me, the characters are likeable and entertaining, the
animation is fluid, the character designs good - I doubt at the end
I'll look back and say it was as good as, say, Toradora, but so far
I'm still hooked. Someone compared this to Manabi Straight, and laid
back, slice-of-life, moe series are usually just what I'm looking for
to relax at the end of the workday.

The other popular comparison is to Lucky Star, and while I can see the
parallels between the four main characters I think K-on! flows a lot
better - Lucky Star (as much as I love the series) does have that
derived from a 4-panel manga "feel" to it as it jumps from moment to
moment, while K-on! seems to have a more coherent, linear storyline.
Getting good character development in an anime derived from a 4-panel
comic seems unlikely, but I'm hoping K-on! will deliver. Having said
that, I think it'll be hard for K-on! to top Lucky Star in my book,
since I love Lucky Star's characters - but they had 26 episodes to
grow on me, while K-on!'s only had two, so you never know.

It looks like Mio's getting the most love from fans so far, and I can
see why based on episode 2 - hell, even Yui was almost moegasming over
her. I think Yui has the most potential for development though,
starting out as fairly unmotivated and not knowing anything about
music, will she end up rivaling Nagato on the guitar? Probably not,
but I'm hoping for a Live Alive-like performance by the end of the
series, even if it's not in a stadium.

So far my biggest complaint is the 4:3 aspect ratio just looks off to
me since I'm so used to 16:9, hopefully it'll air in widescreen in a
couple weeks. Mugi's eyebrows were vaguely disturbing at first, but I
guess I'm getting used to them even though apparently I don't have
thick eyebrow moe.

I was looking forward to the second episode enough that I watched it
raw on YouTube (let's just say their definition of "high quality" is
very 2005) and as usual with my sorry Japanese skillz I got maybe 10%
of the dialogue. The subs are so fast there's really no need to watch
the raw though - this morning Coalguys had it subbed already. On this
kind of trajectory by the time my daughter's old enough to watch
anime, subs will be out before shows even air, if anyone still sends
signals over the air by then.