When K-ON! first started, it was pretty entertaining until about halfway through the season. At that point, I began to get pretty bored of the whole thing. Usually, slice of life is my thing and music lines up with my interests. The most interesting parts to me were the OP and the ED. I really like Don’t say lazy, and not just because I can kind of play it. What went wrong? What’s different about the slice-of-life formula that K-ON! uses? It’s just cake and moe, right?
I’ve found that K-ON! is crtitcized for being too much cake and not enough music. I’ve come to realize that it does focus on music a lot. What’s surprising about this is that I find that this makes it uninteresting like other slice of life shows. See, the problem is that K-ON!’s music parts aren’t done very well. The most interesting thing about the music is watching them perform and that is rendered boring because of their attempts to avoid animating the playing of their instruments as much as possible. That leaves terrible and boring talks about music.
And since they focus on the music more than people realize and because it’s so boring, it renders the entire show boring. Outside of music, the girls are doing the same thing: eating cake instead of practicing, going on trips, and performing without it being animated. Unless they delve into more specific stuff about music, there’s really nowhere else they can go. I mean, when Azusa was introduced, it was just an excuse to repeat what they’d already done.
The difference between K-ON! and Hidamari or Lucky Star was that they didn’t just do the same stuff. Yeah, Hidamari was about art, but the stuff they did outside of that took up more time and was weirder, like the caterpillar or the box of seafood or Yuno’s acid trip when she had a fever. The same applies to Lucky Star, where Konata’s otakuism gives more room for interesting things to happen, like the cosplay cafe or Comiket.
I also remember someone mentioning Manabi Straight. They both share the band of friends trying to accomplish something against all odds, except Manabi Straight had real conflict as opposed to the manufactured crap that happened in episode 11. The characters had problems and they struggled through them and grew. And dear God, I can’t believe anyone would seriously compare Beck with this. Seriously, guys? Just because they both have gitahs?
I think K-ON! was best not only during the parts where they actually concentrated on performance (as opposed to aborted attempts at practicing), but during the parts where the manga was followed more faithfully. I found the 4-koma pretty fun, and I guess the reason is that it’s quick and doesn’t waste any time at all. The most boring parts were the parts that KyoAni filled in. I know it’s a 4-koma and that they need to interpolate some stuff, but I felt like they didn’t do that great of a job this time around.
I guess I’m more disappointed that I don’t feel like K-ON! has adequately enthralled me than that I think it’s bad. In retrospect, I really am just nitpicking on stuff. It did manage to get on my bass (which I have retroactively named Mio, since its original name has escaped me) a bit more. Maybe I was expecting rabid hilarity like from later episodes of Lucky Star and Hidamari Sketch. Or maybe I was expecting every episode to be Live Alive. I guess all I can say is that it was nice.
So what did it need more of? It needed more performances like in 12, less forced drama like in 11, less pointless training camp stuff, more character development like in 13, less dragging out stuff (Azusa’s introduction didn’t need two episodes). Basically, tightening up some stuff instead of dragging stuff out with cake. Maybe drag stuff out with more performance or better practices? I’m still waiting on their performance of Don’t say lazy.