Outside of my core fan pursuits, K-On!! gave me the best anime watching experience this year. I’m not a fan of this kind of show, despite my enjoyment of shows like it (Aria, Manabi Straight, and Lucky Star) that is, by fan I mean I go out of my way to find and watch these shows. Usually I get to watch these after recommendations from people I trust, but no K-ON! which I gambled on.
Sometimes, I win too. However, K-On!! was such an awesome show for me this year that I don’t feel I’m enough by myself to account for the great moments in it. So I rounded up a bunch of cool friends who I watched the show with to share their favorite moments, and I’ll provide my commentary as well. Here they are (6 awesome guys!):
Now that I’ve rounded up the guys, let’s have a light and fluffy time talking about our favorite moments in the show!
Episode 04: “Field Trip!”
This was the moment I think when this season started to distance itself from the first. It’s a subtle enough shift: a stock field trip episode in Kyoto. But Sawako started manifesting a newfound desire to be taken seriously as a teacher, while Mugi started manifesting a stronger desire to be deeper part of the group, or at least experiencing things that are beyond her existence. The pillow-fight was delightful, while “Skull” and “Lycopene” became internet memes among viewers of the show.
Episode 10: “Teacher!”
Such a quiet but endearing moment. At this point the show was already taking on a mythic quality in my eyes. Back in high school, when I was learning to play the guitar I’d always put the axe away after an upperclassman finished playing with it (I always carried a guitar around in school). But at some point, when I was just that bit more confident in my playing I wouldn’t put the guitar away. I would play my own licks. And yes, it was the jam man.
Episode 07: “Tea Party!”
Um, right uh… Char. I liked that episode a lot as well. It was laying the sentimentality very thick but in a delightfully cheesy way. I think Mio didn’t get a fair shake this season. While Mugi discovered friendship, Ritsu rediscovered music, Yui discovered songwriting, Mio remained static and never transcended her go-to moé-moé role; that is, to be the butt of the moé-moé gags.
Mugi’s earnestness is her moé quality, Azu-nyan, Ricchan, and Yui also are the butt of jokes but they give as much as they take (maybe not Azusa, but Azusa became the major protagonist this season; her hopes and dreams lie beneath the moments in the story). Mio didn’t just gets showcased this episode as an object. This episode represents the continuing treatment she’ll get from the narrative.
Nonetheless, as Char seems to imply, this moment can be and is perhaps best enjoyed with a Pure-Pure Heart.
Episode 14: “Summer Training!”
Can’t blame Athrun. This was an episode that I felt was on the bleeding edge of viewer manipulation via moé. I can’t pick a single moment in this show. Was it Mugi coming from behind Ritsu to surprise her? Was it one of many of Mugi’s efforts to get herself knocked on the head by Mio.
She doesn’t get it, which is moé as well: she has to get under Mio’s skin. She’s incapable of doing that to anybody. And I think I’ll pick the moment that she does get hit… because it brought out the Ritsu we don’t get to see: a Ritsu stripped of her trolling demeanor and left with nothing but her self as loving friend.
Episode 20: “Yet Another School Festival!”
Runge picks a BIG one. I think this is my favorite moment as well, precisely because of how Sawako is wordlessly used to underscore the significance and intimacy(!) of the moment as it occurs. Sawako had this moment before, and perhaps she silently cursed the club moderator that barged in their own moment… in any case Sawako showed great maturity and class here. For all her narcissism in wanting to be treated as a mature teacher… when it really counts, she displays it.
When I was conducting training programs and workshops, I put in a lot of effort in setting the participants up for success. But when they do succeed, I need to acknowledge that it’s their hard work and guts that get them through… and that the moment of victory was all theirs. I wanted very much to share those moments, but I did as Sawa-chan did, but not quite with the same grace.
Episode 24: “Graduation Ceremony!”
Thanks Ranka, this is how to bring it all home. It’s central to the plot of the narrative. For the passing of the four from high school to be as meaningful (after all, they’ll stay together in college), someone has to mourn their loss and bear the burden of continuing the club. Azusa played the role very well. I can’t help but share the moment again here:
And there you have it, our favorite moments from my favorite show of 2010. Thanks again to my friends Heinrich Runge, Kneesocks, Athrun Zala, Ikari Gendo, Good ol’ Char, and Ranka-chan! You made a post so difficult to write (yes, this post took me more than a month to finish) fun to complete.
As for you dear readers, what are you’re favorite moments from K-On!!?