K-On! Season Two, Collection 2 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 21, 2012 by Dennis Amith
The immensely popular “K-ON!” anime series is back with the final episodes of season two. Graduation time has come for the members of the Light Music Club, but before they go on their own separate ways, enjoy the final episodes featuring Yui, Ritsu, Mio, Tsumugi and Azusa. Definitely one of my favorite anime series to be released in 2012! If you are looking for a lighthearted, fun and hilarious anime series, “K-On!” is highly recommended!
Images courtesy of ©Kakifly/Houbunshua/Sakura High Band. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: K-ON!: K-On! Season Two, Collection 2
DURATION: Episodes 14-26 + OVA (350 Minutes)
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen), Dolby Digital, Audio: English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English
RATED: TV 14
COMPANY: TBS Animation/Sentai Filmworks
RELEASE DATE: August 28, 2012
Originally Created by kakifly
Directed by Naoko Yamada
Screenplay by Jukki Hanada, Katsuhiko Muramoto, Masahiro Yokotani, Reiko Yoshida
Music by Hajime Hyakkoku
Character Design by Yukiko Horiguchi
Art Director: Seiki Tamura
Chief Animation Director: Yukiko Horiguchi
Animation Production: Kyoto Animation
Featuring the voices of:
Aki Toyosaki/Stephanie Sheh as Yui Hirasawa
Asami Sanada/Karen Strassman as Sawako Yamanaka
Ayana Taketatsu/Christine Marie Cabanos as Azusa Nakano
Chika Fujitō/Laura Bailey as Nodoka Manabe
Madoka Yonezawa/Xanthe Huynh as Ui Hirasawa
Minako Kotobuki/Shelby Lindley as Tsumugi Kotobuki
Satomi Satou/Cassandra Lee as Ritsu Tainaka
Yōko Hikasa/Cristina Vee as Mio Akiyama
Yoriko Nagata/Michelle Ann Dunphy as Jun Suzuki
Sometimes music and words come together so perfectly that the combination is far more powerful than either would be alone. In much the same way, the five members of the Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School’s Light Music Club have become far more than just a group of girls with similar interests. More, even, than just a group of friends. Through the medium of music they’ve found a common course in life, and whatever the future may bring, they know they can get through it if they stand together. Which makes the coming end of the school year and the graduation of the four older members something that’s dreaded as much as it’s looked forward to. But in the meantime there’s so much going on, it’s as life has decided to throw everything it can at them. Going to music festivals won’t be hard to swing, but running a marathon? That will be a stretch! Yearbook photos? The horror! And a school play with Mio and Ritsu cast as Romeo and Juliet? Ooo, VERY awkward. And then, of course, there’s one big final performance for the band! The tempo is rising and emotions run wild as the final encore approaches in K-ON! Season 2 Collection 2!!
All good things must come to an end and for the Light Music Club at Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School, Yui, Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi are graduating high school and will be moving on their own separate directions. And for sophomore Azusa, will she be left alone or will new members join the Light Music Club? Find out in “K-On! Season Two, Collection 2″!
The girls of Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School’s Light Music Club (K-On!) are back in season 2 of the hit Japanese animations series known as “K-On!”.
“K-ON!”, happens to be one of the hottest anime series in Japan that has not only dominated in the TV ratings but also on Japan’s Oricon music charts!
The series has been a phenomenon as it has attracted fans all over the world, those who want to cosplay as the characters, those who want to sing like the characters and those who want to play the music of the characters. Just one look on YouTube and all over the Internet and you can see how passionate fans have been for this series!
“K-ON!” began as a four-panel comic strip written and illustrated by kakifly and the manga would then be serialized in Houbunsha’s seinen manga magazine “Manga Time Kirara” between May 2007-October 2010. In April 2011, the manga was relaunched on both “Manga Time Kirara” and Houbunsha’s magazine “Manga Time Kirara Carat” with two separate storylines.
The popularity of the manga series led to a 13-episode anime TV series which aired in Japan on April-June 2009, an OVA episode in Jan. 2010 and a 26-episode second season titled “K-ON!!” which aired in Japan from April through Sept. 2010, a new OVA released in March 2011 and an animated film last winter.
The series would also lead to a Sony PSP music rhythm video game and now, for American audiences who have been wanting more K-On!, “K-On!” Season Two, Collection 2 will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.
What is K-On!?
“K-ON!” is a play on the Japanese word “keiongaku” (light music) and the series follows four high school students of Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School who are members of the “keiongaku” club. The four characters featured thus far in the series are Yui Hirasawa, a naive and clumsy student entering high school who is not entirely sure what she wants to do in terms of extracurricular activities. While she tries to figure out what she wants to do, two other students, Ritsu Tainaka and Mio Akiyama join the keiongaku club to find out that most of the members have graduated and the only way they can keep the club open is if they have four members.
Because Ritsu plays the drums and Mio plays the bass guitar, they hope they can find other musicians and form a band.
Fortunately, a new member joins the group, Tsumugi Kobobuki, a student from a wealthy family who plays a Korg Triton Extreme 76-key keyboard. Now all they need is one member.
While Yui is trying to think of activities to do, she sees a flyer for the keiongaku club and in her mind, she remembers light music as something she did when she was young student in elementary school and so she joins. Meanwhile, the other three members are happy because with a fourth member, the club will stay alive but also the fact that maybe Yui is a guitarist and now, they can start their own band.
But Yui is not a musician and if anything, what she loves about the club is the ability to eat desserts and drink tea with the other members but when the three members perform in front of her, she becomes inspired and wants to be a member of the club and be part of the band.
Eventually Yui learns the guitar rather quickly and the four would go on to form a band known as Hokago Tea Time thanks to the advice from their advisor and former K-On! Club member and rocker Sawako Yamanaka.. By the end of the first season, the club gains a new club member named Asuza Nakano, a best friend of Yui’s younger sister Ui.
And the first season featured the band performing live in a non-school related event.
So, what happens in Season 2?
As the first season focused on group dynamics and the group wanting to perform live and work on being a band, as expected with the first season, they were character building episodes. Getting to know Yui, Ritsu, Mio, Tsumugi and Azusa as well as their friends Nodoka and advisor Sawako.
The second season now features some music related episodes but now focuses on their senior year and high school. Wondering what they will do after graduating and for young Azusa, being sad that her friends will be graduating and wondering what will happen to the Light Music Club after they leave and will they find any new members.
For their final senior school year, their music advisor Sawako Yamanaka is now their teacher and to make things interesting, she has brought together all senior classmates of the Light Music Club and also Nodoka into the same class. So, a lot of the episodes focus on their senior year in high school, rather than focusing on strictly music.
We are also get to see the introduction of Azusa’s friends who have an interest in joining the club, after seeing how much fun Asuza has with her bandmates.
For the second half of the series, the storyline becomes more emotional as the members know they are graduating high school and for Azusa, she realizes how much her new friends have made an impact on her life and wondering if she can continue the Light Music club without them.
Here is what to expect in the second half of episodes of “K-On! Season Two, Collection 2″ (spoilerless summaries):
- EPISODE 14 – Ritsu and Tsumugi hang out, but what happens when Tsumugi wants to be hit, like how Mio hits Ritsu in the head?
- EPISODE 15 – Summer vacation is over and the girls participate in a school-wide marathon.
- EPISODE 16 – Azusa wants the group to practice more but can she get them to do that?
- EPISODE 17 – The Light Music club room is closed down as it will be undergoing repairs. Now the group have to figure out where to practice.
- EPISODE 18 – What happens when Mio is nominated by the club to be Juliet and for Romeo…Ritsu?
- EPISODE 19 – It’s the big day for the “Romeo & Juliet” play but with the light music club’s upcoming live concert, she fears they haven’t had enough time to practice.
- EPISODE 20 – It’s time for the girls to perform live at the school festival!
- EPISODE 21 – The girl’s prepare for their graduating yearbook photos and think about what kind of haircut they should have for their senior photo.
- EPISODE 22 – Azusa wants to make a chocolate cake for the members of the Light Music Club to celebrate Valentine’s Day but also their upcoming graduation.
- EPISODE 23 – Members of the club want to hang out before their big graduation day.
- EPISODE 24 – It’s graduation day and the final day that the Light Music Club with its current members, will be together in high school.
- EPISODE 25 – A story that takes place after episode 21, Azusa finds the Light Music Club’s recruitment video.
- EPISODE 26 – A story that takes place before episode 23, Nodoka shows the club a sample of their graduation yearbook.
- OVA – The storyline takes place before episode 14 and features the girls wanting to go overseas. But can they?
“K-ON!” features the following characters:
- Yui Hirasawa- Yui is a naive and clumsy student who likes to sleep, eat and go shopping. But when she joins the Keiongaku club, she becomes the group’s newest member and the band’s guitarist. She tries to learn how to play a Heritage Cherry Sunburst Gibson Les Paul standard electric guitar.
- Ritsu Tainaka – The most vocal person of the Keiongaku club. She is a drummer that plays a yellow Rick Marotta Signature Yamaha hipgig drum kit and always upbeat, energetic, sarcastic and often always playing jokes on her good friend Mio. Sometimes she can get in the nerves of the other members but she is the most determined in wanting to make sure the club exists and that they form a band.
- Mio Akiyama - The levelheaded person of the group and the smartest student among the four. She plays a Fender Jazz Bass. She originally was planning to join the literary club but her friend Ritsu tore up her applications and made her join the Keiongaku club. Although a person who knows quite a bit about music, she is also quite shy and is easy to scare. She can’t take anything that deals with anything scary, ghosts, blood, injuries or anything macabre.
- Tsumugi Kotobuki - The daughter of a very wealthy family. Known as “Mugi”, she plays a Korg Triton Extreme keyboard and is a piano prodigy. She is known for her blonde hair and thick eyebrows. Because her father owns a variety of businesses including a maid cafe, she often brings desserts to the club meetings.
- Azusa Nakano – The same class as Yui’s sister Ui, Azusa joins the Keiongaku music club but not sure if she wants to stay because the members do not appear to be taking their band practices that seriously.
- Ui Hirasawa – Yui’s younger sister who tends to get Yui out of a jam. Unlike Yui, Ui is more responsible and mature and takes care of her older sister.
- Nodoka Manabe - Yui’s childhood friend and confidant. Smart and intelligent, despite how Yui is at times, Nodoka always supports her.
- Sawako Yamanaka – A beloved teacher known for her kind heart, she also carries a secret, she is a former member of the Keiongaku music club during her high school years and was a member of a death metal band known as “Death Devil” as the lead guitarist and vocalist. She has tried to hide her past but when the members find a photo and music of her past, as part of a deal for them to keep it a secret, she becomes their advisor. Despite seeming to be responsible, she is quite wild and an airhead like Yui. And also making the members dress up in costumes that she creates.
“K-ON!” is an anime series that is stylishly created but also features beautifully painted art backgrounds. Presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen), one thing that I love to see when it comes to anime series is the attention to detail when covering a modern setting.
A lot of TV series tend to not make the backgrounds of a city landscape so detailed and tend to put a lot of recycled trees, dirt and sky but “K-ON!”, is not one of those anime series. There are scenes and also still images of natural settings that are beautifully painted and added to the series. There is detail for the instruments, for the desserts and I felt that with each episode, aside from the practice room and the wideshot image of their school, there was always something new being featured in terms of location. So, the color palette of the series is full of color and nothing is stale or seemed regurgitated.
With that being said, the colors are a bit saturated but for an anime TV series (which is expected) but the OVA does feature more vibrant colors and a bit more detail.
For the many decades I have watched Japanese animation, for anime series that are set in a modern Tokyo setting, I prefer anime series that focused on the smallest details, such as what is inside their bedrooms and home. What’s inside the stores when they go shopping, etc. I love seeing those details instead of the typical walls or trees that are part of the banality anime TV series.
“K-ON!” is one of those series where those little things matter and for me, those attention to small details enhanced my appreciation for the series.
If there was a weak side of this Blu-ray release, I’m sure the audiophiles might be a bit cranky that the soundtrack is not Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA. What you get is an English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack. What surprised me is the fact that even with the work for the English dub version, there was no change to make it a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack or to increase the bitrate for Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA. But for a Blu-ray release, those who are expecting immersive lossless audio may fret about it, while those who have been waiting for this series to come out to the U.S. will be perfectly fine with the its 2.0 lossless soundtrack.
Personally, I chose to have my receiver play the anime series with stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape. As for the voice acting, I am a bit biased to the Japanese voice acting but I did watch the series also with the English dub soundtrack and for the most part, both are well-done and the voice acting should appeal to fans who prefer their anime in Japan or English.
Subtitles are in English.
“K-On! Season Two, Collection 2″ comes with the following special features:
- Clean Opening and Closing Animations
- Trailers – Sentai Filmworks trailers.
Since I first began reviewing “K-On!” and enjoying the series a lot, playing the video games to even purchasing the “K-On!” Figma figures, suffice to say, I always wondered if the series would go on for several seasons before the girl’s would graduate. I just never thought that it would happen in season two. But all things come to and end, but there is always a new beginning and this second half of “K-On!” is about one chapter ending, another chapter begins.
And for the Light Music Club, the music will continue.
As a fan of “K-On!”, we have watched as Yui looked for a club to join, purchasing her first guitar, hanging out with her friends during the holiday season, sleepovers, New Year’s Eve and we have seen them work hard to make their music (although, they possibly did more eating and having fun that practicing) but eventually growing their friendship and carrying the Light Music Club to new heights at Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School.
I will remember Mio’s fear of scary stories, I will remember Ritsu’s jokes and lackadaisical approach to music and of course, who can forget Tsumugi’s cheerfulness, her tea and sweets.
But here we are now with “K-On!” Season Two, Collection 2 and its time for Yui, Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi to graduate from high school. And as the first half featured the girl’s taking part in several events and having fun during summer vacation, this time around it’s about their final activities in school. From taking part in a school play and performing at their last music festival at school but most importantly, seeing how this affects their young member Azusa.
Azusa has always been strong and not the type to express her emotions. Sure, she may be frustrated as the group had slacked off from practicing but she also learns that her friendship has taught them a lot. That it’s OK for her to show her sweet side, it’s ok for her to show off her emotions but most of all, what it feels like to have older sisters and friends who will be by you, no matter what.
And these last episodes are a culmination of that friendship and the final months leading to their graduation and a new beginning for the Light Music Club.
While the series is the end for Yui, Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi as members of the Light Music Club, the story has continued in an animated film which ties into the final episode of the series. But one of the cool things about this Blu-ray release are the inclusions of the two extra episodes and the OVA.
The two extra episodes are more or less episodes that take place before a certain time of the series and the OVA takes place before episode 14, if anything, episodes to prolong the fun times that these members have together. But nevertheless, these final episodes for season two were fun and very emotional. Graduating is emotional, saying goodbye to friends is emotional but as one chapter ends, another begins.
And I like to think that “K-On!” will exist. Maybe not with the same members, but it will hopefully continue on with maybe Azusa or a whole new group of students.
But after watching season two, my feelings for the series have not changed.
I really love this series! And loved the progression of the Hokago Tea Time band and how each of these young ladies grew up together to become a band that can actually perform quite well and start playing their first major gig to now growing together and getting ready to prepare themselves to whatever happens after high school but for now, enjoying this final year together.
My favorite episodes of the second half of season two includes episode 20 featuring the group performing their songs as the school festival, episode 22 which features the girl’s taking their entrance exams for college but Azusa wanting to go the extra mile of doing something special for her friends before they graduate. And of course, episodes 23-24 were great but episode 24 being the graduation episode, will no doubt bring a fan to tears, as it is the final goodbye.
I enjoyed every episode of the series and I just enjoy how lighthearted and fun they all were. I love the fact that it focuses on normal high school life but also the formation of a band and the dynamics with each of the members as they go through their ups and downs but also the little cute quirks that come with each character.
I typically don’t go crazy over anime series, nor am I the hardcore fan that goes out and buys anything after I see a series but this is probably the first time since I watched an anime series such as “Ranma 1/2″ back in 1992, where I went out and started buying merchandise related to the series. In fact, I have purchased the PSP video game, the Figma figures and it has become one of my favorite series that I have really got into in a very long time in this manner.
The music is awesome! The characters are entertaining. The animation and art backgrounds were very good and for the most part, it has been a long time, possibly since “Azumanga Daioh” in which I really enjoyed gakusei-based anime series (student anime series – focused on a school setting).
As for the Blu-ray release, I know one of the major criticisms that the first season (released by Bandai Entertainment) was its price and that it only came with four episodes per volume. And many wondered if Sentai Filmworks would follow the same path. And fortunately, for fans, Sentai Filmworks included 13-episodes with this first collection and the second half, you get 14 episodes total.
As for picture quality and audio quality, “K-On!” also receives a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 lossless soundtrack for both English and Japanese. And the TV series looks great on Blu-ray! And as for special features, the first season never really came with any and the second only comes with the clean opening and ending themes. But fortunately, fans should be happy that this second season Blu-ray release comes with the first 13-episodes, instead of just four episodes.
If you are an anime fan who loves a straight-up, feel-good anime series with nothing dark, nothing to risque but something just all out-fun, give “K-ON!” a chance! It’s a wonderful anime series on Blu-ray and there is really nothing like it out there (although one may want to check out the live action film “Linda Linda” if they are interested in a storyline of all-girl rock bands).
Overall, a fun, hilarious and entertaining second season of “K-ON!”. It’s sad to see the character’s saying goodbye, especially after enjoying each episode for season one and two and watching the adventures and wild club meetings featuring the members of the Light Music Club. But like life for many, after high school graduation, everyone moves on in their own separate direction and begins life anew. But I will remember “K-On!” for its characters, its bubbly and happy storyline, its music and upbeat energy.
Definitely one of my favorite series to be released in 2012 and an enjoyable anime series overall!
I highly recommend both “K-On! Season Two, Collection 1 and 2. Definitely recommended!
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