Project Haruhi
7Mar/1121

For Better or Worse? Two New K-ON! Manga Announced

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the upcoming issue of Manga Time Kirara will announce two new K-ON! spinoff manga, both of which will premiere next month. As far as we know, these two manga share the K-ON! title, but cover different subject matter . The first, which begins on April 9th in Manga Time Kirara, will focus on the continuing adventures of Ritsu, Mio, Yui and Mugi as they go to college. The second, which begins on April 28th in sister magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat, will follow the light music club at Sakuragaoka Girls' High School, now manned by Azusa, Ui and Jun.

And thus, the inevitable slow decline of the K-ON! franchise begins. They won't stop milking this cow until its dry, utterly dehydrated and comatose.

I've seen it happen dozens (if not hundreds) of times before. At first, K-ON! was a fun but vapid slice-of-life series, an enjoyable diversion that kept us amused with short skirts and pop music. Sadly, as the manga stretched on and the anime plowed through its second season, creative bankruptcy began to set in. The jokes got stale. The plots became repetitious. Even the much-vaunted music lost its luster. K-ON! was winding down, and everybody knew it.

More after the break.

Fortunatly, Kakifly managed to pull it together long enough to give the show a poignant and bittersweet ending. K-ON! finished on a high note, and the fans were happy for it. We could all rest easy knowing that our beloved moeblobs lived happily ever after, their story allowed to end before it descended to Family Circus levels of repetitive mediocrity. Life was good. So why did they have to go back and screw it up?

Does Kakifly feel he's incapable of creating another hit? Is he clinging to his one successful franchise for as long as possible, like Rumiko Takahashi? Or is he being railroaded by corporate executives, eager for more merchandising sales and Oricon chart toppers?

When Bill Watterson decided to end the daily newspaper comic strip Calvin and Hobbes after a hugely successful ten year run, his reasons were thus.

This isn't as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of ten years, I'd said pretty much everything I had come there to say. It's always better to leave the party early. If I had rolled along with the strip's popularity and repeated myself for another five, ten, or twenty years, the people now "grieving" for Calvin and Hobbes would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I'd be agreeing with them. I think some of the reason Calvin and Hobbes still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it. I've never regretted stopping when I did.

The parallels here are clear. A few years down the line, K-ON! will be a shadow of its former self. It will become another Peanuts, another Family Circus, another InuYasha... a mere memory of its former glory, sustained only by a tired creator and the endless revenue stream of marketable moe. Of course, I would love to be wrong about this, but like I said, it's happened countless times before.

About Jon

Jon is a Japanese culture enthusiast, professional pervert and roleplaying fanatic who appreciates flexible gender identities. He enjoys science fiction, Gunpla, classical music and Red Stripe.

  • Of course, this is’t going to change the manga industry in any way, but I don’t see why this should be a problem. If you like K-On!, be happy you get more. If you hate K-On!, don’t bother with it. The ‘hardcore moelitists’, who have clearly become K-On!’s target audience will still be happy even if it just ends up being a bunch of girls sitting in a sofa acting cute for 7 pages a month. Maybe these new manga will bring back some of the charm the franchise had in it’s early days, but if it won’t, just let Mr. Kakifly swim in his money.

    • Kei

      Thing is, Kakifly has talent. I’d be much more interested in seeing what new idea he could come up with, rather than wasting his potential and becoming a one-hit wonder. Or maybe I just don’t want to see K-ON! suffer the same fate as Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, Negima, Babylon 5, Star Trek, Garfield, Beetle Bailey… eh, you get the idea.

      My impotent fanboy rage won’t change anything. But at least I got the chance to vent, right?

      • Remember, they got to milk it till it’s dry, beat that horse till its dead, then beat it some more till it becomes an undead horse. Ether way, it has to be a low standards collage to let those drooling bozos in.

        Of course people try to keep reviving their popular title. The guy who created Genshiken did a couple of manga and then when none of them were popular, he went back and did more Genshiken. Personally, I don’t like the new one.

  • I haven’t touched the second series, but do Ui and Jun even play anything? Maybe one of the series will focus on poor Azusa being the only musician left in her music club.

    And I just bored myself to death.

    • Kei

      Ui plays guitar better than Yui, but that’s mainly because she’s the prodigy child foil to her sister’s idiocy.

    • Ryu

      Jun also played bass in the Jazz club (could have been rivals!?) and Ui can play the organ too.

      urgh

  • Do you really think if K-On ended where it did that many will look back fondly at it? Not trying to sound like a dick, I never read the manga. I never figured it knew it was held with any high regard.

    I enjoyed it, but it’s no Peanuts. Actually, it would be lucky of the series to even reach that level of sustained quality (season 2 lacked the oomph season 1 had, imo). As much as I loved some parts there wasn’t much potential I saw beyond the surface of “friends hanging out”. You would think college would have let them go their separate ways, but now we have to see if the characters will slowly drift away from each other as they head into adulthood – which we’ll probably won’t see.
    It would be cool if they stretched their creativity finger and used this new setting to expand the characters a bit, but it’s a very much a spur of the moment show. It works best that way.

    Think of what the series will look like if it was brought to the character’s retirements; K-On: The Twilight Years! It could be fun like The Golden Girls. I love that show.

  • Ryu

    This series was already dry to begin with so it’ll probably be like swilling sand in your mouth. With your eyes

    • I actually like the texture of sand in my mouth. After it’s soaked by the salty sea water, though. I see your point, though.

  • Hate-Chan

    I think this has a lot of potential, all due considering we not only have a new setting, but new teachers and probably side characters to boot. Maybe it’ll actually have a definitive ending, and they’ll actually show the friends becoming successful musicians near the end, and at the end shove in a semi-emotional farewell by writing a paragraph long summary of what they do in life. You know, such as this:

    “Yui graduated college, however she decided not to pursue her music career. She instead followed her newfound dream and became a nuclear technician at the Hiroshima Nuclear Power Plant. The rest was history.

    [Implied the rest stuck with being musicians]

    Mugi becomes nearsighted after playing too many dating sims, and in the process of having her company build goggles that show the wearer the music bars before their very eyes, accidentally invented actual yuri goggles. Unfortunately, this led to her being arrested for sexually molesting Azusa, and being jailed for two hours before being freed on bail. She still plays.

    Ritsu and Mio lived together after college, and were the first to propose keeping the band together after college. They learned to get along even more, and eventually, fell in love. They are now married and have three kids together. YOU WILL NOT ASK QUESTIONS.

    Azusa was hit by a bus after being molested by Mugi, and nothing of value was lost.

    Ui, after hearing of Yui’s death went insane, and forced her friend Jun and her pet dog to play in their college’s music festival in honor of her memory. Booed off the stage, Ui pulled out an oversized slab of sharpened obsidian, charged into the crowd, and screamed, “BANKAIIIII.” She is currently housed in Senzaikyū at the Soul Society and is currently awaiting execution.

    Jun pursued a scientific career, and made herself famous as the inventor of the first Mobile Suit. After the founding of the Earth Federation, she found herself in the military, an environment that she was unaccustomed to. She was shot down in the Battle of Loum by Char Aznable. Jun’s death proved to be fatal to five Magellan-class battleships considering her strategic placement, their destruction at the hands of Char earning him the rank of Lieutenant Commander and the nickname, “the Red Comet.”

    Sawako became the manager of the band, her shrewd “eye-change” persuasive powers earning the band gigs they would have otherwise never have dreamed of (such as Yankee Stadium, packed with /a/nons). She had never married, but remained a loyal partner to Mugi for the rest of their lives.”

    You see? There’s SO MUCH POTENTIAL HERE, THIS COULD BE AMAZING.

  • Kei

    I was just using Peanuts as an example of a comic that stretched on and on, losing its luster over the years until it became a subject of derision and mockery. Of course, in my opinion it was vastly overrated to begin with…

    But I digress. While this new setting certainly does present a nice opportunity for Kakifly to actually wring his characters through some development, I doubt it will actually happen. Although I would admittedly love to see the storm of fanboy rage should their “pure angel” moeblobs wind up getting boyfriends or *gasp* actually having sex.

    • The resulting internet backdraft from Mio losing her virginity would probably be the most entertaining thing to ever be related to K-ON. I’d sign up for Twitter just to follow it.

    • The resulting internet backdraft from Mio losing her virginity would probably be the most entertaining thing to ever be related to K-ON. I’d sign up for Twitter just to follow it.

    • Ryu

      Heaven forbid they act like real people! that’s like otaku threat level orange

  • Noonelikesyou

    NO jon you are the industry

  • Elder Haman

    Rumiko Takahashi has 3 huge hits, not just one, and a fourth big hit as well.

    Those Darn Aliens
    Maison Ikkoku (the “minor” hit- but also the only one to get a live action adaptation- it’s minor mainly because it’s target audience is smaller)
    Ranma 1/2
    Inuyasha

    This suggests that Takahashi’s tendency to have long drawn out repetitious stories might be more do to her liking the characters and wanting to tell stories about them. Certainly not from any insecurity about being able to write a new hit series. (Takahashi is one of the few manga authors that can punch her own ticket- she can publish anything and it turns to gold). Also, the most egregious stretching of the story occurred in the anime versions (particularly Inuyasha) so it’s hard to blame Takahashi for all of that.

    The most likely explanation is that Kakifly decided he could write something interesting about them in college. Since it’s being marketed as a separate spinoff series instead of a continuation I’m fine with it. If it’s no good I’ll just pretend that spinoff doesn’t exist. That would be harder to do if he had kept it as one series. It also suggests that there will be some changes to format or tone, so I’m mildly curious to see what comes out.

    If it’s good I’ll read it, if not I’ll drop it. No need to hate.

    Although I was never very passionate about K-On. I found it to be a relaxing nostalgic show about highschool friends goofing off together. I never thought it was an amazing show to be followed avidly from week to week. Cross Game would be a better representation of the “got to see the next episode” Slice of Life show.

  • guest

    Lets just wait and see what will kakifly do.. I think that, theirs a 50-50 that the story will be like a Family Circus or whatever you said and a 50-50 of making it another success.. ^^

  • op is a faggot K-on is the best.