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.