Project Haruhi

Review: K-ON!! 21


Last week's episode of K-ON!! had a rather solemn tone, making viewers teary-eyed as the HTT girls finished their final festival together. With this in mind, the next episode could have had any tone imaginable. It could have kept the serious, dramatic feel of the school festival, or shifted back to the lighthearted but ultimately pointless moe fluff that made this show so infamous.

Sad to say, they decided to go with the latter. It reminds me of a previous annoying filler episode a few weeks back. However, this episode was far more entertaining than that disaster, with the jokes being good and the interactions spot on. Of course, since I'm an evil hater critic who loathes all things good and pure, I still had some problems with it. My main complaint is that the episode doesn't bring anything new or interesting to the table... just more predictable moeblobbery that fails to surprise anyone. With only five episodes remaining, can they really afford to be wasting time with this kind of filler?

Read more after the break.

It's like nothing we've ever seen before, Captain! Some sort of gelatinous life-form composed primarily of sugar!

The episode begins with Yui casually preparing for school and toying with her hair in the mirror. She asks her identical sister Ui for help, and basically uses her as a model to test out hairstyles. Shortly thereafter, the girls head to school. Later, Yui and the gang discuss their senior class photos that are to be taken soon. They worry about hair styles and even take practice photos to make sure their faces look good. Yui thinks that her bangs are slightly too long and--instead of simply going to a barber--decides to trim her hair by herself with a pair of scissors. She starts off doing well, but then unexpectedly sneezes while cutting. Good ol' comedy gold is struck.

Wait for it...

Although I think everyone saw this scene coming, most probably laughed more than expected. The characters' reactions to this were what really nailed the joke, with Azusa and Mio even fainting. And, of course, the long awkward pause had even the most tough of viewers giggling like 13-year-old middle school students. Anyways, back to the plot: Yui goes spasmodic with her hair being in such shape. Since the pictures are to be taken tomorrow, Yui eventually decides to just go with it... wait, what? She doesn't try any ridiculous tricks or hairbrained schemes that end up making her hair even worse? She just goes with it? Doesn't that ruin the whole point of her character? Aren't they going to play this comedy bit for more laughs? That's a slight disappointment to me, honestly. Oh well. Afterwards, the girls have their pictures taken, which... is pretty boring. Nothing hilarious or even abnormal happens.

The final scenes show Mio turning down an invitation to go to her college of choice, just so she can stay with her friends after graduation. Also, Yui and Ritsu finally turn in their college papers that we've been hearing the teacher admonish them about ever since season one. The episode pretty much ends there.

Ui strangely reminds me of Russia from Hetalia in this picture.

After watching this episode, I wasn't really sure whether I loved it or hated it. It was enjoyable to a certain extent, but not great. It's definitely worth 20 minutes of your time, I can say that. Just don't expect a masterpiece. The main issue with it is the plot is a little too predictable. While it didn't rely totally on moe cliches, it ended up being more boring than interesting. Of course, the episode also had jocular moments, with some great scenes involving the characters' antics... in particular, Yui's botched haircut. Not to mention there was an actual plot this time around to at least keep my interest.

When all is said and done, this episode wasn't half bad. Sure, it doesn't really try to do anything bold, but at least it did its job and made me feel like that was 20 minutes well spent. I just wonder what the outcome of last episodes of K-ON!! will be.

About Guest

Written by a guest author. See post for more details.

  • I wrote a long and thought out comment and then the browser restarted and it’s gone. So here’s the short version. I think the show made subtle commentary on the need of hairstyles to define a character’s design. Show was spectacular, but I love the characters so much that I can’t help but love it.

  • As soon as Yui picked up those scissors I knew it would end in disaster XD. Although I was expecting Yui to coerce Ui to be her stunt double for the photoshoot; the scene early on where Ui role plays Yui was amazing and could have been played on more. It’s also the kind of hairbrained scheme I have come to expect from Yui and was a shame it did not happen. As for Moe fluff I love all of that lighthearted tomfoolery ^^

  • Heh, that reminds me of the last few chapters of A.I. Love You, where Cynthia drastically changed her hairstyle after breaking up with Hitoshi. It was like she became a completely different character.

  • I respect your opinion. I do agree this episode wasn’t the best of the anime series, but I think it was rather unique. I call this episode as hair-centric story. You might not have noticed but there were extra details on the main characters’ hair animation especially at the beginning and they showed their personality and they were enjoyable to watch. I think the staffs are playing safe by making this kind of episodes because everything needed to be said about K-ON has been told and the girls are spending their rest of their moments to spend together as high school students. Besides, moe stuffs are always welcome for me as long as they don’t overuse them and this episode wasn’t the case. Still it’s nice to have more entertaining plot and I’m sure they are holding something great at the last episode of K-ON. At least I hope so.

    Somehow I felt that the second season was better than the first. Some say the staffs of K-ON shouldn’t have stretched the anime any further than the first season but the second part of K-ON has brought us many fresh stuffs like shopping at the mall to buy something for the club room including the turtle, the fresh moment of girls running at the marathon match, the episode centered on Mugi and Ritsu, and the list goes on. Some people like Konata will think they are filling the gap of anime series by putting moe infested stories. May be they are right, but considering what is moe and what not is a vague subject to discuss. Personally every episodes of the second season of K-ON have their own theme and that’s why I liked them including this one. I even liked the episode 13 for the same reason even though I wasn’t thrilled while I was watching it.

    And one more thing, I’m not sure about those non-Japanese people who are watching this show, but I think you guys can’t get the true quality of this anime only by staring at the subtitles and listening to a language you don’t understand at the same time. Translations can turn a line with significant meaning and tone into an uninspired and dull sentence, but off course it depends on a person who translates it. But if you see the translated version as a different product then that’s fine. What do you guys think? I’m asking this question to those who understand both Japanese and English. If you are not familiar with either one of language then state your opinion while considering limitation of your ability.

    • I think I understand what you mean. For instance a joke is funny because of it’s timing and execution aswell as other factors involved; when reading subtitles with no knowledge of the language it can completely remove the essential elements rendering the joke a “uninspired and dull sentance”.

      I can honestly say that (in my experience at least) reading the subs with no understanding of what has been spoken has never subdued the significance of what has been said as the differentiating tones and emotions of their voices give a big clue even if you don’t understand. At least I like to think that what I find funny/impacting are what intentionally should be impacting or funny, I hope I’m not laughing at the wrong bits =/. But like you said if the sub is bad to the point of me noticing then in those circumstances it does ruin it somewhat.

      Btw my understanding of Japanese extends little past Hiragana so. . . Yeah, I have no clue whatsoever XD

      • I’m glad you agreed about the subtitle. This thing bugs me because I love K-ON. I hate to feel like this is not a good anime series at all. I know its silly and I shouldn’t be thinking like this but I just can’t help it.

        Its off topic but I noticed that I am the only one with Dragon age character portrait and Im Japanese who likes moe anime. Kinda weird huh? I bet I am classified as a minority of all minorities since I live in Japan and my hoby is to play western RPGs and watch moe animes. No one in the country can talk about them inteligently you know. Its a shame.

  • I have to ask since when and who mentioned that light-hearted pointless moe ruined this anime. I don’t know about you but people in Japan accepted it as light-hearted pointless moe anime and they wanted more of it because it loosens up their minds and let them forget everything what happened to their lives. That is why people watch slice of life animes like this. According to hundreds of comments on Niconico Doga and Japanese forums, they never wanted any serious moments, good story or significant character development from K-ON frequently. They just wanted to hear gags and see warm and happy moments of the girls’ life.

    From what I understand you are much older than me and you have seen many animes in your life than I have, and because of that you may have gotten tired of this kind of stuffs. May be you wanted something more compelling, and expected more than good jokes and cuteness from the girls, and I’m sure there are people who feel the same way, but regardless of that you should consider about other perspectives from different people. You can say whatever you want about your preferences and that is easy to do. The real challenge of reviewing is to mention some alternatives and facts. You can at least guess what other personalities might think about what you are reviewing. At least that is what I believe to be a good review. If your intent of writing this review is only to share your opinion to us then I am fine with that.

    I apologize if I was being rude, but there is something about your style that bothers me so much.
    I want this comment to be seen by all reviewers in Project Haruhi if that is possible.