Anime Review – K-ON!


TheAndySan – K-ON! Review

Intro

Have you ever wondered what strange shapes Guitar Hero and Rock Band based their controllers around? Do you have an interest in making music, or just watching other people make music? How about a love for all things moe? Well, then I have an anime for you to watch; K-ON!.

Summary

K-On! is about four (later on five) Japanese high school girls who join their school’s light music club (light music in Japan meaning contemporary or pop music) to try to save it from being abolished. However, Yui Hirasawa, the lead guitarist, has no experience playing musical instruments or reading sheet music in the beginning, but is blessed with perfect pitch. Eventually, she becomes a competant guitar player and background singer. The rest of the club helps her to buy a Gibson Les Paul, and they perform at the school festival twice, despite the fact that they drink tea and eat sweets most of the time and practice very little when together.

Character Overview

Sakuragaoka High School’s light music club consists of:

Sawako “Sawa-chan” Yamanaka – the polite advisor who used to be in the light music club as part of a heavy metal band called Death Devil. When with the light music club, she’s rebellious, lazy, and has a panche for making the girls cosplay.

Yui Hirasawa – the clumsy but obliviously talented lead guitar player as well as backing singer. She had no previous musical experience before joining the club (except for playing castanets in elementary school), but managed to become suitable to the band’s style of music shortly after joining.

Ritsu “Ricchan” Tainaka – the energetic drummer who’s also the club’s official leader. She was the one who wanted to join the light music club and managed to convince everyone else to join, sometimes using underhanded tactics to do so.

Mio Akiyama – the reluctantly popular bassist, lead vocalist, and main songwriter as well as the only leftie of the group. She’s usually shy and responsible, but tends to freak out when it comes to scary stuff.

Tsumugi “Mugi-chan” Kotobuki – the wealthy and gentle keyboardist who has been playing piano since she was four and has won several competitions. Her father is the president of a large but unknown company that seems to own the music store where Yui got her guitar and a maid cafe where all of the club’s sweets come from.

Azusa “Azu-nyan” Nakano – the younger rhythm guitarist who joins the group a year after it was saved by the original four members. She’s much more technically proficient than Yui and takes practicing seriously, but learns to loosen up as she is with the club.

Story: 5/10

Being in the slice-of-life genre, which is one of my favorite genres, as well as having a severe case of the moe, the story for K-ON! can get downright muddled at times. It’s not that it’s random ala Azumanga Daioh or Lucky Star; there is a storyline in each episode, but the focus likes to shift a lot. This sounds interesting in theory, but doesn’t quite pan out in practice.

Now, I’m by no means an anime snob. I absolutely detest elitist attitudes towards anything in life. When it comes to anime, I don’t really care if I’m watching something critically acclaimed like Cowboy Bebop or severely panned like Green Green, as long as I enjoy what I’m watching.

The amount of in-show fan-service has also been modestly and smartly placed, despite the zillions…and zillions…of mostly suggestive fan art of Mio and Azusa creeping around the Interwebz.

I give it a 5/10 for an at-times jerky ride of a storyline with smart fan-service placement.

Animation: 6/10 & Music: 8/10

Anime critics be damned, I thought the animation quality was mostly good! However, the instruments, especially Yui’s poor Les Paul named Gitah, seemed to be on the wrong side of the budget cuts. Her guitar’s appearance ranges from very well drawn to a blobby mess, with seemingly no good middle ground.

Since K-ON! revolves around music, it’s only natural that the music be nicely done. The club’s signature tune, Fuwa Fuwa Time, which translates to Light and Fluffy Time, reminds me a lot of Party Hard by Andrew W.K., but lighter and fluffier haha! The song I like the most from the soundtrack is a slow bluesy number called Hold On Your Love. It’s a very moving 2 minutes of music.

I give the animation a 6/10 for sometimes butchering Gitah and the music an 8/10 for a well put-together soundtrack.

Characters: 7/10

The one thing that bugged the crap outta me when watching this series is that I sometimes visually confused Yui and Ritsu. Yes, they have slightly different hair color. And yes, Ritsu’s hair is pulled back while Yui’s hangs down. However, it’s their hair length and texture as well as their closely matched hair color that mix me up sometimes.

Looks aside, although each girl has their own personality unique among the group, I feel that they don’t evolve much as characters as the show progresses. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since this is only a 13-episode series, which should see another 13 episodes considering the immense popularity of the series.

I’ll give ’em a 7/10 since they’re unique among themselves, but still have a ways to go to develop their characters.

Enjoyment: 8/10

Although the recession has put the kibosh on producing as many anime series as before, of the recent anime that I’ve been watching, K-ON! is only seconded by Toradora!. Would I watch it again? Sure. In fact, I’m rewatching the series this week to gain a better prospective on the characters after I know what’s going to be going down in the series.

As I said before, K-ON! should be getting a second season since it was especially weIl-received by moe-hungry fans looking to whet their appetites while waiting for Season 2 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which was finally released near the end of K-ON!’s first season, after three years of impatient waiting and broken promises aka marketing strategies. But that’s another story altogether…

I give them an 8/10 for a fun, light-hearted musical romp through Moeville.

Overall: 6.8/10

K-ON! took a beating in its overall rating mostly because of its oddly structured storylines, occasionally awful instrument illustration, and little to no character development. Despite these shortcomings, it was quite an enjoyable anime to watch. Its immense online popularity also makes it relatively easy to talk about amongst other otaku without having to explain what the series is about.

I would suggest that the next season focus on drawing the instruments clearly on a consistent basis and give the characters some backstory to help us the audience gain a better prospective of them.

I give K-ON! an overall rating of 6.8/10.

TheAndySan

06-20-2009 Singing Videos 05, 06, 07, 08, & 09 – Crazy Train, Carry On My Wayward Son, Unchained, Fool For Your Loving, & A Tout Le Monde

*11-17-2009 Update – Due to accused copyright infringement from my Heartbreaker singing video, I have decided to pull all of the singing videos from 06-20-2009 to avoid any additional action being done to my YouTube account, which includes it potentially being shut down. I’m planning on putting the videos back up here exclusively, so stay tuned for that!*

Holy crap, I completely lost track of uploading the videos!! I’m sorry, guys! I blame work and extreme laziness.

I had a most wonderful time in Michigan! I met some really fun people, went intertubing on a boat, caught up with my family, and enjoyed some great food that I didn’t have to pay for!! Speaking of food, I’m gonna put in more effort to eat more fruit as well as cook my own meals instead of always eating out so I don’t gain a bazillion pounds like I did when I went to UU.


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 05 – Crazy Train

This beast of a song is always fun to sing, even though I’m not always in tune, haha! By this point, my voice is feelin’ a little wear and those high notes get harder to sing. Also, I noticed that the music is pretty loud so you can’t hear me totally suck, lol!


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 06 – Carry On My Wayward Son

Carry On My Wayward Son sits in a high register territory and because of that, I totally bombed this one. This will be one-starred fo’ sho’!


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 07 – Unchained

Like Runnin’ With The Devil, Unchained is still David Lee Roth-era Van Halen and not Van Hagar, so I’m in good standing vocally speaking (no pun intended). My voice is a tad on the gritty side, but I think that it fits with the song better than totally clean singing. Also, I noticed that I seem lost with some of the lyrics. Oh well, better luck next time…


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 08 – Fool For Your Loving

Surprisingly, my voice didn’t peter out singing this one! Once again, I get lyrically (as well as musically) lost with this one, but that’s because the 1988 version with Steve Vai has been practically engraved into the ridges of my brain.


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 09 – A Tout Le Monde

Here it is, the last part of my Singing Videos (aka Suckfest 2009, lol)!! Around this time, my voice was roached, but I really pushed it with this song.

Despite several delays, I hope you guys have enjoyed my Singing Videos miniseries! I’ll be recording some vlogs that I’ll put up on YouTube within the week, depending on how involved I get with it.

Well, I’m going to be catching up with Gakuen Alice so I’ll see you guys later. Bye now!

TheAndySan

06-20-2009 Singing Videos 04 – Runnin With The Devil

*11-17-2009 Update – Due to accused copyright infringement from my Heartbreaker singing video, I have decided to pull all of the singing videos from 06-20-2009 to avoid any additional action being done to my YouTube account, which includes it potentially being shut down. I’m planning on putting the videos back up here exclusively, so stay tuned for that!*


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 04 – Runnin With The Devil

Sorry about the delay, folks! I completely lost track of time and forgot to post the fourth installment of my new vlogging series, Runnin With The Devil by Van Halen.

Since this is David Lee Roth-era Van Halen and not Van Hagar, I’m in pretty comfortable vocal territory. It’s not my best range, but it’s very doable. With that in mind, here comes yet another Van Halen fanboy rant *groan where appropriate*:

When it comes to Diamond Dave or the Red Rocker, I prefer Dave mostly because of the tunes. Van Hagar in my never-to-be-humble opinion is a completely different animal than Van Halen (hence the nickname). Not better or worse, but different. I loved Sammy’s solo stuff (let’s face it, who doesn’t totally rock out when I Can’t Drive 55 is on the radio?) and unflappably adore Van Halen.

When they came together, the music they made was completely uncharacteristic of both parties. I’ll admit, I got more than annoyed when Eddie wouldn’t stop playing the damn keyboard and practically left his guitar to collect dust. “Jump” was pretty damn cool, but it was a bad idea to keep going in that direction.

Thankfully, they came to their senses and got Dave back at the cost of Michael Anthony, the unsung (although his legendary background vocals would say otherwise) rock of a bass player. It’s no biggie since both he and Sammy are kickin’ out the jams (mothafucker!) with Chickenfoot, which also consists of Joe Satriani and Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Okay, rant time is over, shower time is now!

The next video , which will be released later on today, will be me singing Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne. It’ll drive you banana!!

I love my l33t Pat Patterson reference, ololol!

TheAndySan

P.S: The miniseries will be taking a break on Friday the 26th (although I might release a video early that morning) and will resume on Monday the 29th (but possibly the Sunday before, if I get back here in time). I will be up in Michigan with my family at Jon and my cousin’s grad party.

06-20-2009 Singing Videos 03 – I Kissed A Girl

*11-17-2009 Update – Due to accused copyright infringement from my Heartbreaker singing video, I have decided to pull all of the singing videos from 06-20-2009 to avoid any additional action being done to my YouTube account, which includes it potentially being shut down. I’m planning on putting the videos back up here exclusively, so stay tuned for that!*


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 03 – I Kissed A Girl

In the third installment of my new vlogging series, Singing Videos, I’m singing I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry.

Because my voice isn’t nearly as high as Katy’s, I try singing in an octave below her. It’s not quite as dynamic-sounding as when she sings it, but at least I can stay in key with her. Sometimes, haha!

The next video will be me singing Runnin’ With The Devil by Van Halen. It’ll be slammin’!

TheAndySan

P.S: The miniseries will take a break on Friday the 26th (although I might release a video early that morning) and will resume on Monday the 29th. I will be up in Michigan with my family at Jon’s grad party.

Happy Daddy Day & 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 02 – Heartbreaker

*11-17-2009 Update – Due to accused copyright infringement from my Heartbreaker singing video, I have decided to pull all of the singing videos from 06-20-2009 to avoid any additional action being done to my YouTube account, which includes it potentially being shut down. I’m planning on putting the videos back up here exclusively, so stay tuned for that!*

Happy Father’s Day, dads out there!

Man, I can’t believe that its been almost five years since my dad passed away (he died on July 3rd). Every time Father’s Day rolls around and then July 3rd, I still can’t believe he’s gone when I sit and think about it.

It’s not that I haven’t accepted his death (I have), it just feels that he’s still alive and living in some faraway place. If you wanna get spiritual though, he is. I’d like to think that he’s watching over me, making sure I stay out of trouble, smiling when I play music or sing, and occasionally giving me some money.


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 02 – Heartbreaker

Hey all you cats out there on the Internets, it’s TheAndySan hurr with the second installment in my new vlogging miniseries!

In the video above, I’m singing Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin from their live album BBC Sessions. Enjoy!

The next video will be me singing I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry. Stay tuned!

TheAndySan

P.S: The miniseries will take a break on Friday the 26th and will resume on Monday the 29th. I will be up in Michigan with my family at Jon’s grad party.

06-20-2009 Singing Videos 00 and 01 – Intro and Burnin For You

*11-17-2009 Update – Due to accused copyright infringement from my Heartbreaker singing video, I have decided to pull all of the singing videos from 06-20-2009 to avoid any additional action being done to my YouTube account, which includes it potentially being shut down. I’m planning on putting the videos back up here exclusively, so stay tuned for that!*


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 00 – Intro

How’s it goin, it’s TheAndySan here with an upcoming vlogging miniseries!

I recently posted a couple of videos on Facebook where I was auditioning for a band that my friend Adam was planning on forming in Bowling Green. I didn’t make the cut, but I decided to keep on truckin’ and get my voice heard to other people so that I can form my own band and that its prospective players can gauge my skills as a singer.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this nine-part miniseries and I look forward to your comments. Later!

Here I am singing Burnin’ For You by Blue Oyster Cult:


TheAndySan – 06-20-2009 Singing Videos 01 – Burnin For You

The next video will be me singing Heartbreaker by Led Zepplien. See ya then!

TheAndySan

P.S: The miniseries will take a break on Friday the 26th and will resume on Monday the 29th. I will be up in Michigan with my family at Jon’s grad party.

Deja Tuesday – Today's Post: Unemployment's Got Nothing On Me, or, I Am Yob

It’s baaaack!! After an uncomfortably long hiatus, I’m bringing back Deja Tuesday with a vengeance!

In this week’s Deja Tuesday, we look back at a post I wrote on Saturday, June 16th, 2007 at 4:44 pm called “Today’s Post: Unemployment’s Got Nothing On Me, or, I Am Yob”:

Hello everybody it’s the Andy-San here with good news for once.

After being virtually unemployed since April, I’m now officially an employee at McDonald’s. I went in yesterday to ask them when I start and they put me on the schedule and gave me a number to call for my uniform, which I did today and it’ll be in Monday. I start work on Tuesday so now I can finally start to make some money, which I will use to buy Ben’s car so that I have transportation of my own for the first time since I gave up my car in August of last year, which is also when I started at UU all those months ago.

Well, this is certainly a familiar scene! I recently became employed by the local Dairy Queen. It can be hectic at times, especially since I’m new and also not used to the higher volume in comparison to where I used to work, but I’m getting better at it.

That particular job at the Coldwater McDonald’s only lasted a couple of weeks because I got fed up with the lack of hours and getting treated like a piece of crap by the managers. In retrospect however, I was probably acting too high and mighty because I worked at the McDonald’s in Celina for almost 4 years and expected too much.

My goal with this job at DQ is to provide me with at least enough money to cover my expenses so that I can find a better paying job elsewhere without living on the fairly tight budget of unemployment.

God I miss my friends. Eriopolis and Ben are usually busy and I feel like such a bother when I ask them to pick me up. Steve is fast becoming the world’s biggest flake as of late. As for Amanda, Dan, Shizzon, and the rest of my buds from UU; well, they’re far, far away. I’m feeling more and more isolated every day and I fear that one day I’ll fucking snap and something really bad’s gonna happen. I don’t know what, but something. I said it before and I’ll say it again, the only thing keeping me sane is playing my guitar despite my lack of skill after playing for only 2 years. However, I guess that with only 2 years experience under my belt, I’m not too bad.

Since moving up here to Bowling Green, I have missed my friends. However, Eriopolis and TP, one of our friends from the good ol’ UU days, will be moving up here this week!! Eriopolis already has the majority of his stuff up here and TP’s moving in with him on the 20th, which is this coming Saturday. Although they will be busy with college and work, at least they’ll be here in town, and a couple of blocks away no less! Not quite as close as when we were at UU, but still close enough. I can’t wait for them to live up here!

I’m still in contact with my buds from UU via Facebook and AIM, so I don’t feel as lonely as I was back in 2007.

Speaking of guitar, I met Zach, an excellent guitarist at the local music store yesterday. His melodic shredding had me sold. I told him that I was forming a band, but I didn’t ask him directly to join because I want to approach him the right way about it. He’s also in another band called A Shot of Clarity. The vocals are a bit to be desired, but the lyrics are okay for a local band. They really need to listen to each other when they sing harmonies, as made painfully obvious in the song Sunshine.

I finished watching Nanaka 6/17 and I still think that the series is good despite a funky but oddly suitable ending (kinda reminds me of how Elfen Lied ended).

Well, I’m gonna go so later!

Andy-San

P.S: This is Post #197 so that’s 3 left!!!

Currently, I’m watching two fruity anime: Peach Girl and Gakuen Alice. You’ll get the pun here in a bit.

Peach Girl is an insanely addictive shojo drama anime that’s available online here thanks to the lovely people at Funimation.

Basically, it’s about this tan girl prone to fits of Brooklyn Rage named Momo (which means “peach” in Japanese) and the love square that consists of her, Sae, Toji, and Kairi. Toji is Momo’s stern-as-all-hell childhood friend who becomes her boyfriend early into the series. Kairi was once the school’s resident playboy, but changed his ways once he met Momo and has become her comedic foil as well as a budding love interest.

Sae is the most evil anime character that I’ve ever had the pleasure/displeasure of watching. She’s so evil and conniving that she gets her own paragraph. People who would dismiss here as the token tsundere, which essentially means the bitch of the group who later becomes an uncontrollable sobfest, are sorely mistaken. She’s like Nabiki and Kodachi from Ranma 1/2 rolled into one, and on crack!

Gakuen Alice isn’t quite as addictive as Peach Girl, but it’s still fun to watch.

It’s about a young girl named Mikan (which means mandarin orange in Japanese) who follows her best friend Hotaru to a special academy for people with Alices, which are basically special abilities. Think X-Men meets Mahou Sensei Negima without a little kid as a teacher. There are older kids and adults, but they’re not as focused on as the little kids. As it turns out, Mikan also has an Alice so she’s allowed in the academy.

There are several other characters including bad boy Natsume, his friend Ruca, the class representative Yu aka Iincho (he’s my favorite character so far), and more.

I will definitely be doing anime reviews of these series when I finish them so stay tuned for that!

Well, this has certainly been an enjoyable Deja Tuesday! See you guys on the flip side!

TheAndySan

Audition Videos 1 & 2

This past Wednesday, I was asked by Adam, a friend of mine online, to audition for a cover band that he’s forming up in Bowling Green. They’ve garnered lots of interest, but Adam wanted to give me a shot before he picked somebody out.

He wanted me to trade singing leads and harmonies with him and play guitar in a power trio setup. I love power trios, but I’d prefer either a four or five piece band simply for more sonic variety and to keep the multi-tasking to a minimum.

Because I sold most of my gear and I can’t sing and play at the same time very well, I didn’t feel right playing guitar for them and tried to convince him to make a four piece with me as the singer. I sent him two different audition videos, but he really wanted to form a power trio so I didn’t get the part. It’s cool though, no hard feelings or anything. My real goal in making these videos was to simply have the courage to make them, not to just get a gig. Although that would have been nice if that happened, I now have the confidence to make more audition videos, and they’ll be better than the ones before.

If you guys want to see Adam’s current band The Forefathers, click here to watch their YouTube videos.

TheAndySan – Audition Video

If you can’t see the video, click here

This is my audition video that I made on Wednesday for a local bar/party band in Bowling Green. It was a little too long to put on YouTube so I put it up on Facebook. Enjoy!


TheAndySan – Audition Video 2

If you can’t see the video, click here

In this audition video, which was also made on Wednesday, I try to play on my Dean acoustic the song Feel like Making Love by Bad Company.

It has some good parts and some really bad parts to it. Keep in mind that I just learned the chords to the song a couple of hours ago.

Before recording this, I tried singing and playing it at the same time. Honestly, I fared better with this song than any other song that I’ve tried to play & sing. However, it was still pretty rough so I decided to just play the song. Enjoy!

TheAndySan

Lost Vlogs 1 & 2 – Weeks One & Two of Unemployment From Wal-Mart


Lost Vlog 1 – Week One of Unemployment From Wal-Mart


Lost Vlog 2 – Week Two of Unemployment From Wal-Mart

I originally recorded these vlogs back around October of 2008. I didn’t upload them because I lost track of it and my interests in vlogging had waned at that point.

In these vlogs, I talk about what I was doing after I quit my job at Wal-Mart and my plans for making money online. Man, I was so ambitious back then!

TheAndySan

Vlog 15 – Basement Tour Before I Moved

This post is presented by The Forgotten Laws: Make The Law of Attraction An Unbreakable Force!

If you can’t see the video, click here.

In today’s vlog, I give you guys a tour of the basement of my house before I moved out here to BG. As you can tell, there’s a lot of stuff down there and it needed to be organized. Badly. Enjoy the tour!

TheAndySan

P.S: I finally got around to editing a couple vlogs that I recorded back when I quit Wal-Mart. I was so ambitious back then. I thought for sure I would take over the Interwebs with all of my website ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I had some killer ideas, but they weren’t fully fleshed out and I didn’t have the proper manpower to really put them into motion. Maybe someday I’ll be able to, but for now, I’m content with what I already have.