Why K-On! Falls Flat for Me

K-On! is beloved by a certain content creator whose content I follow quite a lot (all y’all 0 people probably know who). I think I understand the appeal. It develops characters slowly and realistically. The music is likeable and the animation is pretty stunning. Everything is told in a kind of extreme detail but also mixed with lighthearted comedy and by the end of the show everything is different from how it began. You can see the detailed change and development of every character’s friendship, and this is great.

Hourou Musuko takes place over a large period of time, but it too details the friendships of different characters and how it develops and, most importantly, how some friendships fade away while others get closer. Genshiken is the same. Throughout the second season, we are shown Madarame’s alienation from so much of the Otaku community less because he has changed and more because it has changed. This is more interesting for me than simply how the friendships become closer and closer until they burst into flames when the seniors graduate. For me, the gravity of the situations are all so much less in K-On! because everything happening is basically good. The ultimate sadness of the show is how they will fade away from Azusa because they are graduating and she is not.

This is kind of awesome… except for me, Genshiken talks about this in so much more depth. The issue is less that I don’t like watching K-On! and more that I have already had all the feelings and concepts presented in K-On! in two other shows which also tackle these concepts in more depth and have a more interesting subject matter (transgender / cross-dressing, writing, and otaku) than simply ‘a band.’

K-On! kind of feels like a sports anime in some ways, where the goal of the girls is to be the best they can but the real focus is how senpais graduating sucks and the friendships of all the characters. I like watching sports anime in part because of this, but also because the visuals are more interesting and you have the added bonus of bishounen. K-On! does everything better than most sports anime, but it isn’t as interesting for me visually and the character archtypes don’t matter to me as much.

It’s hard to articulate why I feel ‘eh’ about something. ‘Eh’ isn’t  a very strong emotion. I can describe why I dislike something or why I like something, but ‘eh’ is just, well, ‘eh.’ That’s how I feel about K-On! It’s good and I can appreciate how it would resonate for others, but it still just doesn’t impact me the same way.

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