Overall Rating: A++
Summary: K-On! is a slice of life/comedy/music anime that started out as a four-panel manga by Kakifly. For anyone unfamiliar with Japanese culture, almost everyone in school belongs to an after-school activities club. K-On! centers around the light music club at an unnamed high school, and the four Japanese high school girls who join the club to prevent it from being disbanded (I know, it's a horrible pun). Not the best way to form a band, but I'm sure there have been worse. In the beginning, Ritsu (drums) wants to join the light music club with her best friend, Mio (bass). Mio...has other plans, but Ritsu tears up her application for another club, so Mio is in! Unfortunately, they need at least four members to keep the club going, and all the previous members graduated last year. Mugi (keyboard) joins accidentally as well when she's looking for the choir room, but is easily won over by Ritsu's enthusiasm (as you may have guessed, Ritsu is about 90% enthusiasm, 9% sarcasm and jokes, and 1% follow-through). However, they still need a fourth member to keep the club going, so they put up flyers around the school. Meanwhile, they drink tea and eat cakes to keep their energy up (I am assuming that's why they're doing it, but realistically who cares?)
That brings us to Yui (guitar). Yui is clumsy, and wants to join the light music club because she thinks it means "easy" music, and she wants to play the castanets. Flashback to Yui as a little girl playing castanets. She has no experience playing the guitar or reading music. Not to mention the fact that she doesn't even have a guitar. Oops, but least she's a fourth member! They convince her to join by plying her with tea and cakes, which would work on most people I think. I know it would work on me.
The show actually focuses less on the girls playing music and more of their friendship and the relationship between the characters. When the rest of the club realizes Yui doesn't have a guitar, or the money to buy one, they all get jobs to help her buy her first one. Over the course of the anime, the band (and especially Yui) gets better and better, and the girls become closer friends.
I had heard good things about K-On!, so I decided to track down some episodes. Unfortunately, it isn't released yet in the US so it took me awhile to track it down, but it was worth the effort. If, like me, you have ever wished you were a Japanese high school girl who was in a band, then you will love the show, trust me. I can't count the number of times I said some variation on "too cute" while pointing at the screen and squeeing. It's just that kind of show. In that sense it reminded me a lot of Azumanga Daioh, but with a band. Speaking of which, all of the music in the show is performed by the voice actresses, and it's all very catchy. I have downloaded everything they've put out so far, and I love it all.
In short, this is one of the best new anime I've seen, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this kind of show.
Finally, I leave you with Mio being so moe it hurts. Their adviser makes costumes for them to wear when they are performing, and so it's almost inevitable that she would dress Mio up in a maid outfit. So kawaii! Or, to steal a line from the show, "Moe, Moe, Kyun!"