K-On! The Movie

“I’m leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it’s not raining.” – Groucho Marx.

This film does make for a pleasant change, because usually when an anime is set in London it usually seems to be set in Victorian times. This is mostly set in modern London, which gets a visit from animes most famous chart-toppers.

The K-On! film is set during the last few days of the school year, and for guitarist Yui, bassist Mio, keyboardist Mugi and drummer Ritsu, it’s their final year. This means that next year, Azusa, will be the sole member of the Light Music Club. Together the band think hard about what to do to make her happy and choose to go on a trip abroad. With some help from the club’s pet turtle, they decide to go to London.

So Ho-kago Tea-Time fly over to London, and Yui also tries to think of a suitable song to write as a parting gift to Azusa. While visiting London they visit Camden Town market, end up performing in a sushi restaurant, take a ride on the London Eye, and find themselves taking part in a concert promoting Japanese culture.

Since the film is set in London, as a critic I’m even warier of possible errors. I try hard to listen to the accents of the English characters to see if they are believable or not. Some are OK but others sound a bit too American to my ear.

There are other oddities that occur. For example, when the girls’ plane flies into London, the incidental music that is played is bagpipe music. Now if they were flying to Edinburgh, or Glasgow, or, for that matter, anywhere in Scotland – as opposed to England – that would be OK. In this instance it just feels wrong. Mind you, the return journey had issues too. On their way home it starts snowing and for some reason all the transport stillseems to be working.

Putting aside these issues however, this is still a good film. The comedic elements that made the original series great are still there, and the music is good too. Yet most of the songs in the film are those heard in the series, and the end of the film is basically a repeat of the end of the anime series.

The animation is very good too. The creators certainly did their research when it came to drawing London itself. The landmarks are obvious, but there are also the little things, such as when the characters are reading a bus timetable. The look of everything is just perfect.

I kept wanting to mark the film down as a result of some repeated scenes and my inner English pedant, but the charm of the characters, the look of the film and the overall result boost it back up again. There’s also that bit of you that is glad whenever an anime is set in Britain, even if the portrayal is not perfect.

This film comes with a lot of extras, including trailers, the textless opening and closing, footage of promotional events and behind-the-scenes moments.

K-On! The Movie is currently the last instalment in the K-On! anime, but the manga has gone on to see how the girls have progressed since then. Let’s hope for more adventures.

8 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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