The big shocker this week is not Ritsu’s unexpected turn towards the serious, but the revelation that next episode is the season finale. Originally, K-ON! was expected to go for a 13 episode season. It remains to be seen whether that info was just wrong, if they plan on ending the show with a filler episode unrelated to the main storyline, or if it ends up being a DVD special episode (let’s hope not as bad as the Kannagi DVD special episode).
Unfortunately that means they’ll be ending the season with their second school festival performance and not the Budakan performance that I was hoping they’d end with. But that may actually be a blessing in disguise because that clearly sets things up for a 2nd season – not to mention they’re only halfway through their high school careers.
Poor innocent Azu-nyan. She comes in expecting to watch the K-ON groups performance from last year and instead gets her virgin eyes unexpectedly pantsu-flashed. I wonder how many times Sawa-chan has watched that scene. And if Mugi-chan is going to make a bee-line to get a copy of that DVD.
Predictably, as the group prepares for their school festival performance, Nodoka arrives bearing the safety net, reminding them they yet haven’t filled out the proper paperwork to perform. Silly Nodoka, red tape is for kids, not wild light music clubs. Ritsu hands off the responsibilities to Azu-nyan, and the group immediately runs into trouble on the 2nd question when they realized they haven’t figured out a band name yet. A brainstorming session goes nowhere and the group decide to put off the naming for another day.
Thus begins the first of their problems, as Yui reveals that her guitar hasn’t been sounding that great lately. They find that Yui’s never cleaned the guitar strings or the guitar for that matter, and now it’s got a bent neck as well. Yui then reveals a fact about her relationship with "Gitah" that perhaps might’ve been better left hidden. I can’t believe she’d let such a dirty, dirty thing into the bed with her. Where are her standards! But it does lead to a cute scene with her getting close to "Gitah." I guess if you think about it, a guitar’s definitely more girl than boy, what with the curves and all.
The group takes the guitar to Mugi’s family’s shop to have repaired. They have a minor problem when Yui realizes she doesn’t have the money to pay for the repairs, but that’s easily solved once "ojousama" Mugi and her powerful eyebrows get involved. The larger problem begins when Ritsu roughs up Mio one time too many, and the mood between the two takes a sharp crackling turn to the sour. I don’t know why Ritsu would be hurt by Mio calling her "baka" in this specific instance, but it leads Ritsu down a jealousy and rage-induced spiral, taking it out on both Mio and Nodoka. Perhaps it was partly Mio’s fault, since even the genkiest of genki girls need some coddling and loving. But Ritsu gets very over-protective in the way that a greaser might protect his woman from some yuppie pursuer.
Note to self: add Nodoka to the love cloud diagram.
Ritsu and Mio’s tiff bleeds into the impromptu lunchtime practice that Ritsu organized, and the tense standoff was only diffused by Azu-nyan’s quick nekomimi thinking. But even then, the good times don’t last as Ritsu leaves the group in an indifferent huff. Two days of Ritsu absences at practice lead to some nervousness. I’m not sure why Ritsu’s absences were a surprise, since she’s in the same class as Mugi and Yui, they could’ve asked her at any time, but whatever. With the dire circumstances, Sawa-chan suggests finding a backup just in case, but Mugi-chan flips her lid and vows to settle for nothing less than Ritsu. So in case you were thinking Mugi-chan would go for any girl, she’ll have you know she has standards. Her heart’s set on those in the K-ON club.
When Mugi and Yui tell Mio that Ritsu is out sick, it all seems to come together for Mio. So she visits Ritsu at her home, leading to an actually pretty cute and touching scene between the two. In the end, while Mio may flirt with just about everyone, her heart belongs to Ritsu. Later the rest of the group arrive, and Yui thankfully ruins any semblance of the dramatic mood.
K-ON! is light, it’s fluffy, it’s nekomimi, but melodrama it is not. Like I mentioned above, there was no good reason for Ritsu to have become upset at that instance, except because the writers decided she would. The confrontation was so abrupt and broke the mood so awkwardly, it felt like the drama was randomly shoe-horned in there – similar to the Azu-nyan melodrama scene from a couple episodes back. I mean, Mio’s been meaner to Ritsu plenty of times before. But all’s well that ends well.
If next week is indeed the final episode, I hope they go balls to the wall with the animation for their performance. I keep referring back to GOD KNOWS, but a scene like that is something I’ve been pining for since this show began. One really well-animated, pump you up scene where we can watch the girls in all their musical glory and the crowd going nuts. I’ve been pretty lenient on them for not giving us that yet, but this is their last shot. If they give me that, I’ll be completely content with the series. If they don’t, I’m going to remember it for that one, big gaping hole.