DVD Review: K-On!: Season 2 – Part 1

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The difficult second album is here as the first half of K-On! Season 2 has arrived onto UK Shores, but does it live up to the high reputation left by the original season? Find out in our DVD Review of K-On!: Season 2 – Part 1.

Synopsis:

For two full years, Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Trumugi have worked together to keep Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School’s struggling Light Music Club alive, and along the way they’ve begun to build a reputation as real rock musicians… especially since the previous year’s addition of underclassman rhythm guitarist Azusa. But as a new school year begins, there are new and scary challenges ahead. With four fifths of the club graduating at the end of the year, replacement members have to be recruited. There are college exams to prepare for. There are colleges to choose. And there are friends to prepare to say goodbye to.

Our View:

The second season of K-On! Kicks off with the returning cast of characters, Yui Hirasawa, Mio Akiyama, Tsumugi Kotobuki, Ritsu Tainaka (all of which are portrayed by their original voice actors) heading to school for the final year and despite a calm mood in the air Azusa Nakano, the bands fifth and youngest member, is worried that the light music club will be disbanded forever. This concern over the club’s survival becomes apparent when she realises that the founding members of the group will be leaving once the school year is over.

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This is the starting point for the second season and while it’s a serious topic to start off with the founding members do not seem that concerned, that is until they notice that Azusa has been acting strangely. From here Yui and the rest of the gang try to recuit other member via various comical means, including Ritsu faking an injury to lure new members into the club room as well as the group dressing up in various colourful outfits to attract attention from freshmen. Of course this being the light music club these plans don’t go to plan, but a new ‘temporary’ solution is found via Ton, a pet turtle that the group bought for Azuza after money was earned from a major clean-up operation in the club room.

It’s not all fun and games in the club room either, as after a quick school trip to Kyoto the four-main founding members of the band not only prepare to study for their final exams, which leaves Azusa hanging out with Yui’s younger sister, Ui, but the groups also decide to take part in a Summer Festival event, which inevitable double’s their work-load of things to do during Summer Break.

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It’s not just the light music club that gets into trouble either, as secrets surrounding Sawako Yamanaka’s high school past, namely her experience in the light music club and her high school band Death Devil, are also brought to light when a former band member gets married, leaving Sawako worried about her ‘teacher’ image at school.

Extras:

This particular release features the bare minimum of DVD extras, which means that only the text less songs are included and both of these are on the second disc.

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On the second disc viewers will find the Opening Song (GO! GO! MANIAC) and the Closing Song (Listen!!) both of which are performed by Hōkago Tea Time.

Tech Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:42:31 (Disc 1), 2:19:18 (Disc 2) (13 Episodes)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dobly Digital 2.0 – 224 kbps (English & Japanese)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Compared to the first season K-On Season Two is twice as long, which would usually be considered a good thing, especially for the fans, however it seems that this ‘added’ length may have had an impact on the overall delivery of the story. The reason I say this as most of this set (which contains half of Season 2) is filled with, what I’d call, “Yui Time”, whereby we see Yui doing comical antics, sleeping or being criticised by Azusa for being a ditz. While it provides entertainment, some of which is rather amusing, it deviates from the initial plot of finding more club members and makes the topic seem less serious than it should be, but towards the end of this set the initial plot is re-connected, with the group hoping to perform well on-stage so that they can attract more members.

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If you are hoping for more performances or instrument training from the band then sadly you’ll be disappointed, as throughout this set the club hardly touches their instruments, other than carrying them around in their bags. However while this is the case there is the odd few sections where the club does train, such as when Azusa teaches other students on how to play a guitar effectively.

In terms of this UK DVD Release we are treated to a 2 Disc set that features the first 13 episodes of the series, with 7 episodes on disc 1 and the remaining 6 episodes on disc 2. All 13 episodes are presented in both English and Japanese (with Optional English Subtitles) in 2.0 Stereo sound. The clear audio from the voice actors also matches its surprisingly sharp and detailed animation style, which has improved greatly from the previous season. It’s also worth noting that all of the original voice actors, for both the Japanese & English Audio tracks, return which means that we have strong performances from all of the voice talent, so no matter what audio track you decide to watch you will thoroughly enjoy the show.

As per the norm with Anime DVD’s the only included extras are the opening and closing songs for the show, both of which are located on Disc 2. It isn’t much but they are interesting to watch, especially when their is no text flying around on screen. While the show is presented visually and audibly perfect it’s the DVD Menu style that lets it down slightly, as not only does it use screenshots from the series as background images but it uses Season’s 1 opening song (Cagayake! GIRLS) as the background music, thus giving it an unprofessional vibe to this release. Of course this does not affect the overall performance of the show but it just seems untidy from a professional DVD and Blu-ray Distributor, but this isn’t entirely Manga’s fault as the discs were originally authored by Madman Entertainment.

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K-On!! Season 2 Part 1 continues the story of the light music club and while it provides a solid performance it doesn’t quite match the musical talent witnessed in the first season, however this is something that will most likely unfold in the second half of the series. If you enjoyed Season 1 of K-On, then you will enjoy K-On! Season 2 Part 1 as it has the same comical flair, but with slightly less musical orientation.

Score: review-stars-4

K-On!: Season 2 – Part 1 will be available on DVD from the 20th May 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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