Blu-ray Review: K-On! The Movie

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The movie instalment into the K-On! franchise is finally about to hit UK Shores, but what exactly did we think of its UK Blu-ray Release? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of K-On! The Movie.

Synopsis:

It’s graduation time for the members of Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School Light Music Club and Japan’s hottest all-girl teen pop group are about to mark the momentous occasion with their very own Magical Musical Tour in the form of a five-day trip to London, England.

But, despite their excitement, the girls’ minds are slightly preoccupied with coming up with a suitable present for their underclassman rhythm guitarist, Azusa, who is destined to remain in school without them when they all leave for college.

Naturally, once the gang arrives in Britain, chaos reigns during their stay as they embark on a whistle-stop tour of the capital, breathlessly taking in the sights from Camden to Earl’s Court, Westminster to the West End and Soho to the South Bank. The adventure also sees them unexpectedly unleashing their effervescent pop music upon an unsuspecting but highly appreciative British public!

Our View:

K-On! The Movie is the perfect conclusion to a highly entertaining high-school based anime series, however unlike other move-tie-in films, such as Fullmetal Alchemist or Pokemon, the film itself intermingles with the final few episodes of Season 2 by carrying its story, while at the same time providing its own independent story. The independent story itself is the graduation trip to London, while the story being carried over from the anime series is the subject of a present for Azusa.

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While not intended the film can be separated into three segments, with each segment taking a bulk of the story. For instance When the film starts its “business as usual” with the Light Music Club members, made up of band mates Yui, Mio, Ritsu, Mugi and Azusa, having tea and preforming pranks in the club room, however it suddenly dawns on them with Graduation approaching they should give Azusa a present, as a memento of their friendship.

This first segment of the film sees the four ‘founding’ members (Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi) trying to come up with ideas for a present for Azusa, that is until they overhear members of the Volleyball Club planning a trip to Hawaii as part of their Graduation, and so (after some comically out of the blue explanation) the light music club decide to go to London as part of their Graduation, while at the same time taking Azusa along for the ride.

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Ironically Azusa ends up becoming the ‘tour guide’ of the group by planning everything out ahead in advance, which moves the film into the next ‘segment’ of the story, this sees the girls visiting all sorts of iconic London locations, such as the London Eye, Westminster and Earls Court – all of which are presented in extremely impressive life-like detail. It’s not all fun and games in London though, as not only does the band get recruited to perform at a Japanese Pop Culture, but Azusa fears that Yui is intending to ‘flunk’ high school so that they can graduate together.

The final segment of the film ties back into the final episode of the anime series, whereby the Graduation Ceremony is held and a surprise ‘final performance’ in front of the class (inspired by the Season Two Opening)  is performed until finally the founding members of the Light Music Club present Azusa with her present, a song written especially for her.

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By using all of these ‘segments’ and by intermingling the films story with the anime story It’s an interesting way of making sure the film ties in perfectly to the series without losing any momentum or suffering from its own plot holes.  The film can also act as an explanation into how the song (Tenshi ni Fureta yo!) was written and rehearsed without Azusa knowing about it, as in the anime series the song just suddenly appeared with a brief explanation at the end of the series.

Combine all of these story elements together, along with a ‘re-envisioned’ ending for the series, K-On! The Movie provides fun, entertainment and music in a global scale that’s brought to an emotional, but highly satisfying conclusion with a few  surprises thrown in for good measure. Onward to College!

Extras:

As far as extras go K-On! The Movie (on Blu-ray at least) has the best variety of extra features I have ever seen on an anime related release, that’s not just because its variety – but because there is over an hour worth of additional material, majority of which are related to the Japanese Promotion of the film, something which we hardly ever get to see on UK releases.

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All of the usual suspects are there, such as Japanese Trailers for the film, Text less (clean) Opening/Closing songs as well as English Trailer for the anime series, however it’s the ‘additional’ behind the scenes styled extras that will excite fans of the franchise.

Minami Tanaka’s Dubbing Investigative Report (23 Minutes), London Bus & Press Conference at TBS (19 Minutes)   and Navi Show 1-2-3 is K-ON! (24 Minutes) are all behind-the-scenes styled looks at the film and its cast, whether it be seeing how the Japanese Audio is recorded (dubbing), its initial Press Conference announcement and interviews with the cast at TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting Station) or a look back at the K-On Franchise (Navvi Show) there is something here that everyone will enjoy, especially those more interested in the Seiyu side of anime.

The Additional extra features, such as the Movie Premiere Event, take a look at when the film was premiered in a Japanese Cinema while the “Naoko Yamada in London” featurette shows the director (Naoko Yamada) and her crew walking around London grabbing inspiration from varying locations, most of which actually make it into the film itself.

Specs:

Media: BD 50
Region: B
Running Time: 1:50:49
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

K-On! The Movie acts a ‘re-envisioned’ conclusion to the K-On! TV Anime, whereby the light music club travels to London as part of their Graduation Ceremony, while at the same time trying to create a song for Azusa.  As a whole the film features everything you’d come to expect from K-On!, such as Azusa taking command and Yui acting like a ditz, even if it is not on purpose. The Combination of colourful characters, insanely detailed London locations and an emotional story makes this one of the best anime conclusions ever released, with the film left ‘open’ to any possible continuations of the story, something which didn’t exactly happen in the TV anime.

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In regards to this Blu-ray release the quality is outstandingly amazing, with crisp 1080p picture and full 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio for both the English and Japanese audio track.  As you’d expect the audio quality (especially when connected to a Surround Sound kit) comes into its own when the band start to play their songs. The only possible ‘downfall’ with this release is that the Subtitles are tied to the Japanese Audio track, so you won’t be able to watch it in Raw Japanese. Whichever audio option you choose you won’t be disappointed as the voice acting (for both audio tracks) are believable and entertaining, however the Japanese audio track does provide a more ‘realistic’ approach, mainly because the Japanese actors try to speak in English when in London (which when viewing the English Audio just seems confusing) plus when the band starts to play the songs are performed in Japanese, even if you are watching the English Dubbed version.

I have a feeling that this review might seem long winded and complicated but the overall point is simple, if you enjoyed the K-On! TV Anime then this film is a MUST-HAVE, especially on Blu-ray, as it features all of the same comical and musical elements that made the TV series so much fun, but just on a larger, more global scale.

Score: review-stars-5

K-On! The Movie will be available as a Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack and on DVD from the 28th October 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.

One Response to Blu-ray Review: K-On! The Movie

  1. Edward says:

    This is a great review. I absolutely loved K-On! The Movie, and seeing the animations of London!

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