This is probably the closest I will ever get to having a Dairy of an Anime Lived post, and that is the weird part of it since Sora no Woto was hitting much closer to my professional sensibilities. However since coming back home to “peaceful” civilian life again I think I have come back more disgruntled. Partly it is because the financial meltdown, IMHO, brought to the fore something that had been woefully lacking for most Americans for a long time: the lack of savings. Now with the onset of lean times people are saving more and spending less, and given how much of the economic growth in the past was based on reckless use of credit I do not think a recovery is just around the corner. Such is the crappy state of the federal budget that the life I wanted and the one I know I would have enjoyed the most has been closed to me. I would have preferred to go on active duty now that I know I can handle deployments, but just about every branch is full up on their active duty pool with no one willing to leave in these hateful times. It was during this ongoing period of aimlessness, lack of any concrete direction, and certainty that K-On, oddly enough, hit the gut of my current predicament.
Final Thoughts and Last Minute Excuses
Well first off since I guess I should have posted a final thoughts post on this series when it ended. My personal commitments have been in disarray and trying to set my priorities has been a much greater challenge than I realized. The short and skinny of it was that it is a moe show but it does have layers of complexity that I did not notice during the high times of military life, but that I now have noticed with the frustration of my hopes and dreams of financial stability and military monotony. If one is utterly convinced that moe is the cancer that is killing anime, K-On will probably add more fuel to the fires of your opinions but for the rest it’s oddly relaxing, and while not as bubbly as Aria it is a little more grounded in reality and similar life situations than most moe shows and slice of life. Here there is little in the way of romance but more of a show about a group of girls in a club that are enjoying their hobby within the context of high school. While not every one aspires to be a musician, the tale of effort and passion is probably the most relate-able aspect for any one with a serious hobby. It had some genuinely funny moments and while general lack of drama is expected for being part of the genre there was some character growth to be had, as Ritsu at least demonstrated that she was simply lazy rather than dopey as in the case of Yui.
Any one with aspirations towards craftsmanship, be it gunpla, music, or some creative or artistic pursuit will have something to enjoy here. While there is a dearth of concerts for being a music anime, it oddly fit considering that across the board they were all at the hobby stage and were not seriously pursuing international fame or having battles with other bands. As Azu-nyan noted their lack of practice time at least showed that it was still for fun and not for the pursuit of something grandiose. Mio’s songs, while titled funny and lacking in the sheer awesomeness of say Huey Lewis and the News with Power of Love, showed how song writing is no easy task and while some rappers seem to make money with awful lyrics for most of us trying to create a master piece is no small task. While building a 1/144 HG Stark Jegan is an easy task, painting the sucker to a decent standard takes a lot of work, to make it the envy of all your friends would take a lot more skill with a brush, and if you want to GO ALL THE WAY your cool display base with a fucked up battle damaged Gera Zulu is going to take weeks if not months.
One part stood out in particular to me. Romeo and Juliet is a staple of high school English/drama classes and yet the English teaching profession seems to be convinced that a sordid tale of two star-crossed but knuckle dragging-ly dumb teenagers is a wonderful way to get kids to read. Ritsu hit it on the nail in that regard, and with just about the whole overly inflated Japanese Love Suicide genre, eloping is an option that is never taken. One day I will do a post about how much I loathe that aspect of Japanese cultural achievement, but the short of it is that typical harem animu loser male with waifu and kids gets all emo and shit about his favorite prostitute/courtesan, some dude/ ZA WOULDO is out to screw him and in the end he and his paid lover commit suicide so that they can be together. That running off and assuming new identities somewhere else in the time before biometrics, finger printing, DNA analysis, and Stasi calibre police, secret or otherwise, is an artistic license I vomit back out consistently enough, and even if it happened for reals I consider it nothing short of Darwinism at work as a stupid loser irresponsible male and his paid lover gloriously saved everyone the trouble of killing them and that their stupidity and ineptitude will no longer affect anyone. I found this arc to be my favorite as I would have preferred doing Othello instead as stupid lovers is pretty lame compared to RACISM, hubris, and the sheer evil awesomeness of Iago and his machinations.
All in all I think that anyone with a serious passion for a hobby can find something to relate to and much to laugh about. None of the characters seriously aspires to be famous, but all aspire to be good with their craft. There is a lot of moe and cuteness to be sure but there is something more underneath all that along with some glorious yuri subtext due to the general lack of males to blight the show.
Final Grade: B
Warning Label: K-On is recommended for the casual fan that has no strong feeling regarding moe and to self professed moe-fags. Do not take if you suffer from SRS Business as taking K-On will result in stroke and hopefully a quick death from the cancer that is killing anime. Side effects include RAEG HAET for Shakespeare, sleeping with instruments, getting lost at a Lowe’s, over production of cosplay outfits, GOING WILDO, picking a Death Metal Band for your wedding, burning your yearbooks, and fatal bouts of being your own hair stylist. Please e-mail Chaplain Crusader for a tough shit card or to cash in three for a shoulder tor cry on due to your own recklessness and inability to read a warning label. Chaplain Crusader is not responsible for SRS Business fans who kill them selves in excessive displays of bravado, though Chaplain Crusader will recite the litany of contempt before blowing off your groin with a bolt pistol and/or smashing in your face with his Crozius Arcanum. Requests for curb stomps with power armor boots will be honored and done with gusto usually reserved for Tyranids.
Report of a Relate-able Anime
While most people probably started pondering their future job in High School and pondered where to go for college, I already had that answer. I wanted to join the military and see the world. The pay would suck but even the monotony had its charm as I would never have to worry about where my next pay check would come from, or how to pay a health insurance premium. I liked that I would have job security for 20-30 years, and that every Tuesday would be taco Tuesday at the chow hall. Had that been the case, my worries would have been minimal and I would have experienced something most people in California never would. Now however with active duty being struck savagely from the roster by hard times I am left wondering what to do next much like Ritsu. Their solution of hiding out in college is probably a good bet as having served I did get a significant educational benefit that I have not used for Graduate studies or technical training. In the short term however I will have to take a part time job that isn’t nearly as glitzy as working in a maid cafe.
Their misadventure in the hardware store was ridiculous, but I confess to having the strange urge to build something big like a gaming table every time I step in to a Lowe’s. As a miniature gamer, I do aspire to one day have a dedicated gaming room complete with a versatile gaming table. I have built stuff for high school drama productions before, but after reading the Blood Angels codex when I got back from the Middle East I splurged on a Dremel tool to build a Stormraven out of an IG Valkyrie kit. I wonder if it is the same when other people step into a hardware store; I have gone plenty since I like getting cheap storage solutions for all my bits and hobby supplies.
I am no musician but I found the music-as-a-hobby aspect to be much more compelling as of late. Back in the first season I barely had time to do anything Warhammer or 40K related, but after college was done, in-between looking for more steady work, I went back to trying to finish off some long overdue projects. It was at this point that GW changed their painting pots to something I truly hate. I finally decided to switch to a new paint range to save me money and what I found in moving to dropper bottle paint that I had less of a mess to clean up and was able to get more done. In an odd way it was similar to Yui, Ritsu, Mio, Mugi, and Azu-nyan putting out top dollar for the best instrument they could afford. For a long time I was trying to do all my painting on the cheap and while the results were decent I was losing money due to paint drying out in the pot since I was never able to paint consistently over a weekly basis. I was also in the habit of trashing my brushes and painting right out of the paint pots. Having once again met the guy who gave me my first painting lesson I realized how much of a cardinal sin I had been committing over the years. I basically bought new bushes, cleaning soap, invested in the GW Foundations and Washes, and changed my paints to a range that had a lot more color variety. So far I am much more happy with my results and with a better tool set I am able to get a lot more done and finally get a noticeable improvement in the stuff I paint. I wish I had paid a little more attention then instead of writing it off as excessive brand fanboyism, as even mechanics put up lots of money for quality tools that they lavish care upon, though not quite to the point where Yui got.
I think that if you do give K-On a chance you might find something unexpected like I did, as there is some hidden depth to it. While on the outside it may appear to be shallow, there are some subtle themes to it if you know where to look. It was the only series I did not feel guilty about watching during the job search as it did inspire me to take my old mentor’s advice to heart and invest more in my hobby to get better results. Hopefully now this means I will finish my projects and maybe even one day do up all my VF-25 and VF-27 kits. Right now I need to finish my HE army and try out a white primer/GW foundation combo on a VF-1S. Ritsu’s response to her being cast as Juliet did goad me into taking less than ideal work and swearing to do my best in order to bulk out my threadbare resume doing seasonal work up until Christmas. Even as their easy times came to an with the end of High School, I too can look towards a different, less-than-expected future…as I got orders for a 14 or more week gig with Uncle Sam and grand old tour of the US at some point in the near future.