K-ON! Movie Impressions and Review (Spoiler-free!)

 Posted by Blitzwing on December 5, 2011 at 4:49 am  Anime  Tagged with: , ,
Dec 052011

The K-ON! Movie has finally opened in Japan! I’m a big Azunyan fan and adore K-ON!, so, armed with great expectations and a bottle of Mugi endorsed 午後の紅茶 (Afternoon Tea), I set off for the local cinema with a friend! Sadly the limited edition tickets were all gone, but we snagged tickets for the late-night show at 1200 JPY a piece (about $15 USD).

Spoiler-free impressions and review after the break!

Afternoon Tea is always... After Noon?

Japanese theaters have reserved seating, so we showed up about 10 minutes prior and were greeted by this:

Man, these cardboard cutouts are popping up everyone! I want to take one home.

In line with the royal treatment for opening weekend, K-ON! was on the biggest screen in the house! There were also some goods for sale, but most of them were sold out (unsurprisingly…) [K-ON! Movie Goods (TBS Website)] The special Ritsu postcards being offered by the theater were also long gone. What was a bit surprising was that the theater was only about half full. I guess it being a late-night showing on Sunday night was to blame.

The movie ran 116 minutes and was chock full of juicy K-ON goodness. Here’s the rundown:

Production: 4.5/5

First off, the production values were very high. It definitely has a solid coat of polish that puts it a cut above the TV series. Kyoto Animation usually does a bang-up job, and they’ve done really well with the K-ON! Movie. Ample use of dynamic framing, smooth character animation and their trademark background art style all come into play. The art may not be as breathtaking as a Makoto Shinkai work, but it’s certainly top-notch. I’ve been to many of the places (in Japan) that appear in the movie (like the area around the school!) and they were all easily recognizable and rendered beautifully. I’m sure the places they visit in London are just as accurately represented! Actually, thanks to that I’ve become a bit interested in doing a London 聖地巡礼 (tour of the places that appear in the film!)…

Story: 4/5

As for the story, it was good. Nothing earth-shattering, but it delivers what it promises. They paced it out pretty nicely, and it was generally well written. It definitely incorporates the elements that made the original such a huge success- those who enjoyed the original series won’t be disappointed here. There was one thing that I wish had been done *just* a little differently, but that’s basically nitpicking on my part. There are more than enough “K-ON! quality” conversations to enjoy, and I spent half the movie bursting at the seams trying to maintain my composure. (Cultural Note: Audiences in Japanese movie theaters basically stay as quiet as possible- but even the guy next to me could barely keep it in!)

Audio: 5/5

Well, it’s K-ON! after all, so the music had better be good! Song-wise, old favorites make their appearance with a bit of a twist, and Tom [email protected]’s presence is felt everywhere. The remixed BGMs are also nice. I will NEVER get tired of hearing Toyosaki Aki and Taketatsu Ayana’s banter as Yui and Azunyan :D「あずにゃ~ん!」「もう、唯先輩ってば!」ハァハァ…*ahem*. I’d love to talk about the finer points of HTT’s gut-wrenchingly hilarious English proficiency, but in the interests of staying spoiler-free, suffice to say that it’s something to look forward to- meme-worthy stuff! However, the English voice-actors that were chosen for certain roles performed admirably, and certainly at a level of professionalism far above the *cough* travesty that was the “Sounds like a Guy off the Street” that can be heard in the opening throes of “Evangelion: 01 You Are (Not) Alone”.

Overall: 9/10

I had a really good time watching the film. It’s not perfect, but K-ON! fans will enjoy it, and it might just have enough mass-market appeal to be interesting as a family movie for people who have never seen the series.  Maybe the worst thing about it was best stated by Taketatsu Ayana herself, on her blog (Thanks to Avvenire for the translation!):

“I feel a little sad and it’s been in the corner of my mind for a long while now. That this movie might just be the last thing we ever do with a K-ON anime.” Read the rest at Seiyuu Blog Snippets.

Although I think they’ll eventually crank out an S3 once the new manga gets a few volumes out, that probably won’t be for a good while yet. In short, it’s a fun movie, go watch it as soon as you can! (It’s not to late to book a plane ticket for the Christmas season hehe…)


It’s been floating around the net for a little while now, but there’s a point system for repeat viewers of the movie. If you collect 3 ticket stubs, you get some sort of random piece of “Memorial Film” (probably a cut of film from the movie). There are 24 spaces to fill on the card, so you’d have to spend over 30,000 yen to get 8 random pieces of film. I’d rather just buy the rest of the [email protected] BDs than 24 movie tickets to the same movie, but there’s otaku out there who’ve already filled their cards, and then some- (via yaraon):

144 ticket stubs, worth 170,000 JPY, or about the cost of a trip to London!

  14 Responses to “K-ON! Movie Impressions and Review (Spoiler-free!)”

  1. Awesome review, Im glad to know the production values have been kept to the standard we are used to, Im also glad they used pro English voice actors for some of the extra roles. I had a feeling this would be the last ‘good’ K-on! anime which is why they wanted to end it with a bang. I predicted this movie would shatter Japanese Box Office records and I think I will be right glad to know it is still selling out.

    • Thanks! Yes, I really hope the movie does well! But I think that with the number of pre-sale tickets sold, it really helped convince advertisers to get behind the project. Several companies are running K-ON! promotions these days, and the characters keep showing up everywhere. Universal Studios Japan is one of the latest and greatest! K-ON! is also nice because it really does have appeal with that key demographic: Japanese High School Girls. Haha, that’s tongue in cheek but there’s definitely been an upsurge in high school light music clubs recently.

  2. wow… great review…. you went to japan to watch the movie? if it gets a 9/10 i guess its definitely a must watch…. no all is left is to resist the urge to read the spoilers

  3. Hi, thks for all! :)
    I wanna know if the theaters have tight security anti-electronic devices. Here it is said, that they prevent anyone to do a camrip this way and with also the police guarding the entrance.

    • I’m not sure but basically it’s fairly difficult to do. There’s also a big risk of getting caught so I don’t think anyone will cam it.

      • Oh! But you don’t see anyone guarding the entrance? No anti-electronic devices at the entrace? (Two towers at each side of the door like some supermarkets)
        Some poster advice against it?

        I’m asking because everyone outside Japan are waiting some news about any chance to see this movie, even in camrip. Nobody can wait as long as a year for the DVD release. Even in facebook k-on pages, they don´t talk about anything else.

        Sorry to bother, but thanks for the news in your blog. Its a pity they dont have releases around the world as hollywood does.

      • This video plays at the beginning of every movie shown in Japan. It basically outlines the penalties for camming a movie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Xsc1x7oyvQ

        I’d be doubtful about it ever happening though. There’s no special guards or anything, but it’s not like anyone has any reason to do it. For example, Sayonara no Tsubasa, the 2nd Macross Frontier Movie, was never cammed afaik…

        It is a pity that there is no worldwide release, but it’ll make it out there eventually. Until then, it’s just a waiting game I guess…

      • Yes, it’s true.
        Some movies like the 2nd macross didn’t take long for the dvd/bd release. The 2nd of Evangelion took almost a year (maybe more). Suzumiya got a camrip and also the first of evangelion.
        Here where i am (Peru), and almost in AouthAmerica (maybe argentina exception), we don’t see any anime movie release in theaters. Never! Not a single one!
        The last we saw, was pokemon 1 I think. So, the only chances we got are the releases in dvd/bd, but also them had no official representation in here.
        Only way to see all….?
        From there, some people made illegal business selling copies. Others like me, just wanna watch them.
        I’ll be glad to hace offical anime representation in here but is very low chance to happen.

        Thks for your time an kindly answers. I supposed its gone be a looooooong wait until i can see it.

        Good luck with your blog and a merry christmas.


  4. You’ve written a nice article about K-on. I see you are a fan of Azunyan. But in K-on I like Yui the most. Because of her silly little acts. Plus the way she hugs Azunyan is so sweet…

    Thx for the post

    Tsudip Rai

  5. Now that the BD is out, I’ve had the chance to actually get some screenshots to go with my review. I’m sure some readers ought to be interested.

  6. This is a great review!

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