Sunday, January 22, 2012

Watching K-On! Episode 8 – “Freshmen Reception!”

It's the start of a new school year, and the Light Music Club attempts to recruit new members.
  • As of this episode, it has been a year story-wise since the beginning of the series.
  • First episode featuring Azusa and Jun.
  • While it’s not explicitly stated in the anime, the manga makes it clear that Ui and Jun are friends from middle school.
  • As of this episode, Mio and Nodoka are in class 2-1, Yui, Ritsu and Mugi are in class 2-2 and Ui, Jun and Azusa are in class 1-2.
  • Yui & company have blue ribbons in their school uniforms as well as blue patches on their shoes, while the younger class has red ones (presumable “inherited” from the previous years’ graduates).
  • The Light Music Club’s motivation for wanting a new member (that being threat of disbandment) is not revealed in this episode, it is however referred to in a late season 2 episode.
  • Animal costumes: Ritsu is the dog, Mugi the cat, Yui the chicken and Mio is the horse.
  • Ritsu gets hit on the head once (for doing gymnastics in the club room for no reason).
  • The song list for the club’s live performance: “Fuwa Fuwa Time”, “Curry nochi Rice”, “Watashi no Koi wa Hotchkiss” and “Fudepen ~Ballpen~”. These four songs are all on the Ho-kago Tea Time mini album released after the first season ended.
  • Songs heard in the episode: “Curry nochi Rice” (tail end only, very briefly) and “Watashi no Koi wa Hotchkiss”. Both heard for the first time.
  • This is the first time the club’s stage performance is actually shown. The performance of “Fuwa Fuwa Time” in “School Festival!” was only shown in music video form.
  • Attention to detail: When Mio “saves” the vocals, the audio is mixed to make it sound like she suddenly started singing a bit away from the microphone before moving closer.
Manga comparison:
This episode is a combination of the last chapter of volume 1, and the first 4-koma chapter in volume 2. The special volume only chapter that opens volume 2 is not included here, but does get adapted as a flashback scene later on in the second season. Also mostly ignored by the anime is chapter 11, in which the student council threatens to disband the Light Music Club for lack of activity (hence their eagerness to recruit new members). The episode is otherwise a fairly straight adaption of the manga, but adds the scenes where Ui helps get Azusa interested in joining the club. Another minor difference is switching the song where Mio saves the vocals from “Fuwa Fuwa Time” to “Watashi no Koi wa Hotchkiss”. Also, different animal costumes are worn.
OST tracks used:
  • Koneko no Ensoukai - 0:00-1:22
  • Doki Doki Friday night - 2:53-4:09
  • Genki! - 5:15-6:02
  • Patrol of stroll - 6:05-6:57
  • Pinch Daisuki! - 8:17-8:50
  • Obaa-chan no Tansu - 9:30-11:00
  • Kendama-kun - 11:32-11:36
  • Cotton candy - 12:55-13:53
  • Have some tea? - 15:31-16:55
  • Gatten da! - 21:47-22:07
My take:
Introduction of new characters, the first on-screen band performance, and the introduction of one of my favorite K-On! songs – how could I not love this episode? In a way, I think it marks the beginning of a second “phase” of K-On!. The first seven episodes took place over the course of the gang’s first year of High School, while from this point on it’s their second year. Throw a couple of new characters into the mix, and the dynamics of the group will develop a bit over the next few episodes.

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