It’s been almost a year since K-ON first aired, but I feel as if I never got to say what I wanted. Sure, I have an opinion on the show, but it’s lost in cyberspace, drifting around in comments here and tweets there. I want to put things down on paper, figuratively speaking. I want to put things down in a place that I’ll remember.
The funny thing about K-ON is that I can’t rationally explain my enjoyment of it. Objectively, I think it’s a spectacular moe show, and I realize that I probably just like it because of Mio; but at the same time, that isn’t enough to make it stand out from the crowd. I don’t think it’s a particularly good anime, but it has some sort of mysterious hold over me, something that forces out a smile every time. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the only shows that I’m genuinely looking forward to.
I think I’ve had this post drifting around in my head for a while, but I never had the will to push it out. The OVA certainly helped: it’s not worth writing about, but it’s filled with the same kind of lighthearted, moe-filled character interaction that defines the show. That said, I don’t think the point really hit home until I saw the chart for the upcoming season. The news started to feel real. Just like last year, I’ll be spending my spring grinning like an idiot in front of my TV. Just like last year, I’ll be putting off classic anime and intriguing novels in the name of Akiyama Mio’s finger calluses. The magic is back. The magic that earned 5000 danbooru images in a year is back.
Let’s cut to the chase: K-ON is a moe show. It always was and always will be. Sure, you can watch it for the comedy or the music, but that’s like watching Evangelion for the cool robots – it’s acceptable, but it’s not the main point. I don’t think that it’s particularly significant or symbolic in the genre, but something about its treatment of moe strikes a chord with me. In a sense, it’s the antithesis of the harem/galge genre: instead of making a guy date cute girls, why not just focus on the cute girls? The show severs the relationship between emotional escapism and moe. It puts the gal in galge, and it takes out the ge. The moe of K-ON is artificial, refined, purified. It’s calculated to the point that it creates a pleasantly convincing illusion, and it soothes the soul without relying on awkward self-inserts.
Or at least that’s my rational explanation of it. It’s probably above average as a moe show, but who am I to talk when react like a shy, blushy shoujo protagonist whenever Mio gets embarrassed? All I know is that there’s enough anime that I haven’t seen to keep me from looking forward to something that isn’t here yet, but sometimes I can’t help myself.
And on that note, let me kick reason to the curb and say this: here’s to another season of after school tea time, of Mugi’s lesbian daydreams and Yui’s airheaded mistakes. Here’s to thirteen more episodes of girly rock and meta fanservice.
Here’s to the greatest moe anime I’ve ever seen.