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K-On! manga volume 1 cover featuring Yui Hirasawa.
|Genre||Comedy, Music, Slice of life|
|English publisher||Yen Press|
|Magazine||Manga Time Kirara|
Manga Time Kirara Carat
|Original run||May 2007 – ongoing|
|Original run||April 3, 2009 –June 26, 2009|
|Original video animation|
|Released||January 20, 2010|
|Original run||April 7, 2010 – scheduled|
K-On! (けいおん! Keion! ) is a Japanese four-panel comic strip manga written and illustrated by Kakifly. The manga started serialization in Houbunsha's seinen manga magazine Manga Time Kirara since the May 2007 issue, and also started a bimonthly serialization in Houbunsha's magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat since the October 2008 issue. A thirteen-episode anime adaptation produced by Kyoto Animation aired in Japan between April and June 2009. An additionaloriginal video animation episode was released in January 2010. A second season will begin airing in Japan in April 2010 titled K-On!! (with two exclamation marks). The title of the series comes from the Japanese word for light music,keiongaku (軽音楽), but in the Japanese context is similar to pop music.
K-On!'s story revolves around four Japanese high school girls who join their school's light music club to try to save it from being abolished. However, they are the only members of the club, and at first Yui Hirasawa, the main character, has no experience playing musical instruments or reading sheet music. Eventually, she learns how to be an excellent guitarplayer. The rest of the club helps her to buy a guitar, and they perform successfully at the school festival.
- Yui Hirasawa (平沢 唯 Hirasawa Yui )
- Voiced by: Aki Toyosaki
- Yui is the main character of K-On!. She is one of the members of the light music club, and plays a Heritage Cherry Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard electric guitar that she nicknames 'Giita' (ギー太). She does not get good grades in school (though when properly coached, she can achieve astounding results) and is easily distracted by trivialities. Yui is clumsy and easily spaces out most of the time. She takes a huge liking for any kind of food (she practically never gains weight, which is greatly envied by Mugi and Mio). She has her younger sister Ui, who is the very mature and down-to-earth opposite of Yui, to take care of her and keep herself in line. Yui works extremely hard to get better at playing guitar, which is shown in late chapters. During performances, Yui plays with amazing energy and joy, which usually results in great repsonse from the audience.
- Yui is the band's main vocalist and has perfect pitch—she can tune her guitar perfectly without a tuner, which greatly impresses Azusa, who has played the guitar much longer than Yui. She has a very easy-going nature, but has incredible concentration when hyped, though this is only limited to one subject at a time. She will totally neglect any other things in the process, to the point of forgetting anything she has learned beforehand. Despite all of this, Yui is still devoted to her band and will always practice hard enough for the club. At school, she has become quite admired for her great voice. However she is known to forget her lyrics in mid-performance, as well as overdoing things, making her unable to perform sometimes. Mio was the lead vocalist at first, since Yui could not play the guitar and sing at the same time. One of Yui's newly discovered skills is her ability to write amazing lyrics, which shocked the rest of the band, who first assumed that Ui had written them for Yui.
- Ritsu Tainaka (田井中 律 Tainaka Ritsu )
- Voiced by: Satomi Satō
- Ritsu (or Rit-chan, as nicknamed by Yui) is the self-proclaimed president of the light music club and plays a Yamaha Hipgig Drumset combined with a cymbal set from Zildjian. She has an ambiguous yet upbeat personality, but often has trouble remembering important club activities and announcements, and gets constantly yelled at by Mio and Nodoka for forgetting to send in important forms concerning the club. Ritsu is cheerful, often likes making jokes and is sarcastic most of the time. She usually brainstorms for ideas to earn more money and for the club's success. She says she chose to play the drums because they are "cool", but in reality, she admits that she has trouble playing instruments which involve intricate finger movements, such as the bass, guitar and keyboard. She is a childhood friend of Mio and will often tease her whenever she is cowering from something and has the opportunity to do so. Ritsu is always on the go and will stop at nothing for the success of the light music club. She has a younger brother. Despite her rough mannerisms and speech, she gets casted as Juliet by the majority of her classmates in their class play rendition of Romeo and Juliet and, in the end, managed to act like a proper girl.
- Mio Akiyama (秋山 澪 Akiyama Mio )
- Voiced by: Yōko Hikasa
- Mio is a shy girl who is in the light music club and plays a left-handed, 3-Color Sunburst Fender Jazz Bass, with a tortoiseshell pickguard, though is shown playing a Fender Precision Bass in the first manga volume. She originally intended to join the literary club, but is forced into the light music club by her childhood friend and the club's president/drummer, Ritsu. She gets excellent grades in school, but is bad with listening to stories involving macabre experiences, and cowers whenever something gross is brought up. While she can be mature and strict sometimes, she gets embarrassed easily, and is often subject to teasing from Ritsu and Sawako, their club adviser. She cites that she chose bass since it is not the center of attention in the band, unlike the guitarist. Mio is more technical when it comes to music, and Yui often comes to her when she is in need of more guitar tutorials.
- She is the band's backing vocalist and takes over lead vocals whenever Yui is incapable of singing or forgets the lyrics. She writes most of the songs, although they usually feature some odd and overly girlish lyrics like "Light and Fluffy Time". As she is left-handed, she becomes entranced whenever she sees left-handed instruments. Due to an unexpected accident in one of their live performances (and partly due to her attractive appearances), she acquired a huge amount of popularity, and even a fan club for her is formed (much to her dismay considering the circumstances surrounding it), whose founding member is the former student council president, who also stalks Mio. Due to this, most of her classmates voted her to play as Romeo in their class play. Mio is seemingly a fan ofLomography, as she is often seen with a camera strongly resembling the Lomo LC-A during her summer training.
- Tsumugi Kotobuki (琴吹 紬 Kotobuki Tsumugi )
- Voiced by: Minako Kotobuki
- Tsumugi, often referred to as 'Mugi' by her friends, is a wealthy girl with a gentle and sweet personality who plays a Korg Triton Extreme 76 Key keyboard in the light music club, and, in the anime's closing credits, a Korg RK-100 Keytar. Tsumugi is considered a piano prodigy since she has been playing the piano since she was four and has experience in winning various piano contests. She is the daughter of a company president, and her family has several villas in various places around Japan (and even one in Finland, much to Ritsu, Azusa and Ui's surprise when they try to contact her at home). Since her father also owns a maid café, she often brings confectionery and an assortment of sweets and pastries to the club room, and she diligently makes tea with a tea set which is kept in their club room.
- Although she is a sweet and gentle girl, she is often weirdly entranced by the sight of two girls interacting closely together, sometimes imagining something more risqué in her head (both Mio and Ritsu find this awkward at times). The series sometimes indicates that Mugi has a crush on their teacher, Sawako Yamanaka. She originally intended to join the choir club, but joins the light music club instead after receiving an invitation and encouragement from both Mio and Ritsu. Despite her being wealthy, she also tries her hand at a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant. While a lot of things do not bother her, she is fairly conscious about her weight (just like Mio), and she gets a bit anxious when her family's staff start spoiling her friends during villa visits.
- Azusa Nakano (中野 梓 Nakano Azusa )
- Voiced by: Ayana Taketatsu
- Azusa is a new student who joins the light music club and plays a Fender Mustang electric guitar. She is in the same year and class as Ui and has quite a mysterious demeanor. She is a self-proclaimed novice guitarist who has been playing the guitar since she was in the fourth grade, and her parents are working in a jazz band. She often finds herself bewildered by the tea parties and cosplaying aspects of the club, when she would rather just practice and is curious on how the club is able to play so well despite their problems and lack of practice. However, she has a certain weakness for cakes and can be calmed down rather easily, sometimes by just being petted. She is constantly a victim to Yui's skinship and is nicknamed Azu-nyan after trying on a pair of cat ears and meowing ("nyan" being the equivalent of "meow" in the Japanese vocabulary). Despite this, Azusa is not too good with cats.
- In the band, she looks up to Mio the most due to her maturity and the fact that she is an experienced bassist, even trying to give Mio chocolate on Valentine's Day. However, she sometimes unintentionally makes remarks concerning Mio's weaknesses, such as her weight. She also finds Mugi very beautiful, and envies her hair and large eyes. Since joining, Yui comes to her for advice on playing guitar, as well as maintenance. She gets a tan extremely easily, once during their time at the beach and another during a music festival (even after applying sunscreen). As a result, she frequently gets sunburned as well. She gets lonely very easily, and often worries that everyone in the club will leave her, as they are one year older and eventually will graduate.
- Sawako Yamanaka (山中 さわ子 Yamanaka Sawako )
- Voiced by: Asami Sanada
- Sawako is the adviser for the wind instrument club at Yui's school. An alumna of the school and a member of the light music club in her student days, she does not want people to find out that she was formerly a member of a heavy metal band, thus she covers up by being mild and gentle to her coworkers and especially to students. She is forced to be the adviser of the light music club, as Ritsu blackmails her after the girls learn of her past, though it is unknown whether she stopped being the adviser for the wind instrument club as the story progresses. Though she has a mature and gentle demeanor in the school, Sawako (affectionately addressed as "Sawa-chan" by both Ritsu and Yui) displays a totally different, completely authentic character when she is alone with the light music club. In reality, she is rather wild, lazy and quite an irresponsible teacher who enjoys dressing up the light music club in (sometimes embarrassing)cosplay costumes (like French maid uniforms), much to the dismay of Mio. She gets a thrill out of the rare moments where she is praised for her work.
- She names the club band "After School Tea Time" (放課後ティータイム Hōkago Tī Taimu ) after the members take too long deciding on a name themselves (and to maintain the secrecy of her heavy-metal image). She once momentarily pitches in for Yui with her Gibson Flying V electric guitar (in the anime only). She becomes the girls' homeroom teacher in their third year, and puts Nodoka and all the band members (except Azusa, since she is a grade lower) in the same class, so she does not have to remember as many names. Due to her relation to the club members, the other students in her class start to call her Sawa-chan as well, ruining her image as a mild-mannered teacher. She apparently went by the stage name of "Catherine" when she was younger. In spite of her laziness, she still proves herself to be an able mentor, as shown by her willingness to coach Yui as the lead singer and attending their performances. Her music abilities apparently have not dulled over the years, as she is able to substitute for Yui at the school festival at almost no notice without the assistance of a music score, even without any prior practicing of the band's song. Sawako is a perceptive person: she immediately sees through Ui's disguise when she impersonates her sister and on several occasions boasts to the club that there is nothing she cannot see.
- Nodoka Manabe (真鍋 和 Manabe Nodoka )
- Voiced by: Chika Fujitō
- Nodoka is Yui's childhood friend and confidant who is a member of the school's student council. As a normal, well-mannered and intelligent girl, she is generally taken aback by the light music club's odd behavior, and easily gets annoyed with Ritsu whenever she forgets to fill in the club's application forms. She shares the same class as Mio in their second year, who appreciates her companionship tremendously, she being the only person Mio knows in her class. In her third year, she becomes the student council president and is also in the same class as the other third year club members. She gradually becomes the president of Mio's fan club through unknown circumstances (possibly out of her control), even when she originally turned down the position.
- Ui Hirasawa (平沢 憂 Hirasawa Ui )
- Voiced by: Madoka Yonezawa
- Ui is Yui's younger sister, who begins the story as a third-year junior high school student, but later enters the same school as her older sister in high school the following year. Unlike her older sister, Ui is mature, responsible and handles household chores well, though she still shares a strong relationship with Yui and has a great deal of love and respect for her older sister. Despite being a year younger than Yui, she is nearly identical to her with her hair down and is even once able to fool the club. She possesses some of her sister's musical gift, and has a great talent for playing the guitar—she became capable of playing with the rest of the light music club band after only a few days of practice (Yui was sick, so Ui dressed up as Yui to help the band out). She takes particularly good care of Yui and strives to look after her even at the risk of her own health. Ui is actually considered as the ultimate groupie for her sister's band and supports them with all her heart. She occasionally provides a narrative to the story. She is in the same class as Azusa and hangs out with her sometimes.
- Jun Suzuki (鈴木 純 Suzuki Jun )
- Voiced by: Yoriko Nagata
- Jun is Azusa's and Ui's classmate who often hangs out with the latter. Ui tries to get her to join the light music club but ultimately fails due to a strange visit to the club room. However, she starts to regret it when she hears about all the activities the club does. She has a pet cat.
- Megumi Sogabe (曽我部 恵 Sogabe Megumi )
- Voiced by: Asumi Kodama
- Megumi was the president of the student council before Nodoka succeeded her in her third year, and she is also the president of Mio's fan club, who is later succeeded by Nodoka. She stalks Mio during her last few days in high school because she wanted to see Mio one more time. The band offers her a song as a graduation gift. Although her position on the student council and in Mio's fan club is only brought up in the manga version, she can be seen in episodes six and eleven of the anime.
K-On! began as a four-panel comic-strip manga written and illustrated by Kakifly. The manga started serialization in Houbunsha's Manga Time Kirara manga magazine in the May 2007 issue sold on April 9, 2007. The manga has also appeared as a guest bimonthly serialization in Manga Time Kirara's sister magazineManga Time Kirara Carat starting with the October 2008 issue sold on August 28, 2008. The first bound volume was released on April 26, 2008; the third volume was released on January 2, 2010. The manga was licensed by Yen Press for an English release in North America. There is an anthology entitled Minna de Untan!, which features several guest strips from various artists. An official anthology was released on November 27, 2009 by Houbunsha. An illustration book with official art and fan art from well known dōjin artists was released on January 27, 2010.
A thirteen-episode anime adaptation directed by Naoko Yamada, written by Reiko Yoshida, and produced by Kyoto Animation aired between April 3 and June 26, 2009 on TBS in Japan. The episodes began airing on subsequent networks at later dates which include BS-i, MBS, and Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting. The TBS airings are in 4:3 ratio, and the series began airing in widescreen on BS-TBS on April 25, 2009. Seven DVD and Blu-ray Disc compilation volumes were released byPony Canyon between July 29, 2009 and January 20, 2010. An additional original video animation episode was released with the final DVD and BD volumes on January 20, 2010. Animax has aired the anime in Hong Kong and Taiwan. An English-subtitled version of the anime will begin airing on March, 16, 2010 on Animax Asia. It was displayed on screen at the Let's Go live concert in Yokohama, Japan on December 30, 2009 that a second season would be produced. The second season is titled K-On!! (with two exclamation marks) and will air on TBS in Japan on April 7, 2010.
The anime's opening theme is "Cagayake! Girls" by Aki Toyosaki with Yōko Hikasa, Satomi Satō and Minako Kotobuki. The ending theme is "Don't Say 'Lazy'" by Hikasa with Toyosaki, Satō and Kotobuki. The opening and ending theme singles were released on April 22, 2009 by Pony Canyon. A single containing the insert song "Fuwa Fuwa Time" (ふわふわ時間 Light and Fluffy Time ) used in episode six was released on May 20, 2009. A series of five character song singles have been released containing songs sung by the voice actresses of the five main characters. The singles for Yui (by Toyosaki) and Mio (by Hikasa) were released on June 17, 2009, and the singles for Ritsu (by Satō) and Tsumugi (by Kotobuki) were delayed and released together with the single for Azusa (by Taketatsu) on August 26, 2009. The singles for Ui Hirasawa (by Madoka Yonezawa) and Nodoka Manabe (by Chika Fujitō) were released on October 21, 2009. The anime's original soundtrack, largely composed by Hajime Hyakkoku, was released on June 3, 2009. The four songs highlighted in episode eight of the anime were released on the mini albumHōkago Tea Time (放課後ティータイム After School Tea Time ) on July 22, 2009. The single by Sawako's band Death Devil was released on August 12, 2009.
The first manga volume of K-On! was the thirtieth highest-selling manga volume in Japan for the week of April 27 and May 3, 2009, having sold over 26,500 volumes that week. The following week, the first and second manga volumes were the nineteenth and twentieth highest-selling manga volumes in Japan, having sold 23,200 and 22,500 volumes each the week of May 4 and May 10, 2009. As of May 2009, the first two manga volumes have each sold about 136,000 copies each.
The single for the anime's opening theme, "Cagayake! Girls" debuted at fourth in the ranking on the Oricon weekly singles chart, selling approximately 62,000 copies. The ending theme "Don't Say 'Lazy'" debuted at second in the ranking, selling 67,000 copies. It was also awarded Best Theme Song at the 14th Animation KobeAwards. Additionally, "Cagayake! Girls" and "Don't Say 'Lazy'" were certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan for 100,000 full-track ringtonedigital music downloads (Chaku Uta Full) each. The mini album Hōkago Tea Time debuted at #1 on the Oricon weekly CD albums charts selling 67,000 copies, making it the first image song album credited to fictional anime characters that reached the highest position.
The first Japanese DVD volume of the anime series sold around 8,000 copies to debut seventh in the ranking on the Oricon charts for the week of July 29, 2009.The Blu-ray Disc release of the first volume sold about 33,000 copies in the same week, to top the Oricon BD charts. In August 2009, the first volume of K-On! was the top-selling television anime Blu-ray Disc in Japan, having surpassed the previous record holder Macross Frontier, which sold approximately 22,000 copies of its first volume. It was the second best-selling Blu-ray Disc in Japan, trailing only Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, with around 49,000 copies. However, in October 2009, the first volume of Bakemonogatari surpassed K-On!'s previous record, having sold 37,000 copies at that time. K-On! received a Best TV Animation Award at the 2010 Tokyo International Anime Fair.
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