They’re the best Anime that 2011 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Tennis no Ouji-sama Movie 2: Eikokushiki Teikyuu Shiro Kessen!, Sora no Otoshimono: Tokeijikake no Angeloid, Doraemon Movie 31: Shin Nobita to Tetsujin Heidan – Habatake Tenshi-tachi, and more!
5: Tennis no Ouji-sama Movie 2: Eikokushiki Teikyuu Shiro Kessen!
Japanese: 劇場版テニスの王子様 英国式庭球城決戦！
MAL Score: 7.46
Following the Nationals, Seishun Academy receives an invitation to participate in a junior tennis tournament at Wimbledon. In England, Ryouma Echizen and his teammates are joined by their rivals from Hyoutei Academy, Shitenhouji Middle School, and Rikkai University-Affiliated Middle School, who have also been invited to this special event. One evening before the start of the tournament, some of the players are attacked by a group of thugs, leaving them hospitalized with injuries. The only evidence distinguishing the assailants is a silver ring that each member wears on their hand and that their leader’s name is Keith.
In an effort to stop the gang, the middle school students convene to discuss their options but are interrupted by Ling Xiu, the person who saved Ryouma the night before. Xiu identifies himself as a former member of Clack—a band of tennis players banned from official competition due to their violent playstyles and conduct. The students are warned to stay out of the affairs of Clack as they cannot hope to win against their tennis style.
Frustrated by the situation, Ryouma sneaks out with Xiu to confront Keith and the other members of Clack with the intent to take them down single-handedly. Knowing Xiu’s true objective, Ryouma is now more determined than ever to defeat Keith to save the latter from himself.
4: Sora no Otoshimono: Tokeijikake no Angeloid
English: Heaven’s Lost Property the Movie: The Angeloid of Clockwork
Japanese: 劇場版 そらのおとしもの 時計じかけの哀女神（エンジェロイド）
MAL Score: 7.59
Movie adaptation of the Sora no Otoshimono manga, based on Kazane Hiyori’s arc.
Two high quality seasons do the series justice, with a third as of now currently in the making. Generally, the way the series progresses is through a mostly episodic format. Each season would start by introducing characters, engaging them in comedic situations, and later expanding upon the story in detail. The only problem with this format is that it is initially misleading for those who want to judge the series immediately upon watching a single episode, but as a whole the series is able to offer incredibly well-rounded entertainment as a result.
Now one of the fundamental problems with this movie is the episodic nature of mixed comedy and drama lends itself to awkward execution for a standalone production that is meant to run for over 90 minutes. Sora no Otoshimono does not have a plot that is told continuously from start to end. There are breaks in between action due to the comedic nature of the series, and story arcs are fairly brief. The brief nature of these story arcs isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for this movie it creates a situation where a lot of time is wasted simply trying to overextend the plot so that it fits in a 90 minute time window.
The first 40 minutes of the movie go into the introduction of Hiyori Kazane, a character who was briefly seen late into the second season of the series. Through flashbacks and reused footage of the previous two seasons, we see from her perspective how she has held constant romantic interest in Tomoki. Understandably, this recap of previous events is somewhat helpful for viewers who have not seen the first two seasons. However, it also comes off as redundant as in each flashback from different episodes over the course of 40 minutes, essentially the same thing happens. While Tomoki and his friends are up to some shenanigans, Hiyori is watching from the sidelines, narrating how she wants to have fun with Tomoki, but is scared to say anything to Tomoki or much less look him in the eye.
As the character of focus in this movie, Hiyori proves to be a rather uninteresting character. She can be summed up as being a bad case of Yamato Nadeshiko, or in other words an ideal, soft spoken, and submissive Japanese woman. If there is anything entertaining about this personality, Hiyori’s naivety around Tomoki’s perverted schemes comes off as comedic, but as a character she exhibits very little development or enlightenment to strengthen any interest in her.
The movie does have some good things going for it in spite of its glaring fundamental problems. The best part about this movie is that like the seasons before it, it maintains high production quality. Animation for this show is top notch especially during the few high action scenes. Voice acting for each of the familiar characters is appropriately executed. And even though Hiyori exhibits poor characterization and development, Hikasa Youko, who is probably known better for many strong-willed female roles, does an excellent job delivering her soft-spoken nature.
All in all, Sora no Otoshimono, or at least the part of the story in this series that was chosen I do not feel lends itself to being able to support a full feature length movie by design. While the series maintains a solid story, it does so in bits and pieces with comedy scattered in between, and it is not set up to normally maintain an extended plot arc. As such, most of the movie watching experience may feel largely like a waste of time when half the length of the feature is occupied by flashbacks involving reused footage with commentary from Hiyori. This production in this way fails to maintain what made the seasons before it so entertaining, by losing the ability to jump and flow readily from comedy to drama to maintain viewer interest. The level of freshness and energy that the TV series could maintain for episode duration simply could not be accomplished for this movie.
To be fair, the execution problems the movie has are not uncommon for a lot of movie adaptations for other popular series, due to the nature of movies picking up at a place somewhere in the middle of the story. If you can accept that in your viewing experience, you can at least appreciate that this movie does have amazing production quality to redeem itself.
I just can’t stop grinning when the message pops up “Have you guys forgot someone?” (not 100%, but close enough translation). Then I burst into laughing as Tomoki leads the OP, a very funny OP that is timed very accurate with the motion. After that we get to meet our new heroin Kazane Hiyori, there is a lot of blushes we see coming from Hiyori whenever she sees Tomoki. Despite the fact that the recap at the start was somewhat long, with some new additional scenes that Hiyori is in it, but I don’t mind it it just felt nostalgic, got to see our characters again. Up to the point where Hiyori finally gather her courage to join the ‘New World Discovery Club’ in order to get close to Tomoki, then the story start progressing. Minutes of this movie goes by fast reaching to the point of where the climax of the movie begins. Comparing to the 2 seasons I think this movie have the power capture the emotional feelings of the audience. The story telling will jump from between Hiyori and Tomoki point of view. The pacing of the story has good not too fast nor slow, although you may feel a bit rushed when Hiyori’s arc begins after those recaps, but is not true because the pace have been controlled well. Just like the two previous seasons the switching mood of the story has always been great, an instant click from funny moment to serious, serious to hilarious, hilarious to sad, so this is also a highlight of the story. There is some part in the manga of Hiyori’s arc is not include in this movie, but nothing major all the important point are here.
The visual appeal are very pleasing, whether is the normal sized characters or the SD version characters both worked. One art work that i need to give credit to is the huge clock work design on Zeta’s back. The details is amazing, all the clock mechanics was well displayed, overall look great. The battle visual effect is great too. The art is fantastic.
Great to hear some new songs the funny OP, the insert songs, the ED song. As well as some old songs such as Tomoki’s infamous solo song, plus ‘Fallen Down’ by Ikaros. Such good music is never hurt to hear it again. The soundtrack is also good, some may be forgotten but once you hear you knew it was familiar.
I love it cast as funny as they can be. They are also lovable everyone of them. Hiyori as the new character has done well as being part of the New World Discovery club, as well as a very memorable character.
This movie have entertained me from start to finish. I enjoyed every second out of it, juicing the orange to it max. The story is emotional enough for me to feel for the characters, and funny enough to made me laugh every few minutes. Oh, just to let you know there is more after the credit. This movie is one of those better ecchi anime genre, and would recommend to give it a try.
This movie I think is well worth the wait, and well worth a hour and 36 mins of my time.
This is by far my favorite anime ever no questions asked. I enjoyed this movie alot even though it’s not its usual happy self. The beginning of the movie was hilarious, but gradually turned more serious through out the movie.
The first half is more of a recap of what’s happened so far but threw the eyes of hiyori and how she reacts and responds to the events that were not shown. First a sudden turn around happens to Tomoki that has never happened to him before. Then a serious twist happens that caused me to go O Shit. Finally the saddest part the ending which again from the expreinces of the show I never saw coming.
I enjoyed this movie very much but like I said is sadder then its normal self.
I give everything a 10 out of 10 except enjoyment which got a 9 because I love to laugh but this was more serious then the rest of the series.
DON’T SKIP THE LAST 40SECS OR SO OF THE ANIME.
3: Doraemon Movie 31: Shin Nobita to Tetsujin Heidan – Habatake Tenshi-tachi
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん 新 のび太と鉄人兵団～はばたけ 天使たち～
MAL Score: 8.00
Jealous of Suneo’s new robot toy, Nobita asks Doraemon to build him an even better one. Doraemon initially refuses, until Nobita accidentally discovers pieces of a mysterious robot that falls from the sky. After gathering all the robot parts and assembled them together, the giant robot, Zanda Claus, is soon completed. The duo soon learn that the robot is not a mere toy, but a powerful weapon in the fight against the coming Robot Army that is going to attack Earth and enslave the human inhabitants of it. An invasion is near, as a mysterious girl Riruru (リルル, Alternative spelling: Lilulu, Lillele [Doko Demo Doa Scanlations]) shows up, looking for the robot.
There is pretty much nothing Bad I can say about this movie.
This movie has great characters, a pretty good antagonist, good comedy and the soundtracks as well as the animation are on another level.
One thing that makes this movie special is that no matter how many times you watch it doesn’t get old. There is always something in the movie that you love and the ending is emotional, it pulls you in right from start and the new characters that introduced in the movie are probably the best doraemon side characters ever.
In my opinion this is peak doraemon and the series may never reach this level of quality again when it comes to movies and This movie is without a doubt, worth your time and I can’t recommend it enough.
Despite being made for kids, this movie is actually quite good and better than your average kids movie.
There aren’t any major plot holes and everything makes sense while being somewhat complex at the same time.
This is also a remake of the older version of steel troops and this remake made it way better.
I liked the old one but with it’s really good animation, voice acting and overall enjoyment this remake elevates the old movie story line to a whole new level.
In the past they have remade older movies and improved on them but this remake is just on another level compared to the others. The actual steel troops story is honestly the best out of all doraemon movies as well.
If you are a doraemon fan I recommend this.
The characters who stole the show the most in this movie were Riruru and Shizuka. You will see Shizuka’s kindness tested to it’s absolute limit, and Riruru questioning her beliefs and purpose. It is surprisingly deep material for a Doraemon movie, especially near the end which I will not spoil for you.
Unlike other Doraemon movies, this one has a more serious tone. The bad future always seems like an immediate threat, which makes for an action-packed movie. There are still some moments of levity despite this, to keep the film from getting depressing.
Overall, I would say to check it out. It is among the best Doraemon movies, and it’s heartwarming story shows us why Doraemon ended up being such a beloved character in our culture.
2: Detective Conan Movie 15: Quarter of Silence
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 沈黙の15分
MAL Score: 8.02
The momentous day of the opening of the new Tokyo subway, the Touto Line, has come, but a bombing incident puts all celebrations to a halt. The governor of Tokyo is caught in the blast while onboard the train, but he and everyone else present is fortunately saved by the quick thinking and actions of Conan Edogawa.
Intrigued by the incident, Conan researches the governor’s political history and discovers that the man was responsible for the destruction of a village in Niigata to build the Kitanosawa Dam. Believing the attack to be related to the construction of the dam, Conan, accompanied by Ran Mouri, Kogorou Mouri, Professor Agasa, Sonoko Suzuki, and the Detective Boys, decides to visit the village and investigate.
There, they meet a group of locals who lived in the old village before it was torn down. However, just as one mystery leads to another, one of the locals is murdered. Suspecting that something much more sinister is afoot, Conan vows to uncover the truth behind these two incidents before it is too late.
But after watching this movie, I just got an urge to do it.
So, here I go:
Even though the trailer didn’t get me least excited and therefore I wasn’t THAT hyped, because of Movie 12’s, 13’s and 14’s Awesomeness, this one blew me away, once again.
It had everything, I love so much about this series (except for Kaito and Heiji, but they were in Movie 14 already).
The case was very exciting, the typical humour was good and the action was thrilling.
Of course, there also was the obligatoric dosis of drama, the series and especially the movies, always got. Some may find it cheesy and that’d be fine. But it doesn’t bother me.
Last but definetely not least, there was one of my most favourite things about the show, that I missed in the recent movies.: the presentation of the beautiful country and culture of Nippon (mostly country this time).
Before and even in between the cases, the series very often delievers a heartwarming, authentic and overall fascinating impression of the land of the rising sun. In my opinion, that is what makes the show so great, almost as much as the cases themselves.
The only thing I didn’t like, were the 3D-Effects regarding vehicles and traffical stuff in general. It’s common in anime these days and especially the Conan-Movies made use of them for a long time now.
Still I like the “old way” of animation best, were this parts also were “handmade”.
The Skate- and Snowboard-Scenes were an exception though. They were fantastic. They added a lot of action and dynamic feel to the movie and were great to watch.
The finale was the cherry on the cake. It was one of the best, if not THE best in the whole series. And that is quite an accomplishment.
It was dramatic, fast paced and simply bombastic.
Bottom line it was one of the best Conan-Movies so far, even though nearly all of them, were top notch.
Every fan of the series should’ve watched it and most of them, should come to love it, too.
As a huge DC fan, I was wondering about how they could surprise us, after producing both DC movies (13 & 14) which where very very enjoyable.
So, does this film hold all his promises, and our expectations?
Let’s talk about it.
Detective Conan Movie 15: Quarter of Silence:
After an introduction scene, showing a boy falling from a small snowy cliff, the story begins immediately out kind of crazy.
With a threat against the japanese governor, which became reality with a bomb’attack in a subway tunnel.
Conan succeeds to save everybody, after seeing someone suspect in the tunnel near this subway (actually, in top of) and understanding that some bombs were planted there.
Then.. A police summit and… nothing.
Conan & friends decided to came to Kitanosawa for Snow’s party (does it really exist in english?), and after the eternal and essential Agasa’s quizz, we discover the main characters of this movie. (Oh wait, I do not talk about the “memories” present, and the snowmobile’s course cause it’s without interest)
We discover these 5 people, childhood friends, who seem to be connected by tragic events (for each of them: A dead sister, a son in the coma, a killer…).
And after that, all of the continuation of the movie is tasteless. Indeed the story is soooo easy to guess, and far too badly settled and introduced:
The awakening of toma, after 8 years in the coma, the death of the character which seemed the most narcissistic and “bad”, Conan who ridicules Kogoro by finding how the culprit made not to be seen (in a easy way, moreover), the memory which returns little by little to Toma, which could remember the man who would have pushed him of the cliff…
Conan who solves easily the survey, the children who leave the place with Toma, and who are followed by the killer, then saved by Conan..
And similar. Bombs on the dam, predictable since the beginning.
How to stop the water of the dam? With an avalanche, obviously.
We also knew it since the beginning, as soon as they speak of ” how long we can survive under the snow after an avalanche “… Oh wait. Reread the title of the movie.. Yes, we still guess the end. AGAIN
Conan who arrives supernaturally to make an avalanche, to save everybody and the village, and RAN who finds him (shinichi, again) at the last second (14 minutes > 15 minutes of survives max.. Remember?)
Aniway, even if the story isn’t that much interesting, I’ll give a 04.
I was a bit sad at the beginning of this movie. DC passed in full HD, and it’s wonderful. The animation is redone and perfectly worked. To my eyes, the movie is really very very beautiful.
Nevertheless, all the added details, to make the spectator laugh (all these visual onomatopoeias, all these small gags…) are tasteless and without interest. And it’s a pity..
Sound is cool. Nothing really good, or really bad.
Even if I didn’t like Kogoro’s voice in this movie, it’s quite enjoyable.
•Characters (02/10): (DID NOT COUNT DC USUAL STAFF)
No surprise, we have the team: Kogoro/Ran/Sonoko/Conan + Agasa/Ai/Ayumi/Genta/Mitsuhiko.
And that’s, then, the BIG weak point of the movie. All the unpublished protagonists and existing only for this movie are clichés and stereotypes. Besides we’ll never arrive to fasten (Your sealtbealt *.*), indentify ourselves to one of them.
They are divested of interests, both by their character and by their actions.
I have no problem to watch this movie. Even if it was boring at such time, it’s always like that in some point, in DC movies, that’s why it does not disturb.
Yeah, I’ve lot of problem with this movie.
OBJECTIVELY, how did a 10 year’s boy could stop cars on road, at high speed? Could survive at bombs, and avalanche (after being shot, yes, shot by a rifle)? Couldn’t be unmasked, while IT WAS a lot MORE EXAGGERATED than lot of DC’s movies (Summit police, when Conan’s talent vas revealed AT TV!!!).
There were too many coincidences, too many improbable and guessable events at the same time, so that I appreciate OBJECTIVELY this movie.
And the IMPORTANT part:
The morality of the movie being badly brought ( the friendship > Movie’s people + Conan & Shonen Boys) making it so old-fashioned…
And it’s a pity, he would have been able to be a waaaaay better than that!!
Thks for reading, and sorry for the english, not my language.
Story (7/10): After an almost fatal bombing on a newly opened subway line occurs, Conan believes there’s a connection to a dam building project that relocated an entire village 5 years ago, and the whole gang (minus the police department characters) end up traveling there. They are then met with some freaky coincidences that could lead to the culprit in this case. But just what is that persons goal, and what does a coma patient have to do with it?
As a story for a movie, this feels a bit underwhelming, but by no means is the story itself bad. In fact I would say that it’s the one of the more well done stories in a Conan movie to date, utilizing the time correctly and using the movie exclusive characters very well. The bad thing though is that it does feel like a longer episode of the main show, so there’s a bit too much padding to fill out the almost 2 hour time frame. The movie also tries to bring up the Shinichi/Ran romance, but where it fit almost naturally into the previous movie, here it feels tacked on for the sake of having it just be there.
Also I hope you’re a fan of the Detective Boys, cause they play a larger part here than in more recent films, but even I, who isn’t really a big fan of them, have to admit that they added a certain charm to the story itself. Otherwise I feel like the story moves along fairly well and the climax is really amazing, so kudos (heh) for holding itself up to the better standards of the last few movies.
Art (8/10): I get the feeling that the staff who works on the movies is getting more into doing action scenes, since they were better than ever. They must have had fun with all the snowboarding scenes because hot damn were they fluid and exciting. The snowy village location was also really nice to look at, though this does cause the problem of the film being very white and pale colored heavy.
Sound (7/10): I’m not going to rehash anything, since sound is pretty much the same in most Conan movies by now. But as usual, it was great (an much better timed with things compared to the horrendous job done in the last movie).
Character (7/10): Conan/Shinichi, is, as usual, great, along with a bit more screen time for Ai, but since they really don’t have too many character moments themselves, lets focus on the others. As I said before, the Detective Boys are actually fairly important in this movie, so I hope you have a soft spot for them (me personally, I don’t really like them all that much, but they have their moments). But thankfully, they fit in very well with the plot and they are played up with their strengths, making them much more tolerable than in other films. Agasa, Kogoro, Ran, and Sonoko, on the other hand, are just sort of thrown into the movie and don’t really do all that much, one of the unfortunate trends that the movies tend to have.
(If you’re wondering, Conan movies have the bad tendency of only focusing on one set of secondary characters, so one movie (Rave Chaser) may focus on the police characters, one (Jolly Rodger of the Deep Sea) focusing on Ran and Sonoko, and this movie on the Detective Boys, where the other set(s) feel out of place or underutilized. …rant over, I promise.)
The movie characters, thankfully, are fairly strong and are fun to watch. While they aren’t too amazing (they do have the standard feel of a Conan case character), special note goes to Touma, who is fairly interesting and probably could have had more screen time on his own, but for what we got he was interesting and helped with some interesting parallels with Conan, Ai, and the Detective Boys.
Enjoyment (8/10): Going into this movie, I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was that there was a snowy location and…that’s it. But I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. While I do think that they could have made the film a slight bit shorter, it was entertaining and a totally fun watch.
Detective Conan: Quarter of Silence is a fun ride from start to finish, though it doesn’t feel quite as strong as the two movies prior to it. But that doesn’t matter as much since the mystery was interesting, the action fun, and it gave some characters some time to shine. While some things are the same as ever, it’s still a fun movie for fans and non-fans alike.
7/10 = fun movie with an interesting mystery and good action, but just doesn’t feel as strong as some of the better entries in the movie franchise; you better like the Detective Boys, because they’re partial headliners here
1: K-On! Movie
English: K-ON! The Movie
Japanese: 映画 けいおん！
MAL Score: 8.34
Graduation looms for the founding members of the Light Music Club. With only a few precious weeks of school left, the girls decide to make the most of it and plan a trip abroad. Hawaii, New York, Dubai—many destinations are suggested, but after a little help from the club’s precious pet turtle, Ton-chan, London is chosen as the host of their next misadventure!
Yui Hirasawa, Mio Akiyama, Tsumugi Kotobuki, Ritsu Tainaka, and Azusa Nakano will visit famous landmarks, perform live music for Londoners, and eat all sorts of delicious food, all while stumbling clumsily from place to place. But the fun won’t last forever, as heartfelt songs and goodbyes will be made as their high school days together come to a close. One thing is for certain though: the undeniable friendships these girls have formed is something that will carry on long after the final scene rolls.
And when the credits roll in the K-ON movie, you know that you just witnessed something great.
After over a year since the second season of the anime finished its airing, KyoAni has released their final work for their famed K-ON adaptation. A movie with anime-original content or “filler” is something that normally carries a very negative connotation. For a person who doesn’t see themselves as a large fan of the series, this may appear to be something pointless, or, in the most severe form, a cash grab for the series. Though KyoAni has always prided themselves in selling based on the quality of their products, it’s safe to say that these worries have absolutely no basis in the movie.
This is in many ways the true ending to the series. It’s something that takes the expectations from the brilliant second season and goes above and beyond with what the series is truly capable of. Cute girls, comedy, and other important traits of the series remain prominent here, but it’s also something that shows itself to be much more than that.
K-ON is a series that needs no introduction. It’s always had a simple premise – young girls playing in a music club and growing up and having fun along the way. Yui is as ditzy as ever and Azusa is still her strict and mature self, though not without the character growth that came towards the end of the TV series. Taking place a few weeks before their graduation, the girls of the series make one last trip together as a full group in London to end things off with a smile. And just as you would expect, seeing the characters in a completely foreign environment and in a variety of strange and unique situations is a very delightful and amusing thing.
Surprisingly, there’s a large amount of exposition and build-up in the beginning as well as a lengthy goodbye at the end when they come back home. This isn’t a movie that starts and ends with their trip in London – it begins with a full 30-minutes of introduction and deliberation leading towards the trip. After finally boarding the plane and dealing with Yui’s silly shenanigans along the way, we see them in London making their way around the city sightseeing, having fun, and unfortunately for them, stumbling around and getting into several misunderstandings from their lack of knowledge with the English language.
They travel to many locations within the city that are based on and modeled after the actual locations, which is something that KyoAni has shown themselves to put a lot of work into. For somebody that lives in London or has been there frequently, there’s a lot of familiar sights in the movie which reminds the audience that this isn’t a story that takes place in a fictional setting, but our own living and breathing world. Even for people that aren’t familiar with the city, it gives a great glimpse at what the life and culture there is like and what the city has to offer. This is the real London, the hotel they stay at and all the locations they visit are very much real and lifelike places. And for a large part of the movie, you will feel like you’re traveling alongside the girls and witnessing all the silly and interesting things that they experience.
A lot of complaints towards K-ON can be directed towards a perceived lack of music which was established as the theme at the very beginning of the series. And while that does carry a small sense of validity in the TV anime, the movie is definitely something that will alleviate those complaints immensely with the amount of music the girls play and the amount of new tracks implemented here. A large portion of the screentime is spent by the girls performing music, both in London and back at home at their school. There aren’t just one or two new songs added in for the movie, but five in total, all performed and sang by the girls and their seiyuu. Two of these songs include a unique opening and ending while two of them are performed by the girls on-stage, and another exists as an insert song while they’re exploring the sights of London.
Background music is also much more varied and includes classical music reminiscent of the England from centuries past while others are more contemporary and involve catchy guitar riffs. While the background music in the TV anime wasn’t something that stood out most of the time, it is quite impossible to deny its presence here in the movie. Each track adds heavily to the emotional value and they also had me close to tearing up just from the music alone during a couple of the more serious scenes. This is a soundtrack that will be found incredibly hard to forget, especially with repeated and future seeings of the movie.
Another thing in particular that KyoAni should be commended for here is the quality of animation and the detail of the scenery. It’s honestly breathtaking at times and the characters and environments move so fluidly that it puts even the TV series to shame, which is saying a hell of a lot. Thankfully, many unique outfits are given to each and every character in the movie, rather than falling to the trope of a single outfit for the entire trip like many anime do. It’s very evident here that KyoAni put all their efforts into making sure the production quality is high up there, and it’s a very pretty anime as a result of that.
A large part of the emotion stems from the audience’s attachment to the characters, but with the direction of the movie itself and especially in the last thirty minutes, it finds a perfect way to end the series and tie it together with the ending of the second season. The story behind the song performed for Azusa during their graduation is easily the largest theme next to the seniors themselves moving on, and the movie goes into full detail with the creative process and emotion put behind that song. It’s what makes their final performance in the clubroom so meaningful and even more emotional than it was in the second season. With all the build-up and cues set before that point, it’s quite difficult to resist shedding a few tears or feeling impacted as the story of the five girls finally reaches its conclusion.
Many people praise previous KyoAni works like “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “Clannad After Story” as being some of the best of anime, but now it’s quite safe to say that KyoAni has opened this spot for a third title.
This is our final goodbye to the series, and what a beautiful goodbye it is.
“But, O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!”
– Shakespeare, As You Like It
By the end of this humble review, the case may be that I will find myself skewered by countless pitchforks and torched at the stake by those who bear disdain towards K-ON! for forging what is igniting the burning passion in my heart for all to see. In spite of this inevitable dreary destiny, I shall boldly write on and write on I shall ‘till kingdom come for friend or foe to witness. So without further ado, before I enrage the angry mob which desires my public evisceration and execution to the point where they can no longer withhold their murderous intent, I shall grace your eyes with the weaving of this golden yarn of mine.
Infamous for its intricate, innovative and inspiring PLOT, or rather a lack thereof, K-ON! has garnered a reputation for being an inane and unproductive moefest after two seasons of moe madness featuring the endless antics of the musical moeblob members of the Houkago Tea Time Club.
But that is what it is.
And it will stay true to itself regardless of how irrational it may be. Because the story of the hectic daily lives of these high school girls aiming for the Budokan, and their various shenanigans along the way, is the quintessence of why we love them, or hate them, depending on which side of the spectrum that you may be.
This iconic image remains unaltered in its motion picture premiere. Indeed, there is never a dull moment in the world of K-ON! as it flawlessly maintains its ditsy eccentricity from Japan to England and back. That’s right. In this chapter of their high school adventures, the K-ON! girls travel to London, the birthplace of many talented musical prodigies, for their much awaited graduation trip. As with each episode of K-ON!, one cannot help but imagine in anticipation and in expectation of what lies in each installment, however it is usually the case that we are often wrong in our predictions of the coalescence of the events.
The same concept is applicable to the movie, which welcomes its audience with an explosive heavy metal opening that stands in stark contrast to the light and fluffy music that we are accustomed to. However, after a period of violent and erratic headbanging, I came to revisit the overwhelmingly nostalgic innocent and happy-go-lucky atmosphere which characteristically defines K-ON! We are immediately reminded that this chapter in the K-ON! girls’ lives takes place in the period before their graduation, after the senior girls receive confirmation of their acceptance into university. As such, they are presented with the dilemmas of how to celebrate their graduating year and final high school days as well as what will pose as the more uncertain and difficult challenge of expressing their gratitude to Azusa.
With these elements of PLOT presented, KyoAni does a splendid job of executing this duality by not only making the graduation trip an exciting and memorable experience for both the K-ON! girls and their spectators, but also succeeds in weaving the narrative fabric to incorporate the latter aspect throughout the film. And thus, we are once again thrust into the wild wacky absurdity of K-ON! From silliness on the airport conveyor belts which are undoubtedly amusing to tread on, to getting lost in a foreign land resulting in an unintended musical performance via a case of mistaken identity and Engrish gibberish, K-ON! and their fans embark on a misadventure with more destinations than what was planned on the trip itinerary. All of which was expertly animated by the talent at the KyoAni Studio, which never fails to dish out perfection with a side dish of K-ON! The addition of CGI that complimented the meticulously drawn conventional animation was a great welcome and generated eyegasms aplenty.
The movie also serves as a fast-track tourist trip to London city as we travel with the K-ON! girls to famous landmarks such as the London Underground, the Borough Market and the banks of the River Thames where the Tower Bridge, the London Eye and the Elizabeth Tower containing Big Ben all lie in their gloriously animated state. For those who have been to the massive metropolitan city, it is a refreshing sight to view its beautiful landscape in animated form. By the same token, it stirs a desire to retrace the steps of the K-ON! girls in those who have yet to travel to the hallmark destination.
Moving on, the audience is once again graced with the excitement that a typical K-ON! musical gig provides. KyoAni doesn’t disappoint its fans with the animation of the gigs, which leave me jumping and pumping my fist in the air in tandem with the song. I’m just kidding, I don’t do that. As we approach the film’s conclusion, we re-experience the nostalgic bliss of the end of the senior girls’ high school days and their final gift of gratitude to Azusa that they worked so hard throughout the movie to have come to fruition, which takes form in the performance that is depicted in Episode 24 of the second season. Witnessing the penultimate events which led to the pinnacle of that emotional scene was the most masterfully executed moment of heartfelt nostalgia that I had the privilege of experiencing and I felt the full brunt of the bittersweet joy that I basked in once before.
One would like to believe that after three years have passed since the debut of their high school years, the K-ON! girls would experience some sort of progressive change as they nurtured each other’s growth. However, that is far from the case as the only thing that has probably altered is the fact that they have become complacent to each other’s idiocy, and therefore have become increasingly idiotic. Hirasawa Yui returns as your friendly neighborhood airhead guitarist and stars in all of the crazy acts of hilarity which we all know and love. Tainaka Ritsu’s erratic hard-headed large-forheaded rash irrationality compliments Yui and completes their comedic duo in their plethora of stunts. Akiyama Mio. Ahem. Wait a moment please, I must compose myself. So Mio flawlessly and triumphantly makes her stunning comeback as our adorable and lovable cute and pure maiden. Bubbly Kotobuki Tsumugi and her eyebrows of awesome return to be Mugi and bubbly. Nakano Azusa, also affectionately known as Azunyan, becomes translated into Engrish as Azu-Cat and remains the most sane and levelheaded member of K-ON! Even side-characters make their respective cameos to remind the viewers of all of the individuals with which the K-ON! girls have met in their high school journey. Oh and Sawa-chan looks damn delectably delicious in black. In essence, KyoAni manages to preserve the iconic identities of all of their characters and work their magic by making the vast array of personalities interact and mingle in new ways.
Now how could I possibly forget about the musical score of a series centered around a group of girls who are characterized by their identity as band members? The soundtrack recycles some of the K-ON! series background music pieces to retain its iconic happy-go-lucky feel, but we are introduced to new music as we enter the realm of the English homeland K-ON! style. This is welcomed with open arms as it adds to consolidate the foreign setting of the film. In addition, the OP songs “Unmei wa Endless!” and “Ichiban Ippai” are sure to satisfy the listeners who are yearning for more K-ON! fluff. On the other hand, ED song “Singing” which bears the angelic –singing- voice of Hikasa Youko emanates the same feel as her previous K-ON!! ED piece, “NO, Thank You!” However, the film returns to showcase hallmark tracks which have defined its musical prowess such as “Fuwa Fuwa Time,” “U&I,” “Gohan wa Okazu,” and “Tenshi ni Fureta Yo.” All in all, the film’s soundtrack features some new spectacular tracks and reintroduces their predecessors to keep K-ON! music and nostalgia fresh.
Watching the K-ON! Movie has been the most exhilarating anime entertainment experience that I have witnessed and I am eternally grateful for seeing this legendary series meet its conclusion with such sparkling splendor. Bravo KyoAni for creating a beautiful masterpiece.
And in the end, Yui still got to go to Europe.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am being carried against my will by this legion of pissed off K-ON! haters to be burned at the stake. I guess I have to visit the hospital after to treat this multitude of pitchfork punctures too. Well don’t worry, it’s just a flesh wound.
The school year is drawing to a close at Sakuragaoka Girls’ High School, and with it will come the graduation of four of the five girls in the school’s light music club. The girls have already spent plenty of time together during and after school having fun, making music, and drinking tea, but what better way to cap it all off than with a graduation trip? After some serious deliberation and a little outside help, the five girls decide to go to London, guitars and bass in tow. Between visiting Abbey Road, seeing palace guards, drinking afternoon tea, and more, they’ve got plenty to do on their schedules, but how much of the trip will go as planned? While these sorts of questions have a tendency to sort themselves out, one more question is weighing heavily on the minds of the four seniors, Yui’s in particular: what kind of song will the four write as their goodbye to Azusa, the one junior they’ll be leaving behind?
Fans may insist that it is impossible to grasp all the qualities of K-ON! without being intimately familiar with the franchise, and to a degree, they would not be wrong in saying this. However, the film still succeeds in its attempt to please fans across the spectrum, drawing even the most unfamiliar viewers into its world through its minutely detailed characters and fun, thoughtful story while also providing more than enough to keep hardcore fans happy.
Our heroines do arrive in the promised land, but much of the stereotypical sightseeing the girls do is summarized fairly quickly in a montage of short moments at famous locations. The speed at which this all goes by may be a let down to some, but on the converse, this approach does an excellent job of capturing how a highly-planned overseas vacation in an unfamiliar land might feel, as rather than actively engaging in their sightseeing, the girls’ experience seems to passively happen to them as they whisk themselves off from one spot to the next.
While the film’s first two acts are well-paced and easy to follow, the third and final act may prove to be the most divisive between hardcore fans of the K-ON! franchise and those who aren’t. Not only have the girls returned from a lengthy and conclusive trip by this point, but viewers will also have grown accustomed to the film’s technical aspects, meaning that the significantly lengthy end segment hinges around the emotional drama between the girls as all but one of them spends their final days in high school.
The production quality for the movie is insanely high. I love KyoAni’s realistic rendition of the city of London, which looks exotically breathtaking. The detailed and vibrant background is noteworthy, and it exactly highlights London’s busy streets and beautiful scenery. The animations and some of the carefully chosen angles make them as comparable as most of K-ON’s high-quality ending sequences. Also, the several number of food scenes expressed and reinforced the cultural opposites of the girls’ usual obsessions; teas and cakes, which was pretty refreshing.
As for the music in the film, all of the girls’ catchy, fluffy power-pop songs heard in the various performance scenes will be familiar to those who have seen the television series, as the three new songs by the K-ON! girls are used are all heard outside of the context of the story.
While this probably goes without saying, you’re looking for a theatrical anime experience that will blow you out of your seat, K-ON! is probably not the movie for you. What it is, however, is a very well-crafted and whimsical look into the lives of the movie’s five heroines, with each of its constituent parts supporting and creating a polished final product. Its story might just be about a group of girls who go on a school trip, but they’re are quickly made into characters who you develop emotional connections with and naturally want to watch as they go about their lives. While it may seem like a light message delivered in a sugar-coated package, K-ON! does a brilliant job of reminding us that sometimes who you choose to spend your time with is more important than what you do with that time.
All in all, the movie shows us the five good friends doing what they do best; messing and playing around, relaxing, trying to come up with new songs and procrastinating; all the way in London.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. K-On! Movie
2. Detective Conan Movie 15: Quarter of Silence
3. Doraemon Movie 31: Shin Nobita to Tetsujin Heidan – Habatake Tenshi-tachi
4. Sora no Otoshimono: Tokeijikake no Angeloid
5. Tennis no Ouji-sama Movie 2: Eikokushiki Teikyuu Shiro Kessen!