K-On!

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K-On!
K-On! manga volume 1 cover.jpg
K-On! manga volume 1 cover featuring Yui Hirasawa.
けいおん!
(Keion!)
Genre Comedy, Slice of life
Manga
Written by Kakifly
Published by Houbunsha
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Manga Time Kirara
Manga Time Kirara Carat
English magazine
Original run May 2007August 2012
Volumes 6
Anime television series
Directed by Naoko Yamada
Written by Reiko Yoshida
Music by Hajime Hyakkoku
Studio Kyoto Animation
Licensed by
Network TBS, BS-TBS, Disney Channel Japan, Animax
English network
Original run April 3, 2009June 26, 2009
Episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Live House!
Directed by Naoko Yamada
Written by Reiko Yoshida
Music by Hajime Hyakkoku
Studio Kyoto Animation
Licensed by
Released January 20, 2010
Runtime 24 minutes
Anime television series
K-On!!
Directed by Naoko Yamada
Written by Reiko Yoshida
Music by Hajime Hyakkoku
Studio Kyoto Animation
Licensed by
Network TBS
English network
Animax Asia
Original run April 7, 2010September 28, 2010
Episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Game
K-On! Hōkago Live!!
Developer Sega
Publisher Sega
Genre Rhythm
Platform PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3
Released September 30, 2010 (PSP)
June 21, 2012 (PS3)
Original video animation
Plan!!
Directed by Naoko Yamada
Written by Reiko Yoshida
Music by Hajime Hyakkoku
Studio Kyoto Animation
Licensed by
Released March 16, 2011
Runtime 24 minutes
Anime film
Directed by Naoko Yamada
Produced by Takahiro Ōno
Written by Reiko Yoshida
Music by Hajime Hyakkoku
Studio Kyoto Animation
Licensed by
Released December 3, 2011
Runtime 110 minutes
Game
K-On! Hōkago Rhythm Time
Developer Atlus
Publisher Index
Sega
Genre Rhythm, Trading card game
Platform Arcade
Released April 26, 2013
Game
K-On! Hōkago Rhythm Selection
Publisher Sega
Genre Rhythm, Trading card game
Platform Arcade
Released November 13, 2014
Anime and Manga portal

K-On! (けいおん! Keion!?) is a Japanese four-panel comic strip seinen manga written and illustrated by Kakifly. The manga was serialized in Houbunsha's seinen manga magazine Manga Time Kirara between the May 2007 and October 2010 issues. It was also serialized in Houbunsha's magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat. The manga relaunched from April 2011 to June 2012 with two separate storylines published in Manga Time Kirara and Manga Time Kirara Carat. The manga is licensed in North America by Yen Press.

A 13-episode anime adaptation produced by Kyoto Animation aired in Japan between April and June 2009. An additional original video animation (OVA) episode was released in January 2010. A 26-episode second season, titled K-On!! (with two exclamation marks), aired in Japan between April and September 2010, with an OVA episode released in March 2011. An animated film based on the series was released in Japan on December 3, 2011. Bandai Entertainment had licensed the first season until their closure in 2012. Sentai Filmworks has since re-licensed the first season, in addition to acquiring the rights for the second season and film. The title of the series comes from the Japanese word for light music, keiongaku (軽音楽?), which in the Japanese context is similar to pop music.

Plot[edit]

In K-On!, four Japanese high school girls join the light music club of Sakuragaoka Girl's High School to try to save it from being disbanded. However, they are the only members of the club. At first, Yui Hirasawa has no experience playing musical instruments or reading sheet music as she is only familiar with playing the castanets, but she eventually becomes an excellent guitar player. From then on, Yui, along with bassist Mio Akiyama, drummer Ritsu Tainaka, and keyboardist Tsumugi Kotobuki spend their school days practicing, performing, and hanging out together. The club is overseen by music teacher Sawako Yamanaka, who eventually becomes their homeroom teacher as well during their final year of high school. In their second year, the club welcomes another guitarist, underclassman Azusa Nakano. After Azusa joins they gain more structure and begin to practice more.

After their third year, Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Tsumugi graduate and enroll into a university. There they join its light music club alongside three other students: Akira Wada, Ayame Yoshida, and Sachi Hayashi. Meanwhile, Azusa continues to run the high school light music club alongside Yui's sister Ui, their classmate Jun Suzuki, and new members Sumire Saitō and Nao Okuda.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

K-On! began as a four-panel comic-strip manga written and illustrated by Kakifly. The manga was originally serialized in Houbunsha's Manga Time Kirara manga magazine between the May 2007[1] and October 2010 issues, ending on September 9, 2010.[2] The manga also appeared as a guest bimonthly serialization in Manga Time Kirara‍ '​s sister magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat starting with the October 2008 issue.[3] The manga relaunched from April 2011 to June 2012 in two separate magazines. Chapters published in Manga Times Kirara, from the May 2011 issue released on April 8, 2011 to the July 2012 issue released on June 9, 2012, focus on the main cast as they attend college.[4][5][6] Chapters published in Manga Time Kirara Carat, from the June 2011 issue released on April 28, 2011 to the August 2012 issue released on June 28, 2012, focus on Azusa, Ui, and Jun as they continue the light music club.[4][5][7]

Four tankōbon volumes were released between April 26, 2008 and September 27, 2010. The manga was licensed by Yen Press for English release, with the first volume released in North America on November 30, 2010.[8][9] The college arc of the second manga run, titled K-On! College (けいおん! college?), was released on September 27, 2012, and the high school arc, titled K-On! Highschool (けいおん! highschool?), was released on October 27, 2012. Yen Press have also licensed these volumes in North America.[10] In Indonesia, the series is licensed by Elex Media Komputindo. An anthology entitled Minna de Untan! (みんなでうん☆たん Everybody's Untan!?), which features several guest strips from various artists, was released in September 2009. An official anthology series, K-On! Anthology Comic (けいおん!アンソロジーコミック Keion! Ansorojī Komikku?), began sale from November 27, 2009, with five volumes released as of October 12, 2011, and two "Story Anthology Comics" were released on November 26, 2011. An illustration book with official art and fan art from well known dōjin artists was released on January 27, 2010.

Anime series[edit]

A 13-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.[11] The episodes began airing on subsequent networks at later dates which include BS-TBS, MBS, and CBC. The TBS airings are in 4:3 ratio, and the series began airing in widescreen on BS-TBS on April 25, 2009. Seven BD/DVD compilation volumes were released by Pony Canyon between July 29, 2009 and January 20, 2010. An additional original video animation (OVA) episode was released with the final BD/DVD volumes on January 20, 2010.[12] The BD/DVD volumes contained extra short anime titled Ura-On!.

The series later began airing on Japan's Disney Channel[13] from April 2011. Animax has aired the anime in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan. Both an English-subtitled and English-dubbed version by Red Angel Media began airing on March 16, 2010 on Animax Asia.[14] At their industry panel at Anime Expo 2010, anime distributor Bandai Entertainment announced that they have acquired K-On! for a DVD and Blu-ray Disc release,[15] with Bang Zoom! Entertainment producing an English dub for the show.[16] The series was released over four volumes in standard and limited editions for each format[17] starting on April 26, 2011.[18] Bandai released the full first season on DVD under their "Anime Legends" line on February 7, 2012.[19] Manga Entertainment released the series in the UK in individual DVD volumes during 2011, and in a complete DVD of the first season on April 30, 2012.[20][21] A planned BD box set release in 2012 was cancelled.[22] Sentai Filmworks has licensed the first season and will be re-releasing the series on DVD on September 23, 2014.[23] Sentai will re-release the series on Blu-ray on September 1, 2015.[24]

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.[25] The second season, titled K-On!! (with two exclamation marks), aired with 26 episodes on TBS in Japan between April 7 and September 28, 2010.[26][27] An additional OVA episode was released with the final BD/DVD volumes on March 16, 2011.[28] As with the first season, the BD/DVD volumes contained extra short anime titled Ura-On!!. This season has also aired on Animax Asia starting October 20, 2010.[29] Sentai Filmworks licensed the second season and released the series on DVD and Blu-ray in two boxsets released on June 19, 2012 and August 28, 2012 respectively. The series continues using the English dub cast from the previous season.[30]

Film[edit]

A film adaptation of K-On! was released in Japan on December 3, 2011. It follows the girls as they travel to England to celebrate their graduation.[31] Developed as an original story, it was produced by Kyoto Animation with Naoko Yamada as the director.[32][33][34] The film features the two songs "Ichiban Ippai" and "Unmei wa Endless" by Aki Toyosaki. The ending theme is "Singing" by Yōko Hikasa. The film opened at #2 with a gross of ¥317,287,427 ($4,070,919 USD) from 137 theaters,[35] and has earned a total of ¥1,639,685,078 ($21,419,792 USD) by the end of its run.[36]

The film features a London cafe inspired by the Troubadour Cafe in Earl's Court, and K-On! fans often visit the cafe.[37] The film was released on BD and DVD on July 18, 2012. Sentai Filmworks released the film on BD/DVD in North America on May 21, 2013.[38] Madman Entertainment will release the film in Australia.

Music[edit]

Main article: List of K-On! albums

The first season 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. 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 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. The singles for Ritsu (by Satō) and Tsumugi (by Kotobuki) were delayed, but later released together with the single for Azusa (by Ayana 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 album Ho-kago Tea Time (放課後ティータイム After School Tea Time?) on July 22, 2009. The single "Maddy Candy" by Sawako's band Death Devil was released on August 12, 2009.[39]

The second season anime's first opening theme is "Go! Go! Maniac" and the first ending theme is "Listen!!"; both songs are sung by Toyosaki, Hikasa, Satō, Kotobuki, and Taketatsu. The singles containing the songs were released on April 28, 2010. From episode 14 onwards, the respective opening and ending themes are "Utauyo!! Miracle" and "No, Thank You!", both by Toyosaki, Hikasa, Satō, Kotobuki, and Taketatsu. The singles containing these songs were released on August 4, 2010.[40] The single "Pure Pure Heart" also sung by Toyosaki, Hikasa, Satō, Kotobuki, and Taketatsu was released on June 2, 2010. Another single, "Love", by Sawako's band Death Devil was released by on June 23, 2010. A single sung by Toyosaki, "Gohan wa Okazu/U&I", was released on September 8, 2010.[41] The composer Bice who wrote the song "Gohan wa Okazu" died on July 26, 2010 of a heart attack.[42] A second set of character song singles were released, starting with the singles for Yui and Mio on September 21, 2010. The show's second album, Ho-kago Tea Time II, was released on both normal double CD and limited edition that came with a cassette tape on October 27, 2010.[43] The second set of singles for Ritsu, Tsumugi, and Azusa were released on November 17, 2010. The set of singles for Jun (by Yoriko Nagata), Ui (by Yonezawa), and Nodoka (by Fujitō) were released on January 19, 2011. The singles and albums were released by Pony Canyon. The first set of character song singles will be released on vinyl at Canime Summer Festival.

Video games[edit]

A rhythm video game titled K-On! Hōkago Live!! (けいおん! 放課後ライブ!! Keion! Hōkago Raibu!!?), developed by Sega for the PlayStation Portable, was released on September 30, 2010.[44] The gameplay involves the player matching button presses in time with music featured in the anime. The game supports local multiplayer for up to five PSPs.[45] The game features 19 songs from the first anime season and first set of character song CDs. The player can customize the clothing, hair style and accessories of the characters, plus customization of the light music room and Yui's bedroom. There is also a custom track maker. A remastered HD port of the game was released for the PlayStation 3[46] on June 21, 2012.[47]

An arcade game developed by Atlus, K-On! Hōkago Rhythm Time (けいおん!放課後リズムタイム Keion! Hōkago Rizumu Taimu?), was released in Japanese arcades in spring 2013. The game features rhythm gameplay and also awards trading cards that can be used to read songs into the game.[48] A second arcade game by Sega titled K-On! Hōkago Rhythm Selection[49] was released on November 13, 2014.

Reception[edit]

Fans of the anime visit the former elementary school in Toyosato, Shiga, which is used as a model for the high school in the anime.[50][51]

The first manga volume of K-On! was the 30th highest-selling manga volume in Japan for the week of April 27 and May 3, 2009, having sold over 26,500 volumes that week.[52] The following week, the first and second manga volumes were the 19th and 20th 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 each sold about 136,000 copies each.[53] The third volume sold over 120,000 copies the week of December 14–20, 2009,[54] and became the 46th top-selling manga for the first half of 2010 in Japan (ending May 23), selling over 328,000 copies.[55]

The single for the first 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.[56] It was also awarded Best Theme Song at the 2009 (14th) Animation Kobe Awards.[57] Additionally, "Cagayake! Girls" and "Don't Say 'Lazy'" were certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for 250,000 full-track ringtone digital music downloads (Chaku Uta Full), respectively.[58][59] The mini album Ho-kago Tea Time debuted at No. 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.[60] The second anime's opening theme "Go! Go! Maniac" and ending theme "Listen!!" debuted at No. 1 and No. 2 in their first week of release on the Oricon singles chart, selling over 83,000 and 76,000 copies, respectively.[61] "Go! Go! Maniac" became the first anime image song to ever top the singles chart and the band also became the first female vocalists to occupy the top two spots on the singles chart in 26 years since Seiko Matsuda in 1983.[62][63] The season's second ending and opening themes, "No, Thank You!" and "Utauyo! Miracle" respectively, sold 87,000 and 85,000 in their first week and ranked at No. 2 and No. 3 in the Oricon charts respectively, only being beaten by SMAP's single, "This is Love".[64] "No, Thank You!" and "Utauyo! Miracle" were certified Gold by the RIAJ in August 2010 for 100,000 copies shipped.[65] The single "Gohan wa Okazu"/"U&I" debuted at No. 3 on the Oricon singles chart, selling 53,000 in its first week.[66] The album Ho-kago Tea Time II debuted at No. 1 on the Oricon weekly CD albums charts selling 127,000 copies.[67]

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.[68] 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 anime television 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.[68] However, in October 2009, the first volume of Bakemonogatari surpassed K-On!'s previous record, having sold 37,000 copies at that time.[69] Later, with the release of K-On!! volume 3, total BD sales for the series have outsold Bakemonogatari.[70] K-On! received a Best TV Animation Award at the 2010 Tokyo International Anime Fair.[71] K-On!! won the Best Television award at the 2010 (15th) Animation Kobe Awards.[72] Both series have sold a combined total of over 520,000 BD copies as of February 20, 2011.[73] The film was nominated for the 2012 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year award.[74]

At the beginning of September 2010, the Kyoto prefectural government began using K-On!! to promote the census and encourage people to be counted.[75] Sharp and Bandai have stated that they would jointly launch a calculator with designs of the characters from K-On!.[76]

References[edit]

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