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K-ON!: Volume 3(TV) (2009)
Azusa has just joined the Light Music Club and she is shocked that all they do is drink tea and eat snacks instead of practicing. The rest of the band reassures her that they will practice hard at their training camp, but despite Azusa's objections, the girls end up playing all day at the beach. Azusa soon learns that the reason why the band plays so well is because they have so much fun together. With the school festival right around the corner, the girls still have some hurdles to clear, like filling out the stage use application, doing maintenance on Yui's guitar, and coming up with a band name!
For more about K-ON!: Volume 3 and the K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray release, see K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on September 14, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Aki Toyosaki, Yoko Hikasa, Satomi Sato, Minako Kotobuki, Laura Bailey, Stephanie Sheh
Director: Naoko Yamada
» See full cast & crew
K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray Review
They've got the music in them.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, September 14, 2011
The sweet girls of the Light Music Club are back for Volume 3 of their semi-exciting adventures in K-On!, a volume some might be expecting to finish the first season of the relatively short-lived series, a season which lasted for only thirteen episodes. Previous volumes have each had four episodes, but this third volume only contains episodes nine through eleven, meaning there will most likely be a Volume 4 consisting of the last two broadcast episodes of the first season as well as the OVA "Live House!" Reviews of the previous two volumes of K-On! can be found here:
K-On! Vol. 1 Blu-ray review
K-On! Vol. 2 Blu-ray review
I freely admit it took me a few episodes to fully get into the bizarrely enchanting world of K-On!, but I'm now a bona fide fan of this series' odd combination of outrÚ humor and its perhaps unintentional but meaningful message that music is a salve for the various afflictions which accost everyone, whether they be harried school students or harried Blu-ray reviewers. K-On! is simple, to be sure, but it's an immensely enjoyable enterprise that manages to be both funny and touching, if perhaps a bit more of the former than the latter. It's an odd little show that never really amounts to much, but is so unassuming that it grows on the viewer and becomes something akin to that comfy pair of slippers that may not look very glamorous but which you can't quite bear to throw away.
K-On! gets a little official new blood in Episode 9 when Azusa joins the Light Music Club and immediately sends Yui into a tailspin because Azusa is by far the better guitarist. On Azusa's part, she's aghast that the girls never seem to practice (that part of K-On! is definitely realistic, as any musician will admit if pressed). But Azusa has her own weakness, the delicious tea and cakes that Tsumugi keeps bringing to the groups and which seem to be more interesting to the girls than playing music. This sort of situation is relatively indicative of the gentle humor which suffuses most K-On! episodes. Adding into this quiet chaos is a conflict over wearing animal costumes that will supposedly make their act more marketable. It's all silly stuff, but it's handled in a carefree and spirited way and is more often than not fairly humorous.
The interplay between the girls does provide the few plot machinations which make up any given K-On! episode. Little peccadilloes of the various individuals cause misunderstandings or temporary setbacks, but part of the joy of K-On! is the girls' understanding that it's playing music which ultimately binds them together. Of course the series is completely over the top, both in its "book" scenes as well as its musical ones, to cop some terms from musical theater. While the dialogue, character driven scenes are suitably goofy and even wacky a lot of the time, the series really gets into hyperbole when the girls pick up their axes and sound like the most polished band that ever played in any Light Music Club in the entire history of Mankind.
As I've mentioned in reviews of the previous volumes of K-On!, while it may not be the series' main intention or even an outright goal, the fact that the series boosts the idea of kids playing music can't be easily dismissed. And while the series typically makes light of things like acquiring blisters to help make it through plucking a guitar, or even the relentless slog of practicing in order to master an instrument or a song, it at least introduces kids to those ideas. The series also expresses a good deal of wonder, at least in dribs and drabs, as the girls are introduced to new ideas or technologies, like an electronic tuner that amazed Yui in one of these episodes. And, likewise, when Azusa realizes Yui has perfect pitch, that also turns out to be the source of some wonderment. And these are all very good things for impressionable young kids, especially those who may find their music education severely curtailed because of budgetary constraints in public schools nowadays.
K-On! may be too simple minded for those who want slam bang action and the sort of labyrinthine plot machinations that are frequently part and parcel of the idiom. This is sweet, gentle natured stuff that is rarely laugh out loud hilarious, but which is just as often humorous enough to provoke a giggle or two. All of the Light Music Club girls have distinctive personalities which help to at least partially ground the series in some semblance of reality (despite the show's penchant to fly off into the surreal at a moment's notice). With music at its core, though, the series has more than enough charm to keep it aloft and if you allow it to, K-On! will work its slight but considerable charms on you over the course of a few episodes.
K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray, Video Quality
As with the previous volumes of K-On!, Volume 3 is presented on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. It takes a while to get used to the series' less than bombastic visual style, but ultimately this show's quieter ambience has its very own distinct pleasures. While the "real life" ("real life" being a decidedly relative term within the confines of the K-On! universe) sequences are fairly tame by any standards, they offer decent enough color and line detail, and an appealingly sharp image. When the series delves into fantasy elements, which happen quite a bit of the time, the color palette is decidedly more outrÚ, and some of those robust hues pop magnificently in this volume. As always, the "live performance" sequences offer some great fluid motion and extremely bright and well saturated colors.
K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Once again K-On!, a series with music at its very core, arrives on Blu-ray with only lossy Dolby Digital soundtracks, one in the original Japanese and another with an English dub. While the DD 2.0 tracks aren't hideous by any stretch, inquiring minds will certainly want to know why a series that has music running through virtually every second of any given episode shouldn't be granted a lossless audio mix, even if it's not a surround mix. The Dolby tracks offer decent if not overwhelming fidelity, though again the added "oomph" of a lossless low end would have helped the music elements here considerably. Dialogue is well handled in both of these mixes, and all elements are prioritized artfully.
K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
As I've mentioned in previous reviews of K-On!, it took me a while to settle in to this series' odd ambience, but by the first or second episode of the second volume, which is a third to halfway through the first season, I really started to get a kick out of K-On's decidedly goofy sense of humor. The musician in me always appreciated the fact that the show touts the benefits of playing and enjoying music, and that certainly continues on into this third volume. All of this said, this is probably not a series for any attention deficit disorder members of a potential audience, as truth be told, nothing much happens in any given episode, and this a much smaller scaled, character driven piece that doesn't have huge ambitions to be anything else. The show is gently humorous, painless and easy to take. Some may deride it for not having loftier ambitions. Others will learn to love K-On! for the simple pleasure it is. Count me among the latter group. Recommended.
K-ON!: Other Seasons
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K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• K-On! Vol. 3 Blu-ray - August 22, 2011
Bandai Entertainment will release K-On! Vol. 3 on Blu-ray this September. The third high-definition compilation of the Japanese anime series, K-On! Vol. 3 follows Azusa as she joins the Light Music Club and learns first-hand about the responsibilities, challenges, ...
K-ON!: Volume 3 Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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