The Phenomenon of K-ON!

With each spring season comes new anime series in Japan and the rest of the world. The latest sensation that has debuted is a story of the trials and tribulations of four high school girls as they seek to establish their own after school activities club. The club revolves around light music which in Japan…

With each spring season comes new anime series in Japan and the rest of the world. The latest sensation that has debuted is a story of the trials and tribulations of four high school girls as they seek to establish their own after school activities club. The club revolves around light music which in Japan actually stands for pop music and the playing of musical instruments in a band for that purpose.

The club is known as Keion, which sounds like K-ON !, the name that the anime series is called. Based on a serialized manga that did not reach the head heights of popularity that the anime has currently achieved, the protagonist of the series is Yui Hirasawa. An easy going girl who excels in day dreaming, Yui stumbles along the club and three other members. Faced with the prospect of not joining in any club, Yui decides to join the three other girls since interim reservations.

Based on a very simple finish, the rise in popularity of K-ON! has surprised media onlookers and critics. There is nothing incredibly special about the series' plot or characters. In fact, they represent very ordinary people like you and I, with the same aspirations and dreams in life. Perhaps it is due to this fact that the characters are so similar to us, that fans have taken to them with great passion. The development of the four girls' friendship from episode to episode has also stuck a chord with most viewers, reminding them of their current or past relationships with both friends and family.

It would be too simple to attribute all the success of the anime series to the sentimental value provided by both the characters and storyline. There is much to praise about the high quality design and animation sequences it has. Its arrival also coincides with a global demand for cute characters that is often the highlight of Japanese pop culture. The voice actresses, or seiyuu as it is more commonly known within the industry, have also done very well in projecting believable characters, while expressing their talent and creativity in other areas that are required due to the nature of the anime. This includes having to sing, since Yui and her friends play in a band.

The success of K-ON! continues unabated with the release of more manga comics and even music CD singles. A sequel is also in the works if the first series manages to sustain fans' interest after the last episode. Perhaps the largest litmus test to its phenomenon and longevity will be the public's response to upcoming figure releases, which is often used to gauge a franchise's long term marketability. Whatever the result of that, the likable and uncomplicated story of the group of high school friends has absolutely made their mark in the anime world.