Technically, K-ON!! isn’t over. There should be two more episodes to go. But for all intents and purposes the show officially ends with episode 24, graduation day.
Even though there’s an extra sentimental, bittersweet feeling to this episode it still manages to showcase the show’s specialties: day-to-day life and HTT goofing off. Oh, and music. We start with the goofing off, The girls running late, Yui getting a hole in her stockings (Ui smartly brought a replacement pair), and there was the issue of the thank-you card they made for Sawako …
I’m a little surprised that they didn’t show more of the ceremony, either in the auditorium or in the classroom. Instead they jump ahead. Well, we do see Yui’s diploma. How she managed to graduate I’ll never know.
Now that the shenanigans are over the episode can devote the rest of its time to the sentimental stuff. We get nice moments from Sawako. This is, after all, the first batch of students to graduate under her care. We see her tired, near tears from the positive response her students give her, maybe preparing for the next batch of students but relishing her current class as much as she can while they take their last photos, say goodbyes and slowly filter out of the school, on to bigger things. And she and Nodoka hang on a little longer because, even though it was not announced, they know HTT will serve tea.
But we know where the biggest emotional scene will come from. Azusa has been down for several episodes. We knew it would come out eventually. She holds up well at first, handing out thank-you letters and delivering hurried speeches about how she’ll recruit new members, she’ll be all right … before her sadness gets the better of her and she gives a pathetic, crying plea. Don’t graduate! What made the scene was the response. Instead of falling to tears themselves or making fools of themselves in some other way, the seniors instead gently reassure her. To my surprise they have all come to terms with graduating; they know it’s time to move on. And they haven’t forgotten her, proving it by performing a new song they wrote in her honor. It’s a lovely scene that nearly brought a tear to my eye. Maybe this silly gaggle of girls HAVE grown up, somewhat. Then it’s undercut by a humorous bit when Azusa says a line that Yui said back in the very first episode of the original series. Heh.
Speaking of growing, I think the show has as well. I don’t remember the first season being this good. It’s been awhile and I’m not going to go back and watch it, but I remember it as passable, often irritating, but with Kyoani’s typically impeccable production values. And early on I thought the second season would be no different. But then they put out a good episode, followed by another, and another. From time to time I still got irritated but now the good scenes outweighed the bad ones, and I found myself looking forward to watching.
That said, I think the series has run its course. Unlike the show I looked at yesterday which criminally ended after only twelve episodes, K-ON!!’s 24, plus two fillers, feels like just the right length. It’s done all it can. Time to graduate and move on.