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Anime Review: "K-On" Season 1 (2009)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"K-On! Ultimate Collection" blu-ray official cover.

"K-On! Ultimate Collection" blu-ray official cover.

Quick Info

Director: Naoko Yamada
Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, formerly Bandai Entertainment
Runtime: 350 minutes
Released: September 1st, 2015
Availability: On blu-ray, DVD, and streaming on HIDive and Hulu

Story Summary

Yui Hirasawa is a high school student looking to join a club. She joins the “Light Music Club”, thinking it will be an easy club. Instead, she joined a band and now they have to put on shows. Watch her learn and grow as a budding guitarist while spending time with members of the band, learning her new instrument, and living her life in high school.

The Anime Is Fun and Relaxing

K-On is a nice and relaxing slice-of-life anime. I usually watch action-oriented anime, but I wanted a change of pace, I always heard good things about K-On, but I never got around to watching it. K-On has a big reputation among anime fans because of the production values of the animation studio, Kyoani, and the voice actors that made it a fan favorite for a while.

It’s not nearly as well-known by newer fans, due to many of them following the current season of anime and K-On is 12 years old now.

K-On is a bit overrated by older anime fans, but it’s still an enjoyable anime. But I’ll get into that later in the review.

Ritsu Tainaka in the Light Music Club.

Ritsu Tainaka in the Light Music Club.

K ON! Official Trailer English Dub

The Animation Holds Up, Except for the CGI

KyoAni, or Kyoto Animation animated K-On, This is some of their earlier work, but it still looks very good. They don’t have to animate too much, because this is a slice-of-life anime and not an action-oriented Shonen or Seinen.

The animation looks nice, it’s aged pretty well, but what sticks out is when they use CGI for the instruments in the opening song.

Otherwise, the animation and art designs are good. The animation is very fluid, especially when it comes to the musical performances of the characters. The daily activities of the girls are also well animated and it looks very good.

I can’t say whether the musical performances are animated “correctly” or not, but it does look nice.

Audio and Subtitles


English (reviewed) (HiDive and Hulu)

English (HiDive and Hulu)

Japanese (HiDive and Hulu)

The Voice Acting Is Nice!

Stephanie Sheh did a great job as Yui Hirasawa. I’ve liked her voice acting a lot and I’ve heard her in a lot of anime. I enjoyed her work in this anime. Her character is fun and entertaining and an entertaining character.

Cassandra Lee Morris is excellent as Ritsu Tainaka. She sounds like she had a fun time in the recording booth. She’s very talented and I liked her character. She gave an excellent performance in this anime.

Christine Marie Cabanos did a great job as Azusa Nakano. She uses her cutesy “Madoka” voice for the character and she gives her character a fun and interesting personality.

Cristina Vee also did a fantastic job as Mio Akiyama. She brought a lot of life to her character. She is fun and entertaining. I like her character in the anime. She’s a great voice actress and I enjoy her work here.

The English dub is great and while it’s not the best English dub, it’s still a lot of fun.

The Japanese dub also features many popular Japanese seiyuu so you’ll enjoy the anime, no matter what audio track you pick.

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Opening-K ON! HD

The Music Is Great!

Hajime Hyakkoku composed the music for K-On and the music is very nice. I enjoy the lighthearted music for the anime because it’s cute slice-of-life music.

The opening song is "Cagayake! GIRLS" by Aki Toyosaki with Yoko Hikasa, Satomi Satou, and Minako Kotobuki and it sounds really nice, I enjoyed the opening song and the accompanying animation for the opening.

The ending song is "Don't say ''lazy''" by Yoko Hikasa with Aki Toyosaki, Satomi Satou and Minako Kotobuki. It’s a really high-energy song that I enjoyed a lot.

The band Ho-Kago Tea Time performed many of the insert songs for the anime, and they all sound really fun and entertaining.

"Pinchi Daisuki" by Hajime Hyakkoku and "Tsubasa wo Kudasai" by Yoko Hikasa, Satomi Satou and Minako Kotobuk performed the other insert songs and they sound nice too.

The soundtrack is great, and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s quite enjoyable and I found it entertaining.

Yui playing her guitar.

Yui playing her guitar.

Reader Poll

The Anime Isn't Very "Exciting"

K-On Season 1 is not the most “exciting” anime you’ll ever watch. Slice-of-life doesn’t rely on exciting, unexpected events to happen to keep you interested in the story. Some viewers might find this kind of anime slow and boring.

Because this anime isn’t exciting, you might want to skip it if you don’t find the story, characters, and setting interesting.

The slice-of-life genre isn’t for everyone and not everyone will enjoy it.

The CGI Sticks Out

The CGI used for the instruments stands out, and you can see it in some of the scenes where the band is performing their music. The CGI does date the animation and it’s not too bad, but it is jarring.

The Anime Is Overrated by the Fanbase

K-On is loved by many older anime fans. Back in 2009, it was an anime that many fans watched first, it was popular when it came out and it is very well-liked. Because it is well-liked by older anime fans, newer fans might go into it expecting it to be amazing and mind-blowing.

While I wasn’t “disappointed” by the anime, K-On is very overrated by older fans. I feel that it’s a good anime that isn’t the most amazing thing ever made.

It’s not even the most impressive anime I’ve ever watched, and yes, I feel it’s overrated. And while it is overrated, I feel it’s not bad, it’s just overhyped by the anime fanbase.

The girls go guitar shopping.

The girls go guitar shopping.

"K-On" Is a Fun Anime That Some Will Enjoy!

I enjoyed the first season of K-On. It is fun and entertaining and a nice change of pace for me. It has excellent art, animation, and production values. The story is easygoing and entertaining for me.

It’s a nice and relaxing anime that is entertaining and enjoyable, it’s not hard to understand, and you don’t have to deal with a complex plot or try to figure out what’s going on.

I enjoyed the time I spent watching the anime, but it’s not for everyone and not everyone will enjoy it. I enjoyed it but I’m not going to spend money on the anime myself.

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Nice story, characters, and world-building

It may not be exciting for some viewers

Great voice acting

Some of the CGI looks dated

Nice and relaxing soundtrack

The anime is overrated by older fans, so some expectations may be too high for newcomers that start the anime

My Grade: B

K-On season 1 is an entertaining anime that I enjoyed. It has great production values and is a fun little anime that I decided to watch because I heard of the anime’s reputation. While I feel it’s a little overrated and not some amazing masterpiece of anime storytelling, it’s still entertaining and fun.

The anime K-On is very well done and has great production values, from the animation to the voice acting and the music, everything is very well done.

The anime itself does hold up very well and only the CGI used for some of the instruments sticks out and looks dated. KyoAni’s animation still looks good over a decade later, which is impressive when it comes to animation.

However, the slice-of-life genre is a genre that not everyone will enjoy. It’s a genre that you’ll either love or hate. If you’re looking for an anime to get into the genre, K-On is a good place to start.

I highly recommend streaming the anime, if you end up enjoying it, you can pick up the entire series from Sentai Filmworks. However, the entire series is very pricey so if you want to buy it, you might want to wait for Sentai Filmworks to put the anime on sale.

It is worth your time to watch, but not necessarily your money unless you enjoy watching it a lot.

I do feel the anime is a little overrated, but it is worth your time to watch it. If you’re not feeling it after the first few episodes, you can drop the anime. I did enjoy it, but I won’t hail it as a masterpiece. It’s a well-made anime with great production values, two great English and Japanese language dubs, and an entertaining soundtrack that makes the anime fun.

I recommend watching K-On season 1 on HiDive and Hulu. It’s well worth your time to watch if you like slice-of-life anime or if you want to start watching slice-of-life anime. It’s entertaining and fun, but not for everyone. If you want to buy it, get it on sale, but it is worth your time to watch season 1 of K-On.

My Rating

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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