K-On! High School

By Kakifly. Released in Japan by Houbunsha, serialized in the magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat. Released in North America by Yen Press.

And so at last we come to the end of the K-On! gravy train, with the sequel that never really made sense. With the college series, at least we had several things going for it: it had the original characters we’d loved from the start, we could see their continued development and growth as a band, and they could finally stop telling school jokes. Well, that last one didn’t really happen, but still. But with the High School volume, we have one remaining main character, whose best moments came when she was interacting with Yui, who’s gone. She’s put together with a few of the supporting cast and two new girls. It’s not really that much of a surprise to see this is the less compelling of the two stories.


That said, Kakifly is making an effort, and this isn’t a total slog. Probably the best joke in the entire book comes right at the start, with Azusa deciding to ditch the pigtails to give herself a more mature, sempai-esque image. This doesn’t last long at all. Then Ui, who we all recall is identical to Yui despite not being a twin, takes her hair down and starts to glomp Azusa. The gag is then carried further when Ui announces she’s really Yui, who snuck back to high school just to snuggle some more. As Azusa herself notes, this makes perfect sense because Yui only thinks with her senses. Of course, it is still Ui in the end, having mastered the art of taking a joke to its logical conclusion. (I could do without the dumb bust-size capper, though.)

We get two new characters added to the threesome (sorry, did I forget to mention Jun? It’s because she makes that little impression on me), one of whom is there to emphasize similarities and one of whom is there to be different. The moment Sumire appeared we were going to compare her to Mugi just based on appearance alone, so it was a good choice to actually make her be Mugi’s maidservant. They’re both sweet and mellow, but Sumire tends towards the shy end of the spectrum, whereas Mugi… tends more towards the yuri end. As for Okuda, the quiet stoic girl is a type we hadn’t yet seen in the series, and it’s amusing to see her total lack of ability at singling or playing instruments, as well as seeing how she brings something to the club anyway.

Of course, this title was always going to be short-lived by virtue of 3/5 of its cast already being third-years. Azusa and company do their one big concert, it goes pretty well… but that’s it, it’s time for them to graduate. I’d hoped we’d get a better sense of whether Azusa would try to continue a band with Ui and Jun or just join back up with Afterschool Tea Time, But there’s not even that much closer, the series just sort of stops. There’s nothing actively boring or bad about this, and it was reasonably fun to read. But you forget most of it 90 minutes later, and the problem is that of all the K-On books, this one was the least necessary.

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