I am back for that obligatory monthly dose of OWLS and much more of what it is.
For this month I am still going to do what I’m known to be doing — not sticking to the darn point. With that warning in mind, I’m sure you can already think of reading this post as a mini journey on its own.
Well, it actually is because this month’s theme is no other than “journey”.
“We have all heard this saying in some shape or form: “Life is a journey.” We travel down a path in hope that we reach a goal or destination, but the travel in getting there isn’t always easy. We encounter some personal struggles along the way. It is in those moments where we must overcome an adversity to complete our journey or take a different route/path instead. In this month’s OWLS post, we will be discussing the personal journeys of pop culture creators, icons, and characters. We will explore the journeys that these characters went through, discuss the process and experiences they had on their journeys, what they discover about themselves, or share our own personal journeys.”
Please do grab Matt‘s hat and look for an awesome post preceding mine.
I am also inclined to have you all know my personal thought on the term itself:
“Purposely going out to get lost somewhere (in life).”
You can have the most epic, expensive, well planned trip of your life. But if none of those pose any hardships via some odd kind of obstacles, I would really hesitate to call them “journey.”
Therefore, the one person I am picking out for this very topic is no other than your favorite airhead—Hirasawa Yui—who is often finding herself lost while just living the heck out of her life and obviously growing up. Oh, yes. The show I am talking about is of course, K-On! and its affiliates.
Well I am very aware that I have tackled the one show which repeatedly gets serious, divided views from the audience no matter the generation. I am also going to tell you now that I side with those who went to look past its cute baits and meta slice of life nature, because if anyone has had the patience to last through its entire series, the movie included, they would have known that all of it warranted Yui’s growth as a person, a friend and oh, of course, an older sister!
Which makes it more fitting for me to call a journey because let’s agree on this one: she went into her high school, feeling lost even before the first day. She’d even made it to school way too early because of a misunderstanding.
And then this, too…
K-On!‘s episodic formula starts as early as the second episode and continued that way for nearly every other episodes after it. The format for each episode includes and is not limited to:
- Drinking tea
- Ritsu getting deservedly punished for her antics
- Yui being dumb
- Sawa-chan and her moments of addiction for fashion design
- Mio calls for a practice but it never actually happens
- Azunyan acting as the most sane and grownup person in the club, eventually taking over Mio’s role above.
Had the show really followed this format for every single episode, there would not really be any kind of progress for any of the characters, let alone for its story. But K-On! really managed to redefine what a slice of life show could be which resulted in possible story progression and more importantly for any slice of life show, character development.
While on the subtopic of character development, let us look at Yui and a special formula this show has had for her.
- You see her on scene
- She goofs around and will most likely attempt to have a cup of tea, hence not practicing light music
- She never forgets to hug Azusa whenever opportunity presents itself
- Trouble arises and she will somehow get through it without care in the world
The last part is extremely important and is without a doubt in my opinion one of the elements which made K-On! above and beyond most slice of life shows to date. You really do not need aliens coming to wreck the world to prove “heavy obstacles”. In slice of life shows especially, it would have made a lot more sense if these obstacles were something equally frequent in real world, such as forgetting something at home or waking up late.
Making Yui an airhead and a klutzy character was fair game, really. Her life skills standard was by all means lower than an average Japanese person and the show made it believable enough. Through these little hiccups, Yui had learned to bear with many kinds of teaching. The first lesson happened as early as the second episode, where she’d learned that nothing good comes for free — it would take sweat and some serious determination to get something meaningful (although I’ll agree on the fact that the reward was somewhat exaggerating).
Yui’s journey to growing up was not a solo option; it would have never been possible without her friends in the light music club and Ui, her sister. She was in fact unable to singlehandedly overcome her own issues throughout majority of the show and was helped one way or another by one, a few or all of her acquaintances at once. Now, having to constantly help someone would be really annoying, but in Yui’s case it was more fun than anything because she actually managed to not do the same mistake twice. In exception of her laziness, Yui really does not make the same mistake within a short period of time, making K-On! more like your weekly monster flick but switched a monster with something Yui could easily trip on.
Floor and more floors.
My favorite part of the show would have to be how it literally shows results in Yui’s improvement from her mistakes. It works as a timestamp for viewers like myself to feel reminded of those “I remember that moment when she ____ instead!”
You can pretty much get what I mean by simply watching the first five minutes of two episodes from the show; the very first episode and second season’s first episode. Tell the difference then.
And hopefully by the end of the series’ run, you should ideally feel the same way about Yui as I do now — feeling proud of her journey to growing up from many, many simple slip-ups in life.
And that is all of OWLS dose from me this month. After me is a Random Moonid in the Garage!
Now if you really are wondering what in the world happened to me to the point that I only managed to pump out this post for the month of August…
Nothing bad, I can really pinky swear! If anything whatever it is now, I call it good. No, great!
Some sacrifices have to be made and I chose to make my blog the most occasional hobby ever instead of cutting ties altogether.
That, and the fact that I am now also fully invested in Fate/Grand Order. It is a must play for any Fate fans, yo!
Thanks for reading and have a good one!