The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Winter Days!

As the cold winter weather moves in, Yui offers to have nabe with everyone, but the girls are drawn away from each other by various concerns and obligations. Mio retreats to the beach alone to get inspiration for her lyrics, Tsumugi gets a part-time job at a fast food restaurant, Ritsu goes to a movie with her little brother Satoshi, and Azusa looks after Jun’s pet kitten. However, Mio cannot think of any lyrics, Tsumugi buckles under the pressure of her first job, and Azusa is left panicked and uncertain what to do when the kitten seems to be ill. A random, silly text from Yui cheers up the others and she goes to help Azusa with the kitten, who was just coughing up a hairball. They all meet up for burgers at Tsumugi’s restaurant later, where Ritsu is shocked to learn that what she thought was a love letter addressed to her were actually song lyrics Mio wrote.

  • Back in 2009, Random Curiosity only provided 480p images. It does not do the first season any justice, so for the sake of discussion, all of my images are in full HD to better illustrate the kind of quality that goes into the animation in K-On!.

  • I know what readers are thinking: that even after the release of the movie, I’ve only just gotten around to looking back on OVA episodes from nearly four years ago. This arises because substantial advances in technology have made it possible to revisit these shows in much greater clarity and depth than was previously possible.

  • Unfortunately, because this episode can only be summarised as “Yui tries to get everyone together”, there isn’t really much I can say with respect to the episode. This is not to say the episode was not fun to watch, but rather, there is little to discuss. Of course, the anime pseudo-academics out there might disagree: this topic will be left for another day.

  • What I would like to note here is perhaps what would be an interesting paradigm shift I’ve noticed at Random Curiosity, my go-to source for anime discussions. I hold them in high regard and praise them for their fair discussions on anime: this is thanks largely owing to Divine and the current staff.

  • When K-On! was nearing its conclusion back in June 2009, the quality of writing was substantially more immature relative to its status now. In particular, K-On! was reviewed and discussed by one Jaalin, who joined the Random Curiosity staff back in 2006. Jaalin is mentioned here for his unnecessarily poor assessment of K-On!, citing the series to be, supposedly amongst other things, a “downhill tumble into the depths of moe abuse, plot repetition, lack of variety, uninspired narrative…” While individuals are entitled to their opinions, Jaalin does not recommend an audience for K-On!, something I’ve come to expect from any capable reviewer. Jaalin’s last posts on Random Curiosity end in April 2010.

  • It turns out that the wing-ding eyes have their origins back from season one. It had been nearly a year and a half since I had seen the first season when the movie came out, so I expressed a degree of surprise when the effect was noted. It turns out that numerous aspects from the movie are drawn from the first season, as well.

  • For what it is worth, individuals who decide to vocally criticise a series without any rational basis will appear uncouth. Ria is probably the best example I can find on Random Curiosity’s post about the thirteenth episode. I’ve doubtlessly mentioned elsewhere on my blog that the haters can be safely ignored, so the same applies here. Remember, folks, anime fans who try to write walls of text come across as trying to impress with their supposed intellect: that approach doesn’t work 😉

  • Mio’s attempts to write a song prove to be unfruitful: at this point in the episode, it looks like everything is going south for everyone, with Mugi visibly shaken after accidentally mixing up a customer’s order and spilling a soda on one of her co-workers, and Azusa in near-panic when Jun’s cat appears unwell. Moments later, everyone recieves a phone call from Yui about their hot pot, and the mood shifts back to the classic light-and-fluffy atmosphere we have come to expect 

  • As a side note, one of my family traditions does happen to be to have hot pot every New Year’s Eve. Featuring chicken, beef, lamb, shrimp, various vegetables and yi mein, the hot pot (打邊爐 in Chinese, or 火鍋) is a Chinese tradition that originated from Mongolia and would become popular in China during the Qing Dynasty.

  • Mio totally trolls Ritsu with her song’s lyrics, which the latter takes to be a love letter of some sort. I note that after this point, the excellent K-On! series is taken up by a highly competent writer for Random Curiosity, Divine, and subsequently, all of the reviews are fun to read and meaningful.

I suddenly realised that in my haste to watch K-On!! nearly two years ago, I shot through the first season of K-On! without giving it much consideration, other than the fact that there were some moments that I had found amusing. Of course, this isn’t to say that I have no opinions of the first season (contrary to my website, which only reviews the second season): there are several memorable episodes and events that make the series, as a whole, worthwhile. Winter Days proceeds to be an episode about nothing in particular, being set after the final concert of season one and changes the narrative between Azusa’s experience with taking care of Jun’s kitten, Ritsu expressing nervousness about the so-called “love letter” she gets in the mail, Mio’s efforts to get inspiration for song-writing, Mugi working at a fast food establishment and of course, Yui trying to bring everyone together for a hot pot of sorts. The episode fits in with the rest of the series as a post-game show: the episode is considered an extra, but some locations online have confused this as a finale episode or even OVA.

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