Achieving a fanatical fanbase in the same vein as Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On! Has undoubtedly culled interest from overseas thanks to all the hype that has gone into its imminent arrival stateside. With an anime already on its way, Yen Press has decided to kick start the franchise’s coming out party with the manga’s first volume.
Created by Kakifly,K-On! Follows the four-panel strip pattern in telling its story of a motley crew of students band together to prevent the pop-music club from disassembling. The only problem is they have no clue how to play their instruments. Eventually they do learn and bond along the way. Of course, the series only uses the plot as a means to showcase the real draw of the book, the girl’s personalities. Much like Haruhi Suzumiya, this group follows a similar pattern of featuring four unique individuals whose character traits are what make the series a worthwhile read.
Yui is an unassuming girl whose poor grades and clumsiness mark her as a klutz. She makes up for her short comings with eagerness and determination to succeed, winning over her audience. Ritsu is the president of the club and the driving force behind the club whose overbearing personality is usually put to use teasing the other members. Mio is the quiet bookish student and naturally prone to Ritsu’s prodding. Filling out the group is Tsumugi, a gentle rich girl whose beauty is second to none.
The character’s interactions with each other are lighthearted and comical as their clashing personalities allow for humorous combinations. The format of the series allows for a faster paced story, utilizing all four panels of every entry to deliver a punch line. Kakifly demonstrates his grasp on the sequential medium, effortlessly pumping one joke after another in a marginal space.
After feverishly breezing through the first volume, it’s easy to understand K-on!’s popularity. The book brims with charming characters full of personality and vigor. There’s an addictive quality to the series that stems from its ability to deliver a hearty laugh with seemingly little effort.