All right, this is the last volume of K-On! that has been adapted into anime. Being of the girls’ club genre, it mostly concerns the final year of school and all the stuff that comes along with it. However, the manga doesn’t end with this volume… but again, that’s something I’ll be discussing later. For now, here’s K-On!‘s fourth volume.
As the second school term begins, so do preparations for the upcoming school festival! The Pop Music Club starts working on some fresh lyrics as they tune up their act for their live show. But the third-year girls find themselves practising for a performance of another kind when Ritsu and Mio are selected to play the lead roles in their class production of Romeo and Juliet! With the rest of the girls tied up in play rehearsal, Azusa spends her afternoons alone in the clubroom… Will the show be ready to go on?!
The volume starts with the end of the summer break, and the Pop Music Club spending time at Mio’s house. They play around with changing hairstyles, with Yui looking convincingly like Ui (that shouldn’t be a surprise), and Azusa actually playing the part of Mio a little too well.
Following that is the return to school, with Azusa keen to perform at the school festival. This results in the girls trying to come up with lyrics for a new song – Ui coming down with a cold is the catalyst that provides Yui with inspiration for a set of lyrics that the Pop Music Club like.
As mentioned in the blurb, Mio and Ritsu land the lead roles of Romeo and Juliet respectively. Oh, Yui’s role in all this is as a tree – Tree ‘G’, to be precise.
Anyway, as you might expect, Mio’s nerves are a major obstacle for her to overcome. Fortunately, a private practise session between Mio and Ritsu is all they need to settle into roles. Meanwhile, Azusa is stuck on her lonesome.
The play happens, then the Pop Music Club stays at school overnight to prepare for their performance. The following day they perform, and Sawako has even made band t-shirts for them (and the other students) to wear. Also, Nodoka reveals that she has taken over presidency of the Mio fan club.
With the festival over, the third year students withdraw from their clubs – though not the Pop Music Club, much to Azusa’s relief. At Mio’s suggestion, the third years try studying in the club room – turns out they’re easily distracted.
We then get to see Azusa spend some time alone with Tsumugi – Azusa’s a little awkward about it at first, but she quickly comes to realise that Tsumugi is just Tsumugi, regardless of her background.
After that, Sawako comes down with a cold, resulting in the Pop Music Club visiting her at home. It’s mostly to nose around her personal life, though Sawako is touched by the sentiment when they help out around the house.
Visiting an ill person comes with consequences, and they all manage to catch Sawako’s cold – expect Tsumugi.
Some more studying follows – Yui does so with Nodoka, and Mio and Ritsu study together. This leaves Tsumugi free to have Azusa teach her how to play guitar.
A different studying session has Ritsu texting someone a lot – the other Pop Music Club members misinterpret this as Ritsu having a boyfriend, which serves to cause no end of worry for Mio.
Of course, that’s utterly wrong – turns out Ritsu was planning to meet up with an old friend, who had graduated the previous year.
Christmas follows on from that, though the focus for the third years is on studying. However, Jun suggests putting on a concert for them, together with Azusa and Ui. A nice gift for the youngest member of the Pop Music Club to show her appreciation for the senior members.
As it tends to do, a new year follows Christmas – however, studying for entrance exams is still the biggest concern. Following that is the day of the entrance exams, with everyone stopping over at Yui’s house to make sure she actually gets up. Yui’s parents also appear for a panel. The entrance exams start.
We then get treated to some time with Azusa, Ui and Jun, as well as Sawako. Turns out that a lack of Tsumugi in the club room also means a lack of tea.
Results day follows from that, with graduation after that. This does mean that Azusa is the sole remaining member of the Pop Music Club, though she does have a couple of friends who are willing to join.
The final bonus comic is the last part of the saga concerning Tsumugi’s eyebrows, and then there’s the usual translation notes.
So that wraps up everything that has been adapted into anime for K-On!, but there’s still two more volumes of manga to talk about.
For now, though, which is better – the manga or the anime?
Well, I would have to say the anime is the best way to experience K-On!, for one simple reason – the music.
Still, the manga is a funny read, and definitely worth your time if you’re into girls’ club stuff. K-On! was my first experience with the girls’ club genre (I think – I’ve watched so much, so I could be wrong. Still, it’s definitely one of the best), so I might hold some bias towards it.
Next, I’ll be taking a look at two volumes of K-On! manga that haven’t had an animated adaptation – College, and High School. This will be in two separate posts – one for each.