All right, it’s now time to take a look at the final volume of the K-On!, in which Azusa has the lead role. This is also the second volume of the K-On! manga which has not been adapted into anime – hopefully it will be in the future, but that decision ultimately is not mine to make. Without further ado, here’s K-On! High School.
As the only member of the pop music club bit to graduate, the responsibility of recruiting new members has fallen to Azusa. Ui and Jun have agreed to help out their friend, but they might be more interested in having actual afterschool teatime than making music. Even when Azusa secures the necessary four members to keep the club alive, the lack of musical experience (and musical instruments) is going to be a challenge! Will the high school pop music club survive to take the stage once more?!
Before I go over the contents of the manga, I just want to say that the plot sounds incredibly familiar, huh? Believe me, that’s not the only familiar thing in this volume of K-On!…
The manga starts with Azusa, Ui and Jun at a restaurant, with Azusa seemingly down about the graduation of Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Tsumugi. Ui is also down, as she is bored with not having to look after her sister. Jun offers them some words of encouragement.
After that, the start of the third school year. We quickly find out Jun joined the pop music club as she envisioned them having graceful afternoon tea. Their first trip of the year to the club room has them discover that Tsumugi’s tea set remains behind, though there is also a girl in there trying to take it.
The girl is named Sumire Saitou, and she happens to be living with the Kotobuki family – that would be Tsumugi’s family, for those of you who aren’t so good with surnames. Pretty skilled when it comes to making tea as well.
After that, Azusa plays solo at the student welcoming party – she may be able to play guitar, but singing is not her forte. Following that, recruitment starts for the club. We meet another new character, Nao Okuda. She tries to play a guitar as if it were a violin, and also snaps the lowest string on it… despite the hopeless display, she joins the club later on. Sumire is also roped into joining the pop music club.
With five members gathered, it’s time to decide who will play which instrument. Naturally, Azusa is on guitar, though Jun is eager to do that as well – until she actually gets her hands on a guitar. Jun decides to stick to bass. Nao admits to not being able to play an instrument, though the others have realised that by this point.
Anyway, a trip to the instrument shops follows – you know, the same one where Yui picked up her beloved guitar. Nao and Sumire try out some drums – turns out the latter is quite proficient with them. The pop music club acquires a drumkit.
The band starts to come together here, with Azusa and Ui on guitars, Jun on bass and Sumire on drums. This leaves Nao out, but Sawako actually has a suggestion. Nao is able to use software on a computer to produce music, thus she decides to take on the role of producer.
With that settled, the pop music club discusses past performances and family. Whilst eating snacks, of course.
After discovering Jun has been getting bass lessons from her brother, the new pop music club has trouble deciding on who should be lead singer. Oh, and in something of a tradition, Sawako names the band for them. In this case, it is ‘Green Leaf Girls’ or ‘Wakaba Girls’ if you want the Japanese name.
With Azusa, Ui and Jun on a school trip, Sawako gets to spend some time with the newest members of the pop music club. She almost immediately has Sumire going along with her whims, whilst Nao wonders what she should do when the band performs a live show. Turns out Sumire and Nao aren’t a fan of Sawako’s harassment, as evidenced from texts they send to Azusa.
After the school trip, Nao makes it her mission to see if there is anything that Ui is bad at. Turns out she tends to focus so much on the well-being of others that she forgets about herself.
Comparisons between Sumire and Tsumugi arise, and honestly, Sumire could easily be called ‘Tsumugi 2.0’… basically, try imagining Tsumugi, but as a drummer – yeah, that’s pretty close. But anyway, Sawako lets slip that Sumire is living with the Kotobukis. Tsumugi is like an older sister to Sumire (you think Tsumugi would’ve mentioned something about that before…). Anyway, we get to see a bit of Sumire’s past, and how she would smuggle manga to Tsumugi. Said manga included that of the yuri genre, which had quite an influence on Tsumugi.
A summer trip takes place, naturally at the Kotobuki summer home. Naturally, their first instinct is to play on the beach, rather than play their instruments… hang on, we’ve definitely seen this before, right?
However, Green Leaf Girls still doesn’t have a lead singer… until they manipulate Azusa into the role. Nao and Sawako offer some help for her, as well.
Exam preparations follow on from that, with Sawako thrown for a loop when the third years want to study rather than play their instruments. We also get to see that Sumire’s skill as a drummer is improving, and Nao’s still doing her thing well.
Second term begins, with Azusa eager to play at the school festival. Sumire and Ano aren’t too keen on the idea. Still, Ui and Jun give Azusa some time with Sumire and Nao, allowing them to talk for a while.
Sumire and Nao spend the night together at the latter’s house, where Nao says that the pop music club makes her feel the same warmth she feels from her family.
Return to school means more practising – turns out Nao had produced parts of a song that were too complicated to play – a drummer would need three hands, for example. Or YUi’s part, which would require six fingers – but she is still able to play perfectly anyway…
Green Leaf Girls perform at the school festival, bringing the manga to a close. The bonus comic features more physical quirks in the same vain as Tsumugi’s eyebrows.
So, K-On! High School is all right, though there are parts of it that do just feel like a re-tread of the original K-On! It’s nice to see how Azusa gets on with her final year of high school, even if some of the situations do seem a little too familiar. Still, can’t fault it for the humour.
Out of the two, I would say that I prefer K-On! College to K-On! High School, though the original four volumes are the best. Still, I would like to see a third anime season of K-On! that adapts College and High School, if only to hear the new songs.