Anime DVD Review: K-ON! Anime Legends

K-ON! Anime Legends is a four-disc DVD box set that includes the 12 episodes of the main series, as well as two “extra episodes.” When Bandai Entertainment released this box set, all they did was take the four individually released DVDs and put them together into one box set. The first two discs contain four episodes and bonus features, while the third and fourth discs contain three episodes and bonus features. For the episodes, you can watch either the English dub, or you can watch with Japanese audio and English subtitles.

K-ON! Anime Legends
Publisher: Bandai Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: February 7, 2012

K-ON! begins with four girls at Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School joining the Light Music Club in order to save the group from being disbanded. Ritsu Tainaka is the self-proclaimed president of the club, and she plays the drums. She has an upbeat personality, but has a problem with remembering club activities. Mio is the bass player, and she’s Ritsu’s best friend; she is forced to join the club by Ritsu at the beginning of the series. Mio has a fear of being in the spotlight and is embarrassed easily. Tsumugi Kotobuki is a wealthy girl with a sweet personality, and she plays keyboards.

The last member to join the Light Music Club is Yui Hirasawa. She’s a clumsy girl, gets distracted easily, and doesn’t know how to play an instrument when she first joins the club. The other girls keep her, since the minimum number of members a school club needs to continue is four. At the beginning of the series, the others attempt to teach Yui how to play the guitar, but it’s a feat that seems to be easier said than done.

As the series progresses, it’s brought to their attention that an advisor is needed; luckily, they are able to find a teacher to fill this role in order to keep the club going. The next school year, a new underclassman named Azusa Nakano joins the club; she’s another guitarist, and she’s been playing the guitar since the fourth grade. Shortly after Azusa joins, the band finally gets a name.

Unfortunately, K-ON! isn’t a very realistic show. Things happen a little too easily for the characters, and it also requires the viewer to use a “willing suspension of disbelief.” One of the most unbelievable things for me was the fact that Yui seemed to learn how to play the guitar rather easily, but then just as easily forgets the things she’s learned. K-ON! isn’t bad for what it’s trying to accomplish, and it seems to have captured its primary demographic (which, in my opinion, is teenage girls). However, this isn’t a series that I’m personally going to rush out and add to my own home video collection.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the bonus features seem to follow a pattern.  Over the course of the four discs, there are interviews with the four main voice actors: Stephanie Sheh, Cristina Vee, Cassandra Lee, and Shelby Lindley. These interviews run anywhere from six to 10 minutes in length, and they all are conducted the same way. The question is shown on the screen, and then it cuts to the voice actor sitting in the studio, responding to the question that appeared on the screen.

Three of the discs also had English language music videos for the songs “Fuwa Fuwa Time,” “My Love Is a Stapler,” and “Brush Pen, Ballpoint Pen.” Instead of simply using the performance of the song that appeared in the series, new music videos were edited together with existing footage from the series. All four discs also had trailers for properties that Bandai Entertainment was promoting at the time this DVD set was released. Each disc also had DVD Credits included in the “Extras” menu.

If you’re a K-ON! fan that didn’t purchase the individual DVDs when they were released, then this set would be worth purchasing in order to add the first season of the series to your home video collection. Unfortunately, when Bandai released the first season of K-ON! in a box set, they only released a DVD box set. If you want the first season on Blu-ray, you would still have to buy the four individual Blu-ray releases. And now that Bandai Entertainment has gone out of business, this DVD set is now out of print. Sentai Filmworks has acquired the North American distribution rights for K-ON!, so I suspect a new home video release will come out at some point.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of K-ON! Anime Legends that I checked out through the King County Library System.

New York Times Manga Best Seller List: December 11-17, 2011

Here are the top ten selling manga for the week of December 11-17, 2011, according to the New York Times.

1. 20th Century Boys Vol. 18 by Naoki Urasawa
2. Naruto Vol. 53 by Masashi Kishimoto
3. Princess Knight Vol. 2 by Osamu Tezuka
4. Maximum Ride Vol. 5 by James Patterson and Narae Lee
5. K-ON! Vol. 4 by kakifly
6. Higurashi: When They Cry Vol. 16 by Karin Suzuragi and Ryukishi07
7. Vampire Cheerleaders Vol. 2 by Adam Arnold, Shiei Comipa, and Ian Cang
8. Arata: The Legend Vol. 8 by Yuu Watase
9. Blood Alone Vol. 5 by Masayuki Takano
10. House of Five Leaves Vol. 5 by Natsume Ono

New York Times Manga Best Seller List: August 21-27, 2011

Here are the bestselling manga in the United States for the week of August 21-27, 2011.

1. Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Vol. 7 by Kazuki Takahashi, Naoyuki Kageyama
2. Blue Exorcist Vol. 3 by Kazue Kato
3. Fullmetal Alchemist Omnibus Vol. 2 by Hiromu Arakawa
4. Bakuman. Vol. 6 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata
5. Naruto Vol. 49 by Masashi Kishimoto
6. Bleach Omnibus Vol. 2 by Tite Kubo
7. Karakuridoji Ultimo Vol. 1 by Stan Lee, Hiroyuki Takei
8. K-ON! Vol. 3 by kakifly
9. Negima! Magister Negi Magi Omnibus Vol. 1 by Ken Akamatsu
10. Naruto Vol. 47 by Masashi Kishimoto