With the series proper finishing last week, K-ON!'s "extra" thirteenth episode treats us to one final slice of life with the girls of the light music club... Although there seems to be a rather melancholy feel in the air, with everybody preoccupied with something or other.
Indeed, the situation is so severe that even the opportunity for a hotpot on a cold winter's day at Yui's house is turned down by the rest of the gang, all of whom have other things to do. This then gives us a rare glimpse of the girls on their own and doing their own things, in many cases trying to be that little bit more mature than perhaps they are - Thus, Mugi gets a job, Asuza tries to look after a friend's kitten, and so on.
If nothing else, this episode is masterful at reminding us just how much life has been imbued into the show's characters over the course of the series - It was actually really quite upsetting to see things going wrong for the girls, before of course they all pull back together in a final scene of abject happiness.
Really, that point is probably the biggest one in favour of K-ON! - Marketing machine it may be at its core, and I know some have felt disenfrachised with it as an actual piece of entertainment as the weeks have drawn on, but if nothing else the series has succeeding in pulling together a group of lovable characters even ignoring those much-discussed "moe elements". Cute figureheads of that aforementioned marketing machine they may be, but beyond that they also exist as characters that you'd really quite like to spend some time with as genuinely fun characters. It's that sense of fun that permeates through K-ON! from beginning to end, making it an enjoyable slice of life series in it's own right - Yes, this show is no Haruhi (and indeed I think the return of that particular franchise has thrown this show's capabilities into sharp relief in recent weeks), nor is it a study of up and coming musicians as some seemed to expect; it certainly isn't KyoAni's best work, but is watching a series just because it leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling and a handful of good laughs every week such a bad thing? I would suggest that it isn't, and measured by those terms K-ON! is nothing if not a relative success.