So it comes to an end.... at least, it does until the green lit movie hits our screens anyway. After doubting that a second season of K-ON would work well at all as a twenty-six episode outing, here we are at the end of it all courtesy of another "bonus episode".
After kicking off with a flashback to a celebratory photograph taken when Azusa joined the light music club which turns into a genuinely quite impressive practical joke, we soon flit back towards the end of the other girl's high school careers as they hang around at school for no particular reason once again. Well, I say no particular reason, but they're actually waiting for something - the chance to get a peek at the sample of the school yearbook. It seems that Yui's fear of having a poor yearbook photo was well justified, as she all but breaks down at her final chosen picture which shows her abnormal haircut in all its glory.
However, redemption may be at hand, as the yearbook's contents need to be signed off by Sawako, who also just so happens to be off sick with the 'flu. Cue an opportunity for Yui and company to deliver the yearbook and make a plea for the offending photograph to be changed. Whether this is actually achieved we never find out (although it seems highly unlikely), but instead the remainder of the episode concerns itself with the girls musing about Sawako's private life and home, before they end up hanging out there and helping out with cooking, laundry and the like - I'm betting not many real schools anywhere in the world have students like that. If all of this feels like it would have fitted perfectly well prior to the "proper" end of the series, hold your thoughts until we reach the end of this finale, which finally confirms what we had long since guessed - that the light music club will live on with Ui and Jun joining Azusa at the helm. They do seem to have an abundance of keyboardists now though - may I suggest that the light music club Mark III becomes some kind of prog rock outfit?
Anyhow, when a second season of K-ON was announced I had my doubts as to whether it had enough material to last, and those doubts only became even stronger when I realised just how long the series was going to be. You know what though? I was wrong - very, very wrong. Sure, not every episode of this series was right on the money, but most instalments had enough good jokes and moments to be worth the price of entry, and a number of episodes were simply downright hilarious. That all of this comedy was underpinned by a growing sense of melancholy as the girl's lives came closer and closer to changing from high school to university students was an impressive achievement, summed up in one of the most beautifully emotional episodes of any anime I've ever seen with episode twenty as we shared in their final live performance as a group. It was this wonderfully realised instalment that really showcased how far K-ON had come for those who stuck with it throughout - without noticing, these characters had become a part of our lives and sneaked their way into our hearts, and saying goodbye to them (if only temporarily) feels a little like doing so to a reliable and trust-worthy old friend.
Still, wherever the franchise goes next this series has left us with some fantastic memories, which is all we can really ask of it.