Those light music club girls just don't know when to quit - after two seasons of anime, Houkago Teatime returns, seemingly with a very new musical direction that takes even Azusa by surprise.
Of course, this is nothing more than a fun ruse, but there is some serious business to be addressed as graduation beckons - what should the group buy Azusa as a goodbye present to give her when they graduate? Somehow, this train of thought ends up with discussion of a graduation trip thanks to some of their classmates, and with no agreement on where this trip should take them it's left to Ton-chan (of all things) to make the final decision. His choice? London. A good move, dear boy, a very good move indeed.
So, off we head to good ol' Lahndan tahn for the mainstay of the film, as the girl's take in the sights and sounds, get caught up in an unexpected concert at a sushi bar, and ultimately find themselves tempted into a last-minute gig on the banks of the Thames before their short stay in England's capital city comes to an end. Throughout their stay, Yui's thoughts in particular are on the group's parting gift to Azusa - although they've decided that it should be delivered in the form of song by this point, exactly what could they create that would be suitably grandiose? The trouble is, Yui and company's shiftiness around Azusa on account of their efforts are only making their friend worry, although all is ultimately well as graduation becomes more than a date on the calendar and high school life finally comes to an end for the majority of Houkago Teatime.
While I'm sure none of us had massive expectations of a dramatic or intense character-centric story, this K-ON movie is very much a film of two halves - the first and last half hour of the movie frankly drag on rather too long and spend too much time setting up and closing out the story; a problem thankfully mitigated to at least some degree by the actual trip to England itself, which is where the film really gets to breathe, break out from the norm and have some fun. Of course, this is spoken very much from the view of a guy who, y'know, lives in England and spends a fair amount of time in London each year, so I got a real kick out of seeing so many recognisable places and landmarks animated and visited by the show's main cast, but I'd like to think that even beyond this the London setting also allowed for some decent humour and fun to be had aside from the gorgeously realised representation of our capital city, even if it didn't live up to the standards of the series proper.
Overall then, this wasn't really K-ON at its best; a theatrical running time doesn't particularly suit its brand of slice of life comedy and struggled to accommodate the series as a result - perhaps a shorter movie would have trimmed the fat and compressed the overly elongated attempts to foster emotion from the film, and also made the comedy to "other stuff" ratio feel a little strong. Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy to have been granted another couple of hours with the light music club and their particular brand of entertainment, and I'm also pleased that they managed to fit at least a few musical segments into proceedings to boot, but despite appreciating the feeling of closure the film gives I can't pretend that it's a shining crown jewel in the show's animated outing. It certainly looks beautiful and its attention to visual detail can't be faulted, but K-ON has managed to make me laugh until I couldn't breathe and cry my heart out over the past few years, and this movie succeeded in doing neither.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to start planning my K-ON! Movie tour of London....