Another ‘training camp’ episode, which will take place at one of Mugi’s villas at a beach? Again? Really, Kyo-Ani? I couldnt help being sceptical about this, and hoped that this wasnt just going to be the same thing all over again, except with Azusa tagging along. In a way, it kind of was, but I’m pleased to report it wasnt entirely in a bad way.
Azusa explains the plans of a training camp to Ui, who she seems to have made friends with. In an amusing segment with Ritsu, we learn that Mugi is exactly what Ritsu jokingly said she is, a rich young lady with a butler who goes to foreign countries for holidays. And how Ui personally thinks that Yui’s laziness is adorable, even if Azusa finds it depressing. Summer takes alot out of Yui, it seems.
Getting ready for the trip itself it looks like Azusa’s getting a girl-crush on Mio; who as usual manages to calm her down when she gets angry at Yui and Ritsu’s plans to spend the trip playing.
Apparently the villa from the last beach episode Mugi couldnt use again (it was booked out by others or something) so they have to use a different one. Because apparently, Mugi has over nine thousand villas or something, each bigger than the last. Perhaps it was just an attempt to make this episode less of a carbon copy of the first beach episode, but alright. Just like in the first beach episode, Yui and Ritsu pick playing over practising right away.
The main difference between this episode and the first beach one is not only that instead of Mio it is Azusa getting angry at the others for not practising, but also that Mugi stood out more to me as a character. I’m really starting to like her; she’s getting quite adorable. I’d like to know more about her family, it’s a little funny how they go completely out of their way to ‘accomodate’ for her and her friends, which she doesnt seem to appreciate. She got a little embarassed about the large boat at the beach they had left for them and had to tell them on the phone that it wasnt necessary.
Like last time, Yui and Ritsu work up a good chemistry of comedy between themselves. I really love watching these two together; the dialogue exchanges are so ludicrous. Ritsu actually reminds me alot of Kana from Minami-ke now that I think about it. With my love for all 4 of the ‘main’ girls established, I feel as though Azusa, no matter how cute she is, still isnt the best of characters. She just feels like some kind of mini-Mio, and although she was required for plot development before, suddenly doesnt feel that necessary anymore. I’m hoping my feelings on her will change but for now she’s still ‘the new addition’; which is kind of ironic because she didnt feel like that to me in the previous episode and she was alot newer to the club then.
I will admit that her relationship with Mio is quite cute, however, and I laughed when she accidentally set of the older girl’s barnacle fear. You would think that repeating a joke from the last beach episode would be pushing it even more, but it actually worked pretty well, so I applaud them for that.
However, they did push the recycled jokes just a little. Again with Yui and Ritsu’s ‘stranded on an island’ sketch from last time, even if it did make me chuckle a bit. Perhaps a bit more from Azusa’s face than their acting, though.
After too much playing, they’re finaly ready to practice again. Another recycled joke; the one that got angry at them for playing the most was the one that ended up playing the most herself; ie Azusa, and she’s got the tan to prove it. When tuning her guitar, it is revealed that Yui actually doesnt know how to tune a guitar ‘properly’ and just does whatever, showing once again the thin line between idiot and genius.
Around this point there’s a whole load of rather nice shots of all the girls doing various things together; preparing the meal, cooking the meal, eating the meal. While cutting the onions, there’s another pseudo-yuri moment that made me crack up as it came out of nowhere. It’s probably my favourite of these so far. I just love these two.
After the girls finish the meal they all made together, the episode decides that it hasnt fulfilled its necessary quota of ‘Mio being scared’ so Ritsu says they should all have a test of courage in the nearby forest in the dark. It’s obvious Mio wouldnt want to, but the fact that she so firmly denied that she would be scared was kind of cute. She obviously doesnt want to show weakness to Ritsu, even though she always ends up doing so. Paired up with Azusa alone in the forest, it isnt long before Mio sees a strange shape coming towards them and calling her name.
Of course this ‘strange figure’ turns out to be the lost Sawako, who had taken a wrong turn in her plans to surprise the girls and had been walking around in the forest for hours. Her presence in this episode is of course another main difference between this one and the last beach one, and a welcome difference to. She doesnt get the chance to do any force-cosplay on any of the girls, although she does attempt some hot-springs molestation, yet isnt exactly rewarded for it. (She ends up face-down in the springs, for one thing). Which reminds me,oh yeah, there were hot springs. Again. Just like last time.
While the others are asleep, on a bathroom trip Azusa disovers Yui by herself practising some chords that she cant seem to get right, so the younger girl stays, offering to help her. This was a really cute scene; with Yui trying her hardest to get the notes right and getting so overjoyed when she finaly succeeded.
The end of the episode is almost exactly like the beginning, with Ui meeting Azusa and going out to whatever Mcdonalds clone exists in the K-On! universe. Only this time she recounts to Ui what she learnt about the members of the club, which includes Mio’s weaknesses. Although her impressions of Ritsu and Mugi still havent changed (for better or for worse), her one of Yui has, as she’s started developing a greater respect for her.
My tone may have sounded a little cynical about this episode, but it wasnt as if I didnt enjoy it. Like every episode of K-On!, it was alot of fun to watch and the characters’ antics are always entertaining. Anyone who thinks the girls in swimwear is a good thing no matter what wont mind, but I personally found it a little tiring that they had to have another beach episode, when there are only 13 episodes in this series so variety would be a bit more welcome. With its huge popularity and ongoing source material its highly likely there will be a second season, at least. It was a good episode, but Kyo-Ani did push it a little with using the same jokes as before. But it gets bonus points for making Mugi more loveable and including Sawako-sensei. Out of 5: