Just when you thought K-ON! couldn’t possibly get any cuter, they add another adorable individual who charms us to tilt our heads slightly and “ahwww”. With the coming of Azusa, episode nine bursts at the seams with moments that make you want to chant, “moe, moe, kyun!” Unless, of course, nearly-unbearable cuteness is not your thing; then you’re more likely to gag or experience an allergic reaction. Consider yourself warned.
Nakano Azusa, the newly introduced freshman who joins the cast of K-ON!, is the daughter of two jazz players. She herself plays the guitar which, at first, pleases Yui, but when asked to play a little something, the girls discover that Azusa’s talent is far above any of their own with the exception of Mugi and perhaps Mio.
Upon attending her first Light Music Club meeting, Azusa finds Ritsu, Yui, and Mugi not practicing and having tea instead. Thinking that perhaps the others are testing her initiative, Azusa picks up a guitar in the midst of tea time and barely plucks a string when Sawako-Sensei scolds her – who, in turn is scolded by Ritsu. At first it seems that Azusa is dismayed at being reprimanded but instead, she’s angry. In an outburst, she condemns the club for serving tea rather than practicing, going as far as saying that all the tea sets should be thrown away! Then, in the most unlikely manner – that is, with a hug – Yui calms Azusa down and she apologizes. Mio, however, affirms Azusa’s concerns, agreeing that they should take music more seriously. A few days later, though, Azusa walks into the music room to find that nothing has changed. When Yui does finally pick up a guitar, she claims to have no energy because she hasn’t eaten any cake. Mugi feeds Yui a piece of cake and she immediately perks up, putting on a display of talent. In turn, Yui feeds Azusa who reveals a soft spot for sweets – something the other members (namely Ritsu) use against her.
As time passes, tea time continues while practice does not. With her seniors constantly feeding her goodies, Azusa feels that she’s falling into a dangerously easy-going attitude – something she doesn’t actually feel easy about. With growing uncertainty, she asks Mio why she joined the club when – with her talent and personality – she could play for another band. But before Mio can answer, they’re interrupted and she’s left to figure things out for herself. After a while, Azusa stops showing up for club meetings, and when she does return, it’s apparent that she’s there to quit.
In a last attempt to keep their newest member, the girls perform for Azusa, hoping to remind her of why she first joined. While one of their songs plays in the background, Azusa wonders to herself why she joined and why she should stay. At this time, Mio addresses her question of why she stays with this band, explaining simply that it’s fun to play with these members.
And so, with that heart-warming enlightenment, Azusa decides that she wants to stay in the Light Music Club.
This is the first time we see K-ON! try something serious, as seen when Azusa contemplates quitting. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that well; I blame Yui. In this episode, her character crosses the line between air-headedly cute and irritable. I’m also starting to wonder when Sawako-Sensei is going to act a little more like an Advisor; she’s another character who was more dead weight to this week’s episode. But, optimistic as ever, I’m looking forward to the next episode. I’m willing to forgive Yui and Sawako of their characteristic wrongs provided we see a little progress.
P.S. I wanted to note that while Azusa might seem like she’s just a talented, hard-working freshman, she is, in fact, more: she’s a guitar playing cat! This is discovered by Sawako-Sensei who gave the gift of cat ears (appropriate for any occassion). After reluctantly putting them on, the newbie was coerced to meow. Following immediately, her name was changed from Azusa to Azu-nyan. Subsequently, the other girls (minus Mio) proceeded to treat her as their new pet. Also in the episode, she dons a pair of bunny ears and is threatened with an arsenal of frilly dresses. (Even I’d be scared.)