After the first 11 episodes had aired, it was evident that KyoAni had another huge success on their hands, and the first monster for TBS, with K-On! (Kadokawa had benefited with Haruhi and Lucky Star prior). Keeping with TBS tradition, the final episode that aired was labeled an “extra episode” (since it didn’t appear in the manga) and, like Clannad, there was a bonus episode that came on the final BD volume. The series was greatly anticipated when Bandai announced they had licensed the show at 2010’s Anime Expo and this is the final release of that license. BDInfo/Screencaptures
Included on this volume are episode 12 Light Music!, extra episode Winter Days!, and extra episode Live House!.
Light Music “ends” the season in an appropriate way. We see Yui’s recovery from her illness just in time to make the festival. But as Yui is prone to do, she forgot her guitar and has to run back to get it. The final play of Fuwa Fuwa Time is excellently done, with a surprise encore immediately following. The change from the manga to parallel the opening scene from episode 1 was a great directorial decision and emphasizes the “final episode” feel they were going for. A wonderful finale, but we still have more to come!
Winter Days! is a nice soft end to the TV series. We see the five go about their own ways for a day, but they all come together to have fun at the end and to bring in the new year together. It’s a lovely end to the season. My only complaint is somewhat personal: I would’ve liked to see the translation of あずにゃん二語 as “Azu-nyan the second” instead of “number two.”
Live House! manages to give the show yet another “finale” finish with the five bringing in the new year together. Having the band play in a new setting was a great idea and is masterfully done. We see the creation of their logo and how they grow ever so slightly as a band. It’s a very good extra for the BD purchasers.
As usual, Bandai does decent with the visual aspect with the release, but only uses Dolby Digital 2.0 for both audio tracks. I’ve said this before, and likely anyone who’s followed this release has heard about it, so I’ll leave the comments there. For the dub, everyone does another great job. Again, my usual complaints of not using honorifics in a dub and the “Azu-nyan number 2” follow suit. It’s still somewhat jarring to go from hearing English to JP singing, but that was a mandate of the license.
Included on the set is a music video for Brush Pen, Ballpoint Pen sung by Stephanie Sheh. It’s a very good rendition of the song in English while clips from this volume play in the background. Also included is an interview with Tsumugi’s dub actress, Shelby Lindley. Like the others, she has some interesting stories like how she only got a few words out as Ritsu before the voice director cancelled the thought of her playing Ritsu. I thought it interesting that she could play the piano much like her JP counterpart Minako Kotobuki. Not included (due to license) were textless opening and endings and the Ura-On! extras that were on the JP BDs. I do wish TBS had allowed Bandai to release them as I enjoy seeing the textless OP/ED animations.
And so this series comes to a conclusion. For all my complaints about the audio issues and the missing extras, I greatly enjoyed listening to the dub. It was probably one of the better dubs I’ve heard, and combined with the motif/plot of the show, it isn’t bad to show people who don’t usually watch anime. At the end of the day, I’m glad I bought it, and that’s what matters most. I’m still iffy on purchasing a season two given the problems with this set, so who knows on that. Again, thanks to Bandai for bringing this over.