Following the hugely successful first season, TBS producer Yoshihisa Nakayama was easily able to get a sequel approved rapidly after the show finished broadcasting. Furthermore, he was able to convince TBS (and other committee members) to make this sequel twice as long as the first season was. In order to celebrate 5 years since broadcast, TBS released both seasons of the show in blu-ray boxes. After the successful first season box, the second was released in November of 2014. This is a review of that box set.
Similar to the first season, TBS paid for 27 episodes of K-On! to be made, planning to broadcast at least 24 of them and maybe having a couple “bonus” episodes air with another episode to encourage people to buy the final BD/DVD volume (conveniently packaged with a storage box for all 9, encouraging people to buy the other ones to fill it up!). This box was planned similarly. TBS decided to have 5 discs to have each of the main 5 girls on their own disc in order not to leave anyone out with a similar radio CD like the first season’s box. That necessitated the episodes to be split into 6 episode portions on discs 1-4 and the bonus episodes + bonus features on the 5th disc. (the 6th is a CD). Just one more disc than the first season’s box, despite having nearly double the episode content.
TBS also made a decision to continue the “album” type package with a cut-open front cover and various images to be highlighted. There’s the center of the newly drawn digipak (showing class 3-2 in their HTT shirts among the other focal characters), the back of the box (also newly drawn), and postcards featuring the key visuals and cover art from the singles. Each character’s disc artwork is also newly drawn.
Again, Pony Canyon used the same video masters from the singles, just encoded onto a new disc with new menus (that are still images with BGM played over). Additionally, the same audio masters are used, including the main feature audio, audio commentary from the cast, and audio commentary from the staff for each episode. Newly recorded commentary was performed for the episodes on disc 4 with Yamada and various staff members. The “Ura-On!” shorts, textless OPs/ED, and commercials are all on disc 5. All episodes and the shorts have both Japanese and English subtitles.
The masters for this season were much improved from the first season, but still have some banding issues at times. Colors are decent from what I can tell. No huge issues unlike the first season’s BD-Box. Similarly, the audio is a good stereo mix and the commentaries again range from okay (mostly cast) to enjoyable (staff).
Also included (and another possible album cover) is a book containing the information from the cards included in the singles as well as messages from the classmates, some design materials for the “Keion-bu” bag charms/graduation flowers, and a summary of the credits shown for each episode (minus each episode’s animators, painters, & photographers). Finally, included in the package is a set of mini figures that you can stick on your own tea mug to heighten the K-On!! atmosphere.
Much like the first season, this is a great little set to own if you don’t need foreign audio. TBS made it import-friendly with the subtitles, so most fans should be able to enjoy it. The little figures aren’t my bag (which is why they’re still in theirs!) but that’s also something nice that’s included. It’s a fantastic sequel to a franchise I enjoyed, so it was an easy purchase for me.
So, with the first season, plus shipping, you’re talking around $600 for the whole series.
I think K-On is fantastic, and unduly snubbed by a lot of critics, but that’s a heckuva a lot of dough, no matter your feelings about “cute girls doing cute things”!!
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