The Beatles: The first-four members of Hokago Tea Time are widely regarded as expies of the Beatles band by fandom. See the Gender Flipped entry under each character for more details.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The only ones who likely get any consistent practice are Mio, Mugi and Azusa, but they are rarely together, so they tend to be uncoordinated, and much of the time they spend together is on tea and cake, and neither Azusa nor Mio are above it all. But despite these, they're actually really good when they perform.
Big Eater: And never gets fat for it, much to the dismay and envy of Mio and Mugi. In the song Ichigo Parfait ga Tomaranai, she likens herself to a black hole when it comes to sweets.
Book Dumb: Yui focuses so much on learning how to play her new guitar that she ends up badly flunking her midterm. Later averted when she wises up, studies and passes with full marks. (Sadly, it seems that her brain can't handle multitasking, and she forgets how to play the guitar.)
Brilliant, but Lazy: Yui is an airhead most of the time, but she can learn things pretty quickly once she puts her mind to it. Even Asuza, who's trained for years, is amazed at how good she is with the guitar, such as being able to tune it without an auto-tuner.
The Cast Show Off: Stephanie Sheh's skill with speaking Japanese is employed thoroughly throughout the series, most obviously in the auxiliary verbs song she sings in Episode 8 of Season 2.
Cloudcuckoolander: She's very very easily distracted. Also, each time she focuses on something new, she can literally forget almost everything else: when she was forced to study for a makeup test she temporarily forgot how to play the guitar afterwards.
Unexpectedly, she tends to be the one who thinks about practical matters: e.g., how much their training trip will cost (ep 4), or whether they're actually allowed to use the club room as they please (ep 5). She's also the first one to recognize Sawako (ep 5).
Companion Cube: Her obsession with "Giita" gets almost creepy at times, if sometimes downright impractical: letting Giita wear clothes and be rolled around in bed at night is going to do a number on its strings' lifespan.
It's even lampshaded in-series, with one side character noting that she treats it like a boyfriend.
Covert Pervert: She fantasizes about getting slapped with a big wad of cash… but then again who wouldn't?
Cuddle Bug: Generally towards Azusa, but also to everyone she's close to.
Azusa (watching Jun receive her first glomp from Yui): "I see Jun's undergoing her baptism by Yui-Senpai."
In university, Yui has found her new victim: Akira.
Gender Flipped: Of John Lennon, sharing his talent, goofy eccentricity, not to mention the kind-heart and quirky optimism of his later years. Thankfully, she does not share his traumatic and dysfunctional childhood, nor the downright nasty and egotistical personality of his younger days.
Genius Ditz: Azusa's years of experience with the guitar sets up Yui as this by contrast. For example, when Yui sees Azusa's electronic guitar tuner, the audience learns that Yui doesn't know what a tuner is, but she has perfect pitch, and can tune her guitar perfectly by ear. Of course, she has no idea what perfect pitch is.
In her class, she may not do so well, but she can play a guitar just like she's ringing a bell... er, playing the castanets.
And when she focuses in the task, she can get excellent grades.
Idiot Savant: A musical version. Yui is usually air-headed, but can perfectly pitch a guitar just based on its sound. Though being a Genius Ditz, she knows neither what perfect pitch actually is nor what a tuner is for (achieving exactly that, perfect pitch).
The Nicknamer: Her guitar becomes "Giita", Tsumugi becomes "Mugi-chan", Ritsu becomes "Ricchan", Azusa becomes "Azu-nyan", Sawako becomes "Sawa-chan-sensei", and Mio's bass becomes "Elizabeth". Also, in the "extra" episode of the first season, she calls her pair of gloves "Tebukuro-chan".
Not Herself: She undergoes a personality about-face due to a fever during the college arc.
Plucky Comic Relief: How her bandmates apparently see her. Based on the way the band introduces her in the last cultural festival concert, and what Azusa says in the manga while tearfully begging her seniors to not leave her, the quality about Yui they like best is her ability to boost their morale.
All Drummers Are Animals: Downplayed. Ritsu is the most extroverted girl in the band and will do things she wants to do (sometimes to the dismay of Mio). However, she's not as extreme as other examples of the trope.
Clingy Jealous Girl: In the anime Ritsu starts showing this behavior toward Mio at one point (Episode 11).
Club President: Subverted: while Ritsu simply joined the club to jump at the chance to become President without getting elected in the first place, her position rarely comes up again. Club decisions are mostly done in democratic fashion, as opposed to her telling the others what to do, and when it comes to doing the necessary paperwork and such, she more often than not forgets about it, much to Nodoka's annoyance.
Dumb and Drummer: Slight subversion, as Ritsu isn't particularly stupid, just lazy and forgetful. Although the reason she plays the drums is because she thinks playing the guitar or keyboard is too complicated and would frustrate her.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Her bangs which spill out from the side of her hair-band weren't drawn as prominently in first chapters of the manga
Feminine Women Can Cook: Subverted: in spite of her tomboyish personality, she cooked a nice dinner for the whole band after they came to her house to help her with her sewing assignment for Home Ec.
Later on in the college arc, she suffers through some insecurities over not being all that talented on her instrument as compared to the rest of the band, who were all getting noticeably better (punctuated by Yui's unnatural rise in ability over the time they've spent in college). This was something Mio helped her through, just like a certain, famous post-card.
Episode 3, Drummer! shows that even when she's sad she has to lay it on thick. She spends a moment sobbing in the corner while adding onomatopoeic "Hiku Hiku" noises to indicate that she's indeed crying. Note that these sound effects can generally be found in Manga.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Ritsu's entire relationship with Mio is based on her desire to help Mio emerge from her shell.
Meaningful Name: Her name can be read as 'rhythm'. Rather appropriate for a drummer.
Non-Uniform Uniform: Ritsu always wears her school uniform differently from the rest of the club (during the colder months, her jacket is always unbuttoned and during the warmer months, she doesn't wear the yellow vest).
Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Despite her less feminine qualities, she's pretty good at sewing and seems to fret over her hair as much as a teenage girl would. Really she might even lean more towards being a "lazy" girl more than being a pure tomboy (that is she doesn't take being feminine seriously but still appreciates some things about her gender).
Gender Flipped: Of Paul McCartney, right down to his obsession with keeping order and penchant for writing sickeningly-sweet love song lyrics. And yes, just like McCartney she is considered the cutest/most-beautiful member if the band, on both sides of the fourth wall in this case.
Not so Above It All: After having been all business while scolding Yui and Ritsu again and again on the Kyoto trip, she finally cracks when they get lost and run into Nodoka's group... and she starts laughing hysterically!
This led to some speculation that this marks a turning point in her development, now that the band's voice of reason has been transferred to their adorable kohai Azusa.
Reluctant Fanservice Girl: She's been forced into her share of costumes, not to mention tripping over a cord and landing in a panty-exposing position during the band's first performance in front of the whole school.
Shrinking Violet: Approaching Fragile Flower levels. Shy around strangers and suffers crippling anxiety over performing in front of crowds. Decided to play bass so that she won't attract much attention, which backfires spectacularly when she becomes the Face of the Band.
Grew a Spine: In the college arc, Ayame is able to convince her to both look and feel good wearing nice clothes, which motivates her to start losing weight to fit into more cute outfits instead of from personal shame. Ritsu notes that this is probably a lot healthier for her than Sawako forcibly dressing her up (not that Ayame's intentions were pure either).
The Southpaw: Mio writes and plays bass with her left hand, and is keenly interested in other left-handed musicians and instruments.
Tsurime Eyes: The way her eyes are drawn in the manga makes her look very much like an Expy of Lucky Star's Kagami with her hair down. Her eyes in her anime character design are still tsurime, but different in style.
Weight Woe: Is very sensitive about her weight even though Ritsu implies it all goes to her breasts.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She has quite a lot of phobias, but is especially terrified of blood and blisters. Ritsu repeatedly teases her about this.
The anime exaggerates on these, and then some more — she also earned a fear of barnacles and even the mere thought of crayfish in the bathtub.
The Movieups-the-ante even further; having her suitcase delayed at the London Airport luggage-carosels gave her a traumatic fear of all things that "turn", be it the conveyer belt sushi stores, turning-lamps and even ferris wheels like the London Eye; the poor woman just dosen't have it easy.
But Not Too Foreign: Not explicitly spoken of in either manga or anime, but there are enough hints that point to Mugi being half-European. Fan theory posits her mother as being either Finnish or, thanks to the revelation of Sumire's own origins, Austrian.
Cloudcuckoolander: While not at Yui's level by far, she has her fair share of moments. As some girls can attest, spending time with her one-on-one can be quite a heady experience.
Covert Pervert: Mugi is rather less innocent and sweet than she shows. Basically, if she's not lesbian herself, she sure does seem to enjoy the semi-naughty cosplay◊ and picturing her friends in sparkly, blushy embraces a lot.
Her longing for more skinship, resulting in requests for hugs and being hit over the head, also makes one wonder.
Fiction 500: So ludicrously rich that her family owns multiple mansions, are first-name-basis friends with The Royal House of Finland, and is so used to taking trips overseas that she happily forfeits a trip to Hawaii she won in a lucky-raffle so she can have a board-game to play with her friends.
Informed Ability: When the girls discuss having to talk English abroad, she says that her conversational skills are good, but she doesn't show them. Considering how her Gratuitous Englishsounded, it might be a case of Minako Kotobuki not being as good at English as Mugi's supposed to be.
Ojou: Mugi's initially the only one with any decent musical talent, and the first of her incredibly spacious beach houses that the club visits is mentioned to be her smallest one. (The largest is only visited after Tsumugi has graduated.) Also, visitors to her family home need official appointments. Not too common even by anime standards.
Punny Name: Possibly. Her nickname sounds a lot like "Moog", a famous synthesizer brand.
Several fans have pointed out that the Korg Triton Extreme is a hefty piece of equipment. Mugi casually slings it over one shoulder whenever the band travels, which might be normal for thick roadies but certainly not for a petite high school (now college) girl.
Team Mom: While every inch as zany as her fellow club-mates, her comparative emotional maturity (rivalling that of Sawa-chan sensei) allows her to don the mantle of the nurturing mother-figure in the ensemble.
Wise Beyond Her Years: At least in the manga, Mugi tends to be uncannily perceptive about certain things.
Yuri Fan: Mugi art shifts into seeing a little more between Yui and Mio than is probably there. This eventually extends to any close interaction (regardless of context) between any two girls.
It is eventually revealed that she turned into this because, in an attempt to learn how "normal" girls interacted, she had Sumire sneak in manga for her. Said manga is heavily implied to be Yuri manga.
The Light Music Club's first new member after Yui, who joins in her freshman year (with the rest in their second year). She's also the secondary guitarist. After the others graduated, she becomes the president of the club and forms with Ui, Jun, Sumire and Nao the "New Leaf Girls"; she's also the lead guitarist and singer of the band.
Breakout Character: She doesn't appear until midway through season one, but come season two, one could make a strong case that she's the primary viewpoint character, with many episodes told from her perspective, especially the story finale (Episode 24).
Break the Cutie: Subverted in her first episode as a club member. The fact she can't adjust to the club's friendly-but-overdone prodding mixed with their lax attitude wears away at her spirit to be a member until she's reduced to sobbing over her decision that she can't continue by the end. However she snaps out of it when she realizes that despite that, they can still be a functional band and play together competently because of how well they understand each other and decides to stay with a renewed motivation.
Cat Girl: Becomes a running reference when the rest of the club members first put some cat-ears on her. It's where she gets her adorable nickname "Azu-nyan" from.
Child Prodigy: She comes from a musical family and played guitar at a young age. She completely floored the music club by demonstrating her professional-level skills. Yui probably wet herself.
Unfortunately that doesn't include singing. At least in the manga.
Cry Cute: Season 2 Episode 24, full stop — after spending the rest of Graduation Day holding back her feelings, Azusa finally breaks down crying in front of her senior bandmates, begging them to not graduate.
Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: She has a bad habit of speaking her thoughts without realizing. It's never anything offensive or serious though. More in the anime than in the manga, however; when she names her guitar "Mu-tan", Mugi thinks it's a wonderful name. In the manga, it's an instance of Mugi's "girls' mind radio reception", but in the anime, she said it out loud.
Grumpy Bear: Her serious and mature outlook towards life ensures that she never quite shakes this trope off.
Hollywood Tone-Deaf: In the 2011 restart, she discovers — much to her despair — that she's terrible at singing. However, she ends up getting roped into being Wakaba Girls' vocalist anyway, after Sawako offers to give her voice training. (We can only hope that it turns out better than what happened when Sawako tried training Yui's voice.)
In-Series Nickname: Azu-nyan. (Literally "Azu-Meow", which was the translation used in the Hong Kong Animax Channel English-Dub of Season 1)
Kid Sidekick: Initially she doesn't look too different from other characters, but she's a year behind the rest of the club, is shorter than even her peers Ui and Jun, and her cuteness is frequently mentioned.
Not so Above It All: In spite of her attempts to be the lone voice of maturity in the club, Azusa is still easily placated into joining the fun with the offering of sweets and the occasional Cool Down Hug, and has taken being called the ridiculously cute nickname "Azu-nyan" in stride.
Older Than She Looks: Azusa's tiny and youthful appearance is better fitting of a grade-schooler than a high or even middle schooler, leading to the following hilarious moment at Customs in London Heathrow Airport:
Yes: I am Seventeen.
Only Sane Woman: She feels this way when she sees what makes the light music club tick. It's especially apparent during the bus trip to Summer Fest.
Come Season 2, poor Azusa knows her seniors need to use their time to practice for their final performance. And they keep getting distracted... all of them.
Tsundere: In the manga. Much, much less of one in the anime.
Verbal Tic: She says "desu" quite often, but doesn't put quite as much emphasis on it as Suiseiseki. She actually tends to use politer Japanese in general than the other girls.
In the restarted manga, she begins speaking in a much more casual (less polite) manner than she did before.
Voiced by: Madoka Yonezawa (Japanese) and Xanthe Huynh (English)
Yui's more responsible younger sister. She joins Azusa and Jun to the Light Music Club after Mio, Yui, Mugi and Ritsu graduates. She is the secondary guitarist.
The Ace: Which causes Nao to search for her weak spot.
Awesomeness by Analysis: Even more so than her sister. She learned guitar after only a few days of her sister letting her strum away while practicing at home and hit a home run at a batting center after overhearing some tips from a neighboring player.
Gamer Chick: She pwned Ritsu at least twice while the rest were helping Yui study during Season 1.
Instant Expert: A minor case; it is revealed in season 1 episode 12 that she taught Yui how to read guitar sheets, which is also how she's able to play Gitah when posing as Yui. And again in season 2 episode 5, where she overhears some tips for hitting a baseball... and hits a home run immediately after. Lampshaded by Jun and Azusa.
Meaningful Name: The Kanji/Chinese-character for Ui-chan's name literally (and rather appropriately, too) means "kind-hearted", "talented", "gentle" and/or "considerate."
Nice Girl: The one thing she has in common with her big sister.
Sibling Yin-Yang: Ui is mature, sensible, wakes up on time for school (and even has to wake up Yui); aside from also being a Nice Girl, she is the complete opposite of airheaded Yui.
Played with in season 1 episode 12 — when Ui stood in for the sick Yui, the band couldn't see through the disguise. It was her slip of the tongue which first raises suspicions. Sawako saw through the disguise due to Ui having a larger bust-size than Yui.
In the manga, they're first tipped off by the fact that she keeps timing better than her sister. The slips of the tongue are the clinchers.
The Wind Instruments Club advisor, who was eventually blackmailed by Ritsu into also becoming the Light Music Club teacher on threat of exposing her past as a death metal rocker in a previous incarnation of the club.
Actor Allusion: In one episode, Sawako Yamanaka let a student of hers ride in her red car towards her home for something. This was done before by Karen Strassman who voiced another character who sent home a main character from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni named Miyo Takano and the same car color too!.
Christmas Cake: She was a member of a previous incarnation of the Light Music Club. In the Kyoto trip episode, she shows that she does desperately hope to get married, and suffers from keeping her professional side in control over her fun-loving side.
Hugely averted come second season. She did design the costumes for the Romeo and Juliet class play, but they were surprisingly tasteful.
It's brought back in the first OVA, where her new costume for the girls gets her thrown out of the room and a Cranial Eruption.
At Wakaba Girls' first summer training camp, she tries to get Nao to wear a Seashell Bra. Everybody ignores her.
Cry Cute: And you know you have to break out the tissues when even tough ol' Sawa-chan-sensei is tearing up... especially episode 24 of the second season, upon seeing the class chalkboard full of thank-you messages from her students.
Lost Food Grievance: At one point in the manga, she threatens to stop being the club's adviser if they don't start wearing the costumes she makes. Ritsu points out to her that she won't be able to eat cake and tea if she does this, which makes her apologize immediately (while bowing very lowly).
She goes through withdrawals at one point when the girl's finals prevent them from having any tea parties.
Put on a Bus: She doesn't attend the same university as Yui. When the restarted manga began, she only appeared in a one-panel dream sequence.
The Bus Came Back: She makes a brief return in volume 6 chapter 8 when Yui returns to her hometown for the summer break. However, she's considering going abroad to study, so she might be going on an even longer bus trip.
Unlucky Childhood Friend: In a way. She was Yui's best friend since kindergarten, but by their last year in high school, Yui has become much closer to her bandmates than she'll ever be with Nodoka. Subverted in that she has since become a friend to the rest of the band, and Yui still remembers how important she is in her life enough to ask her to walk home together on their last day of school, knowing that by going to different universities, they probably won't be able to do so again.
Voiced by: Yoriko Nagata (Japanese) and Michelle Ann Dunphy (English)
Azusa and Ui's friend and classmate, as well as a member of the Jazz Club. She joins Azusa and Ui in the Light Music Club after Mio, Yui, Mugi and Ritsu graduate. She is the bassist.
Ascended Extra: She was a satellite character in the first season, but come second season she's a part of Ui's Power Trio (together with Azusa) and even appeared in said season's opening. In the 2011 restart she becomes the third senior at the Light Music Club, along with Azusa and Ui.
Imagine Spot: She does this a lot, mostly involving the four seniors of the Light Music Club.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Played for Laughs in season 2 episode 5. She buys a dozen donuts in assorted flavors, takes one bite out of each, rolls across the floor and unintentionally headbutts Azusa. She also refuses to join the Light Music Club, but seeing how much fun Azusa is having in the club made her regret her decision, and ultimately decides to join Azusa and Ui in the club in their third year.
A blonde freshman who eventually joins Azusa, Ui and Jun's reformed Light Music Club. She's the drummer of the "New Leaf Girls".
But Not Too Foreign: Averted. Her family is from Austria, but after they moved to Japan, they changed their names because of the Kotobuki family.
Chekhov's Gunman: Apparently. In the manga, when Mio once phoned with Mugi, the latter is yelling at a subordinate called Saitou. It's unknown if it's really Sumire, it could also be another Saitou of her family.
Something We Forgot: As a resident of the Kotobuki household, Sumire was asked by Mugi to retrieve her teasets she left behind upon graduation. Too bad Sawako caught her on her first try and jumped at the chance to try and recruit her and have her dressed up.
Subverted, as it was all part of Mugi's plan to get Sumire to join the Light Music Club. Mugi really had no intention of taking back the tea set, until at least Sumire graduates.
First Name Basis: Strongly averted so far, as she's the only one who's not referred to by her given name. However, Sumire starts to call her by first name when their senpais are on school trip, and late in the series, Nao lampshades this trope and the rest of the band also start to call her by her first name.
Stalker Without A Crush: She spent a chapter following Ui around (and being very conspicuous about it), and she's been quietly observing and taking notes about her bandmates so that she can write customized songs for them.
TV Genius: Admits that the only thing she's good at is studying. This may be about to pay off as she takes on her new role as the band's producer.
Yui, Ritsu, Mio, Mugi and Megumi's dorm-mate, leader of three-girl band "OnNaGumi" with fellow dorm-mates Sachi and Ayame during their High School days, and a new member of the university Light Music Club. Like Yui, she's majoring in education and is the guitarist.
Birds of a Feather: The only member of her band who avert this trope because she has troubles to get along with Yui.
Tsundere: This seems to be the characteristic that Yui finds attractive in both Azusa and Akira. Akira even has Expressive Hair that spikes up when she's tsun-tsun and lays flat when she's dere-dere. It's spiky most of the time, of course.
A member of the OnNaGumi with Akira and Ayame (and eventually of the university Light Music Club), as well as dorm-mate of Yui, Ritsu, Mio, Mugi and Megumi. She's in the same department as Mio and is like her the bassist.
Birds of a Feather: With Mio. Both are calm, tall, the same cup-size, and share some interests and issues.
Character Tics: She tends to start crouching lower whenever her height is brought up as if attempting to stand out less, and Mugi finds this cute.
Compliment Backfire: Suffers one from Ritsu after she tries to sympathize with their band "having a weird name" (which, hypocritically, Ritsu once thought would be a good name her own band) under the assumption that Akira thought it up. It was actually Sachi's idea, and hearing this hurt. For what it's worth, Akira made fun of Hokago Tea Time's name, so maybe they deserved some payback.
Foil: She's distinctly more confident than Mio, plays the bass without standing out too much, is also quite good-looking and as her own share of (ridiculous) insecurities. Looking at this sort of personality from the outside is partially what helps Mio to find some confidence herself.
Height Angst: She frequently shows a sensitivity to her own height, almost to the point of Single-Issue Wonk whenever words like "height," "tall," and "big" are brought up. One of her Character Tics is crouching lower when she starts to get shy.
The third OnNaGumi member who, along with Akira and Sachi, joins the university Light Music Club. She's also dorm-mates with Yui, Ritsu, Mio, Mugi and Megumi. She's also in the same department as Ritsu and is like her the drummer.
Corrupt the Cutie: She convinces everyone to skip class and just keep chatting. This becomes another new experience that Mugi's always wanted to try.
"I wanna school this girl in all kinds of wrong things."
Cursed with Awesome: In-universe, of sorts: she's unable to understand Mio and Sachi's worries about fitting into nice clothes. They'd both rather dress cutely but don't have the figure for it, and it's bothersome to a girl with A-Cup Angst like hers. She immediately apologizes for making light of their insecurities after Sachi points out how people can be self-conscious about all sorts of things (like being tall...)
Kick Chick: Has a tendency to kick (or punch, but mostly kick) Akira whenever she says something out of line, which is noted to be way harder than Mio ever hit Ritsu. Ritsu writes it off as just crazy-rocker antics. She also has a moment to wonder who she'll kick now that Akira's disposition has been improving.
"I feel like I've been pounded flat in more ways than one..."
The current club president of the University Light Music Club.
Christmas Cake: Not yet confirmed, but by the way she reminisces what the younger ladies can wear, she may as well be one.
Club President: Although her concern for trying to get more funding for the club may lead us to believe that the Club lacks a treasurer.
Early-Bird Cameo: Mentioned by name in the flyer the first chapter of Volume 5. Introduced in Chapter 3, but her role wasn't formally confirmed until Chapter 5, and her name until Volume 5, Chapter 11.
Retired Badass: Although the band she formed with her partner Chiyo Hirose (pronunciation unconfirmed) was said to be pro-level, they've become too busy with academics to perform publicly, not to mention Chiyo feeling embarrassed about Kana's insistence on playing in their old school uniforms.