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Manga / K-On!

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"Chatting Now Super boisterious, our Never Ending Girls' Talk
We can't wait for the school bell to ring
Even if it means being late, leaving early is a Non Non Non!
We'll hit the books hard as we Study After School"
—"Cagayake! Girls" (first opening theme)

When Sakuragaoka High School's Light Music Club (keiongaku-bu) is about to be disbanded with all of its members graduating, Ritsu Tainaka seizes her chance to become a club president without actually being elected and drags her shy friend Mio Akiyama along for the ride. They recruit two more students in order to meet the minimum member requirement: Tsumugi Kotobuki, a wealthy blonde who was looking for another club, and Yui Hirasawa, an airheaded girl whom they tempt with numerous sweet things until she agrees to join.

With their new band formed, the four come to a sudden realization: none of them can play an instrument that well. The group sets off to improve their musical skills, with plenty of Slice of Life cuteness along the way.

The show follows their progress as they get a club adviser (Sawako Yamanaka, an alumna of the Light Music Club), decide on a band name (Houkagonote  Tea Time), write their first original songs and finally perform on stage. Later, they recruit an additional guitarist: Azusa Nakano, a hard-working musician bewildered by the eccentric and relaxed attitudes of the other members.

The yonkoma manga by Kakifly, serialized in Manga Time Kirara from 2007 to 2012, was turned into an anime by Kyoto Animation in the spring season of 2009. The show was directed by Naoko Yamada (making her directorial debut), with Reiko Yoshida serving as series composer, and Yukiko Horiguchi serving as character designer and chief animation director. The show proved to be a runaway success, with the opening and ending themes topping out at #1 and #2 in the Japanese music charts as well. The manga has been released in English by Yen Press. The second season, K-On!! (note the two exclamation points), aired in the spring of 2010 for 26 more episodes. A film was announced after the second season ended; it was released on December 3, 2011.

In 2010, Bandai Entertainment announced that they had licensed the first season in the US and Canada. In August of that year, they announced they would dub it with Bang Zoom! Entertainment. The first volume of the English dub was released on April 26, 2011. In early 2012, Sentai Filmworks licensed the second season, complete with the same dub cast. The first season is licensed to Manga Entertainment in the UK, and both seasons (as well as the movie) are distributed by Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand. In 2012, Sentai Filmworks announced they acquired the movie and would also dub it. They did so, releasing it on May 21, 2013. They would later re-acquire the rights to Season 1 in 2014. The dub aired in Australia on ABC3 starting 19 June 2015.

Kakifly has made two one-volume sequel manga series: K-On! College, which follows the four high school graduate members into their life at college, and K-On! High School, observing Azusa's efforts to keep the Light Music Club alive. These series have been released in English by Yen Press just like the original manga.

K-On! Shuffle, a third spin-off manga with completely different characters, started serialization in July 2018.

All characterization tropes are listed on the character sheet subpage.

This series provides examples of:

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    A to D 

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Besides the season 2 openings, most of the cars in season 2 are very clearly CGI.
  • Abbey Road Crossing: Referenced when Mio fantasizes about a trip to England — the land of rock bands! (Apparently Mio really is a Classic Rock fan). The girls eventually get the opportunity to run across the actual crossing in The Movie.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council:
    • Subverted. When the third-year members all end up in the same class they think new president Nodoka might have arranged it, but it turned out she couldn't do anything of the sort and Sawako-sensei was actually responsible.
    • Two sketch gags in manga Volume 3 show Sawako asking Nodoka for a raise, and the Cosplaying Principal asking her for a bigger role in the series.
  • Acoustic License: The girls have no trouble hearing each other while talking at a fairly normal level during an outdoor rock concert.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Compare any anime plot to the manga segment it was based on. Definitely for the better, though, and produces lots of good music and extra gags. This is even more pronounced in the second season, which is twice as long as the first due to adding many more new scenes.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In season 2 episode 13 (15:05), Azusa complains that Yui still hasn't learned to read music, which is consistent with the manga. However, in a scene created for the anime in season 1 episode 10, Yui was reading a score while practicing guitar in the middle of the night.
    • Resolved in episode 16 by the anime pointing out there are "degrees of fail" when reading sheet music. Yui can read the notes on the staff (the BD bonus materials have each girl's annotated version of the basic "Fuwa Fuwa" score) but has trouble with following the score as it reuses (jumps back) to an earlier section and the abbreviations left in Italian.
  • Adaptational Modesty: The manga has a fair amount of fanservice, but the anime greatly tones those elements down.
    • There are two notable moments in the anime that only allude to the fanservice through clever use of imagery: Mio's infamous Panty Shot gets replaced by a bowl of rice with the same striped design as the panties and Azusa's reaction (a Nosebleed) to it is alluded to by a paper tissue dispenser box.
    • The costumes Sawako makes aren't quite as revealing as they are in the manga. One example is in the Christmas episode where Sawako makes Yui wear a Sexy Santa Dress; in the manga it's a midriff-baring two-piece that Yui is embarrassed about, but in the anime it's a more modest one-piece dress that Yui isn't ashamed to wear at all.
  • Alice Allusion: The ending credits of The Movie has shots of the band members dressed like Alice while playing. Likely a result of mixing tea, cakes, and England.
    • The cover of the CD box collection repeats their outfits, this time at their school. There's also a white rabbit.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: According to the Occult Club.
  • All Just a Dream: Most of S2 E13 is like this.
  • Alma Mater Song: Which later got released in a rock version.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: Yui and Ui. The latter isn't exactly a common name.
  • Anachronic Order: None of the second season's bonus episodes take place after the graduation in episode 24. The chronological order is 1-13, 27, 14-21, 25, 22, 26, 23-24. The Movie is also set before/during graduation.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In the Licensed Game, K-On! Houkago Live!!. Not bad, since those are the clothes that the girls wear in the anime.
  • Animal Motifs: There are small sculptures of a tortoise and a hare attached to the stair railing that leads up to the light music club's music room. Season 2, episode 8 makes it quite clear that the tortoise symbolizes Yui's slow development. These are actual architectural features of Toyosato Elementary School in Shiga Prefecture, which the high school in the anime was based on.
  • Artificial Riverbank: Yui lives close to one, and practices there during finals season for a talent show. It's one of the locations mentioned in the lyrics of "Tenshi ni Fureta yo!". The river bank, like a lot of depicted locations, is based on a real site, and can be found along the Takanogawa river flowing through Kyoto.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care:
    • Ton-chan is a pig-nosed turtle, a species that is actually hard to keep in captivity, since it's rather aggressive and prone to stress and illnesses. It takes dedication and specialized knowledge to care for one, so one wonders whether the girls would be up to the task. It might be especially unwise to keep it in a place with lots of noise, like where a band is playing.
    • Pig-nosed turtles also need to get out of the water ever so often, so it's not a good idea to keep them in an aquarium with nothing to climb on.
  • Art Shift: A distinctive Chiaroscuro lighting scheme is used whenever a character is being dramatic (or just pretending to be. Others include:
    • When Mugi gets ideas.
    • During the School Festival there is a Music Video within a show that has a noticeably different style.
    • There's a quite creepy one in the manga. Proving that no matter how light and fluffy a given media is, these days it'll contain at least some Nightmare Fuel.
    • The characters break the Fourth Wall to explain that Sawako's eyes have drastically changed shape, color, and design in episode 5.
    • Then there's the DVD specials, which are drawn in a sketchy limited-animation style more reminiscent of Crayon Shin-chan. "K-On Shin-chan", perhaps?
    • The anime closing/credits "music video" features the girls making mouth movements and facial expressions that deviate from the normal style of the show.
    • Yui bursts into a slight Art Shift when she is called "Yui-Senpai" for the first time by Azusa.
    • In Season 2, the first episode has much more detailed animation than the rest of the episodes.
  • Ascended Extra: Jun. Started as a miscellaneous friend of Azusa's but in later chapters (and during the second season of the anime) is given her own place among the cast. In the fourth volume she even has a spot on the character introduction page with the other eight characters. And as of the 2011 restart, she joins Azusa and Ui in the Light Music Club.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Yui is shown to be easily distracted by things such as food and anything that she considers cute. However, she is also capable of focusing on a task if she really puts her mind to it.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Invoked by Mio almost ad verbatim in the dub, in episode 1.
    Ritsu: "For instance, offering people an amazing prize if they decide to join"
    Mio: "Amazing prize?"
    Ritsu: "Yeah, like some kind of gift or something."
    Mugi: "Like a car? Or a plane? Or a boat?"
    Mio: "Amazing, but impractical..."
  • Badass Adorable: Mugi is one, especially given how strong she apparently is and the fact that she knocked Akira head over heels with a "light blow."
    • Just to prove her strength, while keeping in mind that she has a keyboard which she regularly carries with her to and from school, take a look at this.
    • Ui also qualifies, though her badassery is more modest. She single-handedly takes care of her older sister and manages to predict when the other members of the band are coming over, by always conveniently having enough food ready for everyone. She also manages to, after only playing on Gitah a few times every now and then, become a much tighter guitar player than Yui ever was, to the point where she's actually too good to pass as Yui while Yui is sick. Then, when she joins the Light Music Club in K-On! High School, she manages to perfectly play a part that would require her to have more fingers than she actually does, even after Sawako says the part is physically impossible to play.
  • Battle of the Bands: Yoshii sets up a competition between Houkago Tea Time and OnNaGumi in the manga's university storyline.
  • Beach Episode: Two of them. Held at Mugi's vacation houses, which also includes a Hot Spring.
  • Belly Dancer: Couple of examples:
    • In the second season's extras, "Ura-On!!", the first episode shows Azusa's attempts at fortune-telling by interpreting the dreams of the rest of the Light Music Club. In the intermissions between the shorts, we're treated to a crudely-drawn Azusa trying to dance to a drum beat.
    • In one of the many chapters of the fan manga "K-ON! Anthology", Yui inexplicably ends up in Iceland. In her efforts to find a way back home, she ends up meeting the Icelandic dopplegangers of Mio and Ritsu, whose special talents are belly dancing and playing a harp, respectively. The real Mio and Ritsu travel to Iceland, only to find their Icelandic versions and Yui putting on a spectacle of dancing, harp-playing and sheep singing.
  • Between My Legs: Turns up in episode 1; of Yui when she first arrives at the school.
  • Beyond the Impossible: In K-On! High School, Ui effortlessly plays a guitar part that Nao writes, that Sawako points out would require Ui to have six fingers on her fretting hand. Ui doesn't seem to even realize that said part is supposedly impossible to play. She just plays it anyway.
  • Big Eater: The enormous amounts of sweets, cake and other desserts the girls eat every day during band practice don't seem to affect their waistlines at all. Especially Yui appears to have an extremely high metabolism.
    • As of volume 5 chapter 14 reveals Mio gains weight of 2 kilos after entering university. When Mio tries to eat a smaller portion of her meal she then is peeved when Ritsu eats the food on her plate. Catch is what Mio eats goes to her boobs which is why she is wearing loose clothing to hide them.
  • Big Fancy House: Unknown, since you need an appointment to stay over Mugi's house. Her summer villas on the other hand are humongous. In any case, Sawako was really impressed when she drove Mugi home.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Tsumugi (seems like a family trait, given that one of the music store's clerks realized she was the owner's daughter simply by looking at her eyebrows).
    • Lampshaded in the last episode of the first season: in Yui's fever-dream, Mugi's eyebrows are actually slices of pickled radish. In the 14th episode of the second season she has a dream that Mugi would revert to gel if both of her eyebrow-pickles would be plucked from her face at the same time. Anything remotely triangular (such as protractors) can be used as a replacement.
    • In season 2 episode 5, Azusa imagines a more responsible Yui with Big Ol' Eyebrows encouraging her in the clubroom. Moments later Jun imagines the Light Music Club playing "Kick the Can," with the can having a smiley face with pronounced eyebrows.
    • The eyebrows on Azunyan's sempai (the rest of the girls) in s2-ep05, were actually strips of nori seaweed.
    • One of the girls from the Occult Club has them too.
  • Biting the Handkerchief: Yui is shown doing this multiple times in the series.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Natch. A few second season episodes have this, but the kicker is definitely Episode 24, and the second Extra Episode, which ends with Azusa practicing a rough version of "Fuwa Fuwa Time" with the future members of next year's light music club (which, given the voices, are Ui and Jun) for the recruitment concert. The seniors decide not to disturb them and run away, out into the yard in the sunset, where they give their old school one last goodbye.
    • The movie ends with the girls playing "Tenshi Ni Fureta Yo!" for Azusa, before saying goodbye to their school.
  • Bland-Name Product: While Mio uses a "Pony" cassette player and camera and the girls eat at "Max Burger" (complete with golden "M"), the musical instruments and equipment are shown as they are: Fender, Gibson, KORG, Yamaha, Marshall, Peavey, Roland and VOX. However, at the instrument shop, there's a "Peart" Drums adboard, as well as several bins of "Dunlup" guitar picks.
    • The name "Max" has more to do with the Japanese burger chain Mos Burger. The exterior is typically McDonald's, while the interior design is derived from another Japanese chain: Freshness Burger.
    • Played straight whenever the musical instruments are reproduced for merchandise such as figurines and the PSP game: the makers' logos are always removed.
    • Mio and Azusa's tuners - Mio's is a Korg AW-2 (backlit), whereas Azusa's is a Korg AW-1, but mislabeled a Yamaha. Ironically, Korg has a license with Yamaha for actually selling a Yamaha AW-1 in Japan only, but the real one has the triple-tuning-fork logo on the clip, not written in block on the face.
    • Many instruments played by minor characters actually feature correct logos, such as Christine's B.C. Rich (from Death Devil) or Sawako's Epiphone Flying V (in episode 12 of Season 1).
  • Blank White Eyes: Everyone. Free triangle-shaped mouths included.
  • Blood Brothers: The girls of Afterschool Tea Time eventually form a friendship that's closer than most sisters ever will be in Real Life, and nowhere is this more evident than the tearful embrace they share in Season 2 Episode 20 and Episode 22, when they realize that their determination and dedication helped them all pass the entrance exams for the same university, meaning that they won't have to break up the band.
  • Blue with Shock: Happens occasionally, with most of the cast getting it at least once. Played comically in episode 18 season 2, when Azusa tries to encourage Mio about her role in the Romeo And Juliet play.
    • And Ritsu in episode 22 season 2, when she misplaces her exam pass.
  • Blush Sticker: Pretty much everyone at some point or another.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Ritsu and Mio. Complete with an image of Mio hitting Ritsu with a fan when Mugi talks about their relationship to each other in the manga. Lampshaded by Ritsu while they're in college.
    • Yui and Azusa make an actual manzai performance on a talent show, in front of an audience. Yui is the Boke, while Azusa is the Tsukkomi.
  • Book Ends: Season 1 episode 10, which begins and ends with Azusa meeting up with Ui to hang out.
    • Overlapping with Meaningful Echo and Ironic Echo, Yui and Azusa telling the band "It wasn't very good... but I want to hear more!" bookend the entire series.

      To elaborate, when Yui is first drafted by Ritsu and Mio in season 1, they play Tsubasa Wo Kudasai (A very famous Japanese folk song, often-covered by school bands) for her and she says it's not very good, but she'd like to hear more. So, she joins the club anyway. At the graduation Grand Finale, Azusa tells the four of them the same thing after they play Tenshi ni Furetayo! for her.
    • The first season also had Book Ends before the two extra episodes were shown. The first episode of the season started with Yui running to school because she thought she was late. Episode 12, the 'final' episode of the season, ends with Yui running to school because she's actually late for the festival concert.
    • Azusa's first act as president of the club is grabbing onto Jun and Ui while shouting "Members secured!", exactly how she was inducted.
    • The movie begins with Afterschool Tea Time play-acting to a song that Death Devil wrote as a farewell to their junior bandmates and ends with them playing their own farewell song to Azusa.
  • Bowdlerise: The manga has Yui and Ritsu imagining Sawako's doorbell screaming "Fuakkyu!" at the guest instead of a normal ringer (written like that in katakana). This was understandably changed in the Yen Press translation to "Screw You!" (in contrast to their usual addition of swearing).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A special issue of the Manga was released when K-ON was first announced to become an Anime. Among expected things (like Mio freaking out about being on TV), Yui actually straight out admitted she hadn't actually continued to sing when off panel, since no-one would notice as it's a comic.
    • The pilot episode has a mild case:
    Ritsu: "Mio! What about that promise we made? Was that just a big lie? That I would play drums... And you would play the bass... Our band... We've been saying forever that we would start one. We promised each other, remember? That night, when we went to see that concert together."
    Mio (Flashback): "This is it..."
    Ritsu (Flashback): "This is... Isn't it?"
    Mio: "No. Your flashback is."
    • This happens a few times in episode 5. The characters talk out loud about how the teacher has "triggered flashback mode!" and how Sawako's art style changes.
    • In episode 9, Ritsu is hit by Mio; the hit is covered by a crayon-drawn title card showing Ritsu at her drums. In the next shot, Ritsu is shown with a lump on her head and she is holding the title card.
    • When Sawako in the manga complains about not being able to tell Mio and Azusa apart without her glasses, Mio makes a minor comment on how the artist could be blamed for that.
    • In Season 2 Episode 9 Yui does this in an And Knowing Is Half the Battle moment when she looks directly into the "camera" and talks about how she has decided to better herself.
  • Brick Joke
    • "Your bangs are really long..."
    • At the end of the Christmas Episode from season 1, Mio and Mugi are distressed over how much weight they gained over the holiday. Then in season 2 episode 11, once Azusa mentions that sweating a lot is sure to result in weight loss...
    • "The strawberry on top is the cake's heart! Its soul!"
    • Ritsu putting her hand on Yui's shoulder in the class photo in s2 ep 3, for a payoff in ep 26, virtually an entire season later!
    • In season 2 episode 4, Sawako buys a green match-making good-luck charm in Kyoto. Seven episodes later, Mugi notices a green charm hanging in Sawako's car...
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: When Azusa first joins up, the club seems extremely lax to her and uninterested in practicing. However, she knows first-hand that they can perform well together (as the whole reason she was even drawn to them was how impressed she was with their performance at the Freshman Welcoming Ceremony). Mio acknowledges that they do mess around a lot but ultimately they have a good feel for each other and that's how they're able to crank out solid performances in spite of their leisurely pace.
  • Burger Fool: At one time Mugi - yes, Mugi - gets a part-time job at the local fast food restaurant.
  • Butt-Monkey: That one unnamed music shop clerk. Seriously, that guy does NOT get a break.
  • Call-Back: Yui's rush to school at the beginning of the show is mirrored in the twelfth episode. She gives a touching reassurance to her past self and it's all set to Mio's rendition of Brush and Ballpoint Pen
    • The photos shown for Mio's fan club include Mio and Ritsu's first day of high school (episode 1), the first beach trip (episode 4), everyone except Yui dressed in yukatas (episode 12), and the first sunrise of the new year (episode 14).
    • Nodoka reminding Yui about her career assessment paper (and Yui responding for not being smart and doesn't know what she'll do in college) in Season 2 Episode 8, traces back on the first season at Episode 1. (with comparison shot)
    Nodoka: "You really are going to become a NEET like this"
    Yui: "I feel the weight of your words this time!"
    • The image of the girls jumping through the air with nothing but the sky in the background in the second season 2 ED looks quite similar to the jump done in the pre-Azusa version of the season 1 OP.
    • "Lycopene."
    • After listening to the rest of the band play a song for her at graduation day, Azusa repeats Yui's "You're not very good at all" from the very first episode. Shortly before that, she was given the photo Ritsu took of the girls in the same episode (with a picture of Azusa added to it).
    • The opening scene of the movie mirrors the opening scene of Season 1 Episode 1. There's a second callback to the first episode during the band's faux-conflict that follows, when Yui claims that she can play the harmonica. And then immediately admits that she can't when challenged by Ritsu.
  • Camera Fiend: The basic plot of the Ura-On! short "Ricchan's Sudden Shots Series."
  • Canon Foreigner: Ton-chan and Satoshi are original to the anime. Satoshi was mentioned in the manga, but was never shown.
    • Budokan was never mentioned once in the manga, which is sort of why the girls are accused of forgetting their goals by fans.
  • Captain Obvious
    Yui: What's that?
    Azusa: It's a tuner. It's used for tuning.
    • Another one in season 2 episode 10 (which might work better in the original Japanese):
    Yui: "Will I grow up when I grow up?"
    • Can't forget the ever-redundant "Fun things are fun."
  • Cat Smile: Ritsu displays a prominent one in the opening of Season 1.
  • Censor Steam: During season 1, episode 10 while Azusa is standing up in the bath.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: A mild version. The second season is still a cute Slice of Life comedy, but there's an undercurrent of sadness to it. There are frequent mentions of the fact that four of the five club members are graduating at the end of the year, and of the open question of what will happen to the band afterward.
  • Chase Scene: When Yamanaka-sensei runs towards the music room in episode 5. No actual Sheet of Glass or fruit carts used, but they may as well have been.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When Yui nearly trips over before the concert in Episode 6. Mio ends up tripping over a cord after the concert.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: During the marathon in episode 15 season two, two girls are seen passing by Ritsu, Mugi, and Mio as they search for Yui, talking about UFO sightings in the area, and making it a research project for the school festival, leading the trio to hypothesize that Yui was abducted by aliens. Cue episode 19, where those two girls turn out to be in the Occult Club, and lend their Rosetta Stone for use as Juliet's gravestone. And then during the all-nighter after the play, the Light Music Club decides to bring some of Ui's food to thank them, and enter their clubroom... to see the Occult Club arranging a diorama of a cow being picked up by a UFO.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Ever present in the first episode of Season 2. Yui collects them and even has a petal on her head while the students sing the school song.
  • Childhood Friends: Yui and Nodoka. Ritsu and Mio.
  • Childish Pillow Fight: Apparently, Mugi loves them. Most likely this is part of her fascination with the details of normal middle-class life, due to being an Ojou. Similar to her fascination with fast food, part-time jobs, and hardware stores.
  • Chocolate of Romance: For Valentine's Day, Azusa thought about giving Mio some chocolate before giving a Suspiciously Specific Denial to Ui.
  • Christmas Episode: Ritsu hosts a Christmas party at Yui's house during their first year of high school.
  • Cicadian Rhythm
  • Class Trip: The girls of the band, minus Azusa, travel for one to Kyoto. Which is a tad odd, since most locations depicted in the show are actually situated in Kyoto already.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Yui is the quirkiest of the five girls, being prone to distractions and goofy behavior. Exemplified best by this exchange:
    Ritsu: "There's no doubt..."
    Mugi: "...It's got to be..."
    Yui: "Her mother!"
    Azusa: "Yui-senpai, please stop thinking..."
    • Mugi also counts, as her wealthy upbringing leads her to become fascinated with even the most mundane things, such as working at a fast food restaurant. She also once suggested that the club offer a car, a plane, a boat or a mansion to anyone who's willing to sign up (to be fair, Ritsu did say that they could suggest offering an amazing prize for joining).
    • The other girls also have shades of this at times. Examples include Azusa putting on cat-ears along with a maid-outfit because she thought the cat-ears were part of the outfit, and Sawako constantly thinking about everything not related to what the band actually needs at any given time.
  • Club President: Subverted by Ritsu being no more or less important than any of the other girls. She is not particularly driven and often needs "positive reinforcement" from Mio, whom she is more interested in dressing up in a maid outfit. Mio, on the other hand, is the most organized member of the club but since Ritsu is president, it falls to her to do all the administrativa and that almost always gets blown off for one reason or another, leaving Mio to watch and express annoyance.
    • The beginning of both the anime and manga versions have this post as one of Ritsu's goals for restarting the club. Since it's nearing dissolution she doesn't need to run for the post and can obtain it by default.
    • Azusa imagines herself as the Light Music Club's president, as she will be the only one left after the upperclassmen graduate. It's understood that she will become the new president next year.
  • Club Stub: The club in K-On starts out with NO members, since all the previous members graduated. Ritsu joins to be president of a club, so she drags in Mio, Mugi wanders by after a day, and Yui manages to show up at the end the first episode, fulfilling the membership quota to save the club.
    • Although the club isn't truly saved until episode 5 (having to deal with Yui possibly being booted out due to sub-par performance on a test and lacking a club advisor until Sawako-sensei accepts the role). Azusa ends up in a similar situation in the restart manga, as she's only able to recruit her close friends Ui and Jun at first.
    • The Occult Club appears to only have two members, somehow.
  • Coconut Superpowers: Kyoto Animation very obviously tries to avoid showing the girls playing their instruments as much as possible. Of course, the manga also avoided this as the focus was more on their antics.
  • Cold Touch Surprise: One episode has Ritsu pull this on her younger brother Satoshi to tease him. Ritsu had been subjected to this same treatment by Yui earlier in the episode.
  • Color-Coded Characters: All the girls have one (Yui's Red, Mio's Blue, Ritsu's Yellow, Mugi's Pink, Azusa's Teal, Ui's Orange, Nodoka's Light Green, and Jun's Light Blue).
    • Also, each age group has its own color on their Inside Shoes, ribbon ties and track suits; the main girls are blue, Azusa and Ui's year are red, and the first years in the second season are green.
  • Color Failure: Happens fairly frequently, especially Mio.
  • Companion Cube: Bordering on Cargo Ship at times with Yui and her guitar. She bought it because it was "cute", gives it a name (Les Paul Gitah!), sleeps with it, and even dresses it up. Her Image Song, "Gitah ni Kubittake" is pretty much a love letter to Gitah.
  • Continuity Nod: Turtle plushie that Ui won in episode 5 makes its appearance in episode 17. Can be seen with Mio when she visits Ui with other HTT members.
    • In Episode 22, the scarf Ui's wearing is the same one Yui gave her during Christmas.
    • The two women served by Mio at the Maid Cafe (S2 E18 17:17) go to the live show at the festival two episodes later and are given HTT T-shirts to wear (S2 E20 10:45).
    • The backstage passes the band received during Season 1's bonus episode (Episode 14) are still seen stuck to their instrument cases throughout Season 2.
    • The Hiragana-keychains the girls buy during their trip to Kyoto, including the "bu" keychain Yui gives Azusa, show up frequently after that point, on the girls' bags.
  • Conveniently Seated: Yui and Nadoka both sit next to the window in the last two rows in class.
  • Cooldown Hug: Yui performs one on Azusa. It works like a charm. More than once in fact.
  • Cope by Creating: Sumire realizes that playing drums relieves her from stress, which motivates her to join the light music club.
  • Corner of Woe: More like a corner of fear and denial, which Mio goes into regularly. In episode 5, Yamanaka-sensei heads into one, only to discover that Mio is already there.
    • Ritsu has hers too in episode 3 of season 2, when wishing to change instruments from drums.
  • Cosplay: Sawako has a thing for dressing up the other girls. Possibly also counts as Cosplay Otaku Girl, but Sawa hasn't shown any otaku tendencies so this area is a little gray.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: Ui's attempt to disguise herself as her sister while her sister is sick at home is outed firstly by her superior guitar playing skill and also by her use of the wrong honorifics with the other bandmates, particularly Azusa when she doesn't use Yui's personal "Azu-nyan" nickname. The others don't fully realize that it's actually Ui, until Sawako says she could tell by just looking at Ui's chest.
  • Cranial Eruption: Poor Ritsu... though most of the time it's her own fault.
    • Sawako-sensei gets one after attempting a Skinship Grope.
    • The correct term for this in Japanese, is a 'tankobu' (たんこぶ - literally 'bump' or 'swelling' on the head). It's a standard comic device for when the 'tsukkomi' (straight man, or Moe) hits the 'boke' (fool, or Larry/Curly/Shemp) for doing/saying something idiotic. If you look in S1-EP03, Ritsu even earns a stacked set of tankobu, which hilariously resemble stacked New Year mochi rice cakes.
    • Ritsu does not only receive. She once gives as well in S1-EP07, and her victim in this case was Yui.
  • Cringe Comedy: When Sawako crashes the first Christmas party and gets really drunk and depressed over being an Old Maid, all the other girls just awkwardly play along even though she's really souring the atmosphere.
  • Cross-Popping Veins (Mostly Mio, but it's seen in many of the main cast.)
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: Most of the famous musicians the band members talk about are Western rock stars. Ritsu names her biggest inspiration as a drummer as Keith Moon, of all people, although she's quick to point out that she doesn't want to imitate his offstage behavior.
  • Cultural Translation: The dub says how much Yui's guitar is worth in dollars instead of yen. "Moe-moe kyun~" is also swapped out for "The power of cute compels you~".
  • Cuteness Proximity: Azusa provokes this reaction regularly from the older club-members, but mostly Yui.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The girls from the Occult Club, despite looking like they're in some sort of cult, are actually nice people and even help the girls with their Romeo and Juliet play.
  • Date Peepers: In episode 11 of the first season, Ritsu, Mugi, and Azusa spy on Mio, Yui, and Nodoka in a cake shop. Ritsu gets a little jealous that Mio seems to be very friendly with them, and decides to crash into the latter group.
    • Again in Episode 10 of Season 2, when Sawako is meeting with someone the girls don't know, they first suspect it could be a boyfriend, and stalks her, only to find out it's just another member of the band Sawako was in during her time in the Light Music Club.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode Staying Behind focuses on Azusa, Ui and Jun.
  • Daydream Surprise: Azusa has four of these in episode 13 of season 2. Lampshaded when she asks Mugi to pinch her and near the end of the episode wondering if it was All Just a Dream.
  • Death Glare: Mugi, of all people, has one in Chapter 22.
  • Defiled Forever: After Mio's infamous pantyshot, she huddles in the corner of the music room and moans about how nobody will ever want to marry her. This comes up again and again in the manga.
  • Delayed Reaction: It's used pretty often throughout the series, and usually involves Ritsu or Yui. (Especially Yui.)
    Mugi: Mio asked me to go request some stage time for the school festival. But they denied me since the Light Music Club isn't recognized as an official club.
    Yui: Oh, I see.
    (six seconds pass)
    Yui: Huh?
    • Ui has one when she realizes Yui will be away on a school field trip overnight. She nearly breaks down in tears until Azusa offers to sleep over.
    • Also when Yui cuts her bangs a bit too much...
  • Description Cut: Used during Azusa's introduction in the manga:
    Azusa: I heard the recording of the live performance at last year's school festival. The guitarist was so awesome! I really admire her!! The level of this school's Light Music Club must be really high, right?
    [Next panel]
    Yui: How do I play a C chord again?
  • Description Porn: Episode 2x02 did nearly a full minute's background and detail on Sawako's surprisingly valuable Gibson SG guitar, explaining why the girls were basically getting 500,000 yen for free.
  • Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Most of the time, Mugi effortlessly carries her Korg Triton by herself, one of which weighs as much as a modern guided anti-tank missile with its launch tube and computer.note 
    • Possibly lampshaded during her outing with Ritsu. The latter brings the former to an arcade and tries out an arm wrestling game. Ritsu lost despite using both arms and putting her entire weight on it while Mugi effortlessly beats it literally single handedly.
    • In the first festival episode (S1 Ep.06) Mugi is shown carrying numerous heavy things past Yui, who is struggling to carry only one (an amp).
      • To be fair, even small guitar amplifiers can weigh over 10kg. It does become rather jarring when Mugi walks past Yui carrying Mio's speaker-cabinet, which should, considering the number and size of the speakers, weigh at least 40kg. And Mugi handles it as if it was made of papier-mâché.
    • Brought up again as a kind of Continuity Nod in the restarted manga. Akira, a university freshman and member of the university's own light music club ends up making Mugi cry due to something she said. In an effort to make it up to her, she lets Mugi slap her, thinking that a pampered Ojou like Mugi would probably be pretty weak. Boy was she wrong; the slap quite literally sends Akira flying across the room. And Mugi was going for a "light strike".
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: After hearing a recording of herself, Azusa apologizes for sounding so strict. Mio's also embarrassed of her voice, to a lesser degree.
  • Doppelgänger: In "Listen!!"'s credit sequence, there's a second, fairy/Ant Queen-like Mio inside the giant cake, with no indication of who and/or what she's supposed to be, complete with antennae and butterfly wings.
    • There's another Mio clone in the school; her name is Fuuko Takahashi, and she wears glasses and her jacket open
    • Another side character example: Fumie Kimura and her namayake friend here seem to look alike. Another background girl, shown in this picture shown in the same scene resembles both girls as well.
  • Do You Want to Haggle?: Pre-series, Ritsu persuaded a guy to accept a lower price for her drum set. She explains this to Mugi, who then tries it on the music store clerk to help Yui. Through grit, energy, (and being the company owner's daughter) she worked the price from $2,500 (the actual price of a real Gibson Les Paul Standard Sunburst) to $500!
    • Done again in the K-On! High School manga, when Azusa, Ui, Jun and Sumire go to look for a drum kit for the music room. By this time, the clerk is so used to giving HTT discounts that Ui just needs to let her hair down and ask politely, rather than actually haggle.
      Ui (disguised as Yui): Excuse me, but could we please get a discount on a drum kit?
      Clerk: Sure, any amount you like. I just don't care anymore...
  • Dragged by the Collar: Mio to Ritsu in episode 1 season 1, for being too aggressive in trying to recruit people
    • Tiny-little Azunyan dragging Yui crying off to study in season 2 episode 9.
    • Mio flies along behind Sawako like so much fluttery clothing when Sawako drags her out of the music room at mach speed to get changed.
      Ui: What was that?
    • And Ritsu to Mio in episode 18 season 2, when the latter refuses to practice for their school play, Romeo and Juliet.
  • Dreadful Musician: The band, at first, is quite lacking in the musical talent department.

    E to H 
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Yui passes Mugi, Ritsu, and Mio on the way to school in the first episode.
    • The Student Council President makes an unvoiced cameo appearance in episode 6, which takes place halfway through the first year. In the manga storyline, she's not introduced until the very end of the second year.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Quite literally in the case of the four original members of HTT; their love and friendship was so strong that it gave all four of them the resolve to study hard and pass the exam to Mugi's prestigious Private University as one, so Afterschool Teatime will never break up.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita:
    • The outfits of the girls in the first season ED are highly influenced by this. Even more so the outfits they wear while singing "Fuwa Fuwa Time".
    • The Goth duo at the live house.
  • Emotionless Girl: The girls of the Occult club have this as their shtick.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Mio has her own fanclub, complete with official membership cards.
  • Everybody Cries: In episode 20, knowing that this is their last school year together, the gang literally cries themselves to sleep.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: When the first episode begins, only Mio/Ritsu and Yui/Ui/Nodoka know each other.
  • Evolving Credits: Azusa is added to the opening after she joins the club. If you listen closely, you can also hear an extra guitar part added to the song.
    • This is more noticeable with you listen to the first release of the "Cagayake! Girls" OP song and the "Cagayake! Girls (5-nin version)" released a bit later. There is also a "5-nin" version of "Don't Say 'Lazy'" (though the credits themselves were not updated to include Azusa).
    • In the anime, this is most notable during the Pre-Chorus ("sukaato take ni senchi..."). After Azusa joins, one can hear some lead-playing going on behind the vocals, where there was none prior to Azusa joining.
  • Expy: Some fans have argued that Kakifly hasn't been very imaginative when creating new characters for the restarted manga: Sumire is Mugi+Mio, and Nao is Nodoka+Yui. The new University characters are existing characters with their most distinctive attribute removed: Akira is Azusa without being a Token Mini-Moe, Ayame is Ritsu without being a Tomboy, Sachi is Mio without being a Shrinking Violet, and Kana and Chiyo are Sawako and Norimi as grad students.
  • Eye Catch: The cassette and reversing cassette animation in each episode.
  • Eyelid Pull Taunt: In the second season opening titles, Ritsu does a half-hearted version, with the finger being more on her cheek than close to the eyelid. It's adapted directly from a title page in the manga.
  • Face Fault:
    • The whole audience does this in Episode 6's music-video-sort-of-thing.
    • Ritsu does an absolute beauty in Season 2, Episode 4. While running.
  • Fake Band: Only Houkago Tea Time ("Afterschool Tea Time", a.k.a. HTT) and Death Devil have released songs on CD. The voice actresses do their own singing, but music is performed by studio musicians except in the Radion CD. Other fake bands which have been mentioned in the show include Love Crysis, Kamakiri, Death Bang Bang Ji (punk), Black Frill (goth loli) and Namaha Ge.
  • Fangirl: Mio has a fair share, but most notable are Jun and Megumi, the latter being the student council president and the president of her fan club.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: In the second season ED, both Mio and Ritsu wear one glove each, Mio on the left hand and Ritsu on the right.
  • Faux Horrific: In episode 2 of Season 2, after cleaning out the closet of the music room, Mio and Azusa find out that Yui left a lot of things still and get mad at her. Yui pouts and claims that Ui would get mad and make a scary face if the latter brought more stuff home. Cue cutscene showing a "scary" Ui giving a thumbs up to Yui, after the latter had dropped other stuff she took home earlier and apologized profusely. Both Mio and Azusa wonder if Ui isn't the older, more responsible sister after all.
  • Filming for Easy Dub: Mio has a tendency of hiding her mouth behind her microphone during the end credits.
  • First-Name Basis: Pretty much applies to almost everyone, even Sawa-chan-sensei...except for Okuda-san.
  • Flanderization: In the non-canon Anthology guest strips, Ui's infatuation with her sister and Mugi's love of Girls' Love are often all there is to their respective characterization.
  • Flashback: Occasionally with Flashback... Back... Back....
  • Flipping the Bird: Yui almost does this in the Music Video that plays during their first festival performance... and then turns it into a peace sign.
  • Food and Body Comparison: At the end of the Light Music Club's first concert, Mio walks away, content that she managed to sing the song without succumbing to her shy nature, only to trip on a cable and flash everyone. While the manga shows her panties outright, the anime briefly moves down before it cuts to an image of a bowl of rice with a matching stripe pattern.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Until once Azusa Nakano joins the club. Yui is the sweet Genius Ditz, Ritsu is the tomboyish Deadpan Snarker, Mio is the shy Ms. Fanservice, and Mugi is the wealthy, kind Team Mom.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine: Yui, the ditzy Nice Girl who just wants to have fun and be happy together with her friends.
    • Choleric: Ritsu, the brash Genki Girl and nominal leader who is a bit of a bully but has a kind heart deep down and wants to make her friends happy. Sociable, lazy and a bit rude, she's actually more sanguine than choleric, but compared to the others she counts as the choleric.
    • Melancholic: Mio, The Reliable One. A kind, shy bassist and the voice of reason, but also extremely sensitive and introverted. Tends towards supine when she overcomes her shyness.
    • Phlegmatic: Mugi, The Quiet One but also a laid-back and Nice Girl like Yui, who provides as much as she can for her friends.
    • Supine: Azusa. May be younger than the others but is very well-balanced and the Only Sane Woman.
  • Foreshadowing: Sawako's driving through the marathon's course, and Ui notices "We're almost home" (S2 E15, 07:05). Later in the episode, when Yui's lost, Ui guesses where she is because they're close to her home.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Episode 2x13, take a closer look at Azusa's yakisoba when she goes down the slide.
    • For musicians, primarily, in Episode 2x2, 1 minute and 30 seconds in, when the girls are looking in the storage, one of the quick shots shows a guitar amplifier in the left side of the shot. That amplifier is a 1979 Mesa Engineering Mark IIA, an amp that is no longer in production and would be quite valuable as a collector's object today.
  • Freudian Slip: Mio, about Nodoka. Either Mio thinks that Nodoka acts too much like Yui's mom or she has mommy issues.
  • Fun T-Shirt: When Yui is hanging out at home, she almost always wear t-shirts with various words written in katakana on them, ("Honeymoon", "Champion", "Celebrity"...). Plenty are avaliable through the official TBS store.
  • Funny Terrain Cross Section: The second Ending Theme does it in a cake of all places.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Houkago Tea Time mimics the closely-knit nature of its predecessor, Death Devil, which Sawako was a member of.
    • In K-On! High School, in the final chapter, Sawako says that Azusa's new band, Wakaba Girls, is every bit as great a band as Houkago Tea Time. Azusa then goes on to announce their last song "Fuwa Fuea Time", and Sawako states that they are exactly the same as Houkago Tea Time.
  • Gilligan Cut: Episode 4 of the 2nd season has plenty of these, courtesy of poor Sawako-sensei.
    Ritsu: Take a picture with us, Sawa-chan!
    Sawako: No I won't...!
    Sawako: v(^_^)
    • Also:
      Mio: So, did you figure out how to get there?
      Ritsu: You bet I did! It's this way! Follow me!
      Ritsu: We're lost...
    • Later in that same episode, Yui asks Sawa-chan to talk with them for a few minutes. Mugi offers to sweeten the deal with some snacks, but Sawa-chan politely refuses... then in the very next scene she's eating with them and complaining that the girls are ruining her reputation as a teacher and why the other girls are referring to her as Sawa-chan as well.
    • A smaller example (S2 16 16:13):
    Azusa: We really need to practice today, really need...
    <cut to Ton-chan in a bucket, and the girls starting to wash her tank.>
  • Girlish Pigtails: Azusa has large pigtails. Also Jun from her class.
  • The Glomp:
    • Azusa is a regular recipient of this from Yui. And this is what happened seconds after she said that she wanted to join the club.
    • Azusa herself picks up the habit in the 2011 restart.
    • Everybody gets into the glomping in the second season's OP2.
    • Yui glomps the new character, Akira, after meeting her in the college K-on club.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band:
    • The band-naming session goes nowhere fast, but it does include Yui suggesting "Yui Hirasawa and Her Happy Friends" (Ritsu immediately comments on this: "Hey, are we supposed to be part of the background?"). Sawa-sensei is annoyed that the debate is delaying her tea-time and forces the band to adopt the name "Afterschool Tea Time".
    Sawako: You don't need to put that much thought into a name.
    • When Afterschool Tea Time meet Love Crysis (the band whose drummer went to junior high with Ritsu), Yui is envious of how much cooler their name is.
    • Sawako's metal band, Death Devil, has a good name and an even better logo.
    • Black Frill is an excellent name for a Gothic Lolita duo.
    • One of Mio's rejected suggestions for a band name, Pure Pure, ended up getting recycled into a song, "Pure Pure Heart".
    • On the other hand, one of Ritsu's rejected suggestions for a band name was OnNaGumi (Gang of Girls), and by a truly Contrived Coincidence, this turns out to be the name of Akira's band when they meet her in college. The other band in the college Light Music Club is called Guitar Allergy.
    • Sawako seems to have established Wakaba Girls as the name of the band formed by Azusa, Ui, Jun, Sumire and Nao. Granted, it is revealed in the final chapter that Sawako only picked that name for the sake of being able to make a pun after the School Festival Concert.
  • Gonk: A mild example of this trope, but the beady-eyed first-years in the Jazz Club and Mio's fan club are intentionally plain and generic-looking.
  • Goroawase Number: Yui bought guitar from the shop 10GIA, based on real-life JEUGIA in Kyoto.
  • Gossip Evolution: Mainly played for laughs in season 2 episode 24, where during the graduation ceremony, while Yui is holding onto the thank you card for Sawa-chan, the message, started by Mio, changes from "Miss Sawako is worried about you, Yui" to "Miss Sawako failed" by the time it reaches the end. Afterwards, it turns out that it was Ritsu who screwed up.
  • Gratuitous English
    • In episode 10, we have this exchange between Yui and Ritsu in an Imagine Spot by Azusa: "I'm flyiiiing!" "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
    • Mugi in episode 14 season 2: "Just a moment, please". Lampshaded by Ritsu, who wonders why she said it in English.
    • Ritsu herself in episode 22 season 2: "That's answer three!"
    • Ritsu again in episode 10, season 2: "I am a pen."
    • Jun's Image Song begins with the lines "I wanna be a cool bassist girl. Yes, I wish, I wish, love! Oh rainy day!"
    • After-School Tea Time's songs are full of Engrish; Mio seems to be responsible, as they're usually her songs. Sometimes the same line will occur in both languages as if for emphasis. ("We'll sing utauyo!")
    • Season two's special episode has Yui's "NO RICE - NO LIFE" line.
    • Yui's important question to ask while visiting an English speaking country.
    • The Death Devil members' stage names, presumably to sound cooler: Catherine, Christina, Jane and Della. Kawakami: the manager of the live house: wasn't in Death Devil, but is referred to by Sawako as "Janice".
    • "Don't say 'lazy'" has two. "Please don't say "You are lazy" datte honto wa crazy"
    • While The Movie has a lot of justified English since they're in London, it does include Yui shouting "Sky High!", with her explanation being that she thought it would sound cool. Ritsu's introduction at the venue is not quite as good. "I am bu-chou. We are o-kyaku-san."
      • Most impressively, Yui manages to improvise a whole new verse for "Gohan wa Okazu" ("Rice is a Side Dish") during their concert at the Japanese Culture Exhibition Festival in London. Most of which is in English.
      • In the movie, the Brits' English is surprisingly good for an anime. Then you get the ending credits, which reveals that the voice actors for those minor characters are native English speakers. Even though they occasionally lack a British accent...
    • "Minna ga daisuki enen zokkou rurara Miracle Sing Time"
  • Gratuitous French:
    • Ui's first two Image Songs contain some of these in either the lyrics or the title (Oui! Aikotoba)
    • Tokimeki Sugar has three languages in the same line of the first chorus: I'm 恋の pâtissière!
  • Gratuitous Japanese:
    • The German dub leaves all the Japanese honorifics ("-chan", "-san", "sensei" and so on) untranslated and doesn't even bother to change the order of family name and first name to what is normal in German.
    • For whatever reason, Azusa's nickname was translated in the German dub but not in the English dub.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Jun becomes quite jealous of Azusa when she starts to hear about all the fun the latter is having with the light music club, such as going to the beach to practice music (or rather goofing off), hanging out together at a music festival, and the close bonds they all have with each other.
  • Happily Married: Yui's parents.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted since while the band does slack off a lot, they also work hard. Mio is a Lead Bassist because Yui lost her voice in trying to learn to sing and play simultaneously. In that same episode, Mio had spent most of the morning practicing alone (and it stands to reason they had a good few practices in the couple days previous). Before that, Yui learned to play a good amount of chords by practicing instead of studying for her midterm exams. We also get Ui's perspective that Yui's constant and consistent "messing around with" her guitar has replaced her normal laziness by giving her something to focus on. Mugi had been playing piano since she was four, so it stands to reason that she practices on her own time. When Ritsu puts down her drumsticks for a while to try learning other instruments in S2 E3, she mentions during a moment of self-reflection that she normally practices her drums every day, and this was the first time she'd taken a break from it since she decided to be a drummer. And Azusa is probably the hardest worker of all; if anyone is pushing them to spend even more time practicing and less time drinking tea, it's usually her.
  • Hidden Buxom: Mio hiding her growing breasts with baggy clothes.
  • Holding Hands: Possibly Intertwined Fingers: Yui and Ui during the Christmas Episode.
  • Holding In Laughter:
    • During a bath scene, Ritsu ponders if she styled her hair differently, that if it would make her seem more mature. Yui partially submerges herself to hold back her laugh, but eventually laughs out loud at the thought of the "Bangs monster" changing her hair.
    • Azusa tries not to laugh at Ritsu, turning her back on her. But her cheeks puff out and there's a squeaking noise, which only succeeds in irritating Ritsu to no end.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: In one flashback to Yui's childhood, her seiyuu sings an appropriately ear-grinding song about turtles (she was only a little child). Some people thought it was cute.
    • In the band's first school festival performance, Yui has to sing the backing vocals to "Fuwa Fuwa Time" despite still being hoarse from Sawako's singing lessons. Yui's seiyuu performs her vocal parts for the song in a manner that sounds like a spectacularly off-key frog hijacked Yui's throat.
    • Apparently Azusa is during the restart manga, as she's asked to front the new Light Music Club band and finds out her singing voice is quite scratchy.
  • Honest Axe: Yui and Ritsu play this out in front of Nodoka, when they're trying to get an air conditioner.
    Ritsu: Is it the gold AC you'd like? Or is it the silver AC?
    Yui: My Lord, I just want a regular AC.
    Ritsu: How honest you are! Then I shall bestow upon you a brand new AC.
    Yui: Thank you, My Lord!
    Nodoka: What was that supposed to be?
    • The Honest Axe Story is retold in its entirety in the 4th DVD special in Season 2. We also learn that the story convinced little Yui to become a woodcutter when she grows up. She would drop cakes instead of axes...
  • Hot Teacher: Sawako. Her glasses also add a Hot Librarian element to her look.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Sachi.
  • Hypocrite: In 1x03, Ritsu (along with Mio and Mugi) has an Imagine Spot where she pictures Yui ignoring her studies in favor of rolling around on her bed and giggling at manga. Later, when they go to Yui's house to help her study, Yui diligently sits at her table and studies with Mio and Mugi while Ritsu rolls around on the bed and giggles at manga.

    I to L 
  • I Call It "Vera":
    • Yui nicknames her guitar "Gitah".
    • In the second season, Yui has taken to calling Mio's bass "Elizabeth/Erizabesu" (which Mio inadvertently does as well, to the amusement of Mugi, Ritsu, and Yui) while Azusa subconsciously considered naming her Fender Mustang "Muttan." Elizabeth's name comes from the fact that it's a bass guitar (bass sounds like "beth"). This is emphasized the clearest in the dub, where they just have Mio call it "Elizabass". Muttan is from the sound of "Mustang" without the "g" sound (the "s" sound is rather faint when she pronounced it). Gitah's origin should be rather obvious.
    • In the new manga, Akira calls her black Les Paul "Rosalie".
  • Identical Panel Gag: Happens occasionally; this is a Yonkoma after all.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title is a noun (or noun phrase) followed by an exclamation point.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: The second season has a bunch of different wipes between scenes, like [1], for example.

  • I Just Like Saying the Word: When Tsumugi gets to direct the class production of Romeo and Juliet, she keeps saying "Cut!" and making tweaks. She later admits that she just likes being able to say "cut".
  • Imagine the Audience Naked: Well, imagine the audience is Ritsu but close enough.
    • Back when Mio was in 4th grade and had to read her award-winning essay in front of the school, Ritsu tells her to imagine the audience was made up of pineapples (Ritsu's father originally gave her this advice, although Ritsu couldn't change her hairstyle to look like a potato so she used a pineapple instead).
  • Incredibly Lame Pun / Punny Name: "Only Mio fits Ro-'mio'!"
  • Informed Disability: We are repeatedly told that Houkago Tea Time is "not very good" even as late as S2 E24. You'd never know it from listening to them though. Or from the number of fans they seem to have picked up from amongst their schoolmates for that matter.
    • In S2 E24, she was talking about a specific song, which the girls may not have had enough time to rehearse.
    • One of the most frequent criticisms of the band's playing is that Ritsu is a sloppy drummer with a tendency to rush, although Akira, Ayame, and Mio all reassure her that it doesn't hurt the songs because the rest of Houkago Tea Time are able to seamlessly shift their own pace to keep up with her. Ritsu's rushing becomes an informed disability in the anime that is mentioned but never heard; the drums always keep a steady pace during the band's performances. Consequently, the rest of the band's ability to adjust on the fly is never demonstrated either.
  • Inherently Funny Words
    • Sharekoubenote .
    • Lycopene.
  • Instant Bandages: Seems to have replaced Ritsu's Cranial Eruptions by the second season.
  • Instant Fanclub: Mio gets hers right after the performance at the culture festival.
  • Invisible Parents: Played straight during the regular seasons, except for one brief shot of Yui and Ui's parents celebrating Christmas in a foreign country. Averted in the movie, where Yui and Ui's parents are seen at home briefly right before Yui goes to London with her club.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Frequently used as motivation. For example, when Yui falls asleep in the classroom [S2 E02], the girls try to wake her by saying "We've got cake for you." She looks up, doesn't see any cake, and goes right back to sleep.
  • Iyashikei
  • Japanese Delinquents: The girls appear to portray themselves as such in the No, Thank You ED, with the unbuttoned uniforms, loose ties, and spraypainting.
  • Kimodameshi: Mio and Azusa participates in one during the second Beach Episode. They stop playing when Sawako turns up out of nowhere to scare Mio half to death, leaving Ritsu alone in the woods with a wet sponge, waiting for them to show up.
  • Late for School: Yui, in the first episode. Ends up being subverted when it turns out she was actually an hour early.
    • In the final episode of Season 1 (not counting the Extra Episodes), Yui finds out that Ui brought Gitah home while Yui was sick, so Yui has to go home to retrieve Gitah, even though Sawako offered that Yui could borrow Sawako's Flying V (Yui declines, saying she can't play any other guitar than Gitah), and ends up being late for Houkago Tea Time's first concert under that name.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The Japan Exhibition in London includes a bright pink Godzilla, with the trademark roar.
  • Lens Flare: Mostly in beach shots.
  • Licensed Game - K-On! Houkago Live!!, for PSP. It's a Rhythm Game, and it Averted The Problem with Licensed Games by being developed by the company that made Project Diva. And yes, some songs are PD-level difficult.
  • Limp and Livid - Whenever Mio is about to go Krakatoa on Ritsu for screwing things up with her apathy/stupidity again.
    • Also, whenever Sawa-chan-sensei's ladylike mask cracks and turns her into "Katherine." Most notable examples include when the girls huddled together in terror as she got a jack-in-the-box-in-the-face for her Christmas present, and when she CRACKS and shows just how "Death Devil is NOT CUTE" at her friend's wedding. Also, when Azusa tries to show some initiative by starting to practice, and Sawako snaps, because she just wanted to enjoy her tea in peace.
  • Living Prop: Most of the class in the second season, most notably Tachibana Himeko, formerly "The Girl Who Sits Next To Yui"
    • One-Steve Limit: Exception: there are two girls in Class 3-2 named Toshimi.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: Subverted. Yamanaka-sensei takes Yui away for vocal training... except that they trained too hard and Yui loses her voice.
  • Lost Food Grievance: Becomes a bit of a Running Gag throughout the series, usually with characters becoming disenchanted when there aren't any sweets to eat.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Ritsu gets a love letter at one point, which distresses her highly:until it turns out to be song-lyrics written by Mio.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Episode five of season two, which focuses on the second year student trio (Ui, Azu-nyan and Jun) while the Class Trip episode (the previous one) is happening concurrently.
  • Luminescent Blush: Yui's in response to Mio's cuteness is especially endearing.
    • Sawako-sensei manages to blush through her mask during the flashback in which she confessed to a guy.
    • Numerous characters manage to blush through the hair on the back of their heads when their face is not visible because they have turned away in embarrassment.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: In spite of Mio writing lyrics about stuffed toys, food and stationery (see Sickeningly Sweet), HTT plays moderately hard pop-rock songs, often with a retro-'60s style.
    • "Pure Pure Heart" has fairly cheerful lyrics, but sounds like a sad ballad.
    • The background for "U&I" is fairly sad, and the lyrics reflect this perfectly. However, it is performed as if it was a happy-go-lucky pop song.

    M to P 
  • Magic Skirt: Outright defying physics by being suspended in the air pointing upwards sometimes.
  • Meaningful Appearance:
    • Hair decorations are pretty much a necessity since it's hard to tell Yui, Ui, and Ritsu apart from each other (aside from their bust size) without the accessories.
    • Ui has, on more than one occasion, even disguised herself as Yui, by simply changing her hairstyle.
  • Meido: Ritsu suggests dressing Mio up as one for the school festival, spawning "Moe Moe~Kyun!" She gets a bump on the head for the suggestion.
    • All five girls work at a Maid Cafe for a day to help Mio overcome her shyness.
    • When her uniform is drenched, Yui chooses that one from the club's extensive cosplay costumes collection (S2 06 08:04).
  • Medium Awareness:
    • In one strip, Sawako comments that without her glasses, Mio and Azusa look the same. "A Criticism of the Manga Artist?" is Mio’s response.
    • Likewise a Bonus Comic celebrating the anime adaptation has the characters aware that they’re in a comic. Because an anime actually has sound, Yui realizes she couldn’t skip singing like she can in the comic. And to look better for broadcast tv, Sawako puts on makeup.
  • Mini Series: Ura-On!
  • Minion Maracas: Ritsu shows Mio some pictures at the end of the first Beach Episode (S1 04). One of which happens to be rather embarrassing to Mio. Cue this trope, with Mio demanding that Ritsu delete the photos.
  • Mischievous Body Language: When Ritsu Tainaka hears that the Light Music Club is to be disbanded, she grabs Mio's shoulder from behind and has a scheming look on her face while suggesting that if there are no holdover club members, she can easily take the role of Club President for herself.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In the movie, after glimpsing Yui's attempts at writing lyrics that include a very prominent "AZUNYAN LOVE <3", Azusa begins to think there might be more to Yui's constant glomping.
  • The Movie: Released on December 3, 2011. The plot involves Hokago Tea Time going on a trip to London.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Ui says something to this effect to Sawako. Though she WAS pretending to be Yui, and Sawako DID prove that she could tell the two apart by bust size.
    • From K-On! High School, when Ui pretended to be Yui, just to mess with Azusa:
    Sawako: Oh, hello Ui-chan.
    Ui: Hello to my chest? Please don't talk to my chest...
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Ritsu initially thought Mio suggesting "Pure Pure" as a name for their band was a joke. When she found out it wasn't...
    • Evidently it isn't too big of a hangup because in season 2 the band performs a song called "Pure, Pure Heart", which was written by Mio.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: Yui forgets all the chords she learned after cramming for an exam. To be fair, she had just learned those chords.
    Yui: Don't talk to me. Everything I memorized will fall out.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: All of the recurring characters share their respective last names with members of P-Model or The Pillows.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for the episode "School Play" opens with Mio dramatically announcing her family is moving out of town because her father got a new job. In the episode proper, it's a transparently obvious lie she uses to try and get out of being the lead actress.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: When Ritsu - along with Mugi and Azusa, who she dragged along - spies on Mio and Nodoka at the cafe, they hide their faces behind menus.
  • No Antagonist: The only real source of conflict in K-ON! is the possibility of the band getting broken up, whether it's because they don't fulfill the requirements to exist as a club, or in the second season, if the girls were to go to different universities. However, they always end up doing the right things to keep themselves together, and nothing bad ever happens in this show.
    • The restarted university and high school manga show that the real conflict present throughout all of K-ON! is laziness vs. diligence. Laziness usually wins.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Ritsu, oddly enough, when she puts on airs over her test-taking skills.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Averted. Everybody loves Mio, both within the band and outside. Mio even is the only band member with her own fan club! The HTT songs also tend to have noteworthy bass lines, mixed way up front. Conversely, Mio herself attempted to enforce this by learning bass as a way to play music while simultaneously not having to be the central figure of a band (though circumstances push her out front as the band's secondary singer).
  • Nobody Poops: Partially averted: In the penultimate episode of Season 2, the four senior members of the Light Music Club tells Azusa they all have to use the restroom because "they've been drinking lots of tea" while waiting for her. The rest, thankfully, takes place offscreen.
  • No Name Given: We never find out the real names of Death Devil's drummer and bassist (who don't get any lines); the liner notes of their CD single only give their stage names, Jane and Della.
    • In-universe example with Okuda-san, at least for the first few months they've been together.
    • The two girls in the Occult Club. Officially, they've only been listed as "Occult Club member A" and "Occult Club member B".
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Despite the show literally being named "light music", which to westerners conjures up snippets of soft rock like The Carpenters, many of Houkago Teatime's songs are quite hard. A good example is the extended version of "Fuwa Fuwa Time", which features a very heavy breakdown during the bridge that Yui raps over. At times their crunchy guitar tone and hard-hitting drumming even veers into punk rock territory.
    • Likewise, during Sawako's school days they played Speed Metal, complete with GWAR-style costumes.
    • The school's annual "marathon" is really only a 5K run.
  • Noodle Incident: Nodoka told the story, that once, when Yui brought her the homework when she was ill, there was a school test of Yui within this documents. This reminded Mio on another story, which she started to tell. Ritsu got visibly embarrassed at first, but then all girls are laughing about this story. Nevertheless we don't hear the story itself.
  • Now That's Using Your Teeth!: Yamanaka-sensei, when demonstrating her old skills.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Beautifully averted in episode 11 of the second season. The girls want to have an air conditioner for their clubroom, but they have to go through the student council to get it. Ritsu prepares herself to explain why they should be given one, expecting a lot of opposition, and is surprised when the student council's answer is "Yes, sure, you can have one."
    • Heck, the only reason they have the problems they do with the student council is because Ritsu keeps forgetting to file the paperwork for them... and Nodoka ends up doing most of the paperwork for them anyway.
  • Odd Couple: The shy and fearful Mio and the energetic (and slightly Jerkass) Ritsu. They've been friends since at least elementary school, but one wonders how Mio put up with her all that time since Ritsu constantly plays on Mio's phobias and shyness.
  • Oh, Crap!: When all the girls huddled together in adorably Super-Deformed terror as Sawa-chan cops a jack-in-the-box in the face on Christmas Eve.
  • Ojou: Mugi
  • One-Gender School: The series takes place at an all-girls' high school. Yui, Ritsu, Mio and Mugi later go to a all-women's university after graduating.
  • Only Six Faces: Strangely mixed with Cast of Snowflakes, since everyone in the class look different despite having almost the same facial features (including the two girls with the '60s-manga-styled eyes).
  • Onion Tears: Happens to Yui and Ritsu in episode 10 of Season 1.
  • Orbital Shot: The opening of the second season has several around the whole band.
  • Painting the Medium: The exposition about the girls' music teacher/club sponsor is revealed to be Ritsu talking the whole time.
    • Later, Mio has an Inner Monologue, which Ritsu adds narration to. Mio tells her to stop doing that.
    • In the manga chapter where Ayame and Sachi flash back to their high school days when Akira used to be much more feminine, Ritsu repeatedly points up to the previous panel to ask "Who is this person you're talking about?"
    • In the PSP game, Mio's notes are dominated by directional buttons instead of shape buttons, since she's a left-hander.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Fittingly used by Mugi in the season 2 opening titles.
  • Parental Abandonment: None of the girls seem to deal with their parents a lot, even though they are only 15 years old at the start of the series.
  • Passing the Torch: Twice in the manga. First, at the end of the main manga, when Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi finish playing Houkago Tea Time's final School Festival concert. Then in K-On! High School, when Azusa, Ui and Jun have played their only School Festival concert together, leaving the Light Music Club in the hands of Sumire, Nao and Sawa-chan.
  • Pastimes Prove Personality: Aside from the obvious interest in music and song-writing shared by the club, the anime decided to make Mio a sports-fan for a throwaway line in addition to her reading hobby.
  • Performance Anxiety: One of Mio's many phobias is of performing on stage in front of the school, though she gradually gets more used to it. Azusa also shows this in K-On! High School, at least when it comes to singing.
  • Picture Drama: The DVD specials are of the Super-Deformed "puppet-motion" variety.
  • Pinky Swear: Ritsu and Mio, when they decided to form a band. At least, according to Ritsu...
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Almost none of their time (be it Yui's class or Ui's class) is spent practicing as a band. There's been one concert during the entire run and it was off screen.
    • Azusa even acknowledges and doesn't comprehend the fact that they don't practice when she first joins. She even attempts to start on her own only to be yelled at by Sawako for attempting to play! The rest of the episode is a clash between them attempting to do actual band things and just goofing off like they always have.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Done on "Fuwa Fuwa Time". Helps that the music background sounds close to something Nu-Metal-esque:
    But that's the biggest problem, ya see
    'Cause then I'll need to think of a topic to speak
    And it ain't gonna be natural for me
    To do that in the first place, I think
  • Playing Against Type: An in-universe example, when Mio and Ritsu are forced to play Romeo and Juliet, respectively.
    • Also out-of-universe, Satomi Sato had main roles before and after Ritsu whose character type she plays more often, as in subdued characters like Yuzuki Mikage or Manami Tamura. Likewise with her role as Shichijou Aria in Seitokai Yakuindomo, who is now a perverted Ojou.
    • Speaking of Seitokai Yakuindomo, just try comparing Shino to Mio.
  • Playing a Tree:
    • Yui is cast as "Tree G" in the girls' class production of Romeo and Juliet. Oddly enough, Yui seems to get as much stage time as the lead players.
    Azusa, counting: A, B, C, D, E, F... Do they really need that many trees?
    • When Mugi and one of the other students run off to borrow the Occult Club's Rosetta Stone replica, due to their own tombstone prop being missing, Yui takes over that student's role... as a bush. Which is labelled as "Tree H"...
    • As lampshaded in the anime: "Why is it even necessary for the trees to show their faces?"
  • Polar Bears and Penguins: Justified since it's part of an Imagine Spot by Yui and Ritsu. It also includes a mammoth.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: An in-universe use: When Yui and Azusa perform as a duo, they decide to call themselves YuiAzu.
    • The title for episode 19 of season 2 is "RomiJuri!"
  • Pose of Supplication
  • Potty Emergency: See Nobody Poops above.
  • Power Pop: Much of the music that Hokago Tea Time plays would fall under this umbrella, although they kind of sound more like The Pillows plus The Who.
    • They combine a couple of notable genres, most notably math rock.
  • Product Placement:
    • The band uses real, licensed instruments from Gibson (Yui), Fender (Azusa, Mio, and their amps), Yamaha/Zildjian (Ritsu), and Korg (Tsumugi). Yui runs her guitar through a Marshall combo at first, then later, once the band gets its name, she and Azusa both use Marshall JCM900 stacks when playing live (they stick with small combos for practicing). During the first Training Camp, Yui uses a VOX amplifier. Mugi uses a Roland amp to amplify her keyboard for concerts too. Sawako also owns an Epiphone Flying-V and at one time had a Gibson SG (which is stated to be one of the very first SGs built in the 1960s, making it ridiculously valuable). Christine from Death Devil plays a B.C. Rich Warlock through a Marshall JCM900.
    • In the movie, when they borrow a couple of amplifiers for the festival concert, they are provided with the same amplifiers they're used to: 2 Marshall JCM900s for guitars, a Fender Super Bassman for bass and a Roland Jazz Chorus for Keyboards.
    • The girls flew from Tokyo to London with Japan Airlines, with JAL Boeing 777-300ER registration JA735J clearly shown.
  • Puni Plush: Very noticeable, in some scenes more than others. Listen to Yui exclaiming "Puni! Puni!" as she squeezes Mio's callused fingers. The art style as a whole is a lot more 'squishy' with less consistency of form than most anime and while it tends to make most movements look more fluid than they really are it also leads to noticeable distortion during in-between frames. This is most noticeable with characters' fingers which are also more extensively animated than in an average anime.

    Q to T 

  • Real-Place Background: The anime's settings are based on actual locations in Kyoto. The school building is modeled after a renovated elementary school in Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture, which isn't that far from Kyoto either.
    • The meticulously researched backgrounds for Hokagou Teatimes' trip to London is astoundingly accurate, and with a few negligible differences in scale, almost identical to the actual locations in London.
    • California Doubling: However, the fact that they have to pass Mt. Fuji on the bullet train to get to Kyoto indicates that the setting is supposed to be in the Kantō region (or even Tōhoku, judging by the weather map in one episode).
  • Recurring Extra: The Occult Club. In the manga, the guitar store clerk is the same every time they go to look at instruments.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Energetic Ritsu and shy Mio.
  • Refusal of the Call: Mio really doesn't want to be Romeo for the school play, except, she doesn't have a choice. Used in conjunction with the Five Stages of Grief for the lulz.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: K-On!'s founding band performs an instrumental version of "Tsubasa wo Kudasai" in the Japanese version of the release in order to convince a prospect to join. On the US distribution, on both the US and the JP tracks, this is replaced with an instrumental version of "Aura Lea" (or "Love Me Tender," the Elvis Presley version of the song), which causes a minor continuity glitch as both language tracks refer to the "Tsubasa wo Kudasai" performance in later episodes.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The manga ends without revealing what subject Ritsu is majoring in at the university, saying only that Ayame is in the same department. The only major to be confirmed is Yui's, in education; it's safe to assume Mio is studying literature and we can guess Mugi is in business and/or music. Because of Ritsu's cooking skills, some fanfic authors assume she's studying to be a chef.
  • Right Behind Me: In season 1 episode 10, when Azusa is telling Ui what she thinks of her new friends in the light music club, she proceeds to call Ritsu irresponsible and sketchy... at which point Ritsu replies from the seat immediately behind Azusa.
    • It's actually Ritsu who asks what Azusa thinks about Ritsu, as she had been listening in on the conversation. Ritsu's ability to imitate other people and intrude into their inner monologues is a running gag in both the manga and anime.
  • Rubber Face: Sawa-chan does this to Ritsu during episode 4 of Season 2 after the latter mentions that the former is much scarier without make up on.
  • Ruder and Cruder: The US release of the manga from Yen Press includes more frequent swearing (most notably in the localization of the Kyoto dialect scene).
    Mugi: Yo, dis Kinkakuji hea... Dis bitch was all burned out an' shit way back in 1950. Da one dey gots hea is some new shit dey rebuilt afta.
  • Running Gag: In the manga, Yui's wish to be able to snap her fingers turn up at various times.
    • The statue of the school founder keeps getting new accessories.
    • (Azusa shows up with a tan) "Who are you?"
    • Mugi carrying heavy objects without any strain. Not exactly a gag, as it isn't commented on much. She did beat that arm-wrestling machine in S2-EP14 literally single-handedly.
    • Mio hitting Ritsu on the head, leaving a cartoonish lump. It's liable to be joined by a second, smaller lump on top of the first lump.
    • Barnacles.
    • Ui's resemblance to her sister is quickly becoming this.
    • Ui being the more mature sister, to the point where she's practically a surrogate parent for Yui. The rest of the Light Music Club frequently asks Yui to share her sister.
    • Nodoka saying "The Light Music Club seems like a perfect fit for you" to Yui.
    • Someone is hiding behind the club room's door, secretly watching what happens on the other side, and falls down (or is hit by the door) when the door is opened. (Examples: S2 07 04:29; S2 16 08:08; S2 22 16:39)
      • Carried over into one chapter of the restarted manga; at the start of said chapter, Yui opens her door, slamming it into the face of Akira, who was left with the rather unsavory task of waking her up. At the end of the chapter, Yui opens her door the next day and slams it into Akira and Ritsu's faces. "Some doors are more dangerous to stand in front of than others'" indeed.
    • When the band is hanging out in either the club room or Yui's house, Sawako-sensei has a tendency to appear without anyone else noticing, usually with Ritsu shouting, "Wait, when did you get here!?"
    • Sawako's fascination with making costumes for the band and trying to force Mio into said costumes, especially the more embarrassing ones.
  • Sailor Fuku: While Sakuragaoka Girls' High School use western-style blazer uniforms, some characters are shown to have worn sailor fuku when they were in middle school; Yui and Nodoka wore green ones with red scarves in middle school (and Ui wears the same one during Yui's first year of high school, since she's still in middle school at that point), while Azusa is wearing a navy blue sailor fuku in her first appearance.
  • Satellite Character: Nodoka pretty much only exists to be Yui's friend out of the club, and she only ends up becoming friends with the other girls because she knows Yui. While it's stated that she has more to do not relating to the main five girls (like her student council duties and such), it's never actually shown.
    • And Jun has even less to call her own, being solely defined around Azusa and Ui (who in the first season was somewhat of a Satellite Character herself).
  • Save Our Club: At the start of the series, the club has no members whatsoever and needs to basically be rebuilt from the ground up.
  • Say My Name:
    • Ritsu's reaction to Azusa laughing at her being cast as Juliet in the School Play: "NA-KA-NOOOO!"
    • A cute, roundabout version occurs in "Cagayake! Girls":
      Mugi: "Uuuuuu~Yui!"
      Yui: "Azusa~!"
      Azusa: "Mi-o!"
      Mio: "Riiiiitsu!"
      Ritsu: "MU! GI!!!"
  • Scenery Porn: What you get when you hire KyoAni to do a school trip episode taking place in Kyoto high school show taking place anywhere.
    • Ohoho. Wait 'til you see the movie.
  • School Festival: Three of them, all of them including concerts.
  • Schoolgirl Series: One of the defining examples of this genre that helped to establish the "cute girls doing cute things" setup, second only to the Trope Codifier Azumanga Daioh.
  • School Play: With Mio and Ritsu as Romeo and Juliet.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Invoked with Mugi; none of the other girls realize just how rich she is until she casually buys Yui a brand-new Gibson Les Paul Standard (which as of December 2014, lists for ¥313,000(about $3,000.00 US).
    • During the first two training camps, Mugi borrows a mansion for the girls to stay at from her father. The first time, it's the smallest mansion, which is still bigger than Yui's Mio's and Ritsu's houses combined, and says she wanted to borrow another one, but this was the only one available. The next year, they stay at an even bigger mansion, and the others automatically assume that's the one Mugi couldn't get the first time, only to find out there's an even bigger mansion.
    • When they go through the special training prior to the school festival in Season 2, Mugi casually states that she has been getting the tea they drink in the club room from the restaurant. In the Manga, the prices are listed as between 600 and 1100 Yen a cup, causing Ritsu to nearly choke on her tea. "You're saying we've been drinking this kind of expensive stuff all along?"
      • And then, of course, there is the tea sets themselves, imported from Europe, from the Finnish Royal Family, and stated to be worth around 100,000 Yen.
  • Senior Year Struggles: In the second season, four of five members of the light music club are now in their senior year and preparing for university entrance exams. The one junior, Azusa, worries about being left alone with the club after they all graduate. The girls decide to give it their all for their last performances.
  • Sensei-chan: Sawa-chan.
  • Series Continuity Error: In the second season, Azusa is told about Megumi Sokabe, the former Student Council President. According to the flashback, she's two years older than the main four girls, and therefore graduated when they finished their first year. However, she made a quick cameo appearance in episode 11, where she talked to the Light Music Club, which at that point in time also included Azusa...
    • Retcon: When we first see Megumi in the first season, she's wearing a green ribbon, indicating that she's one year ahead of Nodoka. However, in the flashbacks from the second season, she has a red ribbon, which means she was two years ahead. (After her class graduated, the incoming first-year class, which included Azusa, was next to use red ribbons.)
    • In season 2 episode 13 (15:05), Azusa complains that Yui still hasn't learned to read music, which is consistent with the manga, but in a scene created for the anime in season 1 episode 10, Yui was reading a score while practicing guitar in the middle of the night. Though she might have been reading guitar tab.
      • Actually, most guitar players who aren't trained in Classical or Jazz (that is, most guitarists who don't have extensive knowledge of music theory) don't know how to read sheet music even after years of playing. Reading Tab is generally considered to be a much simpler way to learn songs, since it shows what strings to play at what frets, and normally just uses classical notation to indicate the rhythm.
      • With original songs, the arranger needs to be good with guitar to make a good tab. Most chords and notes can be produced multiple ways on the guitar (for example, you can produce the lowest A using the 5th fret of the lowest string or the open 2nd string), and choosing the optimal version requires the arranger to be able to put herself into the guitarist's shoes. Instead, what's likely happening (as implied by a later episode) is that the scores are getting more complicated versus the simplistic "lead / fake book" used in Fuwa Fuwa (one melody line + chords) to include more Italian / Latin abbreviations and cross-references to earlier phrases.
    • Episode 14 of season 1 is supposed to take place before episode 12, but the backstage passes from episode 14 don't show up on the girls' gigbags until Season 2. Justified in that episode 14 was made only as a special episode after season 1 officially ended, and it would have raised more questions if the backstage passes just showed up out of nowhere.
  • Series Fauxnale: At the end of the first season, Yui reflects on how much she's grown from the person she was at the beginning of the show, and the band performs at the school festival, exclaiming "This is our Budokan!". A change from the manga, where Yui's cold results in the performance being quite bad, so as to make the last episode more satisfying. Then the second season gets announced, and the episode is pretty much handwaved.
  • Serious Business:
    • The strawberry on top of a slice of strawberry shortcake. Yui views taking the strawberry as taking the cake's crown or even its very soul, and when Tsumugi steals the strawberry from Mio's piece of cake it causes her to break down in tears.
    • Rice cakes as well.
    • In the case of Light Music itself, despite this being a series about playing in a band, this trope is subverted in that most of the time, the club doesn't really take its band practice all that seriously.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Done when Mio stumbles and bares her panties. Only in the anime, though.
  • Sexy Santa Dress: Sawako puts Yui in one during the Christmas episode. In the anime, the design is changed from a two-piece that Yui is embarrassed about to a shoulder-revealing but still more modest one-piece dress that Yui isn't ashamed to wear at all. Since Sawako is disappointed that Yui isn't embarrassed by it, she makes Mio wear it afterwards.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Yui says things like this several times.
    • "Fun things are fun."
    • "Look at these screws! They're all screws!" In fact, she meant "The whole shelf is nothing but screws".
    • "Well, I think Azunyan is Azunyan. Ricchan is Ricchan. Mio-chan is Mio-chan. Mugi-chan is Mugi-chan."
    • "Afterschool Tea Time will always, always be... after school!"
    • "Will I be an adult when I grow up?"
  • Ship Tease: See the Ho Yay page.
  • Shout-Out
    • Johannes Krauser II. from Detroit Metal City makes an appearance in one of Yui's delusions in Episode 1.
    • "Jimi Hendrix?" "Jimmy Page?" "Jeff Beck?!"
    • When Azusa plays guitar the first time images of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Kurt Cobain (all wearing Azusa's pigtails) can be seen.
    • When the music store clerk tells the history of Sawako's guitar, images of Eric Clapton, Angus Young, Tony Iommi and Pete Townshend are shown, along with a suspiciously similar versions of respective guitar riffs.
    • The Music Video that plays during the school festival concert suggests an outlaw concert like The Beatles' rooftop concert, with a little Thelma & Louise thrown in as well.
    • Speaking of the Fab Four, did anyone notice that Mio is a left-handed bass player? That sounds strangely familiar...
    • Yui hugging Azusa to calm her down has a high resemblance to Kyou's glomp on Kotomi in CLANNAD (another show by the same studio), especially with the the "good girl" part. It also occurs in the manga, which might be mere coincidence, but Kyoto Animation sure picked up on it.
    • Ritsu's attempt to make herself more noticeable onstage is called Operation Shine On You Crazy Ritchan.
    • Azusa and her tora-mimi are reminiscent of Kisa from Fruits Basket.
    • A cheeky homage to the "I'm flying!!" scene (complete with Gratuitous English) from Titanic (1997). (S1 10 08:03)
    • In episode 4, Mio is looking through a box of old club members stuff, and finds a score book of Ozzy Osbourne.
    • In one episode, it shows a clip of Sawako playing guitar with her teeth - an obvious reference to Jimi Hendrix. Outright stated in the English dub when Ritsu exclaims "She's Hendrixing!"
    • "ZA WHO." More specifically, Keith Moon, one of the reasons Ritsu took up drumming. When Ritsu mentions him in the club, Azusa asks if he's the guy who blew up his house with fireworks.
    • Yui is seen imitating Pete Townshend's windmill strumming move from time to time.
    • Sawako-sensei's white Flying V may be a shout out to The Legend of Black Heaven, where the a very similar guitar (the original Gibson version) is the signature instrument of another has-been ex-rocker, Oji "Gabriel" Tanaka.
    • The nautical cap that Mugi wears in the second ending theme is just like the one invariably worn by '70s keyboard player Daryl 'The Captain' Dragon.
    • Kamakiri, the band with the left-handed guitarist who catches Mio's attention during the outdoor music fest, might be a shout out to Donald Fagen.
    • "Oscar!" (with screenshot)
    • Less obvious, but in the third ending theme ("No, Thank You"), there's a shot where Mio puts her thumbs and index fingers together and in the gap between her hands, there's a shot of the sky. A similar hand-portal effect was used heavily in the video to "Shut Up and Let Me Go" by The Ting Tings.
    • The little frog statue in front of the club room looks an awful lot like a similar statue in Kamichu!.
    • Evidently Nodoka is a Vulcan, not the biggest surprise with her unflappable demeanor.
    • From the dub: "The power of cute compels you!"
    • When Yui fills in for Sawako in Episode 10 of season 2, her Gitah is decorated with Spikes of Villainy on the headstock and target-shaped lines across its body, ala Kerry King and Zakk Wylde.
    • In the Season 2 OVA where Nodoka and Azusa are discussing places to visit overseas, Nodoka brings up Machu Pichu. In the original, Azusa simply mispronounces it. In the dub, Azsua's first attempt to pronounce it is "My Pikachu?"
    • In the movie, when the band finishes playing the heavy metal song in the beginning, Ritsu compares it to Iron Maiden.
    • The scene transitions in "Planning Discussion" are accompanied by—of all things—the infamous Terminator 2: Judgment Day drumbeat.
    • The name of Sawako's band, Death Devil, is a reference to the thrash metal band Death Angel.
  • Shown Their Work: The instruments played by the girls are all existing models in the real world:
    • Yui plays a Heritage Cherry Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard Classic; not bad at all for a first guitar. She apparently strings it with D'Addario XL Nickel Round Wounds. And those really don't rust.
      • Judging from the packaging on the strings, both Yui and Azusa use D'Addario EXL120+ strings. This set has a string-gauge of 0.0095-0.042 inches, which would suit their sound perfectly (the only other set with the same logo-color on the packaging is the EXL140 set, with a string-gauge of 0.012-0.052 inches, which naturally sound heavier than the EXL120+).
    • Mio provides the low frequencies on a left-handed 3-Color Sunburst Fender Jazz Bass (likely Japanese) in the anime, and a Fender Precision in the manga, both four-string. The bass she swoons over in the anime is a five-string left-handed Music Man Stingray. Good taste there!
      • Mio's reaction to seeing right-handed instruments, and likewise to seeing left-handed instruments, while exaggerated, does reflect how many left-handed guitarists and bass players feel about many manufacturers mainly producing right-handed instruments, with a limited selection of left-handed models, if any.
    • Mugi's keyboard is a Korg Triton Extreme (likely the 76-key version since she mentions it in her Image Song). Its built-in valve circuit features prominently in the opening credits. In "No thank You" the second ending of the second season, she plays a Hammond organ.
    • Ritsu bangs around on what looks like a Yamaha Hipgig Rick Marotta drum kit with Zildjian cymbals.
    • Azusa made a fine choice with her Cherry-red Fender Mustang, since its short scale is a nice fit for her small hands.
    • Sawako plays an Alpine White Epiphone Flying V in the Season 1 finale, and also owns a 1964 Gibson SG Cherry, which the Club sells for for half a million Yen. The show even treats the viewers to a 1 minute long explanation as to '''why''' the guitar is worth half a million Yen.
    • The amplifiers used also exist in the real world. When practicing and during the first concerts (until Azusa joins), Yui uses a Marshall MG-series combo, Mio uses a Fender Super Bassman and Mugi uses a Roland combo (probably Jazz Chorus). After Azusa joins, Yui and Azusa both use Marshall JCM 900 amplifiers for concerts. During HTT's final concert, Mio also changes to an Ampeg bass amp instead of the Fender Super Bassman.
      • Some of the equipment that appears but never gets used also exists in the real world. For instance, the multi-amp simulator Mio fantasizes about buying in Season 2 episode 2 looks like a BOSS multi-effect unit, and in the same episode, one can see briefly see a 1979 Mesa Engineering Mark IIA tube-amplifier for guitars, which could easily fetch the band a good price if sold to the guitar store as a collector's object. The effects pedals used by some of the other bands in episode 14 also look very much like real pedals, with at least one BOSS-lookalike.
      • Played straight and averted at the same time in the movie. When playing at the Japanese Culture Exhibition Festival, HTT doesn't have their own amps, so they have to borrow some, which is common enough for fly-in gigs like this one. The amps they get, however, are not. Usually, for fly-in gigs, guitarists can be sure to get Marshall JCM 800, Fender Deluxe Reverb, Fender Twin Reverb or VOX AC 30 amps if requested, since those are the most popular guitar amps out there. So those are typically the ones a promoter or rental company will be able to provide, especially with such short notice. Instead, Yui and Azusa both get a Marshall JCM 900, which is a dual-channel version of the JCM 800 with a built-in reverb tank (that isn't quite as good as most stand-alone units). Mio playing through an Ampeg stack does make sense though, since Ampeg makes some of the most popular bass amplifiers for their style of music.
    • The other guitarist in Death Devil plays a BC Rich Warlock, a guitar that fits the band's look and sound perfectly.
    • Episode 2 in season 1 shows right away how much research they did. When Yui asks if there are any criteria for choosing a guitar, Mio provides a lengthy list of recommended things she should be aware of, such as the weight, how the neck feels, how thick the neck is, the scale-length and so on. All of the point Mio makes are actually legitimate things to keep in mind when choosing a guitar or bass, and not just for beginners either.note 
    • Season 2 Episode 3 ("Drummer!") also deserves some recognition, for being one of very few anime episodes (if not the only) ever produced to realistically deal with the topic of musical burnout. Non-musicians might think it's a bit unrealistic how quickly Ritsu gets over it, but in reality, this is exactly how quickly people usually get over it!
    • The interactions between Houkago Tea Time and various other bands (such as in the "Live House!" OVA and when Yui fills in for Sawako in Death Devil) also realistically reflect how many professional and even upcoming bands are towards each other.
      • In "Live House!", it is clear to the other bands playing that Houkago Tea Time has no experience playing outside of the school, and have every opportunity to sabotage their performance. However, they decide to be supportive instead of hostile, for what can only be assumed to be due to two reasons: 1, it's a shared bill, so if one of the five bands playing puts on a bad performance, the audience might leave, resulting in everyone after that band getting less exposure, and 2, by being friendly instead of competitive, they all expand their musical network, which can come in handy at a later time (and it does for HTT in the movie).
      • Death Devil calling in a replacement guitarist (just like HTT did in Season 1 Episode 12) to replace one of their band members is a common practice among bands, particularly if there won't be time for the event booker to find another band (or in this case, if the booker doesn't want to find another band). Even The Beatles did it when they temporarily replaced Ringo with a local drummer named Jimmie Nicol when Ringo fell ill before a tour in Australasia.
    • Special mention should also go to the animation. Whenever an instrument is played on-screen, the pitch heard at any given time is the exact same pitch one would hear if they played a real Les Paul, Mustang or J-Bass and fretted the same notes as the girls. This means that it's actually possible to learn at least some of the riffs just by watching how the girls play the songs!
      • It does become slightly jarring in Episode 2x3, when Azusa shows Ritsu a note sheet for "Fuwa Fuwa Time". The notation is actually perfectly spot-on. What makes it jarring is that the notation is for the vocal-part, not the guitar-parts.
    • Several of the random items (such as the tea sets or Mio's headphones) are also recognizable (and very expensive) real world products. Mio's headphones are the AKG K 701, for example.
  • Shrinking Violet: Mio at times, especially when spooked or embarrassed by Ritsu.
    • Curiously, Ritsu's younger brother Satoshi tends to go into hiding when the other girls visit Ritsu's home.
    • The club holds interviews from random students and faculty for their promotional video, and the student they talk to in the library appears to be this.
  • Shy Blue-Haired Girl: Azusa with her blue-black hair and her trepidation for Cosplay.
  • Sick Episode: Everyone except Mio and Mugi have one. Yui has several.
    • In the manga, there's a chapter where Yui is sick, which causes her to act more maturely than she ever has before, making everyone else wish she never gets better.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Yui has done this on at least a couple occasions, which falls right in line with her Cloudcuckoolander nature.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture: Combined with Hand Behind Head by Yui and Sawako-sensei in episode 5.
    • Sawako does it again after she spent the night before the summer festival partying instead of sleeping.
    • And again in the penultimate episode when she is complimented on her video editing skills.
  • Sleep Cute: All the girls of the band do this together after a concert.
  • Slice of Life: Music-playing aside, this show is basically about cute girls doing cute stuff. Which even gets throttled to almost Piano-like levels in the second season. Episode 13 is mostly about Azusa and her friends being bored, for instance.
  • Smashing Watermelons: Mio does this in the manga. In the anime adaption, she brings the watermelon with the same intention, but realizes that they can't spend all of their practice time goofing around on the beach.
  • Sneeze Cut: In Shuffle, the first—and so far, only—appearance of Mio and Ritsu happens when one of the new main characters mentions seeing them perform and the manga cuts away to Ritsu sneezing.
  • Sound Off: An attempt to use their own songs during a marathon fails when the songs turn out to be too fast.
  • Spice Up the Subtitles: Yen Press' official English translations of the manga tend to include slightly more swearing than is true to the original Japanese dialogue, perhaps to truly earn their older teen rating.
  • Spit Take: Satoshi's reaction to hearing that his sister is going to play Juliet.
  • Spot the Imposter: When Sawa-sensei blows the Twin Switch Ui had been pulling on them:
    Ui as Yui: I-I don't know what you're talking about!
    Azusa: Yeah? Then tell me the nickname you gave me!
    Ui: Uh... Ah... Azusa-two!
    Azusa: Ahh! She's fake!
  • Squee: Ritsu does this twice in the first episode, learning Mugi has joined her club, and first meeting "expert guitarist" Yui for the first time.
    • The whole audience watching Class 3-2's production of Romeo and Juliet squees at Ritsu and Mio performing the balcony scene.
  • Standing in the Hall: Mugi insists on being punished this way, since she considers it an essential part of a regular high school experience.
    • What's more, she actually genuinely enjoys it, as being told to stand in the hall was one of the many things she wanted to try before graduating.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Sawa-chan does this occasionally, either in the club room, or Yui's house. The girls, particularly Ritsu, are usually surprised at her sudden appearance.
    • Even on their second training camp, Sawako shows up out of nowhere, without any explanation as to how she knew where the girls would be.
    • Not even when the girls travel to London, can they avoid Sawako showing up out of nowhere.
  • Stealth Pun: Yui wears a giant chicken suit when trying to gain new members for the club, and underclassmen flee before her in terror. While "chicken" in Japanese is niwatori, the word for molester is... chikan.
    • Does that also count as a Bilingual Bonus Visual Pun?
    • Another one: The last names of the band members spell THANK, as seen in the second season's second ed.
      • In the scene where they all line up in the ED, their positions spell KNAHT from their last names, which is THANK if you read right to left, like a JDM audience.
    • Before Azusa joined as the fifth member, some fans hoped there would be a fifth member whose name started with an E, as their first name initials (Ritsu, Yui, Tsugumi, Mio) would then spell out "RYTME", a Scandinavian word meaning "Rhythm". This was firmly shot down when Azusa joined.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: See Twin Switch below.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial
    • Azusa, when Ui asks her what she was pondering about: "I wasn't thinking about Valentines or anything like that" (S2 22 01:17)
    • Sawako is quick to point out that the reason she's no longer a homeroom teacher is certainly not that the school thought she did a bad job with the last class.
  • Sweat Drop
  • Synchronous Episodes: The episode Field Trip! follows the third year class on their trip to Kyoto. The following Staying Behind! shows what the second year students were doing during the same time. A phone call between Yui and Azusa is shown from both point of views.
    • The end of the The Movie takes place at the same time as episode 24, including one movie scene which picks up practically the same moment a scene from the episode ended, and the performance for Azusa being shown from new angles.
  • Tag Team Twins: While not twins, Ui takes her older sister Yui's place in band practice when Yui catches a cold, attempting to fool the other band members. The others only realize something is wrong because Ui is much better at keeping the tempo than Yui is, and she uses the wrong nicknames. See Twin Switch below.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Most frequently Yui, though Ritsu gets in on it too during their second training camp.
  • Tamer and Chaster: The manga has some notable instances of Fanservice, but the anime greatly tones these elements down. This is especially noticeable with the costumes Sawako makes, which are subjected to Adaptational Modesty.
  • Tan Lines: Azusa tans REALLY easily, which is embarrassing for her when she goes to the pool right after spending a day in the mountains.
    • During Azusa's third year, she is hanging out with Ui and Jun, and Ui offers to apply a really powerful sunblock to Azusa. Azusa managed to go from pale to completely sunburnt while Ui is looking away for a few seconds, much to Ui's surprise.
  • Tareme Eyes / Tsurime Eyes: The art style has everyone (yes, even Yui) toggling between these two types of eyes, but it's most noticeable with Sawako, showing how wild she's currently being.
    • When Yui does an impression of Mio in the manga, she uses her fingers to physically push her eyes into the Tsurime shape for one panel.
  • Team Pet: Ton-chan, the pig-nosed turtle.
    • Azu-nyan also is treated as such by everyone but Mio when she first joins the club.
  • Team Power Walk: In each of the three endings, the girls do this, although a bit differently each time. In 'Don't Say Lazy', the four original members do it together in their (much loved, according to fan art) Goth-Lolita outfits. In 'Listen!!', the five members of Afterschool Tea Time after the addition of Azusa do this inside the cake. In 'No, Thank You!', the five girls are all present doing this amidst a field of H's and T's, although this is the only time they are not together as a group, and also the only time they are wearing school uniforms (although they've all changed by the time the chorus comes; also note that the school uniforms worn are not the uniforms of Sakuragaoka). It is possibly worth noting that in each of these cases, the girls are walking right to left.
  • Team Shot: The first opening concludes with a shot of the band members all posed together with their instruments for a couple of seconds after the music stops. Azusa was even added to the shot in midseason after she joined the club. Other team shots are used for many (though not all) of the various DVD covers for both the series and the movie. The picture at the top of this page is a V-Formation Team Shot.
  • Technician Versus Performer:
    • A veeeeery mild example between Azusa (technician) and Yui (performer). Azusa knows much more about guitars and playing technique, with years of experience, but Yui has a natural talent for most instruments and perfect pitch.
    • Houkago Tea Time and Death Devil is another example. HTT generally plays simple, catchy songs and deliver amazing performances, while Death Devil plays more technical music (Speed Metal, according to Metal Archives) and focus more on tightness as a group than actually putting on an interesting show.
  • Teru-Teru Bōzu: Yui makes a bunch of them and hangs them upside down in hopes of getting rain the next day. It doesn't work.
  • Theme Naming: Except for Sawako, every character has a name written with just one kanji.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Yui and Ui. While they are not twins since Ui is a year younger than Yui and have different hairstyles, they look very alike. In fact, Ui poses as Yui during band practice in Episode 12 of the first season when Yui has a cold. See Twin Switch below.
  • Third-Party Peacekeeper: Played with. Azusa walks into the club room to witness what looks like an argument between Ritsu and Yui about lyrics and musical styling, with Mugi seemingly trying to restore the peace. It turns out that they were all just play-acting a typical band break-up. Even Mio. Although it gave Azusa quite the scare.
  • This Is Reality: Inverted during a short joke in the Yen Press translation of the the college arc. While Yui is acting strangely for a chapter, Ritsu inspects Yui's head for lumps, thinking that she might have had a personality switch from getting hit somewhere.
    Ritsu: If this were a manga, you'd have hit your head, which caused you to change personalities...
    • In the original, Mio simply notes the absurdity of Ritsu acknowledging that she's jokingly using a manga trope (Easy Amnesia) while in the midst of seriously looking for another manga trope (Cranial Eruption).
  • Those Two Girls: The occult club.
  • Toast of Tardiness: Parodied when Yui is introduced rushing to school with toast in her mouth, only to realize she set her alarm wrong and she's an hour early to class.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ritsu and Mio. Especially in the flashback to elementary school, with brash, Shorttank Ritsu and shy, dress-wearing Mio.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The next episode previews intentionally feature snippets of dialogue that never convey what the episode is actually about. For instance, Season 2 Episode 18's preview made it look like Mio was serious about moving to Irkutsk, when it was just one of her increasingly lame excuses to get out of starring in the class play.
  • True Companions: They're very close friends and very caring of each other.
  • Tsundere: Azusa is a bit of this in the anime, but more in the manga. She usually tries to shrug off Yui's acts of affection, but she always lets up in the end.
    • Mio is a bit of a type B towards Ritsu. She's shy, and a very nice person, but Ritsu's deeds often rile her up.
  • 12-Episode Anime: The first season's main Story Arc spans twelve episodes. Episode 12 was labeled as the "finale," causing some people to think it would actually be the last one (It was, until the announcement of Season 2, which is why it was very finale-esque). There is an Episode 13 and 14, but they lie outside the story arc.
  • Twin Switch: When Yui gets sick before the concert, Ui lets her hair down and goes in her place. She fools everyone for a while, but Sawako-sensei eventually sees through her disguise as she is better "endowed" than her OLDER sister. Curiously, nobody wonders why Yui would suddenly don the red inside shoes worn by first years.
    • A similar event occurs again: Yui is shown packing things for her Kyoto trip and declaring that everything is all set... and then ties up her hair. Ui was packing for her sister, and then proceeds to wake up Yui, who is sacked in her bed. And in S2 E23, we see Ui ironing... but it's actually Yui.
    • Yui uses Ui's picture for her summer school ID card.
    • Milked for all it's worth in episode 21, where Yui is trying to decide which hairstyle to use for her yearbook picture. That includes having Ui model for her, and this being Yui, she forgets to take her hairpin back, and Ui ends up wearing it for the morning. Everyone comments how identical the sisters are once Ui lets her hair down. Bonus points when Azusa sees it, and Ui hugs her from behind saying Azu-nyan! in the cutest voice ever heard.
    • Used once again in the second chapter of the new manga, when Ui tries to convince Azusa that she was really Yui come back to check up on the club. Azusa and Jun actually start to buy it until Ui is "outed" again by Sawako-sensei in the same way as the first time (i.e. Sawa-chan noting the difference in chest sizes).
    • Also in the reboot manga, when the new Light Music Club goes to look at instruments, Ui poses as Yui, and asks the clerk if they can get a discount on a drum kit for the music room. The clerk, thinking it's really Yui, doesn't even bother trying to decline.
    Ui (as Yui): "Excuse me. Could we maybe get a discount on that drum kit?"
    Clerk: *looks at Ui* "You again? Sure... Any amount you'd like. I just don't care anymore..."
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The structure of the restarted manga, serialized across two magazines. Chapters covering Yui, Mugi, Mio and Ritsu's first year at university alternate with those about Azusa, Ui and Jun's last year at high school, and it is expected that they will be published in this order in the tankoubon.

    U to Z 
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: When not in school uniforms, the girls pretty much never wear the same clothes twice.
    • With only a single exception at the end of the second Beach Episode, where Azusa is wearing the same outfit when she met Ui at the beginning of the episode, only with a tan.
  • Unmoving Plaid: In the manga, both Mio's and Yui's pajamas are drawn like this.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: In episode 3 of the first season, Ritsu does one of these for her dramatic entrance into Yui's room, only to get a Cranial Eruption from Mio for distracting Yui's studying
  • The Unreveal: In episode 3 of the second season, Sawako's attempts to look younger "goes too far", which results in her wearing a face mask and sunglasses to school. She shows her face to Yui and Ritsu, but viewer only sees the back of her head.
  • Vacation Episode: The Movie involves Hokago Tea Time taking a trip to London.
  • Weight Woe: Mio and Mugi always have issues about their weight gain at the end of the year. Ritsu shows shades of this in the first training camp episode.
    • K-On! College hints that literally all the extra weight Mio puts on goes to her breasts. Even so, she still wants to lose weight. One of the other members of the College Light Music Club also complains that she's gained weight lately, though that's due to suddenly growing taller fast. She thinks that if she burns some calories, she will get shorter, only for Mio to inform her that that's not how it works.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: Mentioned; when the band wants to make a recruitment video for the Light Music Club, Mio is concerned that the video will have nothing to do with the club if they go with the "narrated by Ton-chan" angle.
  • Whip Pan: This funny scene.
  • Wingding Eyes: Many of the light music club members have done this, often with golden stars in their eyes.
  • With Friends Like These.../Vitriolic Best Buds - One wonders why Mio still considers Ritsu her friend, with the teasing, humiliations and blackmailing and all...
    • She gets back at Ritsu through violence. See Cranial Eruption above.
    • During her brief stint as a waitress, Mio tries pretending all the customers are her friends to overcome her shyness. Problem is, even the imaginary Yui and Ritsu irritate her.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: The main cast and most of their classmates have normal shades of black, brown or blonde hair. However, among the many unnamed first and second year students, green and blue hair colors show up more often. Nodoka's hair is also a dark bordeaux hue.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Love Crysis. A (possible misspelled) poster in The Movie even spells is "Love Crycis".
  • Yonkoma
  • Your Door Was Open: Played for laughs. Occasionally, Sawako-sensei suddenly drops in unnoticed when it should be logically impossible for someone not to realize she came in, usually when she was neither invited or informed of the get-together beforehand. Ritsu is usually the one to make a note of this, saying "Wait, when did you get here?" or "You were sitting here the entire time?!"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): K On


Ritsu's English

Ritsu attempts to speak in English, but isn't fluent and barely uses any actual English other than the few words she knows.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / IntentionalEngrishForFunny

Media sources: