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Trivia / K-On!

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Japanese Trivia and Cultural Notes

  • In the first episode of the anime, Mugi is making a big deal out of mixing her fries with those of the other two girls. In Japanese culture, sharing your food with the group is a sign that you accept the group as your own, so Mugi was both being formal and very sweet in one go.
  • The train station seen most in the series, which is the one Mugi uses for commuting, is the Shugakuin Station on the Eizan Electric Railway in Kyoto.
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  • The high school is based on an elementary school in Toyosato in the Shiga prefecture. The building was supposed to be torn down, but after protests from the local community it got renovated and opened for the public, and it now serves as a museum. It's needless to say that the building is now a very popular destination for fans of the series.
  • The Max Burger fast food restaurant frequented by the girls is based on a real-life McDonald's.
  • In episode 5 of the first season, Sawako plays her super flashy solo. However, the way she moves her arm while "speed picking" is something more akin to new guitar players; faster playing is done using mostly the fingers or the wrist, Sawako's using her arm almost exclusively. While some fast guitar players (shredders) do play fast using the elbow, the motions are much smaller than Sawako's.
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  • The place where the girls go to feed the Japanese monkeys, as seen in in episode 4 of the second season, is the Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto, situated on top of Mt. Arashiyama. It is pretty much as depicted, including the splendid view of the city.
  • The statue seen at the very end of episode 7 of the second season is based on a statue of William S. Clark, the founder of Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University), which implies that Sokabe-sempai is studying in Sapporo. Also, the full version of "Cagayake! Girls" contains the words "Girls, be ambitious", which is a reference to Clark's famous parting words to his students ("Boys, be ambitious!").
  • The festival the girls and Sawako attend in episode 12 of the second season is based on the Fuji Rock Festival, which is held annually in the Naeba Ski Resort, in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan.
  • The girls are named after former band members of the Japanese New Wave band P-Model. Yui is named after Susumu Hirasawa, Ritsu after Sadatoshi Tainaka, Mio after Katsuhiko Akiyama, Mugi after Hikaru Kotobuki, and Azusa after Teruo Nakano.
    • Their teacher, Sawako is named after Sawao Yamanaka of The Pillows.

Trope Trivia

  • Accidentally Correct Writing: A fanmade parody of Honest Trailers made for the movie (which sadly has been taken down) pokes fun at the series for being like a Disney Channel Original Series. This surprisingly is not far off considering how the show has aired on the Japanese version of the network...albeit edited down for obvious reasons.
  • Ascended Fanon: Fan speculation (NSFW site, SFW article) led to the girl sitting next to Yui in class being referred to as Himeko Tachibana. The name itself came from an official list of classmembers, but no specific character was attached to the name, and while the girl in question did have a line, she was only credited as "Classmate". The character profiles in the Season 2 DVDs confirm that she's Himeko.
  • Bonus Episode: Episode 14 was included in the first season's final Blu-ray volume. It followed the girls New Year's Eve, but with a new twist not in the manga; they performed at a local live show. After all that was done, the episode shifted back to following the manga at the end.
  • Breakthrough Hit: The anime was the directorial debut of Naoko Yamada and its success led her to become one of Kyoto Animation's top directors.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: April, 2010. The pre-orders for the yet-to-be-released DVDs of K-On second season occupied ten of the Top 13 most bought movies in Japan. And this is only after the first episode of season 2 has aired, folks. The momentum of success and die-hard fandom set by Season 1 in 2009 does not look like it will slow down any time soon, with twenty six episodes in this season altogether.
    • A movie came out in late 2011. Guess what the general reaction from the fans was...
    • It's getting worse and worse. K-On model plane, K-On video game...
    • There're also character cookies (quite horrifying when you realize you're basically eating the girls in cookie form), as well as Giitah cookies (yes, you CAN eat Yui's guitar), and other assorted snack foods. Now with pictures.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices : Satoshi, Ritsu's younger brother and the male character who appears the most, is voiced by Mika Itou who is actually female.
  • Defictionalization:
    • A cassette with the tracklist the band put together in season 2 episode 23 was released three weeks after the series ended its broadcast run.
    • Various Fun T-Shirts worn by Yui and co. have been made available through official stores.
  • Dueling Dubs: There exist two English dubs for the series:
    • The first dub was made by Animax, which is often considered So Bad, It's Good due to the main cast sounding way too old. This dub is very hard to come by, with only a few clips available online, and to date, only two cast members have been identified: Lily Truncale (Yui) and Muriel Hoffman (Ritsu and Nodoka).
    • The second dub was made by Bang Zoom! Entertainment, and is considered the better of the two since it gives the characters voices that much better suit their personalities (IE Stephanie Sheh giving Yui a sweet, innocent voice, and Shelby Lindley giving Mugi a soft, motherly tone).
    • A third dub was made by Sentai Filmworks, but it was for the second season. It doesn't really count as this trope due to the entire voice cast reprising their roles from the Bang! Zoom! dub.
  • Fake Brit: Averted in the English dub of The Movie, at least in regards to the sushi shop owner, who is voiced by Martin Billany (aka LittleKuriboh).
  • Follow-Up Failure: The anime's roaring popularity couldn't help the College and High School spinoffs from being canceled after one volume each.
  • I Knew It!: Because the final bonus episode had the girls getting their passport pictures taken, fans predicted that the film would be about the girls going on a trip to another country. ...guess what!
  • Image Source:
  • The Merch: From shirts to ties to guitar covers to Image CDs to replica guitars and hilariously overpriced rice. It's safe to assume it won't be going away for a while.
  • Name's the Same: Stephanie Sheh seems to have an affinity for characters named Yui.
  • Network to the Rescue: After Bandai Entertainment was shut down in 2012, Sentai Filmworks licensed the second season, releasing it in two 13-episode sets instead of separate volumes, and including the same English dub cast, to boot.
  • Out of Holiday Episode: The Christmas episode of season 1 first aired in Japan in May 2009.
  • Playing Against Type, though both retroactively according to the characters they would voice after K-On:
    • Although Mio is the role that earned Yōko Hikasa her fame and popularity, most of the characters she play are usually actual Aloof Dark Haired Girls or have the personality of one.
    • Ritsu's seiyuu tends to mostly plays sweet and demure females compared to the boisterous tomboy that is Ritsu.
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends: In 2011, rumors circulated that Disney Channel was going to air the English dub of K-On!, but with several edits such as removing all swears, eliminating Mugi's Shipping Goggles, toning down Megumi's stalker behavior towards Mio, and replacing the cake and tea with McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Of course, this never happened, though K-On! has actually aired on Disney Channel's Japanese feed in edited form (exactly what was edited is unknown).
  • Postscript Season: The relaunched University and High School manga, which were both cancelled after one volume each.
  • The Red Stapler:
    • Thanks in part to the anime’s popularity, sales of the instruments that the main characters use shot up in Japan in the time following the first season. This surge was somewhat helped by shops using the show's imagery. Some anime merchandisers even released models adopting the show’s imprint themselves, notably during the anime’s fifth anniversary in 2014.
      • Sales of Yui's Heritage Cherry Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard experienced a rise in sales in Japan in the following months. But since its authentic models are a lot more expensive, Les Paul ''clones'' were also sold everywhere.
      • Sales of Fender Mustang guitars had also risen through the same effect, particularly the Candy Apple Red models that Azusa uses in the show. Even Mio’s Fender JB-62 left-hand model bass guitar had experienced a similar boom. In spite of these models being rare, as its right-hand models are far more common, the anime was credited for boosting the former model’s sales by up to 800%.
    • Houkago Tea Time's trip to England in The Movie has promoted London to a beloved pilgrimage site for anime fans, following the footsteps of the heroines to beloved landmarks such as Big Ben, the London Eye, the Troubabour Cafe in Brompton where they enjoyed a lovely breakfast of eggs benedict (and where The Beatles and Bob Dylan both once performed), 221B Baker Street of Sherlock Holmes fame, and of course, Abbey Road where The Beatles crossed for the eponymous album.
  • Relationship Voice Actor:
  • Sleeper Hit : The original Yonkoma was virtually unknown before being turned into an anime.
  • Star-Making Role: The main characters of K-On! were this to all of their Japanese VAs, and some of their English VAs as well. Furthermore, all the five Japanese VAs would launch their solo music careers shortly after K-On! with varying success. Ayana Taketatsu would arguably garner the most success here, while Aki Toyosaki and Minako Kotobuki took off from their time with their idol group Sphere.
    • Yui to Aki Toyosaki. Though Toyosaki seems to have avoided the typecasting that typically comes with successful roles. Presently, she has a tendency of taking perverted and sultry seductresses who are nowhere as sweet and innocent as Yui is. Not the case with Yui's English VA, Stephanie Sheh, who had already made her mark as Orihime and Mikuru.
    • Ritsu to Satomi Sato and Cassandra Lee Morris. Interestingly, although Ritsu is one of Satou's most famous roles, a lot of the characters she voiced before and since are quiet and demure, directly against Ritsu's type. Most notable of these roles is Eru Chitanda from Hyouka.
    • Mio to Yōko Hikasa. The creepiest part is the resulting roles seem to all have that hair. On the other hand, much of the characters she voiced since aren't exactly the shy type like Mio. Just like Sheh's case with Yui, her English actress Cristina Valenzuela was also established by this point.
    • Mugi to Minako Kotobuki and Shelby Lindley. Kotobuki, in particular, has recently become the go-to-girl for Ojou characters, though these characters tend to be more domineering, bitchy, and substantially less nice and innocent than Mugi.
    • Azusa to Ayana Taketatsu and Christine Marie Cabanos. It is worth noting that Azusa was Taketatsu's first major role, debuting in the year of K-On!'s premiere, and with one OVA episode under her belt.
  • Technology Marches On :
    • A cassette recorder is used to record the band's complete song list, of all things.
    • Apparently, Ritsu carries around Polaroids of pan pastries at all times just to make a bad pun. The show narrowly missed the smartphone revolution, which would've allowed her to access thousands of weird, random pictures with the tap of a screen. Google Maps would've stopped them from getting lost in Kyoto, too (then again, even with a map, Ritsu got them all lost).
  • The Danza: Mugi's voice actress is named Kotobuki, too, although her name is written with different kanji.
  • The Wiki Rule: The K-ON! Wiki.