K-On and On and On!!

In college, a teacher gave me some good advice on animation. He was a 3-D animation teacher, and he knew full well how time-consuming it could be, and how rewarding it was to make something really impressive. His advice, however, was a message of artistic prudence. I don’t remember the exact words, but the message was basically, “Don’t get so attached to a bit of strong animation that you reuse it to excess.” I was reminded of his words while watching K-On!! (the second season of K-On!).

In the new opening, there’s a very distinct part where the camera pans around the five girls of Houkago Tea Time, and it’s really some impressive animation, especially because while the background of the clubroom is 2-D, the girls themselves are still animated in 2-D, and overall it looks pretty natural.

So it looks really nice. But then they use the effect again. And then a third time. At that point, I think it’s just excess.

The opening for the first season also had something similar, a shot where all the girls are playing together that gets reused about three times total. However, in my opinion the recycling isn’t as jarring for a number of reasons. First, it doesn’t have that three-dimensional rotation effect going on like the new opening, where that piece is so different from the rest of the opening that you notice it immediately. The shot in K-On!! sticks out like a really nice-looking sore thumb, and it becomes all the more obvious when they use it another two times. Second, the first opening changes the background between usages of the stock animation, and while this can be seen as simply being lazy, the change in scenery makes the reuse more comfortable to the viewer.

If they really, really wanted to use the revolving camera effect that much, I think a good solution would have been to put more camera movement in the scenes right before that animation to ease the transition into it.

Not that Kyoto Animation is reading this blog, of course.

6 thoughts on “K-On and On and On!!

  1. The re-use of the 360 shot bugged me too. I about dropped my jaw the first time they did it, but repeating it twice over is… heck, doing it 0 times would have been preferable to 3… maybe. Hardly a big deal, but like you said, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

    I never even noticed any shots re-used for the first seasons OP… I’ll have to go back later and check that out. Nice catch then.


  2. I thought it was strange as well. But when you think about it in the context of a music video (which this intro seems like it’s trying to emulate to an extent), they play the 360 shot when they sing the chorus, and they’re basically just switching back to the same shot when the chorus repeats.

    In a live action music video, if they want to repeat the same shot, but synch it to the exact movements of a real live performer, they’d probably just replicate the same shot instead of reusing footage (which wouldn’t take too much extra resources, especially if planned correctly). In animation, though, since the fingers/lips/etc. aren’t a photorealistic representation of what’s being sung/played anyways, I guess they figured it would be practical to just re-use the footage.

    Either way, that 360 shot has been done before in other anime openings (but none have ever been as cute as this one).


  3. >> So it looks really nice. But then they use the effect again. And then a third time. At that point, I think it’s just excess.

    This. Even if there are variations, it’s too quick, too fast!


  4. Pingback: Hah! It Was Only a Dream… « OGIUE MANIAX

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