K-On! Manga Too Extreme for TV

K-On!! episode 8 kind of disappointed me.

Before anyone knew that there would be  second season, I was reading K-On! manga. In one chapter, Yui is having trouble deciding her possible career path, and everyone else gives some idea of where they’re headed after high school. This includes Mugi, whose response clearly contains an underlying meaning.

If it wasn’t obvious before (and it was pretty obvious), Kotobuki Tsumugi plays for the other team. Not only that, but the sharper girls picked up on it long ago. She’s a lesbian, and others know she’s a lesbian. I laughed pretty hard when I first saw this, and it’s still one of my favorite moments from the manga.

So of course I was looking forward to this very scene in full color and animation once K-On!! was announced. And right when I realized episode 8 would be the episode, I sat there, waiting for the gag to hit.  I waited, and waited, and then… they removed it entirely?!

The only reference to it is that Mugi mentions going to an all-women university, but then it completely bypasses the setup and goes into some thing about the difficulty of the school she’s applying to.

Adapting a 4-koma manga into a full half-hour TV show requires adding extra material, but what gives? Did the K-On! manga cross some line that was unacceptable for Kyoto Animation? Are they worried that it damages Mugi’s image in some way? They animated a scene hinting at Mugi’s preferences in season 1, but in a situation where it’s made almost explicit, they shrink back in fear? Could it be that they think having her so clearly in the other camp might alienate some of her more devoted fans? Or perhaps their vision of Mugi doesn’t line up with the original author’s. It’s almost as is Kyoto Animation saw this and went, “Whoa! Too far! Are you trying to break the illusion?”

Maybe it’s the fact that it pretty much reveals Mugi as a lesbian lesbian, who likes girls, as opposed to just the one girl as you so often see in yuri material (especially yuri material written for guys). There, like in yaoi, the love seems to go “beyond” gender, but with Mugi that’s just how she is. So then I have to wonder if the problem is that it’s just too much to just outright state her sexual orientation in that manner.

Hopefully I’m wrong and they’re just saving the gag for another time. In that case I apologize for ruining the joke for people.

Oh and if you’re wondering, no, Mugi is not my favorite member of the band. I’m on Team Ritsu. But actually my favorite character is probably Nodoka.

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13 thoughts on “K-On! Manga Too Extreme for TV

  1. In fairness, I actually got the joke without having read that particular chapter of the manga – It almost didn’t need the “punchline” because Mugi’s tendencies have pretty obvious from the start, even in the anime.

    I suppose it is surprising that KyoAni didn’t explicitly provide Ritsu and Mio’s response, particularly as they haven’t exactly covered up or otherwise removed Mugi’s sexuality previously (particularly in the first season as you mentioned). Would be fascinating to know what was behind the decision on this point though – Did they remove it for fear of fan backlash? Seems unlikely, as long as she’s a virgin lesbian of course…

    Oh, and go Team Ritsu!!!

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  2. Where is mah Mugivision?

    It’s quite disappointing, but the anime itself has alot of Les Yay moments already without it. Then again, my guessing is that Kyoani doesn’t want to make it a full blown, Class S yuri anime.

    Although I have no real peference, I have a peference for Azusa and Ui.

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  3. Now that you mention it, I do remember them hinting at Mugi’s potential lesbianism in S1, but given how they’ve completely ignored it after that, I forgot.

    I suspect it’s as you say–there’s probably a camp of viewers who really like Mugi, and they don’t want to ruin the dream. I don’t really mind either way.

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  4. I don’t think that the manga explicitly states that Mugi is a lesbian. The strip you quoted only presents the thoughts of Mio and Ritsu, not a direct confirmation from Mugi’s mouth. You can still see her as a “yuri fan”, not necessarily a lesbian herself.
    That said, I am completely ok with Mugi-chan “playing for the other team” and I love her. But I think KyoAni wants to keep it safe.
    I am looking forward to her date with Ritsu, when she asks Ricchan to hit her and Ricchan thinks she is also a maso. ^_^;

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  5. I think it’s because this second season Kyoani overall, has been trying to market K-ON towards a more mainstream audience. Hence the earlier broadcast time, the direction has a heavier emphasis on school life, and the character designs resort less to those ‘blobbiness’ we see in season one. And as a result, we get less cosplay from the characters, and most of Mugi’s ‘powers’ are gone. In episode 6 her reading Azusa’s mind when she named her guitar was subverted by Mugi claiming Azusa was thinking out loud. Nine episodes into the season and not one evident ‘Mugivision’. But personally I think it’s great that the essence of Mugi’s character is still there, that she has a personality beyond those risque imaginations.

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