Yuru Yuri is one of the best post-apocalyptic black comedies of recent memory. It's startling how such a bleak and unforgiving situation is afforded fleeting levity by a group of school girls who seem content to ignore such a bad situation.
Hironori Toba, producer of Angel Beats, said in an interview prior to its premiere that thirteen episodes wasn't enough to tell the story Jun Maeda had envisioned. He was lying. Somewhere between the baseball episode and the protracted and overblown ending it becomes apparent the series doesn't know what it's doing beyond trying to force the audience to feel something for its tepid and underdeveloped cast. Trapped beneath a script which oscillates from terrible to appalling and a story with more holes and useless caveats than development is some mediocre commentary and a smattering of interesting ideas. It is saddening such high production values are wasted on a show that with some tightening and tweaking could have been immeasurably better.
The most innocuous of episodes and off-the-cuff remarks can lead to the most fascinating of rabbit holes. In this case, Sawako of K-On!! and why despite all of her obvious positive attributes, is unable to find a boyfriend and get married. It would seem she has everything going for her: looks, demeanour, intelligence and drive but it's only when scratching beneath the surface that it becomes apparent how much is aligned against her happiness.
The obvious remarks on this: she's fictional and the chances of finding a compatible partner are always slim. The former means that her status of being single is part of the character written for her, however as with other elements in anime, it is reflective of deeper social issues.
K-On!! is not the harbinger of doom that so many make it out to be. For a show about the twee shenanigans of five high school girls and their band, it certainly is divisive. The first three episodes of the second series however do not highlight why; sure the opening sounds like it was dragged from the circle of hell reserved for naughty bagpipes and a lot of the animation work is demonstrative of a company with enough cash to be extravagant, but it's the fervour of the audience on both sides that likely bifurcates one's opinion more than anything. Despite the nagging question of its purpose, the series' the opening episodes prove an entertaining, sporadically cringe inducing saunter through a world without raunchiness, without violence but with plenty of sunshine and smiles.
Picking up where the first season left off, the majority of the girls in the Light Music Club have now entered their final year of high-school and are dealing with the trials of schoolwork and attempting the get their band, Afternoon Tea Time, off the ground. The first piece of trouble comes from the realisation that after the end of the year, only Azusa will be left - a mad and ultimately fruitless scramble for new members ensues. The cleaning out of the music room cupboard reveals a hidden treasure in the form of their homeroom teacher's guitar. Lastly, peppy drummer Ritsu has a rare crisis regarding her instrument choice, saying that her position at the back of the band keeps her from the spotlight. Her trial run of different instruments ends much as Mio predicted, but does lead to a new song from keyboardist Tsumugi.