0 Items | £0.00


K-On! The Movie holidays abroad

Thursday 31st October 2013

Daniel Robson travels the Japanese way K-On! The MovieClearly the team at Kyoto Animation had a nice long holiday to Britain in preparation for K-On! The Movie. In the film, our heroines take a trip to London to celebrate their graduation, and locations from Camden Town to Denmark Street to Abbey Road are reproduced in impressive detail. The girls even take in Earl's Court, Sherlock Holmes' gaff on Baker Street, Borough food market and dozens of other spots, all instantly recognisable to anyone born and bred in London. After seven years in Tokyo I don't get homesick much, but K-On! The Movie had me pining for proper tea, service with a frown and fights outside pubs. Aaah, London.

But while the locations are surprisingly authentic, for most Japanese people an itinerary like that is as fantastical as a trip to Mars. When Cliff Richard sang "Everybody gets a summer holiday," clearly he had never visited Japan. Although the legal minimum vacation allowance is 10 days a year, peer pressure prevents many people from actually taking it (or even going home at home time. What do you mean you're not doing overtime?). Things are getting better, but long-haul flights are out for most people, and Japan's diverse landscape and super-fast bullet trains make it easier to holiday domestically – only 24% of Japanese citizens have a passport, which is even less than America (30%).

People do go to London, of course – and Britain is Japan's most popular holiday destination! Well, after Hawaii, Guam, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, France, Italy, Singapore and, uh, Poland. In the movie, the girls pick up only a few words of English, and go to eat sushi. This is typical in my experience of Japanese abroad. I remember taking the in-laws sightseeing on a trip to London; the first thing we did was visit the local Japanese supermarket so they could stock up on instant noodles for their hotel room.

For dinner I'd got us a table at a nice local pub for traditional British fare, but they decided the Japanese restaurant across the street seemed safer – and then they spent the rest of the night complaining about how bad the sushi was.

To be fair, it's difficult for the Japanese visitor abroad to know what's what. Japan is a mostly homogenous nation where over 97% of the population are Japanese. There's not much opportunity outside of big cities like Tokyo and Osaka to mix in a natural way with foreigners. Ethnic restaurants tailor their recipes to suit Japanese taste, and the media's representation of the outside world is warped beyond recognition.

K-On! The MovieSo how do you find out where to go when you go overseas? How about a guide book? These can be hit and miss. Sometimes you can tell that the author has put in some time pounding the pavements of Britain to present the very best sightseeing spots and eating experiences. Other times they're quite clearly just taking the piss. I met a guy who'd eaten at an Angus Steakhouse after a guide book recommended it. See what I mean?

When you're on a break just a few days long, it is tempting to rely on the books or the tour guides. HIS, Japan's largest chain of travel agencies, offers holidays so packaged you could fit them into a bento box. Once when I visited Thailand I was offered a discount from the cheery HIS staffer if I took a tour of Bangkok – it was cheaper to use a tour guide than not to. Another time I visited Seoul with a friend who insisted on choosing all our meals out of a guide book, as we traipsed past gorgeous-looking Korean restaurants in search of the place where all the staff speak Japanese and serve up food just the way Japanese tourists like it.

I'm lucky enough to work for a company that's used to us pushy foreigners taking long holidays to visit our folks back home once a year or so. And even on an extended break of a few weeks, I think the itinerary in K-On! The Movie might kill me. It's nice to view it as most Japanese fans probably do, though – a fantasy armchair vacation through the streets of London.

K-on the Movie is out now in the UK from Manga Entertainment.

Buy it now


K-on! The Movie

was £19.99
A London Adventure Awaits!
Graduation time is finally here, but the girls of the Sakuragaoka Girl's High Light Music Club aren't going to let the end of high school be the end of all they've built together. First though, they have to keep a promise to take a trip together, and like everything else they do, they're not doing it halfway. So it's time to hop on the bus - the double-decker bus that is - and go around the world as the band heads for the birthplace of the British Invasion: the United Kingdom!
On the way they're going to have to solve that one last big puzzle that's been vexing them: what to get for their underclassman rhythm guitarist Azusa, who will be taking over the club once they don their caps and gowns and leave Sakuragaoka for the last time. Get ready for a Magical Musical Tour as the whole gang takes in the sights and sounds of London and prepares for one last amazing encore!
Deluxe 2-disc edition includes bonus Oyster Card Holder exclusive to the UK and a bonus features disc that contains:
Interviews, K-On's Anniversary, 1-2-3 K-ON! Live Event, K-On in London, Trailer and Teaser collection



K-On! Forever Young

Helen McCarthy grabs the mic for K-On!
We grew up with them: Garth, Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes. The comic strip has a long history. Four-panel strips have been around in Japan since at least the early 1900s. Classic comics like Sazae-san and modern hits like Axis Powers Hetalia all started as four-panel strips, and K-On! grew out of the same tradition.

Nichijo anime and K-on!

Rayna Denison on K-on! and the rise of the nichijo anime
The best thing about K-on! is undeniably the music, from the (cloyingly?) cute opening credits to the gothic-lolita inspired visuals of the closing sequence, whenever the Sakuragaoka Light Music Club performs, there is fun to be had in this series. Moreover, the show’s burgeoning obsession with dressing its female leads in costumes that shade from schoolgirl uniforms into maid costumes, provides a variety of copy-able cosplay get-ups likely to feature soon at a convention near you (if you haven’t seen them there already). By these various means, K-on! carefully walks the line between exploitation and a rather sweet self-empowerment-through-music storyline.

K-on! the Movie

Hugh David can’t find his hotel and he’s carrying a guitar…
K-On!, the TV series, adapting the manga about high-school girls forming a rock band at school, has after two seasons on TV spun off into a theatrical feature. A tradition of the TV business internationally, the subject matter is also a typical spin-off tradition: taking the main characters abroad for fish-out-of-water hijinks (see The Inbetweeners for another recent example). Where The InBetweeners has been a raucous success in the U.K. for showing accurately just how vile and stupid teenage boys really are however, K-On! has broken new ground in Japan by being a female-fronted series with considerable behind-the-scenes female talent, who are making a show that eschews fan-service in favour of greater realism, and this has continued with the movie.


Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira then and now

Helen McCarthy examines Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark Akira, then and now
1988 in Japan: Yamaha Motors won the J-League but Nissan won the Cup. Western pop divas Bananarama, Kylie and Tiffany were on TV. Japanese real estate values climbed so high that the Imperial Palace garden was worth more than the State of California, and Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward had a higher market value than Canada. The Government signed the FIRST Basel Accord, triggering a crash that wiped out half Japan’s stock market. Katsuhiro Omoto’s movie Akira premiered on 16th July.

Valentine's Day in Japan

Daniel Robson pigs out, Japanese-style
I can’t help but think Japan has Valentine’s Day the right way round. And that’s because – miracle of miracles! – in Japan it’s the girls who have to give the boys chocolate.

Dragon Ball UK DVD Release Details

Clarification of a few details
Since our announcement we have had it confirmed by TOEI Animation (The Licensor) that the masters being used for our release will be those used in Australia by Madman Entertainment. At the time of our announcement this had not been confirmed to us.
Japan, the mecca of all things anime, have taken it upon themselves to create a popcorn bucket out of Eva Unit-01's head!

Bleach music: SID

Tom Smith on the band behind Bleach’s 14th Opening Theme
"The song is based on the singer’s own experiences of forming a band and the hardships endured while keeping the faith for a brighter future, with lyrics just vague enough that they could easily represent the struggles of Ichigo and pals, too."
Animatsu Entertainment is proud to announce that the highly anticipated live-action feature Attack on Titan: Part 1 will be released in UK cinemas from 1st December.

Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2014

Jasper Sharp gets down with the kids
The Japan Foundation’s annual touring film programme is back for another year, and kicking off at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts at the end of the month. Now in its tenth iteration, the season offers audiences across the UK an insight into Japan and its cinema by way of a wide-ranging and accessible selection of titles assembled under a certain theme. This year, that theme is youth, with the eleven-film ‘East Side Stories: Japanese Cinema Depicting the Lives of Youth’ programme travelling to eight venues across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 31 January to 27 March.

Hideaki Anno Interview

Evangelion's director on Gerry Anderson, fandom and his latest project
This is not the Anno you may have read about, the one portrayed as an awkward, gangly, neurotic geek. Maybe Anno was like that once, but the cream-suited director we meet is sleek and authoritative, composed and confident, quite at ease talking to foreign hacks like us. He doesn’t adjust his glasses intimidatingly, but it still feels like the onetime Shinji has quietly metamorphed into his father Gendo.
Contact Us   |   Refund Policy   |   Delivery Times   |   Privacy statement   |   Terms & Conditions
Please note your card statement will show billing by MVM. K-On! The Movie holidays abroad from the UK's best Anime Blog.