K-On! 2: There is a God…
No, this is not my cliched way to say this show rocks: I mean it literally. This show, for all intents and purposes, has a God in it. Here she is:
I was reading Ascaloth’s post when I realized: what this episode makes really clear is that Tsumugi is rich enough to arrange pretty much anything she wants, in pretty much any way she likes it.
When they go to the music store and Yui stumbles on her “instant dream guitar”, we see Mugi thinking about whether to just buy it for her. She doesn’t, so the girls go out to do their part-time work, whose quaintness and novelty Mugi enjoys the most, and then go back to the store. Tsumugi then gets an 80% discount from the clerk, who realizes she is the President’s daughter.
It’ll be hard for you to gauge how much godly power Mugi possesses until you can visualize just how rich she is. First off, let’s look at the store where they buy the guitar:
There’s a nice website with all of the “locations” in K-On! so far and where they are based on here (in Japanese, but the pictures tell the story). The manga writer Kakifly is from Kyoto, and of course Kyoto Animation is doing this show, so the Kyoto influence is supreme. Sadly, Kyoto dialect, pretty as it is, isn’t considered cool enough for anime so it’s not used! This is a travesty, as watching K-On! in Kyoto dialect would be so cool it would probably heal several diseases and end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Anyway, the original music shop on which this is based is called JEUGIA. The animators copied it in such detail that if you look at this episode ending, JEUGIA gets credited!! JEUGIA is an old and venerable Kyoto company. I’m sure the president of JEUGIA is well-off, though not ridiculously powerful. But wait!
After Mugi tells the girls she’s got the discount, she explains her connections. The English subs I have seen read something like: “This is my Dad’s company”. In fact, what she actually says, literally translated, is: “This company belongs to our conglomerate”. The word for conglomerate is keiretsu (系列), the gigantic octopi of doom that have controlled Japanese souls for decades (think Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Toyota).
If Mugi’s Dad were president of the music shop business, then she’d have simply said so. It’d be possible for her father to be president of another side branch of the conglomerate, but then the clerk wouldn’t probably have recognized her eyebrows. So all of this leads me to conclude that her Tsumugi’s is president of the conglomerate as such (these octopi always have a head = mother company).
And in real life JEUGIA is owned by the Daiei conglomerate, retail monsters that used to own one of the most successful baseball teams in Japan, and whose president used to boast that they sold everything except “opium and women”. So by analogy, we can be sure Tsumugi’s father is immensely powerful.
It’s always very dangerous to have a God in a show. How can that God resist the temptation to just take over? Even more problematic, how can the creators of the show resist the temptation to use the God to plug up holes in the plot?
The case is different in Haruhi Suzumiya, because although there we have an overflow of super-powerful factions (Organization, Tsuruya Clan, Data Entities) they are all neutralized by the whims of the self-unaware goddess Haruhi. In K-On!, Mugi holds all the power cards. We even see her trying to copy Ritsu’s first pump in this episode. What’s stopping her from hiring a couple of professional hitmen the next day, getting sweet Ritsu whacked, covering it all up, and then claiming the fist thingy as her own? This is worrisome…
Aristotle and Nietzsche both criticized the playwright Euripides for his (over)use of “Deus Ex Machina” plot resolution (intro → conflict → climax → god comes from heaven → problem solved, yay!). Then again, the Greeks believed in these gods so why ignore them? And these days there are more than a few Tsumugis running around…
This is an issue that’s going to come up again and again in the show. I think that they handled it well in this episode so hopefully they’ll continue to do so in the future…
PS: Ritsu was cool in this episode too (I hope she lives):