Yep. As of yesterday, the first DVD volume of K-On! has been released in the UK. I’m not going to review this particular edition – at this point I feel I’ve reviewed volume 1 of K-On! enough to last me for quite a while.
I will, however, point to some reviews that are already out. I don’t necessarily agree with everything they say, but that’s beside the point. Anime Picks writes:
“This first volume of K-On! is 4 episodes strong and is great value for money. You don’t come away feeling short-changed and you get a solid chunk of the series. However, by the time you’ve finished it you’ll definitely want to see more, and surely that’s the sign of a great series… right?”
UK Anime Network writes,
“In terms of Manga Entertainment's DVD treatment of these episodes, the overall quality of the release is pretty good, even if the show's animation quality will undoubtedly benefit from its eventual planned Blu-Ray release. The rabid hardcore fans may complain about a small piece of music replacement in one episode (Tsubasa wo Kudasai is switched out for Love Me Tender for whatever reason) but the gloriously catchy opening and ending themes are left intact, even if we only get a stereo Dolby Digital track against uncompressed LPCM audio, which again isn't going to faze the majority of would-be buyers.”
In other words, it seems Manga’s UK release is pretty much the same as Bandai’s US release. No surprise there. Anime Focus writes:
“The only downside to the UK release is that the series is being released in volumes rather than larger collections we have grown accustomed to in recent years, also there is a lack of a Blu-ray release, of course it’s possible these will be released at a later date.”
(And yes, a UK Blu-Ray release is planned for April 2012.) Chris Spratt, reviewing the DVD for Otaku News, is less than thrilled with the anime itself:
“In reality K-ON! doesn't seem to offer much to your average Joe shmoe anime viewer. K-ON! isn't a philosophical masterwork which challenges you to think as you watch it, it isn't an action packed extravaganza which keeps you on the edge of your seat, what K-ON is can simply be described as fluff, albeit very well made fluff as is to be expected from the veritable hit factory which Kyoto Animation has become.
This is a show which feels like it was designed by committee, which it most likely was, where every creative decision was made with the idea of how to sell more copies to fans.”
“Designed by committee”, eh? Of course it was. Just like every TV series in the world. Let's not kid ourselves. That eye-roll inducing comment aside, I can’t really hold against this guy the fact that he doesn’t like K-On!. Especially after just the first four episodes – I myself wasn’t entirely convinced by that point, either.
In any case, it seems the UK release is – as expected – just a copy of the American release, warts and all. It’d be interesting to know what the packaging and disc art is like, though. The Australian Blu-Ray, despite being identical to the US version in terms of disc content, actually had the original Yui disc art on it (like the Japanese and German discs). I’m a little curious to know if the UK disc got it as well, and the US version is truly the odd man out.