K-ON! is a wholesome seinen manga series that focuses on a group of high school girls who have joined a pop music club, and that continues in K-ON! Shuffle is the most recent manga in the franchise. Written and illustrated by the mangaka Kakifly, K-ON! Shuffle Volume 1 is published and localized in English by Yen Press. Stephen Paul translates the volume and features lettering by Rachel J. Pierce.
Like the other manga before it K-On! Shuffle Volume 1 follows a group of girls who want to start a band. After watching a certain teatime-loving band play at the Sakuragaoka High School Festival, Yukari is inspired to start her own with her best friend, Kaede. The only problem is, well, her school doesn’t have a Pop Music Club. Well, actually there is another problem on top of that. They don’t exactly know how to play music. When the duo uses their excitement to pull in another pair of quirky girls (a basketball player and a pop music “researcher”), all they need to do is start a club, learn how to play instruments, and well find those instruments to play too.
K-On! Shuffle Volume 1 isn’t anything but a wholesome slice of high school life that revolves around a love of music. Humorous, adventurous, and filled with joy that is necessary in tough times like today, K-On! Shuffle is a light read that continues the tradition of the main manga series that Kakifly started years ago. From each girl being the right level of endearing and curious to the way the exploration of making music (evening the most fumbling way) is illustrated, every bit of the volume works.
The way each of the girls connect to each other over their excitement for music and the way they struggle to start their band is fantastically captured. K-On! Shuffle is about friendship as much as its about music and that makes so extremely entertaining and empathetic.
Kakifly’s art is fantastic, as always. Despite being a seinen series, K-On! Shuffle never ventures into the awkward male gaze but instead manages to stay squarely in the wholesome territory without venturing into any weird spaces. In fact, it would be great to see this version of K-On! animated, just like we’ve seen before. It’s a new story that feels unique even though it’s built on the K-On! girls we’ve come to know and care about.
K-On! Shuffle Volume 1 captures a charming spark, and as the group explores music together, it becomes a story worth holding on to. The group is absolutely awkward, but happy in that awkwardness of exploring a new hobby is what makes K-On Shuffle! so much fun to read. Cute, curious, and with the right amount of confidence, this is a series that is a salve for tough times.
K-On Shuffle! Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold both digitally and physically.
K-ON! Shuffle Volume 1
K-On! Shuffle Volume 1 captures a charming spark, and as the group explores music together, it becomes a story worth holding on to.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.