Fuwa Fuwa Time is a song whose strong introduction and many repeat performances made it THE song of an incredible anime.

K-On!, the anime featuring this song, is perhaps the ultimate combination of Comedy, Slice of Life and Iyashikei (calming shows with very little drama). It stars five high school girls who join together to continue their school’s light music club… but really all they do is goof off, drink tea, eat cake, go on shopping trips, and maybe every once in a while they actually even play some music.

Somehow, what should be a show that gets dropped because nothing is happening slowly builds and builds until you’ve fallen in love with the smallest character quirks and most mundane happenings. This is a show where, by the end of the first season, a simple look down a familiar empty staircase can evoke feelings nearly as strong as the most dramatic anime around. And not because something dramatic happened. Just because that staircase is the one these characters you’ve come to love use to get to their music room where most of their antics take place.

“Fuwa Fuwa Time” is a song that comes in several different flavors. The original version of the song saw the K-On! girls switch who sang vocals because of silly happenings that left one of them with a blown out scratchy voice. Later versions switched back to the original vocalist for other silly reasons. While still later versions added another club member with a new instrument. The version I’ve chosen is actually one of the last played since it appears over the end credits of the K-On! Movie that released after the tv series. All the versions start off with an instantly recognizable guitar riff that flows into keyboard and drums that support upbeat sing song lyrics. The song is about finding the courage to express yourself to someone you secretly admire. But, really, it could be about anything. The sound of it is just so instantly catchy.

I featured the movie version of “Fuwa Fuwa Time” partially because I like the more airy, stereo separated feel of its opening, and partially because I like the way it switches lead singers back and forth between verses.

One of the reasons I think of Fuwa Fuwa Time as THE song of K-On! Is, oddly enough, because we almost never hear all of it. Instead, the show frequently features the song’s intro or outro as a way to signify the start or end of a concert or a performance without having to play and animate the entire thing. I bet the entire song is played beginning to end less than five times throughout the show’s run. But we hear pieces of it so often that I can’t hear even the first few guitar cords without immediately picturing the anime. It’s that ingrained in my mind.

Speaking of the animation, though, this song is one of the first in a line of K-On! songs to feature totally unexpected music videos. Who would expect a song about a secret admirer struggling to express hidden love would be represented by… a peace-loving outlaw hippy band performing concerts and running from both the police and the military in their 1950’s Cadillac?!

K-On! has many fantastic songs. Some are more closely related to its characters or what passes for the anime’s goofy, minimal plot. There’s one or two that probably generate stronger feelings of friendship or love, like a song about one character’s beloved sister or the group’s most treasured friend. But if you want me instantly thinking of K-On… just play me the first second or two of “Fuwa Fuwa Time” and you’ll have me nostalgic for one of anime’s most landmark shows.

Finally, as I often do, I look for a great english cover of the anime songs I love. This version by GS 1.0 hits it out of the park with full cosplay and just a great energy about the whole thing!