Reina is still the soloist, as Kaori meekly (but wisely) concedes that Reina is more suited to the part. This shows incredible character – I was proud of her.
The final two episodes have our heroine Kumiko sorting through some difficult feelings of inadequacy – including kyoani tears and breaking into a sprint in the city while crying. Bad combination. Quite often in anime like this we see our heroines tasked with a seemingly insurmountable task only to prevail – but I must admit that the world of Euphonium has created a suitable atmosphere for the tension of competition. Indeed, it feels as though anyone, skilled as they might be, can try and still fail – there are no guarantees and no “plot cues” for deus-ex machinas. Given this, I greet every chance for Kumiko to prove herself with hesitation as nothing is guaranteed. The writers are merciless and they will waste no time to remind you.
Natsuki, Hazuki, and the others all presented Kumiko and the band members with good luck charms. The gesture was small and cute, but I found it genuinely touching – these girls must have so much else going on in their lives, but they still wanted to support their bandmates who even technically ‘defeated’ them. Such innocent and genuine gestures are rare in the real world. Thankfully in the world of fiction, we have access to unmitigated acts of touching love and companionship such as this, unfettered by selfish desires. It’s small, but it makes me smile.
So, how does our school stack up? Competition is fierce, and every tension cutting second of the performance had me sweating and on the edge of my seat. Of course, our band prevailed. Kumiko realized that she never thought of going to nationals as a serious goal prior to this moment – but with it directly in front of her, suddenly she has something to shoot for. I can relate. Often we give ourselves goals but we never actually “think” about attaining them. In this moment, Kumiko reconciled that dream with reality.
I’d personally like to thank this show for reminding me of the rigors, discipline, and companionship that I had with my fellow chorus members back in high school.
The show ended in an elegant way that many anime fail to take notice of (and, as a result, end up being over-indulgent). The competition is won, and nothing needs to be wrapped up – bravo, Hibike! Euphonium. I hope you return for another season so we can see these students take it to Nationals!