Category Archives: Hibike! Euphonium

Hibike! Euphonium – 11 – 13 (END)

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!

Hibike! Euphonium – 9 & 10

The appointed time is upon our fellow classmates – the dreaded audition. Who will prevail, and who will bitterly fall by the wayside?

Not Kumiko. It would appear as though she’s got what it takes as she (Along with a few other expected, like Midori and Asuka) makes the cut. Hazuki, on the other hand, is a bit out of luck. As a beginner though, I don’t think she should take it too personally. On that point, it would seem she hasn’t! It’s rough being in her position surrounded by capable players – that is a sure sign of emotional strength.

Midori is also feeling guilt over pushing Hazuki to confess to Shuichi, but everyone knows she was just being a good friend. Hazuki comforts her and changes her focus to Kumiko – namely, doesn’t she have feelings for Shuichi? It’s clear he does for her. Kumiko gives the first “confirmation” in my opinion that she, in fact, does have feelings for him, which I found to be quite surprising! She didn’t give any blusterings that would have given away her position prior to this – if she did, then I’m sorry for being dense.

Also, Reina is selected as the soloist over crowd favorite Kaori. Can you say “Shitstorm”? What, you can’t? Finish chewing your food first, please.

Poor Natsuki also did not make the cut, something that cut her pretty deep, although she won’t admit it. Looking sad and wistful, she is cheered up by Kumiko who exclaimed at the same time as me “You really are a nice person.” It’s the truth.

Did I mention how much I like their summer uniforms? They’re cute and, uh, “Spring”-y.

Kumiko again tried to figure Asuka out and the only thing that can be deduced is that she doesn’t personally give a shit about anyone, instead focused soley on what they contribute to the band and the performance of the school as a whole. I don’t think anything can be ascertained of her motives just yet – my guess would be some personal experience where human drama caused her or her fellow classmates to lose a competition.

As according to keikkaku, it would seem as though Taki sensei DID in fact know Reina before attending this school. Her father and Taki himself are good friends. This causes unrest within the band as rumors begin to spread that Reina was only picked as the soloist because of her “connection” to Taki and not because of the merit of her playing abilities.

Furthermore, in a bit of a twist I wasn’t expecting, Reina actually loves Taki. Like, love loves. Oooh boy. Sounds illegal, Reina.

In a bold move, Taki pronounces that there will be a second round of auditions – definitely not something I was expecting to happen. In some circumstances, it is a wise move to make – they can’t possibly complain if all the band members are judging it this time. If Reina is the better player and she wins, then nobody will be able to object. The band’s morale is important and Taki isn’t stupid – he knows this.

What happens now? Kaori has a second chance. Who do I want to win? I like them both, personally, so may the best girl win.

Hibike! Euphonium – 7 & 8

Otherwise known as the fall of Aoi and the rise of the Shuichi love triangle!

…What do you mean “who?” Shuichi is the boy that Kumiko hangs out with after school all the time to act cold towards! God, how can you forget?…Ok, so maybe he hasn’t done too much at this point. That’s ok – he plays in the band. Take my word for it!

Here, we witness Aoi doing the “high school duty” – prioritizing her studies over the extra curricular. Not an easy choice to make but ultimately one that many young people need to come to grasp with, often very early in their life. It seems that it goes deeper than a matter of prioritizing what is right – Aoi is motivated by guilt. She feels that because she was unable to stop members from quitting in the previous year, she is unfit herself to go to nationals. It seems that none can convince her otherwise, and the band moves on solemnly without her.

It would seem that Haruka is losing focus – however, she soon gets a grip on reality and returns.

And now, we’ve got love troubles everyone! Hazuki loves Shuichi, and depite the fact that I was quite convinced that Kumiko didn’t feel anything for him, it appears I was quite wrong! She seems to blush at the thought of him. In the end, Kumiko ends up snubbing Shuichi’s advances and he goes to the festival with Hazuki, only to turn her down. Hazuki is convinced to set both Shuichi and Kumiko up, although she didn’t do so without crying her eyes out. Poor thing.

Meanwhile, for whatever-the-fuck-reason, Reina decides it’s a good idea for her and Kumiko to drag their instruments to the top of a goddamn mountain and play at the top. It would seem that Reina finds Kumiko’s true, horrible personality as attractive. She states she has no desire to fit in the crowd (Is that really much of a surprise? No shit). It seems as though they’ve missed the festival entirely, instead opting for some character building! Definitely much need – things are awkward enough between the two of them.

Hibike! Euphonium – 5 & 6

The sunrise festival comes and goes – with enough success that Taki sensei is convinced that this school has what it takes to make it to nationals! Also, Hazuki learns that it’s one thing to own an instrument, but it isn’t going to clean itself!.

The Sunrise festival was a bit of a grind to prepare for – remember, in a parade, it’s not enough to play your instrument, you must also march in unison the entire time! The girls certainly seem to have found this challenging.

Of a more curious note, it would seem that Reina turned down a much more prestigious school in order to attend Kitauji. I wonder what her reason for doing so could be? I suspect that Taki is the reason – why else would she so adamantly defend him in the previous episode? Do they have some sort of history together, or is Taki just really famous? I suspect the latter based off what we know thus far.

Just because Taki deems the Kitauji band fit to make it to nationals does not mean the fight is over – rather, the fight is just simply beginning. He reveals that there will be auditions and not everyone will have a chance to play. Typically, the seniors are given priority and then everyone else falls into play, but with auditions Taki promises that truly the best players will be the ones playing. Obviously this causes some unrest within the band and everyone begins to practice their little hearts out.

Hazuki also loses heart a bit and needs some motivation. Asuka and Midori step up and manage to find funny (and sometimes creepy) ways to personify tubacabra in order for her to get her gusto back. Ultimately, the answer was to have her play with others, something that Hazuki had never had the chance to do up until this point. The episode ends on a warming note of Kumiko, Midori, and Hazuki playing “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” together.

Let the practice begin.

Hibike! Euphonium – 3 & 4

All you need to know about Hibike Euphonium is that Taki-sensei is the evil last boss, and that’s it.

Yeah, just kidding about that. He’s pretty cool. Taki’s ability to motivate the kids in a harsh way in order to prepare for the Sunrise Festival reminds me very much of some of my own coach’s, especially my swim coach. While it is understandable that this garnered him a negative reputation amongst others in the ensemble, they’ll no doubt be thanking him for it later.

Many of the band members picked out their instruments. Unsurprisingly, Kumiko is stuck with the euphonium (Which I think she likes more than she cares to admit). Midori, who is a seasoned vet, sticks with her bass “George”. Hazuki, the greenest of the three, goes with her new tuba “Tubacabura”. The endearing way in which they name their instruments reminds me of one Yui and her “Gitaa”.

There seems to be some uncomfortable tension associated with the lack of second year students in the band that the upperclassmen seem to know something about. I’m sure in due time we’ll find out what that’s all about. Could it be related to the recurring theme of “Playing for fun” or “Playing competitively”, I wonder? Kumiko and Shuichi seem to find much to discuss to one another after practice. They were discussing Taki (Not dissing him, mind you) and Reina comes out of nowhere and takes a proverbial dump on them. This only serves to further stress the estranged relationship between Reina and Kumiko even further from their middle school incident.

To be quite honest, I feel as though Kumiko is exascerbating the situation by refusing to talk to her. I doubt Reina holds her accountable for anything at all. Kumiko does eventually talk to Reina and smooth things over though, even going so far as to say that she is inspired by her. Reina playing outside the school in the third episode does come to mind – in many ways, she is inspiring.

These two have such a strange relationship.

Hibike! Euphonium – 1 & 2

Top hibikek, this show is crackers!

In all seriousness, you’re probably expecting k-on + azumanga daioh + lucky kek meets high schools girls playing brass instruments, and you’re right! We even have all our usual cast members including short haired Mugi and other moody girl who got burned for not making brass instrument nationals!

Ok, this time I’m really serious. This show is great, cute as a button, and lots of fun. Kumiko, our main star, plays the Euphonium (mostly because nobody else wanted to play it), an instrument that prior to this show I was not aware even existed. Apparently it’s a fat ass tuba instrument or some shit, I DUNNO LOL. I hope when someone mentions my blog they cite my “great” writing skills by example of that last sentence, that’ll get people to think I’m an idiot for sure! (Saves them the time of making that determination themselves!)

Kumiko, much like other high school girls in similar shows, quickly meets two friends (Hazuki and Midori, sometimes referred to as ‘Sapphire’) and ends up joining the brass ensemble through unusual circumstances. Their ensemble is run by what is undoubtedly the cutest, most attractive young lady I’ve seen in an anime in quite some time – the fact that she resembles Melissa 1:1 probably has something to do with it (Seriously, they look exactly alike). Her name is Asuka Tanaka, and she has no shortage on personality – quite the jokester, in fact. While initially the girls are off-put by her brash tendencies, they warm up to each other in no time. Oh, and Kumiko got stuck playing the Euphonium as one of her old classmates let it slip that she used to play it (And Asuka promptly jumped down her throat).

Kumiko played in the ensemble in junior high as well with her one friend Reina – with whom she had a falling out. Despite her best attempts, she is unable to approach her even with Hazuki and Sapphire’s help. We all know they’ll be great friends in the end, and given they all have one interest in common it’s only a matter of time before they complete the 3 – 5 girl ensemble a “Cute girls doing cute things” show needs. Get on it, ladies.