Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 01

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Ah, no more messing around. Here comes a properly good Autumn hump day show that immerses you in its gloriously naturalistic and precise world. Granted, I was pre-immersed last year, but it takes no time at all in this sprawling-yet-measured 47-minute season premiere to fall back under the spell of Sound!

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Oumae Kumiko and Kousaka Reina have never been closer, literally or figuratively. Perhaps it’s a factor of Reina being satisfying with their level of success: they placed first in Kyoto and are representatives at the Kansai competition, the next step to the Nationals she dreams of winning someday. Right there with her, kind of in her wake, is Kumiko, who is more open and affectionate to Reina than anyone else, even, no especially her mom and big sister.

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Kumiko and Reina are relatively steady variables in this opener: all of the conflict comes from the uneasy atmosphere being created by still-open wounds among the upperclassmen.

Specifically, one former member who quit in the great second-year purge wants back in, but Asuka won’t budge. The first years are kept out of the loop, and it hurts their focus. As usual, KyoAni is impeccable at not just telling but showing the subtle but increasingly assertive effect of the senpai drama.

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Kumiko is a great protagonist because she’s so good at being in the middle of things while not dominating those events with her personality. She’s a deceptively very “normal” girl hiding multitudes beneath her exterior, brough to life with a skilled performance by Kurosawa Tomoyo (in a total 180 from her character of Sylphy in Amaburi). I love how drastically Kumiko’s tone changes when she’s talking to her fam, as if it’s a huge imposition to do so, which makes perfect sense since she’s a teenager.

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But most gratifying in a sea of senpai uncertainty and a looming life-altering competition is to see the collective rock that is Kumiko and Reina. They’re far past their troubles of past years, and both value one another’s company and conversation above all others.

They are proof that previous bad blood can not only be corrected, but flourish into a beautiful friendship. As the assistant instructor (a pro in the music industry) says to the band: be more imposing. Make more of an impact. Don’t be reticent, because it all comes through in their music.

Everyone has to be more open with one another to succeed and become the best band they can be, as well as the best people. Unpleasant things like resentments and grudges and infamous incidents can’t be allowed to fester. And most importantly, life shouldn’t be a constant struggle. You gotta stop and ogle the fireworks in rapt awe once in a while.

This was a baller premiere that reminded me why KyoAni is so good with such regularity. It doesn’t just nail the fundamentals, but sweats the details to the extent there are gestures and tones you won’t see anywhere else, to say nothing of the complexity of the emotions in play. A very solid and confident start.

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Author: sesameacrylic

Hey, I'm Zane. I am a graphic designer and painter who also enjoys cooking, cleaning, and vegging out on my couch. I tend to veer towards anime that is some combination of comedy, romance, drama, and school settings.

3 thoughts on “Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 01”

  1. daaaaaaaamnnn…ishihara decided to take the training gloves off and blow the competition out the water in terms of premiere. Kyo ani is really getting better with using their animation to tell stories. I was actually impressed with this premiere; not to mention that it took me by complete surprise that it was an hr long, which to my memory, i dont recall kyo ani ever doing. People were wondering if the first season was just a fluke in terms of it’s glimmers of story telling acumen….nope…euphonium season 2 looks like it’s about to bring the big guns. My favorite thing from kyo ani to this day is still “the disappearance of haruhi suzumiya”, but euphonium’s premiere was on movie quality in terms of how it paced its story. Im actually stoked to watch the rest of this season: an 8/10 for me with this premiere (which is higher than the 7 i gave for the entire first season of eupho)

  2. I really love the voice acting on this one. The way the VA’s deliver the dialog in a very subtle tone actually works well in selling it as a realistic high school drama.

  3. I loved the art style of the original but I ran out of steam for the narrative half way through. Maybe I should set aside some time to go back and binge-catchup?

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