Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 13 (Fin)

WE’RE SO SCREWED

As expected, the final Hibike! Euphonium 2 of the season is an epilogue; it even has ‘epilogue’ in the episode title. The third years are given a proper sendoff with lovely musical performances accompanied by montages of both this season and the last.

Yoko and Natsuki take up the mantle of new president and vice president, and the former can hear the loss of the third years.

Really nice lighting effects in this scene
Really nice lighting effects in this scene

So can Taki-sensei, who acknowledges that every year school bands essentially take a big step back due to the outgoing talent. That experience must be replaced with the remaining members plus the rawer talent of incoming first years.

The same band that made it to the Nationals no longer exists. The one that intends to make it back will be an entirely new one: new leadership, new composition, new style.

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Since Kumiko and Reina are first-years, they have not one but two more years to achieve their goal of National Gold. And they seem as optimistic and determined as ever to get there, despite their bronze finish this year and the loss of so much talent.

Their problems going forward are the same problems all school bands face, and secondary problems — such as Yoko and Natsuki clashing — are sure to crop up.

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The key (no pun intended), I suppose, is to avoid really big dustups such as the ones that took place before Kumiko and Reina arrived at Kitauji; the kind of conflicts that actually hindered the band’s performance, and the wounds of which have now all but faded.

And so we get a nice, long, heartfelt goodbye as all the seniors play for their juniors, then vice versa. There’s a commencement ceremony, where the goodbye hugs and wishes continue. And throughout this epilogue, Kumiko is sad and upset, all because Asuka is leaving.

Ah, so THAT'S where the show's title comes from. HUH!
Ah, so THAT’S where the show’s title comes from. HUH!

She runs all over the school grounds, increasingly desperate to find her. As usual, Asuka is trying to avoid “these kind of things”, but Kumiko won’t let her escape her, or her true feelings. Kumiko thinks she might have hated Asuka at first – but now all she feels is love. Romantic love? Perhaps it hews close to that, just as you could read her feelings towards Reina on top of that mountain last season.

But whatever specific kind of love it is, she’s got it, when she didn’t have it before. Asuka is someone she let into her life and personality, while continuing to hold back from Shuu (poor Shuu). Asuka is someone leaving, whom she doesn’t want to go. She has eyes for no third-year but Asuka.

And now she’s the chief euph, and her bandmates even remark how she sounds like Asuka. Like Mamiko, Asuka has helped shape and progress Kumiko’s musical development and identity. I’m unsure if there will be a Euph 3, but there’s plenty of great material to continue with.

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Tamayura: More Aggressive – 12 (Fin)

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Potte’s camera shutter breaks, so she has to surrender it to Maestro for repairs. She’s unable to take pictures of the Doll festival or with Kanae, who got into college and is back to taking pictures. The next day while Kaoru, Norie and Maon are off doing their own thing, Potte stays at home sorting her photos until her mom suggests they take a ride on her motorcycle. She takes Potte to Okunoshima and the spot where her dad proposed to her mom. There, her mom gives her a tearful thanks for being her daughter, and Potte thanks her in return. When they return home, the others are waiting for her. At Mitani’s commencement, Potte thanks her for joining the club and calling her president. Potte picks up her fixed camera, ready to take pictures during the Spring Break.

It’s something of a marvel that Potte’s old camera never had any problems before, but it’s an interesting move to shake things up by taking her camera away for most of the final episode. Her mom was never a photog, and when she sees that Potte’s just holed up in the house, she gets her out into the air to experience something without a camera for once; to see things with her naked eyes instead of through a viewfinder. In the last couple years, she’s seen her daughter grow an incredible amount and aggressively walk forward on her own two feet. She feels that both she and her daughter were ready to go to that spot where it all began: where her husband proposed, and led to the creation of the loving family that still endures and thrives even after his untimely passing.

Like last week as Kanae’s story was wrapped up and she gathered the courage to keep walking towards her future, this final episode was full of heartrending moments, and its characters aren’t afraid to tear up from the kindness of each others’ words towards one another. Throughout its run, this was a show that was full of love and its daily role in life. The love came in many forms, from Potte and Kanae’s love of photography, to the friends’ love of one another, to Norie and Komachi’s love of Kou, to Potte’s love of her father. The more she learned about the person he was and the live he lived, the more inspired she got to live up to his example. But as she’s a product of both dad and mom, Potte won’t necessarily live every great moment of her life to come through a viewfinder. Sometimes the camera breaks…and it’s okay.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)