Tuesday, June 02, 2015

10 Second Anime - Hibike! Euphonium - Episode 8

At the Agata Festival, love is lost and found among the band members.


Let's talk about the symbols of love that featured prominently this episode. First of all is the Agata Festival itself. Taking place on June 5th, the main ritual is carrying a male deity's statue to its temporary setting by naked men. We weren't shown this in the episode, thankfully. At the same time, the protector goddess of the shrine is carried to the same place. Culturally, this double procession has taken on the meaning of a divine marriage, which is why it's a big deal for couples to attend the festival before the rituals.
The second big symbol of love was the two star formation shown during Reina's and Kumiko's excursion. In the summer sky, we in the West know these stars as Vega and Altair. The Japanese know them as Orihime and Hikoboshi, two lovers who made the other gods so jealous of their love for each other, they were separated, only to briefly visit each other one night a year. This is celebrated at the Tanabata Festival which is held at various times in late Summer when the two stars are brightest in the sky.
Incidentally, there is a formation in the West called the Summer Triangle, when the bright star Deneb can rise high enough above the horizon to form a triangle with Vega and Altair. Sounds a little like Hazuki barging in between Shuuichi and Kumiko. Of course, this Festival Triangle was more like a polygon because two triangles were combined with Shuuichi being third wheel to Kumiko and Reina, and Hazuki being third wheel to Shuuichi and Kumiko.
It was fun to recognize the two stars about Reina's head and to notice the god and goddess above the traffic light too. If you're Japanese, then you knew what the story was trying to get across with following the two couples at the festival.



At a festival about love, under stars about love, the homeroom teacher just had to tell the kids to behave.
Festivals are all about love confessions. Come on Hazuki! You can do it!

OMG! Sapphire has her own Mini Midori! Her little sister was about the cutest thing I've seen in this show. Good thing she's much younger or she could have been one of those Sapphire clones taking Hazuki's tuba spot.
Kumiko was caught in a tough spot regarding Hazuki's crush on Shuuichi. Until he asked her to the festival she really never thought about him.

She noticed him, but only enough to ignore him. I get the feeling that she's just not a really deep person at this point in her life. Just not a lot of taking stock of her own feelings or opinions yet. An age appropriate psychologically developed main character in anime? What is this show?

Kumiko has seen enough love dramas to make them play out in her imagination. Dramatically, that is.
Hey, let's make sure you get the reference of star-crossed lovers.

You see those stars? Those stars we put right above the pretty face of Reina? Those two stars right there? You know what they mean, right? Those two stars of Orihime and Hikoboshi? You get it? You get it? Yeah... I think we got it KyoAni. Putting Kumiko and Reina in the same positions as the gods' sign was just the exclamation point.
Asuka has no need for love when she's got her euphonium and her music.

She also didn't think you should be praying to pass an audition, since only talent and practice will help you there. You'd be wasting the god's time on a useless prayer. Better to pray for love instead! 

Two major new stars of the show made their debut this week - Reina's summer dress and her ponytail!

Damn near stole the show away from Reina. I loved the conversation between these two because it seemed to capture how two detached cool girls would actually talk to each other. Neither girl thinks a lot about other people, but they are both drawn to the ones they find interesting. Reina said she doesn't want to waste her time on uninteresting people. There's that theme again - not wasting time.
I noticed that Shuuichi always has his eyes on Kumiko, but when she was trying to figure some fingering out on her instrument, Shuuichi noticed that and that Reina was noticing too. Triangles! It also explains why Reina accepted Kumiko's totally accidental invitation to the Agata Festival.

If it were any other random person, Kumiko would have had no problem apologizing because there would have been no feeling behind it, but that it was Reina, she just couldn't take it back. The bigger surprise for Kumiko is that Reina wanted to go with her.

And then, this happened.

Reina wanted to make sure Kumiko knew to pay attention to calling her by her first name, which is a special thing between friends. Touching someone else's forehead to make a point that Reina wants to be special and that she believes Kumiko can be special too was not that big a deal. It's what she did after.

The first thing I noticed, I mean after I plotzed myself from the sensual overtone, is that Reina didn't touch Kumiko's lower lip. That's usually an invitation to more than just stroking someone's face. So what did it mean, exactly? For these two, it didn't have to mean anything. That's not how they're wired. Maybe Reina's finger was already on Kumiko's forehead and she wanted to make the point that her lip was going to make her special. Or, it was just the fastest way to get her hand back down to her hip. What's important, is that it was a special gesture when the topic was about being special.
The background music was especially moving during this part of Kumiko's and Reina's time together. It felt like an invitation to more, or the sensation you get when you can see you only have a few more steps to the top of the hill. It was a great complement to acknowledge a deeper friendship between the two girls.
Of course, these two musical girls had to do what musical friends do with each other. Play music together.

The montage as the end credits rolled with these two providing the score was a nostalgic backdrop to making memories while people are young, saying goodbye to unrequited feelings of love, a reminder that time is fleeting and to cherish those moments together. Mini Midori hugging Hazuki as she cried was especially moving. Time is precious, special even, so don't waste it.

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