Sunday, October 16, 2016

10 Second Anime - Hibike! Euphonium S2 - Episode 1


Second Season of Hibike! Euphonium picks up immediately from conclusion of the first season. Winning the regional competition will force the band to confront the difficulties of last year before becoming strong enough to compete at the next level.


Episode 1 - "Mid-Summer Fanfare"

Heh.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, and that's definitely true of band drama. There ain't no drama like band drama!



A flashforward to a Winter scene shows us how things ultimately conclude this season, but the fun is in the journey. Watching Kumiko's facial expressions as she thinks on the thoughts contained in a notebook let us know big things will happen for her this season.

Band Drama - New and Old





There was a quick little reference scene to the drama involving the trumpet section and the tryouts between Kaori and Reina for the soloist position. Yuko acted as the bridge in that instance and also for the new (to the audience, but old for the band members) drama involving the mass walkout of almost a whole class.

This past drama was barely referenced with Aoi choosing to quit the band because they were serious about competitions again. I wonder if she'll reappear to add some more layers to this deep wound in the band club.




The catalyst for exposing the past trauma is the appearance of Nozomi, a junior high classmate of Yuko, Natsuki and the oboist Mizore. Kumiko described the sound she made as "good, but kind of dry." Mizore appeared to me as the uber-Reina in her demeanor, but not necessarily her talent.

For a first episode, we're only getting the broad strokes of the what occurred previously, but the effects are still deep and serious. So serious that just the sound of Nozomi's flute makes Mizore nauseous. That's some bad band drama.

Wanting to be Special



Reina's aim to be special at what she does, recognizing Kumiko's potential and seeing how it manifests in Asuka is a big part of the band relationship dynamics in this show. Asuka's exceptionality makes her the de facto President of the band, but the people skills are left to the endearingly emotional Haruka. We saw in Kaori last season how she feared Asuka's true opinion of her musical ability and how Asuka's approval in rejoining the band is important to her.

Kumiko's unvarnished opinions that pop out of her mouth are little clues on how her specialness is similar to Asuka's and Reina's. Taki-sensei's professional musician friend made a special mention that the band was too reserved and that they needed to be more open. During a performance, when one has to be in tune with your mates and you need to communicate in the moment nonverbally, this openness is key to a good ensemble. Too often we confuse openness with intimacy or friendliness, but it need not be so in a professional setting. The high school kids who want to be musically special need to learn this skill.

The Fun Stuff

Now, there's plenty to talk about in terms of story, themes and characterization, but this is a KyoAni show. It's damn gorgeous, the girls are damn cute and everybody can be damn funny. It's always great to see how easily the narrative transitions from seriously emotional scenes to gag scenes to advance the plot.

I'm warning you, this section is big because the premiere was a double episode. I promise to be calmer with images next episode. Maybe. I understand swimsuits were involved...

Two Eye Catches because, duh, two episodes!


The opening and ending credits captured the look, the feel and the energy of the previous season's. The end sequence went for more of a Mad Tea Party theme instead of a red string of fate, though.









The immediate aftermath of winning the competition brought us back into the show while teasing us with some important picture Taki-sensei carries around with him.













I liked how Kumiko starting to come to early morning practice opened her eyes to all sorts of new stories and people she never noticed before. She makes a good nosy narrative perspective. Also take note how Taki's college buddy Hashimoto made us remember Reina's deep crush on the music teacher.









Holding hands and fireworks? This could have been you Shuuichi, this could have been you. Reina was quick to say, totally unrelated I'm sure, that she hates spineless guys...

Next time, I don't know! KyoAni likes to put previews on their website instead of including it with the broadcast. Sneaky cross-media promotional devils...

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