Monday, October 17, 2016

10 Second Anime - Hibike! Euphonium S2 - Episode 2


During the Summertime activities of a trip to the pool and band training camp, Kumiko discovers more details behind the previous year's mass exodus and Nozomi's role in it.


Episode 2 - "Hesitation Flute"

Hmm.

You may think a pool episode combined with the training camp episode would be all sorts of fun mixed with cute girls in swimsuits, but you'd only be partly right. They were mainly entertaining backdrops for Kumiko to play the nosy narrator.



Sapphire-chan, er, Midori shouldn't remind us of the broken English her parents foisted upon her name with the "Let's a pool!" cry. Oh well. It's cute. But what's great about using the conventional slice-of-life setting is that it still lets the story decorate it with its own themes.

One subtle thing about Kumiko being surprised that Reina wanted to go to the pool and wear her swimsuit too is that she thought Reina, as one of these "special" people, would not be interested in regular fun stuff too. One thing being made clear about being passionate about something is that it doesn't mean it has to be one hundred percent of your life. Having the music nerd Asuka show up at the pool too was more evidence of this.



In contrast to having outside interests, we see Taki admitting that he has no wife or kids, which is why he's always at school ready to open the music room so early. But in the first episode, we saw him looking at the picture of a woman and child tenderly in his notebook. The addition of the beautiful Niiyama-sensei will bring these issues of balancing music life with a personal life into brighter relief. Although, let's not forget that Niiyama-sensei is there for eye candy and to bring complications to Reina's crush on Taki.



One of the best things about last season was the character development of Natsuki. Starting from a bored member of the club to becoming a devoted supporting senior, we also saw hints of how the prior year's exodus affected her. Asuka had said at the time that Natsuki would play when she wanted to, and she was right.

Natsuki's continuing membership, even when she just sat by the window listening to music, makes me wonder about how energetic Asuka and Haruka were about recruiting new members to fill the ranks of the concert band when they could have had the ones who quit come back after the lazy seniors graduated. There might be something to that which Asuka will explain next episode.



These older girls really like Kumiko for some reason... Mizore is reserved and quiet, so when she started talking, it was important to listen. She was best friends with Nozomi, the president of their competition band in junior high, she followed her to Kitauji High School to redeem themselves for their loss in their last contest, but then Nozomi quit on her. Nozomi told Kumiko that she didn't want Mizore to quit because she was the only oboist and the lazy seniors weren't bullying her.

There may be some relationship issues between them because of this. Mizore told Kumiko that she never liked competitions because of the fickleness of the judges. I see how she likes playing rhythm games without the music as a clue that she just wants to play a piece the "right" way and her motivation to play in the band was her friendship with Nozomi. Without Nozomi there, she doesn't know what her motivation is anymore. Like Kumiko said about her oboe, "It sounds good, but dry..."

The episode ended with Kumiko about to ask Asuka about all these things and her sphinx-like attitude to the band drama. It appears to me that Asuka has two modes, music mode and Asuka mode. When she's in music mode, she takes on this emotionless fa├žade and says what's on her mind like Kumiko does. The way she told Nozomi to wait until next year after the lazy seniors graduated showed that Asuka doesn't even care about competitions either, unlike the impatient Nozomi. It's as if Asuka has no ego at all when it comes to music. I look forward to seeing whether my impressions are reinforced after Asuka's conversation with Kumiko.


Heh.

Before we get to the fun stuff (read eye candy), I want to point out this hilarious exchange between Yuko and Natsuki about the bad English on their T-Shirts.



Yuko showed off her fangirl side for Kaori, as expected, but Natsuki was there to tease her about her shirt, which wasn't just a random heart on it. It's a pop culture joke in Japan, and in Asia generally, that even though English is taught through every grade in school, the people never really use it. This explains how terrible English phrases can show up on shirts as only a decoration instead of people realizing what it actually says. Natsuki translated the "My Staplefood is Love" phrase for the audience and Yuko translated "Cement Addiction" in return. Do these things mean anything in some kind of context? The joke is, it doesn't matter.

The Fun Stuff



Kumiko and Hazuki last episode. Midori's turn this time.
















The only disappointment I had from the pool scenes was the lack of displaying Asuka's "style." That's all. Everything else was gold. Reina may be "graduating" to a new bikini top soon, but Kumiko should realize her hopes of a high school "growth spurt" are already over.




Poor Reina... I thought introducing Hashimoto-kun was going to be it for new adults this season, adding some comic relief, but noooo. Helloooo Satomi-chuaaaaan-sensei! If this were a different kind of show, she would have had a sexy jazz saxophone theme for her entrance, but that walk was still well done.




Training camp is all about those late night chats. It's also supposed to be about those bath scenes, so what happened? Maybe there was too much plot to get through to show us steamy PLOT. We've got a little more time to spend at training camp, so maybe next time.

I want to see what Asuka tells Kumiko about the big walkout led my Nozomi. Also, I want to see more interactions with Niiyama-sensei so that Taki's character is revealed a bit more. But most of all, I want that girl talk in the bath scene. Let's make it happen!

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