Kumiko gets the flu and her illness highlights Asuka's sporadic absence from the band and her sister Mamiko's own issues.
Episode 8 - "Rhapsody in Flu"
It's so interesting how Kumiko's illness forces her to spend time at home and bother her sister so we can get flashbacks and maybe force a dramatic resolution. And by interesting, I mean plot device for our nosy narrator.
Kumiko's bad math skills also got her a free ticket to Asuka's home. We won't see what's going on there until the following week, though.
Just because Asuka was able to go to the band's outdoor performance in last week's episode doesn't mean her problems at home have gone away. She's still saying she "won't make problems for anyone." However, it looks like she's going to make a problem for Kumiko and maybe Natsuki if she has to fill in for her at the National Competition.
One thing fun to notice about the episode was how froggy Kumiko's voice progressively got until she finally went home sick. Attention to little details like that is the hallmark of Kyoto Animation.
Another thing KyoAni likes to do is mirror plot points in different characters so they can explore the different facets of their similar dramas at the same time. Bringing Aoi back for a random encounter was a neat way to place her in a continuum of characters who have quit a concert band in the past, the present and perhaps the future.
We got a healthy dose of Mamiko, Kumiko's sister, in flashbacks and how she inspired her little sister to love music but how she ended up quitting music because of her parents' ambitions for her. Aoi is the ghost of band quitting present, since she just did that six months ago and is worried about entrance exams like Mamiko was. Is Asuka the ghost of band quitting future? That remains to be seen.
A huge clue for Asuka's situation may be this Euphonium CD Kumiko received when she first started playing that instrument. The name Masakazu Shindo may not mean anything now, but several characters' reaction to it foreshadow many things. Reina and Kumiko hear Asuka's playing style in it. Hmm... And Mamiko hates it so much she barges into Kumiko's room to shut it down when she can barely hear it from the next room. Does Mamiko have more reasons to hate it other than as a reminder that her family let Kumiko keep playing her instrument when they forced her to give it up?
I was quite surprised that Mamiko wanted to quit college with less than a year left to pursue beauty school. There is some kind of urgency or schedule that she needs to follow otherwise she would just graduate college first. We'll have to see what it is, but I can see her getting impatient from putting off her dream for so long or she might have met somebody who offered her a job.
Kumiko was sooo cute! And she wanted to play trombone. She could have been trombone buddies with Shuuichi but her class was lousy with trombones so the teacher gave her a euphonium. Game over, man. Game over.
Kumiko does the best disinterested teenager voice.
Mr. Oumae sounds like a totally not fun person. Mamiko has his eye coloring while Kumiko's eyes matches their mother's. One side is calm while the other side is stubborn.
Keeping up with that mirroring thing KyoAni does, both Asuka and Mamiko told Kumiko they would sew her mouth shut.
Kumiko is still allergic to Shuuichi cooties.
Taki says he never looks grouchy. Uh huh.
This sounds like Hashimoto's fashion sense: "Be cheerful! Be happy! Have fun!" I have a similar motto for any hobby involving wheels: "Go fast! Be safe! Have fun!"
Either Kumiko is really catty or Aoi is. I don't know which, but when one person describes your smile as "ice wrapped in a blanket," I can see both sides as being in the mean girl club.
Word to the wise: Japanese girls always want pudding, not just when they're sick.
That's such a universal sibling thing where they won't do something if you ask them, but they will if an outsider does. It's not like Shuuichi made Mamiko want to listen to Kumiko play; he just gave her permission to ask.
The Fun Stuff.
It's Riko's turn this week for the eye catch.