Wednesday, December 14, 2016

10 Second Anime - Hibike! Euphonium S2 - Episode 11

Reina faces her feelings for Taki and his past she never knew.

Episode 11 - "First Love Trumpet"


Ahhhh. This episode felt like coming home to the first season. The second season has been moving from band drama to band drama with hardly a fun interlude at all. Mind you, Reina's frustrating crush on a teacher she's known most of her life isn't really all that fun for her, but for the audience, we got fun echoes of the first season when Reina was aloof and slowly warming to Kumiko and her friends.

Reina, so cold... These furtive looks were just like the first few episodes after Kumiko finally relented and joined the band.

Hee! Midori Relationship Hijinks Mode! With that little bit of distance between Reina and Kumiko, we got a little window for the comic trio of Kumiko, Midori and Hazuki to work their magic again.

What sold this episode as not being totally serious was the caper music in the background leading up to the plot to get Reina and Kumiko "back together."

I think Midori has been reading too much shoujo manga if she leapt to the idea that Reina was being aloof because she was worried about how to answer a love confession. This is the funny stuff we haven't seen all season from characters we spent so much time with last season.

Ha! They even brought back the blue frame to illustrate a made-up scenario! You can tell Midori doesn't know Reina very well, because there's no way she would ever smile like that.

Of course, the ambush failed and Kumiko had to remind the other girls that Reina is high maintenance. But she didn't mean that in a mean way!

It's quite meaningful for Kumiko and Reina's "special" friendship that Reina wanted to clear the air at their "special" meeting place. That episode in the first season also dealt with a  first crush that was eventually lost in Hazuki's case. Lots of parallels. The ponytail. The wind. The blue frame for Midori's love plot. There's still hope for those wanting a Kumiko X Reina yuri affair.

There were a lot of issues to unpack with Reina's frustrations about her love for Taki and what changed after she saw that picture on his desk.

That Hashimoto guy has a big mouth! He's the one who volunteered the info about Taki's late wife to Kumiko and then he let slip that Kumiko had know about it all this time. Kumiko was supposed to keep it a secret, which she did, but this Hashimoto guy mucked it all up!

So, Reina had feelings of losing hope over her love, betrayal from a friend and even embarrassment that she should have known more about Taki's life if she was supposed to be in love with him.

Even worse, she didn't know that Taki's wife had already died, so there's guilt of renewed hope plus dashed hope of trying to compete with a ghost.

Reina sure does love screaming her frustrations out. She did that last season too when she couldn't stand Yuko's advocacy for Kaori to take the trumpet solo. Yuko being a concerned band mate also brought that memory back to the present to show how much each character has developed in the meantime.

These two scenes showed the most important moments in Reina's love for Taki. When she first saw him as a preschooler. That little moment comparing shoe sizes really brought home the age difference and how long she has known him.

The second scene was important for Reina too, since Taki showed personal interest in her. But even better for the audience, we see that this was a pivotal moment for him too. His ring was gone and he gave Reina a piece of music he "didn't need anymore." This was immediately after his wife's death and he gave Reina a musical piece that was obviously important to his wife. Little did he know that he gave the audience a big "kyaa~!" moment by pretty much handing off the torch of his next love interest to Reina.

Reina mentioned that she had yelled at her mom for not telling her that Taki had gotten married. They also didn't tell her that his wife had died five years ago. Taki's father was close with Reina's grandfather, but the later generations apparently didn't have much of a relationship.

Reina can be pretty nosy in a straightforward way too. She asked Taki straight up about his wife and she got Ms. Niiyama to tell her where Mrs. Taki was buried.

Kumiko, thankfully our nosy narrator, just happened to see Taki wear his wedding ring as he went to visit his wife's grave. Reina never saw a ring on his finger, but when she was steeling herself to ask him about his wife, I'm sure she imagined it was still there in spirit.

Well, having a hawk fly off in the distance at the end of the episode was pretty blatant imagery. Taki, in Japanese, means hawk.

The Fun Stuff.

It was Reina's turn for the eye catch, fittingly enough.

We had some plot housekeeping with getting Asuka back into the band and taking her spot away from Natsuki; even a resolution for Mamiko establishing her independence. Kumiko really does suffer from resting bitch face.

So many secrets for Kumiko to keep track of. Hey, she's the narrative device, so she has to take responsibility. Midori has too much fun with these love plots. They never seem to work out, though. Hazuki got rejected last season and now Kumiko got blown off. No need to apologize, Kumiko. Reina is high maintenance.

I liked the parallels this scene made with the first season references. The lookout spot was still windy, but it was now cold. Reina yelled her frustration out, but these days she gets along with Yuko, who was the source of the yelling the first time around. Kumiko can't win. She got blamed by Hashimoto and Taki for telling Reina stuff about the late wife. She kept the secret! It's not fair!

KyoAni continues to use lighting effects to tell a story. Reina came out of a dark spot into the light to find her own motivation to keep her trumpet sounding clear and strong. Kumiko noticed Taki's Italian Whites were still there. I noticed Reina's zettai ryouiki...

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