Hibike! Euphonium – 08

Hibike! 8-8

This was the worst show I ever watched!

Ha! Fooled you! Actually this was one of the best episodes yet, and quite possibly the best episode of the entire season.

…drawn to a beautiful thing, despite your fears…

Hibike! 8-1

The conductor of the love orchestra!

You know, I blame all of this on Midori…girl is just such a hopeless romantic. Well, hapless, maybe. But someone has to put the ram in the ram-a-lama-ding-dong, or else nothing would happen, right? But to be fair, she rather did put some pressure on Hazuki to strike while the iron was hot. So that can be understood. But in that lesson, don’t forget that the hasty stroke often fails to find it’s target. Which is right on Hazuki’s shoulders. But all is not unrequited, as up on the hill far away from the festival, another romance blooms…

I love how the episode begins right where the prior one left off. With that, the sense of immediacy isn’t lost to the viewer, and that underscores the heightened level of emotion that Hazuki is feeling. It also allows the ball to keep rolling over into Midori’s corner, who is quite anxious to get it up into the air and into play.

I also like how they don’t immediately play Hazuki as a lovelorn fool, smitten beyond reason. There might be a good reason she was hesitating, probably not knowing if this was a simple first time crush or not. But then, what high school student every really knows that for certain; which is more to the point.

But, as Kumiko soon discovers, we have ourselves a love triangle. Suuichi still harbors some feelings for his childhood friend, and it determined to see them through. Perhaps he is lovelorn in his own right, as I don’t think you can quite dig out a positive signal from all the bluntness Kumiko gives him. He’s earned his right to familiarity, that is for sure, but how much of what she feels about him is contempt? And why?

Hibike! 8-5

From the first episode, we know he acted rashly (a typical “icky girl” defense) against her during early middle school, but is it that healthy to hold a grudge? Or is there something else going on in the chemistry? We’ve seen Kumiko flashback to certain event’s during middle school (insert pic from previous episode), and one could draw the line from that to what is happening with her now. Just what is that flashback scene about?

Hibike! 8-7

…and just how literal is that red string of fate between Kumiko and Reina (as featured in the ED). I don’t like coincidence. Well, I don’t like it as a narrative device, let’s say that. But “I’m going with this kid” was a perhaps a bit sketchy. But, much like Midori, Fate has to step in and put the bop in the bop-shoo-bop-shoo-bop. At this point I want to give a shout out to Asuka and Taki-sensei. I love that exchange about the Crescent Moon Dance piece. In relationships we often look wistfully at what is far away, especially before they can begin and perhaps even moreso as we get to where we want to go, and as sensei points, out there is a bit of shamelessness to it…

Hibike! 8-Reina

“Kousaka-san’s snow-white dress, and the cool, blue air filled my head with the Snow Maiden. This must be how it feels to lose your life, drawn to a beautiful thing despite your fears.”

Kumiko’s inner thoughts are quite possibly some of the most beautiful that I’ve ever heard. I found myself totally enraptured by these scenes. They felt delicate, pristine, and fleeting, as if the like would probably never be felt again, but would be yearned for. Reina for her part follows this with just the smallest of hints about her inner world. That she cannot bear the conventional. That her daily life is an act, and she herself, yearns to break free. I suppose that climbing up a mountain, away from the crowds during a very popular festive to play music with a dear friend is as close as she can get right now, and that has it’s own sense of the delicate, the pristine, and fleeting.

Hibike! 8-16

They took the time to build this relationship. Both of them had been on course with each other from the beginning of the show, passing each other in moments, but understanding each other better with each refrain. It’s like music in it’s own way, with a theme built up from one movement to the next, adding complexity as it reaches ever on. It’s one thing to see to people in love, and in anime it’s expected that a yuri relationship is going to get the attention, but that is just the surface for these two. There is a playful sense of understanding each other. From the exchange about Reina’s shoes, you get the feeling it isn’t a tease from Kumiko that leads to the other girls playful, “pervert” comeback.

At the Festival

“Meet me by the sake jug post box…no rush”

But for all the rhythm happening up the mountain, things are missing a beat down in the festival with both Suuichi and Hazuki. The boy was actually playing it pretty well, even if he did have his childhood friend on his mind. He made the first part of the conversation about Hazuki and her playing. But, the girl, playing to her type, jumps the gun. He knows she likes him, as it is why she asked him out in the first place. But putting words to that…so suddenly….we-el? I found it quite appropos that the cupid of this episode, and the mini-cupid along with her had to make some sort of amends. Poor Hazuki, she held that back for quite some time. Even after saying she would support him and his feelings for another girl, something that Reina picks up on as well…

It’s a confession of love

“It’s a confession of love”, “It makes me want to peel that good girl skin off you”. Reina doesn’t play it easy either, but whereas Hazuki’s confession comes out as exasperation, Reina’s comes out as very natural, and incredibly frank. But I think it shows just how much she understands Kumiko. The closet of all her friends, that can get her right on point.

Hibike! 8-touch

She can see right through her in so many cases. Yes, she is nice, and polite, but that is a front in many ways. I don’t think they’ve quite said what it is a front for. But that is something quite worth more exploration. But even without that there is a feeling that they are much more alike than let’s on. Kumiko might not be the most wary of the two, as Reina does get her teases in, and often it seems.

Hibike! 8-sit

Rounding out the Piece

Hibike! 8-9

Show ▼

OK, I went on there for quite some time, so I will wrap this up quick. Goodness, this is quite the series, full of life and all it’s surprises. I failed to mention it above, but I love the summer uniforms. I was also quite taken by Rito and Gotou’s relationship, keeping it under wraps despite how obvious it is. But, I think that the doki-doki will pause at this episode, as it looks like the auditions will start to get serious next time.

Hibike! 8-24

Time to get serious…


..and before I go, a collection of those lovely otaku pilgrimage vids….


EDIT: added new comparison pic.


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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22 Responses to “Hibike! Euphonium – 08”

  1. Namaewoinai says:

    Hmph, Romantic Relationships…(sigh) Ain’t it a bitch!!
    but oh well…

    as for Ms. Trumpet (Reina Kousaka), uh…man, her feet is slightly injured, but she can bear it.

    • skylion says:

      In romance, you either play and get hurt, or you stay lonely….

      Reina can climb any mountain!

  2. Highway says:

    This was such a terrific episode. I’ve watched it 3 times already. It really was one of those payoff episodes that brought a lot of the threads together, and handled everything terrifically.

    Hazuki just can’t wait. I’m kind of surprised, in that she was dithering to ask Shuuichi out, but then on their outing she got too direct. I actually think that Hazuki just didn’t realize how much Kumiko and Shuuichi shared before. But she also just jumped the gun, especially with demanding an answer. He was interested enough to go with you, Hazuki, but you pushed it too far asking for an answer right away. And then she had to get comfort from the cute girl in the hearts and notes yukata (which was adorable and so in Midori’s personality).

    And then Reina and Kumiko. This was a perfect depiction of one of those magic times in high school, when you’re doing something that feels so grown up, feels so different, and you want it to last, and you want to just go with it, and you want to recapture it and you can’t, at least consciously. It’s interesting the way they’ve played the mutual fascination between Kumiko and Reina. Both of them are drawn to the other, and it’s hard to say it’s as a fellow traveler, but more as a compatible mind. It feels like Reina has a feeling that Kumiko can understand her, so she actually tries. And it feels like Kumiko realizes that Reina is different, and can take Kumiko’s spacing out and her archness and her “terrible personality” in complete stride.

    I hadn’t noticed that Natsuki and Yuuko had gone to the festival together and seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. That one shot adds a lot to the depth of character of both of them, I think, since we’ve only ever seen Yuuko be the almost lovestruck kouhai to Kaori, and while we’ve seen Natsuki change a little from the distant person who doesn’t care to the maybe-a-little-lonely-because-she’s-the-only-2nd-year-in-the-bass-section, this showed that there’s more there than just arch comments to Yuuko.

    • skylion says:

      …I do hope they save some room for character’s like Natsuki and Yuuko, as it’s good for a show to round out supporting character depth.

      As for Kumiko and Reina, I don’t want that magic to spoil, and would be content for them to be the couple that just “get’s it” without any major speed bumps. Yeah, that’s not part of the usual recipe for drama, but I can hope!

  3. sonicsenryaku says:

    This was a great episode minus the slight yuribaiting. After giving the episode some more thought, i realized that there are two reason’s for kumiko and reina’s scenes depicted in the way they are. The more narrative-based reason why it was done that way was to show how the girls being different yet inspire each other at the same time, creates a sort of attraction between the two; it’s not in a romantic way, but in a very sisterly way like “you just get me”. The romantic subtext is meant to enhance how much respect and admiration the two have for each other and this was the original intent of the novel. The other reason, which is quite obvious, is to sell blu-rays by over-selling the romantic subtext. Hibike has been pretty subtle so far and so i wished they could have been a bit more subtle about the kumiko and reina scenes as well. They played it up a bit too much and that took me out of it, especially since i have a pretty good idea what’s what.

    • Highway says:

      I thought it rode the line a little better than you seem to think. The impression it gave me was kind of a ‘svengali’-esque vibe, and I don’t think it’s out of character for either of these two to flirt a bit with the other one, in a way that they wouldn’t with anyone else. There is something to the idea that being alone with the other one might lower some barriers, and take them both out of their usual selves a bit. There’s also the fact that neither Kumiko nor especially Reina are particularly savvy at dealing with other people, as befits their age and their personalities. So I think it’s understandable that Reina would push a little farther than one would normally expect.

      As much as I would welcome it, I don’t think the show is going to go down a Reina x Kumiko path, especially given that the source material is over 20 years old (although KyoAni is very good at putting in their own themes and even characters).

      • skylion says:

        I would be happy to call her “charismatic”, as I usually think of a Svengali as a mustache-twirling, evil, manipulative stereotype. Which is not to say that she doesn’t know how to manipulate.

        Yeah, KyoAni will add as they see fit, so they might just go for that sort of relationship.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        Im not saying it’s out of character; im saying those moments between Kumiko and Reina broke away from what i found to be a strong point of the series. Take Kumikoxshuuichi for example. Their relationship has a romantic subtext that isnt being played up by the series and it works because if you read between the lines, you can actually see how comfortable these two are around each other. This is facilitated ever so strongly by reina making the comment to kumiko about wanting to pull away her good girl skin; that facade she wears; a facade that completely drops when she is around shuuichi becomes she comfortable with him. We dont need super romantic gestures to understand that; we just can do to what we are given in the narrative. Now perhaps things will build between them, but it wil be a build and hopefully that kind of character storytelling stays the same way between Kumiko and shuuichi.

        As for Reina and Kumiko, that kind of subtle character building also existed between them and i loved the romantic subtext of their admiration for each other but as great as i think this ep was, i feel like some of that subtlety in their relationship was lost. I think kyo ani played it up a little bit more than they had to. It wasnt something serious but i just found it distracting because even up to this point, the “moe-factor” in this series has been low-key despite the fact that they could put it into overdrive and make this series another kyoani corporate machine.

        • Highway says:

          Maybe it’s me being hopeful, but I really don’t feel anything romantic between Kumiko and Shuuichi. The comfort factor I get, but I think part of that is because there’s nothing romantic in Kumiko’s mind about it. It was only when he put the question to her and followed up with an explanation did she even think about it. But really, I get the impression from her that that ship has sailed, and Shuuichi wasn’t on it because he was partying on the docks. I’ll actually be disappointed if they get pushed together because Hazuki thinks that’s what Shuuichi wants.

          • skylion says:

            …partying on the docks? That is such an odd duck of a comment, I kinda love it. But, I don’t think it’s correct. She has him in a doghouse. Why he is there is a matter of record, why he is still in there, is the best question….

            • Highway says:

              Hmm, I haven’t been thinking of it as a doghouse, I’ve been thinking of it as the friendzone. Of course, we’ve seen anime make the most contorted of writing gymnastics work (or at least go from there to here, if not exactly satisfyingly), but this is a show where, at the moment, I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if there were no other couples (Riko and Gouto are cute enough by themselves), and Kumiko makes it clear that Shuuichi blew his chance by being distant. I like that message. “I was interested, but you thought other things were more important. I’m not interested anymore.” I *like* that message, a lot more than “I’ll put myself on hold for you.”

            • skylion says:

              …dude, he is so in her doghouse…he wasn’t distant, he was dismissive. Remember her first conversation with him? “Third year of junior high, you said ‘quit talking to me ugly'”. to which he gave the excuse, “that’s because you asked me ‘are you eating at my place?’ in from on everyone”. Then she made an excuse to leave…So yeah, there is friendzone, but there is a doghouse…

          • sonicsenryaku says:

            you make a good point, but based on the evidence ive witnessed within these first 8 eps, it really looking like kumiko’s romance is going to be with shuuichi. now mind you i have no true preference in the couples, though if i had to choose i would say kumiko and shuuichi based on what ive seen. but based on the dialogue and whatnot, it seems that Reina’s heart actually longs for taki-sensei, while kumiko is undecided. She doesnt know where her heart will lead her, both in music and in romance (and why it was fitting for the ep to end in them playing their instruments).

            That’s why their scenes together have strong meaning; their admiration for each other as well as their hearts looking towards different people allow them to take solace in each other, and to admit that there is a powerful attraction between them; an attraction that makes them want to do better and push other. Reina gets the spotlight because she is important to kumiko’s development as a character; she is her foil even though you can argue that they are similar in ways. Reina matters at a point in Kumiko’s life where she needs to realize what she wants to do with the talents that she has: stay inert or take things to the next level

          • sonicsenryaku says:

            you make good point but from what the character interactions and the dialogue, it’s looking like Reina likes taki sensei and kumiko is undecided as to what she feels for shuuichi. Granted i have no true preference (though i do like the cynical nature of shuuichi and kumiko’s relationship) but again hibike is a subtle creature and its looking like things will play out romantically between shuu and kumiko. This ep was basically Reina and Kumiko finding solace in each other even tho they are looking in other directions and they find that solace in music (the whole love and music connection) and coming to terms with their admiration for each other.

    • skylion says:

      Why do we, as fans, collect around and call it “yuri baiting” when girls get with girls, or “yaoi baiting” when it’s guys with guys. We don’t go all out and say, OMG that show did nothing but “hetro-bait” the relationships.

      I don’t know what the novel is meant to say, having not read it, so I have to go by the show.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        ive made that comment myself before but then realized that some people do make the “hetero-bait” comment although obviously not in those exact words (as a loose example, like in certain harems where relationships go nowhere. The story is too afraid to break it’s harem convention yet it has the nerve to bait a true pairing that probably wont ever be). It comes down to how the story presents the narrative. Is the romantic tension necessary to the plot or narrative? if yes, then it’s yuri-bait with a legitimate purpose. if no, then it’s yuri-bait for the sake of doing it and that’s what i find distracting.

        Like i mentioned in my previous comment, hibike has always been subtle, even with regard to the romantic subtext between reina and kumiko, which i enjoyed because it allowed me to read between the lines. But when an episode like this (which great by the way) makes it more obvious that’s there’s this romantic subtext behind reina and kumiko’s admiration for each other, to the point of almost shoving it in your face, it takes away the joy of reading between the lines. Now the show is just telling me what i was in the middle of interpreting. Hibike has sort of done a good job avoiding that but this week it let the reins loose and that’s my nitpick. Now it doesnt feel as genuine and it’s obvious that what’s being put on the screen is meant to get the viewer riled up about a possible Yuri shipping rather than having the viewers be like ” hey, these guys really connect on an emotional level, as if they were lovers or something”.

        That’s ultimately my point. Yuri-baiting may have a negative connotation (and im using it for this ep) but no one ever really says “hetero-baiting” because same sex relationships have more gravitas in our culture than hetero relationships. People use that term because sometimes, a story will unnecessarily imply a same sex relationship just to tittle the viewers rather than just going with it. it would be fine if the titillation had a purpose in the story, but when it doesnt, you cant help but call it on what it is. In hibike, the romantic subtext does have a purpose in the storytelling between Kumiko and Reina, but it works better being subtle because hibike is a work of subtle story-telling. When you start inflating some of those components that worked well being on the low, it becomes distracting because then i become aware of why it’s being done aka “buy our blu-rays everybody”. Now it doesnt feel genuine anymore.

        • skylion says:

          …I’m just don’t see that as being KyoAni’s business model. People went on and on about Free being fujoshi bait and such, and I just didn’t see that; and if convinced to buy just on that reason, site unseen I would have wanted my money back. “Yuri-bait” seems conflated in this context. As for harem, that’s not a good connection, as a harem is exactly as advertised and if you let yourself believe that there is an OTP in it, then you can only blame yourself; as all harem is made so fans can debate “Best Girl” for no other reason than to have it.

          This is so far away from what I watched, which was the beginning of a close relationship, that is based on breaking down boundaries, and done in a way that suggests that it works on many levels.

          As for gravitas, with all due respect It’s a paradigm I do not accept or even respect. Same gender relationships are just that…relationships, having the just the right amount of gravity it requires.

          …as for subtle, we all have our own measures about what that is, for me, the scenes were very subtle, and well paced, and very acceptable as just that. Titilation suggests you are in the game. I never felt that, as I was a privileged, yet limited observer.

          • sonicsenryaku says:

            “As for harem, that’s not a good connection, as a harem is exactly as advertised and if you let yourself believe that there is an OTP in it, then you can only blame yourself”

            exactly my point my friend; but most anime harems try to make one pairing seem legit, and then never capitalize on it which makes it pointless to do so. it’d be one thing if it was meant to be a cock tease to flame the “best girl” or “best guy” wars but nah, it actually tries to make one contestant stand out among the others which defeats the point of the series being a harem. It’s not exactly as advertised whether viewers try to let themselves believe it or not…mostly. I meant take the witches anime airing as a perfect example.

            And i guess we’re just gonna have to agree to disagree with Kyoani being a business model because in my opinion they can be very corporate. Not all the time mind you, but very often they can be. And i cant see how free would not be seen as a corporate decision; the anime was made only because of how popular the commercial was and the demand from fans to make it an anime (but hey it was still enjoyable). However, I wont bash a work from them just because it has a similar style to the rest. I give everything a chance and hibike was actually a big surprise in how good it turned out to be. I think this series has a way with storytelling that most anime fail to do and it’s sad. Some people have gotten so used to conventional storytelling from anime that they have forgotten what it means to let your visuals do the story telling for you. Kyoani has shown a bit of that in Hibike and i greatly appreciate it for that.

            and regards to same sex relationships, I agree with you as well, but im just stating the reality of those relationships in storytelling medium. They unarguably make more waves with viewers emotions and beliefs than hetero relationships, which is what i was referring to with gravitas.

            • skylion says:

              Yes, the Free PV came out in advance of the show, but not that far in advance. They had that show in production, and the PV was a calculation. They have a business model, we can agree on that, I just disagree with your take on. In so far as the “yuri-bait” is considered, one moment in eight episodes? If they are using it that way, that’s not the best way to lure the fish, or even additional fish.

            • sonicsenryaku says:

              fair enough

  4. Joojoobees says:

    The thing I really like about Reina is that she likes music. At first she might have been very competitive. But she really likes music and that was soon evident in the duet on the mountain.

    • skylion says:

      …It’s how she makes herself special. Which is something I didn’t really touch upon, seeing as she stated it as well as could….

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