Hibike! Euphonium – 12

Hibike! 12-1

Sometimes it helps to get angry…

“I want to improve”. It’s easier said than done, and the gods don’t always smile on those that try the hardest, but may just always wink at the ones that give it something extra. What sorts of extras? Well let’s see what we can see…

So, summer break has started at Kitauji High, and that means the band is in full time practice mode. After clearing all the hurdles of the second auditions, it’s time for them to hit the ground running and knuckle under.

I Can Hear the Sound I Want in My Head

A false assurance pays a bad dividend

Art takes passion, and passion is a greedy enterprise. It wants all of your emotions both high and low, from the top of affirmation, to the breathlessness of frustration. From a certain point of view, it demands it, and most certainly needs it. From the beginning of the series, Kumiko has been our stoic narrator (and there is still a part of me that is curious as to whether she is a reliable one, but that is another issue). As Reina states quite clearly in episode eight, she wants to peel that goody goody skin right off her. This episode, I think Kumiko beat her to the punch.

I don’t think it’s an understatment to say that she has some confidence issues. But that is probably the smallest of things she faces. The largest is “what do you want to do?”. A simple question that is deceptive from the outset. As Kumiko muses on practice, she is under the belief that if she keeps up the same amount of work as the rest of the band, she’ll be fine. But the cracks are starting to show, as her earlier capacity to work under pressure in the auditions is starting to wane. What she had then is not enough to get her where she needs to be now.

I Want To Improve

You can keep your fight scenes and cool characters, this was the best animation of the season

It takes her some time to get where she need to be, and thankfully, it isn’t terribly draining on her. As it is, the outcome was rather foregone, and she either could get to it and succeed, or never realize it and be to late. And it’s more than really really wanting to do this. Or going along with the others. This is the place she has to be. There is no other place she would rather be. She has to love the euphonium. She has to love it better than Asuka and Natsuki. She has to love it better than Reina loves trumpet. But first she has to get really really pissed off at herself for not realizing it in the first place. At least that is my read on it. It takes a bit of a head spin back to the past to get her there. A perfect moment of “Oh, I’ve seen this feeling before”.

A great bit of direction was how Taki-sensei bookends this episode. From the beginning, his instructions, mixed in with Kumiko’s nararration, I got the deep impression that he was trying to reach just her. I’ve been thinking that she has been speaking to us from some near future point, and it feels that she is acknowledging what he had to teach her in both the technical sense, and in the sense of being happy with what you do.

Here and Now, Then and There

Other Things Take Shape

But it’s not all that serious. I love how Reina is making the effort to bury the hatchet. In past episodes the likeliest of targets was right between the bow ties, but here she is coming around. She directly apologizes for being “smug”, and that is a fair assessment. It’s one thing to best one of the best, but reminding the team that directly, even under pressure, requires some walking back to get things going forward. I know that Kaori is receptive, and a bit demure about, but we all know, and surely Natsuki knows that it’s going to take Ribbon-chan a bit more effort perhaps.

Hibike! 12-6

Second Best Ship….

On Kumiko’s home front she has a few more “confrontations” with her older sister. I don’t know what else to call them, but I know this situation is almost like a long tailed cat in a rocking chair factory. We come a bit closer to seeing why it’s so tense beyond simple sibling mutual griefing. Kumiko had two good comebacks, shooting right back with her sister not making the college she wants and quitting band, then just putting her in the “I’m not quite so comfortable with this moment” zone declaring her love for the Euph! Add to that, her chance encounter with Aoi; who is happy with her choice to leave the band, and Kumiko gets a bit more confidence in herself.

Kumiko x Reina

Oh, sweet love of mine at last I’ve found you!

I still can’t help but laugh, even as I write this. But Kumiko needing to meet with Reina right after her recent self-discoveries was quite precious in it’s own right. I love how fast and deep a friendship they’ve developed. Some still argue the yuri aspect of it, but I think that is a false flag. Because have you ever know a production to not knock that down your alley from the get-go? Regardless, this moonlight rendezvous doesn’t go quite as planned. Right as Kumiko drops “I was just alone with Taki-sensei” BOOM, she finds the love of her life! Eupho-kun! And that is her track, and her only track, leaving Reina feeling confused, and maybe even a little bit angry. I still don’t know if Kumiko is totally trolling on that or not…

Hibike! 12-14

Join us next time as Reina reveals herself as loyal to House Bolton

Remember to Hydrate!

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Final Thoughts

Well I’ve said quite a bit, so I’ll leave my final thoughts short. Next time we are heading to the last episode and the much anticipated competition. I have no clue how this will turn out. As far as I know, the show is super popular in Japan, and that can certainly warrant a second series. Since I’ve not read the novels the story is based on, I can only guess at the shape of things to come. I’m riding on them winning…something. Not dud gold, cause that’s just lame writing right there, and the show has proven it doesn’t do ever do that. So with that in mind, you tell me how you think it will end….


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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6 Responses to “Hibike! Euphonium – 12”

  1. Namaewoinai says:

    So Basically this episode is kinda like…yup!

    Rehydrate or blame the sun heat! and whoa…

    Seems like too much heat exposure will had nosebleed.
    uh…I don’t experience that actually? but i experience some dizziness kinda lot!

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, I feel more like a baked good in the hot sun than nosebleedy. But it takes all kinds I guess…

  2. Highway says:

    I think Kumiko should get a little more slack than maybe you’re giving her as far as her promising that she’d get the part down. I think that the time that Taki-Sensei took the part away from her was still 10 days out. She thought she’d have plenty of time to polish it up, but never got the chance to. I can see both sides of that, but it sucks for Kumiko who was working her lips off.

    And that kind of practice is something that’s so hard to do. When you’re doing it over and over and over, you get into a rhythm of doing it, and get to a point where you get it right 9 times out of 10. But then you get to that point in the song, and you’re thinking about it coming up, and you screw it up, coming in late or early or flubbing the fingering or whatever. And it makes you look like a chump.

    I think that Kumiko gets the right amount of credit from her friends and bandmates. They saw and heard the effort. They feel bad for her that she got shut down, but they also realize that it’s Taki-sensei’s call. From Midori talking her up, to Reina’s calling again and again to try to check up on her, they’re all supportive of her.

    I need so much more of this show…

    • skylion says:

      I don’t think I was pulling her rope to hard, now. But what do I know of music, eh?

      How long do you think Kumiko left Reina hanging at the end there? That’s a funny, but cruel trick to play…

      I’m hoping they get enough credit for the show for a new season, similar to free. A movie would be fine, but I like it as an episodic.

      • Highway says:

        Well, it more felt like you got the timeline wrong. It’s not that Kumiko wasn’t able to learn the part satisfactorily in the time she had, it’s that Taki gave her the hook way before that.

        I don’t know if it was a trick at all, it was just Kumiko wasn’t thinking about Reina’s main concern because she was consumed with her own concerns and revelations.

        • skylion says:

          She was feeling pressure, regardless of timeline.

          …and let me have my internal humor, will ya?

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