Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 03

Euphonium S2 - Asuka letting it out

Asuka, alone with her thoughts and her music

winter15-highw There are shows that have an episode that’s great, and you spend the whole series hoping that the next episode will be as good as the great one, and they usually aren’t, but having that great episode makes you think fondly of the show overall. And then there are series like Hibike! Euphonium, where “great” is the default, and it’s just picking out which is the greatest part of any individual episode.

What Are Your Feelings?

Euphonium S2 - ragged out

This is totally understandable

So Kumiko’s promised meeting with Asuka is coming, but prior to that there’s a hard day of camp to go through. The regimen that Kumiko describes sounds absolutely hellish, I gotta say. Two pieces, ten times in a row, over two hours of play time with just two minute breaks, and I’m sure it ends up being almost 3 hours. I’m actually surprised that their lips aren’t just mush by the end of that, but they have been doing a lot of practice, both before the Kyoto competition and after, so it’s not unbelievable (and Midori’s probably got some amazing calluses by this point). And Asuka, monster that she is, uses the 20-minute break to go practice on her own some more. As she reflects on it during the break, it almost seemed like Kumiko was actually surprised that Asuka would agree to talk to her seriously. But now that it’s agreed, Kumiko’s a bit stressed about it.

Euphonium S2 - Happy for Kumiko

Even Gotou is smiling at Kumiko’s win

All that practicing is paying off for the group, tho. As an aside, I find it kind of interesting that the performances that they’re using actually sound like they’re getting better as they go. I find it fascinating that the professional musicians that they’re getting to perform this are able to dial the quality of their performances up and down to match these kids. They truly are ‘acting’ just as much as the voice actors. But that also means that the characters are getting better, and that results in some personal vindication for them, as Kumiko is told to accompany Asuka on the part that she was excluded from in the previous competition.

Euphonium S2 - Hashimoto teaches

Hashimoto’s actually teaching, but Mizore might not be listening at this point

But there are others that are coming into focus, and Mizore is one of them, as she’s called out by Hashimoto-sensei. Her notes and tune are great, but she’s just playing the notes. And it’s almost like she doesn’t really understand his criticism, which is entirely believable. Music, like any art form, is an expressive art form, but there is a technical component that, at pretty much any level below the very top, will dominate as far as evaluation of a performance. And Kitauji is just now crossing that boundary, so this is probably the first time that Mizore has been challenged on the expressive artistry of her playing. We’ll see if she can find that emotional wellspring, perhaps the turmoil that she feels at the thought of Nozomi, and the ability to focus that into her playing, maybe even as a way to provide herself a catharsis. The solo part that they’re talking about is a bit wistful, and that emotion may provide the right feeling. But for now, I’m sure she mostly feels picked on.

Euphonium S2 - Hazuki working hard

I loved that they showed what Team Monaka is doing, working hard through the camp

Adult Class, Part 2

Euphonium S2 - I think she's happy to have talked

I actually think that Asuka is happy that Kumiko asked

Kumiko’s still trying to learn Asuka’s reasoning for not wanting Nozomi back in the band, and in the end it comes back down to Mizore. Asuka knows that Mizore can’t stand Nozomi, like we saw from her almost throwing up at the sound of her flute, and thinks that it would be a big problem if the only oboe they have has a crisis because someone she hates is back in the band. Even worse, someone who doesn’t realize they are hated, because Nozomi doesn’t understand Mizore’s dislike of her and blithely goes on as if they were good friends. And I’m sure that everyone’s first read of this is as a simple calculating move on Asuka’s part, weighing the sole oboe against a redundant flute, but I think there’s a lot more in the equation, including kindness and happiness. How much is Nozomi’s happiness lowered by not being in the band? It’s certainly less than the amount that Mizore’s happiness would be lowered by her return.

Euphonium S2 - shouldn't but can't help it

Eavesdropping is a bad thing to do, but sometimes you gotta

The big problem for Kumiko, and the reason that Asuka tried to warn her off asking in the first place, is that it’s not really something that can be told to Nozomi, unless one was trying to hurt her. Asuka even says she’s “not that much of a monster”. Now Kumiko needs to digest the information, and decide what she’s going to do. But she’s probably helped by her encounter with Yuuko, who confirms Asuka’s thoughts, and is probably in an even worse position, trying to put off Natsuki. We learned last episode that Natsuki feels some guilt about her (really minor) role in Nozomi leaving, but nobody wants to be the one to tell her outright that Mizore hates Nozomi. Welcome to adult problems, Kumiko.

Euphonium S2 - surprise

Tomoyo Kurosawa has some of the best “waah!” and “geh!” exclamations

Euphonium S2 - lots to think about

Even more things to think about

But that’s not even where the adult problems for Kumiko end, as she’d also had a conversation with Hashimoto-sensei about Taki-sensei, after she’d encouraged Reina to put her plan to ask Taki-sensei if he was involved with Niiyama-sensei. And even if Kumiko isn’t a gossip, she still wants to know things, so learning that Taki-sensei is a widower is definitely something she wants to know about. Hashimoto’s story of Taki’s depression after his wife’s death, and his friends subsequent happiness at his seeming emergence from that sadness, are the kinds of things that happen to adults, and that I think it’s good for Kumiko to be exposed to. No, she can’t tell Reina about it now, but it’ll definitely be something that comes up later.

Euphonium S2 - detail with Reina

I love the details like the juggling balls that Riko-senpai (I think) has.


I think that it’s an interesting refutation of her thinking last episode that Reina is much more “grown up”, inside and out, than Kumiko is. Looking at Reina’s crush on her teacher, her certainty that she’s in love with him seems so high school, compared to the uncertainty of Kumiko’s thoughts about his wife’s death, and about Nozomi, Mizore, Yuuko, Natsuki, and everything else. Being unsure of yourself isn’t childish, especially when they’re such difficult things to think about. And the end of the episode gives her something else to think about, seeing Asuka performing all alone out in the middle of a field. I think the biggest question is whether Kumiko will be able to sort out her thoughts and keep getting better.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

3 Responses to “Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 03”

  1. HannoX says:

    Well, all the speculation about why Asuka didn’t want Nozomi back in the band, including mine, was wrong. But it is believable. Mizore feels betrayed by Nozomi and when you think a friend has betrayed you your feelings can easily turn to hatred. Although hatred may be too strong a word, there is no doubt that Mizore’s feelings are such that Nozomi rejoining the band would make her almost physically ill.

    I’m even more impressed with Asuka than I was up to now, and that was already considerably. She knows telling Nozomi the real reason she can’t rejoin the band would cause considerable hurt, so instead she’s willing to play the villain. Many adults could not take on that burden. But I do wonder if in the long run it would be better to tell Nozomi the truth so she and Mizore could hopefully patch things up between them.

    Then there’s Asuka’s practicing even during breaks. She is one tough and determined character. I loved the closing scene with her standing in the meadow playing. While she is a very strong person, there is something very melancholy and isolating about her taking on the burden of doing the hard things that are best for the band and for others.

    So now we know why Taki-sensei despite the level of his talent that could land him more prestigious jobs has taken on the role of band director for a high school not know for its musical talent.

    • Highway says:

      I’m not going to be so quick to decide why Mizore can’t stand the sight of Nozomi. I don’t know if she’s the type to feel so betrayed, or hate her. As Asuka said, it’s more of a trauma thing, but as to what the actual reasoning is, it’s hard to determine with such a “to-herself” person.

      We had found out Taki-sensei’s reason for coming to Kitauji in the first season: He was assigned there. Especially for non-senior teachers in Japan, there is a lot of moving them around. But perhaps he’ll be able to stick there, instead of getting reshuffled.

      • HannoX says:

        Yes, Taki-sensei was assigned there, but with his talent if he had stuck with teaching he probably would have been assigned to a more musically inclined school. So we only got part of the reason the first season and now we have the rest of the story.

        I did say hate was probably too strong a word for how Mizore felt about Nozomi, but Asuka and Yuuko seem to think it rises to that level or is at least close to it in that she can’t even stand the sight of her.

Leave a Reply