Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 04

Euphonium S2 - Asuka accepts Kumiko more

Despite Kumiko’s questions, I think Asuka is opening up her real self to her

winter15-highw Character arcs have to conclude sometime and this episode brought the end of the Mizore – Nozomi arc. But how it ended gave me a couple of mixed feelings watching it different times. Why? Well, let’s find out.

Back to the Grind

Euphonium S2 - surprise

Kumiko’s surprised face

Not that “Ten Times in a Row” isn’t a grind, but training camps are a special case, and have a special feel to them. Now everyone’s back home, and the final drive to prepare for the Kansai Regional competition is on. And the side news that the band is interested in is their position in the play order for the competition. Nobody can be too upset with 16th out of 23. In a competition of good performers, going first is pretty much a death sentence, because judges always hold back good scores at the beginning, and recency bias makes the competitors you heard later be thought of better. Hashimoto-sensei makes the good point when the worry about following Myoujou arises: All the teams are good, they all had to win difficult competitions to even get there. Play the way you usually do, and just let things fall where they will.

Euphonium S2 - apology

An apology and pep talk

The main thrust of the episode quickly goes back to the continuing worries about Mizore and Nozomi. There are all sorts of good aspects happening here. First Niiyama-sensei actually apologizes to Mizore for not speaking up to her before Hashimoto-sensei gave her a hard time at the camp. Nobody argues that Hashimoto was wrong, but Niiyama makes the excuse that she had just accepted that Mizore’s solo part was ‘good enough’ for a high school student, even if she felt it was lacking musically. Perhaps the key things she says are that the playing makes her feel “heavy”, and that Mizore is allowed to have more fun while playing. But Mizore doesn’t really seem to understand what playing “with emotion” is, something that makes me think later.

The Crashing Wave

Euphonium S2 - old and new friend

The newer friend correcting the older friend

Maybe Kumiko isn’t able to go to Nozomi with what Asuka said, but she still feels a responsibility to the band to try to minimize any drama. So when Nozomi says she’s going to go find Mizore and ask her what’s wrong, Kumiko takes a second and realizes that that would be bad. But that second is likely because Kumiko is surprised at what Nozomi says about Mizore: She plays with a lot of passion, and “is like an explosion of emotion.” This is so far from Kumiko’s experience with Mizore that it’s not surprising she can’t react quickly. Haruka and Kaori interrupt that current crisis, but that doesn’t stop Nozomi for long, as she sneaks up to the band hallway and finally approaches Mizore, who reacts about like we’d expect, running away. So the search is on for the girl who ran away, including Kumiko.

Euphonium S2 - Yuuko gets violent

Yuuko is just a little frustrated with Mizore

And of course, it’s Kumiko who eventually finds Mizore, hiding in an unused classroom, and this gives the show an opportunity to explain the real circumstances: Mizore doesn’t hate Nozomi, and it’s not Nozomi’s fault. It’s Mizore who has pulled back from her, stemming from the situation when Nozomi quit. We heard that she didn’t even talk to Mizore about it, and what that ended up doing was make Mizore doubt whether Nozomi was really her friend. This was a classic situation where a ‘best friend’ one way was just ‘a friend’ the other way, as the reticent Mizore has been worried for the past year whether Nozomi cared about her at all.

Having The Wrong Idea

Euphonium S2 - Mizore gets her answer

Mizore finally hears the truth from Nozomi

But rather than find out definitively, Mizore has held onto the hope by not talking to Nozomi, while fearing the “truth” that she knows would come from asking. And that fear and hesitation has crept into her playing, via that “straightforward personality” that Nozomi describes. She “doesn’t know” why she is still in the band, but knows that it’s her only connection and memory of her friend. That it all comes out now is troublesome, but maybe not so bad, because the truth isn’t that Nozomi wanted to abandon Mizore. It’s that Mizore didn’t seem disaffected with band, and Nozomi felt like she couldn’t ask her to quit.

Euphonium S2 - snipeysnipe

Yuuko can deadpan with the best

The person who ends up put in kind of a bad place, although she’s probably known it for a while, is Yuuko, whose reality is that she wasn’t really Mizore’s best friend, just ‘the best friend who’s here right now.” I think Yuuko’s justified a bit in a little shouting at Mizore, being shoved down the friend totem pole by someone who’s not even been around. And Mizore’s feeling that Yuuko is only friendly to her out of pity does discount Yuuko far more than she deserves. But that’s probably not really the case, if Mizore were to step back and really think about it. Yuuko continually gets to be the voice of the opposing viewpoint, and it kind of makes her the ‘villain’ of the show, but that’s really only because she’s the one standing up on the other side. And I think that the show has done a great job in making it clear that Yuuko is not a villain, she just kinda seems like one on TV.

Euphonium S2 - This is going to be a future story

A throw-in scene that’ll mean a lot more later, I’m sure

Inappropriate Context Theater

Euphonium S2 - What do you usually use that unused classroom for

This always happens in the unused classroom


The first time watching the show this week it kind of felt a little too coincidental, a little too pat, that the real problem between Mizore and Nozomi would be Mizore, and that it would all work out and that now Mizore would be able to play a beautiful solo. It kind of left me feeling like this episode had been just kind of set up from the beginning. But on the second viewing, I felt like there was more to it, and that there was one key thing from the previous episode that I realized might have really colored my opinion. In the conversation between Asuka and Kumiko, the translation said “she can’t stand that girl”, but listening to it, that’s maybe a little bit too negatively connotative with the translating. Asuka says “Nozomi-chan no koto dame na no”. Yeah, that could be ‘can’t stand’, but I think it’s a lot more like “is no good with” or “can’t deal with.” This episode, Kumiko asks, outright, “Nozomi-senpai no koto kirai”, which is definitely ‘hate’, and I think that difference makes a big distinction. Getting that understanding of hate out of the way before Mizore’s fleeing this episode puts her reconciliation with Nozomi in a much more acceptable space, narratively. And Nozomi’s description of Mizore as ‘straightforward’ helps to understand why her playing could go from flat and rote to joyous and expressive.


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!
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6 Responses to “Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 04”

  1. sonicsenryaku says:

    Guess i wasnt the only one who felt that this ep wasnt hibike’s strongest. The proficiency in the visuals and storytelling technique was still present in this ep, but narratively, the beats of the storytelling didnt quite grab me. I think you captured it quite well why some of this ep just didnt work for me

    • Highway says:

      Maybe not the strongest, but I think it was still good, and that second look really did a lot for my opinion of it. I think that most of the rest of my feelings of this episode being a little weaker stem from the fact it was centered on Mizore, Yuuko, and Nozomi. I actually like seeing Yuuko be a little more around, but a one-shot of Mizore is just not that interesting, when you get down to it, and Nozomi feels too much like a cardboard cutout.

      But hopefully the conclusion of this arc lets us get back to Kumiko, Reina, Hazuki, and Midori.

  2. HannoX says:

    I liked Yuuko’s characterization in this episode. It gives her some depth and we find out she’s not just the troublemaker she seemed in the first series.

    • Highway says:

      I liked what they did with Yuuko in the last episode as well, obviously pointing out the contradiction between her wanting Kaori to play the solo, but not having any problem with the audition process and wanting the best players to be in the band. I thought that was a totally human bit of writing, and letting a character hold those inconsistencies that viewers tend to jump on as ‘bad’. People are not necessarily rational, especially when reason meets feelings.

      Of the three focused characters in this arc, Yuuko definitely comes out the best, but if Mizore and Nozomi kinda disappeared in the background (like Hazuki and Midori did this arc) from now on, that would be more than fine with me.

      • HannoX says:

        Yes, now that the issue between Mizore and Nozomi has been worked out, they should become background characters. An exception would be focusing on Mizore playing her oboe solo during practice and the competition.

        Time to bring Hazuki and Sapphire/Midori back to the fore.

        • Highway says:

          We’ll see what they do with it. I don’t know if they’ll fit in another episode before the competition. Last time they went the last 10 days before the competition in one episode jump. But also, this time the competition probably can’t hold a whole episode, unless it’s about something else happening at the competition. I’d be interested in seeing what else they could come up with for it, but they can’t just redo the previous competition show, and that was pretty much typical for what a band does. They even did the “oh no, we forgot something important” for the Team Monaka OVA.

          They also can’t really bring Hazuki and Midori shenanigans into the fold until they dispense with the next competition, especially Hazuki. She’s just not really involved in anything they’re doing, and the band is taking up the majority of people’s time. And if they are going to Nationals, then that’s another 4 weeks of the same thing. So I think there’s a worry that the story might get a little static, but they will probably come up with something to deal with it.

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