Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 06

Euphonium S2 - making do

How could you nyaat like this?

winter15-highw A Cultural Festival and a Typhoon, two things that happen regularly, but are “special” events, but the things that happen unrelated to them are more unexpected.

A New Take on the Cultural Festival

Euphonium S2 - Asuka Shiki-san

Asuka is the guest conductor again, I wonder how she gets picked for it

Euphonium S2 - Aggressive advertising

Cake Sets and Gymnastics

Usually, the cultural festival in a high school anime is a revered, exciting time. Lots of special preparation, unrealistically well-done events, the highlight of many an anime. And then there’s the way it was presented here. I love that it’s as cheap as it is, with corny substitutes for reality, and that everyone’s interested, but it’s not the best thing to ever happen. That helps keep the focus of the show on the characters, but they never mention how they actually manage to get the self-conscious Kumiko to join in with trying to hype up their maid cafe. Not that it particularly works.

Euphonium S2 - Natsuki's unsubtle harassment

More Hate-Love from Natsuki to Yuuko

Euphonium S2 - not-cute kouhai doesn't play along

Asuka pouts when her favorite kouhai doesn’t act cute

After that, Kumiko and Reina spend some time going around, to the stuffed animal pet cafe, and running into Kaori-senpai, but leaving Kumiko alone to go see what Asuka is doing. I wonder how Asuka really thinks of Kumiko, the kouhai who won’t really defer to her, who challenges her corny, bubbly front. I have to think that Asuka at least enjoys a part of it, maybe a lot of it. But we’re also getting more of Shuichi with Kumiko, and it’s being made obvious that Shuichi’s got a lot more in the way of feelings for Kumiko. It’ll just take Kumiko a while to get to a point where she even cares to think about that kind of thing. I really love her responses to the others’ knowing looks and suggestive observations, because they really make it clear to me that Kumiko’s not playing hard to get, being coy, or even being tsun. She’s just not thinking about love. She’s just busy with other stuff.

Euphonium S2 - just a coincidence

It just means she’s scared of the dark, right?

Rainy Day Revelations

Euphonium S2 - putting the boot in

Tables have turned, huh?

Typhoons (and hurricanes) can be destructive, but they’re also a special, exciting time for me. Even though they suck: it’s hot (the weirdest part) and rains a lot and can make the electricity go out. But they can also set a mood, making it feel closed in, especially when the mood in the house goes sour, like it does when Kumiko’s sister Mamiko drops the bombshell that she wants to drop out of school. I think we’ve been seeing throughout that her school isn’t going particularly well, with her coming and going, the snapping between Kumiko and Mamiko, and her mom’s hints earlier. But now it’s reached a point where she wants to quit enough to vocalize it to her parents, the people it probably matters the most to. And it’s interesting that Kumiko just can’t resist a chance to “put the boot in,” giving her sister an unneeded tongue-wagging out of her own history of disagreements with her.

Euphonium S2 - Opening the door

A special accessory, and a door into a serious topic

We’d seen last season, in the same conversation that Kumiko declared her reason for playing (“I like playing the Euphonium!”) that Mamiko had failed to get into her preferred college, even after quitting band to focus on studying. I think that a lot of the friction between the sisters is that Kumiko may feel like she lost a connection, a commonality with her sister when she quit the band, and especially because her sister had so often hectored Kumiko to study more for college (as a first year high school student!). So now her declaration that she wants to quit is Kumiko’s opportunity for some righteous indignation and even some schadenfreude. And it’s probably a good decision on Kumiko’s part to get out of the house, even if it is to go out in a typhoon.

Euphonium S2 - a brief explanation

Even if the weather’s bad, there are things you don’t put off

Which leads to meeting Taki-sensei at a local flower shop. Neither one should be out, but there they are (the kind of coincidence that would drive Reina up a wall if she knew about it). And I think it’s indicative of the kind of personality that Kumiko’s shown so far, that one of striving to grow up and to understand the adult world as I’ve mentioned before, that maybe gets the adults more willing to talk. But there’s also a bit of the situation where adults want to talk about things. Even reticent Japanese want to talk about the things that are happening to them, and Kumiko is actually a good listening board for them. Hashimoto-sensei wanted to talk about how glad he was that Taki-sensei was reengaging with music, and now Taki-sensei I think wants to talk about his wife. It’s a little too personal to talk about how today is likely the anniversary of the day she died, but talking instead about the things that she wanted to do is acceptable enough, especially to someone like Kumiko.

Euphonium S2 - so many thoughts in her head

Terrific shot composition

And what she wanted to do was take her school to Nationals and win gold. A former student at Kitauji, a former student of Tooru Taki, and someone who apparently cared enough about his son Noboru Taki to marry him, she wanted to become a teacher and take Kitauji to get the gold they never could get. So much convergence of circumstances, but she didn’t live to see it. And now Noboru is taking Kitauji to Nationals, a long time after their last trip, a school that noone would have thought had a chance. And what Kumiko sees, getting this other side of the story, is that Taki-sensei is at least as invested in their goal of going to Nationals as the students now are, without overtly putting any kind of expectation on them. The whole time, back to the second episode of the first season, has been “You decided this, you are the ones working hard for this”, but now Kumiko realizes that Taki-sensei wants it as much for himself as any of the rest of them do. But it’s not greedy or sinister, just romantic and happy.


For whatever reason, I was thinking about the differences between Hibike! Euphonium and most of the other Kyoto Animation series. And something that I ended up thinking is that it’s forward-looking in a way that most of the others aren’t. I really feel like Euphonium is showing us about Kumiko striving to become an adult, to understand what being an adult means, and how to deal with that. To me, this contrasts a lot with a show like K-On!, covering the same part of life, but which could be said to be more of a “last hurrah of childhood”. I realize that the only relation between the two shows is the studio producing the show, but I still think there’s an interesting contrast. Kumiko is asking adult questions, getting adult answers, and learning about adult hopes and failures, whereas the girls of Houkago Tea Time were looking to put off their responsibilities, have some fun, hold onto those excuses, and take the last opportunity to be goofy before they get thrust out of school. I don’t know if this even deserves this amount of analysis, but it was just something that occurred to me.


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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2 Responses to “Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 06”

  1. skylion says:

    I don’t know if this even deserves this amount of analysis, but it was just something that occurred to me

    I think I surely gave the show much more than this on more than a few occasions. But that’s a goodly amount from you, and just fine in any regards. And pretty spot on drawing the contrasts between the two.

    But there is a subtle connection:

    …aprons are different…

    We’ve both known for some time that Kumiko’s sister had a much deeper story, and I’ve enjoyed how they explore it in such a short, but still very deep style. That’s some thinkin’ going on in the script and direction…

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, I had seen that comparison image, and that’s part of what made me start thinking about a comparison between K-On! and Euphonium. Plus, I like that that comparison image shows the relative cheapness of the school festival dresses (no frills, same ribbons, single color socks).

      The more one thinks about the script and direction of the show, the more impressed one has to be. I think about all the things that are presented in this TV show that just couldn’t be done in the novels, or even in the adaptation web manga. It really is spectacular to come up with this final product in any case.

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