Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 10

Euphonium S2 - So my parents won't be home this sunday...

“Yep, they’ll be gone the whole weekend…”

winter15-highw We like when a story gets some things out of the way before the last push to the end, especially when they put them together this way.

Looking Back With Regret

Euphonium S2 - talent

Bonding over… food?

After the blowup with Mamiko a couple episodes ago, and Mamiko’s attempt to start a reconciliation having been reminded of Kumiko’s reason for playing in the band in the first place, we get the second meaningful conversation between these two sisters this episode. Opening with a kitchen disaster from Mamiko, these two end up in the same room finally having the time and temperament to discuss things. It’s not for nothing that Mamiko’s action during the conversation is cleaning up her mess from a failed attempt at cooking. That’s what she’s trying to do with her whole life, clean up the mess that she’s gotten herself into. And it’s not one of those dire messes, like she’s pregnant or owes bad people a lot of money or anything like that. It’s just that kind of mess that feels like you’re being buried under someone else’s expectations and obligations.

Euphonium S2 - Mamikos frustration

Taking out your frustrations on the cooked-on food is better than your sister

And then to see someone else getting around those expectations and obligations, seemingly scot free, it’s understandable to bristle a bit at that. But Mamiko let that go too far, leading to the blowup. I love the way she describes what she thought she had to do: “Going along with what other people want, complaining the whole way but still doing it.” I think that the Japanese concept of “Ganbaru” has a lot to do with this* and it led to Mamiko essentially abdicating on her own decision-making, and just doing what her mother had suggested. So no wonder, when Kumiko gets to stay in band, doesn’t get pestered about college, and just is allowed to enjoy her high school life (all 6 months of it, so far), Mamiko feels a bit shafted. I think the “Mom always liked you best” kind of conversation is one that all siblings will have, because everyone inflates the importance of things they don’t like. But I’m sure that it’s a combination of all those things: Parents expectations for the first child that wane for the second, favoring the one that seems to be having success.

Euphonium S2 - two sisters coming to the same level

Coming together and discussing it

I think Mamiko’s probably more right about Kumiko than Kumiko is about Mamiko, but the end point is that Mamiko has finally found her own spine and is going to do what she wants, even if it costs her what seems to be a comfortable situation from the outside and causes the family embarrassment. And the important bit may be that Mamiko voices that she has regrets about her past decisions to go along with the adults, to give up what she actually wanted. I love that Mamiko is saying she accepts the regrets and the results of the decisions, not saying that it’s her parents fault (even a couple episodes ago, she was accepting of her father’s charge that she made the decisions herself, although she did say how difficult she felt it would have been to make a different decision given the atmosphere), and that she wants to move on from here. But to go back to that theme that I’ve had throughout the whole story, that this is Kumiko learning to be an adult, Mamiko’s parting words are the big lesson for Kumiko: Don’t be left with regrets.

Euphonium S2 - Is this feeling why Kumiko doesn't give up

These things do make you sad, tho.

(*) We often see “ganbaru” forms translated as “good luck” or “best wishes” or other phrases in English that are rather meaningless expressions of support. But my understanding of the Japanese concept of ganbaru is that it doesn’t have this kind of “all positive” meaning. There is a responsibility that is placed on the person being talked to. It’s more literally an obligation to “do your best”. And if you don’t, either due to inability or lack of effort, it can actually rise to the level of an insult to a person who told you that. So if it’s coming from a parent, it’s easy to see why Mamiko felt not only that she should do her best, but that she must do what they want, even when her heart wasn’t in it.

And That Goes for You, Too

Euphonium S2 - Facing the inquisitors

The interrogation squad!

So with Mamiko’s part finished, it’s to the other person pretending to be an adult, Asuka. Kumiko is surprised when she overhears Asuka telling Haruka and Kaori that she’s fine with quitting the band before Nationals, especially since that was directly contradicting what she told Kumiko just a few days before. And for whatever reason, this spurs Kumiko into action, actually going up to Asuka’s classroom and asking to speak to her. In their ensuing conversation, Asuka has clearly decided she’s just going to go along with it, so that she doesn’t make waves or trouble. Even when Kumiko tries to say that everyone wants her back in the band, she shoots that idea down with “of course they’d say that.” I think that she’s certainly throwing shade here, since probably everyone in the band would acknowledge that Asuka is likely the single best musician in the band, and knows that they have a much better chance at gold with her than with Natsuki. But honne and tatemae are a thing, and when pressed, Kumiko just cannot say how sure she is.

Euphonium S2 - Is Asuka just pushing her over the edge

Is Asuka pushing her just a little more for a reason?

Euphonium S2 - you cant see how much you affected me

When your club kouhai shows how much they care about you…

Interestingly, Asuka brings up Kumiko’s role in dealing with Reina’s audition and with Mizore’s worries about Nozomi, but to point out that in both those cases, Kumiko wasn’t really doing anything. She observed, she was nearby, but what did she really do? She didn’t get involved in the resolution, and stayed on the periphery, and Asuka asks “Do you really believe anyone would tell someone like you how they really feel?” Of course, the answer is yes: Asuka herself did the same thing. Now, perhaps that’s part of the reason that Asuka felt safe in unburdening herself to Kumiko. Perhaps she thought that Kumiko wouldn’t make a fuss about it, and she could get it out of her head, and maybe have some catharsis in telling the story, to help her accept that she can’t do anything about it. And that’s maybe shy she’s so surprised that Kumiko moves away from “everyone” to her selfish desires: “I want to play in the band with you.”

Euphonium S2 - Riko reacts first

Riko still has better reactions

Euphonium S2 - Finally back together

tfw you get that familiar face next to you back


Maybe the reason that Kumiko didn’t do anything with those other situations is because she didn’t have to. Or maybe the advice from her sister is what spurs her on. But now is the time to pass that advice on to Asuka: Don’t make decisions you know you’ll regret. And you’re in high school, act like a high schooler. I think that’s been one of the best things that the show has shown us, that Kumiko is learning not just how to be an adult, but when it’s good to be a “child”. It’s really not childish to want the things you want. It’s not childish to do the things you need to to get them, even if it means someone else doesn’t get what they want. One should fulfill their responsibilities, yes. But that doesn’t mean blindly accepting all the responsibilities that others try to foist on us. “Do not confuse ‘duty’ with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily.”

Euphonium S2 - Kumiko has had enough

And once again, great work by Tomoyo Kurosawa. It’s hard to say about the ‘professionalism’ of voice work, but what always gets me about Kurosawa’s acting as Kumiko is how authentic it is. This specific time, I’m talking about the way her breath tailed off as she finished a sentence in that pivotal scene with Asuka. Would it be more “professional” to finish the line strong? To have enough breath to get to the end? Or is it a case where she could have done that, but didn’t because that’s what the scene needed. That’s what the acting is: sounding like a crying, shouting, gasping 16-year-old girl desperate to get her feelings through to a person she looks up to. And for me it was perfect.


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

5 Responses to “Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 10”

  1. Rin says:

    I don’t know why but it feels like Asuka would have come back to the club on her own even without Kumiko’s intervention.

    • Highway says:

      Hmm, that’s possible, but that wouldn’t really have been indicated by what she was saying. She wasn’t saying anything like “If I score well I’ll convince my mom with that.” She was talking like she was done. And following along with what she was saying about being a burden or trouble for the band, it would seem that changing her mind about that would be more of a burden, so once that decision was out there, I think she was done.

      That’s why I think that without Kumiko’s appeal, Asuka would have just moved on from band, at least in the time period until Nationals.

      • Rin says:

        She wasn’t saying anything like “If I score well I’ll convince my mom with that.”

        True, but part of me thinks she had already decided to come back and was just messing with Kumiko. Mind you, it’s just the impression I got.

        On a related note, she was wrong about Kumiko not doing anything for Reina during the audition thing. Reina was hesitating back then and considered throwing away the audition, and it was Kumiko who helped Reina get her determination back. That was actually one of my favorite scenes in the first season so it came to mind right away when Asuka mistakenly claimed Kumiko didn’t get involved.

        Of course, Asuka probably don’t know about that, but my point is she shouldn’t assume she knows shit about Kumiko in the first place.

        • Highway says:

          Interesting that you think that Kumiko did more with Reina than Asuka, since I think the opposite: that Reina throwing the audition, even if it made her the bad guy without Kumiko’s support, was far less likely than Asuka coming back without Kumiko’s interference here.

          But we also know that Asuka was intentionally downplaying Kumiko’s roles in the conversation since, as I mentioned, she says “Do you really believe someone would tell someone like you their true feelings?” when Asuka had admittedly invited her over just to do that exact thing.

          • skylion says:

            Asuka really does strike me as someone that wants to maintain control over her reputation and actions, and she does so with dignity and aplomb, she’s learned some patience. Now, imagine the character turned an angle or two…well you’d have Ribbon wouldn’t you?

Leave a Reply