Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 11

Euphonium S2 - always love on Midori's mind

Irrepressible Love Fairy Midori

winter15-highw So we’ve got Mamiko and Asuka’s problems out of the way, but we still have Reina to deal with. Saving the hardest for last here…

It’s Really Obvious

Euphonium S2 - blows past

Just blows past her

Reina is definitely preoccupied, and Kumiko really doesn’t know why. But she’s certainly giving Kumiko the dead eyes, and seems angry at her. Without even the decency to come and tell her why. Kumiko does try to think of a reason when Midori asks, but she admits that she can’t even get Reina to spend any time with her. Instead, Reina’s always leaving first and obviously avoiding Kumiko. Given that Reina doesn’t really have any other friends, this means that she’s back on Reina Island, which she might like if she’s holding a bit of a grudge. Of course, Midori’s thoughts had immediately turned to affairs of the heart, but so close and yet so far, Midori’s stuck on someone confessing to Reina, not the idea that she’s got a ridiculous unrequited crush.

Euphonium S2 - high maintenance

“Man, Kumiko, you really have a horrible personality.”

But even Midori’s idea of ambushing Reina at the school gate doesn’t go as planned, when Reina blows off Kumiko to her face. It’s interesting the conversation the three of them have after that, as Kumiko understands Reina much better than Midori or Hazuki. Kumiko even contradicts Midori’s idea that Reina wouldn’t act like that if she didn’t do anything, saying that she’s kinda bothersome about things like that. Kumiko saying this is rather stunning to Midori and Hazuki, as if they can’t believe that Kumiko just threw her friend under the bus. But that’s Kumiko. If she gets distracted and comfortable, she’ll say out loud whatever’s going through her head. That might get her in actual trouble sometime in the future, but for us here it’s more just fun and interesting. If this had been some other show, that would have been when Reina showed up for us to laugh at Kumiko’s screwup, but Euphonium doesn’t need to engage in such cheap cliches.

Euphonium S2 - a young heartbroken girl

A heartbroken girl

Having It Out

Euphonium S2 - not much comfort

As much comfort as Kumiko can give

But maybe because Kumiko made the effort to get in front of Reina, Reina reaches out to Kumiko to invite her out for a discussion. Not exactly friendly tea, Reina takes them back up to the observation platform on Mount Daikichi. It’s a nice uncomfortable walk, since Reina makes it clear that she’s angry, but won’t spill the reason why. When the subject of Taki-sensei’s wife finally comes up, Kumiko finally gets to hear why Reina’s upset, and it’s definitely not something she could have known about. Reina’s mad that Kumiko didn’t tell her, especially after everyone else figures that she did. I was kind of surprised that Kumiko didn’t really defend herself. There’s plenty she could have said in response. “I shouldn’t have found out, so I couldn’t spread it like a rumor.” But instead she goes with “I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you.” Reina knows this, but it’s that kind of information that maybe you need to get hurt by. Do you tell a wife that their husband is unfaithful them? Eh… It’s not a good situation.

Euphonium S2 - someone she looks up to

First sight

Euphonium S2 - still looking up

and Still looking up for him

And I think Reina’s had this kind of hopeless hope that maybe she could actually be the one to be with Taki-sensei, so to find out, without her even knowing anything about it, that his heart had already gone to another person, it certainly makes her feel like she’s missed a lot. I really think that a lot of her coldness to Kumiko is not because Kumiko didn’t tell her, but more that it’s the only way Reina could take out her feelings on someone to maybe feel a little better.

Euphonium S2 - Reina throws Kumiko under the bus

Kumiko just takes it even when Reina lets her take the blame

But in the end, that doesn’t really make you feel any better. And Kumiko never holds it against Reina, not for the cold shoulder, nor for the multiple buses that Reina throws her under. She even gives a most Kumiko of lines: “He doesn’t have a wife anymore” to comfort Reina, although it’s not much comfort. I do wonder how much of Kumiko’s support of Reina’s romantic pursuit of Taki-sensei is because of being a silly high schooler who thinks it’s cute, how much is because she really loves Reina and wants to see her happy, and how much is sincere belief that Reina and Noboru could actually be a couple. The flashbacks the show presents us certainly show how Noboru has been Reina’s crush for a long time, and definitely don’t show any sort of reciprocal romantic interest, just an adult being nice to a child (in what might have been an extremely difficult time for Noboru, as the one is probably soon after his wife died). Finally asking him straight out what his wife was like, I think Reina is partly looking for information about what it was that attracted Noboru to her, and also to find out more about her. I don’t know if he exactly believes that Kumiko told Reina, but he plays along, even after Reina asks for more personal details. I do like Reina’s conclusion, that Noboru is in love with his wife, and she’s not holding any grudges.

Euphonium S2 - meeting

And now a visit

header-winter15-highw

Euphonium S2 - Yuuko offers

Yuuko’s trying harder, too

Was this the best episode of Hibike! Euphonium? I won’t defend it as such, but even if it was the worst episode, it was one of the best things I saw this month. It certainly doesn’t deserve the shade I’ve seen thrown at it from some places. I rather liked a few aspects of it, such as Yuuko’s attempt to step up and be a senpai to Reina. With the impending retirement of the 3rd years, I’m sure she’s thinking about the next year, and while she seems to have realized she’ll never be the trumpet player that Reina is, she should do what she can to be that senpai that someone can look up to. And I think she does this pretty well, acknowledging that there has been friction between them, but that it really hasn’t been something that led to hate.

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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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20 Responses to “Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 11”

  1. skylion says:

    Irrepressible Love Fairy Midori

    That’s a spin off I’d pay for; will Georgie be her little magic girl style familiar?

    But yeah, some of the shade tossed against this is just blogger make-work; “how dare it not be 10000000000% perfect”. It indulged in some melodrama, this is for sure. Reina’s crush has all the hallmarks, as did Asuka’s troubles last arc. But I think they stopped like a dozen towns down the line from downtown TELEMUNDO SOAP OPERA. If this is how they do their version of a very broad story, then by all means, please do a bit more. It’s melodrama without being overindulgent and simplistic. It’s very immediate without knocking folks over with a mallet of emotion.

    • Highway says:

      And I think the idea that it’s melodramatic can be forgiven due to the mere fact that it’s high school kids. And in Reina’s case, it’s a 16-year-old high school kid who’s not just in love her teacher, but probably also with the idea of being in love with her teacher. And like she says in the episode, she kinda freaked out when she learned he was married, i.e. melodrama. And the episode actually let us get the feel of Reina being melodramatic without having to show it to us and let that mood dominate, since she could just tell us, maintain her cool while talking to Kumiko, and not bring the show down.

      Also, it’s hilarious when Midori, who can’t be more than 4′-10″, is carrying that 6′ double bass around. They aren’t very heavy, about 25 pounds, but it’s awkward for anyone, moreso for someone so much smaller than the instrument.

  2. m says:

    Yuuko’s character has come a long way. She is now one of the most likeble character of Hibike Euphonium while during S1 she was the most hated character.

    What a great character development they gave to her.

    • Highway says:

      Thanks for commenting! I think that they were laying that groundwork from the very beginning with Yuuko, in that it was clear from her initial complaint that she wasn’t really an enemy of Reina, just that she was all-in for Kaori. They even showed how much the whole ordeal hurt her, much more than the rest of the people in the band who picked up the rumor and ran with it. I think Yuuko was just the character people didn’t like in the first season because she was the person the story put out there as the face of the ‘haters’ even if she wasn’t really one.

      That made it really easy for Yuuko to be ‘redeemed’ in the second series, although I actually think that it was in the first series when episode 11 ended with her cry of heartache at Kaori not having her chance to be in the spotlight that she deserves. Yuuko has since continued to be that sort-of “voice of the unnamed band members” but it’s clear that she’s not really an antagonist, just another opinion.

      • skylion says:

        We talked earlier today about people always being the main character in their own story, Yuuko (Ribbon, to me…) was playing support in her own story when it came to Kaori, and that always put things off, thus making her come out as the mean girl face. I’m happy they turned it around with her and gave her some depth, and that it’s paid off.

  3. sonicsenryaku says:

    this is is what i wrote elsewhere about why this ep really didnt work for me; but that doesnt mean it was trash. I dont think viewers (at least the mature ones) expect a series to be 10000000% perfect for it to be good. But if a show stumbles, we gotta call it out for it and i thought this was a stumble for the series narratively; why, because reina’s relationship with takin sensei is devoid of any emotional investment from the viewer. This episode didnt completely fall flat on its face for me because i can get behind what it was trying to do thematically for reina’s character but while i respected it for exploring that avenue, i just didnt care for any of it. I would excuse it if the objective of this series was different, but this the kind of series that demands emotional investment and it felt like this ep was trying to get that out of something it barely explored in any significant way whatsoever.

    But yea this what i had said: and this is one of the parts of euphonium that i will agree with you is the weakest….to a certain degree anyway (it’ll make sense why i say that in the end); Reina’s unrequited love for her teacher. I think a big part of this comes from the fact that the narrative wants us to think that Reina is like this adult girl trapped in a young girls body….but ive never really got that impression from her in the first place and that’s because the story itself does not convey this image well enough. Sure she’s talented with the trumpet and wants to be a special human being but she’s never acted like she’s some mature girl who’s demure outclasses her peers. She’s just a kid; as such, her crush on her sensei just seems like a silly childish crush. And maybe that is also part of the problem; what seems to us like a silly crush is being milked for drama of the highest demand. And perhaps yea we’ve all had a point in our lives that we’ve had a crush on an older adult, but a good amount of us also had some inherent understanding that it wouldnt go any where and it makes it hard for some to sympathize with Reina.
    Now i dont think it’s impossible to identify with Reina’s crush on her teacher just because it’s something which amounts to a simple crush; hey, maybe she has a reason to think of taki sensei with such passion however, if you want your viewer to believe that this crush is pivotal to her character, then you need 1. give us some interactions with reina and taki that show that on some level, they have character chemistry, that way, we can understand why Reina digs her professor and wants to get in his pants. 2. Reina has to have a sense of competency that rivals that of an adult. This goes back to my whole spiel about the show not properly conveying whatsoever some semblance of the fact that reina is supposed to be like this super-mature kid who feels restricted by her age (kumiko’s past narration of reina is indicative that this is what the show was going for). The fact that Reina’s acting like this over the news about taki sensei’s wife is proof that she’s not ready for the adult world like she thinks she is……and maybe that’s the point. The characters in this series think that Reina’s got this whole coming of age thing down pat but she really doesnt and even she has areas she needs to grow up in and have a wake up call. i think that’s the essence of this ep in a nutshell. How you feel about it however all depends on your mileage regarding 1. whether you feel that this part of Reina’s character arc is significant to enhancing the themes of the show, 2. if you think this was a part of Reina’s character that was worth exploring, 3. if you feel that the show adequately made you give a damn about Reina and taki sensei’s interactions, and 4. if you can identify with Reina’s plight.

    • Highway says:

      I found your original comment, so I’ll do a little surgery here and respond to that one instead of the later one.

      I don’t really see that the statement “There is no emotional investment for the viewer in their relationship” is an incontrovertible factual statement. Does one not feel bad for Reina? And even more than that for Kumiko feeling her friend pull away more and more? No, Kumiko doesn’t wallow in it, she doesn’t really have time, and Reina’s too practical to allow herself more wallowing in it, hence what she says about “I decided to talk to you and get it done with.” I really don’t know that it would have been better if they had shown Reina having her freakout about it, although that would have ramped up the emotionality of the episode. As it is, I think they handled it very well, and the understated nature of it is very much in keeping with the main character of the show, Kumiko, and her personal involvement in this part.

      I do think you’re assuming a bit too much with the idea that the *show* has tried to portray Reina as a mature person. The mere fact that Reina has a crush on her teacher kinda torpedoes that idea for me. Mature people don’t have a crush on someone who would be utterly destroyed by that sort of relationship. And honestly, I think that it’s been portrayed just the right way: It’s a total one-sided thing. Why does there need to be more interaction for it to be believable? Love at first sight isn’t that way. And childhood crushes aren’t that way. Perhaps because anime in particular loves to give us a reason for one character to love another, most times the barest figleaf of a reason, to paper over the emotional connection, we have come to expect that there *needs* to be some reason. But really there doesn’t. But back to Reina’s maturity: 16 year old kids LOVE to act mature. It’s what they do… until they don’t. That’s part of growing up. You think you’ve got it all figured out, you put on airs like you do, and something comes along and bursts that bubble, and how do you react? Heck, most adults have situations where their maturity breaks down. And the thing about those airs of maturity is that other kids tend to believe them. So it’s completely believable that Kumiko thinks that Reina’s got more figured out, because Reina *acts* like she’s got more figured out.

      Perhaps the primary narrative misstep I would say it has is nothing to do with the content and solely the ordering, coming right after the parts with Asuka and Mamiko where Kumiko is very personally involved, and as such the viewer is much more involved in all the aspects. But then it could be considered a little bit of a breather before the big finale.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        I think you might have misconstrued a lot of what i was saying in this comment so let me see if i can make myself i bit more clear:

        my comment about “There is no emotional investment for the viewer in their relationship” is referring to Reina’s dynamics with taki sensei (and of course this statement isnt a fact; whenever you’re dealing with analyzing media, most of what you say is going to be subjective). I wasnt referring to how dramatic Reina’s confrontation with kumiko was or whether or not the viewer could feel bad for the girl (I even clearly state in my comment that this ep will work for someone based on how much they could feel for reina even if they dont exactly relate or find her issue compelling). I just dont care about her feelings towards taki because the narrative never seemed to care about poignantly building it up in a way that feels organic with the character storytelling. The show never gave me a reason to feel like this drama between reina and taki had any backbone to it. By backbone i dont mean the possibility that they would get together, but that there was any kind of character dynamics between the two in the first place. And trust me, im not the type of person who watches so much anime that i become detached from how things work in reality. Im very clear on the fact that some times people can fall for people for clearly no deep reason (even if i dont really care for that kind of relationship set-up). However, romance in real life is fleshed out over time even if it is love at first sight; Which is why i think it’s a weak excuse to say “oh, not everything has to have some big emotional connection when it comes to love”. That’s not what im asking for; im asking that you flesh out the interactions between Reina and her teacher so that we feel connected to her drama when she realizes that she’s living in a fantasy world where it is possible for her to be with her sensei. Have them have a small conversation, have her react in a way where she tries to get his attention in a meaningful way, something. The narrative spent almost no time fleshing out reina’s feelings for her sensei. The most we get from her is a yandere look here and there when the other students flirt with him. Whoopty-doo; and now you expect me to be invested in the fact that she would feel this distraught about her sensei’s past drama and being left out the loop??? and you wanna spend a whole ep on it?? I never said it’s impossible to not care about Reina’s feelings in this regard; however, i dont think the storytelling lead us to this point properly; that’s pretty much my main gripe.

        “I do think you’re assuming a bit too much with the idea that the *show* has tried to portray Reina as a mature person”

        -how am i assuming too much? kumiko in her narration and inner thoughts props Reina up like that. She tells Reina that she seems so adult and that she sees the world so differently than the rest of us. Kumiko is the voice of this series and as a result, some of what she says you have to take in consideration when trying to ascertain the direction of this narrative. Reina wanting to be special along with her feelings of not fitting in because her aspirations are too big play a key role in trying to sell this adult image. However, in my comment, i clearly state that perhaps reina liking her teacher and reacting the way she does when she finds out about all this drama is pivotal in shooting down that image she has that she is an adult or that she’s this special person. That at the end of the day, she’s still just a kid and has some growing up to do like everyone else; I say it right here: the fact that Reina’s acting like this over the news about taki sensei’s wife is proof that she’s not ready for the adult world like she thinks she is……and maybe that’s the point. The characters in this series think that Reina’s got this whole coming of age thing down pat but she really doesnt and even she has areas she needs to grow up in and have a wake up call. i think that’s the essence of this ep in a nutshell

        I very much considered that aspect but again, i dont care about Reina’s crush and this is drama that doesnt speak to me whatsoever (I dont have to relate to it directly, but i think i would’ve cared a bit more if the story itself cared a bit more getting to this point). But what makes it fall even flatter for me is that this much time was spent on it and that it was deemed this important when it is not in the grand scheme of things. Look, all of hibike is melodrama (trust me, i know people like to throw that word around without truly understanding it), but its melodrama done right; done with talent, with subtlety, with care and heart. And while this week’s ep had that talent and care, it lacked a bit of restraint and i think they reached a little too much. That doesnt make this ep bad; it’s a decent ep and it still shits on most anime we have airing this season. But, it did have its weaknesses

        • Highway says:

          I think you point out exactly what I mean. Kumiko thinks Reina is mature, because Reina puts on mature airs. I think the viewer should *not* take this as the same as Reina actually being a mature person (she’s got a crush on her teacher, for starters). So while the viewers knew that Reina wasn’t as mature as Kumiko thinks she is, the idea that Kumiko needs to be exposed to a bit of this is part of what Kumiko growing up is about. And it’s also about Reina growing up a bit and realizing that her crush isn’t as much love as she thought. I think that portraying it the way they did throughout, as a kid who has overly inflated her sense of importance to her crush, and who finally realizes that it’s not really much to the other person, is entirely consistent. I don’t really think it’s a cop-out to go down that path, I think it’s just different from what people were expecting (which is on them, not on the show).

          I can understand maybe wanting the show to spend a different amount of time on it, perhaps less, perhaps more, but the episodic format of the show severely restricts that kind of freedom. It also interferes with the order, in that you couldn’t really portray this at the same time as Mamiko and Asuka’s issues. And like I said, how many people would be throwing shade if this had been, say, episode 4 instead of episode 11? I think that makes a big difference, and the reason I’m a bit exercised about it is that a lot of the criticism I’ve seen about this episode was seemingly more of a chance for writers to widen their wobble than honest criticism of the episode as it was.

          • sonicsenryaku says:

            And you know what? I agree with you in the sense that everything leading up to this point is consistent with the way reina has been portrayed. Take for example some of Reina’s yandere reactions when the other girls in class would flirt with taki sensei. Her attitude towards their actions was under this pretentious assumption that they are undeserving of his presence. It played something like this: “Pfft..look at those bitches; who do they think they are? They dont understand him the way i do.” The ironic twist is that she herself did not understand (she was the fool all along), so coming to this realization that she is just a kid and its okay for her to grow up at the pace of peers is fundamental for her character arc. Again my issue is that the build up to this wasnt as eloquent as it could have been. There is this lack of attention given to this part of Reina’s story that makes this whole ordeal feel a bit trivial even tho it shouldn’t be because it is thematically relevant to the growth of both reina and kumiko.

            It’s sort of the same way i felt about Kyokai no kanata and it’s mirai-hen movie follow-up. Mirai-hen is a really good movie; for me, the quality of the narrative and directing is much much better than it ever was in the tv series. And while i understand this, i cannot give the movie complete glowing praise because the movie asks its viewers to be invested in certain aspects of the story that the tv series did a messy job of putting together. As such, it makes it hard to be emotionally attached to some of these narrative moments. I think had some of those moments in the tv series been cleaned up and that the movie was 30 mins longer, it may have easily been kyo ani’s best movie tied with the haruhi movie.

            It’s the same feeling i have with hibike with this ep. I think elucidating and spending some more time to build Reina’s inevitable disappointment would have made this episode a bit stronger, especially since the staff felt that they should dedicate a whole ep to this drama and make a big deal out of it.

            • Highway says:

              I do wonder about that last part:

              especially since the staff felt that they should dedicate a whole ep to this drama and make a big deal out of it.

              This is what I was referring to in my earlier mention of the scheduling. Perhaps the staff was caught in more of a bind with the scheduling than you think. You still need a break point between each of episodes 10, 11, and 12. There’s only so much they can move up from the last two episodes into episode 11, and you can see that they did bring some of that forward, with discussing the day of duties (and using that to give Reina a chance to invite Kumiko out again). And there’s only so much that they can push back from episode 10 (having Asuka’s formal reintroduction / apology to the club at the beginning of episode 11).

              In that vein, perhaps they realized that they’d either need 35 minutes to tell Reina’s story more thoroughly, or they need 12 minutes to tell it less completely, but not seem like they’re making a big deal about it. And they just didn’t have the ability to fill the other 9 minutes (21 minutes out of 24 with recap / OP / ED) with otherwise interesting stuff. So what they end up with is 6 minutes of Asuka’s reintroduction + Prep for the performance + Mamiko sending back the bankbook + Yuuko senpai’ing it up and 15 minutes to fill with a 12 minute story. So they pad it with a couple flashbacks that work the best of what they’ve got.

              As such, it seems like they ‘made a big deal out of it’, but really they just filled the time they had to fill because they’re beholden to the episodic structure. That’s why I’m willing to give them a bit more benefit of the doubt, because there are some things that just don’t work out. I’m not saying it’s the best episode of the show, but I also think that saying words like ‘worst’ and ‘narrative mess’ like I’ve seen other places (and without argument to back them up, just “Just so” assertions) don’t belong in describing this episode.

          • sonicsenryaku says:

            “I’m not saying it’s the best episode of the show, but I also think that saying words like ‘worst’ and ‘narrative mess’ like I’ve seen other places (and without argument to back them up, just “Just so” assertions) don’t belong in describing this episode.”

            **Yea i agree that sometimes people are quick to shout out “narrative mess” or “lacking” without truly delving into why that is. I think a fundamental part of enjoying media and stories is trying to understand why the story was told the way it was. It allows you to put urself in the perspective of the storytellers and in doing so, you can be more accurate in your criticisms about why things may or may not have worked as a narrative considering both your personal feelings and what seems like logically storytelling

        • Highway says:

          And I do want to say thanks for engaging. I hope you’re not taking my points as personal attacks to you. They’re certainly not intended that way.

          • sonicsenryaku says:

            oh no not at all highway; i did not think that whatsoever. I enjoy a good debate and trying to make my points as clear as i can so i try to make my language illustrate that. That’s the sucky part of discussing things through text; it makes it hard to discern whether someone is being genuine or attacking you. No worries i didnt think that at all. By the way, i posted again

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        i posted again

  4. Overcooled says:

    Yeah, not my fave episode, but still good. I like seeing Reina when she’s being unreasonable and difficult – it shows that she’s not as refined as her classmates think. And oh boy, she seemed borderline crazy this week…going all the way to her teacher’s wife’s grave. That’s some scary stalking. I would be horrified if my friend dragged me there. Kumiko’s such a good sport when Reina makes her climb mountains and go off to weird places just because she wants to.

    Anyways, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I like when Reina gets into these moods.

    • HannoX says:

      Go back to Kumiko’s comment earlier in the episode about how sometimes Reina can be high maintenance. When she said that I thought she sounded like a boy complaining about how his girlfriend can sometimes be.

  5. HannoX says:

    Okay, Spammy, enough joking.

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