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Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 11

「はつこいトランペット」 (Hatsu Koi Toranpetto)
“First Love Trumpet”

Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way: This was a beautiful episode. Every episode of Hibike! Euphonium looks great, but every few weeks we get some standout scenes that stick in my mind hours (or days) after first watching them, and that’s very much the case here. That’s likely to do with Reina and Kumiko returning to that famous spot where their bond was cemented last season, which brings back a rush of happy memories. They say lightning doesn’t strike twice – but technically it can – so the question is whether this episode managed to live up to that legendary episode last season?

The short answer: No. The brutal answer: No, because it was the weakest episode of the entire series. The long answer: Well, there’s many things to point out here. Firstly, I’ll highlight is that this episode is apparently almost entirely anime-original. That’s not rare with Kyoto Animation productions – the first season had plenty of original content that worked to serve the source material – but I had that feeling while watching the episode, and so having it confirmed didn’t come as a surprise. The simple fact is this episode stretched out the idea of Reina’s love for Taki-sensei to the point where it became horribly uncomfortable to watch her and Kumiko to consider it A-okay. Not only is it a dodgy thing to endorse, but you’d think there would be some shift to the actual relationship that has largely made this show what it is: Kumiko and Reina.

I’m not a yuri fan by any measure. I’m a gay man after all, so I’d rather see what we’re getting in Yuri!!! on Ice rather than what was alluded to in Hibike! Euphonium’s first season. But this does feel like a kick to the shins. A reminder that our fantasies aren’t going to play out. I realised that all along, and was fine with Kumiko and Reina’s relationship simply being recognised as a powerful bond that proves they are soulmates, even if not in a romantic sense. But this episode, for the first time, actually regressed their relationship. Knowing this wasn’t stretched out like this in the novels, it hurts even more. We always knew that Reina was smitten with her teacher, but none of us really believed it would go anywhere… except this episode almost gives Reina hope that it could, and the worst of all: Kumiko supports it.

Kumiko has cheered on Reina’s crush for a while now, but it’s never felt that serious. Yet with a whole episode dedicated to Reina’s headspace, we’re stuck in an awkward place where Kumiko’s perspective doesn’t really matter. Other than her and Reina not talking because of the deal with his dead wife, she didn’t need to be in this episode. Kumiko serves only to pass information along, and then to support Reina in her continued quest for Taki-sensei’s love, which just isn’t fun to watch. As the main character, she’s had some relevance in everyone else’s stories up until now; her point of view is what binds it all together, and she’s always part of the drama in some shape or form. She is here, but when she could get a powerful and heartfelt moment with her best friend, it falls flat, and we’re instead subjected to Reina thinking about how much she loves Taki-sensei yet again.

I get that they wanted to expand this subplot, as Reina has pretty much been absent from the story since the first season. She’s not important anymore, and now that we’re getting that focus, I think her lack of screentime up until now may have been for the best. I’d rather not have the Kumiko and Reina’s relationship go backwards, even if it means seeing less of Reina. Sometimes we ask for something, then realise we’re not going to get it as we hoped. With two episodes left after this one, this doesn’t feel like what we should be focusing on. Especially since not much has really changed by the end scene. Sure, Kumiko and Reina are talking again, but that could have been resolved much easier and not have taken up an entire episode that gave Reina a pat on the back and justifying her feelings. Who knows, if she does a complete 180 next week then I may take back my critique. But for now I’m disappointed in what we were given here, which is a first for this show.

It was one of the most gorgeous episodes of the season, but that doesn’t mean it was anything to write home about. I do think it was the worst of the series, which still translates to a “very good”. This review may not sound that way, but I still got plenty of enjoyment from this episode and can appreciate the hard work put into it. But it’s nowhere near the level I expect from this series. This second season has given some appreciated stories about the characters that didn’t get the attention last time around, and that’s where it has excelled. But that’s not enough to match the expectations I had going into this season. I hope the remaining episodes turn back to the band as they prepare for nationals. With the little attention we’ve gotten to their playing these past few weeks, I don’t expect them to win. I just hope we are approaching a satisfying conclusion that doesn’t piss off its fans more than it should.

December 15, 2016 at 6:02 pm
48 comments »
  • December 15, 2016 at 6:42 pmBakapooru

    I guess I’m just really out of it. I don’t see any “yuri” in this at all. Is it because people don’t realize that it’s quite normal for girls in Asia to hold hands or walk down the street in each others’ arms?

    I’m not too crazy about the attention regarding Reina’s infatuation with Taki-sensei though. However, it does happen. In fact, someone I know actually did marry one of his students even with the 15 year difference in age. When I first heard about it, I thought it was disgusting, but now, after five years of marriage and two kids, not so much anymore. (Note: they dated until she reached 25 and finished her graduate degree.)

    Thanks! I enjoy reading your posts.

    By the way…

    –Lightning–

    • December 15, 2016 at 6:44 pmBakapooru

      P.S.

      I also think this episode was the weakest of S1 and S2 (so far). But, I still liked the story more than other shows currently running.

    • December 16, 2016 at 5:03 amSamu

      I mean… Kumiko found Reina “hot”, they confessed their love for one another, and showed intimacy that goes beyond mere friendship. But that was S1, and it’s obvious we weren’t going to progress in that direction.

      Glad you enjoy my posts!

      • December 17, 2016 at 5:07 pmArthur

        Blind yuri fanatics really shouldn’t be allowed to do reviews here.

      • December 17, 2016 at 9:32 pmIndigo

        Most girls are somewhat bisexual. There’s a Harvard study given somewhere a long time ago that shows heterosexual girls responding positively to men having sex with women, men having sex with men, and women having sex with women. For heterosexual men, they only responded to men having sex with women, and women having sex with women. It’s just the biology of being a woman. I’m a girl, and I find many girls hot… of all ages and races. But I only want to date men.

    • December 16, 2016 at 10:34 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      We also have to remember that this is Japanese culture, where the age of consent is merely 13 years old, so if Reina and Taki did ever want to date, they very well could and be within the law. The only real problem there would be the whole student-teacher bit, hence why waiting until Reina graduates, at the very least, is most advisable. It may be weird or even disgusting to other countries, but it’s quite normal there.

      • December 16, 2016 at 4:51 pmSaburau

        Age of consent in Japan is 13 years old but now local laws in every single prefecture prohibit an adult from having a sexual thing with a girl or boy under 18, even if the girl or boy agrees with it. If they officially get married, with girls being 16 yo or above and boys 18 or above it’s legal, then that local law doesn’t apply there though.

  • December 15, 2016 at 7:15 pmDevil’s advocate

    I haven’t watched this season yet because I’ve been busy. Since this seems like an anime only episode, it’s clear that the staff can take certain liberties with the material for their story.. That said, based on the review, I really hoped that they would do their relationship justice. I know that this is not yuri but I like their relationship being really close.

  • December 15, 2016 at 8:33 pmWraith

    man this had to be the weakest episode so far of both seasons

    anyways, I can’t tell if Reina got over crush on Taki-sensei this episode

    you know what character could really use some development? Shuuichi. Dude has barely showed in both seasons and we don’t know much about him

    • December 15, 2016 at 8:39 pmDosh

      But he’s not a cute girl that Kyoani can use for yuri-baiting.

    • December 15, 2016 at 9:15 pmTitanAnteus

      That’s the thing though.

      The whole premise of this show, is that you can have a romantic relationship with someone and still have that person not be the #1 most important person in your life.

      Shuuichi’s a good character that understands Kumiko like no other character in the series. In the haunted house thing he understood her. Regarding her sister he understood her. He’s got his own life to live to, but he clearly cares about Kumiko from his actions. Kumiko cares way more about him than she’s willing to let on, but that’s because she’s not honest with herself. Kumiko’s dishonesty with herself is her premier character trait they used over and over again. That’s why Reina’s such a good foil. She’s COMPLETELY honest with herself.

      In the end, Reina is one of the most important people in Kumiko’s life because she instigates the most change in her, and that’s why their scenes are the way they are. They are important to each other. The original creator wanted to show that two people can be extremely dear to each other but it doesn’t have to be gay to happen.

      Basically… don’t make everything about romance. It’s not the main draw. Trying to force romance on the characters and make it the forefront of your enjoyment is what led you to getting baited in the first place

      • December 16, 2016 at 10:31 amHalfDemonInuyasha

        “Basically… don’t make everything about romance. It’s not the main draw. Trying to force romance on the characters and make it the forefront of your enjoyment is what led you to getting baited in the first place”

        *Glares at “Naruto”* lol

      • December 16, 2016 at 5:08 pmSaburau

        Yeah Kumiko and her dishonesty…haven’t we seen exactly that between her and her sister? She acted like she didn’t care, but at the end of the day she did. A lot.
        But I guess she learned her lessons. Sometimes she has to get it straight and be honest. We already saw how honest she was in the confrontation against Asuka. I hope she will be honest with Shuuichi. But probably it should be Shuuichi to make a step forward first.

      • December 16, 2016 at 6:39 pminnerchihiro

        TitanAnteus, I’ve heard that interpretation before and I think it’s a totally valid way to look at relationships in some cases… but I totally disagree with that argument being used in this case. If Shuichi and Kumiko had more of a spark, or if Kumiko and Reina had less of one, I might be inclined to agree. But as it is, there’s no doubt in my mind that the way Kumiko sees Reina, this sensual depiction of her, is too romantic to shrug off. That coupled with the fact that Shuichi and Kumiko’s interactions are so infrequent, so lacking in substance? No, I personally don’t think your argument applies here.

      • December 16, 2016 at 10:06 pmTitanAnteus

        But intimacy and it’s intensity’s meaning is cultural though? That’s what you saw from your perspective, but most people in Japan didn’t see the yuri. Kumiko hasn’t shown romantic interest in Reina. She hasn’t shown jealousy towards Taki. She’s only gotten jealous once and it wasn’t in Reina’s direction.

        Also, remember we’re starting this anime in medias res. Whatever happened between Kumiko and Shuuichi to make them so unabashed with each other happened in the past (most likely over time. Outside of the scope of the anime.) That’s because the romance isn’t the draw. They just let you infer that she’s close to him by their small interactions. Around him, she says whatever she wants. He wont hate her for it, so she generally sounds malicious even though it’s just her letting go. He’s been around and paying attention to her in ways other characters dont either. I mean… that’s really enough. They both care about each other and are comfortable around each other. Your romantic interests doesn’t need to be the most important part of a girl’s life.

        Kumiko and Reina’s moments in general came from them trying to visualize the idea of “soulmates.” In sports anime, there’s that same admiration that some people have towards higher level players. Like Kuroko is very attracted to Kagami for instance. He’s attracted to his strength and the way they visualize that is similar to love since anime as a visual medium relies on certain cues. It doesn’t mean he’s gay though. Same here with Kumiko and Reina except girls are also socially allowed to be super close to each other with no weird side glances.

        Meh… the lines are so blurred that people are seeing what they want to see. I wont deny it’s Kyoani’s fault for blurring it out further, but don’t come back on them when they make it clearer like you want.

        If you want TRUE yuribait, Kobayashi the Maid Dragon is coming out. That manga is actually tagged shoujo-ai for some reason…

      • December 18, 2016 at 7:28 pminnerchihiro

        Yeah, with all due respect, I still totally disagree :)

        First of all, can you give some context of people in Japan “not seeing” the yuri? I can understand not believing the relationship is actually gay, but not recognizing it as yuri-bait is another thing entirely. I’ll give you that there are cultural differences between where I’m from (USA) vs Japan regarding romance and gay relationships (hand-holding example goes here), but I have a hard time believing that western anime fans are the only ones recognizing the yuri-bait in this show. Look at the promotional material, look at the radio CDs, look at the show itself! The baiting is there, it’s recognizable, it’s explicit, and it’s targeted at the Japanese audience. It wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t selling.

        Secondly, there’s certainly an intimacy between Kumiko and Shuichi, that I will not deny, but that doesn’t mean it’s a romantic intimacy. Everything you said about Kumiko’s reactions to Shuichi you could say about Kumiko’s reactions to Mamiko or her parents. If you’re saying that a familial-like intimacy “is enough” to be the basis of a romantic relationship, I have to call bullshit on that. Romance isn’t the “evolved form” of friendship, it requires a spark. That’s not a western concept, watch any Japanese romance and wait for the meet-cute. The spark is there every time.

        You are right in that KyoAni has been purposefully blurring the lines. They’ll most likely go with the Shuichi ending, I’m not suggesting otherwise. I just don’t think that will satisfy the fans in the slightest, mostly because Shuichi is so seriously underdeveloped. We haven’t had a moment where Kumiko convincingly shows us she likes him (check out Hazuki if you want an example of what that would look like). That on top of the yuri-baiting with Reina, which honestly has taken yuri-baiting to new heights (or lows?), KyoAni has seriously befuddled their audience. I hope they avoid the Shuichi ending, even if that means Kumiko’s love life is open-ended, because that would be more in keeping with the relationships they have spent 2 seasons building on.

      • December 19, 2016 at 2:20 amTitanAnteus

        Regarding the promotional material. That’s kinda just common for anime in general. If you look at the promotional material for Amagi Brilliant Park, Kyoukai No Kanata and Haruhi Suzumiya as well you’ll see the same level of physical intimacy.

        Also why do you have this need for Shuuichi to be developed? If they took the time to do that, that would mean they’re going to focus on the romance, but they’re not. Again, the romance isn’t the main draw. Yes, Kumiko is definitely completely and totally relaxed around her family just like Shuuichi, but that means a lot. Shuuichi isn’t someone she lives with so that level of familiarity means more when directed at him then when directed at family. Also, he’s very attentive of her to the point that he notices things about her she doesn’t notice about herself, and she hasn’t felt jealousy towards anyone else but him. That’s enough isn’t it.

        Again, I’m not denying there’s a spark/chemistry between Kumiko and Reina. I’m saying that it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re seeing each other in that way, especially since it’s super common for anime to have a spark between 2 characters of the same genders not mean anything that way. How many shounen have 2 male characters basically be blood brothers with a really strong connection and weak romantic interests? I mean… Naruto for one.

        Of course Kumiko hasn’t shown any extremely visual tells that she likes him. She’s not honest with herself as a character. It was hard to tell she really cared about her sister until just recently. Hazuki’s way more straightforward and simple as a character to understand.

      • December 20, 2016 at 4:10 pminnerchihiro

        Feel like I’m going in circles here, but at the end of the day, we know there are strong political and economic motivations that push shows like this towards queerbaiting but away from canon gay couples. Those shouldn’t be ignored when talking about this show. Your interpretation that Reina is Kumiko’s soulmate while Shuichi is her romantic partner, while interesting in theory, just so happens to be a convenient excuse for the show to get away with not just queerbaiting, but bad writing.

        I’ll tell you why I think Shuichi needed to be developed more or dumped all together. You say the romance on the show isn’t the focus, but that’s wrong, it’s definitely a big component. If the series follows the novels, it should be set to end with Kumiko realizing she likes Shuichi. That will be at least one of our protagonist’s last major story beats, the culmination of her character development. Why would the show end Kumiko’s story that way if romance isn’t an important part of the show? We should have some idea of who Shuichi is and what makes him tick if he’s crucial to the end of Kumiko’s story. I’m talking Hazuki and Midori levels at bare minimum here. Not a big ask really, especially considering Kumiko interacts with EVERYBODY ELSE constantly.

        Not only is Shuichi barely part of the show, but on those rare occasions where the focus is put on him, we get this odd, awkward relationship between him and Kumiko that doesn’t feel romantic. You say “Shuuichi isn’t someone she lives with so that level of familiarity means more when directed at him then when directed at family.” Yeah okay, but it could also mean she views him as a brother. The show has to develop Kumiko’s opinion on Shuichi to the point where it makes sense that she likes him romantically. The current dynamic doesn’t indicate that to me.

        It’s absolutely fine if people like Shuichi and Kumiko or if the show intends to put them together. I just want the show to better develop that if that’s the direction they’re going. If the show ends by putting Kumiko and Shuichi together, that’s a negative for me at this point because of the way that relationship was written, regardless of Reina being in the picture or not. Regarding Reina and Kumiko’s chemistry, again, I do not and have never expected Kumiko and Reina to get together. I’m merely pointing out that this outcome is more in keeping with the path this show has established for itself.

      • December 20, 2016 at 5:55 pmtopspeed

        Just stepping in to point out that “yuribaiting” or “queerbaiting” is not an actual thing. Shiptease is shiptease, whether it’s straight or gay doesn’t make a difference.

      • December 20, 2016 at 6:36 pminnerchihiro

        It makes a difference when canon couples in mainstream anime are almost exclusively straight. That’s what differentiates queerbaiting from shiptease, it denies canon coupling because of homosexuality. Heterosexuality has never been a reason for a ship not to be canon. Take it from someone who works in the entertainment industry, everything comes down to how much $$ can be made.

    • December 16, 2016 at 5:09 amSamu

      I may regret saying this, but I’ll take some Kumiko/Shuuichi focus over Reina/Taki-sensei any day of the week…

  • December 15, 2016 at 9:31 pmBarzzz

    Have you ever noticed that from the a previous episode Reina was like “And when it matters most, you always have the right words.” so probably when Kumiko said she was rooting for Reina, she must have thought it would be the most appropriate words to say for that time .. or none at all. Also, Reina also said something on the lines like “I’ll catch you and peel your mask off.” which for me she failed doing so in this episode since Kumiko is still trying to be kind and cheer her up.

    • December 16, 2016 at 5:08 amSamu

      Exactly! Kumiko has been noted as being keen and observant and is able to say the right thing, which is why this episode felt so off.

      • December 16, 2016 at 6:53 pmTitanAnteus

        Eh really? But she was at a complete loss at what to do COUNTLESS times in this story XD.

        This is just another one of those moments, except it feels stronger since it’s happening to a character she’s actually close with. Her character is patient… biding her time to understand the situation as BEST as she can before butting in. It’s why this whole Asuka arc took so long.

      • December 16, 2016 at 8:01 pmSamu

        Yes, but this episode extended a story that didn’t exist in the first place and it shows. There’s no oppertunity or time for her to step in and say the right thing. If she was going it, it would be now, but she didn’t. The whole scenario is just unfortunate and doesn’t lend to Kumiko’s character development.

  • December 15, 2016 at 10:01 pmScruffy

    I see this episode a little differently. In this Reina finally realizes that Taki will never love her and the things she thought were important like Taki giving her the music sheet was to him unimportant and in fact was him giving up on music at the time in his grief. Kumiko just said to Reina waht she thought she wanted to hear.

    Btw IMO Reina is not gay and has never been, but I think Kumiko definitly is and is in love with Reina. The scene where they were at the fireworks together and the look Kumiko was giving Reina was pretty much a besotted look. I don’t think the ship will ever sail though.

    • December 16, 2016 at 1:45 amMarty

      Kinda had that feel as well. While the student being smitten with their teacher is not a new plot point, it was not heightened this episode I feel. It felt more like the opposite, that’s why she goes on to say that he really loves his wife and that now she only wants to achieve gold to help Taki put his grief to rest.

      I’m just hoping that after his grief is put to rest that she won’t try to squeeze herself in there and that my initial understanding of her character in this episode holds true.It feels more in line with what she would do. She’s headstrong, but not blind (though not knowing he had a wife all these years made me SMH a moment).

      Maybe they’ll pursue an “it’s okay to be selfish” plotline with this. I hope not because the dynamic between Kumiko and Reina is a big selling point for the show, which got undersold this season. I do love the extra screentime the side-characters got don’t get me wrong!

    • December 16, 2016 at 10:32 amVey

      To your second point, that’s how I’ve always felt about KyoAni’s Kumiko. I often see people citing the hand holding as a cultural norm (Bakapooru mentioned it earlier in these comments). More than once a Japanese friend has warned me about reading too much into it. I’m OK setting that aside. What KyoAni has dropped in throughout the series is far more universal. Stolen glances and lingering contact are two of the most common real-world signs of burgeoning romantic interest and filmmakers the world over have been using these base instincts to convey a character’s emotional state pretty much since they figured out how to focus a camera. Artists have been doing it for millennia before.

      In season one Kumiko was almost exclusively the stealer of glances and additional contact. Regularly her eyes lingered on Reina and the show specifically pointed this out by either stalling the scene, softening the focus, or going so far as to have Reina notice. In all those cases the show was subtle, as Euphonium usually is, telling as much of its story thru subtext as thru dialog. Even in the marching band scene where Reina notices Kumiko staring at her, the scene is barely a few seconds long. The stolen touches are a little less subtle. Kumiko selfishly snuggling when hugging Reina and Kumiko’s confession of love scene are two great examples, both of which get particular “camera” focus.

      That, of course, was all season one. Season two is a different story. Outside of Episode one, which feels very much like a first season episode, Reina plays such a minor role that it’s hard to tell what KyoAni had planned for her, other than to waste a whole episode having her pine over Taki-sensei.

      • December 16, 2016 at 10:13 pmTitanAnteus

        Yes… Kumiko was interested in Reina. Sometimes she glanced at her lips. Was it lust? Probably not… this is translated from a novel. They had to visually describe things in words. It was probably interest in her playing skill. Like those lips made that sound or wtv.

        Reina kinda stood out season 1 anyway. She was the center of everyone’s attention so taking a look at her also generally made sense. She also had a very big impact on Kumiko’s growth as a character because Kumiko herself saw something in Reina that she didn’t have. She kind of worshipped her for a good portion of Season 1. It’s not until she realized she wanted to be Reina’s equal that all the yuri-bait started tapering off.

        It’s TYPICAL class S according to Japan. Girls being interested in other girls when it comes to respect and beauty but growing out of it as they mature. Is that right? I don’t care. It’s part of their culture.

  • December 15, 2016 at 11:10 pmPolovetsian Dances

    Ok, did anyone else ever consider it illogical that Reina has a crush on Taki-sensei for years yet she knows totally nothing about his dead wife?

    I guess this episode, the relevant plot of which in the source material counts no more than three pages, is designed to depict another side of Reina that has never been unfolded before, and that’s all. The basis that Reina loves Taki-sensei to serve for her character development, which has been saved from the source material,seems to be not that strong, since even the source material itself spares little effort in making the basis natural and reasonable. In another word, while keeping the basis, KyoAni does not help to amend possible errors in logic, to the country it stretches out the original plot to cover a whole story. So, what is KyoAni really trying to convey?

    However, this does not mean that I’m not disappointed at the episode, especially when I expected Kumiko to do something they would call “special” to Reina so much. At least up till this newly updated episode, I don’t see that Kumiko has ever communicated with Reina in a truly equal way. Kumiko is looking up to Reina from the very very beginning, even though she has become the only one that gets closely with Reina afterwards. She does not realize that she is shinning in Reina’s eyes, just because she thinks herself nothing more than ordinary. But for this episode, even me, can hardly see her shining as in episode 10.

    By the way, is it normal to see girls hand in hand in Asian? As far as I know, it may be normal in China for example, but this is not the case with Japan. Well, even if it was normal in Japan, there are much more between Kumiko and Reina than just holding in arms if you can read those subtle feelings.

    • December 16, 2016 at 5:07 amSamu

      I did think about her not knowing about him having a wife or her being dead. Surely there could have been some way for her to find out in all those years, right? I suppose her not knowing served as an emotional reveal, but it didn’t do much for me.

  • December 15, 2016 at 11:39 pmichigo

    http://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2011%20-%20Large%2024.jpg
    One of the standouts was Yuko’s scene with Reina. I wouldn’t have thought she would be concerned with Reina’s well-being in the past.

    • December 16, 2016 at 12:49 amm

      For me, Yuuko’s character development is the best thing in S2. All her screentime are great to watch.

    • December 16, 2016 at 5:06 amSamu

      True. Yuuko and Asuka have got the best development from this season, and Yuuko hasn’t had many scenes to work with. I always liked her and knew she didn’t come from a spiteful place – she’s just fiercely loyal to those she cares about, and it just so happened last year she was in the way of the story progression.

  • December 16, 2016 at 3:05 aminnerchihiro

    Wow, I’m so surprised you disliked the episode that much. I’ve been seeing a lot of hate for it online (particularly amongst KumiRei fans) but I personally didn’t find this episode very grating. It wasn’t the best episode, but I’d definitely say it was better than the Mizore subplot at the very least.

    It seems a lot of people saw this episode as the definitive end of the KumiRei ship, and I’m kind of confused by that. It’s not that I think this episode bolstered the ship further either, but to me it just really wasn’t about that. It was about Reina getting over Taki, and I think that’s what we basically got. My interpretation was that Reina was making the decision to move on. She still cares about Taki, she always will to some extent, but I think she realizes the futility of pursuing him and the negative side effects of her obsession with him. When her feelings for Taki hinder her playing, it’s because she’s anxious about how to approach him what with this newfound info. But when she realizes he still loves his wife, instead of playing even worse, she plays to her usual standard. I think this is a sign of Reina maturing, finding a different source of strength that isn’t dependent on Taki. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just can’t imagine the conclusion to Reina’s story having anything to do with reaffirming her infatuation with Taki.

    Kumiko’s role in all of this is supporting Reina, and on this I do understand your criticisms. There is a passivity to Kumiko in these scenes that makes the episode less interesting, in just the same way that it was with the Mizore arc. That said, I think the criticism that Kumiko is enabling Reina might be a bit harsh. Kumiko has backed Reina since the auditions, she is in Reina’s corner for better or worse. Her reaction when she learned about Reina’s feelings for Taki shows that she’s not quite understanding of Reina’s “love” for him. But Kumiko is fiercely loyal to Reina, so I think that when she says “I’m rooting for you” it’s more to the effect of “I support you, you’re a great person, you should get what you want in life.” I think Kumiko’s decision to protect Reina from the truth is really interesting, and I wish the episode had spent a bit longer on that particular beat, had questioned a bit more about what this betrayal of trust means for the two of them before diving head first into the Taki drama. But perhaps we’ll get more resolution on that by the end of the show.

    So if the episode was about Reina moving on from Taki and Kumiko being the shoulder to cry on… I’m not sure how that works against KumiRei. I don’t think this episode helped or hindered their romantic relationship, and with a few episodes left, I think there’s a shot that this show will at the very least avoid the ShuichixKumiko ending that I’ve been dreading. Honestly, if the show finished with an open ending regarding the girls’ romantic lives, I would be quite relieved.

  • December 16, 2016 at 8:46 amNN4

    Samu, man, where’s your Yuri on Ice ep 11 post??
    Gotta know your thoughts.

    • December 16, 2016 at 8:02 pmSamu

      It’ll be out as soon as possible, I promise. Life has been busy recently, so I only got to watch it yesterday!

  • December 16, 2016 at 1:08 pmCheremia

    This episode shows why i don’t care about all the Yuri-Bait. It shows why i don’t like Reina. She always annoyed me.
    Kumiko tries to resolve the problem and does not even know what is going on, yet Reina just brushes her off and only after it is convenient for HER she asks Kumiko to come, which of course, she does.
    Then she is mad about Kumiko keeping a secret. Come on. Being a bit mad about it is fine, but that is a secret Taki didn’t want anybody to know of… So of course she did not tell anybody, that would have been super insensitive of her if she did.
    All while she lied to Taki from where she got that information, making it seem like Kumiko can’t keep secrets. Nice one.
    Also, why did Taki ask “did you hear from Oumae?” instead of “from where did you get that from?” ugh…
    I don’t care if she is in love with someone older, it’s how POSSESSIVE she is about it. And not only about love, about everything. She is damn selfish in every aspect… at least for me.
    At least i see her as just a selfish brat. She may work hard, yes, but that does not change anything for me.
    For me, that episode just annoyed me because Reina was really obnoxious for me… I may be the only one though.

    • December 17, 2016 at 3:22 pmAiko

      No, I agree. I don’t dislike her character, but I can see where you’re coming from. I suppose, on the other hand, that perceived obnoxiousness you speak of is what makes her so alluring as well.

  • December 16, 2016 at 5:45 pmstarss

    Now that Asuka’s story is closed, we return to Reina’s feelings for Taki-sensei. I love how this show resolves conflicts in the most subtle, calm, and realistic ways. I still though Reina tracking how his wife’s gravestone by herself was a bit creepy.

  • December 16, 2016 at 9:09 pmSyaoran Li

    I don’t want to waste any unnecessary words about what happened in this episode, but if KyoAni has something different to say, I hope at least makes sense. I don’t know the whole original material from the 3rd light novel, but don’t bullshit me if they want to make us believe Kumiko will suddenly release she’s feelings for Tsukamoto. I mean, they’re invested a great amount of time to develop the other character problems, so at least return the focus of this show to the music part.

    Hopefully they won’t pull a “Tamako Love Story” crap like they did years ago.

  • December 17, 2016 at 7:25 amtombeet

    Just a bit off-note but I actually went up there to that “famous spot” myself today. While it looks exactly like what you see on the show, the spot is actually tiny and dark (I went there at night), but the view is indeed very nice. Still, I was sitting there and thinking Reina and Kumiko were here right at this spot and I couldn’t help but feel happy about that. haha can’t beat the childish side of mine it seems. (also too dark to take any good picture…)

    • December 17, 2016 at 9:16 amBakapooru

      Was it cloudy or overcast skies? It’s still nearly a full moon, but if the moonlight wasn’t blocked, maybe we can blame KyoAni for not being realistic enough. ><

      Still… I went up there during the day and I could only imagine what it would be like in the dark.

      • December 17, 2016 at 3:07 pmtombeet

        There was no moonlight yesterday, so all the sparkling, soft blue Sound Euphonium showed us is purely their artistic expression.

        Still, this is come from the author of the book Ayano Takeda:
        “… I was aware of the “major sightseeing attractions.” I chose to mention whenever possible the spots that anyone would go to like Byoudouin, Pagoda Island, and Amagese Dam. I was surprised when an extraordinary amount of fans went to Mt. Daikichi. That is a standard outing for kindergarteners to go to and people in the area like to go up its course whenever they like. It’s not a so-called “major sightseeing attraction,” so I was happy when I heard about the great response it got.”

    • December 17, 2016 at 8:22 pmstarss

      Wow thanks for sharing that! :D

    • December 17, 2016 at 9:26 pmSyaoran Li

      I went as well back in April while traveling around Japan for the 2nd time and it was a rainy day (sadly). The view was beautiful and the place remarcable. At least I’ll have that place in my memories forever.

      • December 18, 2016 at 2:17 amtombeet

        I plan to go back there while I’m still here, preferally in the morning because let me tell you the path to go up there was PIT BLACK at night. I’m not that scare to hike alone at night but the feeling that someone walk behind you wasn’t what I expected to get haha

    • December 18, 2016 at 10:29 amSamu

      Oh wow, that’s awesome! Now I’m super jealous. I’d love to visit all the places KyoAni uses as references for their shows.

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