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Hibike! Euphonium 2 – 13 (END)

「はるさきエピローグ」 (Harusaki Epirogu)
“Early-Spring Epilogue”

My last post sure attracted a lot of attention, didn’t it? I wasn’t surprised, as I was expressing a negative view of a show that I otherwise loved. I wish I could say I was shocked at the vitriol in the comments section, but it’s to be expected when people disagree with your impressions (because these posts are impressions, not soulless synopses). Going into this finale I was apprehensive given what had just occurred, but also saddened that this was going to be the last episode. Now… I’ve always been a firm believer that a good ending can save a series, and a bad ending can ruin an otherwise good one. Thankfully, this was a great finale – the sendoff that the fans and characters deserved.

That doesn’t mean I feel any differently about last week’s affair, though there was a chance that I could have had my expectations flipped and changed my perspective. That’s not the case, but I’m happy to say that I loved this finale. Even though it was largely anime-original (from what I have heard), it felt like the fitting end to see many of these characters’ stories – the loose ends were tied up nicely, and we got a few last minutes surprises to leave us on a positive note.

After missing out on the performance last week, we got two emotional ones this week, while not extremely technically impressive, served as a nice conclusion to the band’s development and an oppertunity to insert some fond memories. They played their hearts out, and there were connections shown between these characters (like Kumiko and Asuka), while reminding us about the dramatic highs from last season (with Kaori and Reina). It served as a nice finisher, especially now that Yuuko is the new president. It’s a given that she’d take the role, and makes total sense. Even though she came off a bit of a brat in the first season, she never came from a place of malice; she believed what she believed because she was fiercly loyal to her friends, and now that she’s grown up and faced the facts, she’ll be able to be more rational when leading the band forward. I reckon she’ll make a good leader, and Natsuki by her side is sure to be ever-entertaining. I’ve seen plenty of people saying if there was a spin-off to be made, they’d like it to focus on these two next year. And honestly, that sounds like a good idea – just don’t get your hopes up yet.

Kumiko became our primary point of view once again, and it felt great being inside her headspace and following her experiences with moving on from the third years. While Kumiko and Reina dominated last year, this was certainly the season of Kumiko and Asuka. Hell, I did not expect Kumiko to confess her love for Asuka… though there has been talk of love between Kumiko and Reina before that amounted to anything. I don’t take it as anything serious, but I enjoy that Kumiko’s perspective on Asuka has mirrored mine. I think what makes Hibike! Euphonium so smart – especially in the first season – is that we see the band drama through Kumiko’s eyes, and so those moments where Asuka was clearly putting on an act and wasn’t showing her true colours was what Kumiko felt. She admitted she didn’t like her at first, and now she loves her. Well, I feel the exact same. I didn’t trust that happy-go-lucky senpai when everyone else was shouting: “Best Girl!” after episode 1. I knew something was up, because the show telegraphed that through Kumiko’s snarky and occasionally bleak point of view, and as she spent more time with her, she – and we, the audience – got to know the real Asuka, and the end result came together organically.

The final moments in the snow are in fact the very beginning of the second season, as I expected. But the context makes it oh so emotional, with Asuka refusing to say goodbye after Kumiko starts crying and is given her dad’s music. And then we have those final moments that fit so perfectly with the series: The name drop! I didn’t think “Sound! Euphonium” meant anything other than being a catchy title, but seeing that it was the name of that beloved piece makes for a perfect conclusion. The third years have graduated. There’s early spring snows. And while this is the end of this story, it feels like the characters journeys are far from over. It’s the Goldilocks of endings, reaching that happy medium of optimism, while delivering on the strong character arcs webbed over two seasons. I couldn’t be happier with this finish.

Final Impressions:

This second season has flown by, and it hasn’t really sunk in that this is the end of one of my favourite shows of the past few years. I’m glad we got this much-needed continuation, but I’d be lying if I thought this second season was perfect, or that it even matched with the highs of the first. The best of the Asuka episodes almost reached that level, but it was too few to make a lasting impression before we took a nosedive in the following few episodes. Overall, this second season delivered on the stories of the side characters (new and old) that deserved the spotlight. They were stories that deserved to be told, and they were handled well.

Hibike! Euphonium 2 stumbled in trying to re-capture the magic of Kumiko and Reina that the first season possessed. This could be blamed on the second and third novels just not being as good, or that KyoAni inflated our expectations before bringing us back to the ground without time to properly land. I’d say it’s a bit of both. At the end of it all, however, this season didn’t feel as cohesive as the first, it didn’t have the emotional highs, the stellar performances that blew us away the first time around. There was a shift in strength and weaknesses, but I still think Hibike! Euphonium is a great show overall (not brilliant), and still ranks as one of my top school dramas in anime. Very few shows manage to create such human characters, paired with production of this caliber. It’s a match made in heaven, and I think anyone who disputes that is stuck in their dislike for the studio above anything else, which is a conversation I’d rather not get into.

The music, the visuals, and the characters – those were the highlights of Hibike! Euphonium for me. There was a real sense of ambience in the sound present, whether just in normal dialogue or emotional performances. And no other anime captures the effect of being filmed on camera quite like Hibike! Euphonium. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a brilliant feat that few could successfully accomplish, and Kyoto Animation deliver with ease. They never disappoint in that regard, and I don’t think they ever will from here on out. But it’s the characters who got their own arcs and development that will stick with me, especially Kumiko. She was my pick for Best Character of 2015, and I stand by that. She’s the most realistic depiction of a high school girl I’ve seen in anime of this decade (perhaps century), and the details put into her characterisation are evident from the get-go. Her journey has been a blessing to watch and she is up there as one of the best protagonists in modern anime – especially in any high school anime.

But not every character got the story they deserved. Reina was a standout in the first season, but wandered without much purpose the second time around until she got an episode dedicated to her and it proved to be an over-extended mistake. Kazuki and Midori ended up useless in the end, even though they are technically part of the main character group. And Shuuichi. Poor Shuuichi. I swear I don’t hate the kid, but he was pretty pointless, wasn’t he? He’s comparable to the third girl introduced in a harem series. You know that girl has no chance in hell at winning in the end. She isn’t going to get the characterisation that the others before her (or even after – when the author writes another character, this time with quirks that they personally enjoy). Shuuichi was stagnant, and even though the romance played out differently in the novels, I’m glad the anime adaptation went for an alternate route. Hell, Kumiko confessed her love to both Reina and Asuka throughout the course of this adaptation. But her supposed (and expected) love interest had no such luxury. Just weird noises, looks of annoyance when he appeared near her, and a friendly thank you at the very end.

But I don’t want to dwell on the negatives. Sure, this second season is likely to bring Hibike! Euphonium down a few levels on my personal rankings, but it’s still one of the best anime I’ve watched in years. I’ve had a blast blogging it, and I appreciate those who contributed to discussions in a sensible and fair manner whenever things got intense and opinions were expressed. This was a great ending for a great show, deservedly so.

 

ED2 Sequence

December 29, 2016 at 6:38 pm
45 comments »
  • December 29, 2016 at 7:32 pmWraith

    so glad Asuka got so much devlopment this season, wasn’t even expecting Asuka and Kumiko ship to appear.

    Sucks to be Shuichi, poor guy got no development in the anime. I wonder if it was like this in the novels too

    Going to miss this show, good thing Yen Press has the rights to the novels

    • December 30, 2016 at 3:02 pmSaburau

      In the novel Shuuichi had a little more subtle development and somehow ended up as Kumiko’s boyfriend at the end of the volume 3, which is also where this episode end up.
      Actually the real development between them is in a supplementary story in the volume 4. It was totally like “Meanwhile, what in the world has happened between Kumiko and Shuuichi?” type of story. So maybe KyoAni covers that in a BD extra episode like the Monaka one for the 1st season BD. Or maybe they don’t.

      • December 31, 2016 at 6:00 amSamu

        It’s possible they could do that with the extra unadapted material, but I think the direction they went with Shuuichi means we’re unlikely to see that romantic end the novels gave.

  • December 29, 2016 at 7:49 pmTakala

    lol I really would’nt be surprised if they decide to throw in a movie like Tamako Market to pair Shuichi and Kumiko up.

    • December 29, 2016 at 10:44 pmMario

      I was surprised to see that they have removed the true final of the light novel. Seems Kyoani has choosed the KumiRei. At this time i don’t think they can pair Shuuichi and Kumiko, but who know? Maybe a movie or (it would be good) a third season (now i’m asking too much ^_^)

      • December 30, 2016 at 11:25 pmWard

        Anime was Kumiko and Asuka.

      • December 31, 2016 at 12:59 amjcoe

        I think we might be being a bit too wishful about the romance element in the anime. There wasn’t much development between Kumiko and Shuuichi, and the anime omitted elements of their relationship that was in the novels. Reina is in love in Taki sensei, although it’s not impossible for her to harbour feelings for Kumiko. Though this implication is largely KyoAni’s doing, a part of this ship is contributed by the fanbase.

        At the end, when Kumiko declares to Asuka that she likes her, I think the show was implying it to be more of a kouhai-senpai or a sisterly kind of love. They kind of made the comparison between their relationship and Kumiko and Mamiko’s relationship. There were even cuts in between the sequence when Kumiko is looking for Asuka (which is also likely an allusion to the previous episode when Kumiko was searching for Mamiko). It gave me that kind of feeling.

        I doubt that there will be a romance focused movie sequel. KyoAni has only ever done this with Tamako Market (and that was an original project) and somehow it became the framework for how every KyoAni show with an open-ended romance subplot should proceed (with the tag line “Love Story”). I’m not sure how involved the main characters of Sound! Euphonium are in the Rikka spin-off novels, but there’s definitely content there that will likely be adapted over an original romance movie.

        But who knows, really? They could surprise us. But there won’t be anything happening with this series at least in the next year. Aside from Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, they’re more likely focused on Violet Evergarden (whatever that will become TV or movie). And they also have other self-published light novels. I’m not sure how their model works for LNs and if all their self published LNs are eventually to be adapted into an anime.

      • December 31, 2016 at 10:30 amBakapooru

        I’m not sure how involved the main characters of Sound! Euphonium are in the Rikka spin-off novels, but there’s definitely content there that will likely be adapted over an original romance movie.

        They can show Kumiko and Azusa having many telephone conversations.

  • December 29, 2016 at 8:18 pmOne Pinch Man

    Wow, they played that song from the very first PV!

    http://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2013%20-%2038.jpg
    Roll credits. *ding*

  • December 29, 2016 at 9:02 pmmegalith

    Well. People were complaining about the lack of performance last episode. So much so that they wanted to see the same performance animated.

    KyoAni’s answer was two performances with one using the same song people were clamoring for BUT used in a more meaningful way to which they say,

    Keep the change ya filthy animal.

  • December 29, 2016 at 9:37 pmjcoe

    As a series, Sound! Euphonium hit all the right notes. From the animation, the characters and the music. I agree. I didn’t know what to think of Asuka as a character in the first season, but has since come a long way in the second that now she may be one of my favourite characters in the series.

    The whole dynamic between Kumiko and Reina did fade a bit in season two, and I do think that Kyoto Animation built it up and focused on it too much that it kind of dwindled in the second season because of the lack of focus on their relationship the second and third novels, and due to the fact that those novels were yet to be released at the time.

    What I do love about Euphonium is how fleshed out the band is, in every detail from the character designs to some of the background character interactions. One of the best things about season two is how much better of a character Yuuko became (or at least is portrayed).

    I honestly loved this series, and I’m happy that you do too. I hear that there are spin-off novels that the author has been writing and has since been published focusing on Azusa and the Rikka brass brand. I think it’s set after the events of Euphonium and I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing those novels being adapted.

  • December 29, 2016 at 10:28 pmichigo

    http://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2023.jpg
    The realistic approach of the animation, characters, and music/sound were what drew me to Hibike! Euphonium. It was great to see the attention to detail from the environments to the characters’ facial expressions. Each of them just lived their ordinary lives and that was all I needed from the series. I’m glad Hibike! ended on a high note, but, as Samu said, it doesn’t feel like the characters’ journeys have ended at all. Life just goes on.

  • December 29, 2016 at 11:55 pmaprub

  • December 30, 2016 at 2:24 amewok40k

    whaaat? who could have guessed that after all the Kumiko X Reina baiting Kumiko was secretly in “Asuka best grill” camp?

  • December 30, 2016 at 4:26 amPanino Manino

    The good parts in S2 are better than their equivalent in S1, and production quality is definitively higher, but the bad parts are also definitively worse. Overall S1 was better.
    This season ended with one loose end, just one.
    I can pretty much see a “Hibike! Love Story” coming some time at the future to tie this and prepare for a new season or at least one of the extra or spin-off books.

  • December 30, 2016 at 4:29 amGoukaRyuu

    Finished this after having to marathon half the season because I fell behind. I will say that if KyoAni had done both seasons as one season this would be their magnum opus and a definite 10/10. Both seasons are 9/10 for me, though I could always reevaluate them later. Just watching Kumiko grow from such an insecure girl into one far more confident in herself after seeing the problems of her sister and senpais is moving. Seeing Asuka finally open up and take down her mask if only for one person is also touching. Ironically, she has more in common with her NGE namesake then one would first think. Very masterfully done animation on top of a story that was well worth adapting already. Other than maybe going overboard on Kumiko/Reina, which don’t get me wrong I enjoyed, this was a near perfect show. We won’t be seeing its like again anytime soon. Also, one of the best title drops in anime in my mind. Though, I think K-on did their final song better by not having flashbacks.

    Overall, I have to disagree with Samu about the last few episodes. While we can look at Reina’s feelings for Taki as a one sided crush that would be rather creepy if it became more, we have to keep in mind that for her those feelings are very real, even if they will fade eventually. So, I can respect the route they went with there. As for the nationals, I feel that more so than the competition earlier this season that episode was more about the relationships of the people around it, especially Asuka and her father, then whether they would win or not. I honestly was not expecting them to. We didn’t need to hear/see their performance this time. If KyoAni had done it and had the time to do it I would not complain mind you, but that is my interpretation of things. Also, finally I just want to say, because I wasn’t around for those episodes, Asuka’s mother is a horrible, selfish human being. I can not understand keeping a child and their parent separated. Alos, sadly it is a cultural difference that keeps Asuka respecting her mother’s wishes even as she becomes a legal adults. I have a feeling a Westerner that finished school and hit 18 would sooner tell their mother to fuck themselves and go find their Dad.

  • December 30, 2016 at 7:32 amonion warrior

    Gah…tbh my heart wasnt satisfied at all with the ending. Maybe i was so eager to watch the episode and has been waiting so patiently to watch the finale right after work last night. And man i swear my body was radiating like crazy from start to finish just praying for the series not to end…(man that went by so fast!)

    I guess, after contemplating with reality, maybe i wasnt ready to say goodbye :’(

    Hibike’s ending was a mixed of a lottt of emotions. And just like how Kumiko said it, “its like i’m about to be sucked in”. It was stunning and ever so brilliant, so bright and so captivating that sometimes i even ignored the dramas just to be wowed by these surreal Hibike’s “moments”. But when the ending wasnt how i expected it to be (well shame on me from reading and spoiling myself with wikis)…and i even laughed at myself in between thinking about all the ships that went so wronged in this anime. And in the end i was like, it was Asuka all along. How can i forget. Sisterhood.

    So we saw what came first in Kumiko’s lenses, her life. We get to see what were important to her. How she started to love euphonium, the person who inspired her, the friend who encouraged her to be special, and the very first person who dragged her into eupho and made her realize all these important circle that made her who she is by the end of the episode.

    But now, its time to say goodbye.

    Just like Asuka’s sayonara to Kumiko, thats how i felt about Hibike as well. Matta ne.

    I will terribly missed this series soon. I honestly dont think i will ever be captivated the same way Hibike did for now, or ever. Kaori’s moment still my personal best moment in Hibike <3 sasuga Yuuko and Natsuki. Reina was so so. Oh Haruka. That Hideri and the "female senpai with drilled hair" button part(they are a couple right?), respectable Taki and Michie sensei, the senpai kohai parting moments (especially those two girls with their eyes hidden all the time), sad Kaori huggie Yuuko…And Shuuichi, its alright.

    http://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2028.jpg

    Thank you KyoAni for animating Hibike so beautifully and happy New Year 2017 everyone! <3

    • December 30, 2016 at 8:22 pmonion warrior

      I’ve just rewatched this episode for the 3rd times and i realized the solo part that Reina played during the farewell party sounded so much like Kaori’s! I thought it was just me but when i rewatched season 1 during Kaori’s audition, man! KyoAni! Mayne Reina was trying to express her graritude to Kaori for giving her the solo part despite being her senior and final year in the band…

  • December 30, 2016 at 3:41 pmSyaoran Li

    Holy crap, I don’t know what could be worse, Kyoani following the original LN material or the closure they decided to deliver with this final episode.

    Indeed, the center of this series has always been the dynamics between the members of the band and their interpersonal relationships; yet again I can’t agree with the focus they choose to end the series. I know how important Asuka was for everyone, likewise how Kumiko it’s the MC of the story, but after two seasons of some amazing developments between other characters, suddenly KyoAni decided Asuka deserved all this attention. Call me a fanboy, I don’t care anymore at this point, but I can’t see myself believing how these two were pushed together (yes, I know both played the eupho), but it seems like couldn’t set their minds to settle this. Asuka had Haruka and Kaori before Kumiko but neither could decipher and crack that mask; it had to be Kumiko, right?

    I felt the same with Mamiko’s sudden change of behavior towards Kumiko after one conversation with Tsukamoto back when Kumiko was sick. Sure, he made a good point about how Kumiko started to play because of her and how much she always wanted to play with her. Maybe that conversation they had in the kitchen served to settle any loss end in that regard, fine I can believe that. But not this one, not this infatuation of Kumiko with Asuka after discovering her reason behind her love for the Euphonium. Sure, the producers have the creative power to decide what to do, but after what happened so far, this behavior of Kumiko makes no sense.

    I don’t really care anymore at this point, after all the crap we’ve been through. Sorry if my rant felt weird and unjustified, but I’m sick of anime studios doing whatever they please and messing around with the fans. Maybe it’s time to move on and forget everything related with this series and Kyoto Animation as well.

    For those who loved it, good for you.

    • December 31, 2016 at 9:02 ama2colin

      I was in a Junior High and High School band situation similar to this, although without nearly as much dramatics. The members of your section are often your closest friends, especially if you are in competitions and spend the kind of hours together that they did here. Asuka and Kumiko would have almost been required to get into each other’s head since the section wasn’t big enough to have first and second chairs. I was surprised by Kumiko’s confession but her ability to penetrate Asuka’s mask when no one else could reasonably follows from their being in the same section.

      I also want to express how much I enjoyed this series; took me back more years than I care to admit.

    • January 1, 2017 at 11:19 ammegalith

      Indeed, the center of this series has always been the dynamics between the members of the band and their interpersonal relationships; yet again I can’t agree with the focus they choose to end the series. I know how important Asuka was for everyone, likewise how Kumiko it’s the MC of the story, but after two seasons of some amazing developments between other characters, suddenly KyoAni decided Asuka deserved all this attention. Call me a fanboy, I don’t care anymore at this point, but I can’t see myself believing how these two were pushed together (yes, I know both played the eupho), but it seems like couldn’t set their minds to settle this. Asuka had Haruka and Kaori before Kumiko but neither could decipher and crack that mask; it had to be Kumiko, right?

      No you missed it by a mile.

      S1 and S2 has always taken priority focusing on Kumiko’s POV that revolves around the band not the other way around.

      There’s a reason why Kumiko delivers a narrative from time to time. Also Asuka is imperative since there is an multiple comparisons about how much they are both alike.

      It’s not as if there were no hints to Asuka’s circumstance and she’s been a pretty big part of Kumiko. If anything, this episode strongly implies that she considers Asuka a rival and a role model to a degree. Like I said the show’s message revolved around the individual reasons one plays/loves music. Playing for yourself sometimes just isn’t enough. Now Kumiko has decided to not only play for her sake but also play for the people she cares for.

  • December 30, 2016 at 6:46 pmBakapooru

    I still think Hibike! Euphonium is a great show overall (not brilliant), and still ranks as one of my top school dramas in anime.

    What are your other top school dramas? It’s the genre I like the most. Thank you.

  • December 30, 2016 at 8:11 pmVaans

    One of the most beautiful anime of the season. It made the holidays memorable. Its like watching a movie every episode. THis is a masterpiece.

    Happy New Year to everyone!

  • December 30, 2016 at 9:30 pmelmaton

    So best KyoAni show since Hyouka or since K-ON!!? That’s how good this show turn out to be.

    • December 31, 2016 at 6:02 amSamu

      I’d say it is the best since Hyouka, and before that would be Nichijou. Let’s see if they can surpass that with Violet Evergarden next year.

  • December 31, 2016 at 2:25 aminnerchihiro

    Yeah, I didn’t love this finale. It certainly could have been worse, but I was honestly just very non-plussed by it all. It felt like there were just too many repetitive beats here. Kumiko’s confession to Asuka wasn’t nearly as impactful as their confrontation a few episodes ago and I guess I just didn’t quite get why that relationship was THE focus of the finale. I had gone in expecting some Shuichi plotline to be thrown at us at the last second, but man that guy just can’t catch a break, can he? Truly bizarre how he has been utilized as a character in this adaption. I can’t say I’m upset with them sticking to that in this finale though.

    To me the biggest negative is where we left things with Reina. Literally zero resolution to her character’s (terrible) final arc and her and Kumiko’s friendship, which never really felt right after episode 11. Something sort of broke there and it’s a damn shame. In season 1, I adored that Kumiko and Reina were pretty much opposites in every way, and I adored that they were able to learn from one another in order to strive for success and happiness. They were the heart of the series for me and it felt like KyoAni tried to replace that dynamic with Kumiko and Asuka this season. I’m not sure why they had to switch gears like that, why there wasn’t room for the relationship they spent most of season 1 building. I know some people will look at my avatar and think that I make these comments based off of the fact that I ship them, that I’m just SO gobsmacked that I didn’t get my canon lesbian anime romance that I can’t possibly be objective about the rest of the show anymore. Fine. If wanting an actual resolution for these characters makes me some delusional shipper, so be it.

    It’s not just Reina, there was no resolution to Taki’s plot line as well. I mean, this is the guy whose management style single-handedly persuaded a bunch of apathetic teenagers to shoot for the stars! We got some interesting background info on his wife this season and I had expected something significant from him this last episode, but nope. Nothing. Nothing for Taki, Hazuki, Midori, Aoi, Kaori, Shuichi, or Reina, but let’s spend a whole episode on how much Kumiko loves Asuka because we really didn’t fit enough of that into this season!

    And then there’s the way this show moved away from Kumiko’s stake in the competition. If you had asked me at the end of season 1 what the show was essentially about, I’d have said it was about what it means to strive towards self-betterment, to do so despite the fear of failure and embarrassment. It seemed like Kumiko spent so much time helping other people develop towards these themes that they stopped resonating with HER character development. This is the same character that we saw freak out about the auditions, practice until she got a nosebleed in the hot summer months, and screamed from a bridge in one of the most beautifully constructed scenes I’ve ever seen that she wanted to improve. That element of humility and passion was missing in Kumiko this season, particularly last episode.

    I’m gonna have to take a break from the show and try to binge s2 again later, but I feel pretty confident in saying that this season just simply wasn’t up to par with the masterpiece that was s1. If they had muddled through an okay season but pulled off a spectacular finale, my enthusiasm for the show would have carried my impressions of this season within range of s1. Unfortunately, when you screw up the ending, it has the effect of disrupting that enthusiasm. I don’t know how the dust will settle yet in terms of this show overall.

    Thanks for writing Samu!

    • December 31, 2016 at 6:03 amSamu

      Thanks! I appreciate these other POVs. I’m glad I found enjoyment in this finale given what happened last week, so I can’t complain too much. But yeah, a bad ending can ruin an otherwise great show for me as well, so I get what you mean.

    • January 1, 2017 at 12:29 pmmegalith

      Asuka getting a big focus at the end was warranted though.

      What was it that Reina pertains to about Kumiko’s mask? It’s the same as Asuka. They both wear a mask. Ep 11 made it clear that Asuka maintained a safe distance with everyone so as to conceal her true personality. She even didn’t want Kumiko to look at her when her mask chipped at ep 11. Asuka was about to graduate and yet she showed no sign of longing to stay. Once again, she reverts to that perfect nonchalant person facade she always puts up. The only time Asuka is ever honest is when she plays. That’s why the time Kumiko was described to sound like Asuka was probably not because of her developed skill but of how her performance feels.

      That’s why if someone think that ep 11 was THE resolution then yes you would consider 12 and 13 pointless.

      I would agree that if you’re looking for fleshed out characters Midori and Hazuki will be a disappoitment. Reina on the other hand, I don’t think she’s THAT badly underdeveloped. I would understand that her inspiration and love for Taki was not portrayed very well. However there’s more to her in how S2 depicts her than what people get.

      If you look back S1 and how Reina was, it was if she was something really special. Kumiko was entranced by Honeymoon/magical phase. The skip to S2 she no longer seems to be that special person that stands out too much. That’s why the performance in the middle of this season was actually brilliant. Anyone with a decent ear would notice how Reina’s solo was 100 times better in S1 than how she performed in the first competition in S2. I dare anyone to say they were of the same quality/mastery.

      In all honesty, that small attention to detail means so much to me. It’s to show how flawed Reina actually is and that she’s just like everyone else. Cracked under pressure? Maybe but her delivering a mediocre performance with no one else reacting seems to convey something else.

      Taki on the other hand, we already have what we needed to know. He was stubborn and wasn’t perfectly in line with his father. His wife was what gave him the reason to push through with music. He fails to get gold this year but realizes that he could still push through and start anew.

      All in all I can see why you’re upset about S2. You were expecting the same thematic approach S1 had.

      • January 1, 2017 at 4:29 pminnerchihiro

        I agree that Asuka getting a big focus was warranted, just not at the expense of all the other characters. The time with Asuka in this finale could have been cut in half and the material would have been stronger for it.

        As for Reina, I think bringing up her trumpet performance is interesting, I felt the same exact way about it. It was absolutely incredible in the S1 finale, but changed drastically the next time we heard it. But I’m not really sure this was part of some planned development… remember, we got flashback scenes to Mt. Daikichi during that second performance. If there was supposed to be something wrong with that solo, we the audience had no indication of that other than in the recorded track. And it would have come up, a bad performance could have cost them the opportunity to go to nationals. If that moment was supposed to be crucial to Reina’s development, well, it bolsters my argument that Reina’s storyline was completely botched by the KyoAni staff this season.

      • January 2, 2017 at 12:49 ammegalith

        As for Reina, I think bringing up her trumpet performance is interesting, I felt the same exact way about it. It was absolutely incredible in the S1 finale, but changed drastically the next time we heard it. But I’m not really sure this was part of some planned development… remember, we got flashback scenes to Mt. Daikichi during that second performance. If there was supposed to be something wrong with that solo, we the audience had no indication of that other than in the recorded track. And it would have come up, a bad performance could have cost them the opportunity to go to nationals. If that moment was supposed to be crucial to Reina’s development, well, it bolsters my argument that Reina’s storyline was completely botched by the KyoAni staff this season.

        With this much attention to detail?

        This is definitely deliberate. KyoAni planned this show well. Like I said, people were complaining about the lack of performance in the failed nationals. Had they animated that, they would have had to give us something else for ep 13. By skipping that, they were able to animate a last performance for the seniors and also make use of the staple performance for this season in a meaningful way.

        I mean if anyone else pays attention to the music attention to the music, there’s a Euphonium solo for Crescent Moon Dance. Instead of being a monotonous “oh we’ve heard this before” kind of thing, we get to see Kumiko perform the solo in front of Asuka who watches it with her unpredictable poker face.

        Also in the novels, what we get here for Reina is mostly covered. The only difference is that KyoAni toned down the focus for romance backstory. The most evident victim is Shuichi which literally lost a lot of scenes. But like I said, they made it clear that it wasn’t about romance. They only gave you what you needed to know and decided to siphon all the focus on the things that actually matter to Kumiko’s perspective and circumstance to give the finale a semblance of meaningful reflection for her character.

      • January 2, 2017 at 8:30 pminnerchihiro

        All I know is that when I mentioned the difference in the solo performance in the comments a while back, I was met with confusion from most people. It seems this wasn’t obvious enough for most people to even notice, even if you and I did. We can only speculate as to what it meant because it was never addressed, in fact it was ignored and treated within the show as if it didn’t exist. That doesn’t prove to me that KyoAni “planned this show well,” it implies they made a mistake or had something else in mind when they recorded the track and then changed their minds and couldn’t re-record in time (I work in post production, this kind of shit happens all the time unfortunately.) This is an example of bad planning, it’s a development that’s essentially thrown away.

        On the other hand, skipping the final performance was “planned well.” They sacrificed the final performance in favor of the classroom one, and they did it in a way that makes sense i.e. no plot holes and no thrown away development. But that doesn’t mean it was the *best* choice, which is what people are arguing. Personally, I didn’t feel the performance earlier in the season was needed. I would have rather had that one skipped and instead included an explosive and invigorating final performance when the stakes were much higher. It would have given so much more weight to the loss and the climax of the story in general, which I found horribly anticlimactic. The performance in the classroom could have then been simplified to include all the necessary character beats without devoting too much time to it.

        One last thing, I don’t look at the novels as sacred, so bringing them up doesn’t really do anything for me. It doesn’t matter if the novels did the exact same thing, it was bad either way.

      • January 3, 2017 at 5:26 pmmegalith

        That doesn’t prove to me that KyoAni “planned this show well,” it implies they made a mistake or had something else in mind when they recorded the track and then changed their minds and couldn’t re-record in time (I work in post production, this kind of shit happens all the time unfortunately.) This is an example of bad planning, it’s a development that’s essentially thrown away.

        It was meant to prove that they are highschool students that aren’t godly. The recordings were bound to realism. I take it you never watched the bonuses from the Blurays since it will show you how meticulous they were with the recording of the instruments based on the scenario. Which again shows they planned it well. There are some nuances here that KyoAni doesn’t spell out so a lot of people probably missed them. Which is why I think you are undermining this aspect way too much.

        One last thing, I don’t look at the novels as sacred, so bringing them up doesn’t really do anything for me. It doesn’t matter if the novels did the exact same thing, it was bad either way.

        It doesn’t help that you’re barking off the wrong tree then to say that KyoAni was the one who screwed up. You’re dissatisfaction is making you throw things at the wrong people. Let me quote you again.

        If that moment was supposed to be crucial to Reina’s development, well, it bolsters my argument that Reina’s storyline was completely botched by the KyoAni staff this season.

        Saying that the scene was a little too “vague” is another thing but blaming KyoAni for Reina’s shortcoming as a character means you blame them for following what was in the novels.

      • January 5, 2017 at 3:14 aminnerchihiro

        Hold up, I blame KyoAni for mistakes made in THEIR anime, not the novels it was based on. THEY were the ones who chose to follow Reina’s bad character arc from the novels. They didn’t need to, and there was plenty of precedent for them doing their own thing, all you need to do is look at a character like Shuichi to see that. No one put a gun to their head and insisted they follow Reina’s development, but they CHOSE to, and on their own heads so be it. What happens in the novels is irrelevant, I’m judging the anime, period. It’s really not that difficult to understand, I’m not sure why this is such a point of confusion for so many people.

        I understand that KyoAni recorded the solo deliberately, you don’t need to keep repeating yourself. My question is why was that deliberate recording ignored within the scope of the show? If Reina played badly, why did no other character bring this up? If it was deliberately ignored by Taki and the band, for what purpose? And why would the judges also ignore it? The lackluster performance had zero effect on the plot or the characters, ergo it had no purpose that I can see of being there. If you can point to a specific moment where it is addressed, and I mean ACTUALLY addressed, I’ll concede that it had a purpose, but I don’t see such a moment in the show.

      • January 6, 2017 at 12:58 pmmegalith

        Hold up, I blame KyoAni for mistakes made in THEIR anime, not the novels it was based on. THEY were the ones who chose to follow Reina’s bad character arc from the novels. They didn’t need to, and there was plenty of precedent for them doing their own thing, all you need to do is look at a character like Shuichi to see that. No one put a gun to their head and insisted they follow Reina’s development, but they CHOSE to, and on their own heads so be it. What happens in the novels is irrelevant, I’m judging the anime, period. It’s really not that difficult to understand, I’m not sure why this is such a point of confusion for so many people.

        In a sense they still are. Do you know that in an anime production there is a committee? And that most people work with what they agree with? Just because they are the director doesn’t mean they can do everything they want. Sure KyoAni has a bigger say now, but they still have to please their sponsors and partners. Not to mention at times still work with Authors to see if they will be stepping on their works. This being an adaptation also adds to the circumstance. Read on that ANN interview of Kyoukai no Kanata’s so you get cleared up.

        The reason they kept Reina’s arc is to build up Kumiko’s character at the end. Like I said(and you’re going to make me repeat it again), in the end she learns to play for herself and to those she cares about the most. IMO the novels itself are not perfect and that Shuichi’s interactions to Kumiko are there but not necessarily strong therefore making the romance aspect abrupt and underdeveloped.

        Seriously, ANN already put up a lot of interesting articles as of late and people like you STILL run on wrong presumptions on how anime is produced. There are boundaries they need to work on. There are agreements. Like that icon of yours. KyoAni staff draw that BUT it’s the magazine that SPECIFICALLY requested that specific theme. You get my point?

        Here’s another and something that should be familiar with everyone. Endless 8. Truth be told, KyoAni was limited by Kadokawa for materials. It’s either they make 8 episodes of endless 8 or they handle disappearance as a regular show with anime original filler.

        Please. I understand that you’re not satisfied but please discard those wrong notions you think the every show runs on.

        I understand that KyoAni recorded the solo deliberately, you don’t need to keep repeating yourself. My question is why was that deliberate recording ignored within the scope of the show? If Reina played badly, why did no other character bring this up? If it was deliberately ignored by Taki and the band, for what purpose? And why would the judges also ignore it? The lackluster performance had zero effect on the plot or the characters, ergo it had no purpose that I can see of being there. If you can point to a specific moment where it is addressed, and I mean ACTUALLY addressed, I’ll concede that it had a purpose, but I don’t see such a moment in the show.

        Zero effect? Maybe that’s the reason they didn’t show off the national competition. They still weren’t that good. They pushed so hard yes and they got really far compared to how much of a failure last year was.

        A rough translation of Ayano Takeda’s post for last episode:

        Effort is rewarded, although it is not necessarily the shape that the person himself desires. That is the rule we have consistently decided to write the Eupho series. There are dramas in schools other than North Uji High School, and all the members work hard. Whatever its result, I think that I can get something that I can cherish for the rest of my life

        We can argue about this all day and you can blame KyoAni for making this a failure for you but I digress. I’ve done my part to at least try to straighten out some of the wrong notions you have. We are all entitled to an opinion but to base them off on very wrong assumptions we thought were facts makes it very irresponsible.

      • January 8, 2017 at 4:21 aminnerchihiro

        Just because they are the director doesn’t mean they can do everything they want. Sure KyoAni has a bigger say now, but they still have to please their sponsors and partners. Not to mention at times still work with Authors to see if they will be stepping on their works. This being an adaptation also adds to the circumstance.

        Seriously, ANN already put up a lot of interesting articles as of late and people like you STILL run on wrong presumptions on how anime is produced.

        Dude, you are preaching to the choir here. I already said I work in the entertainment industry, and with all due respect, I fucking know how this works. I find it insulting that just because I disagree with you, you feel the need to lecture me about committees and assume that I don’t understand how anime is made. Here’s a idea: you’re not an expert just because you read some ANN articles.

        Whether it’s committee boards, network reps, or executive producers, there’s always going to be someone in a suit bossing around the animators, the directors, the writers etc. Guess what? That’s not an excuse for those people to do a bad job and create a bad product, and I say that as someone who works in production! It would be so easy to just point the finger every time you weren’t happy with the final product, but every great anime, TV show, or film ever made has been forced to work within these same kinds of restrictions. It’s the creators’ perseverance and brilliance and intention GIVEN those conditions that makes their final products so great. Being a good artist isn’t just about the craft itself, it’s about selling your vision to the suits, it’s about convincing THEM to LET you make the product you want.

        But this is all beside the point; you can’t, as a viewer, judge the final product based off of what happens behind the scenes. I don’t care what happened between KyoAni and their committee or Ayano Takeda. No horror story of the production could change my opinion about the actual final product. I empathize with the production, but I’m not going to start grading on a curve just because this industry is hard, and neither should you. And as you mentioned, KyoAni has more sway than most. I just read about how they changed Taki’s ending from the light novels. They are not as helpless as you are painting them.

        The reason they kept Reina’s arc is to build up Kumiko’s character at the end. Like I said(and you’re going to make me repeat it again), in the end she learns to play for herself and to those she cares about the most.

        And you got that from… her confessing to Taki twice in a row? Or was it when she said she’d play for Kumiko that one time? Or was it when she said she plays for herself the first time anyone asked? And which one is it anyway, does she play for herself or other people? I just don’t get your line of thinking on this. I’m not asking you to repeat, I’m asking you to elaborate.

        Zero effect? Maybe that’s the reason they didn’t show off the national competition. They still weren’t that good.

        So how did they get to the national competition if they weren’t good? And why did they get worse from S1? And why wasn’t the fact that they weren’t good a worry to, I don’t know, anyone? Oh and why didn’t we get to see the fruits of their labor even if they weren’t good, since Ayano Takeda seems to want to show how working hard and putting yourself out there is still worthwhile no matter the result? This plus all the other questions I posed from my previous post which you haven’t answered.

        For real, this conversation has lost a lot of sanity. Feel free to respond, but I’m done.

      • January 8, 2017 at 8:57 ammegalith

        Oh and I forgot to point out, the job say doesn’t only fall upon the director itself but through the help of a producer who communicates with everyone else and has the connection.

        I don’t know what chain of command you are basing this on but that’s not how it usually works in the anime industry.

      • April 11, 2017 at 9:05 pmmegalith

        I remembered this squabble when I came across a Eupho production blog entry.

        Might be no chance of you reading this but if you do, please read it. Seeing as how the script and music production was tightly nit, hopefully this will convince you that those not so subtle nuances were most likely not oversight and was intended.

  • December 31, 2016 at 1:47 pmChris hall

    Gotta Love Kumiko feet in ep 1 at the end oxoxox

  • January 1, 2017 at 9:45 amtheirs

    Can’t help but notice how different their performance sounds without the third years. Sure there was no bassoon, piccolo, bass clarinet and baritone sax, but I didn’t expect to notice the difference between Knuckles and that girl. And speaking of those third years, I’ve really noticed the trombones improve.

    Overall I enjoyed the second season, though it really feels like an extended epilogue. Tying up loose ends and giving a short special about Mizore. It was real sad that we didn’t get any more from Sapphire and Hazuki, especially Sapphire. She’s the least developed of the four girls, practically the same from the start.

    Speaking of characters, I’m glad Shuuichi didn’t end up hooking up with Kumiko. I was hoping they’d develop it this season, but I guess they didn’t bother. At least he didn’t ruin the ending. Still have next year to try again, good luck to him on that.

    Finally Asuka, she’s been my favourite ever since she made the comment abut Natsuki. It seemed off and got me curious about her. Glad we finally got to know more about her. It wasn’t as dark as I imagined, but complicated enough to be interesting. Glad to see her open up to her favourite kouhai. She ended up being closer to Kumiko than her two best friends, didn’t really see that coming. The revelation of the shows namesake and that “see you again” at the end was a really nice touch.

  • January 1, 2017 at 6:37 pmDexterino

    I love Yuuko’s fat face. At the end Asuka and Kumiko they got each others phone numbers right?

    I hear in Asuka’s theme, that song, “Did I every tell you are my hero”. The ending would have fitted if Kumiko did a Vin Diesel-esque Fast and Furious 7 Speech about family.

  • January 1, 2017 at 10:50 pmVelvet Scarlantina

    Spamming both episodes back to back has left me uncontrollably in tears

  • January 4, 2017 at 6:49 amSherylfan

    Overall S1 was better the lows were too low this season and this ending did nothing to save it. Also I don’t like some of the changes and choices kyo ani did in the adaptation, I am unfortunately biased with source eyes, just the way it is in anime viewing sometimes. I’ve liked shows before that I never read the adaptations, but I just can’t get over the fact of the last few eps and the ending. Just was not satisfied especially since a lot of characters felt like they got no development this season and thrown in the gutter. Suichi, reina, taki should be minimum done better. I get they only had 13 ep but there are animes that extended their ep count to 17 on blu rays before to properly finish. You’d think kyoani of all studios would be able to pull something like that off.

  • January 8, 2017 at 7:18 ammegalith

    Dude, you are preaching to the choir here. I already said I work in the entertainment industry, and with all due respect, I fucking know how this works. I find it insulting that just because I disagree with you, you feel the need to lecture me about committees and assume that I don’t understand how anime is made. Here’s a idea: you’re not an expert just because you read some ANN articles.
    Whether it’s committee boards, network reps, or executive producers, there’s always going to be someone in a suit bossing around the animators, the directors, the writers etc. Guess what? That’s not an excuse for those people to do a bad job and create a bad product, and I say that as someone who works in production! It would be so easy to just point the finger every time you weren’t happy with the final product, but every great anime, TV show, or film ever made has been forced to work within these same kinds of restrictions. It’s the creators’ perseverance and brilliance and intention GIVEN those conditions that makes their final products so great. Being a good artist isn’t just about the craft itself, it’s about selling your vision to the suits, it’s about convincing THEM to LET you make the product you want.
    But this is all beside the point; you can’t, as a viewer, judge the final product based off of what happens behind the scenes. I don’t care what happened between KyoAni and their committee or Ayano Takeda. No horror story of the production could change my opinion about the actual final product. I empathize with the production, but I’m not going to start grading on a curve just because this industry is hard, and neither should you. And as you mentioned, KyoAni has more sway than most. I just read about how they changed Taki’s ending from the light novels. They are not as helpless as you are painting them.

    Well if you procalim that you work from the entertainment industry then why do you act as if you’re ignorant about it and blame it on just the studio? For what it’s worth, KyoAni did justice to the source material. 90% they were on track with it. And before you say that you don’t care about the source material, let me remind you that you are watching an ADAPTATION.

    If you want to blame something for the shortcoming of Euphonium’s content then blame it for the thing itself. Because this is as close as you can get to it. The studio only worked with what they have.

    Any changes made have been agreed upon to an extent. Like you said, you have to convince them. And what if you can’t convince them to 100% of what you want? You throw a tantrum and drop the project? From what I can see from your post, you have to be crafty to work with what you have because having everything is only once in a blue moon.

    Also the ANN article is for people like you who can’t find the interest to look into the anime industry. Which from your words said you don’t care. Also just because you’re in the industry doesn’t mean every notion you have applies to it. That’s simply being arrogant about your stature. There are lot more information out there that people WHO ACTUALLY WORK IN THE INDUSTRY DIRECTLY FROM JAPAN.

    And this isn’t about your opinion anymore but moreso on the skewed perception you have. I don’t want to touch anything about your views opinions about the show anymore since there’s no end to it. Oh and do drop the spicy words next time. If I wanted that I’ll go to a cesspool like MAL or /a/.

  • January 13, 2017 at 11:21 amKah

    OMG the final episode was a recap episode!

    …and it was perfect!