“Hi, Euphonium”

「よろしくユーフォニアム」 (Yoroshiku Yuufoniamu)

So Many Characters!:

After a rather personal first episode from Kumiko’s perspective, this one takes a different approach by introducing the band, and by extension, the many students that are part of it. I would point them all out for clarity, but there were too many to do so, and not all of them have yet been named. I suspect that these characters will show up every now and then – whether that be working as a unit or tackling their personal issues.

The first of the two named characters who I do think are worth bringing up is Ogasawara Haruka (Hayami Saori), the soft-spoken club president who manages to keep order and clearly hopes to reach Nationals. Her back and forth with the over-the-top Asuka is going to be fun to watch based on what we got this episode. Also, how great is Asuka? She may be comic relief so far, but she’s absolutely slaying it – her ‘Shut up!’ actually made me howling, as well as pretty much everything else she says, and all the faces she makes. So far she’s been very whimsical and extroverted in all her scenes, but if Hibike Euphonium lives up to its promise for drama, maybe we will see something deeper beneath the surface? That would be interesting, but for now, she’s damn hilarious.

Saitou Aoi (Hikasa Yoko) is the other new girl that I think is going to play a very important part. She’s Kumiko’s and Shuuchi’s childhood friend, she revealed Kumiko’s Euphonium secret, and most noteworthy of all, she was the only member of the band to raise her hand against striving towards nationals. That tells me that she has either given up on achieving the best for the band, or she simply doesn’t want to experience failure yet again. The fact that she stood up for her beliefs was a strong moment for her character; now I’m interested to see what makes her tick. I’m certain we’ll be exploring her backstory with Kumiko at some point.

The Instrument & The Goal:

Along with an introduction of new characters, we get a rundown of the instruments available. I’m a complete newcomer when it comes to being in a band (though I did play the drums and xylophone at school) so I’m very much learning about the instruments as we go. Having the upperclassmen plead their cases was a good way of portraying that – showing that certain personalities are better suited to certain instruments (but of course, you have to factor in how heavy it is, and whether you have the muscles to carry that weight). Kumiko trying to move away from the Euphonium once again calls back to this notion of her becoming a ‘new person’ for high school, and by the end she is forced to realise that she can (or has been forced to) stick with what she knows, what she’s good at, and what has been part of her up until this moment. I’m very interested in her character arc; she needs to realise who she is as a person and be comfortable with it – to find the balance between conformity and individuality. As for the great hair debate, whilst I think the ponytail really suits her, Kumiko having her hair down is too symbolic for her own self-acceptance, so I simply cannot support the ponytail. Sorry!

I touched upon Aoi standing up to the club goal of completing in nationals, but Taki, their new club adviser, brings up something that I think is going to be very relevant in future episodes. These characters have to create their own personal goals and aspire to them, whilst applying themselves to the band and doing the best they can. I’ll be keen to see who excels and who crumbles with these responsibilities, especially Kumiko and Aoi.

The Outdoors is Beautiful:

There’s always high expectations for production values when it comes to KyoAni, and for good reason. Simply put, they make the best looking shows. You can put that down to personal taste, but for all that people can fault KyoAni for, their dedication to and the execution of their aesthetic is not one of them. All of their shows are very pretty to watch, but every now and then there are ‘wow’ moments. I got many with Hyouka and Tamako Market (especially Tamako Love Story), but Hibike Euphonium can now officially be added to that list. Those outdoor scenes were seriously gorgeous, from the cinematography, to the lighting, to the immense detail put in to create a world that feels lush and real. The last few minutes of this episode were a serious treat to the eye.

Overview – What’s Next?:

A slower episode than the first, but an important one as we are introduced to many new characters and just as many instruments. The mood is still light, and Kumiko’s attempt to speak to Kousaka again turned out a lot easier than expected, but I know the drama is coming eventually (or at least I expect it to) and I can’t wait! Till next week~

Full-length images: 19, 21.


  1. Overall, I’m really liking this series. I’m getting more of that serious Hyouka feel, and I’m pleased. The faculty advisor isn’t just a source of cheap comic relief.

    BTW, Aoi hit the nail on the head– Taki’s “Do you want to go to Nationals or not?” proposition wasn’t really a choice IMO. He cleverly manipulated the group into voting in favor of going to National by giving them no middle ground for them to choose– either aim for Nationals or just be a screw-up band that has fun.

    Kind of a cheap move, IMO.

    So I don’t have a problem with Kumiko not choosing either. When the game is rigged, not playing is a viable option.

    1. IMO, Taki’s objective is to install a psychological reminder to all of the band members; Everyone agreed to trying hard and other than that 1 girl, nobody objected. Thus, this implies that they must make an effort to attend the necessary ensemble sessions even at the cost of some sacrifices. Instead of relying on a slogan that nobody cares about, all the band members were coerced to make a personal decision, a commitment, that would ultimately serve as the psychological backbone.

      That Aoi girl objected, thus she created an alibi where she could use in the situation where she didn’t want to make the sacrifice. For instance, if they had to do an extra ensemble in the weekend to practice for the nationals, nobody would be able to laze their way out, except for Aoi, where she could say “I didn’t want to go to the nationals anyway”.

      It is a rigged move, but it is necessary. A band can’t function unless everyone is in sync.

      1. I don’t think it is necessary. My experience with middle school band was not a fun one due to a dictatorial instructor (no seriously he was friggin evil) but I think Aoi has the right idea as a character. The compete or bust attitude can go sour very quickly once you start putting others under peer pressure to try harder. I would stay out of it as much as I can.

    2. Imho it’s necessary, in the sense it give the club a focus to work towards. Unlike, say, the literature clubs in Hyouka and Kyoukai no Kanata, a band is a community that requires each and every member to contribute. One of the first things to do is to make sure that everyone at least know what’s the common goal before you can get anything done.

      If Taki had not asked his question and pretty much just gone into business as usual, then what? The ones that had joined the club with a goal in mind, like Kousaka, would be frustrated by the lack of effort from those who don’t see the need to practice that hard; after all, nobody said anything about joining competitions and winning them, right? Eventually a clash between the “serious” ones and the “casuals” will occur, after which the fate of the club would be decided by the winning faction. Either way it would result in the losers leaving the club, or in the worst case, break it up so completely that it’ll just shrink and fade away.

      And ironically making the students choose also gives those who don’t agree a legitimate reason to leave. “I didn’t sign up for this,” after all, so they can say.

  2. It’s pretty amazing that the school band experience depicted in this show in japan is so much like it was when I was in Jr high band.

    We had quite a large and decently skilled band that competed around the state. We made it all the way to regional levels and almost to nationals. I really can relate as those feelings came back a bit watching the first show.

    The high school band was also competitive. Playing in a competing band is lots of long hours of practice at night and on weekends. So, Unlike the girls here I totally dropped out and sold my clarinet right after jr. High. I kind of regretted doing that later.

    I’m totally hooked on this one

    Trunk monkey
    1. Nice, I was in band for all of highschool too. Shame though, there seems to be no large scale competitions here in Vancouver. I remember being in a Jazz ‘festival’, but I cannot recall any national level competitions.

      I was in a ‘competitive’ military marching band, but none of us were really aiming for anything other than simply being in the regional band competition. Looking back, that’s such a shame. Feels like I missed out on the potential dramatic memories, like what’s foreshadowed in this series so far.

      I was the trumpet section lead in my band, so I’m having high expectations for Kousaka. I really hope they focus a bit more on the music for the rest of the series!

  3. I would watch Kyoto Animation shows just for moments like these:
    I know, I know, it sounds shallow but this is my honest truth.

    While it is good to know that Hibike! is continuing to follow in the footsteps of Hyouka, I hope the series will eventually be able to stop being compared to its KyoAni predecessors (though the character designs have no chance) and stand on its own as a series.

  4. Again, this is why Kyoani is such a top-tier studio when it comes to animation; they are frikin talented man. Now i know some people think PA works have better art and animation than Kyo ani and i kindly disagree. To me, it’s not even that close. Kyo ani just has a way with cinematography, lighting, and shot composition that PA or any other animation studio can barely match or surpass (save for one or two). Here’s hoping they really think about branching out instead of being so singular in their productions.

    1. Not trying to discredit them in any way, but is it possible to simply take a photo and blur it a bit to create the background scenes we saw this episode? Perhaps add a few layers of textures?

      Being a software developer (but little artistic talent), I was trying to learn photoshop and I often suspected I could get some quality background images by taking a picture and then blurring it to look like it’s art (lol).

      1. true, good point; im aware of that but there’s more going on besides the backgrounds in kyoani shows; it’s how they portray space, movement, how they compose their shots, when to use wides and thirds; they have a really good technique when it comes to animation and presentation. Going back to your background statement and photoshop, in regards to kyoani, you can see in their shots that there’s more going on with their backgrounds. it’s not just about how they do it but how they utilize their techniques in relation to portraying a scene is what makes them top-tier

      2. Maho ni Taisetsuna Koto (Natsu no Sora) did that (start with actual photos and proces them to give the backgrounds). I liked the result but it didn’t come out looking at all like the more common techniques.

      3. There have been enough background comparisons to confirm that KyoAni has been using photo references for years, but that’s not quite the same as taking a photo and slapping on some Photoshop filters. Many backgrounds are tellingly hand-painted (though likely digital) interpretations of photos, with artistic choices in terms of adding, removing, and shifting visual elements. At their laziest, KyoAni is still doing what a lot of modern digital matte painters do: photo sourcing (aka copying from photo) textures and visual elements from multiple shots, then combining them in layers with additional manual painting, while blending, blurring, and heavily color-grading. It cuts down cost, but there is still an artistic process tightly controlled by art direction.

    2. Don’t forget about audio. Not sure if they’re really better in those other stuff, but when it comes to audio, they probably win hands down for TV production. When I saw that sound effects engineer in Shirobako, the first thing that came to mind was Kyoto Animation.

      It’s also from the sound that I wonder why the school doesn’t give the band a room with wooden floors. They have other rooms with it in that school. Something few people probably notice, but since I took acoustic engineering courses during college, that bit really stood up.

    1. Mmm i get a feeling that her love for the Music is more forced, perhaps her Parents has something to do with it. It is not her real own heart wish to play in this Music chord. All the other Girls are interests or want to do it with Joy and give it a try. No i think i can sense a “parents forcing” on this Girl

  5. I sometimes feel like I can’t be completely open to even my friends about some things on the chance that they’d get angry. Seeing that very thing happen to Kumiko in the beginning of Episode 1 was uncomfortable for me. Pride is extremely fragile to handle, and I really hope Kousuke warms back up to her a few episodes from now somehow.

    … KyoAni’s animation is just flat-out consistently ASTOUNDING. The backgrounds alone might as well be live-action! The details in the character animation are fun and amazing to catch, like Sapphire SKIPPING through the flowers instead of just running like her friends are doing, or the tuba girl giving herself bigger boobs in her own imagination! This is movie quality right here, and shows just why KyoAni’s output isn’t as big as other studios.

  6. KyoAni’s digital department has outdone themselves.

    Hyouka was pretty high in visuals(animation/digital effects/backgrounds). This episode on the other hand feels like it blows the backgrounds and digital effects in Hyouka. There are so many wallpaper shots here that I felt like changing my desktop background continuously in a span of 10 minutes. KyoAni’s lighting approaches have already been compared to Shinkai in the past and how similar they were, but damn this is as close as it gets. The opening even had a shot that reminded me of Shinkai’s works in ef. The only thing missing here are the retarded hues Shinkai does to his backgrounds.

    The only thing it’s missing is some memorable animation cuts then I’d say it’s really giving Hyouka’s visuals a competition.

  7. As someone who used to be in both a band and a sports team, I’m totally with Kousaka.

    If you’re not aiming for the top, why the hell are you there? Being the best and having fun aren’t mutually exclusive, but if everyone is trying their best and you’re not, and they don’t make it because of you? Ugh.

    It’s perfectly fine if you tried your best but it wasn’t good enough. It’s an entirely different matter if you brought everyone down with you because you half-assed it. Go have fun somewhere else.

    I also thought that Aoi showed more weakness than strength. I may have misjudged her, but by saying it was her alibi I just took it to mean that when they don’t make it, she won’t feel bad. She doesn’t believe they can do it and doesn’t want to admit she’s not good enough as she is and she may never be good enough, and while it’s understandable it doesn’t stop me from being incredibly annoyed at her.

    Maybe I need more chill, but thank god they’re aiming for nationals.

    1. If you’re not aiming for the top, why the hell are you there? Being the best and having fun aren’t mutually exclusive, but if everyone is trying their best and you’re not, and they don’t make it because of you? Ugh.

      I’m there because i enjoy doing that stuff, not because I want to be the best.
      Just because I like cooking, that doesn’t mean I want to be a chef in a restaurant.

      Never push your own goals onto others. This was done fair and square, now everyone knows where everyone stands (except for Kumiko beacause she didn’t vote anything.

      Recreation vs Competition makes a lot of difference. Giving it your best does not automatically mean it will be good enough to make that cut.

      1. See, if you just wanna do it just for fun you don’t join a band whose entire slogan is “Let’s Make It To Nationals!” and then get upset because people are annoyed you’re not trying your best.

        As someone new to the band, no one would know they’re not sincere about it, so they’d go in with the expectation that Nationals is the goal. So even if you’re there to have fun more than to win, you still try your damn hardest to win, because otherwise you’re disrespecting those who are, since that’s the group’s goal.

        That chef example isn’t even that great because that’s an individual activity. Playing an instrument and joining a band are entirely different things.

        And I already said that if your best isn’t good enough but you tried, that’s okay. That’s different.

        The conflict between Kumiko and Kousaka isn’t that they didn’t make it to Nationals. It was that Kumiko and the rest were never really trying to make to Nationals in the first place, and Kousaka was the only one who cared enough to try.

      2. Then you must know that the going for the nationals upfront is actually the (common) goal.

        Just because someone does not aim for the nationals, doesn’t automatically mean they won’t give their best.

        Like you said, they are not mutually exclusive.

        My chef example is fine. As an amateur cook I aim to make the best stuff possible and i always do my best to make the ‘perfect’ dish. But that does not mean I aim to get a Michelin star.

  8. As expected of a character that shares the same seiyuu as silver tongued trickster-leaders like Griffith in Berserk, Krusty in Log Horizon and Yuuji in Grisaia.

    Giorno Giovanna
  9. I’m definitely enjoying the show, but am approaching it with trepidation due to the large cast. A good slice-of-life shows (or any show for that matter) is contingent on giving screen time to fully develop the characters. That’s why I believe shows like Lucky Star, K-On!, Ichigo Mashimaro, Non Non Biyori and Yuru Yuri were more successful than say Love Live or IdolM@ster in creating that emotional connection. I wonder if Euphonium will be able to succeed in that regard as well. Speaking of which, how many episodes is this series slated for again?

    1. It’s definitely not gonna have the luxury of having 2 cours. I’d say probably 11-13. From what I’ve read, the source material was only one full novel and not like Hyouka which has 5 books in total.

  10. Asuka is pure awesomeness.

    the funny thing is I actually know someone like that IRL, and she’s only settled down a little even after getting married (good thing both are equal part zany). That makes her all the more relatable to me despite being the wacky character of the show and I simply love her reactions. Agreed with the ‘Shut up’ bit. That was damn hilarious. XD

    I also actually really like Kumiko too. She’s too adorable with her fuwa-fuwa hairstyle, her little awkward moments, reactions and otherwise being…normal. It’s unusual for me since my favorites with KyoAni shows are usually the side-characters, but she’s just great.

    It’s a slow episode, but I appreciate the fact that the show touched on some instruments and threw in just a couple of terms to the viewers who are clueless. It’s treating us as though we are beginners and need a learn some of those things just a little, and barring the long-ass explanation Asuka was about to give till she got ingloriously cut off, the amount of technicality feels just about right. That’s a rare thing nowadays, adding to the fact that Hibike! continues to give space for silly everyday things the girls experience to adding the touch of mysterious drama to tease the viewers’ palate. Oh, and the funny delusions. Those were good. 🙂

    Aoi, of course, nearly stole the show with her comments and actions. One wonders if it’s simply her trying to play it safe, or completely giving up what she might once have passion for. She seems a little more pragmatic to me, seeing as the possibility that some simply went along with the notion of aiming for the nationals because most people are. There are always people like that, and in that sense Kumiko’s hesitation actually makes her somewhat special, in that IMO she does think and fret about it instead of deciding on the get-go without much thought.

    that aside, I’m in love with the series. And Asuka. And Kumiko. Can’t wait for the next episode.

  11. Is it just me or someone also wants to see kumiko play the euph? Well the point is in this episode, we have seen a bit of what kousaka can do in playing trumpet… I think its time we see what kumiko can do.

    The Last Idiot
  12. I found it interesting that some instruments are a lot more popular than others. Particularly the fact that they don’t have enough bass players. It’s quite understandable if it’s a not well known instrument though. (I never knew what a Euphonium was before I watched this show.) I was expecting a few students to actually try every single instrument.

    What Aoi did was interesting, you can see some people raise their hand in an unconfident manner for the national competition goal but nobody else did for the just have fun goal. Kumiko’s vote was actually quite understandable, from her observation, the nationals seem like a near impossibility. Even though she’d love to get there, a bit of realism never hurts.

  13. The show does look great (al)most (all) of the time, but in the ceiling-POV shot of the trumpet lead Kaori (starting around the 6:24 mark), her legs were drawn in a really unnatural way, as though she was a bloody invalid or something. The shot was held for several seconds, enough to make me cringe, because it really stuck out compared to the overall high quality.

  14. I like that they’re spending the first few episodes letting the characters and setting soak in before moving forward with the plot and the music. This show is a bit risky as the niche subject material (Wind Ensemble Club) has the potential to turn people off if it starts getting too wordy or decides to take itself too seriously too soon. By giving the audience some likable characters that are easy to relate to, and letting the music play 2nd fiddle to those characters, you reduce that risk, since even if the viewers don’t buy into the whole instrumental music aspect of it, they at least can enjoy the slice-of-life story aspect & character interactions instead.

    The alternative problem with that approach of course is the potential for too-slow pacing that causes viewers to lose interest. Luckily they’ve done a beautiful job of giving us enough comedic antics, snazzy visuals and enough aire of mystery to keep us hooked until the plot is ready to move forward.

  15. Ep 03:

    Show Spoiler ▼


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