“Singing Solfège”

「うたうよソルフェージュ」 (Utau yo Sorufeju )

Taki-sensei’s Methods of Practice and Understanding:

I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments last week, especially regarding Taki-sensei, and his methods and approach. Clearly, he divided opinions. Some thought he was too harsh, that he wasn’t doing his job as an advisor, and wasn’t assisting the students; others thought his blunt words were necessary for a band that had agreed to aim for nationals. It’s important that he got so many people riled up for all those reasons, because it shows that Hibike! Euphonium is doing a good job at creating an authentic band experience that others can chime in on based off their own personal experiences. And with what we got this week, I’m sure many of you experienced band members (which I never was, mind you) had some strong feelings about the practice sessions and Taki’s methods.

One thing you can’t complain about anymore is that he’s not even trying – he really is. It’s a busy week of parent-teacher meetings, yet he’s organising these exercises for all the band members in order to better their breathing, their commitment, and making sure they understand what they need to do to get better. Some of the stuff may seem a little out there, but it all becomes relevant once you look at the bigger picture. Each exercise or lesson is important for everyone; no one is excluded, which I’m very happy about – this cast is massive (sixty or so, I believe) and many will forever remain unnamed, but I appreciated seeing even the background characters get their time with Taki-sensei as he either told them what to do, or told them how bad they were. He’s harsh, for sure, and that smile seems like a big fat lie, but I thoroughly enjoy what he’s bringing to the group, and to the anime as whole.

Considering how divisive he is amongst viewers, it’s only fair that he be just as divisive with his students. Some of them still proclaim that they don’t like him, others – like the bass section – don’t have anything bad to say about him; they did have a very positive lesson with him, after all. But everyone came together in the end, whether it be to prove him wrong or prove to themselves that they were capable of it, and damn, they were! The performance at the end of the episode was brilliant. It still had errors here and there, but the work put into the sound production is evident – it sounded crisp and real, and I felt like I was there in the moment. Little touches like teachers hearing from across the school and seeing a students march to the tune made it seem even more real. In the end, the bandmates proved themselves worthy of aiming for festivals. As Taki-sensei says:

“If I were nitpicking, I could say a lot, but more than anything, that was an ensemble.”

Kumiko & Kousaka:

Not only did we get the slow, gradual, but fantastic progress of the band coming together as a ensemble, but Kumiko and Kousaka actually talked to each other! Better late than never, yet the time feels like. Their first encounter near the river was just stunning to watch, even if Kousaka didn’t mince her words. It makes sense that someone as dedicated as her would appreciate an advisor like Taki-sensei; it would be very interesting if we get to see them both in a scene together at some point. But as for Kumiko and Kousaka, their relationship is still in a weird place, even after Kumiko steps forward and rambles on about how Kousaka inspired her and ends up feeling like she’s made a bad impression because it. Clearly that’s not going to be the case, so I look forward to these two girls again in future episodes, possibly as friends.

The Little Moments that Matter:

Kyoani have clearly done their research with this one, and everything feels genuine and authentic because of that. Even if I always appreciate their cut aways to other characters (I particular liked the interview-style moments when the students were discussing Taki-sensei) or their legs (leg fetish…), or the instruments they’re playing. Not only that, but we got some plenty of goofy and cute Kumiko faces this week, which are certainly a different style from what we’ve saw these past few episodes, but they didn’t feel out of place. Frankly, seeing the cynical Kumiko turn into a bit of a doofus when she’s around Kousaka was fun to watch.

Others moments that put a smile on my face were Asuka’s consistently hilarious one-liners (“Are you in pain?” “Are you pregnant?”) – god, she’s hilarious. But the standout minor character of the week has to be Gotou, with him blushing over his less than stellar singing voice. And clearly this girl (whose name I can’t recall, if it’s even been given) has a thing for him, and I sincerely hope something comes of it, even if it’s never a major plot point. The moments she’d look up at him as he blushed or spoke about his love for the tuba were just to die for. The details! The KyoAni details! Also, Natsuki is still going to get some major focus at some point – we keep cutting to this tired yet talented girl for it not to mean something. If I were to make a prediction, I think she’ll come alive when competition is around the corner.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Yes, this episode was slow paced, but it was near-perfect because of it. So many characters were shown, yet it never felt crowded. The Kumiko and Kousaka stuff is advancing at a nice pace, and all the musical parts of this episode sent goosepimples up and down my arms. For me, this was not only the best episode of Hibike! Euphonium so far – it was the best episode we’ve seen this whole anime season. Even if we don’t get anymore episodes that top this, this will still likely end up a great anime. If, however, it manages to get even better, this may just end up one of KyoAni’s finest.

Full-length images: 14.


  1. https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2019.jpg



    Kumiko makes some of the cutest noises and faces. Especially around Kousaka, where she would utter surprised “eeps”.

    I’m really liking her seiyu, Tomoyo Kurosawa. She is so young, yet so talented.

    1. That was also the thing I noticed the most about this episode and that’s saying something with how good it was. I had to pause after her little scream when Kousaka called her because I was in between a laughing and a “awwwwwwww that was so cute” state and I couldn’t keep watching.

    2. looks like gouda takeo will lose his “MOST NUMBER OF [CUTEST] (LOL) FACIAL EXPRESSION DONE IN A SERIES” top spot… too many competitors like kumiko and shino (kinmoza)

      The Last Idiot
    3. Teacher’s making one of the students cry! >: I know his points are correct, but man, I hate seeing her cry like this. Asuka! We need your peppy, hilarious antics to balance this dismal atmosphere! This ep doesn’t have enough Asuka, but Yumiko faces make up for it.

      I learned a thing! :O

  2. “Their”, not “They’re” (contraction of “They are”).

    Nitpicking aside, I get this feeling that Taki-sensei might actually be either a professional trainer or conductor going off of Kousaka claiming that he’s awesome.

    I liked that the Bass section did well during the boot camp. They were probably the only section that put in a lot of effort before it (save for one slacker…who wasn’t all that opposed to training actually), so it was nice to see their efforts being rewarded with non-Spartan training.

  3. Last week my main complaint was about Taki’s critiquing without actually doing anything to help. This week he made up for it, by actually being a teacher and adviser.

    Loved the girl who was reaching for her mouthpiece while waiting for his verdict, quite ready to carry out her earlier threat of throwing it at him.

    I can see why he approached things as he did, from a psychological/story perspective, but it’s still horribly grating because it runs directly counter to my own motivational factors, and what I expect of someone in his position.

    1. Ok, I’ve got to take back what I said about Sensei. He’s holding up his end. Not only is he advising he’s leading them. Playing mediocre music isn’t that hard. Playing well is. Whether they’re following because he’s leading or because they’re going to prove him wrong doesn’t matter. He’s not only modivating he’s teaching. Bravo Sensei!

    1. I wouldn’t put it past Kyo-Ani to put in some little background story development like that without any dialogue (a la J.K. Rowling) to flesh things out. There are so many subtle visual nuances in this show I have to watch it a few times to catch them all.

    2. I think i seen her as 4th seat in the flute section in the opening where they are in performance auditorium.

      Its a surprisingly small band. Ours had 16 clarinets in the concert band – 32 in the marching band. This one only has 10
      but, then this was back in the 70’s

  4. this is a bit out of what i imagined, i thought taki sensei’s method would see some members quit the club, but instead it drives the entire member to play as an ensemble properly

  5. Kousaka is right, Taki-sensei is awesome. He’s clearly going for the “Make everyone hate me so they can prove me wrong” approach. He may not have authority over the club but he knows how to rustle up a bunch of high school brats into something functional. And he never he never stops smiling despite being a hardass.

    The the Bass Section is lucky. Since the bass instruments are unpopular, that means those in it are either the experiences ones or the devoted ones with Taki giving them some slack. Meanwhile, the less motivated ones like the Flute and the Horns though get the thorough Spartan regimen.

    On the more personal level its nice to see Kumiko finally coming forward as the protagonist. She finally was able to strike a conversation with Kousaka, something she always wished for. She was also able to get Natsuki to at least put an some effort on practice. She slowly but surely getting character development.

    1. The only person in the bass section with no prior experience is Hazuki, but what she lacks in skill she more than makes up for with enthusiasm. The only slacker is Natsuki, but even she didn’t seem all that opposed to practising. On top of that, their section is positively tiny, so it’s not all that difficult for them to coordinate as compared to the others. So yeah, they have less problems than the others and thus did better when Taki-sensei administered that little test at the start of their practice session.

      1. You could see the relief in Kumiko’s expression after she mustered the courage to ask Natsuki and just though to herself, “That’s it? I just simply had to ask?”. Kumiko probably expect some sort of resistance or drama, but the bass members all seem to be good people.

  6. My only beef with Taki-sensei now is I thought he was a little too hard on that Flute girl. I think it’s a bit counterproductive to say that someone who’s clearly trying really hard is “wasting their time”. I mean the poor girl was crying!

    I might be just infusing my own cultural bias into things though…

    1. Unfortunately, we never got any visual evidence to show any “clearly trying hard”. From the way the other two spoke, it sounds more like they were just using the club as a way to get together and “have fun”, much like how we saw the horns section lazing off and hanging out when they were supposed to be practicing individually in the previous episode.

    2. I thinks its more of fact that every person takes criticism differently. He was harsh on everyone and the crying flute girl doesn’t take it very well. In contrast her Section Mates are more outraged than crying.

  7. Quite an stellar episode from euphonium. Loved the atmosphere and how the struggle of every individual character was portrayed. And Kumiko right up the in my top 10 most relatable characters yet.

    This episode actually made me think about many things, and one of them was why is it that 90% of the best developed and portrayed characters in anime are girls? Which is not a bad thing by any means but it’s actually quite intriguing. To me it probably has to do with the fact that young girls represent probably 70% or 80% of most anime cast, and taking into consideration that a big part of these anime are harems which do not usually contribute to the pool of properly developed characters makes this number even more remarkable. Also, there is a factor of relatability deeply interlaced with the fact that girls are usually more comfortable with their emotions, which resonates better in this medium. This anime is a great example of this. Personally, I would like to see more anime that challenges this formula tho.

  8. Definitely a nice episode and pretty much my thoughts entirely. Whether it was planned or not, Taki-sensei managed to get everyone to come together and shape up.

    Also, yes…legs are awesome…lol

  9. This was a great episode, I feel like instead of the traditional 3 ep rule, this anime needs to be given a fourth. Whether anyone disliked Taki’s method or thought it was appropriate, he proves to actually be a competent instructor who had a game plan of riling up the band. Nothing motivates a group of people more than a common enemy (a bit of a takeaway from Hachiman too xD). I was very satisfied that our MC finally got the courage to confront her fears and confess her feelings to Kousaka. Then piggybacking off that, she also gathered the courage to talk to her apathetic senpai in the bass section to start playing.

  10. Can someone clear something up for me? Did Taki-seisei come from the same middle school as Kumiko and Kousaka? In the first episode, he was listening to his old school’s performance and not Kumiko’s, right?

  11. i liked the slow pace because it paves way for more details… so that when this series ends, no one would say, “that is a bit rushed” or “we want more”.

    kyoani is doing once again what they do best.

    The Last Idiot
  12. I’m thinking that the ‘tired yet talented’ girl might have a rather interesting backstory. Why is she always tired? For all her dozing, Natsuki doesn’t seem like the standard problematic yet talented student as evident from her immediate cooperation with Kumiko, and how Taki apparently never had any problems with her playing.

    Speaking of Taki, he really is interesting. Feels more like he’s a conductor of a professional concert ensemble (which he probably should be) with the different exercises. What’s ironic is that the students who were and are against him actually played well so that they could shut him up, and that suits his objective just fine – help make this half-hearted bunch mix well with everyone and play like an ensemble.

    The thing with the flute section might seem harsh, but that was a make-or-break moment for the girl being handed out the roasting, and it seems like she did stay for whatever reason (at 19:23, 2nd girl from the left…At least I think that’s her).

    Kumiko continues to be absolutely adorable with her various reactions. It’s rather refreshing and perhaps a little ironic and such a normal slice-of-life show has a MC that’s just so rich in her expressions and reactions. From being annoyed to nervous and spacing out, she’s awesome. Asuka is still the favorite with her great attitude and one-liners, but Kumiko’s catching up real quick despite her lack of pace :p

    her character development and the gradual improvement of her relationship with Kousaka goes very well with the flow too. It doesn’t occur in one or two episodes, but the bridge is slowly built up like the pacing of the show. KyoAni’s taking their sweet time with her character, and that’s great.

    For a slice-of-life show, this is fast becoming one of my most anticipated shows as a story with subtle strokes. Sasuga KyoAni.

    1. The thing with the flute section might seem harsh, but that was a make-or-break moment for the girl being handed out the roasting, and it seems like she did stay for whatever reason (at 19:23, 2nd girl from the left…At least I think that’s her).

      Pretty sure that’s not her.

      You can see the entire band at 12:50 of episode 3. The flutes are on the second row on the righthand side of the screen. Considering #1 to be the far right, #6 is the long green hair, and #5 is the short brown hair, and those are the two we see on screen at 19:23 of episode 4. Later we also see #3 and #2, who are the other two girls in the room when the girl was getting chewed out. The crying girl is #4, whom we never actually see. Of course we never get a shot that covers both #3 and #5, so we don’t know if she’s missing yet, either.

  13. Teacher’s making one of the students cry! >: I know his points are correct, but man, I hate seeing her cry like this. Asuka! We need your peppy, hilarious antics to balance this dismal atmosphere! This ep doesn’t have enough Asuka, but Yumiko faces make up for it.

    I learned a thing! :O

  14. It’s funny I was much more convinced by the exercise you described as out there than the running around the school. The bridge to the sky may seem a bit odd but the idea of blowing on things far away really help putting yourself in a mode where blow efficiently (for lack of a better word). Not hard, but strong and with focus, and just the right amount of air for the sound you want to produce.

  15. Nice Detail.

    When the teacher was starting with the Music, you saw the Clock in the background
    When they finished, the Clock has move on.. i think around 3-5 Minutes. So they where playing the Long loop, so this Breathing Training was also there to raise their Stamina to play long seasons

    Did the 3rd Flute Girl made it into the big Picture? Yes this Girl that was scolded from Teacher. Did she had an comeback?
    But i found it respectful. he did not yell at her, or trow things. And he stayed in private with her, only her Flute Comrades (that are her Friends also). Are witness of this. So he respected her “Face”. it would not end so well, if they Pick her right in the middle of the band. You would die of shame

    Yes, this Teacher is also not only guide them into grown in One. No he even teach them thinking for themselves. Independence. This School is not only for good Grades, no it is also for the Life

    1. You know what, come to think of it, maybe band instructors/conductor/advisers by trade utilize this kind of psychological pressure to produce results. I just recalled that out of the 5 different bands I’ve been to, all of them had some sort of meltdown session between the band and the conductor. I was the Kousaka of my band… lead trumpet, played in multiple bands, so I was never in any pressure from the conductor. Y’know what, I totally understand Kousaka’s point of view. Being a serious musician, she puts an extraordinary amount of effort to polish her skills. It must have excited her that Taki-sensei was so demanding. Being as good as she is, playing with a mundane and laid back band would have been a dull experience.

      1. Could there be a possible connection between Kousaka and Taki-sensei? Why else was he listening to her middle school band? Did one or the other decide to go to this school because they knew the other was going to go there? Besides, when she chewed out Kumiko and Shuichi it seemed like she has known him for longer than just a couple of weeks.

      2. I dunno. If Taki did know them, there must be a big plot element in store because there weren’t any clear tell-tale signs of there being any connection between Taki and anyone else in the band.

        The scene earlier this episode made it very unlikely for Kumiko/Shuuchi to know Taki because they were talking/judging Taki as if they just met him. If there was a past relationship, they would be more like “he’s always been like that”, rather than asking each other how they thought of him.

        There is the possibility for Kousaka though. But for now there’s little to foreshadow this connection, so I’d rather go with my gut instinct that Kousaka simply respects his way of doing things, since both of them have a strong urge to go for the nationals. So far, it feels like Kousaka and Taki are the only ones in the band that are truly aiming for that goal. They both share the vision, and they both have a strong sense of individualism.

  16. WRT Kumiko and Kousaka, I hope Kumiko is gay for Kousaka, otherwise she’s got a real mental problem.

    One thing I was outraged over was the total disrespect for the percussion section. Where’s the love Sense?!

    Asuka is still best girl IMO.

  17. Sensei is still as annoying as f*k. Going through all this to get those young adults to play well. The convolution and mind-games are so unnecessary. Knowing that KyoAni is trying to polish his character from episode 03 makes him more annoying.

    And why are tsunderes always blonde twintails or long-straight black haired girls? And why are short girls always bad at athletics? Where’s the originality?

    Petit Orenji
  18. I’ve got to say, I think the sensei’s tactics are quite normal and particularly efficient. Any regional or national symphony I’ve been in, my conductors in each one have all been cutthroat when it came to quality of playing. They weren’t scared to call out people, essentially for the sake of telling them to practice more and hold up their position in the band or symphony. Yes, their tactics may seem incredibly harsh, but once you understand that they’re really trying to push you to excel and grasp your potential, you begin to understand why they speak they way they do. Taki is obviously trying to get them to cut slacking, and once he is pushing them towards trying, people begin to see he’s really there for them and is seriously trying to help them.

  19. A question looming in my mind is, why does Reina and Kumiko have to talk at the back of the school for just a very short amount of time? She can just say it in the room where Kumiko is in.

  20. And clearly this girl (whose name I can’t recall, if it’s even been given) has a thing for him, and I sincerely hope something comes of it, even if it’s never a major plot point. The moments she’d look up at him as he blushed or spoke about his love for the tuba were just to die for.

    Hm…it’s interesting how the same scene can be interpreted in different ways, because the scene suggested to me that the two of them are an item. What came to my mind when I watched it was that “It’s because I like the tuba” was Goto’s roundabout way of saying that it’s actually because he likes that girl (Riko), who’s also playing the tuba…

    1. Japanese school bands have six commonly used sequential components to ensemble rehearsal recognized by published ethnomusicologists. They are as follows:

      1. Chuuningu (Tuning) – This takes place at the beginning of rehearsal after everyone arrives and has assembled their instruments and found their seat. The Bucho or Fukubucho plays a singular note (or designates someone to do so). This note is used as a guidepost for everyone else to adjust to, so everyone’s on the same page with instrument tuning.

      [that prob answered your question, so the rest is TL;DR, but feel free to read on]

      2. Kiritsu – Similar to the bowing ritual in standard classrooms, the Bucho announces the teacher. The ensemble stands at attention with their instruments in hand as the director approaches the podium. Bucho shouts “Rei!”, everyone bows, and calls out in unison “Onegaishimasu!”.

      3. Hajime – This is a warmup led by the director. It often includes scales, lip slurs and other simple long tone exercises.

      4. Gassou – Full band rehearsal. This is the meat and potatoes of rehearsal where the director addresses flaws in musical selections and gives feedback on how to mitigate them.

      5. Paatore – A conjunction formed from “Paato Renshu” (Part Practice). This is briefly addressed at the beginning of Episode 4. Every section has sempai that acts as a “paatorida” (‘part leader’ or section leader) that teaches all of the members of their own section. And “teaches” is a quite literal term. They’re entirely responsible for the training of any beginners, and assurance that the entire section is meeting the director’s musical demands. They also practice the competition music as a group and the paatorida addresses any errors. If something isn’t going right in Gassou, the director often won’t call out the section causing the problem, they’ll address the paatorida specifically for the section’s shortcomings. They alone are responsible.

      6. Owari (end)- At the conclusion of rehearsal, the director will give some final words regarding the artistic goals for the group, what is good and what needs to be better. Kiritsu is called again and the ensemble is dismissed.

  21. such perfect pacing! it’s amazing when an anime episode packs so much in, makes it feel as though it’s happening no faster than it would in real life, and also somehow gets the episode fly by and leave you wanting more. this show is also stunningly realistic. i know the feeling of really appreciating a teacher and their methods (as i do with mr. taki) whereas most other pupils are thrown off by being taken so seriously and having so much expected of them and thus are unfair and cruel. students are treated by most teachers, and indeed adults, as being nothing more than children. they aren’t seen in the same way as adults see other adults. mr. taki is one of those rare and special teachers who has the ultimate respect for these pupils and what they can achieve. these students voted to shoot for nationals probably not believing for a second they would or could make it- and yet here’s a teacher who’s holding them to their word. they have no excuses and have to learn to take responsibility for what they’ve said, but more than anything, they need to be shown what they really can achieve by themselves. that is, i believe, mr. taki’s goal- and that ensemble illustrated his point perfectly. an adult who treats children as though they’re on the same level as them can make all the difference- they can be the difference between whether or not a child takes themself seriously and thus whether or not the child reaches their full potential. this is a very important and deep subject matter and hibike! euphonium is handling it perfectly. very happy.

  22. the thing I love about Hibike! is how real the characters and how relateable they are.. Man, good slife-of-life shows are pretty rare nowadays, much less one from KyoAni

    Even though I simulcast at most 13 anime shows per week, I could live a week with just Hibike!, Arc-V and KuroBasu available

    Red HeartGold ZX
  23. Ep 05:

    Yes, yes. This is the 2nd Show where i can not wait until the next Episode come out. Thank you Hibike Euphonium, your doing all righty

    Please, i am in your care.

    You create happy emotions inside my heart and Belly. Also the Music part near the end, i watched it 3 times..

    Fans, you should not miss it


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