“Crybaby Saxophone”

「なきむしサクソフォン」 (Naki Mushi Sakusofon)

Hyouka Vibes:

It should be no surprise to learn that this gloomy, dramatic episode was produced by the staff of Hyouka. This whole episode was lacking in the colour and vibrance we’ve come to expect, but the cloudy weather and bleak atmosphere was completely fitting for what occurred in this episode. The jokes where minimal – it was time for some serious decisions to be made, with our first dose of proper drama we’ve got from Hibike! Euphonium thus far. For me, it completely worked, bringing in the Hyouka director (Takemoto Yasuhiro) to storyboard and direct this episode, as well as the character designer and prominent animation director (Nishiya Futoshi) to direct the animation of this episode. Their touch was evident, resulting in a fittingly different vibe for an episode where it was needed.

Aoi’s Decision & the Aftereffects:

I’ve felt sympathy for Aoi since the very beginning, and especially since she stood up for her beliefs regarding what the band should aim for. Unlike many others, she didn’t give into peer pressure and lie to Taki-sensei, falling victim to his master plan. Aoi has her priorities, and I think it’s more relatable that some students just don’t want to aim for the best in their hobby, when they could be studying for college exams. High school band has very little importance to Aoi at this point, so I’m not surprised that she quit. In fact, I’m happy for her. Now she gets to do what she wants, and the band can carry on without a weak link.

It’s club president Haruka that is most affected by Aoi’s decision. Up until this point the kind, gentle president has been in Asuka’s loud, extroverted shadow, so I appreciated spending this time with her. Kaori (the apparent madonna of the clubdespite her snacking habits) was roped in as well, giving her the push she needed to come back to the band refreshed and ready for the upcoming auditions.

But with Aoi gone, the aftereffects still linger, especially with Kumiko, who continues to get glittery-eyed whenever anyone is inspired by their instrument. Kumiko may have taken a back seat for this episode – which instead focused on the minor characters – but she’s still my favourite to watch. Aoi leaving the band affected her, but I’m confident she’ll come through this as a better performer because of it.

Last Year’s Band Dynamics:

We finally touched on what the heck was going on this time last year. Continuing the focus of minor characters, Natsuki is once again warming to her instrument – she’s even taking it home to practice! She always had the talent, but as she explained, last year she was on the side of the slackers. She’s grown since then, but it’s worth noting Aoi, Kaori, and Haruka’s position in last year’s split. It’s a good thing that the current first years are more inspired to succeed (thanks to Taki-sensei), but after having to deal with it in the past few years, Aoi has had enough. Haruka seems close to quitting her role, but she wants to succeed, and clearly gets something out of the band. Asuka was neutral to all the drama, but her moment in the corridor with Haruka was a strong one. She may have been a better president, but she didn’t want to be, leaving Haruka to take the helm. If Haruka was really so against the role then she could have turned it down as well. But she didn’t, and here we are now. Things are looking up for them this year, so I hope Haruka gets some recognition for her commitment and kindness (which isn’t a bad thing, no matter what she thinks).

Romance Begins:

I had a feeling this was coming, but the final scene of the episode sends the romance into the forefront. Hazuki has been developing feelings for Shuuichi over the past few episodes, and whilst he hasn’t paid her much notice (in favour for who he clearly likes), this should promise some interesting developments. I honestly don’t think Kumiko has any romantic feelings for her childhood friend, and wouldn’t be one to accept his confession, if came to that. Will Hazuki and Shuuichi end up together? Will this start a love triangle? And will Gotou and Riko get together while we’re at it? Time will tell…

Overview – What’s Next?:

The atmosphere was very different this time around, but it was for the better. I’m glad Aoi stuck with her gut on this one – leaving was the best thing she could do, even if it brought back bad memories for the other seniors. By the end, the ones who shall remain will be those who can perform best, and can perform because they want to succeed. Auditions should be just around the corner now, so we will see if Taki-sensei decides to shake up the band even further. They all better play their best if they wish to keep their seats. I’m just left thinking what Shuuichi’s comments about Asuka could mean in the future episodes. Is there something deeper behind her “best girl” act?


  1. Did anyone else think the “Soka” line in Haruka’s bedroom felt off? The motion in the scene and emotion in the voice didn’t match at all.

    Anyway, I hope we get the audition soon, so we can cut some dead meet. I also want to meet the rebellious second years who quit!

  2. Asuka and Aoi were willing to voice their own beliefs and stand by them; Asuka with refusing to be the Club President and Aoi with…well…just not being into it that deeply anymore, so quitting rather than forcing herself to keep going and dragging everyone else down, whereas Haruka’s own niceness, in most likely feeling “unable” to refuse because she wanted to be nice, is pretty much what landed her in the Club President position and always keeping that feeling of inferiority bottled up. So it’s nice for some characters to just say how they really feel about things.

    And this is another thing that isn’t done very often and/or all that well in a lot of anime, IMO; the way the animation itself is done in order to convey the atmosphere of the episode and not solely just by how characters look, act, and sound. It wasn’t just cloudy/raining outside, but ALL of the colors in the background in general were far more tinted and gray-ish which contrasted quite a bit with the way the characters look, and even they are a bit “darker”-looking with shadowing and whatnot.

    Just look at the images from the previous episode (a lot more happiness and jokes) for comparison. Even the later evening at the end of that episode that foreshadowed this episode appeared far brighter than the whole of this episode. Even when characters are in more well-lit places, it just…doesn’t feel bright at all.

    1. I definitely relate to the fact that gloomy weather can bring one to a gloomy mood. Judging from the following screenshots alone, I began to feel melancholy from the overall look, frame to frame.

    2. Dude. Disney has done this mood-weather design for decades. It’s older than you think. I would still love to see it done in anime a bit more, even if weather never shifts depending on a person’s mood.

  3. Overall a good episode. I felt thought that the whole abrupt shift to the “romance” aspect was, well, too abrupt. It’s been simmering in the background for a while but I kinda feel like it would be nice to have spent more time with the whole band dynamics. That doesn’t seem to be the case though and with the end of the episode it seems like the band dynamics part also gets resolved with it, at least for the time being.

    Well in matters of the heart, I guess timing is usually the last thing on your mind hehe xD

  4. I’m not sure on the Aoi situation. I think she’s a lot more conflicted than she wants to admit to others or herself. I think it’s a bit more complicated than just her wanting to study for exams or seeing through Taki’s plots. The blow up last year still has its impacts on individuals like Aoi who wanted to work with both sides. Now she has everyone standing together and working hard. She might just be upset about the fact that this didn’t happen last year.

    This was a good episode for a lot of the other members of the cast. Haruka got way more focus and development here than she’s had. Her being upset about Aoi leaving, her getting upset at Kumiko and then Asuka, not going to school the next day and her chat with Kaori. I think Kaori made some good points. Asuka rationally looked at the situation and didn’t want to do it. Maybe Haruka is the idiot who picked up the torch, but she’s the brave one. She took up that job and everyone appreciates that fact. If nothing else, Aoi leaving forces Haruka to look at her own feelings.

    I think Asuka is someone who is very focused on music and playing. Her sitting by herself, looking at the sheet music and likely listening to the piece reflects that. I think there is more of her character to dive into and I look forward to getting to know her more.

    And again I’m still curious about Kumiko’s past. We got a bit more of that flashback with the other female student. Just a sentence, but makes you wonder what she meant by not being willing to accept Kumiko?

    And hey, I think it’s a good move for Hazuki to test the waters and see how Kumiko feels about Shuuichi.

    1. I agree with you there. It doesn’t really seem like she “wants to quit in favor of exams” rather it seems more like she is using the exams as an excuse to quit the club. It seems more like a trauma from what happened the previous year. These all coincide with what you pointed out and also her talk with Kumiko in the 2nd or 3rd ep

    1. I’ll give it a shot.

      Seems like the basis of this was that the third years last year (by now they’ve graduated) were a bunch that weren’t all that motivated and wanted to take it easy. That year a bunch of first years came in that wanted to compete for awards and wanted to work hard. The result of that being a major clash between those two groups.

      The third years having more influence, pushed for everyone to isolate and ignore the first years that wanted to work hard. The end result being those first years deciding to quit the band. That leaving few first years left in the band which is why so few second years are in the band currently.

      There may be more to it, but that is how I interpreted the information we have.

    2. I think Natsuki’s change and growth has been a nice thing to see. She clearly didn’t seem thrilled about the situation last year. Somewhat agreeing with the slackers but mostly just sticking with them because she was feeling the peer pressure and bowed to authority. It took some time, but she’s gaining more appreciation for music. Taki’s presence and Kumiko being there as competition seems to have gotten her energy levels up. Is now a much more active character.

  5. Haruka and Aoi tried to mend the rift between the serious seniors and the laid-back first and second years, but it all amounted to Aoi quitting the band. I understand better what Haruka’s going through. 🙁

    Asuka may have a lot of secrets. Look at how sparse her room is. But no matter what we discover I know she can still be awesome, incredibly, beautiful, and funny, so she will still be best girl by the end!

      1. @flCer do you even watch the episode?

        The first years then(blue ribbon) were serious.

        The third years then were slackers(red ribbon) sob.

        They clash and half of The first years then(blue ribbon) quit.

        That’s why there’re not so many second years(blue ribbon) this year.

      2. lol, no I didn’t watch the episode~

        @Ribbons I concluded it was the first years that were the lazy ones, because:

        1. Natsuki claims she was part of the group that didn’t care
        2. During the flashback, it was Natsuki’s group that got complained about not trying hard enough. In this following screenshot, Natsuki was sitting with this group of lazys.

        3. Natsuki is a 2nd year now, therefore she was a first year last year.

        4. ???
        5. First years are the lazy ones.

        I apologize if I truly got that correct, feel free to correct my logic above. I must be sleeping if I don’t have these facts right.

      3. Well, if the first-years were lazy, many wouldn’t have quit out of frustration. Right before the the image you provided, Natsuki says that they were approached by students in her grade., and they are wearing the same ribbon color as Natsuki. When they are ignored, you see Natsuki and Riko look concerned. But there was little that could be done since the upperclassmen held so much influence over the band.

        Just because Natsuki and Riko were hanging out with the unmotivated upperclassmen doesn’t mean their entire year was a bunch of slackers.

    1. @ Ribbons I was under the impression that red ribbon = first year, blue ribbon = second year and green ribbon = third year. So, saying:

      The first years then(blue ribbon) were serious.
      The third years then were slackers(red ribbon) sob.
      They clash and half of The first years then(blue ribbon) quit.
      That’s why there’re not so many second years(blue ribbon) this year.

      …happens to be a touch confusing.

  6. I fear that with Aoi’s leaving the Band, small Cracks are now begin to appear. All of a sudden they begin to ask Asuka’s motivation. And i think she is putting a Mask in the School on. She want to be cheerful and leading, but do not want to many responsibility. As big contrast you saw her private Room. Do their Parents do not wanted a Girl? or something? Or do she not receive love at Home, so she is trying to compensate it at the School? Thats why she was so fast with Father Teacher meeting? Because they do not care?

    As you see, with Aoi’s leaving the cracks, that until all oversaw them, begin to appear

    1. I agree that Asuka is probably just putting up a cheerful act. Even if it’s not an act, I think she’s only able to be so upbeat because she doesn’t have to be responsible for anything happening in the club. Like Kaori said, Asuka probably couldn’t be president rather than just not wanting to be. She also mentioned how she realized this during class: in Haruka’s absence, Asuka had to lead; and notice how she’s no longer all smiles and is actually pretty strict.
      I’ll have to agree with what another commenter above mentioned too, about how Asuka is probably really focused on music. So I don’t think Asuka can handle being the leader, the cheerful one, and focused on her music all at the same time so she opted out of the one that would stress her out and require alot of responsibility, the presidency.

    2. Asuka probably does care, but by choosing to remain neutral in her second year, she probably felt herself less reliable as the president when the girls like Haruka, Aoi, and Kaori tried to mend things. Maybe she feels guilt for not doing anything to mend relationships the previous year, and thus turned down being president.

      Another possible way to look at it is that, yes, she didn’t want the responsibility of the position. But not because she didn’t care, but because she didn’t want to lead a band that doesn’t. She’s seems very smart and showed in this episode that she can be serious during warm-ups (and took the drum major position pretty seriously as well). She probably could have been a stricter person as the president, but then she’d be putting in a lot of effort for little return. And if she was that type of president, she’d end up driving more members out. And then by being as playful as she is now, she didn’t want that kind of character leading a band that was falling apart. In other words, she’s holding back. And again, she remains neutral.

      As to why she her parent-teacher meeting was quick, another possibility is that she’s a good student and has her future in music planned. There may not have been anything much to discuss.

  7. The “dark screen filter of depression” was all over this episode. A little on the nose, but I do appreciate that KyoAni kept the drama balanced and well executed. Its something I didn’t like when Chuu2 did it because it felt over-the-top.

    It was only a matter of time really. When the band started getting motivated, even people like Natsuki started becoming more active. But Aoi never got into that serious mood and it must have been eating her until she finally put her foot down. Unfortunately, it reopened old wounds the third years still carried from the last year. It was nice to see all their perspective on this especially for Haruka. I always wondered why she was president when she was very meek and this does show how much she cares for the band despite everything that happened.

  8. I’m really liking Ishihara’s direction in this show. It’s very focused and polished. So far all the episodes had a good message. I guess if they just hand him a solid source material he can work wonders on it. Gonna give credit to Hanada as well but then again, Hanada has a pretty good track record for adaptations except for Chuu2 and Nichijou which were loosely adapted. I guess I’ll just let Nichijou slide since it was a gag show.

  9. I have a difficult time telling who is a 2nd year vs a 3rd year since they’re all senpais to the main characters. The story seems to say that last year most of the 1st years quit, so now I end up assuming every senpai is a 3rd year. Are there any characters of note that are 2nd years?

      1. Wow thanks, I never would have noticed that myself. It seems they keep the same color as they advance too (Natsuki has the blue ribbon during her flashback to her 1st year).

      2. Erm, wasn’t Natsuki’s ribbon colour still blue in the flashback (when she’s supposed to be a 1st year/freshman)? And those with red ribbons seemed to be their senpais – from their attitude/the way they acted, ignoring (‘tuning out’) those who requesting for a proper practice together.

        Before this I was also thinking the same as you (i.e. 1st=red, 2nd=blue, 3rd=green), but now I believe the ribbon’s colour is carried on for the entire school years (the same batch/admission year will wear the same colour from their 1st until their 3rd year).

        Or any other possible explanation(s)?

        Lone Wanderer
  10. anyone knows how long hibike! euphonium will really run? are there plans for season 2? because judging from how kyoani “takes it slow” to enhance the details and expand on the story, it seems they will not end it at episode 13, more like this will go on up to 24 episodes…

    The Last Idiot
  11. I like how Kumiko reacted to Hazuki’s question. It was not the “Oh my god, my friend will be my rival in love” kind of shock but the “that question was so out of left field, I don’t know how to react” kind of shock.

  12. Hazuki→Shuuichi→Kumiko→Reina→Sensei→Nationals
    Shuuichi always makes an active effort to talk to Kumiko.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    I loved the cut of them in the rain where you could see Kumiko’s full body moving in a reflection.

    Also Aoi’s bedroom is my #aesthetique. Anyone know which furniture catologue KyoAni copied that one from?

  13. Nobody’s commented on the flashback scene at about 16:48. Middle school obviously, but who is it with Kumiko? Her sister? Was it a rejected confession? Something to do with Kumiko’s playing? Really bugging me.

    1. Considering the girl had short black hair, I don’t think it’s her sister. If we look at the flashbacks, Kumiko’s sister always had medium-long brown wavy hair. I’m also sure she’s not Aoi or Azusa from Rikka.

      It might be Kousaka, but I don’t think hair grows that fast. So, it’s probably a character that hasn’t been introduced yet. Kumiko wanted a fresh start, and she wasn’t really keen on meeting her old schoolmates during Sunfest. I think this might have something to do with it. Noticed how long it took for her to speak with Kousaka? That was over one simple comment. This one might be a little more deep.

  14. Aoi is just one overly sentimental teenager. If she really wanted to play similar to her passion last year then she should have just let go of the past incident. Instead, she’s still blaming herself today believing that she doesn’t deserve being a part of a band that desires to win now because she failed on keeping the band together last year. It’s pretty obvious that she doesn’t want to quit and just chose to ostracize herself for her inability to stop the juniors from quitting last year. She still cannot move on and forgive herself and quitting was her solution, her self-inflicted punishment.

    Give it a few more episodes and Aoi will go back and rejoin the band after sorting out her feelings and realizing what she truly desire.

    1. Watching Episode 1 of Chihayafuru 2 immediately after watching this episode is a brilliant choice I made. “Time stops for no one. Think of your own future”. Two anime series have already slapped this lesson to my face today.

      (Also, as someone who just recently started Chihayafuru, these two anime surely are similar, both having clubs, goals and dreams. And a slice of drama. And also pretty realistic settings.)

      Red HeartGold ZX
  15. I actually double checked the colour of my screen and that I didn’t accidentally have flux on for this episode. So much gloomier than the previous ones. But it was a good ‘weak sunlight through heavy cloud’ lighting.

      1. Ahhh… Okay LOL.
        Still in episode 06. The students are bitchy toward Taka Sensei requirements. Taka Sensei is firm and wants passion out of his students but still weeding out the weak players. His attitude still reminds me of Whiplash’s Terrence Fletcher (JK Simmons).

        As per usual with Taka Sensei and how anime usually goes, I’m guessing the students are gonna start trash talking especially the 3rd years. I’m guessing Reina is gonna get ALOT of HEAT for her trumpet skills and know all attitude.


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