Well, it was no episode 8, but I doubt there ever will be again (and that’s completely fair – very few Kyoani episodes get such unanimous praise). I just want to say one thing: please do not spoil what happens in the novels. If it’s yet to be adapted in the anime, then don’t use that as ammunition against those who don’t ship your ships. Last week’s episode embraced all the pairings, and even though the Kumiko/Reina moments were the highlight, some were adamant on trying to bring everyone down from their high. All I can say on the matter is that I don’t think they will actually get together – KyoAni aren’t quite ready to go there, I’d say. Is it yuri-baiting, then? You could call it that if you want, but I think the compatibility between the two is sky-high. Their moments together are fantastic, and clearly those behind the anime are aware of that. I don’t blame them for wanting to write extra scenes with Kumiko and Reina together – they’ve been fantastic, and done what any good couple should: bringing the best out of each other.
Regardless of whatever does happen in the long run – if it ever gets adapted, because I believe we’re still on the material from the first novel, so we’d need a second or third season before we get caught up to the current source material – in this moment, I just cannot see Kumiko and Shuuichi together. No matter how many characters tell her she’s hiding her true feelings, I just can’t see it. Her behaviour isn’t typical of someone with a hidden crush, even if things seem to be pointing in that direction. I’m sorry, but Kumiko and Reina together (in a relationship or not) is much more interesting to watch than Kumiko and Shuuichi. Maybe I’m just going against the obvious outcome, but the simple fact is that I (and many others – clearly) love the Kumiko and Reina scenes most of all. The more we see of them together, the better.
Ever since the auditions were announced, it’s felt like a countdown to the culling of the band. I love seeing the once nonchalant members doing everything they can to practice and prepare for their nerve-wracking audition. Natsuki in particular has been one who has intrigued me from the very first episode. Her growth as a player has made her incredibly easy to root for – but she’s competition, and Kumiko finding herself struggling in her most important time had me worried.
I have to say, the tension in that room was horrible. Auditions or interviews or anything of that sort are never fun, and I was biting my nails throughout the last few minutes of the episode. When Kumiko was playing, I wasn’t sure if she was doing good or not, and when she started to panic over the part she hadn’t practiced enough, I was prepared for the worst. But of course, she thinks of Reina in her time of need, and delivers the goods. They made that promise to each other, that both of them would make the cut. Poor Shuuichi feels like an afterthought to her (not that I’m complaining).
Some Win, Some Lose:
A handful of side characters got the cut, and seeing them burst into tears was difficult… but when Natsuki’s name wasn’t called out, I actually gasped. It made me angry that this girl who had found her muse again hadn’t made it – she was practicing at every opportunity after a terrible first year, and seeing her return to form with a smile on her face was so very satisfying. Unfortunately, Kumiko was her competition, and she couldn’t beat her. Hazuki also failed, adding another misfortune to her already short-lived high school life, yet her acceptance of it lessens the blow. I hope we don’t see less of these two characters, because I’ve come to appreciate what both of them bring. Damn you, Taki-sensei…
Overview – What’s Next?:
We did get some good news at the end (unless you’re Kaori), that Reina is the one to play the trumpet solos. It’s not a surprise in the slightest, but it’s satisfying to have it confirmed. Her playing is superb, and Kumiko is there with her, so I’m excited to see how things will go down in future competitions. Overall, it was another great episode of Hibike! Euphonium, even if it didn’t reach the perfection of last week’s. Another tuesday gone by, another episode of the best show this season.