“My Euphonium”

「わたしのユーフォニアム」 (Watashi no Yuufoniamu)

Tangible Summer Heat:

Did anyone else feel sticky watching this episode? Okay, that sounds a little wrong, but you know what I mean. Many anime cover the season of summer at one point or another, with their cricketing cicadas, accompanied by a shot of the hazy sun in distance. It does a good job showing that it’s hot outside, but Kyoto Animation took it to another level with this one. The whole first half of the episode had me feeling like I was sitting there in some Japanese school in the middle of a heatwave. From the characters’ sweat, to the gulping of water, the raggedness of Kumiko breath in the outside scenes, and her sudden nosebleed – it all came together to effectively create an overwhelming sensation that I rarely get in anime.

Kumiko is a Fantastic Character:

Now, as excellent as the depiction of weather and temperature was in this episode, the highlight was undeniably Kumiko. I’ve said it from the start that she was my favourite, that she felt like a real person – cynical, yet conforming to expectations; introverted, yet capable of standing up for her beliefs when she feels she needs to. I knew from the beginning that I was going to love her story, because this isn’t the type of main character you often see in anime. Heck, this isn’t the sort of female character you see in anime very often.

What I mean by that is that she is not a walking trope. She is not created to pander to an otaku demographic (pardoning merchandise, which is often over-sexualised and out of character for the benefit of the buyer – but that has nothing to do with the Kumiko we see in the anime), with behaviour that can be boxed into one character archetype. She is contradictory, like any real person should be, and even though it hasn’t been too obvious with the massive cast of characters around her, she has developed in such a simple, yet believable manner. I could buy a real person saying the words she says and thinking the way she thinks. Her narrative voice has been prominent throughout, especially when it reflected how we saw the band in its early stages. But her opinions have shifted since then, as things have improved and she has had to keep up with the others, and prove herself against her newfound friends. Throw in the possibility of her ‘liking’ Reina (and a raging shipping war), and you’ve got a main character like no other.

This episode focused mainly on Kumiko’s relationship with her Euphonium. It’s been a part of her life for so long, and up until the start of the series she was ready to leave it behind and move on, hoping to forget her past, shed her skin, and blossom into an entirely different person. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and instead, as time has gone on, Kumiko has had more time to reflect on the past – on her own experiences with Reina, and her sister, and how that has affected and inspired her to become a better euphonium player. It all came together in this episode, and the waterworks were flowing. KyoAni loves to draw some ridiculously detailed waterfall-like tears, and this was no exception.

There’s one particular scene that stands out as ‘WOW moment’ – which I will talk about in a bit – but there were so many other weighty scenes that were building up to that moment at the end. Kumiko and Reina practicing together in the blistering heat; her sound connecting with Shuuichi’s from across the riverbank, even if she couldn’t see him; her frustrations with her sister and how it drives her to not become her; meeting with Aoi under the spotlights, catching up with her and confirming that some people really are better off living a different life. All while Kumiko is told multiple times that she has to improve on one particular part, and she can’t quite get it. It’s painful to listen to, because I’m rooting for her to succeed, but also it shouldn’t come so easy. And it doesn’t. Her exclusion from playing led to the most powerful moment of the episode…

That Bridge Scene:

I’m trying to think back, but I can’t come up with any scene from a KyoAni series that has ever looked this good. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful a moment it was – you have to watch it for yourself to appreciate animation like that. Say what you will about the studio, but no one does animation like Kyoto Animation. For me, they’re the best of the best, and it’s not even close. Of course, they’ve had their dips and often end up going for the easy route with some of their series, but Hibike! Euphonium is an exception. Kumiko running across that bridge, tears streaming down her cheeks, her hair bouncing in the wind, car headlights gliding past… it was simply gorgeous. I utterly believe her when she screams that she wants to improve. She says it over and over, and then repeats it to Shuuichi when he notices her on the other end. The crack in her voice when she does so is ever so subtle, but it’s the little moments like that that make Hibike! Euphonium so special.

Kumiko and Reina – Coming Full Circle:

I’ll hand it to those who are rooting for Kumiko and Shuuichi, I really liked their scenes this episode. Funnily enough, they never really interacted with one another. They were always distances apart, yet both are going through the same trials. I’m rooting for them both to get through this, but not to end up together. Though clearly, KyoAni doesn’t either.

Reina, like in the previous few episodes, has been stuck to Kumiko’s hip. Reina herself does something I didn’t expect: she apologises for her arrogance. I don’t think she had to, but it’s nice that she can reflect on her actions, and doesn’t constantly place herself above her peers. But when she’s with Kumiko, she comes across like a different person. And that’s why I love them together. I’m not even talking in a romantic sense when I say that – these two sharing a scene is enough for me to see how close their bond is. Every person acts different around someone else, because they might not know them as well, or they might not want to show their true selves, but when Reina and Kumiko are together, it feels like there are no walls keeping them apart. These two introverts open up and say the bluntest, weirdest things to one another. They’re so close at this point, and I hope that never changes.

But the most rewarding part of it all (apart from the fact that Reina called Kumiko several times during the few hours she lost her phone, and that Kumiko didn’t hesitate to instantly phone her back) is how Kumiko now understands what Reina was feeling back in Junior High. That tearful moment that started Hibike! Euphonium didn’t hit Kumiko back then, and neither did it with us, the audience. But we and Kumiko know better now, and it’s all come full circle, with Kumiko now saying the same words that Reina did that day. And it feels so rewarding. Kumiko’s development has been subtle over the series, and this episode cemented my love for her as a character.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Phew. What an episode. It actually stands close to episode 8, in my opinion. I don’t want to have to compare every episode that follows to that one, but it’s hard not to. Still, yet another outstanding addition to my favourite anime of the year so far. Everything has been building up to their performances in next week’s episode, and I can’t wait to see what happens. I don’t want to make any predictions. I just want to experience it when it comes. Still, I don’t want it to be over so soon…

Full-length images: 06, 25.


  1. P.S: All spam posts will be promptly deleted. If you’ve been following the comment section the past few weeks, then you probably know what I’m talking about. Please just ignore those comments altogether. Thanks~

    1. >Honestly, I don’t see how anyone could call themself an anime fan and not love this episode.
      Puts provocation on main page, says he will delete “spam” post. Sorry, but i’m anime fan, and just hate moeshits like this show.

  2. They really do do something incredible with their animation. Felt that way watching Kyoukai no Kanata. Remember being genuinely surprised at the level of animation in the action scenes. Perfect is a word that comes to mind. Just plain enjoyable to watch. Almost over. Thanks for your caps, Samu.

  3. Indeed, this was one of the finest episodes I’ve ever seen from any given anime studio out there.

    The way KyoAni handle the scene with Kumiko running on that bridge while crying was superb, another level of animation has been reached by them. They knew how to push Kumiko to her limit and made her realize the pain Reina went through back in middle-school, a beautiful full circle for both characters. And you’re right, at this point it doesn’t matter if the series leave their friendship as such, but the moments these two had shared along the way are truly memorable. I’ll reassure them as such.

    I can’t wait to own this series on BD, can you imagine that scene at full 1080p on a 55’’ TV. Luckily for me, I’ll be at home next Tuesday to see the final episode as soon as it gets out.

    Let’s hope for a wonderful finale.

    Syaoran LI
  4. https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2005.jpg



    Finally, some more Kumiko focus! <3<3<3

    Kumiko also is an example of how people can end up changing without even realizing it themselves for quite a while.

    Heck, how many other band members even remember the initial reasoning for why they wanted to try for the Nationals? Basically to prove Taki-sensei wrong and rub it in his face. Now, however, they're all truly putting in effort and wanting it because they themselves truly want it for one reason or another. Just look at the differences from the first few episodes to now; initially, most of the band tended to goof off during group practices, with few exceptions. Now they're all practicing from morning to sunset while also putting in a lot more individual effort in their own time.

    1. Well, generally because when things come easy to the characters and they don’t have to work hard for something, it doesn’t feel like they’ve really learned anything from it. It just seems more like getting a character from point A to B. But also from what I’ve read in the comments (and my own limited experience), playing an instrument is hard, and even though Kumiko has played for a long time, it wouldn’t be very believable if she aced the hardest part of her performance without some difficulty.

    2. I know that “come so easy” is pretty common, but should it be “come so easily” or “be so easy” ? Not like I’m a grammar expert or anything, but the line bothered me a little bit.

  5. I’ve always questioned the maturity level of some of these girls. They’re 14-16 year-olds and they’re just beginning to realize what regrets and frustrations are? Wanting to be better than everyone else is a very tween emotion. Wanting to be the most efficient with their own energy-time-and-effort partitioning for various tasks under the time constraint given is a more age-appropriate feeling for these girls, especially since high schools make their students so “well-rounded” nowadays. I’m sure Japan is the same. A lot of the drama we’ve been seeing in this series is stuff students would have observed at the end of elementary school and throughout the first two years of junior high.

    It’s great that this ep reminded me how awful summers can be. For everyone. But especially for musicians and their instruments. And practice of any sport or activity that is not confined to an AC’d room. Let’s just hope someone doesn’t pass out during the competition. And let’s hope Kumiko makes it to Uni instead of a music school.

    Petit Orenji
    1. Lol. Sorry, but KAni have light years to P.A. Works level. Even Glasslip was better than all (well, maybe except Haruhi) show they produced. It’s really sad to see how low they fallen.

      1. glasslip was painful to watch, i’m sure, for almost everybody. KyoAni has an established fanbase, and most of their series is fun to watch, but not for their level of depth.

      2. Why’d you place Glasslip as a reference for their works. Clearly Nagi no Asu has the best visuals and in terms of recency Shirobako came out the latest. Stating Glasslip as their magna opus if clearly bs.

      3. >Glasslip is better than most KyoAni works

        Dude, are you drunk or what ?

        Glasslip is the worst shit of 2014. Please keep your ignorant, biased hate of something when comparing two different things.

  6. Euphonium just blew everything out of the water this week. By far, this’s the best episode of the season IMO. From the art to visuals to animation.

    Anyway, is it just me or what, pony tail girls in this show just way to awesome?

    Plus Reina’s reaction at the end was just way to cute as well.

  7. …Kumiko. I’ve said it from the start that she was my favourite, that she felt like a real person …

    And I not only agree, I’ve fall for this character, from the very beginning. She feels so real. And when Taki sensei raises his face and ask “What are you doing here this late?”, just for an incredibly long nanosecond I thought that she was at HIS house! I understand how Reina feels at the end of the episode! That was crazy, KyoAni! You guys are playing with our hearts so much!

    But there is a lot more to say about our beloved Kumiko. Not only his narrative voice is so warm and honest, also from this episode we learn how she is surrounded by people that gave up from music to chase other goals, only to fail (right, Onee-chan?). And she, as an honest person, hates that.

    Yes, I love this whole episode and I hate the idea that the end of the season is coming.

    1. I can’t begin to tell you how much I related to Kumiko this week. In art and animation, I have seen most of my friends quit the whole field all together because they couldn’t make it work! That depresses me, but it doesn’t make me wanna do the same, because I been drawing my entire life, and it would be a severe blow to myself and others if I quit for the rest of my life now!

    1. Yep! Really adorable. Was it out of curiousity or jealousy since Kumiko spent some time alone with Reina’s precious Taki-sensei?

      And props to Kumiko for immediately dodging the bullet when she realized that she might have made Reina a little jealous.

      Kumiko knows that Reina’s really sensitive when Taki-sensei is involved. Really great friends these two.

  8. Only 13 episodes for this season?

    Oh boy… gonna be really sad…

    Coz summer season’s line-up isn’t really impressive IMO while we are bombarded by so many great animes this spring.

    Looking forward for RC’s summer previews, nonetheless.

    And many thanks for that stern warning Samu. I shied away last week coz some comments were really toxic and cringeworthy.

  9. This show is a must own on blu-ray for me honestly. I mean….good Lord…look at all this quality. Quality here, quality there, quality everywhere!

    As a side note:
    How this show leads into the opening song at the beginning of each episode is a small but enjoyable thing for me.

  10. *gasp* could it be? my first purchased anime series in either DVD or blu-ray? I’ll have to see if the urge gets any stronger come episode 13. All i know is that I reaaallllly want a season 2.

    Onto the actual episode: the kumiko scenes were great. It hurt to see her struggle like that. I know that pain. Maybe not for anything arts related, and more about academics, but the struggle and determination crosses both fields.

    and this face!

    the spirit of youth was coming off of her in waves.

  11. …and then repeats it to Shinichi when he notices her on the other end.

    I’ll hand it to those who are rooting for Kumiko and Shinichi…

    You accidentally wrote Shuuichi’s name wrong. Thank you for letting me reminisce about Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu though (lol)!

    This episode really highlighted how difficult band practice becomes as the national competition nears, especially when you are not careful in the heat. From Kumiko’s nosebleed to Sapphire’s blisters/cuts, it was intense!

    You can do it, Kumiko! Fighting~

  12. I’m actually not so angry with Yuko anymore as of this episode. When she Kaori approached Reina, I didn’t exactly some of that Reina hostility. I guess in a way she already got over last week’s auditions And yes you can’t mention that scene without mentioning Natsuki’s sudden entry. That Natsuki really likes to annoy Yuko sometimes.

    And also yes you can’t mention this episode without giving kudos to that bridge scene. The animation and acting were top notch.


    Kumiko’s little act of defiance in this scene was a bit funny to me. When her folks told her not to play the euphonium inside the house, Kumiko was like “I’m gonna play so deal with it!”

  13. So impressed by Kumiko’s seiyuu! Such a varied delivery, just perfect <3. Definitely one to look out for the future, though I'm sure KyoAni's direction and attention to detail factored a large part in it too.

  14. Though unappreciated and it’s from a movie, a similar scene from Tamako Love Story was also very good. Dropping Kyon’s/Sugita’s well delivered scene in Disappearance out of nowhere.

    Anyway, I’m kinda sad that we didn’t get anything from Yuuko to back her character up. Though I guess that’s fine with me considering we’re at the end of the season. A good trade as well considering we get a really solid Kumiko episode.

    The bridge scene was really good and well delivered. Great use of 3D, effects(blurs), animation, tracks… Holy crap. Also Tomoyo Kurosawa has really proven to be a perfect fit for Kumiko. Loving the voice work.

    Can’t wait to see the final nail in the coffin of possible season 2season finale. It fills me with so much falsehope!

    1. Yeah, I was hoping that Yuko would at least apologize for what she did in return. I know a bunch may not think it such a big deal, but it now feels like Yuko got away with nearly destroying the band, undoing all the work they had done to get to where they were (including Kaori’s), all because of her own selfishness, without any consequences. Sure, things managed to work themselves out in the end, but it came very close.

      Just a simple apology at that point would’ve made things feel a lot better to me.

  15. I agree with you. Kumiko is a fantastic character. Her development was so awesome! Although I like most of the episode of Sound Euphonium specially ep. 8. But after seeing this episode, it change my mind. This is the BEST episode in this series. I love it so much.

  16. It was nice seeing Taki-sensei be a human being with problems for once, instead of being an all-mighty demon teacher. That face Reina made at the end when she found out Kumiko spent personal time with him was the BEST! 😀

    Only one more episode. 🙁

  17. I know I’m probably a moron for taking this post seriously, but it’s not like I have anything better to do. And some people do seem to believe this.

    >Reina freaked out because she didn’t want Kumiko to be with a man.
    She freaked out specifically after hearing Taki-Sensei’s name, and started ignoring everything Kumiko was babbling about. It wasn’t the man part, or the alone part, it was Taki part. She has never shown a reaction this serious towards anything non-Taki related. Compare all the other reactions Reina had towards people talking about Taki-Sensei.

    >She had the same reaction in episodes 5 and 8 (regarding Shuuichi in the latter).
    Episode 5 scene was, again, about Taki-Sensei. Smiling about Shuichi in episode 8 was indicative of her sharing the same opinion Hazuki does – that Kumiko is in love with Shuichi and in denial of her feelings. They’ve known each other since middle school, after all.

    >Her “rabu” is actually just admiration for Taki-sensei, and her “ai no kokuhaku” is true homosexual love for Kumiko.
    “Ai no kokuhaku” line is straight from the novels. Where they’re platonic friends. It’s just chuuni talk. The idea that rabu was just admiration is nonsensical, she literally pointed out and clarified her stance. She is in romantic love with him. If it was just admiration, it would not have been done this way.

    >Also, partners do act like friends, they aren’t lovey-dovey all the time.
    They weren’t lovey-dovey even once. They weren’t lovey-dovey in private, when there was no one around them. They acted just as friends. And this was shortly after they supposedly confessed to each other. There would have been a lot more nervousness and romantic tension – and there was literally none. You don’t act like friends when you’re all alone with your first teenage love the very next day after you confess to each other. Even their private talk was one-upmanship – if you become special I’ll become even more special. No mention of being special together.

    1. I know there are those who WANT to believe that, but Reina’s reaction, to me, was more like she thought, when Kumiko said she she met Taki-sensei alone the previous night, that Kumiko meant she was alone with Taki-sensei at his residence (something she herself has probably never done), given Kumiko didn’t actually say “when I went back to the school to get my phone”.

    1. I read the review; why did it upset you so much? he backed up his opinions very well and was very fair with the episode. I found myself understanding where he was coming from and at times agreed with what he said

      1. It’s a stylistic thing. I can’t stand it when reviewers take the approach of explaining how they’d rewrite the show to make it better. The ‘review’ also took a fantastic part of the show (the convolution of plot) and made it out to be a negative as if that’s all it could be, but that’s more of just a disagreement of opinion.

        Lots of other little things, noticed you referenced my comment on their blog, so I might pop by and delve deeper into the critic’s mindset.

  18. Nice to see KyoAni clearing up from their yuribaiting. Episode got a better atmosphere as a result.

    Also, I can’t imagine how resource consuming it is to hire a professional brassfag to play something intentionally bad.

    1. A music college collaborated with KyoAni with this project so probably most of them are students. So technically not really professionals, but more like semi-pros.

  19. >Honestly, I don’t see how anyone could call themself an anime fan and not love this episode.
    Can you expand upon this? I can think of quite a few reasons why an anime fan would dislike this series, moreover this specific episode which epitomizes present day KyoAni.

    1. Well, for all the reasons I covered in my post, I suppose?

      Honestly, I just thought it was a fantastic episode. I’ve spoken with people who were on the fence about Hibike! Euphonium before this episode, and they now agree that it’s shifted their opinion of the series as a whole. I thought the episode was powerful, showed why Kumiko is a fantastic main character, and was beautifully animated. For me, it was perfect, and even though it’s just my opinion (like everything I write here), I’m genuinely not capable of seeing how someone couldn’t like this episode. I’m not saying they shouldn’t like it, but more that if they really feel that way, then I simply can’t understand it.

      You could give me a list of reasons for why people don’t like Kyoto Animation, and I guarantee you that I’ve already seen them multiple times before. Too many times, in fact. I’ve never denied my love for the studio and how they tackle their animation, but I’ll admit when they do something that isn’t that great. I know why people don’t like KyoAni already, and they’re entitled to feel that way. But I also know that no matter how many times people repeat the same criticisms over again, it’s never going to affect my viewing of their anime.

      P.S: I’ve decided to edit that line slightly.

      1. Show Spoiler ▼

  20. Maybe the author can tone down on the kyoani talk. I mean every time you blog the show it’s like you have to explain why you like kyoani this and kyoani that. Just don’t mention it past your intro post of ep 1. Keep it to the anime. It seems like your promoting the studio over the shows own quality.Like this episode specifically you mention over and over again how you never seen any kyoani series this good or say what you will about the studio or kyo ani didn’t think so either. It just reeks fanboyism. It makes it seem your in ultimate defense mode and that’s just inviting trolls. Plus it ruins an otherwise well thought out post. Just a thought if you decide to blog future kyoani projects.

    1. Why does samu need to tone down his admiration though? One of the major reasons what makes this anime work for him is the animation, which is obviously a direct input of the studio. And the animation to you might not be that amazing, but this is samu’s review and it’s his opinion. You can cry all you want at the comments, but at the end of the day, you’re not the blogger of this website.

      If bored fifteen year olds can’t do anything better than froth at the mouth and attack so-and-so every time samu gushes admiration, he has better things to do than toning down his reviews for the sake of being safe enough not to get attention from trolls.

      1. i think, lately the Hate here in Hibike comments has taken to much strength. So that he goes there and explain us his “light” was makes this Studio special for him.

        A Knight that want to break the Dark Clouds of Rage with his Beams of Lights.

      2. Then why does he have to block post, other peoples opinions, he’s telling other people to tone down. He has his opinion fine but you have to leave the comments alone. Even if it’s vile and hateful, it’s their right because that’s what comments are for. People can’t cry in the comments.

      3. Except that I was addressing one individual poster who has spammed with the same comments over 50 times in the past 3 weeks. They were literally rehashing the same post over and over, intentionally misusing the spoiler tags to aggravate other commenters, and having conversations with themselves to make it look like others are agreeing with them. I’ve not deleted any of the other posts by other commenters, I was just warning others not be baited by that person’s remarks and start a needless comment war.

  21. The weirdest thing for me about Kyoani’s line of works is that: the older series which i found so mesmerizing before this, like Amaburi or Hyouka, are somehow look “plain” comparing to this one. I mean, oh boy, when you have already seen something so blindingly gorgeous like Hibike!’s animation, i find it funny how their previous animes which i once was so astonished before doesnt even come close lol. I was really sold to Hyouka(which is closer to Hibike SOL genre) and believe me, i even declared that it is KyoAni’s most beautiful work ever. But when i rewatch it again and comparing them with Hibike, i was like, thats not how i remembered them! XD

    In short, Kyoto Animation keeps on surprising me with their capability. I am, a serious fan of this studio tbh (next to ufotable and Madhouse)

    onion warrior
    1. Really? Hyouka had much better animation overall. I just feel weird about the use of CG in Hibike! for some of the background people (not that it is terribly noticeable), because I don’t recall KyoAni doing that for any of their previous series.

  22. Wow. Another episode that looks like a movie in HD of sort… Thats what went on my mind as I watch this episode. As expected of kyoani. This is what PA works and related studios are trying hard to imitate… The way kyoani produce REAL QUALITY SHOWS.

    The Last Idiot
  23. offtopic:

    There are still someone that want to see an comparison of this Anime with Whiplash the movie. I think, this is doing the anime a disservice. Please enjoy this Piece of Anime as it is

  24. Gotta love how Reina has to apologize and Kaori as well, but that biatch Yuko gets a pass like we’re supposed to accept that it’s OK to screw things up for everyone as long as you’re doing it out of some sempai-worship or such.

  25. Hah, that one scene in the caps brings to mind Cheryl’s quote from Archer: “Just tape them up!”

    I normally don’t go for this sort of show, but the visuals are tempting me!

  26. Ep 13 (end):

    Show Spoiler ▼

    This Anime end with a Episode that if full of grace


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