「とまどいフルート」 (Tomadoi Furuuto)
“Hesitation Flute”

It’s a pool episode! Except it’s not your typical pool episode, because it’s all about band drama. This was another solid set-up episode that focused on the drama bubbling beneath the surface, using Kumiko’s absence of knowledge to get to the bottom of this mystery. I’ve said it many times before, but I just have to highlight how damn good Kumiko is; she’s such a well fleshed out character who feels like a real teenage girl. She gets lost in her own train of thought, she’s learned to stand up for herself over the course of the first season, but she still has the cynical inner voice that creeps back every now and then. Her encounter with Nozomi couldn’t have played out any better for her. When challenged on why the senpai isn’t the one part of the competition group, I was practically screaming “Tell her! Tell her!”, and then just like that, she took a deep gulp and said that the best deserved to be on top, which is exactly what happened. She won the audition fair and square and she shouldn’t have to feel bad in explaining that just because she’s the younger of the two.

Thankfully, Kumiko and Nozomi got on swell after that point as she explained the whole situation that has been left a mystery for quite some time – both to us, and to Kumiko. It’s a smart move to have us be brought up to speed at the same time as our lead, and evokes that feeling of discomfort when you know something is going on around you but you don’t know the full details to comment or enquire further on it. As it goes, Nozomi was one of the ones who wanted to practice hard and do well in the competitions last year, but as we know the third years from before didn’t share her opinion, which is what caused the team to not do very well during that time. Knowing that she struggled so hard to get the team to where it is now is painful, especially since she’s not getting Asuka’s support to rejoin them.

I can see both perspectives: Nozomi sees that the team is in a good place right now, and she wants to be part of the environment that she fought for but couldn’t attain as quickly as she liked, whereas Asuka, who tried to convince her not to leave, isn’t willing to bring her in perhaps due to her loud attitude and that she quit before the game got hard. If she stuck around for the rest of the year and sat idly by, then there wouldn’t be any of this drama, but I sympathise more with Nozomi on this. She did well in middle school and obviously wanted to replicate that in high school, but her obnoxious seniors didn’t care for her passion and so she gave up in the fury of it all. Honestly, if there was something I was that determined about and I felt I was one of the few who really cared about doing well, I probably would just leave such a toxic environment as well.

Now, Asuka. Asuka, Asuka, Asuka… what are we to make of you? I never bought your happy-go-lucky routine from early in the first season when everyone labelled you “best girl”, and now I can see you aren’t really that girl at all. Maybe she wants to be that positive senpai, but right now she’s toeing the line between lacking empathy for her juniors and just not caring much about anything. What hints we’ve seen of her true self aren’t yet enough to build the bigger picture, but it makes the inevitable reveal even more exciting. Kumiko confronting her is just what we need, but I suspect this won’t get to the bottom of everything. This arc feels like it’s going to go on for a little longer, especially once you factor in Mizore and her confusion as to why she’s still part of the band when she loathes competitions so much. There’s a lot of tension that needs to be resolved if Kumiko and her bandmates are to take practice seriously, so even if it means less show stopping performances, I’m all aboard for these quieter, character-focused episodes that delve into the thinking of these previously undeveloped characters.

P.S. Just to bring it back to this being a pool episode, I appreciate that KyoAni didn’t feel the need to be gratuitous with the scenes when they had ample oppertunity. Kumiko’s fascination with Reina’s growing breasts was amusing (and not exactly typical heterosexual behaviour) and worked in the moment. I also have to hand it to them for actually understanding the anatomy of how straps and boobs work together. Not every anime girl has to have silicon balloons that defy physics, so that’s a refreshing change. The little details matter.

29 Comments

    1. Yes, clearly she wants her own boobs to be bigger. But you’d have to be naive to think KyoAni don’t know what they’re doing here with Kumiko and Reina. Even if nothing comes of it, the double-meaning to many of their interactions aren’t there by pure co-incidence.

      Samu
      1. I’m as pro Kumiko/Reina as the next guy, but even I don’t think that was yuri sub-textual. It was well established last season that Kumiko is uncomfortable with her size. This was just more of that.

        Goukaryuu
      2. @Panimo Manimo
        You can’t tell if it’s unnecessary or not until the end of the show.
        I’m not even on the KumiRei ship or anything.

        This show’s shipping is still as toxic as ever.

        Just… don’t bring attention to it? It honestly doesn’t matter to the overall experience.

        TitanAnteus
      3. Jesus people its like you never had teasing conversation with your friends. My girl friends and me are always throwing yuri jokes at each other, it doesn’t mean we are homosexual.

        Claire
  1. https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2008.jpg

    Too…perfect…! <3<3<3

    https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2023.jpg

    Satomi-sensei! <3

    https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2025.jpg

    But poor Reina, lol. I did love how it wasn't a one-time thing either and thought it was even funnier the second time with her slowly trying to eat, but the food dropping off her fork and such.

    And Kumiko finally takes the initiative to confront Asuka about what truly happened the previous year.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
  2. Let’s face it: this team is far from being in full unison, and the senpais aren’t making things any better by keeping the kouhais in the dark. Last year it was disasterous because of the debacle and nothing was gonna solve that, but the senpais are making a mistake with their damage control of this that extends to Asuka denying Nozomi. If Nozomi’s return can affect the whole team, then they need to stop keeping the kouhais in the dark and trust that they will understand their situation if they tell them and to let them make up their own minds about it, because this kind of situation can only be dealt with with direct confrontation that involves the whole team (both senpai and kouhai), just like Reina’s solo predicament was dealt with. They don’t have to agree about everything, but since this is about a team of mucisians brining their individual talents together in a competition, they need to look at each and every individual and be in full agreement about them. But of course that won’t happen because this is just about one student at the end of the day, which is why Kumiko is the best start for now. And yes this will take some time to get resolved because it first needs to begin with peeling the rock solid onion that is Asuka. Because at the end of the day, Nozomi sure as hell deserves another shot.

      1. Except when they were confronted with Reina’s solo situation. Even if they didn’t outwordly admit it, they too had their own thoughts about which one was better for the solo. This kind of situation can affect the whole team, so they should have the right to form their own opinions about it. But now that I say that, I also realize how much trouble it will prove to be for the seniors, and it’s not realistic to assume they all have the guts to deal with it effectively, at least the same guts as Kumiko. It’s far from an ideal situation, that’s for sure. That’s what fear does at the end of the day.

  3. This ep was prettiful, and we got to see the group in bikinis as a bonus. Still getting a bit tired of the music club drama, but at the same time I am getting more invested in Nozomi as a character.

    Reina iOS 7 has crashed.

    starss
  4. Shame you didn’t mentioned the TRUE best girl, Natsuki.
    Jokes aside, I’m disappointed with Tuba-kun. Remember his attitude about Natsuki during first season? And now we have that flashback showing that he stayed silent while Natsuki said what she thought about the third years. Why he behaved like she didn’t cared about the band during first season?

    Panino Manino
    1. Sorry, Kumiko always has been and always will be best girl. But everyone else is a pretty close second, including Natsuki. There’s no bad characters in this show (except maybe Shuuichi, but I’d describe him more as unfortunate than bad),

      Samu
      1. Kumiko is in a league of her own; I guess im so used to the “best girl wars” being in a series where the main character was a male that it slipped my mind that i could include kumiko in the ranks. To me, she is isolated from the rest of the cast as an outlier

        sonicsenryaku
  5. This episode was a little lackluster for me but otherwise fine. A highlight for me was the T-Shirt criticism!! I laughed so hard when they were basically like “it’s English, so who cares.” I also did get a kick out of Reina’s reaction to Satomi-sensei lol. They’ve shown her react jealously before, but never in such a cartoonish way so it definitely threw me a bit.

    One of the reasons I love this show is that they so often tweak/defy anime tropes, and I really felt that way with this episode because of the whole pool setup. I think all of us probably expected a full episode in the pool with tons and tons of fan service, and while we definitely got some of that, the fact that it only lasted a half-episode and that they used the majority of that time to show an actual conversation that moved the plot forward was surprising and very welcome.

    I’m ready for a watershed moment with Asuka. I want an explanation for the way she acts, and goddamnit I want it now. In my observation of her, I feel like her problems are closely connected to an intense fear of responsibility. In thinking back to what she said before the performance at the end of last season, maybe she wasn’t lamenting the end of the band’s run, but rather the end of the idyllic time in which the band didn’t have any expectations to succeed outside of their clubroom. Either way, the waiting game is getting old.

    As for Mizore… I’m a little non-plussed with her so far. Really? The sound of Nozomi’s flute makes her physically ill? I just find that so bizarre, but I’ll hold out hope for her yet.

    Pretty much the takeaway of this episode for me is that Kumiko is a freaking amazing protagonist. I loved when she stood up for herself to Nozomi. I loved when she was honest with Reina about the way she sees her as mature inside and out. She’s changing and growing as a young teen would and it’s all very relatable. Kumiko FTW.

    innerchihiro
  6. When challenged on why the senpai isn’t the one part of the competition group, I was practically screaming “Tell her! Tell her!”, and then just like that, she took a deep gulp and said that the best deserved to be on top, which is exactly what happened.

    I really liked how Nozomi tested Kumiko there. She was in a similar position before she quit, where she was dealing with a seniority-complex culture and was curious about the current state of things. That’s why she looked elated by Kumiko’s response and said she “thinks so, too” and that “Kitauji sure has changed.” It adds to her character to know she’s on the same page as Kumiko.

    Also, did anyone else notice clever imagery with the rhino beetles on the tree? The brown one knocked off the black one. Ufufu, what could that have represented? 😉

    Trippwre
  7. They took a pool scene and rather than fanservice, they used it to advance the plot. I admire that, though I wished they spent some time with the girls having fun. Seems kind of jerkish for Kumiko to just abandon her friends just to talk to her senpai, but then again, it does seem kind of true to her character. She just seems like the person who wants to figure out everything and make a decision.

    I didn’t see the season premiere episode, so I’ll have to watch that when I can, but I just skipped to this episode cause of it being a pool episode and all. Seeing Kumiko be herself is great, along with all of the other band members, though I wished there was more of her and Reina. Hope that this episode is a teaser for future episodes.

    Anonymous
  8. Really can’t wait for next week. I’ll be surprised if I ended up bieng surprised. Just like Nozomi’s reaction to Kumiko’s answer. It was surprising even though I knew she’d agree. Just rather unexpected.

    Fanboy mode:
    It’s actually rather amusing that I started to really like Asuka when they gave hints about her dark side. Suspicion about her darker side actually elevated her to “best girl” for me. XD
    Kumiko was on top before that.

    https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2002%20-%2024.jpg
    I’d really like to know the name of the girl on the left. I knowthink the one on the right is Kitamura Raina. They’ve been fangirling over Taki-sensei for quite some time.

    theirs
  9. Damn, when you thought you’re gonna have fanservice time with pool episode, but instead it got to be your common drama. They can’t relax even at the pool! Still, there were some nice shots so I am satisfied.

    Jokes aside, there is so much going on just at the start of this season. This is the beauty of sequels – the important build up was already made, so now we can just advance the plot all the way. Kumiko is simply magnificent MC, can’t get too much of her. I was worried about Nozomi Arc being a bit unnecessary, but now it’s pretty clear that it is just another piece for case of Kumiko’s character development. As well as for Asuka, see tries to be a good senpai (and best girl of the show) really hard and seeing her true self (because sooner or later it must happen) might be a bit, well, frightening. Both for Kumiko and us viewers. And we can’t forget about Mizore’s doubts which might have some influence later in future.

    Overall, great episode as always and when I think about it, we got pretty far in plot and everything, considering it’s been like five months (it’s August now, right?) since we started. Looking forward to next episodes.

    Pyon
  10. Mild spoiler but here’s what Asuka-sempai’s character is really like:

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Let’s just say Samu, that your instincts are correct.

    kageKun

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