「あめふりコンダクター」 (Ame Furi Kondakuta)
“Rainy Conductor”

The world may be grim right now, but Hibike! Euphonium is here to cheer us up. At least… for the most part. This was certainly an episode of two halves, with a positive very anime-like festival focus before we dive into the darker aspects of characters arc we’ve yet to explore. It’s a fair balance of pleasant smiles and hints for future developments. I don’t know about all of you reading, but a mix of world events and personal turmoil had me in a downer when I watched this episode, so when it turned out this was going to be an uncharacteristically upbeat episode of Hibike! Euphonium, I was pleasantly surprised. The fact is, the first 12 minutes or so of this episode were the weakest writing we’ve seen from this second season, but I definitely needed an opportunity to laugh and smile and just enjoy these characters be goofy with their festival. It wasn’t groundbreaking, nor was it especially gorgeous by KyoAni standards, but it was a nice breather between the two halves this second season looks to represent.

For the most part, nothing in the festival scenes really meant much – other than the cute outfits, endearing character interactions, and moments of comedy here and there – but the one scene that’s sure to get people talking is Kumiko and Shuuichi in the haunted house. I’m not deluded enough to believe Kumiko and Reina are going to be precious girlfriends by the end of it all, but the fact remains that Kumiko and Shuuichi’s relationship has been severely underdeveloped, and tagging this scene in now and expecting us to accept it as a hint for future romance isn’t the greatest. From what I understand, this comes from the source material, and unless KyoAni wanted to erase his character altogether (which, to be fair, is what it looks like they’ve done for the past five episodes), they are expected to include these scenes. Am I ecstatic about it? No. It simply wasn’t up to the same standard and execution that I’d expect from a series of this quality.

Thankfully, the second half of this episode was top-notch, proving why the drama in Hibike! Euphonium is often better than what most school life anime have to offer. In that short span of time we were introduced to three storylines that are sure to web together in the remaining seven episodes: Kumiko’s sister dropping out of college after encouraging Kumiko and telling her to study rather than focus on high school band; Taki-sensei’s relationship with his deceased wife and his memories of the past; and Asuka’s continued mystery as a family figure makes an appearance. All three have great potential, and although this episode featured little in the way of band performances, all these storylines are sure to come back to music in one way or another. Kumiko’s sister quit band when she was in school (from what I recall), and Kumiko’s drive to succeed is sure to unravel and cause further clashes between the two; Taki-sensei is set to get more spotlight as Reina hopefully realises they’re never meant to be, learning that teachers are real people with their own lives outside of a student’s fantasies; and it appears we’re finally going to learn the deal with Asuka. Kumiko knows more than anyone that something is bubbling beneath the surface, and the result is sure to be dramatic.

All in all, a loaded episode with a mix of humour, iffy romantic acknowledgements, and set up for three storylines that I’m excited to learn more about. Unlike the drama with Nozomi and Mizore, we know these characters who are going to get the focus now, so there’s every chance this could take it to a whole other level. The balancing act of Hibike! Euphonium’s large cast has been excellent so far this season, and I expect that to continue as we pass the half way mark.

31 Comments

  1. LIke I said the last time, if they’re pandering to the audience Reina and Kumiko’s relationship just for bait, this kind of shit that happened in this episode serves as a reminder for the original material. At leats we know Reina “loves” Taki-sensei, but what about Kumiko? She doens’t give a shit about his childhood friend as far as the anime has show us, yet here we’re discussing this possibility. I’m hopeful KyoAni won’t pull a Harry Potter on us to tease and then follow the original material.

    Syaoran Li
    1. If they stick with the source material, it is what is it. It seems obvious that KyoAni are way more passionate about Kumiko/Reina however, and this just feels like a necessity more than anything else. I just hope it doesn’t tarnish an already impressive second season.

      Samu
    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      Saburau
  2. This is a weird question, but does anyone know what car sensei was driving? The way he popped it out of the parking brake (?) was so weird. Hadn’t seen anything like that since I had a mid 70s VW super beetle.

    Tenchimuyo999
    1. Not so weird, this is the third place I’ve answered this question since yesterday. It’s a Citroen Ami, circa 1970. The lever is the shifter. A number of French cars from the period mounted the shifter on the dash; it’s odd but not completely crazy for a front wheel drive car. Check Youtube for a video of someone driving an Ami.

      proper1420
  3. I’m pleased to see the scene after the haunted house part, where Kumiko and Reina sat together eating marshmallow and Reina asked Kumiko whether it was by accident to be with Shuichi. Reina’s reaction was just so cute when she got the right answer from Kumiko that absolutely it was accidental, which indicates that her feeling toward Kumiko is kind of possessive, or at least she doesn’t want Kumiko to date with Shuichi. Kumirei ship can go further.

    Polovetsian Dances
    1. Considering Reina views Shuichi as a lower life form since episode four of the first season, I’m sure she prefers her best friend not to date him. She was even surprised that Kumiko doesn’t share the same view of him. Wasn’t really noticeable during the first season because there was hardly any scenes centred on the three of them.

      theirs
  4. I don’t know if like you I was just so down over the election or what, but this episode was such a win for me. So much inconsequential fluff at the beginning, but I loved every minute of it. And then of course we got that really fantastic second half, so many great plotlines set into motion… I just really enjoyed it.

    Man, I have to fangirl a bit about Kumiko and Reina. Both of them just seemed so happy in every scene they were together, it really warmed my heart. If only KyoAni would put that kind of effort into making Shuichi and Kumiko equally compelling. What struck me about their scene this week was just how utterly traditional it was. When Kumiko and Reina have these moments, they’ve always felt so unique, whether it be climbing a mountain or tying up each other’s hair. But with Shuichi it always comes back to these kind of stale environments and cliches. I’ve already accepted that Shuichi and Kumiko are most likely end game, but it’s a shame it has to be such a drag.

    The sister drama is DOPE, I’ve really been looking forward to that. Their dynamic really reminds me of Whisper of the Heart. It’s awesome to see a genuine depiction of sisterhood, warts and all. I really love how Kumiko’s home life is depicted in general, particularly how it exists on the fringe of the story, almost mimicking how Kumiko is constantly blocking it out. It was interesting to see her mother tell her not to talk to her friends about her sister; that doesn’t strike me as the most healthy thing and I bet it will bite Kumiko later. And the coldness in the way that her father just walked past her on his way out, even when she wasn’t the one he was angry at! Just really well executed family drama imo.

    And then Taki. There was something so simplistic about his storyline that felt like, in any other studio’s hands, it would have been anti-climatic. But it’s how KyoAni sells it that makes it so interesting. The weather and that car ride were just perfect, and I loved Kumiko’s acknowledgement of how happy she is to have Taki as a teacher; it felt very heartfelt.

    And for Asuka, I’m happy to say my hypothesis is looking good. All the visuals at the end of the episode work with my theory that she is under pressure and struggling with responsibility, causing her to shirk it in her band life. Have to wait for next week to be sure though.

    innerchihiro
  5. Is this Asuka’s mum?
    https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2036.jpg
    Wasn’t it implied that Asuka hightailed the parent – student – teacher meeting? I don’t think things will turn out well.

    Always wondered about Mamiko. But it was actually surprising hearing she wanted to quit college. From the tiny snippets we saw, I thought she was half heartedly looking out for her sisters future. Now I’m wondering if she’s been envious of Kumiko all this time. Potential for great drama I suppose. Can’t help notice in the opening where she’s teaching Kumiko how to play the trombone with Shuichi. She looks a lot happier than how we’ve seen her so far.

    theirs
  6. I don’t understand KyoAni. Shuichi’s relationship with Kumiko is so easy to handle that spending a couple of minutes in giving him screen time would’ve been enough to make people like him and believe they could be something more.

    And why are they still in bad terms when they made up in the 1st season finale? They did a hand fist to show they’re ok, and if KyoAni isn’t invested in his character why continue this subplot when they had the chance to conclude their relationship as just friends last season? They are never 100% faithful with the source material Show Spoiler ▼

    Half-assing Shuichi’s character is only hurting this series.

    Shuichi and Kumiko are childhood friends and neighbors. In episode 1 of the 1st season it was said that Shuichi used to hang out at Kumiko’s place and stay for dinner. With that base, a montage of them growing up together and start their interest in band club together like Tamako Love Story would at least give perspective on Shuichi’s crush and how close they used to be.

    The opening has a flashback of Mamiko playing with Kumiko and Shuichi, there’s a chance Mamiko’s subplot may involve Shuichi as Kumiko treats both similarly despite her past good relationship with them, with indifference and arguing whenever she talks to either of them.

    eu
  7. why are you all so shocked at the Shuichi thing? kumiko and reina were never intended to be a couple in the first place no matter how many “scenes” they have together. if that were the case why didn’t kyoani just adapt a yuri/shoujo-ai manga or light novel series from the start. why do they keep adapting heterosexual content most of the time? it wouldn’t make sense to take two characters who are a certain way then do a complete 180 on them just because.

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