「えきびるコンサート」 (E Ki Biru Konsato)
“Station Concert”

Aka: The Disappearance of Tanaka Asuka.

Now that we’re adapting the third novel of the series, it feels like we’re getting to the meatier content, giving us more with the characters we know and are familiar with rather than introducing unfamiliar faces into the mix. The first six episode were pretty great, but nothing quite tapped the quality of the first season, so now we’ll play the waiting game to see if the second half matches expectations. It’s the differences between it being pretty great and KyoAni’s greatest TV anime, so even if what remains doesn’t exceed the heights of last year’s offerings, I’ll be happy with what I’ve got. If there’s one thing this second season has done better than the first, it would be treating the cast as an ensemble and approaching the drama from that perspective; by having several characters integral to every storyline, nothing feels like filler or padding – everything has meaning, and we get to know all these characters even more because of it.

Asuka’s drama takes centre stage this week, and it’s just as exciting and unfortunate as I’d hoped. It turns out the figure at the end of last week’s episode was her mother, and she doesn’t understand Asuka’s decision to stick with the band when it won’t benefit her in the long run. I can see her perspective, and I liked that this episode humanised her even in her most aggressive moments. I’m lucky enough that I never had parents who pressured me to quit something I had found passion in, but I can imagine being put on the spot by your teacher when your unaccepting mother is right beside you can’t be an easy thing. Asuka remains calm in that mysterious manner she’s mastered, but when he mother lashes out and slaps her for going against her wishes, things get serious.

Asuka’s response is tepid, and it’s hard to get a proper reading of her mood and opinions after that moment; the rest of the episode leads us one way and then another, keeping us wondering just what’s going to happen. I appreciated that her mother showed instant regret for slapping her daughter, but that was still an awful thing to do. I just hope we get more behind-the-scenes moments with Asuka and her family as this arc progresses, because Kumiko’s outsider perspective can only deliver so much.

Another character that stood out this week is Haruka, who despite being the effective leader of the band doesn’t have much of a part in the drama and many of the storylines over the past two seasons. She’s a plain girl who doesn’t stand out compared to her kouhais, but her bringing the band together after Asuka’s departure and then impressing with that daunting solo in the station performance was the epitome of “cool”, which isn’t a word I’d think to describe her by. Even if the central storyline isn’t as profound this time around, the varied scenes and developments across the cast is giving me more than enough to keep me entertained.

By the looks of it we’re going to get more family drama with Kumiko’s sister going… somewhere. These episodes sure do end off on the best/worst places, and it sucks that we don’t get previews to tease us, even if its mere breadcrumbs. I don’t know what’s coming next, but I expect more Asuka and her mother, and Kumiko and her sister, as things get personal and heated between them.

18 Comments

  1. I would have reacted just like Kumiko if I witnessed the situation between Asuka, Taki-sensei, and Asuka’s mother. There’s nothing she could have done as an outsider.

    https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2005.jpg
    https://randomc.net/image/Hibike!%20Euphonium/Hibike!%20Euphonium%202%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    On another note, Taki-sensei and Haruka were the highlights this week. He refused Asuka’s resignation letter, knowing it was forced upon by her mother. When the entire band was down over Asuka’s possibly quitting, he ended practice early, wanting the students to solve the matter themselves. In turn, Haruka stepped up in bringing everyone’s spirit back and accepting the solo performance. She gained the confidence she was lacking in.

    ichigo
  2. asuka’s mom she’s a damn bitch (no one slaps asuka senpai) but it seems there’s some sort of history in her. my PREDICTION, asuka’s mom probably also a musician and just like kumiko’s sis who quits playing for college, and then some sort of shit happens, then, she stops going to college. in short, she’s pretty much envious of achievements of her daughter, one that she didnt attained during perhaps, her school days. why this precition? i mean cmon… i dont know how strict asuka’s mom is, but having a child achiever, who will be playing in national level? i should be damn proud but no… asuka’s mom wants her (asuka) to stop.

    anyway kyoani did a great job poppin in some story plot for asuka to tell us why she is this “unpredicatble” and unreadable.

    Jeffers
  3. I really want to know what’s the relationship between Asuka and her mom is. I hope they go more in detail about this because Asuka is a mysterious and complex character that’s hard to tell what’s she really thinking or feeling

    Wraith
    1. Me too. I hope we finally crack Asuka’s outer shell and get to know what she really thinks. Even now with all this unfolding she doesn’t give away her true feelings or intentions. She’s stubborn in keeping up her act, but it makes her all the more interesting.

      Samu
  4. I get the sense that both Yuuko and Natsuki are being prepared to lead the band (if Asuka taking Natsuki aside is any indication), and Nozomi would be the “third ranger” that helps troubleshoot matters Yuuko and Natsuki alone cannot resolve easily – and one that both Yuuko and Natsuki deeply respect. It’ll be interesting to see how Hibike Euphonium handles the issue of leadership transition, though I do wonder whether Yuuko’s likely succession of Kaori’s position will go unchallenged. So far, there seems to be the implication that Yuuko does have the crucial support and social relations with the leading Second years, and enough respect from the First Years to take over Haruka’s position and be even more effective than Kaori from the get go.

    Haruka’s speech after Taki-Sensei suspended practice for the day, on the other hand, was Haruka finest moment as a Club Leader yet, and possibly the most blatant display of leadership we’ve yet seen out of her. And I suspect that Yuuko’s response to Kaori is a prelude to what we should expect from Yuuko’s leadership style, once the Third Years leave the club.

    Andmeuths
    1. Don’t know about Yuuko, the other 2nd year female trumpet player was fairly close to Hazuki if you look at the swimming pool episdoe. The clarinet, bassoon & oboe, horn, trombone and percussion only have one second year player. So, it’s easy to see who’ll lead those sections. Don’t think we enough about the second years to make a good guess. But it does seem likely that Natsuki will lead the bass section.

      theirs
    1. Really have to ask, is she even voiced? I’m in the fortunate position where all my favourite ones are at least voiced. I think all the boys are voiced too. Could’ve sworn I heard the trumpet player talk.

      theirs
  5. Can’t help but think there’ll be some link between Asuka’s problems and Kumiko’s family problems. What happens in one will probably help in giving a solution to the other. No idea on how it’ll unfold though. This episode seem to about setting up for future events.

    Kinda surprised that Asuka didn’t reply to Kaori or Haruka’s messages. Considering she said not to worry, I’m sure she realized that silence makes things even more worrying. Even a simple “I’m okay” is better than silence, right? Makes you really wonder what’s going on.

    theirs
    1. Both of Asuka’s storyline and Kumiko’s sister’s problem will involve Kumiko to interact with the two characters, not just keeping Kumiko as a camera to record what happens around her from a outsider’s view.I think one of the most focused subject matter about Hibike! is what the love for music and playing instruments really is, with all the efforts,regrets,happiness and pain mixed, no matter when you’re making miraculous harmony with others, or when you’re feeling deeply hurt for the frustration of not being able to improve playing skills. And that’s a question to which Kumiko has been seeking after the answer from the very beginning.We will just wait and see how KyoAni will tell such a good story.

      Polovetsian Dances
  6. Yayyyy that was good!! I had this feeling it might be sort of lame because I do feel they’ve drawn out the wait on Asuka a bit, but this was a really fascinating look at her. I wonder what is going on in her head when she swallows her feelings that way. What experience made her bottle things up like that? I think she must be fiercely dedicated to her mom, which makes sense since I’m sure her mom has made a ton of sacrifices for her since she’s a single parent. Excited to see where this goes.

    And damn, I am ready for Mamiko Kumiko drama. They have been teasing that since like episode 1 and I wanna return this season to Kumiko and her character development. If I have to nitpick with season 2, I’d say Kumiko has felt a bit disconnected from the story lines by comparison to season 1 where she was central to quite a bit of the action and drama.

    And damn Haruka, what a solo. Based on her expressions and also some of the band’s, I kept wondering if she was actually botching it, but I think they were just surprised. I love how honest Haruka is with herself about her position in the band. She recognizes the negative effects her presidential status has on her and she tries to counteract it as much as she can, for other people but also for herself. To say “I deserve this solo, this is what I want” is some seriously inspiring self-love. Go girlllllll.

    innerchihiro

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