Score: A

This episode shows how tough the road ahead is. It’s easy when focusing on the main cast to lose track of the struggles of those that have chosen now to pick up instruments and are trying to get better as quickly as possible. The new people are the lifeblood of the band and are the future. But the present is obsessed with reaching the level they need. That’s to say nothing about the different personalities that you are going to find in a group like this. How much can people handle these circumstances and thrive under them?

It can be tough…

It’s not Hibike Euphonium without some drama. It’s tough. There is the understandable need for Kitauji to up their game. It hasn’t been good enough the past few years to reach their goal and this is the last chance for the main characters. They know how far they need to go to have a chance. So that meant choosing the extreme goal of going to get gold and picking pieces that push themselves to the limit. It’s not like Reina wants to corner those people that are going to struggle in that case. If they take it easy to bring along those that can’t keep up, then they aren’t going to make it. If just having fun was a goal, they had decided for themselves that’d be one thing. But they aimed higher.

The struggles for those that fall behind are easy to empathize with. I tried a bit of marching band and it’s tough. You must stay in formation, watch spacing, carry the instrument, and try to play all at the same time! It’s just on another level from simply performing in a sitting position where you have far fewer factors to keep a hold of. So, I do feel for Takekawa in getting called out. That’s never a fun thing. But I also get that Reina is trying to raise their level. The differences in opinion are clear between Reina, Shinsuke, and Kumiko.

Reina is just doing her best

In some ways I like that this ends without a specific solution. It isn’t an easy situation. Even first years like Sally know that they won’t reach the goal they have without being strict and really pushing. Telling Reina to ease up just would undercut the goals they set. But separating the newbies would be iffy. They’d pretty much be left by themselves and wouldn’t feel like part of the team. It’s not easy to find an answer that can satisfy everyone.

It is fair to say that Sally is easily the type that herself will likely become Band President at some point. Her efforts helped keep the 1st years on the same side and steering them away from breaking down entirely. It’s fair for people to get stressed out and even considering quitting. That did leave her feeling regrets about whether she made the wrong choice. Since anyone that shows signs of suffering going forward is someone that could have gotten out before that point. The future of this band will be impacted in a good way thanks to Sally. That is something to be proud of.

The road of a President is a difficult one

The important thing is to listen, and this is the episode where Kumiko truly felt like the President. There were no perfect answers for this situation. But Kumiko could listen and offer her support. Sometimes just knowing that someone is hearing you out can mean a great deal. It’s not even that Kumiko was simply nodding but not paying attention. Kumiko truly took in Sally’s feelings and helped process things in a way that left her feeling overall better.

And I kind of like the overall message Kumiko’s position left. It’s ok for people to get stressed and to wonder about the future. But having everyone be there together means something. Whether they succeed or fail, this group can share in those results. No one is left out and forgotten in all of this. So long as Kumiko is there to support people then they can keep trying.

Kumiko got played

While I don’t love messing with Kumiko to try and make her visit Sally…I do get the point. There was a need to push Kumiko into action and have her reach out. So long as she heard Sally out then there was a good chance to find a common ground. And I think this was a good thing for Kumiko. She needed to hear the voice of various first years from someone that was very much involved. Thanks to that Kumiko will be far more available and more students will feel comfortable reaching out to her. In a year that will likely be stressful that’s a valuable thing.

Kumiko’s future is again being brought up as a talking point. She’s still just unsure about what she wants to do with her life and what direction to go. I guess you could argue she’s still afraid to go all out. Kumiko loves music and these three years have proven that. Is she ready to take on the challenge of continuing to chase it? Whether she tries to become a professional musician or dabbles with it while in university…it’s fine. Or is she going to take a less dangerous route and just go with something that won’t have her parents on her back or gambling with her future? I’m sure her parents will get involved in this topic…

I wonder about her

Mayu honestly surprised me in this episode. That was a pretty bleak way of looking at things. It’s just fine in a bunch of first years simply quit? Much like how things went when she talked 1v1 with Kumiko. Mayu just has a weird vibe to her. Part of me feels like she’s trying to create some distance or taking a defensive position. It’s just a club? Mayu shouldn’t be any different from Kumiko. They’ve spent years in concert band chasing a dream. It’s not just a club for people that invested. Right now, I don’t quite understand her motivations. But it feels like she had a rough time in some ways at her last school. I’m sure we’ll get some answers, but this was another big sign that she’ll have drama surrounding her later.

Made it through this issue

Just another good episode. The drama was tough at points, but that simply made it more effective. It really seemed like Kumiko would have to experience total hell as things fell apart with a mass resignation issue. Thankfully that didn’t happen. But it shows how tough it is to balance the interests of this many people. And the difficulty won’t get any lighter. The group (partly thanks to Reina’s tough love) is getting stronger. But they must reach their maximum potential if they are going to get past the biggest challenge ahead. And that’s to say nothing about the drama we can expect from auditions and likely the home lives of certain students. Not going to be easy.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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