Score: A-

We’re getting into it now. I honestly thought last week that we’d see a full-blown performance, but this one was more of a prelude to the true events ahead! The upcoming auditions should create the group that we’ll throw into the fight to even get to nationals! But that does throw my initial theory into a bit of doubt. It’d be weird for Kumiko to fall behind Mayu for the competition that will determine whether they get to Nationals at all. But at the same time maybe that’s how it really will go. So long as they make it to Nationals then Kumiko can theoretically retake her top Eupho spot and carry this thing to victory!

Just asking her to pick a drink!

Mayu’s character is finally coming into focus. I was thinking something major happened at Seira, but maybe not. It feels like this is all about her core personality and that was the case over there. If anything is fake with her I think it’s that she doesn’t want to take a spot because she hasn’t been at Kitauji for all three school years. I feel like she was similar at Seira too. Part of the issue for her seems to be that she doesn’t want to take the place of people more passionate than she is. Some people desperately want to perform, to reach gold, to be part of it. She’s not that passionate about it. But she absolutely has the skills and ability to put in the work. Unless she’s against a true prodigy she’ll get a spot. Maybe the top spot.

In some ways it is sad. There’s no chance the only picture Mayu took with herself in it was the one that didn’t develop properly. I wonder what kind of expression she had on her face in it…Not everyone knows what they want, is picky, or is extremely passionate about something. Some people can just float through life like that. But it is a bit sad seeing the efforts Mayu puts into almost being a ghost. She’s not invisible and she’s like well enough. She puts in the work to make herself likable. But she’s close to very few people, keeps herself out of photos, and feels like someone that would be happy to simply disappear and be forgotten. People can decide how they want to live, but something feels sad about Mayu.

Kumiko has some things to think about

I like that Kumiko has slotted pieces into place about reasons why she’s guarded. Mayu reminds Kumiko of her past self, and she honestly doesn’t love who she was back then. Makes sense that she doesn’t want to share things that are emotionally precious to her like that song from Asuka. And over time I think Kumiko has truly understood why Reina was upset with her. It is a bit awkward seeing someone who absolutely gifted have so little passion for what she’s doing. If nothing else Mayu should provide a “I don’t want to lose” kind of push to keep Kumiko on her game.

But it does make me wonder what Kumiko wants to do with Mayu and what Mayu herself truly wants. It could just be my selfish interpretation, but I feel like Mayu wants Kumiko to pull something out of her. That she thinks Kumiko can change her perspective and that’s why she keeps approaching her. Kumiko wanted to understand her own feelings about Mayu and she’s gotten closer to that in this episode. Now that she sees her middle school self in Mayu what will she do?

Some things never change

It was nice to see Natsuki and Yuko show up. It wasn’t overblown and didn’t overstay its welcome. It was just a nice little visit from characters we’ve seen across this series. Nice to see that they are doing well and still hilariously close as ever. Yuko is still so easily frazzled and Natsuki knows how to set her off. She can act mature and did a good job as band president herself, but she’s still a tsundere at heart! Also seriously…is there something going on with these two? There were some truly cute moments there. And credit to Yuko in that all her years of band playing has left her with the lung capacity to insult someone so much in one breath!

Kanade trying to rile up Natsuki and failing was also cute. It’s what Kanade does. She loves trying to get under people’s skin. But the ones she is most attached to are the ones that can handle her so well. Natsuki doesn’t even blink with the suggestion that this new girl is even better than she was. She’s just happy for the band to have more Eupho players. Because after Mayu and Kumiko graduate there’s going to be a real responsibility dropping onto the remaining girls. Considering how hard Natsuki pushed to make sure Kanade would perform last year…it’s not a surprise that there’s a cute bond between them.

Truly a lovely pair

Speaking of cute though…Kumiko and Reina. Those two are always a treat and I’ve enjoyed where their dynamic is now. Reina is cute! She is so attached to Kumiko and is always angling for moments that they can spend together. Kumiko had her head full of so much stuff that she didn’t even imagine that Reina would want to go to the pool with her! I do think Kumiko might laugh at her a bit too much, but these two are a great pair. Really flaunting how close they are too with wearing matching swimsuits and then swapping parts to create quite the nice combo. Even though the focus was on Kumiko talking to Mayu, I like that these two are as close as can be.

She’ll make a good teacher

There is still the question of what Kumiko wants to do with her life. And wow she is really struggling with it. Everyone is getting in on this. Heck, Hazuki has even found her path. Did I expect a nursery schoolteacher? Not really. But I like that she’s figured some things out. And I also enjoy that Kanade as a second year has put in some good effort to figure out her future. Kumiko doesn’t want to make a casual choice and she doesn’t expect to just wake up and realize what she wants. But she almost needs to just wake-up and know what she wants to do. Maybe the Nationals will provide some clarity to her. Either to follow Taki’s route or being a professional performer.

Let’s see how the future plays out

Let’s go into the next round of auditions. Honestly, I expect events to come at us hard and fast now! If we’re going to clear everything in 12 episodes, it really must. Though again…maybe they just qualify for Nationals and that ends up as a movie or something? I think this show is absolutely getting everything right. The drama isn’t too much, but you can feel that tensions are going to skyrocket. It’s almost the point of no return where everything across multiple seasons will be tested. Will all that hard work pay off or not?

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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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