Score: A

The drama is here and here to stay! I’m still processing this episode and I can’t wait to see how things play out. To say this one ended on a cliffhanger would be putting it lightly. The next episode is going to be nuts. The impact within this group from the results of this audition isn’t anything to be laughed off. And that’s to say nothing about the actual performances coming up. All this drama won’t mean much if Kitauji can’t rise to the next level and punch their ticket to the nationals. This episode only ends on the results of an audition. But the audition means something because these are characters that we’ve seen grow, mature, and struggle across multiple seasons. It means plenty to them!

Not an easy moment

My expectation was always this sort of thing. It felt like the story for maximum drama would have to go with a route of Kumiko getting the soli, failing to get it, and then getting it again through the last chance. There’d be no point to multiple auditions without using it to really make the viewer uncomfortable! Doesn’t make it any less effective to see it coming! Because the characters are living in the moment and this will be a trial to overcome.

It doesn’t make it any less painful. Kumiko instinctively was ready to respond to her name and had to really process the weight of losing on the spot. The scary thing is seeing how things play out from here. This is the sort of thing that will either raise Kitauji to the next level or break it apart. There was a wave of unease about a few choices. But that’s nothing compared to the wave that came from Kumiko not getting the solo part.

This decision really hurt

The auditions aren’t only effective for the things you can easily predict. The drama with Kumiko is easy to spot. What got me in this one was Kanade missing the mark. I mean they did set it up with the leaders talking about the euphoniums or the trombones getting trimmed down. But part of me just included Kanade on instinct. Kanade is good and I didn’t go into this thinking she was in any danger of being cut. She obviously didn’t expect that either and was simply waiting for her name to be called out before it was simply done. That is heavy. This really puts on pressure in different ways. Kanade could miss out on playing again with Kumiko this year if they don’t come through.

The good thing with this sort of thing is the intended effect. Kanade once she gets through all the emotions of this will be beyond fired up. The next audition is her only shot to earn a spot back and play beside Kumiko one more time. They’ll probably get her best performance ever. Still, talk about a double whammy. Kanade was already reeling from not making it and then the solo parts were named.

Rate outbursts from both

It really felt like a matter of “when” for Kumiko and Mayu to have the kind of chat they did. Mayu honestly seemed desperate to suggest giving up on the audition. What makes Mayu such a powerful musician is also a quality that Kumiko just can’t ignore. Mayu can adapt to what is expected or desired of her. It applies to how she plays the euphonium as well as how she interacts with others. She tries to meet their expectations. With music that’s fantastic since she’ll bring the sound that Taki wants and he can focus his attention elsewhere. With people it can be easier to avoid trouble by being just a nice person that does what is asked of them. Kumiko of course tries to match what Taki wants, but she’s also her own person. She is going to bring her own sound to a performance.

But it was good for them to even come close to having a clean and open chat. Because it is fair for Mayu to have her own worries. It’s tough to live up to ideals when things go against expectation. People obviously would want Kumiko to play the soli. No one wants the president of their group to fall behind. Kumiko doesn’t want to lose that spot either. But it’s not just about that one part. For many reasons this is the last chance for Kumiko, Reina, Hazuki, Midori, etc. They’ll regret failure no matter what. But they’ll regret it most if they run away from something uncomfortable and take the easier road.

I hope for some big musical performances

If there is anything I’d nitpick for the season is that there aren’t enough moments just dedicated to the music. I’d like to hear the group playing their pieces to gauge their growth a bit more. And I’d certainly like to hear the auditions. The drama before and after is huge and I get that they’ve got to make things fit in terms of episodes. But considering the title, we should hear as much music as possible. Yes, it might give away some results or twists ahead of time if we do. But I’d personally like a bit more music at the forefront.

These results will be difficult to handle

Reality is tough. Even Kumiko of course has the desires and want to be selfish. I’m sure she very much would love to have bias in her favor and ideally giving props to those with fewer chances left at this goal. It’s clearly there. But Kumiko obviously doesn’t want to be a hypocrite either. When it came down to it she supported Reina in their first year. Both because Reina was clearly the better musician and because she likes Reina. Kumiko doesn’t want to be a selfish jerk that wants it one way when it favors her and another way when it doesn’t. At most you could say it’s fine to voice her own selfishness when alone with her friends. Humans don’t always want to make the “right” choices.

Difficult trip for everyone

The Midori thing is a small element, but it’s still a touching one. The interactions and movements of various characters around it is what I truly enjoyed. It just worked for me whether it was Reina giving up her precious drink to Midori to cheer her up or Kanade giving up her drink to Motomu. The likely result here is that Motomu talked about Midori reminding him of his sister, likely talking about the past, and probably giving any sort of confession. I don’t know what Midori would have done if he had confessed, but I suspect she would have seriously considered it! Now she’s left probably a bit embarrassed over it all. Not sure if Midori herself might confess later or if nothing will come of it. But I do like little moments like this amidst a very emotionally charged episode.

At least Reina’s crush is doing ok

This episode was a heavy one. I knew so much of this was coming, but that didn’t matter. The best stuff doesn’t hurt you even if you are expecting it. That’s not to say I’m ever in favor of spoilers. I hate that stuff. But expecting Kumiko to fail on this audition didn’t make seeing her fail hurt less. There’s no hate or anger towards Mayu. I think this is in her benefit too. She wanted to drift along and not stand out. Well now she’s going to stand out quite a bit. You can’t please everyone and she’s going to have to work through that. I can’t wait to see how this all goes and I pray they nail the remainder of this series!

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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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