Score: A-

Just hit after hit with the return of Hibike Euphonium. I’d say it feels like just yesterday that I last saw these characters, but that’s close to being accurate! So glad I did watch the movie before season 3 came out. It would have been awkward to dive into it without knowing who the second years are! There is tension in the air as this really is it for the story. The first two years of Kumiko’s high school career have played out and each time she’s fallen short of the goal. This is the last shot for her, Reina, and the others. It certainly is set for a triumphant story if they do allow the cast to get there. Each year had 3rd years that were at risk of missing out and experiencing nothing but loss. This time the 3rd years are characters we truly know and love.

She has my attention!

It seems fair to discuss the mysterious Euphonium player Mayu Kuroe. This girl is bound to be a major player in the events of this season. They’ve established her skill level with Kumiko and Reina both commenting on how good she sounded from a distance (though Reina was backing Kumiko as being superior). But what makes her mysterious is that she wasn’t in the club recruitment scenes. That she’s wearing a different uniform makes it curious too. A potential transfer student? Probably isn’t a first year in that case. Could be a case of her transferring to Kitauji because of their increased standards of late or some other personal reason. If she already knows who Kumiko is then presumably, she’s investigated the band and who the president is.

Seems a given that she’ll be part of the drama of this season. The Eupho players often are! The obvious drama source is other years has been the auditions. If she’s good enough to be near or above Kumiko’s level that would create some interesting tension. Not for making the final grouping since I can’t imagine Kumiko falling short. They usually take 2-3 Eupho players, so I think Kumiko and Kanade can make it in with Mayu. Maybe there will be a main Eupho part and sub-parts where the drama might be? Whether or not Kumiko can fend off this talented girl to take on her last competitions as the main Euphonium player in their band?

A new year and a new mix to enjoy

As always, the show looks extremely good. KyoAni has taken such good care of this franchise over the years and that is maintained here. The characters look good, the music sounds clean, and they handle what is a pretty large cast of characters pretty darn well. If any animation studio can carry this story to the end it will be this one.

I’ll be curious to see what happens. Right now, it appears like this is a 13-episode season. It’s a bit hard to hide whether they’ll make it to Nationals since the episodes near the end and time remaining will reveal some things. But I do wonder if the story will mess around with the audience a bit. Maybe it gets to the end and the competition to determine attending nationals comes up…but they end the season with a season 2 or movie announcement to carry through that story? Obviously, it’s way too early to speculate on that kind of thing, but I am curious to see where this story goes.

Happy for more of these two

The relationship that’s defined the show has been Kumiko and Reina. They have come so far and dealt with multiple failures together. The past two years where they just didn’t get far enough has been brutal for them. But they are on the same page this year without question. This is their last chance. Chances have dried up quickly and before they knew it. They aren’t the first years we met in season 1 anymore. I’m sure they’ll both raise the levels of their sections and do everything they can to pull this group to the goal they’ve struggled to touch for years.

I just like the fun back and forth with them. We’ve obviously moved a bit past the ship teasing that existed in season 1. Now it’s mostly cute teasing regarding their feelings towards others. Kumiko and Shuuichi have put things on the back burner until this year’s competition is allowed to play out. Putting everything into music for this one last chance. While Reina’s feelings towards Taki have been remarkably consistent. She’s kept that focus in terms of being in love with him for years now. Nothing could or would happen right now. But I do wonder if she’ll hold onto it for even longer and eventually express them in a flash forward scene.

Family drama likely incoming

One nice thing about this being a full season and not a movie is the freedom to relax. They can build things up in this season and that’s clear in this episode. The episode built up to the group deciding to take on the monumental struggle for going for gold and now their story can truly begin. We’ll start once more with seeing the characters maturing, growing, and getting the new students up to speed.

But this episode also set up the tensions that are bound to emerge this season. We’ve already got Kumiko’s father asking when the president of the school band is going to quit band…You can tell her parents don’t have any interest in her interests. This isn’t some minor hobby; this is her focus for the entire school year! There are obviously concerns for the third-year characters on grades and where they’ll go after high school. But it’s certainly sad that they understand her so little that it’s even a question of her quitting the band only happening after their competitions are over. I do hope pushing back against them won’t demand too much of Kumiko’s attention in a tense third year.

Good to see her again

This season is looking packed with potential. We have the familiar cast from season 1, characters like Kanade who debuted in the movie, and now the new first years have potential to shake things up. All of that pointing towards the goal of true success! Not a minor success at regionals. They need to chase the true goal and reach it this time. Nothing would be more satisfying than seeing Kumiko and Reina get what they’ve been seeking all this time. And maybe Kumiko’s future will come into focus as well. Music has become such a part of her life. Where does she go after this third year?

No idea if I can fit this show into a packed schedule for Spring. But I hope that I can. There’s no question though that I’ll follow this one from start to finish. I must see where this all goes!

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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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