Score: A

You can just feel the tension building! Whether it’s about Kumiko’s future, the auditions, or the final competitions! It’s all coming at us, and the clock is slowly ticking. This episode feels like a turning point in the best of ways. What is going to happen? Can they reach their true and final goal here? And can Kumiko find her way forward? I’m sure positive answers are waiting for us along with an incredibly emotional conclusion. But finding the way to that ending is what it’s all going to be about!

This show can be truly gorgeous

The Kumiko and Reina friendship has been a highlight of the show from the very first season. We saw them at their lowest with things being incredibly awkward when they started high school. But there’s been a connection there from the start and it’s only gotten stronger with time. So, I’m not surprised that the future past this year has been on Reina’s mind. If Kumiko goes in a completely different direction, then what is waiting for them? Can their friendship both survive and thrive? Pushing Kumiko towards music school has layers. It’s a good way for them to stay together, play together, and possibly perform professionally together for the long term.

But I appreciate that Kumiko is confident they’ll be fine regardless. More so than with any of her other friends there is a special connection with Reina. Obviously, we can ship them together until the cows come home, but the show does want to keep things steady with things likely coming back together with Shuichi and Kumiko later. They made it through the difficult times and now just have a strong bond. There’s a comfortable joy in performing together. No matter what Kumiko does decide to do I’m sure they will still be close.

Everyone is kind of waiting on her decision

I do wonder what Kumiko will do though. The most surprising thing to me was that her father was providing solid advice. He was listening if she had something she wanted to do and if she wanted to consult with him. There was even a good suggestion to talk to her older sister. Kumiko doesn’t take advantage of any of that, but at least she’s got people willing to hear her out. That even goes for her teacher. While Kumiko is struggling to decide, she isn’t too hard on her either. From her perspective Kumiko is trying to make a good decision for the right reasons.

What will her choice end up being though? Honestly, I’m kind of with Reina on music school. Even if Kumiko doesn’t believe she can go all the way as a musician, isn’t music part of her DNA at this point? Whether Kumiko wants to be a musician, music teacher, or something else…it would feel weird to have her just go to a normal university and have that be all. I don’t know though. Is Kumiko just hesitating to really put herself out there? Must think she’ll figure it out eventually. But she is really running out of time here.

Building her up as this reluctant last boss

They are really building up Mayu as this monumental threat for Kumiko. She kind of has to be with her absolute certainty that she will take people’s spots if she competes in auditions! It’s almost to the point of being rude! We get it Mayu! You are confident in your abilities! But certainly, I think Kumiko is feeling that threat. Part of me thinks that is why she turned Mayu down even though she was technically the first one to invite her. I think she’s just wary about her because she knows Mayu is strong. Thankfully Reina kind of bailed Kumiko out by inviting her later. Since otherwise Mayu would get suspicious about who Kumiko made plans with first even though her other friends ended up going out with the brass section as a group!

Hopefully she didn’t overhear Kumiko and Reina talking later…Though it might not matter since she probably knows Kumiko lied. I honestly think Mayu is practically begging Kumiko to pick a fight or tell her to back off. The big Eupho part is obviously up for grabs here. There’s no question Reina will get the main trumpet part, but who will get the prime position that matters most? It’s easy to support meritocracy when you are the best, but it could get a bit harder if Mayu takes a spot from Kumiko.

Tough times are coming

And now that’s something that is almost certain to happen! You can feel the drama coming with the decision being made to have auditions before each major event! If there was only one audition, then obviously Kumiko would win. But with there being 3 there’s plenty of room for Kumiko to lose the first or second and have a dramatic comeback for the third. And which one she loses will make it even more emotional. How will Kumiko handle failure? What kind of growth will she gain through watching someone else take the top spot for even one competition? How will Reina handle it? That’s a great source of drama.

I agree though with this idea. Having up to three auditions means everyone is engaged. If a person falls short on the first audition, they might bounce back with the second. That’s a great source of motivation and pressure on those that pass any given audition. They can’t afford to take a step back. It is a lot of pressure, but it could get the absolute best performance out of this band.

This scene was just beautiful

A small note must be given to just how good this show looks! My goodness every moment is good, but they also really take it to another level at special times. The lightning during that evening walk with Kumiko and Reina was especially good. The show knows how special these two are and never seems to hold back on giving them the love they deserve! The instruments always look good and that remains the case in this episode. That’s one thing I do love when it comes to anime. A show can be drop dead gorgeous and really be about any topic. A series about a school orchestral band can be one of the best-looking shows of the year.

Bring on the rest of this season!

I can’t wait to see where things go from here. There are cute little moments like Motomu being charmed by Midori in her yukata. But there is also a lot of drama just waiting for us. This third season just feels like something special and it’s going to get better as we go. Loved the performance in the background as we caught up with the various students at the festival. It really establishes how special Kumiko and Reina are in this story while still giving a bit of attention to the larger cast. There’s just no way to give everyone attention in a show like this, but it’s nice to try a little here and there. I can’t wait to see how the first audition turns out!

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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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