Score: A-

Here we go! The first audition is in the books and it’s off to the preliminaries! It goes to show how far Kitauji is probably going this year with how we’re getting to the preliminaries in episode 7. The hype train just can’t be stopped. And naturally I both loved and grimaced at the tension building up with all this drama. You can just feel a huge blowup coming between Kumiko and Mayu sooner or later. They skimmed passed it this time, but you know it’s coming. But for now, the focus for the cast is making sure the decisions made for this competition were the right ones!

I love how spicy Kanade is!

I really can just feel the tension that’s building up. Kumiko is a good girl and she’s handling things as best she can. But it’s obvious (so much so that I probably don’t need to talk about this) that she’s tense around Mayu. There is that feeling of seeing Mayu as an enemy. Because Mayu really is darn good and could easily take the soli part at any time. Kumiko hiding the “title drop” piece from Mayu just shows how guarded she is. And obviously Mayu can pick up on that. The situation is just fueled further by Mayu’s constant mention of stepping back and potentially taking someone’s place in the competition.

For now, though that tension is a good thing. Kumiko was fired up having to overcome the challenge posed by Mayu. If she wants to be part of this group and play the soli with Reina, then she needs to be her best. And this time around Kumiko was at her best. That sense of rivalry and threat level kept Kumiko’s efforts strong and let her take that part completely due to her ability. I wasn’t surprised with three Euphoniums being taken since that happened last year and I couldn’t see Taki cutting Kanade with how skilled she is.

Kumiko was charged up this week!

There is a very plausible story direction we can now take. I’d say the odds are better than 50/50 that Kumiko will lose the soli part to Mayu for the second competition. If there’s any time that Kumiko could reasonably lose that spot it would be the next one. It wouldn’t happen for the very final competition of the entire series. And in some ways, I think that drama is necessary. Right now, Kumiko is guarded around Mayu. I don’t think she wants to blow up in her face, but it feels like that moment must happen. Mayu as well has been concerned about taking someone’s place and that would be felt even more keenly after having one competition with this selection of members.

And all of this comes back to why Mayu is so downright fearful. I can’t even keep track of how many times she’s asked if it’s ok for her to perform and potentially take someone’s spot. Something happened at her old school or to someone she knows. When people have to effectively twist her arm to get her to compete in the auditions it just feels like she’s terrified of what might happen. I do also get Kanade getting annoyed since honestly it is incredibly prideful to talk like that! She’s right to be confident since she’s obviously good. But having someone constantly talk about that just would rub some people the wrong way.

Auditions can bring heartbreak

Three auditions means three chances for audition related drama! The first bit of drama is minor and harmless. Suzume making it in for the tubas over Satsuki was interesting. This kind of questioning can happen when the positions are announced but there’s no direct feedback about why. Satsuki is more experienced and is overall more skilled than Suzume. Taki even noted that they might need her to stay silent at certain points that are above her ability. So, it makes sense that Satsuki would be surprised, and her friend concerned. But Taki’s rationale is on point. Suzume is less skillful, but her volume is greater. That’s just a given with the difference of body types. Suzume can pump out more power and in a competition with limited members that kind of power can make more of a difference than the overall skill level being higher.

Surprises can be positive though

But with drama also comes celebration. Hazuki made it! That girl finally made it! I remember how gutted she was in the movie when she still couldn’t crack the competition team. Hazuki has been there since the start and has really put in the work over the years. It would have sucked to possibly have her not make it in three years and even being passed over for her kouhai. But that’s the risk of the Kitauji merit system. The positive is that if you make it then it is legit. She’s going to get her chance this time!

The other side of this is that the challenge remains unfinished. Hazuki, Kumiko and the rest all must hold their spots. They need to bring their A game to the competitions to keep moving forward and to raise their levels so that they stay ahead of those hungrily looking to surpass them! The good thing is that this gives some real hope to the people that haven’t made it. They have reasons to keep fighting until the bitter end!

A good source of perspective

Credit to Azusa for her brief appearance. Finally, someone that could give advice that resonated with Kumiko appeared. Sometimes all it really takes is having enough different viewpoints. In some ways Reina is too fired up and close to Kumiko to give her advice that can resonate. Azusa probably feels a bit more familiar to Kumiko so her viewpoint made her think a bit. But it also leads down the most obvious of roads. Kumiko and music are practically inseparable. Quitting cold turkey after the competition would probably feel bizarre for Kumiko. And even if she doesn’t see herself going pro, why not keep her options open? Going to a music school lets her keep music in her life and can allow her to find a path where she can keep up with it. I think Kumiko will be ok now. Azusa gave her some good questions to chew on.

Reina won’t let things end here!

I can’t wait for what’s coming! This competition should be intense. The obvious result is Kitauji clearing it and continuing. It’d be weird to fall short and spend episodes 8 to the end just dealing with aftermath. Kumiko and the others have worked like crazy, and this is the year to show what Kitauji can do! This is the first year where Taki’s teachings will have reached the full school experience for every student. The third years have been with him for 3 years. Not one year, not two, but all three. I think the payoff for that will be shown off this time. I’m honestly just excited for the next episode.

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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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