Score: B+

This episode did handle some of the aftermath of the previous episode. I’m not shocked that they picked up from the awards (to a performance we never heard) and moved on from there. There wasn’t much drama to this since they had to at least make Nationals. Winning gold isn’t necessarily a given since the narrative could make that work in a certain way. But they had to at least make it to the competition this time around. But it was still nice for the cast to get that huge relief. They made it through a difficult challenge and that means they’ve got room for a bit more drama in the last few episodes! One more audition that will truly settle things and then one chance to make all their work pay off.

This was a nice scene for Taki

I liked the little chat with Kumiko and Taki and as much for what wasn’t initially said. Kumiko couldn’t simply say she was happy they made it. Because the thing she refused to talk about (the soli) is still eating at her. Mayu pushes her on it, Kumiko dwells on it, but it just keeps simmering under the surface. But at least we got a bit into Taki’s head. At least the man is self-aware. He can be a bit too cold at times and that isn’t ideal. Kumiko’s passionate speech is what dragged the group to Nationals. They would have almost certainly fallen short without it. People aren’t machines. Technical skills are a necessity, but passion and motivation also matter. Taki is good on the technical side, but he truly needs a passionate band president to cover for the areas he is lacking in.

Taki’s wife was a brilliant woman. Because yeah people aren’t rocks. Teaching at a school like that is a challenge. The band changes every year and with that the skill level. There’s different drama each year and it’s difficult. So, on some level it could be seen like stacking rocks by the River Styx. But people aren’t rocks. Each student is a person and that can’t be forgotten. Of course, if his wife hadn’t died he wouldn’t be at Kitauji right now. But I think without her he lost a valuable person to balance him out. All he can do is try to keep her perspective and memory alive.

What are we doing here?

Holding off on the apology from Reina really made the episode awkward to sit through at times. It was like “who cares about the post-secondary drama!?” It just felt a bit difficult at times. Like is Reina in any position to push or talk about Kumiko’s school plans considering what she’s been up to the past few episodes? Yeah, it’s not directly related but it just felt weird. It’s cool enough that Reina is considering going overseas. But that’s hardly a shocking thing for her. That girl is determined and I’m sure she’ll power her way through America just fine. Maybe be troublesome in general since she won’t have friends to back her up and kind of struggles at making friends, but that’ll be her issue to deal with.

This was pretty much it for the apology

I mean the apology wasn’t bad. I do think it wasn’t as emphatic as it needed to be. And it did pretty much focus entirely on her accusing Kumiko of being a bad president and not doing anything. There wasn’t exactly any self-reflection on her Taki worship or how she was pouring gasoline on a difficult situation. And Kumiko let her off way too easy. I think Reina has been at the core of too much trouble this season to not really go all in on making things right. We’re not out of episodes to be sure. But are they really going to focus on Reina’s flaws in the remaining episodes? It seems more likely to have the show focus on the final performance (and maybe showing one) and the aftermath. Kumiko and Mayu are more likely to get major story developments than Reina at this stage.

I’m all for cute moments here. The hug was cute and I’m glad they got through things in a good emotional place. I don’t necessarily like how we got there, but it did get there. Sometimes all you can do is appreciate a cute hug and try not to lament what didn’t happen.

Kanade is truly the best girl!

I do love Kanade being to the point. “Just take the damn soli” was pretty much her message. At this point there’s nothing to do but have that happen. There’s no arguing about the past audition since they’ve cleared the event that audition is related to. It’s the next audition that matters. And if Kumiko just goes out and takes the darn soli back then the amount of potential drama diminishes. I’m sure Kanade wants to play beside Kumiko in that final performance. But she didn’t muddle up her message with anything extra. Just giving Kumiko the push she needs to go after what she wants. No reason to worry about Mayu if she just outperforms her.

And her perspective on Mayu isn’t wrong. If Mayu wanted to forfeit or throw the competition she could and would try to do so on her own. Mayu’s good. She can adjust her performance with precision as we’ve seen. She’d probably be better than Kanade at faking a worse performance. And Kumiko it’s like Natsuki. She probably wouldn’t burst in there demanding Mayu take it seriously. Mayu wants the excuse. She wants Kumiko to tell her to throw it, that she wants the soli, and make it easier on Mayu. Of course Kumiko is also lying to herself. She doesn’t want a fair competition. Kumiko wants to win at the nationals, to get the soli part, and to perform at her best with Reina one last time. She’s just hiding that behind the betterment of the band and stuff.

Maybe things will work out

Glad that Kumiko has figured out that she’s not going to music school. Now…if she could eliminate more of the millions of choices she has that’d be great! It’s kind of bothersome that she just has a “gut feel” to not wanting to go to music school. It doesn’t really help direct her to any specific choice here. But at least she made some sort of choice. Who knows though. Maybe her big plan is just to marry Shuichi and become a housewife. At this point that’s not even completely insane to say! Kumiko has basically used up her takeoff lane and still isn’t going anywhere.

It’s cute that she’s talking about her “relationship” with Reina not changing. Though I feel like she’s being ambitious there. Obviously, friendships do exist past high school. If people want to stay connected, then they can do it. But I’m not sure it will go that well. Reina is hyper focused on the things she wants to do. With the practice and work she’ll be putting in, how much time will she have to reach out to Kumiko? How easy will it be to line up their schedules? That one is hard to say since we have no clue what Kumiko’s future looks like. Maybe Kumiko is right, and they’ll make it work. I just don’t know for sure if it will be that easy. They might honestly just naturally drift apart.

Not much time left

This episode was alright. It didn’t deliver as much as I hoped it would. The apology probably was maximum you could expect from someone like Reina, but I still wanted more. I can’t pretend otherwise. But at least the rest of the story has somewhat moved forward. Kumiko has eliminated one option from her future, the auditions are here, and Kanade really dropped the bomb on how she sees Mayu’s actions. And oh boy, there are two episodes left! They need to deal with the audition, set up the final performance, have a final performance (I swear to god if they don’t…), and then wrap up the show along with Kumiko’s future. Oh boy. They better get this right! The finale for a show like this can be everything. All the drama has built up to this point. Get it right and it will be a show to remember.

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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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