Just like they say, KyoAni finds a way.
Here’s my review.
Hibike! Euphonium stole the spotlight of the spring 2015 season with its gorgeous art, amazing music, compelling story and passionate characters. I gave it my highest score, it was my Anime of the Season and among my all time favorite KyoAni shows. Was I just too caught up in the moment though? Perhaps, but even so it’s hard to say that anime isn’t anything short of amazing. KyoAni is my favorite studio for a reason as this anime really makes me marvel at just how good they really are.
Now their last outing was in the winter 2015/2016 season with a different anime than what they normally do. That’s right I’m talking about Musaigen no Phantom World. Love it or hate it Phantom World still had that wonderful KyoAni charm and while many didn’t like it for various reasons, it still was a good show and I liked it way more than the similar Kyoukai no Kanata. But we’re not here to talk about those two shows. Today we’re bringing the spotlight back to the girls and boys of the Kitauji High School Band as their journey to win the Nationals continues. Yes today we’re talking about Hibike! Euphonium 2.
We waste no time getting back into this show as things pick up right there they ended. They won the competition that would send them to the Nationals and are now playing against the high levels schools. This won’t be a cake walk anymore and everyone knows it. But before they get right back into the routine of practicing every day, they need to stop and savor this moment. It’s been a long time coming and finally holding that trophy is something special for them. If you recall back to S1, they went though hell to bring the band together for this moment. So many personal conflicts that needed to be resolved, or at least put on hold, for them to focus on the music and play their heats out when it really mattered. And it all paid off too.
But now that the photo op has finished it’s back to business as usual for everyone. If they really do want to go all the way then they’re going to need to practice even harder than they already are. Sure they’re good but they’re nowhere near good enough to challenge schools that regularly go to the Nationals. To help they get the most out of practice Taki-sensei has brought in a friend from college Masahiro Hashimoto, who is a pro percussionist, to help instruct them over the summer break. So while the overall plan is to press on towards the Nationals, the band still is having trouble becoming completely unified.
Old wounds get reopened as the incident from the previous year is back to haunt students once again. When many of the students quit it caused a lot of tension within the band and hurt a lot of feelings, but one girl, Nozomi Kasaki, wants to have another shot at the band and rejoin them. Although it’s easier said than done as she first wants the approval of Asuka. Now I talked about Asuka a lot back in S1 because she’s one character that really, really fascinated me. I wanted to learn more about her every time she’s on screen but we still don’t know much about her. From how this first ep rolls I hope we get more insight into this girl’s mind as she’s still by far the most mysterious girl in this show. Anyways, Nozomi wants Asuka’s approval before rejoining the band but in classic Asuka fashion she’s not giving it to her. We’ll get the full story as things progress but from how Asuka refused her instantly it’s easy to get the feeling this is one road Asuka does not want to travel down once again.
Because of this sudden development, Kumiko, Hazuki and Midori are having a hard time concentrating on practice with this drama all around them. It’s tough being left out of the loop for them as this old wound is still causing divisions in the band and hurting the overall morale. Masahiro goes on to say it later but the band is too reserved. They’re quite and it comes across when they’re playing. Masahiro’s advice is for them to be more imposing. They need to speak their mind about matters and stop bottling up their feelings. Once again, easier said than done as many of the students are still holding on to these negative feelings about what happened. Going forward if they don’t once and for all put this problem to rest then sooner or later things will come crashing down and it’s not going to be pretty.
But something that was pretty was seeing Kumiko and Reina together again. Those two are now closer than ever and some of the best moments of this ep are when the two are interacting. From the gestures and body language to how they speak to each other, it’s clear they’re now both much more open with each other and quite affectionate too. I won’t get into the whole yuri aspect regarding as that’s a topic I’d rather leave for another time, but just seeing these two together is really satisfying. Among the many things I missed about this show is Kumiko. She’s such an amazing character and honestly I don’t think I mentioned this as much as I really should have. But what makes her, and many other characters, so great to watch is how KyoAni brings them to life with their facial expressions, and mannerisms along with the amazing talent each seiyuu brings to the table too. It’s one part about this show that really stands out to me, the characters are so well crafted and they’re just such a joy to watch. KyoAni does a wonderful job with art and such, but when it comes to characters they really shine.
We end the ep with Kumiko and Reina taking a moment out of the busy practice routine to go to the festival and watch the fireworks. By far this is my favorite sequence in the whole ep as it’s got so much to love. The characters, animation, music, overall sound, it all combines for a breathtaking moment that only a studio with the sheer talent like KyoAni could provide.
And with that, the next piece begin.
I’ve only seen a handful of new anime this season but so far Hibike! Euphonium has the strongest premier ep. It felt like a mini movie honestly with how high the quality it was. At 47 minutes it really sweeps you off your feet and shows you just how amazing KyoAni really is when they want to tell a good story. Maybe this is just my inner fanboy side coming through but I really was blown away by just how amazing this ep was. KyoAni really gave us a treat for this opening ep and going forward I hope we get this every week.
So as you can see this review is coming out a few days after the ep airs. Like I mentioned I’ve got a job and work all week so that leaves me with no time to write a review or let alone even watch much anime. That said I’ll be doing reviews for this show on the weekends for most likely the whole season. I wanted to go with FFF’s release for this ep but at the time of watching and writing this they still didn’t have the new ep out. Going forward I might use their release if it’s out by Saturday but if not I’ll stick with the usual HS release.
Right then this has been a rather long post so I’ll end things here. Be sure to let me know your thoughts of this ep in the comments below or you can send me a tweet too. As always I’ll try by best to reply in a timely fashion but please don’t think I’m ignoring you if it’s not right way.
With that said, thank you for reading this and I’ll see you right back here next weekend.
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