Oh boy… this is what I’ve been waiting for.
Here’s my review.
This is the ep, the Asuka ep I’ve wanted since this show began. Okay, no, that’s not true in any way, but still I’ve wanted an actual ep about Asuka and her personal life for a very long time. This, THIS, is finally the ep where it’s all revealed. Now things make sense. Sure it took a little while to get to this point, but man was the journey worth every second. Alright then, let’s jump into this ep and find out why it’s easily among the best of the season.
From start to finish Asuka was the star of this ep and in no way did she disappoint. To recap last week, after being absent from so many practice sessions Taki-sensei has decided that by a certain point if Asuka isn’t back to practicing with the band, then Natsuki will be taking her position for the Nationals. It’s a tough choice but for the greater good of the band it’s the best choice because they can’t play with just one euphonium. With that said we pick right up this week for some reaction about this decision Taki-sensei has come to.
While it’s a great chance for Natsuki to play on the biggest stage in the country, she knows she might not be up for this challenge. Asuka is best person to be playing in the band, even though it means probably missing this once in a lifetime opportunity, Natsuki would rather help get Asuka back then take her spot on the grand stage. It’s easy to understand why Kumiko is hesitant to agree with this, but as Natsuki brings out she still has another year at school to play. I love how the whole name of this plan to being Asuka back, “Operation Bring Back Asuka-senpai” was something Kaori came up with. I can totally see her getting all excited about making a cool sounding name for this plan of theirs. She’s so cute that way.
Speaking of being cute, can we talk about that moment Kumiko and Reina had? Yes I know at this point we’ll probably never see them kiss but I can’t ever let it go deep within me that maybe, just maybe they still might. Once again Reina gets all up close and personal when talking about a certain aspect of Kumiko she likes. I like how this conversation initially started off about Asuka and what to do regarding her, to Reina just fawning over Kumiko. These two are such a cute couple.
Another cute scene worth talking about before we get into the heavy stuff is when the two girl go to the office to return the music room key to Taki-sensei. I love how flustered Reina gets this time around Taki-sensei, if she was cute in the previous scene with Kumiko, she’s just as if not more cute in this moment. From her body language to her facial expressions, watching her lose that usually calm, cool and collected demeanor she has when faced with a sleeping Taki-sensei, and then even more flustered when he wakes was quite amusing. It’s worth going back and watching a few times just so you can catch-all the fine details KyoAni puts into this short scene. But as funny and cute as this scene is, it ends with Reina noticing the old college pic of Taki-sensei and his wife, something Kumiko still hasn’t told Reina about. This will be something to remember for the coming eps.
The back half of this ep takes off and really makes this ep a masterpiece. It’s where the truth is revealed about Asuka and where things finally start making sense. So remembering back to last week, Asuka out of the blue invited Kumiko over for a study session. Being so out of character for her there must be another reason for her to suddenly do this. Of course there is, and boy oh boy does she bring up something I don’t think anyone saw coming. Okay unless you’ve read the source material that is.
Going into this study session Kaori made sure to get a snack that she knows Asuka’s mother likes as the whole point of this plan is to win over her mother so she’ll let Asuka continue playing. But as Asuka’s mother isn’t home the plan is already ruined before things can even start. The steamed buns would still be passed along to her mother, but that’s something that takes place off camera and hopefully we’ll hear about them in next week’s ep. So the study session starts off normally, studying happening and Kumiko hopefully understanding the material better so she’ll do well on the coming tests, but after a snack break Asuka decides to let the bombs drop.
Showing Kumiko a euphonium guidebook, Asuka goes on to casually mention the author used to be her father. Okay that doesn’t seem so noteworthy but it’s not just any musician who wrote that book, it’s the famous euphonium player Masakazu Shindo. The same person who Kumiko has a CD of and was listening to in the last ep. It’s a big deal, like really big deal and Kumiko is at a loss of what do it. First things first though, what did Asuka mean “used to be her dad?”
Well it turns out her mother was married to him but they divorced when Asuka was only 2 years old. While Asuka didn’t really get to know him that much, it seems he kept watch over her from afar as he sent her a euphonium, the same one she currently plays, thus starting her on her journey. That also explains why her mother is so against it and wants Asuka to quit the band. But to make things even a bit more interesting, as if they weren’t already, one of the judges in the upcoming Nationals will be Masakazu Shindo, so that explains why the sudden boost of confidence from Asuka. She’ll finally have a chance to play her euphonium for him and hopefully win too. Also if we recall back to the end of ep 3 where we see Asuka playing her eupho early in the morning, that tune she was playing was from a music book given to her when she received her instrument. All in all this while reveal felt like things were coming full circle and all these small questions were finally being answered.
We close with not the usual ED, rather we hear, in full, that tune Asuka was playing as Kumiko wanted to hear it once more. It felt must better ending the ep this way rather than jumping into the nice and happy song they usually play. Not that the ending was sad and depressing, but this just fit the whole mood and atmosphere the ep had built up to this point. No use ruining that all by playing the usual song. So with that fitting scene, this amazing ep comes to a close.
And the next piece begins.
Wow, just wow what an ep this was. Finally satisfied with the info we learned about Asuka this week. It was a long time coming but it worked as the mystery surrounding her built more and more each ep. Now everything makes sense and we’re looking at the Nationals with a different look. Everyone has a personal reason for playing on this grand stage and as the eps close in we’ll see just how determined everyone really is to make this once in a lifetime opportunity something they’ll remember forever.
That’s all I’ve gotta say for this ep. I’d like to hear your thoughts about it to so leave a comment below or send me a tweet instead. Either way I’ll be sure to get back to you.
As always thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!
P.S. Asuka is a confirmed vampire too.
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