Once more Euphonium delivers another powerful and emotional ep as Reina takes center stage and finally learns the truth.
Here’s my review.
After that look Reina gave Kumiko it was all we needed to get the ball rolling on yet another round of drama within the band. We just came out of the Asuka ep in which we learned about her past and the current challenges she’s facing, so now it was time to move on to the last main character that was still not fully explored, Reina.
We’ve known since S1 ep 10 that Reina likes Taki but since then there never was anything more to that statement by her. Sure it was something we kept in the back of our minds but it wasn’t ever something that was brought up again until this season. It started back during the training camp when Kumiko first learned that Taki was married at one point before his wife sadly passed away, but upon learning this she never told Reina because she knew it would only hurt her. Okay that’s a valid point, even if Reina might not first see it that way. We jump to ep 9 of this season where Reina sees the picture on Taki’s desk and you just know this is gonna be an issue in an ep or two. Well guess what, it was.
As Kumiko was busy helping out Asuka with her troubles, Reina wasn’t really present for the past little while, so I’m sure that also added to the issue. But unable to forget that picture, Reina decides to ask Hashimoto about it. What she wasn’t expecting though is to find out he told Kumiko a while ago and she never said anything to her. Uh oh, not good. Not good at all. But instead of going straight to Kumiko and getting an answer out of her, Reina gives her the silent treatment. So expected of her. Of course being that Kumiko was busy tied up with other drama, she can’t keep track of why her Reina suddenly isn’t talking with her. Well not at least until Reina calls her out to talk one evening.
I didn’t expect to see this location make a return since S1 ep 8 (great ep by the way) but Reina and Kumiko meet once again at Daikichi Mountain. But unlike S1 ep 8 the mood isn’t so sensual and romantic, rather Reina is stern and cold. Once at the summit Reina lets loose, yelling out her anger that was building inside her. Why? Why didn’t Kumiko tell her? It’s pretty much a rhetorical question as Kumiko replies saying she didn’t want to hurt her, something that Reina knew full well it would yet she wished Kumiko had told her just the same.
So while Reina is of course mad here, it’s not that she’s directing all her anger towards Kumiko rather she’s angry at herself too. She’s mad that she acted the way she did upon learning this, even lashing out of her mother too. Reina is always cool, calm and collected, not like how Asuka is who seemingly makes light of everything, but Reina is more serious. She doesn’t laugh and joke all the time, she rarely raises her voice, she’s just there to play her trumpet and win competitions. Seeing her like this adds so much more depth to her as it makes her feel human as she’s reacting to these new developments in a normal way. Seeing her shell crack just a bit is actually nice to see as it just makes her character all the more real and isn’t just some stoic girl, unfazed by everything around her.
And just like the first time the two girls are on this mountain, the animation, lighting, music, and voice acting are all stellar. The way the city glows below them, how the wind blows their hair, the way their eyes shimmer in the moonlight, and how the emotion is displayed on the faces of both girls, it’s honestly amazing to watch and details like this are what I love so much about KyoAni. They go that extra mile to give a scene that much more impact and emotion and seeing it all come together is just magical.
The back half of the ep starts with a flashback to loli Reina when she first laid eyes on Taki. It was love at first sight. Through the years we see the two of them talk music here and there and after this flashback sequence I can’t help but think back to S1 where Reina’s being chosen for the solo role was questioned because she and Taki knew each other from way back. Even though Reina and Kumiko agreed that night to push this current issue to the side to focus on the Nationals, Reina is starting to slip up and isn’t playing as good as she normally does. Taki notices this and doesn’t hold back in telling her she’s sounding weak.
Reina also works up the energy to finally talk to Taki about his wife and asks what kind of person she was. From how Taki describes her it’s clear what his motivation going into the Nationals is, he wants to win gold for her because he still loves her deeply. After learning all there is to know about his late wife, Reina returns to being normal and playing her best as always.
We end with another emotional scene as Reina and Kumiko go to visit the grave of Taki’s wife, where Reina prays that she wants to win gold not for her sake, but for Taki’s. Reina seems to be over her crush on Taki as she now has a more important goal to work towards, one that’s not just for herself but for the teacher she admires deeply. And so with seemingly all the drama cleared up it’s finally time to set the sights on the Nationals as the final 2 eps are approaching fast. It’s time to pull out all the stops and play for gold.
And just as one last thought, I really liked how they concluded the Asuka arc here as we see that she’s matured since last week. It nice to see Asuka admit she’s not playing her best and knows that if she wants to do well in the Nationals then she’ll need to practice extra hard. I just really liked how this was part of the ep as it once again gives depth to the characters and makes them feel so much more real.
And the next piece begins.
If I were to score this ep out of 10 it would be 10/10. Honestly this season has had a few 10/10 eps while the majority of them being 9’s or 9.5’s. But this was an amazing ep and it just reinforces why I love this studio so much. I can’t wait for the final 2 eps and seeing if all this hard work will either pay off for them or end in a moral victory. Only time will tell.
That’s it for ep 11, sorry for being lazy and not writing this sooner. I’ll try to be faster with the final 2 eps. So as always feel free to comment below or send me a tweet with your thoughts on the ep.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!
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