And here we are.
Not gonna lie, I wasn’t impressed with the final 2 eps of this show. After doing everything right for 11 eps, I pretty much expected it to nail the ending and just blow us all away, but no that didn’t happen. I expressed how disappointed I was with ep 12 in last week’s review so going into this finale I had lowered expectations, something that I wasn’t expecting I’d do for this show. That was the right move too as honestly this ep wasn’t that amazing. Sure it had its moments, the Kumiko and Asuka scene at the ending probably being the highlight of the ep, but overall I just wasn’t really feeling this ep and it just seemed somewhat lackluster.
Like I mentioned in last week’s review, everything was leading up to that performance at the Nationals and from how things were going it felt like that would be the climax of this show and take up the final 2 eps. Instead we got a rushed and not exciting Nationals ep followed up by a somewhat emotional graduation ep to end the show on. It just didn’t sit well with me and it’s annoying because after everything they went through I just wanted there to be a grand finale. I wasn’t fully expecting them to win the gold, but even if it was a good moral victory I’d have been happy. But it wasn’t and it just added to the frustration of ep 12.
As far as ep 13 went, it was pretty much exactly as I expected it would be, an epilogue ep. The third years graduated and the next generation of the band stepped up to take their place. With Yuuko at the helm and Natsuki as VP, I’m sure the future of the band is in good hands, seeing how well those two play off each other. As for Kumiko, well she’s got to fill the shoes Asuka left, and that’s a nearly impossible task. Sure she’s grown a lot since we first met her, but she’s still got a long ways to go before she can reach the level Asuka was at.
Speaking of Kumiko, once again she’s put into a position with Shuuichi that feels oh so forced and just so out-of-place. For the longest time Kumiko has barely acknowledged him even when he’s standing right in front of her, but now all of a sudden they’re talking and hanging out and back to being friends. It feels a bit off after how the 2 interacted for the whole season, actually going back into S1 too, but I guess since the yuri route was never meant to be they figured they should do something else instead.
I mentioned ep 13 had its moments, the Asuka and Kumiko scene at the ending being the best, but there were some very nice moments where the animation was stunning. The part I’m thinking about it when Kumiko, Reina, Hazuki and Midori are at the convenience store and how the lighting is done with the traffic in the background. By far it’s not as jaw dropping at that scene in S1 ep 5, but it’s still very pretty and it’s worth going back and watching a few times.
Another aspect I liked about this final ep was the graduation party the band put on for the third years. I liked how we had flashbacks to S1 and the things the band went through that brought them to this moment. There were lots of ups and downs along the way but when they all came together and played their best, that’s when the band truly shined. This was probably my second favorite part of the ep after the Kumiko and Asuka scene. They ended up being a surprise ship too, that was pretty unexpected.
So after all is said and done, the story really isn’t over. Sure they made it to the Nationals but fell short when it mattered. Now having tasted what that feels like, the remaining members want nothing more than to get back to the Nationals and win that gold. So really this just feels like this chapter has come to a close and if they really want another season to follow the new look band as they try to do what they failed to do the first time. Realistically I doubt we’ll actually see another season for this show as they usually just want you to go read the source material for the actual ending, but if they do indeed make another season (or 2) I’ll be back to write about that too.
After another 13 eps Hibike! Euphonium has come to a close. From eps 1-11 this show was hitting all the right notes and did exactly what a sequel is supposed to do, which is continue the story and develop the characters. I felt that this season did just that and I really liked how things were going up to the Nationals ep. But just looking at things before that slip up, we finally got the long-awaited Asuka ep, we learned more about Taki’s past, we got a Reina ep too, and just overall we saw so many characters grow and mature. I also liked seeing the development of the relationships between characters, Kumiko and Reina mainly but also Kumiko and Asuka too. In terms of just general development S2 nailed all these points and really made things work. Kumiko remained the star of the show and her performance was always something to watch. Her VA did a fantastic job during with all Kumiko’s mannerisms and when the situation was really tense or emotional she totally commanded the scene.
In terms of animation this season looked amazing as always. KyoAni never disappoints when it comes to this category and just like S1 there were plenty of jaw dropping moments where the animation stole the show. From the amazingly lifelike background to the glint of lights on the instruments to the eyes of the characters, S2 was packed with stunning animation which is something you expect to see from KyoAni. But aside from the background and lighting, how they breathe life into the characters by their quirks and mannerisms is truly amazing too. While a lot is on the shoulders of the VA to bringing the character to life, how they’re animated and the body language is something KyoAni really excels at. I’m always impressed with the little details they put into their characters to make them that much more lifelike and natural.
So while there were lots of things to like about this season, for me the ending really was an important part and it just didn’t cut it. After 11 straight eps of sheer brilliance, when it mattered the most they fell flat and it really hurt the show. It’s hard to look past this ep because of everything that lead up to it, it needed to be perfect and it was far from that. Maybe for some it was good and they liked how things played out, but for me it just wasn’t right. Ep 12 dropped the ball and ep 13 while being good, it was far from great and it just couldn’t make up what was lost. I’ve seen much more emotional graduation eps and aside from that one scene it wasn’t tugging on my heart-strings too much.
As a complete package it’s a good show but it fails to live up to the first season. I expected a pretty much flawless performance from 1 to 13 but it looks like even when your confidence is well place, sometimes your expectations are still just a tad bit too high. So looking back at this show, where it started and where it ended, there are plenty of strong points to bring out and praise. From a sequel standpoint this show is fantastic and I wish more shows (and movies at that) would understand what a sequel is. My only complaints lie with the ending, had it been better this show would’ve been a solid 10/10. But this is what we were given, so I’ll take it for all the good this season was. As for a final score, I’ll give Hibike! Euphonium 2 an 8/10.
And the next piece begins.
That’s going to bring this season to a close for me. Thanks for sticking with me, I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts of this show from the very beginning until now. As always I’d love to hear your thoughts about this final ep along with the show as a whole, so leave a comment below or talk with me on Twitter.
Looking ahead to next season, I’m taking a break and won’t be reviewing anything. Instead you’ll be stuck with the other guys for 3 months. But don’t worry, they’ve got some good shows lined up to review so I’m not too worried about things. The next time I’ll be back is in April for not only the anniversary post but to review the long awaited and highly anticipated Saekano S2. That’s right, Utaha and company are back for another season! I can’t wait!
So that’s going to bring this series of reviews to a close. Should they make another season you can count on me returning to talk about that, but as it stands now this is the end we’ll be getting. Thanks once again for reading this and sticking with Anime Corps for another season!
Happy New Year everyone and I’ll see you in April!
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