Episodes: 13 (+1 extra episode)
Aired: Apr 2015 – Jul 2015
Also Known As: Sound! Euphonium, 響け！ユーフォニアム
Summary: After swearing off music due to an incident at the middle school regional brass band competition, euphonist Oumae Kumiko enters high school hoping for a fresh start. As fate would have it, she ends up being surrounded by people with an interest in the high school brass band. Kumiko finds the motivation she needs to make music once more with the help of her bandmates, some of whom are new like novice tubist Katou Hazuki; veteran contrabassist Kawashima Sapphire; and band vice president and fellow euphonist Tanaka Asuka. Others are old friends, like Kumiko’s childhood friend and hornist-turned-trombonist Tsukamoto Shuuichi, and trumpeter and bandmate from middle school, Kousaka Reina.
However, in the band itself, chaos reigns supreme. Despite their intentions to qualify for the national band competition, the band will struggle to even compete in the local festival —unless the new band advisor Taki Noboru does something about it.
From the studio that animated Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, Kyoto Animation’s Hibike! Euphonium is a fresh and musical take on the slice-of-life staple that is the high school student’s struggle to deal with their past, find romance, and realize their dreams and aspirations.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
Review: Despite the last line in that long-winded summary, you can forget about the prospect of romance in this show. There are a few romantic false leads, but the only canon couple is Gotou Takuya and Nagase Riko.
Why am I starting off this review with a negative tone? Well, the show consists of yuri bait to frustrate yuri shippers like yours truly. The anime adaptation downplays the romantic tension between Kumiko and her childhood friend, Shuuichi, yet amps up the moments Kumiko gets with Reina. Yet in the original source material, the two never go past friendship. Furthermore, in both the novels and in the anime, it’s clear that both girls are probably bisexual given that they have their eyes on guys. I don’t have a problem with my yuri characters chasing after guys, but it just feels like a low-blow to include all this ship tease even though they’ll never kiss.
Still, there IS a bastion of hope for yuri fans in the form of Nakagawa Natsuki x Yoshikawa Yuko. Any ships involving Asuka, by the way, is as boring as she is in my opinion. She’s just too perfect and too good at wearing her mask of neutrality. I know that she gets her own little arc to resolve her issues in the second season, but my opinion still stands. The line to fight me starts behind the dotted line over there, by the way.
As I listed under the genre section, Hibike‘s focus is on drama which means pacing and characterization determines the success of this show. And in my opinion it works. None of the arcs felt rushed or slow, but it’s clear that some characters have issues that aren’t being fully explored (but that’s why there’s a season two, isn’t it? Maybe. I’m going to start binge watching it soon). As for the drama, I think the studio did a great job for the most part.
Personally speaking, I’m neutral to the whole “student has an unrequited and one-sided crush on teacher” subplot, but I can see how some viewers are alienated by it. But I did kind of grit my teeth when Yuko goes too far trying to get her senpai to receive a trumpet solo. That whole subplot was necessary in order for the band to actually become united, but the behavior of not only Yuko, but also most of the brass club members struck a nerve. Blah, they’re just high schoolers. I have to remind myself that they’re young and foolish.
WELL there’s all my controversial feelings aired out. The show did an excellent job in all other aspects. The instrumental OST fit the scene yet wasn’t overly distracting. I found it hard to skip the OP and the ED (gotta shave time to make room for more anime!) since both were very colorful and very pleasant to listen to. The animation quality also remained high throughout the series.
As for the two big performances we get to see in this season – wow! You get to see the charater’s feelings and their dedication leading into said performances as they play with pans to their faces, their body language, etc. It was beautiful.
One last thing I will note is the characters. People will have different opinions of different characters (as expected of anime by KyoAni), and I ask that people try to stay open-minded and civil about Hibike‘s characters. It’s really convincing coming from someone who isn’t that fond of Asuka, I know…
But I do hope you all can appreciate Kumiko’s seiyuu! Kurosawa Tomoyo is really talented. Listen to how she delievers each line. This woman will go far!
A drama series featuring characters who split the fanbase apart with their actions that can be intepreted in different ways. You can expect emotional moments and beautiful music (when it comes to the actual performance, that is), but yuri bait is all we get. Still, I think this show is definitely one to watch. Just cheer for the secondary characters to hook up instead!