Aired: Oct 2016 – Dec 2016
Also Known As: Sound! Euphonium 2, Hibike! Euphonium Second Season, 響け！ユーフォニアム2
Summary: The second season to Hibike! Euphonium. You can read my review of the first season over here.
Review: The character-drama-driven story continues. I would really recommend watching the first season before watching this series for various reasons, most of which are self-explanatory.
A major part of whether or not you enjoy character-drama, I feel, comes down to whether or not you enjoy the characters who are in focus. If you must have labels, this season was essentially split into two arcs: Nozomi’s arc and Asuka’s arc. For Nozomi’s arc, a lot of characters were abruptly introduced. Some of which were already present in the band, but they had just not received focus (such as Nozomi) while others were just brought in as instructors and such. I personally didn’t mind and believed this was acceptable, or at least common, for a sequel series. Some viewers may dislike how these newly introduced characters take away screentime from their old favorties, however.
As for Asuka’s arc – I think your feelings on Asuka really determines whether or not you enjoy said arc. Personally, I didn’t care for Asuka which led to me not truly enjoying the arc as a whole. It felt too forced and mundane – which could be the studio’s way of showing that Asuka is just a normal high school girl and not the super ace everyone considered her to be (which was acknowledged in-story). But I do admit I found a few particular scenes very powerful, so I can’t really complain too hard. It also was hinted at back in season one, tied up some loose ends, and gave some degree of closure, so there’s that.
While all of this was happening, there were two subplots brewing in the background. Mamiko’s struggle with her family and college life would be one, while Reina’s one-sided attraction to Taki-sensei would be the other.
Like Asuka, I feel Mamiko, aka Kumiko’s sister, had her arc a long time coming. It has been repeatedly made clear that she was the primary reason Kumiko started playing the euphonium (even though she originally wanted to play the trombone like Mamiko) even back in the first season. While Kumiko, for the most part, came to terms as to why she currently plays in season one, she comes to understand her roots during this season as she tries to reconnect with her sister.
I suppose I related a lot more to Mamiko than Asuka even though both girls struggled with their future. Both characters had their flaws (of course), but I just wasn’t feeling the manipulative two-faced girl compared to the regretful dreamer. I’m aware this is not a popular opinion but I stand by it. Your mileage may vary, of course!
As for the whole Reina-has-unrequited-love-for-Taki-sensei subplot, I can see why a lot of viewers dislike the situation. I was kind of indifferent to the whole thing, but there are a few instances where even I was like, “Okay, Reina, you need to calm down.” I admit I might have had a crush or two on a teacher before, but I did not go to the extents she did in her pursuit of Taki-sensei.
The yuri remains baity – if you only consider Reina and Kumiko. Thankfully, we get more of Yuko x Natsuki. We also get some Asuka x Kumiko as well as the introduction of a new ship, Mizore x Nozomi. Kumiko and Reina will never kiss each other, but we can still ship them with others (good luck, Reina, I guess).
The animation remains as crisp as ever. Nothing to say here, really. A smarter person than me can break down how the lighting as well as the depiction of characters’ faces, eyes, etc work together to bring emotional depth in each scene. I’ll just say I had to fight tears during certain scenes!
Finally, I think the OP and the ED wasn’t nearly as good as those of season one’s, but they weren’t bad. Again, your mileage may vary.
I think my entire review of Hibike! Euphonium 2 could be summarized by the phrase, “Your mileage may vary.” A lot of my dissenting remarks are merely opinions that could easily be rebutted.
That being said, I did enjoy the series and I’m happy it happened. If you’re looking for character-drama, KyoAni delivers once again.