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.
5 thoughts on “Hibike! Euphonium 2 – Anime Series Review”
A fair assessment, looking back at it now, I didn’t realize how many conflicts there were going on in the background. The most annoying one for me was easily the Reina-Taki relationship that never really set sail. Nozomi’s arc was a great gateway for opening us up to the other band members, and Asuka’s farewell proved for a nice resolution with Kumiko. I sure will miss her puffy hair. Good review!
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There really were quite a few conflicts happening all at once. Impressive of Kumiko to get through them (but she did end up losing her temper a few times).
Their relationship kind of just felt like it was there, yeah. That’s a great way to think of Nozomi’s arc.
I will miss her puffy hair and emotional voice. I’ve watched that farewell scene several times by now, haaah.
Thank you and thanks for dropping by!
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Psst. Yuko is best girl. 🙂
Interesting how you split the story up in to two distinct arcs. I also found Mamiko’s story to be a little underdeveloped, making her struggles appear a little inconsequential, but the final episodes actually homed in on the meat of the story, which was actually just one entire arc for Kumiko. 🙂
I blame the source material for having it’s awkward plot flow, but the greater message really is a very touching one. There’s also quite a lot to be said about each individual character, especially Reina, who I know is a little controversial to some. But like I said in my weekly thoughts, Reina is a character I can truly respect. It’s true that a student-teacher relationship is generally taboo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t deny feelings that exist. That’s love for you. It’s crazy that way.
Anyway, more thoughts for me to distill into a separate entry. I feel guilty for visiting your blog every time only to leave with another idea for something to write about. How many cups of coffee do I owe you, again?
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Ehhh Natsuki is best girl. Yuko and her deserve to be together, though!
That’s an interesting point. I had split the season into these two separate arcs because I was paying attention to the people who were in distress and who Kumiko, indirectly or directly, helped. But it really was all about Kumiko in the end like you said, which is fine by me.
That’s probably what caused the awkwardness, yeah. Oh, I knew I forgot to mention something. Being honest and pursuing what you actually want is a very good message. At least, that’s the message I interpreted from most of the characters who were in the spotlight in this season.
Fair point about Reina and love. I want to really criticize her, but in the end I can’t. She’s rather complex and admirable.
Hey, that’s music to my ears. Wait. Poetry to my eyes since this is all text? Just the one cup of coffee, perhaps. I wouldn’t want to interrupt our talk with frequent trips to the restroom.
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