|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Sound Euphonium focuses on the hard work and cohesion that develops with a number of high school girls as they try improving their instrument skills and teamwork to earn a place for school-wide band club competitions. The series believably depicts the challenges faced by a number of the band club's members as they try to make the main team for competitions and the differences in skill and experience take effect with the various club members. Some members find all their hard work getting them nowhere against more seasoned instrument players and the frustration is believably depicted within the series. In addition, the series devotes time to developing some of the relationships that develop between a number of the characters with friendships developing or being strained, as well as a few romantic developments taking place throughout the series. As KyoAni are the animators behind Sound Euphonium, the series sports gorgeous and highly-detailed animation with characters and scenery, and animation is surprisingly fluid given the show's niche focus on a school band club. The show's premise won't be for everyone given the niche it fills. But for anyone interested in high school anime that believably explores a band club, Sound Euphonium makes for a definite recommendation.
Last updated Friday, August 12 2016. Created Friday, August 12 2016.
(All episodes watched):|
I didn't expect a show about being a musician to interest me much, but Hibike got off to an okay start and I think I will watch episode two as well. It just goes to show that if the characters in an anime are given enough personality that you can care what becomes of them, almost any situation can give rise to a watch-worthy story. These girls have a well defined problem: the band they're about to join isn't very good, and what's more a rather perfectionistic sort-of friend from middle school shows up and joins as well. There's sure to be friction between these newcomers and the old-timers within the band, and I wonder how it will work out. Episode two was adequate to keep me interested, but I noticed that no major conflicts leapt out at the viewer. It sort of seemed like a break was being taken from the main plot to deal with mundane stuff like everyone choosing the instrument they will play. I hope I'm not just imagining things and there really will be some sort of significant problem which needs to be fixed. In episode three we get an idea of the problems the band has--how for all their grand aspirations of taking part in the national competition, the members are in fact disorganized and lackadaisical, and will need a genuine leader if they are really to go anywhere significant. I was expecting Kousaka, Hibike's middle school friend to step forward and point out to the members how weak they really are, but as of yet that hasn't happened. In episode four things turn around as the members make a serious effort and their teacher/advisor decides that they are good enough to be worth his time and trouble after all. This guy is not physically threatening in any way, but is cruelly honest about how much talent each band member has and what he thinks their prospects as a musician are. At the start of this episode what exactly was going on in his head had been pretty much a mystery, but now it is made clear and I thought it was kind of neat. In other words, this show is telling an interesting story with interesting characters.
The band passes it's first public test in episode five, and has clearly turned a corner from laughable, half-assed group to a professional one that is to be reckoned with. I can root for these underdogs and hope they do OK, in part because this isn't a simplistic 'gambare!' tale but rather one with likeable and dynamic characters. Somehow, I remain intrigued and look forward to additional episodes. Perhaps it's partly because this story has a degree of realism to it; I learn things about music and the organization and operation of bands which I didn't know and which are at least slightly interesting. At first I expected the episode about a local festival to be an unwanted digression from the main plot, and I presumed it would be full of the usual lame jokes about goldfish scooping, etc, like most anime; but in fact it turned out to be a deep and engaging piece regarding issues like the insecurity of dating teenagers. It was realistic, played an important part in the story and was fun to watch.
Another important turning point comes when auditions are held to decide who will be part of the band that competes for a national award. Normally, third-year students would get a place automatically, but the advisor is serious about taking this band to the competition. If this show were just about music it would probably be uninteresting, but there's a good deal of competition, uncertainty, risk, and anxiety here. It's about people, not the instruments they play. The same plot could probably have been adapted easily to some other competitive school activity if for some reason music was unavailable.
I was surprised to find that episode 13 was the final one--the band still has a long way to go to reach the National competition which was set out as their goal at the beginning, and as a result I was certain that this would be a 24 or so episode series. Hopefully a second season series is in the works somewhere, because this remained an interesting show about likeable characters that I could root for. Perhaps the only problem was that there were too many characters for me to keep track of, but I'm not very good at that (and everyone wearing the same school uniform didn't help). The realistic depiction of the stress and nervousness which the band members feel at the competition set this show apart from more simplistic (and common) ones about clubs/teams trying to win some sort of award. The viewer can't help wondering whether being hyper-competitive, as Japanese citizens seem to be, is necessarily a good idea though. Still, Euphonium was a neat show which, while it ended abruptly, ended about as well as any incomplete story could. The band has passed another test and will move onward, and from their performance we get a sense of how difficult and therefore remarkable what they have already accomplished is.
Last updated Wednesday, July 15 2015. Created Saturday, April 11 2015.