Hibike! Euphonium – 03

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I get the thought behind it, but somehow hearing “From the New World” in any other anime just feels wrong…

Hibike! Euphonium is a bit of an odd duck, and a stern test for the three-episode rule.  The word that keeps recurring when I consider this show s “abstract”.  In an abstract sense, I appreciate it – it’s very well-made, and by recent Kyoto Animation standards pretty restrained with the preciousness.  And the show itself seems very abstract in tone and style, at least to me – there’s a strange distance that’s ever-present between the narrative and the characters.  Not documentary in style, exactly, but certainly minimal.

I find myself wondering if this is going to be a two-cour show (I don’t recall any rumor to that effect), because it seems to be taking an exorbitant amount of time digging into the characters.  Again, as an abstraction it sort of works – it’s interesting to watch these kids go through their rather routine paces, though I think the degree to which one is interested in the subject matter is unusually important here (the series is clearly extremely interested).

Why is that so important?  Because the portrayal of the characters themselves is so detached.  Apart from Sapphire – who’s pretty over the top and sticks out like a sore thumb as a result – the rest of them reveal themselves only in isolated moments of action or speech (including the protagonist).  What’s missing for me, so far, is any reason I should really care about any of these people or their musical journey.  And as pieces go, that’s a pretty big one to be missing.

On the other hand, there’s still time for that to change (though not much if the series is one cour).  And there are some individual scenes that are quite striking – so far repeatedly involving Taki-sensei (who’s easily the most interesting character so far).  The one where he matter-of-factly eviscerated the band with a smile on his face was as real as a slap in the face – the show’s usual detachment wielded like a weapon.  And I do like the notion of the conflict between those who give a damn and those who just don’t want to be bothered being given some attention – it’s a clash that happens often in real life (in school and the workplace) and it holds considerable dramatic potential should Hibike choose to pursue it.

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  1. s

    hope your back is feeling betr enzo; but yea i thought this was quite the interesting episode. Taki sensei is my kind of guy with his no nonsense type of demeanor and yet wear a smile attitude. In terms of the characters and why you should care about their motivations, i would say this series is developing the characters in a way that they want you to grow to care about their motivations the more you learn about them (through little snippets of subtle info) as you would people in real life. Which is why i agree that if the show is going this route, it would definitely benefit from 2 cours. Not that it's impossible to do it in one; it'd just be more "complete" if it had 2.

  2. A

    Hm… it's true that I don't really feel any attachment to any of the characters except for the protagonist, the teacher and trumpet girl by the end– who I'm finding very difficult not to feel her frustration.

    Although, if they had spent their time focusing on the drama instead of random band members learning to play or other sedate attempts at comedy, I don't think the tactical nuke that was the teacher's lecture would have been as effective.

  3. G

    This might be the show I look forward the most every weeks this season aside from Arslan. There's so much about it I like so far : It's gorgeous, some of the scenes like the one between the 2 sisters are really well made, it's actually about music and the hardship of it and not about girls getting really good by eating cake and I really like many characters like Kumiko, the teacher, Asuka and I really want to see more of Kousaka and Natsuki for exemple. I agree some of them are kind of just there so far but I hope this get 24 episodes and will have more time to flesh them out.

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