Sound! Euphonium – Episodes 1-2

Jeez, am I going to be able to do a full season of posts like this? I’m guessing tackling single episodes at a time will prompt me to switch to a more conventional breakdown style, but it was nice to do almost a tiny essay in the format of my KimiUso piece or whatnot for these episodes. I think I’m slowly getting better at achieving a balance of flow and analysis in the ANN pieces.

Oh, right, Euphonium. Euphonium is very good! Really liked these first two episodes, and since I didn’t cover it in the actual piece, I should say that I like the way is handling its establishment of a real ensemble so far. I don’t expect this to be Shirobako or anything, but it does seem like the show wants a bunch of characters to be recognizable people, and I also like that it’s taking pains to bring us in on basically the ground floor of this music group. Even though this really seems like Kumiko’s story, we need to be invested in the group if we’re going to believe in her eventual investment.

Here’s my full ANN writeup. Notes below!

Sound! Euphonium

Nice establishing shots. Creating a sense of place with the window shot, then a sense of intimacy with the hands

This “hug” gag is great. As is the bubbly shot transition

“She’s awkward. She’s seriously creepy.” hahaha

Kumiko rationalizing not wanting to apologize. Good, this is the Kumiko I like

This shot transition of her elementary school teacher asking for euphonium volunteers to the match cut of her saying “so I was euphonium” is a great joke. KyoAni excel at drawing humor from small moments due to control of timing

These upbeat wipes for the shot transitions, lol

Getting a nice natural introduction to the team and the instruments. Looks like they’re building a team from the ground up, which is gratifying to us as viewers, and helps us be more invested

Running down the instruments with their section leaders. So we get both instrument “worldbuilding” and character introductions at the same time. Working an ensemble cast is tough

Asuka Tanaka is introducing the euphonium – the magician girl

“Will you play?” “I’ve been waiting for those words.” This show is dorky in the best way

oh my god Asuka

Kumiko’s incredibly awkward wink at Midori, yes

Kousaka makes Kumiko’s hair go fluffy with her trumpet playing

Hazuki is tempted by Asuka’s talk of instrument-fate. Hazuki is an idiot

Oh my god, this glass slipper tuba routine

The closeup shots of the instruments are gorgeous – great use of blur and light, even a sort of lense flare effect

Shuichi, Kumiko’s childhood friend, also wants to try trombone

And now they ran into Aoi, another old friend

She says it’s Aoi’s fault she’s stuck with euph, but Kumiko always goes with the flow

The soft focus is used for a variety of effects – the brightness of the instruments, the fogginess of a memory, to evoke being stuck behind Kumiko’s eyes

Taki is their advisor, the guy from the first episode

“My philosophy is to value a student’s sense of initiative.” Yep. Immediately positioning him as a direct counter to Kumiko’s biggest flaw, her general lack of initiative and passion

“I would like you all to set a goal for this year.”

Kumiko is surprised and then slightly disappointed when he crosses out the goal. It’s easier for her when others create goals for her, even if she really does want things

It’s great how Kumiko’s first couple major actions in this plot aren’t a result of her moving forward, but her being pushed by others due to her flaws – joining band, picking the euph

So now he’s telling them to decide for themselves. That’s the important thing – that they make their own choices

Aoi doesn’t want to work towards nationals. She wasn’t insistent on her instrument, either

“Though there was opposition, you chose your goal yourselves.”

There’s such a great soft glow to the outdoor scenes, and the environments are so lovely

Gorgeous backgrounds, great use of uneven focus

Great intimacy to this scene with Aoi

Aoi tosses away the grass blade at the end, the temporary symbol of band-hood

“You be careful, too. Three years pass in a flash.” Nostalgia, embracing life, all of it

4 thoughts on “Sound! Euphonium – Episodes 1-2

  1. Am I alone in thinking that Asuka is overshadowing the rest of the cast a bit? She participates in a high proportion of the gags and it looks like her screen time won’t be diminishing if 3/4 of the main girls are working under her. Plus, and maybe this is just because of who I follow, I’ve seen a growing amount of fanart of her and almost none of the main girls.

  2. I really need this series to get on Hulu. If I add Cruchyroll, it might end me up in marital therapy.

    Anime is always based toward youth. Anime would be far less interesting if it were about middle aged fluid process engineers. Or politicians, or plumbers.

  3. I think the links are broken?

    But yea, I love how Kumiko doesn’t really have a “perfect” character (she´s actually pretty mean) but isn’t horrible either (I mean for the most part she has been pretty reasonable the whole time).

    Maybe this is the difference with Houtarou who had this obsession about “saving energy” that was never explained anyways.

    Kumiko is a believable teenager character who is sort of bored at the world, but that isn’t completely apathetic to what happens around her.

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