Sound! Euphonium – Episode 9

A somewhat lesser episode of Euphonium this week, split evenly between friendship and anxiety. There were good moments scattered throughout, and the cast remains strong, but I guess basically anything would feel like a comedown after last week. My favorite scene here was easily the Kaori-Haruka centerpiece – in just a bare handful of scenes, those two have managed to define themselves and their friendship in sharp and poignant strokes. Their conversation here reflected a great deal of the central concerns of Euphonium, from friendship to personal excellence to the fear of wasting your precious time, and having them essentially be stuck as the unhappy counterweight to Kousaka is a really inspired choice. This show’s base variables are really damn good.

Here’s my full review. More notes below!

Sound! Euphonium

Preparing for auditions

“Everyone was intent on their work, practicing as though they were being chased by their own anxieties.” Jeez Kumiko

Midori is feeling down, and her playing suffers. Music is always tied to their emotions

Midori’s feeling responsible for Hazuki’s rejection, apparently

“I don’t have time to put with kids who don’t practice because they have issues.” Asuka is once again foisting off any responsibility whatsoever for the people she practices with. She wants to get good, and she’s perfectly happy to be upbeat and supportive when it’s easy, but her way of “holding others to her standards” is to simply drop them and do her own thing if they don’t do what she wants. Good to see the show following through on this

“Asuka-senpai hates losing practice more than anyone.” Remembering that “why didn’t you just say no, like I did?” moment

Hazuki telling Midori to stop beating herself up. A very Hazuki action

Hazuki gives Midori the contrabass keychain strap. Hazuki is a good friend

“When you’re depressed, I get kind of bummed, too.” Nice, Kumiko. This episode really focusing on their friendship

Kumiko horrified at the thought of Hazuki thinking she likes Shuichi. The very idea is played for laughs, because we’ve seen exactly how platonic their relationship is

I like this long shot of Hazuki just enjoying a snack afterwards, and then the awkward shot of Kumiko and Shuichi on the train

Taki-sensei is apparently the son of someone pretty famous, so Kumiko’s sister says

Now Kumiko’s reflecting on how Kousaka was defensive of Taki-sensei. TROUBLE IN PARADISE

“Hazuki wants to be happy. She wants to be her usual self. So I think we should both act normal.” Kumiko doing her best

Midori saying Kumiko’s grown up a little. The camera keeps aiming towards Kumiko’s feet, which are kinda portraying her emotions more than her face is

“I was moved, seeing Reina try to move forward, as she fought those inexplicable feelings. Although I still can’t talk to Shuichi.” Yeah, I imagine things would be awkward there

Midori returns Hazuki’s favor by giving Hazuki a tubacabra keychain

The trumpet leader matching Kousaka’s choice of practice space

“I’ve been doing this for three years. I want to play.” Balancing the needs of the group with her own desire to shine. Everyone gets a “solo” in this story

“Then if it doesn’t work out, I’ll buy you potatoes.” “But it’s summer.” “So don’t make me have to go looking for them.”

The balance between friendship and wanting to shine. The key conflict here, making the most of your time while carrying others too

I like that this scene just continues as they walk inside

Getting in some last minute practice

Natsuki competing hard. Kumiko’s inspired, but also made nervous

Kumiko feeling insecure, and then Reina comes in, and tells her to do her best in her typical overbearing way

This episode is once again a bit more “a collection of scenes” than a perfectly composed mini-story

“I believe all of you here deserve to be in the competition. You’ve all worked very hard.”

Waiting for other people’s auditions. Terrible feeling

“Oh no. I haven’t practiced that part much.” No music here. Just keeping the framing incredibly tight on Kumiko, either putting us in her eyes, just over her shoulder, or closely caught on her face and body. Reaaally tense

And then she flashes back to Reina, her eyes steady, and the camera pulls outside the window, where we’re no longer trapped in her headspace. Like she’s floating outside the scene as it happens, a common feeling. And now, finally, a light piano melody comes through in the background. Tension defused

Natsuki didn’t make it. But she stays strong. Dang, that’s a quietly tough moment

And Reina gets the lead part. Tension to come!

One thought on “Sound! Euphonium – Episode 9

  1. In your episode 3 notes you highlighted one comment by Midori where she is looking for one of the little musical figures and says “Unless I find it with my own hands, there’s no point!” That seemed especially sharp, and it came up here as well: Midori actually handles two of those figures in this episode, but finds and keeps neither. One is given to her by Hazuki, and the other she gives Hazuki, both times as a gesture to cheer up a friend. Feels like another example of Euphonium constantly inter-meshing those two ideas of personal and communal success. Wouldn’t have noticed either of them if you hadn’t pointed it out in ep3.

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