Sound! Euphonium – Episode 11

Things got tense this week as the show wound its way to Kousaka and Kaori’s trumpet rematch. We got a bunch of great scenes between almost all the big character pairs, some gorgeous outdoor shots and great use of lighting in general, and one more scene that was more romantically charged than anything in friggin’ Ore Monogatari!!, nevermind Nagato Yuki. Hell, this was more romantically charged than anything in Hyouka. It was practically more charged than anything in Spice and Wolf. This show isn’t fucking around, or maybe it is fucking around, and if it is that’s just a shame for the show itself. These characters deserve better than to be used as overt bait, especially considering how much the show otherwise respects them as people. Hopefully things will work out okay in the end.

Anyway, here’s my full post on the piece, that goes deep on plenty of the characters. And lots of notes below!

Sound! Euphonium

Yep, starting off with all the same drama, from “I like Taki-sensei” to the playoffs

“You sound great. Like the sound could resonate forever.” Yuuki specifically framing Kaori’s trumpet talent in terms of “permanence.” Her talent and music will last, even as this moment fades. All of them scrabbling for time well-spent

Jeez, Yuuki’s really crushing here

Episode Title: Welcome Back, Audition

Taki being harsh on Tsukamoto’s trombone. Gotta strive for excellence at this point

Great faces

Kumiko being flustered about her friends nudging her to invite Kousaka to lunch. If Kumiko isn’t gay, this truly has been the most flagrantly baiting protection I’ve ever seen

“She should just say she wants to eat with her.” “That’s Kumiko.” A very Hazuki line, a very Kumiko action

Kumiko being super awkward around Yuuki, Yuuki challenging her on Kousaka’s sound, and then conceding Kousaka really does sound that good. Great framing for this sequence

Another shot of the characters framed with the barrier between them, even as Kaori says they’ll be playing together

Great animation of Kaori and Asuka here, jeez. Kinda random choice

Asuka being her jerk self again. She’s got this surface-level charisma, but is so cold

I really love these transitions they use specifically for Yuuko’s memories

Haha, the pacing of Natsuki’s intrusion and the animation afterwards are great

Natsuki telling Yuuko to pull herself together, that it’s Kaori who’ll be hurt. Yuuko responds with “you didn’t even make the audition,” establishing them at opposite poles – Yuuko at wholly selfish for Kaori’s sake, Natsuki at endlessly selfless for the team

The heat and lighting makes this whole episode feel tired

Hazuki and Kumiko discussing Hazuki’s new role. This show portrays friends really well

Beaaautiful shots

Kumiko sees Tsukamoto practicing, and says she wants to get better

Yuuko asks Kousaka to give up the audition. This will not end well

Yuuko talking about Kaori’s selflessness the previous year as if it were her own. Yuuko sees Kaori’s selflessness and turns it into her own selfishness

“This is her last chance”

Asuka once again shrugging off helping Kaori, leaving it to Haruka

Different kinds of friendship. Yuuko running into Natsuki, Haruka going to help Kaori

“I hope you’ll be satisfied.” A great line from Haruka. Not “I hope you’ll win,” but “I hope you’re happy with what happens.” Because the happiness can’t come from victory, in the end

“Why are you so obsessed with Asuka?” “I feel like she always sees through me. So I want to surprise her.” I want to be special

Great music here

“Would you be upset if I lost?” Reina in shadow, Kumiko in light. Does even Reina want to play for something beyond herself?

“If I win now, I’ll be a villain.” “That’s fine. I’ll be a villain with you, when that happens”

“Will you stay with me?” OH MY GOD. And Kumiko jumping at Reina asking her if she’ll really say something. This scene is waaaay too charged

“I’ll kill you if you leave.” “I’m prepared for that. This is a confession of love, after all.” WHAT THE FUCK

“I was never planning on giving up in the first place.” She’s like Kumiko’s Indiana Jones or something, holy christ

So they aren’t playing behind a curtain or anything. The honesty of the sound indeed

Kaori doesn’t look like she has regrets. Her play wasn’t the steadiest, though

Yeah, Kousaka’s performance is so damn smooth and well-projected

And Taki proposes the question to Kaori, whether she will play. No one in the band actually spoke up for Kousaka aside from her allies, so he puts the question to Kaori, who will sacrifice for the team, and whose decision they’ll respect

“I’m not good. I just like it.”

8 thoughts on “Sound! Euphonium – Episode 11

  1. I’m consistently impressed by this show for a lot of reasons, but I think my favorite one to mention is the painstaking care they put into the sound(!) production for performances. While Kaori was practicing, her mistakes were subtle but still noticeable if you listened closely. Just going off how they sounded while practicing, it was clear that Kaori was no match for Kousaka. During Kaori’s audition, though, all I could think was “My God, she’s hitting everything on the nose. Kousaka might actually lose to her.” For the difference in sound to make me actual feel apprehensive about that, despite everything that came before… that’s amazing, quite frankly.

    And yet Kousaka’s audition still blew Kaori’s out of the water. The visual accompaniment made it apparent that Kousaka’s performance was better, just in case viewers couldn’t tell by the sound (she was literally glowing while she played), but after listening to both auditions a second time with my eyes closed, there was such an outpouring of emotion in Kousaka’s playing that there’s no way a mechanical performance like Kaori’s could even begin to compare – removing the visual component made that even more apparent to me, which says a lot considering how beautiful the show looks.

    I was never in concert band in high school, but I play bass so I like to think that I understand at least a thing or two about music… and one of the things I’ve struggled a lot with, being entirely self-taught, is how some musicians can fill their playing with something that manages to convey emotion with an almost chilling consistency (it’s something about the “smoothness,” as I’ve come to understand… sort of). I used to be unable to do it at all, but after months of playing the same songs I can sometimes pull it off. It’s a cathartic feeling, and hearing Kousaka capture that something that makes me love playing bass so much was incredible.

    Music is amazing, and I couldn’t be happier that KyoAni has managed to convey what makes it so great with scenes like Kousaka’s audition. It speaks for itself.

  2. One really important thing about this ep is what it means for Kumiko’s development. She’s spent most of the series being an apathetic, conflict-averse follower who keeps getting dragged into stuff… and now Reina really needs her, she’s willing to stand by her even if it means pissing off the entire band. That’s a freakin’ huge deal.

    • Yeah, this episode really demonstrated how these two have made each other grow. Reina is pushing Kumiko to actually stand up for the things she wants, and Kumiko is helping Reina reach a point where she doesn’t have to do everything by herself. They’re a great pair.

  3. This show is truly something special, I really cant understand how some people criticize this show because “nothing happens” or “not enough plot development”

  4. How I read the post-audition voting is that everyone knows Kousaka is better (note how they don’t clap for Kaori), but they can’t bring themselves to shoot down Kaori for social reasons; she’s a third year versus a first year, this is her last chance, she’s worked so hard, etc etc. So they sit on their hands for both performers. Taki asking Kaori directly is a gentle way of getting everyone on board with what they already know and have conceded.

    It’s my view that getting everyone on board with Kousaka as the soloist was always the real problem and that’s also why Taki didn’t try any sort of blind audition. Everyone who listened to both of them, even Kaori partisans like Yuuko, knew that Kousaka would win in a head to head comparison, so the goal was to leave everyone with no wiggle-room to hide from ‘we picked the better soloist even though we knew we were picking the arrogant first year over the long-serving third year’.

    As for the two solo performances: I too thought that this was really well done because just the playing shows Kousaka’s clear superiority. Kaori played well, but she had things like silent pauses in the music (presumably to grab a bit of breath) and hesitations and she just wasn’t as complex as Kousaka’s playing. I was impressed that they managed to make this so clear without making Kaori screw up or having to fall back on visual cues like audience reactions (although they had those too, to reinforce things).

  5. “You sound great. Like the sound could resonate forever.”
    I think there was meaning gained in translation there. The Japanese used in that sentence was “doko made mo”, which implies “forever” as in infinite space, rather than permanence in time as you have interpreted it (which would probably have been “itsu made mo”).
    But…I mean…your interpretation still fits with the themes of the show? So I guess it still stands? (original intent be damned?)

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