Sound! Euphonium – Episode 13

And the best new show of the season comes to a close. Sound! Euphonium was a polished accomplishment from the first episode to the last, and likely one of the most consistent shows I’ve ever seen. Nearly every episode was full of engaging aesthetic tricks, poignant character moments, and an underlying level of execution that just demolishes most anime out there. This was a finale worthy of the show, one more episode that worked hard to ensure it had a strict internal tone that matched the headspace of the characters. It’s a little sad to see it go, but I’m always happy to see good shows end well. You did good, Sound! Euphonium.

Here’s my full ANN piece. More notes below!

Sound! Euphonium

Opening with the quiet morning shots, no lead-in to the OP this time. The day has arrived

Power ponytail!

Another of those great silent match cuts as Kumiko’s foot rises in her bedroom and falls in her front hall

One last, tiny confrontation with her sister. Her sister basically represents her insecurities, how she’s not sure about her own path, and so she appears on the morning of the performance

Oh my god, this scene of the two of them nudging each other is so adorable

Nice shots of everyone preparing to some very light piano

Title: Goodbye Competition

The song slowly builds up as the players arrive and the day begins. Again, tone and momentum are important. Opening with keys, adding strings that build, and then light shaker-drums

Everyone gets good-luck charms from Natsuki and the other sub members

Kumiko and Reina get matching ones from Hazuki

Asuka encourages Haruka before her speech to the group! Everyone’s getting a little character moment, with scenes like this pulling double duty, since both characters are relevant

Reina asks Kumiko to tie her hair in a ponytail, and the camera is like WHOAAAA NELLY

“Nakagawa-senpai’s cool” yes she is Reina

The water vibrating with their tuning. Great shot

A scene with childhood friend. This one’s a bit tense too, but they’re basically still getting over their awkwardness. This is their first real conversation since episode eight, but each of them make “making up” gestures

“It’s a little sad, isn’t it? We had so much fun, and now it’s about to end. I wish summer would go on forever.” Asuka being contemplative for once. She never lets people see this much

“What are you talking about? It isn’t over yet. We’re going to the Nationals.” KUMIKO

So much character animation in this performance. Midori checking herself by glancing at her bass, Taki’s constant hand movements

Kumiko talking about how she always had hoped to go to Nationals, but was afraid of hoping only to fail. But “wishes don’t come true unless you wish out loud”

Reina’s solo is gorgeous, but the camera focuses on Kaori, coming to peace with this. Even as some characters shine, other mains accept the dignity of other roles

And this is mirrored in the next scene, as Natsuki comforts Hazuki

And the last scene mirrors the first of the show, as the group waits tense for the results to come in. The courage to strive and put yourself out is championed. Engaging, even if you might fail. Giving things your best shot, like Hazuki and Kaori did

9 thoughts on “Sound! Euphonium – Episode 13

  1. Wow, reading this makes my eyes watery again. This episode was so well composed and build up tension just the right way. I loved that shot in the beginning with Kumiko already awake to stop her alarm.

  2. Wait a sec, best show of the season? I mean, I knew that this was more my kind of thing than oregairu, but I was sure Oregairu Zoku would have your heart secured, bob.

      • As a fellow Oregairu-lover—honestly, I thought Hibike outdid Oregairu soundly. Both were great shows and in somewhat different fashions, but HIbike was noticeably more consistent in its quality, and equal in its highs.

  3. “Asuka being contemplative for once.” – I think she is always contemplative.
    “She never lets people see this much” – so true.

    But what does the last scene of Asuka (where everyone else is elated but she put her head down) mean? To me that is the most interesting scene in this episode. Remember Kumiko saying that it appears that Asuka is looking far ahead (paraphrasing), and Kaori saying that it was as if Asuka see right through her. Little scenes like this is what make this such a phenomenal anime.

    I love the subtleties of this show. It doesn’t force things on you but allow you to absorb it. For me, it is a masterpiece – one of the best ever. I believe it is as brilliant as Puella Magi Madoka Magica but without the hype or fanfare.

  4. gotta ask, what did you think of Asuka’s dissapointment in the band moving to the Nationals? That was the first moment in the whole show where we saw her insecurity in some sort of way. Was she really that content in just spending time at the club for fun, especially when she is very talented?

  5. I’d say the central message of Sound! Euphonium can be succinctly summarized by this Les Brown quote I got from a bookmark: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars”.

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