Sound! Euphonium 2 – Episodes 1-2

Sound! Euphonium has returned, and holy shit these reviews are going to kill me. I feel like I’ve actually gotten more thorough in my episodic posts since the first season, and those were already some of the most consistently oversized reviews I did for ANN. KyoAni may be the death of me, but it is a fine death indeed!

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode notes below.

Sound! Euphonium

Opening with the summer heat, as usual visual through the blurring and the wavering of the background

This episode is moving much more quickly, intentionally choppy cutting

It’s hitting the key moments, though – things like Kumiko inviting Reina to the pool are key small steps in their relationship

Kumiko’s self-conscious about her body, so her bow hides her breasts

Everyone’s there

Kind of a loose and fanservicey episode – not so much in sexual fanservice, but in the characters just hanging out together

Kumiko just kind of trailing off when describing the dynamic between Yuuko and Natsuki. Another example of this show’s naturalistic dialogue

I like how when she’s trying to defend her place on the team, Kumiko adopts Reina’s words

The framing here is wonderful, and it’s so clear these are Reina’s words

There’s such a sense of place in this pool episode. The heat, the variable settings

A long talk with Nozomi

Nozomi feels like she bet wrong and is now being unfairly punished

And the pool episode is over by the halfway point, lol

Sensei: “I don’t really have anything to do besides work”

Satomi Niiyama, a new sub-teacher

Gossip all around

“Sitting there was Reina, with the eyes of a dead fish”

I really like the diversity of spaces, and how they’re conveyed here. The bustle of lunch, the quiet intimacy of this big room at night

Layering Natsuki’s relationship with Nozomi. Integrating Nozomi’s conflict is definitely a bit awkward – it’s very clearly “time for a new conflict.” but the show does its best

Digging in to what Asuka is thinking

Great use of these progressively encroaching shots to convey the feelings of the oboe girl

Yoroizuka, that’s her name

Yoroizuka’s quietly intense, kind of like Reina

And Kumiko is cowed by her

The blurred flowers here. Wonderful

One thought on “Sound! Euphonium 2 – Episodes 1-2

  1. I know it wasn’t really the main point of your review to mention same-gender relationships, but the thought of it intrigued me. The Japanese are, indeed, reluctant to bring up the issue of transgendership and homosexuality as you would, say, in a Western setting. How this relates to their (character) portrayal in animation, I’m not really sure given the fact that there are signs of some bottled in frustration in popular culture (look at the sheer number of BL titles in a Melon Books or Toranoana, for example).

    But what probably struck me most was how you mentioned: “…leaving it as unspoken inference does cheapen the narrative… Kumiko and Reina’s rich and thoughtfully articulated relationship deserves better than to [invite] accusations of pandering.”

    But wouldn’t outright confirmation of their relationship be considered as “pandering”? I’m not exactly sure how to approach their relationship, if that were the case. If leaving their relationship as a mutual understanding beyond the textbook “friends” but slightly below platonic invites “pandering”; and insinuating that they ARE romancing is still a kind of “pandering”, then I think people are totally missing the point.

    I lend from Reina’s own words that they “want to be special”. I think it’s a sort of relationship that doesn’t (and should not be) assessed with conventional terms of gender roles or expectations. So in effect, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that their ill-defined “relationship status” cheapens the narrative at all. I think it affirms it.

    Sorry, just felt like sharing. Loved the review, though. Cheers!

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