Sound! Euphonium really returned to the strengths of the first season this week, with a conflict that echoed that season’s key variables in both its relevant characters and its thematic substance. Haruka and Asuka make for a fascinating pair, and this episode made the most of each of them, making for a strong comeback after some shaky narrative territory. I’ve been told the third book is stronger than the second in general, so here’s to more great character drama to come!
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below.
They’re playing at a train station, along with Seira Girls’ High School, one of the ringer schools
Hazuki gets to play with them
Asuka is troubled by something
Asuka’s mom wants her to quit the band to focus on her studies
Jeez, what an abusive mother. The textbook violence leading into “I’m sorry, I lost my temper”
The show’s aggressive use of soft focus amplifies the sense of us being intruders witnessing this scene
“I don’t understand Asuka”
Asuka is the perfect character for a KyoAni show – someone with multiple levels, someone who doesn’t let people in, but who reveals her complexities through small gestures
Haruka and Kaori getting material, at last!
And Haruka might be getting a solo
Haruka has always been an absolute team player. Very far from a leader, but she’ll carry that burden because it’s what the group needs
“I won’t cause trouble for anyone. Isn’t that good enough?” That’s always been Asuka’s concern – not letting the overall band be affected by personal drama
Haruka takes the lead! Telling the band they can’t rely on Asuka
This almost works as a self-contained reflection on the relationship between Haruka and Asuka
And Hazuki being used almost as a small echo of Haruka
“I’m going to be playing the solo. Please have my back.”
You can really tell what a positive performance this is